Wednesday, August 12, 2009


By Robert Harkins J.D.

The Stone Wall is a rhetorical device used to suppress truth, and to make a mockery of debate. It is a compound of evasiveness, obfuscation, logical absurdity, outright mendacity and personal attack. If Americans are to understand the impact of national health care (the Plan), on their wellbeing they must storm a stone wall painstakingly erected by the Administration; there is no other way. What then is its substance? And what may we conclude of the Party and President that built it?

The one thousand pages of the Plan are written in poorly crafted and unintelligible language. Whatever will be the Plan’s impact on Americans, its bureaucratic drafters do not intend to tell it in plain words.

The Administration wrote the Plan in language the Internal Revenue Service would envy. John Conyers made a point when he said that it would take two days to read the 1000 pages of the Plan and two lawyers to tell him what it meant. He is right. The Plan itself is the foundation of the Administration’s stone wall. It is a thousand pages of vague generalities and indecipherable gibberish.

The Administration has taken care not to inform its citizens that the nuts and bolts of the Plan, the actual regulations by which it will be imposed on Americans, have not yet been written. The same bureaucrats who wrote the Plan will write its regulations only if the Plan becomes law.

If you like the language of the Plan, you will love the language of the regulations. The Plan expressly prohibits judicial review of its provisions and regulations, a prohibition repugnant to the Constitutional doctrine of Separation of Powers. No one is above the law, not even the Congress, and the President. So long as this country owns an American Constitution, the Plan and its regulations are subject to judicial review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Administration alleges that Republican misinformation is distorting the debate and mischaracterizing the Plan.

In fact, the Administration intended that Americans be kept ignorant of the provisions of the Plan so that their objections to it, once passed, would count for nothing. Although the Congress has not read its thousand pages, the President twisted arms to force the Plan into law before the August recess. The President knew that if the Plan became law before the August recess, Americans would know nothing of the Plan or the near certainty of repugnant regulations.

The President, at a number of press conferences, spoke in murky generalities. (Red Pills and Blue Pills). He did not discuss the language of the Plan. Instead, he attacked those Republicans he accused of passing on misinformation. A somnambulant press, that is, the very few who were permitted to ask questions, threw a few soft balls his way and called it a day. Only, belatedly, when the President failed to meet the August deadline did he then suggest, as if it were his idea in the first place, that Americans take their time, read the bill and ask questions at town hall meetings.

The President and his Congress cannot truthfully answer the questions asked by Americans because a truthful answer would reveal the perniciousness of the Plan and therefore, the need for its defeat. Instead, the President and his Congress evade debate and engage in slander of the American people.

Personal attack is the Last Hurrah of the politician who sees cracks opening in his stone wall. The Administration has launched unprecedented attacks on Americans attending Townhouse meetings. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have characterized Americans as Nazis, as Brown Shirts, as an uncontrollable mob, as Anti-American, and as Astroturf, a perversion of the words “grass roots” and a calculated insult to millions of American voters. Personal attacks are not intended to explain anything. Personal attacks are used to evade debate, intimidate, corrupt and chill the Constitutionally protected expression of free speech.

Where the Administration cannot avoid debate of the Plan’s specific provisions, or evade debate by personal attacks, it engages in plain duplicity. Here are the Administration’s falsehoods: Illegal aliens will not be entitled to payment of medical care under the Plan. Abortions will not be funded through the Plan. The elderly will not be subjected to “cost effectiveness” and “quality of life” evaluations of their right to medical care. The Plan will be deficit neutral. In the not too distant future the Plan will lower the cost of health care.

The Administration’s political conduct cannot be reconciled with its stone wall rhetoric. Democrats voted down a Republican amendment offered to prohibit payment of medical care to illegal aliens. Furthermore, Democrats submitted legislation in August that would give illegal aliens the right to collect social security. Think about it. Why would the Administration on the one hand forbid illegal aliens access to national heath care and on the other propose legislation that would grant them access to social security? The Democrats also defeated a Republican amendment to exclude payment for abortions.

