Why does the mention of God anger so many people?

By: Richard H. Frank

The Libertyssong blog has been posted for approximately five months and for the most part has received constructive favorable comments from the readers. The glaring exception is for our posts that examine the Founders fervent belief in a creator as having established “Natural Law” as the basis for the unalienable Rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. Secular progressives have distorted the meaning of the Constitution’s First Amendment in such a way as to deny the documented beliefs of the Founders. They have replaced it with a doctrine that religion and the state cannot be acknowledged within the same physical space in the universe, nor upon any document residing in a public institution. I know that this description of what they believe is extreme, but no more extreme than their assertion that the phrase “In God We Trust” is direct contradiction to the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The Constitution allows all Americans the right to practice, or not to practice, any religion of their choice. It only prohibits the establishment of a Federal Government religion. In fact, unless prohibited by a State’s Constitution, that State could establish its own religion. Government, Federal or State, cannot mandate any citizen to recognize or practice any religion. The First Amendment also prohibits the Federal Government from interfering with the free exercise of any religion.  The Constitution is silent with regard to acknowledging and recognizing the Founders’ beliefs and therefore those that would cite the First Amendment as the authority to remove any reference to God from the public square are misinformed.

George Washington in his farewell address said,” Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports”. ……… “Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”

Over the past 80 years, largely due to the influence of secular progressives, we have moved far from the principles upon which this country was founded. The very people that would remove all references to “God” from the public arena, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are protected in their beliefs by these very documents. So what do they fear?

I fear a government made up of men having no moral compass to guide them, lacking integrity and honesty. A belief in God and the principles espoused by our founding Fathers provides that moral compass. Unfortunately, many of our representatives in Congress seem to have embraced political ideology over principle. Let us pray to “God” that they find that moral compass once more.

The Painful Truth About Entitlements

by Richard H. Frank

Americans are beginning to understand the serious financial crises we face from excessive Government spending.  The media and those within our two political parties are quick to point out earmarks, pork and wasteful programs that once funded never go away.  That is well and good but diverts our attention away from the real issue that will eventually destroy the fabric of this nation.  “Entitlements,” promises made to our citizens that cannot be kept, are quickly eroding the stability of the Country.  There are two facts that all of us must understand before we and our elected representatives attempt to resolve the problem of entitlements.

First, Government creates no real value.  Government only exchanges services for the taxes (revenue) it collects from the private sector which does create value.

Second, revenue to the Government (taxes) can only come from two sources: 1) growth in the gross domestic product (the value of all goods and services produced) and/or 2) increasing the taxes on individuals and deficit borrowing.

In 1935, well-intentioned politicians created the Social Security Program, an entitlement designed to provide sustenance to the elderly through their retirement years.  This program was funded by the FICA tax on a percentage of individual income that was adjusted from time to time and credited to a Trust Fund for distribution to retirees in future years.  Over time Congress expanded the usage of these entitlement funds far beyond the original intent until by 2008 the “surplus” on the Government books was only $2.4 trillion dollars against unfunded liabilities of  $37 trillion.  The total Gross Domestic Product for the United States in 2009 was $51.9 trillion and is expected to decline in 2010.  Entitlements, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid amount to 41% of President Obama’s 2010 Budget or $21.2 trillion.  The Big Lie politicians from both political parties continue to tell is that their new entitlement programs such as affordable health care will reduce the deficit over time.  It is a lie because interest alone on the national debt will consume over 30% of our Gross Domestic Product, exceeding the costs of the entitlements, by the middle of this century.  This also doesn’t mention that the Trust Fund lock box has no money but is only filled with Government IOUs.

The average American does not have to possess a degree in Economics to see where more spending on entitlements will lead the country.  No matter what politicians say, this Nation cannot afford any additional entitlement programs.  This includes the Affordable Health Care Bill and immigration reform which will further extend the existing benefits to millions of people who have not contributed and/or will be exempted under some provisions that further redistributes our Country’s wealth.

So you ask, “What is the Solution?”  President Obama’s solution is the appointment of his “Commission on Deficit Reduction” which will undoubtedly cost millions and recommend massive tax increases across the board for all Americans.  This solution, without spending restraints being placed on Congress, will only amount to a license for Congress to steal just as was done with the Social Security Trust.