While the Administration denies that care of the elderly will be rationed on theories of Cost Effectiveness and Quality of life, the Democrats voted down a Republican amendment to prohibit the evaluation of elderly care on precisely these theories. If care of the elderly will not be rationed, why then does the President intend to scalp more than a half trillion bucks from Medicare, a plan with over 100 billion in unfunded liabilities? Rather than spend that money on care of the elderly, the Administration will instead spend it on the care of young people who believe they do not need insurance, on those who can afford insurance but choose to spend their money elsewhere, and on perhaps 12 million illegal aliens.

Linda Clark, an administration representative, in a T.V. ad, alleged that Americans, by suggesting that the President ultimately intended a Single Payer health care plan, are engaged in the spreading of misinformation, a polite word used to accuse Americans of lying. Ms. Clark, however, knew that the President, a few years before taking office, emphatically endorsed a single payer plan and explained that a single payer plan would ultimately drive private insurers out of the health care business. Ms. Clark’s T.V. presentation displayed the video of the President’s recent statement in which he claims that he favors a public option. However, she intentionally excluded the Presidents previous DVD statement in which he expressed a passionate commitment to a single payer plan. Well, should Ms. Clark have revealed the President’s earlier DVD in the interests of honest disclosure? Frankly, if Ms. Clark is not guilty of outright deceit, she is certainly guilty of spreading misinformation.

While the President and Congress, in order to evade debate, try to divert American attention to their attack upon such boogiemen as the insurance industry, unnamed special interests, Republican misinformation, and fascist Americans, they simply refuse to debate the gross disparity between the benefits the government has promised and the devastating economic damage it has wrought on the American people. They refuse to debate the significance of the grotesque financial failure of Medicaid and Medicare. They refuse to debate the fact that Congress has failed to stop the billions per year taken from Medicaid and Medicare by acts of fraud or outright theft.

While the Administration promises vast savings, it refuses to debate the CBO’s determination that the Plan would immediately add to the creation of massive deficits. Moreover, the President’s statement that the Plan would save money, when it is based on models of a bankrupt Medicare and the new Massachusetts plan that is already drowning in red ink, demonstrates, if not misinformation then a shocking lack of candor. “Spending on Medicare and Medicaid has significantly outpaced inflation over the years, and now accounts for 23 percent of the federal budget; Medicare’s unfunded liability stretching into the future is a mind-bending $107 trillion.”[1]

If elderly health care is not to be rationed, even if a half trillion dollars is to be scalped from Medicare then, “Where will President Obama find the doctors to treat 47 million new people? The politicians are playing a Washington game -- compromising on false or tangential issues while failing to address the central one. More, all the bills come up with cash to cover their huge costs by ordering cuts in Medicare…. Basically, the government will be paying doctors and providers even less to treat the elderly -- at a time when countless doctors are starting to refuse new Medicare patients…. For the elderly, it means less care, period. A federal health board will sit in judgment of medical procedures and protocols and impose guidelines on all providers for when to withhold certain kinds of care.[2]

In declining the President’s appointment to the office of Secretary of Commerce, Sen. Judd Gregg later wrote that, “The budget the Obama Administration has presented to the American people is a new type of budget. It expands our government in unprecedented ways and presents the largest tax increase in history. … In the next five years, the debt will double, and in 10 years, it will triple. This budget creates more debt than under every president from George Washington to George W. Bush combined and makes us more dependent on China and other governments to finance our debt, threatening the value of our currency and our financial security. The president's budget…proposes to set us on a path to nationalize the health-care system at a huge cost, and, for good measure, it throws in nationalizing the ability of people to borrow to send their kids to college. It suggests that the best way to address climate change is to create a new national sales tax on everyone's electric bills. And, at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to find jobs, it proposes taxing small businesses, our nation's engine of job growth, at rates that could be seen as confiscatory. In other words, the president's proposal is a massive and breathtaking document, and it should not be called a budget. Rather, it should be called a blueprint for the France-ification of America, a notebook for nationalization, or a memo for massive debt creation. But a budget, by any sense of the word, it is not.[3]

Well, there it is, brick by brick, the Stone Wall. So what shall we do with it? Shall we bow our heads and let it be? Or shall we storm it? And in the storming take it down?

What do you think?

[1] Sam Brownback, Don’t Punish Seniors for Health-Care Reform. (NRO.August 3, 2009).


[3] Washington Times. GREGG: Old image of cost-cutting is out. By Judd Gregg | Thursday, March 12, 2009

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