The real solutions will be much more painful for Americans to accept.  Certainly politicians will view these solutions as the kiss of death for their political careers.  I believe Americans are much more mature, and although they may not like what they hear, the truth will be more palatable than the continuing political rhetoric.

  1. A calculated temporary income tax surcharge, designed to stop additions to our existing deficit and create a bridge to growth in GDP could be imposed.
  2. Government spending must be capped and across the board cuts in spending of 20% mandated for all agencies.
  3. Government restrictions and regulations that suppress free enterprise development of our national resources and lead to energy independence must be reviewed and lifted where necessary to encourage economic development.
  4. Government needs to remove impediments to expansion of our GDP at a sustained level of 5-7% just to keep up with the interest accrual on the forecast deficit.

Congress and our President can no longer ignore the facts of the real fiscal crisis we face from entitlement spending.  Three generations of Americans were mandated by Government to contribute to these entitlement programs.  Now we find they are unsustainable and although our children are now paying the burden for today’s retirees, they will not likely be able to receive the same benefits in the future.

The system of entitlements must be returned to a semblance of the original intent if we are to sustain future generations.

What you can say about Obama’s 2/25 Healthcare Summit: If you put lipstick on a pig – it’s still a pig!

by Richard H. and Jayne D. Frank

If you had the intestinal fortitude to watch at least one hour of the health care summit, it should be clear as to what the President’s agenda really is.  President Obama’s hope is that he can persuade enough Republicans to support his plan to offset the Democrats in the House and Senate that had not used their majority to pass the Senate Bill currently stuck in  Congress.

My wife  and I thoroughly listened to most of the  7- hour session and the Republican’s position, that although they do support reform, they DO NOT want the 2,700 pages of bureaucratic intervention by the Government with a system that cannot be paid for.  They recognize that there is, logically, no way to add 30 million people to the system without increasing costs.  Their position is in incremental change in lieu of scrapping a health care system that the majority of Americans are happy with and that amounts to 17% of our economy.

The President arrogantly tried to steer the discussion away from the House and Senate Bills.  He interrupted many of the speakers if they challenged specifics contained in his proposal, most importantly Lamar Alexander, Eric Cantor and John McCain.  By noon, he had usurped over 45 minutes of the Republicans alloted time to try to contradict the facts that the Republicans had laid before the American public.  If nothing else, his body language displayed anger, disapproval, condescension and outright dismissal of facts presented by the opposition.  His definition of finding a common ground appears to be “Sit down and shut up.”  No matter what President Obama says, he views passage of health care legislation as his personal legacy.  Before the lunch break, he even tried to “summarize” that the Summit members had already come to agreement on the issues of preexisting conditions and not dropping individuals from their insurance coverage.

The democrat’s assertion that the Republicans have no plan or have not contributed to the debate was shown to be untrue by Obama’s own admission that he had reviewed many of the plans and proposals submitted by the Republicans, some of which he says are contained within his plan. Having read his proposal we could not find these Republican items.

Two of the most articulate and substantive comments were given by the Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) who indicated that the American people and the Republicans wanted Congress to “start over” with a better idea and to shelf the current (Senate) bill”.  He also indicated directly to the President that if he it did not renounce “jamming it (healthcare) through in a partisan way” for 17% of the country’s economy, that “the rest of what we do today will be irrelevant.”  Over the next few hours Obama mentioned this “reconciliation” process several times, but did not renounce it, and stated that the “American people are not interested in the process”.  He also stated that if there were too big of a gap between the parties that they would have to address the (reconciliation) issue later.  It was refreshing to hear President Obama say for the first time that “this is real insurance” and DOES COST MORE, per the CBO, as the Republicans have previously contended.

John McCain (R-AZ) emphasized in his portion of this morning session that the American people and Republicans are most disturbed by the process which involved crafting the bill “behind closed doors”, involving “unsavory dealmaking” such as the LA purchase, and exempting only some senior citizens in the country and treating different states and citizens differently.  He was immediately slapped down by Obama with a comment that “the campaign was over.”  Mr. Obama should heed his own advice.

The President and the Democrats tried to treat the American People not only as stupid but as dispassionate as well, as “story after story” was told of people who had health crises and got  caught up with insurance coverage problems.  They tried to leave the impression that Republicans and Independents don’t care about sick people.

After both parties adjourned for a “house vote” which obviously both parties used as for a “half time” pep talk by their peers, discussions proceeded.

Biden once again lives in his own world and spouted numbers and facts which are not supported.  He falsely indicated that the Senate bill and the President’s proposal don’t cut medicare benefits, they close the donut hole and put the Medicare Trust Fund back on a solvent footing.  On the other hand, the elimination of Medicare Advantage further shifts the burden upon seniors, does nothing to address the waste in the system, part of which is funded by the Government paying a 15% incentive to companies providing Medicare Advantage.

In today’s meeting, Congressmen and Senators spouted statistics using the CBO as the ultimate authority to back up whatever points they wished to make.  The old adage is that statistics don’t lie; only statisticians.  Every American should feel extremely uncomfortable when Congress begins to dabble in 17% of the nation’s economy where there isn’t an expert among them able to measure the true impact of the laws they are proposing, let alone unintended consequences of Government intrusion.

The real truth according to Paul Ryan is that Medicare today has a $38T unfunded liability and is growing at 21% per year.  This bill, whether it’s the President’s Proposal or the Senate’s version is still a new entitlement.  Ten year’s funding against 6 year’s expenditures results in an artificially created surplus to be applied against a growing deficit. Likewise, double counting Medicare savings and cuts and applying them equally to the Trust Fund and Medicaid spending is smoke and mirrors.  The reality is the true costs of affordable health care is $2.3T and totally disregards the doctor’s fix of $371 billion which is removed from the bill and as a result does not bend the cost curve down but bends it upward by $222 billion.  There must be a more fiscally sound and manageable approach taken to controlling the upward spiraling costs associated with  healthcare.

We find it very telling that the President refers to “poll-tested” language when describing the exchange and subsidies contained in his Proposal as that used to convince Americans to support the plan.  The most important issue facing America today is our growing deficit.  By continuing to pass legislation that cannot be paid for with existing current revenues, we risk total financial collapse in America.  An incremental approach to modifying existing health care law is the only means by which we can contain our growing deficit.  As with many situations, 80% of the solution is found by addressing 20% of the issues. Congress and the President need to adopt the incremental approach to solving the health care problem.

President Obama summarized the meeting, conveniently when many people were just getting home from work, with a statement that said “I know that most of your Republican voters” don’t want this (Senate) Bill.”  Let us be clear, Mr. President, it is the Independents, true Democrats, and yes the Republicans in this Country that don’t want this Senate bill-the Majority of the American People.

Three Summers of Discontent

by Jayne D. Frank

Many of you read our blog and other web articles concerning current events in Washington.  I have been particularly interested in what articles people are reading and where their interests are most focused.  Recently, because of the release of the President’s Health Care Proposal and the impending 2/25 Health Care LOL “Summit,” we wrote a long analysis of this Proposal on Healthcare and are very surprised at the lack of interest in this subject anymore.  Has America given up their fight?  Knowing the fundamental Constitutional principles upon which your struggle has been based, have you no patience and sustainability in continuing this fight?  Americans are getting tired and angry trying to enforce adherence to our constitution by our legislators, because unlike the plethora of organizations and groups that elected Obama, we are fighting this fight one person at a time, one organizing group at a time, and we don’t have the ingrained machine that is at the fingertips of the White House.  They fully intend  to get their Agenda items pushed through before the elections!

The spring and summer is fast approaching and most Americans inundated with unusual amounts of snow this year will be planning their outside activities for themselves and their families.  As we have indicated in previous articles, if you don’t remain steadfast in educating yourself on the Constitution, on the daily events happening with legislative bills being pushed through Congress and/or brought up by the President, you will get to the end of your fall season and wonder how so much damaging legislation was passed that will forever affect you and your family.  At the end of summer, candidates will be out campaigning for their 2010 Senate and House seats, and you may  not know enough about them to make a knowledgeable, conservative choice to place your vote in November; we cannot afford to make any mistakes in 2010.

Please realize that the Moveon.org, Organizing for America, progressive organizations, unions, and Acorn spinoffs, as well as President Obama’s “youth movement” that he put together for his election, are going to be working overtime this summer.  They will be pushing to make sure Obama’s very costly and wasteful health care plan is passed, that more “stimulus” money is approved by Congress and that destructive energy policies are enacted.  These Obama groups are lining up to support their progressive candidates in the November election and they will work tirelessly this year to raise funds and campaign for them and against any Conservative Republican candidates.

Sun, beaches, vacations, barbecues and parties are all important, but please don’t discontinue your good work.  Read, listen to the news, follow Congress’ proposed legislation, seek out and attend rallies and protests, and get behind good candidates.  Progressives are counting on you to slack off.

The President’s Health Care Proposal: Deceit, Arrogance or Desperation

by Richard H. and Jayne D. Frank

What kind of game is President Obama playing on the American people?  He appears before the television cameras and acknowledges that the People are correct in identifying the “economy” and “jobs” as the most important priorities for the Country (where has he been?).  He criticizes Congress and Government for uncontrolled spending in one breath and then introduces his new budget and more spending proposals purported to cure our ills.  Then when over 66% of Americans are opposed to Government health care reform as envisioned by Congress,  he attempts to resurrect an ill-conceived Bill under the guise of bi-partisan cooperation.

Just when we think Congress and the President have received our message and shifted their priority to the economy,  Mr. Obama uses a bi-partisan summit on health care alleging he is open to any ideas to control costs that will make insurance affordable for all Americans.

Today, four days before the summit at Blair House, the White House has posted on their website, President Obama’s Proposal for health care reform.  Careful reading of his proposal reveals a warmed-over manipulation of language contained in the Senate Bill hastily passed on  Christmas Eve 2009.

The Proposal is cleverly crafted in such a way as to cloud its ultimate intent, to move to a single-payor system,   and further, the Progressive agenda for “massive redistribution of wealth.”

Here is the simple truth behind The President’s Proposal dated February 22 which is nothing more than more punishment for the “rich” in our society, additional spending, punishment of businesses, more Government intrusion, and is true wealth distribution and nothing more.  It does NOTHING to change what has been on the table before the American people for the last year.  Here are the key points that most affect Americans that were not in either of the previous House and Senate bills.  We have attempted to boil down 11 pages of the warmed-over Senate bill by highlighting the revisions of the President’s Proposal in 15 key elements:

  1. Included in the Proposal is a new mandate that insurers must lower premiums if the Government feels they are unreasonable; this replaces simply an oversight review. This is a usurpation of the authority vested in the States by the Constitution.
  2. Preventative care is covered in grandfathered policies only beginning in 2018.  That is an attempt to hide increasing of the deficit because costs beyond that point are not considered by the CBO.
  3. Uninsured Americans will still make a payment (tax/fee) for not being insured but the threshold is lowered to $18700; i.e., taxes on more Americans.
  4. The Proposal gives $40 billion  to businesses in tax credits; those tax credits are a drain upon the Federal revenues, that if insufficient, end up adding to the deficit.  This is still a mandate to businesses because if they don’t provide coverage they will pay an “assessment” of $3000 (fee/tax) to help defray the “taxpayer’s cost” for those workers which the businesses don’t cover; eventually this will lead to cancellation of all employer coverage and move everyone to a “Government-controlled Healthcare Program.”
  5. There is a great deal of language involved in inundating health providers with more paperwork, database requirements and  “law enforcement” threats for catching fraud and abuse. Hidden in this language section is a “Real-Time Data Review” to identify potentially fraudulent payments more quickly.  When you walk into your doctor’s office, you can see that he will be required to get an on- the spot determination by some bureaucrat if your treatment is to be covered, in essence placing Government between you and your doctor under the guise of reducing fraudulent payments.  The President has just moved his  intent to oversee patient’s treatment into a “Fraud and Abuse” control.
  6. The President wants to return overpayments under this section to the Medicare Trust Fund.  That fund has been robbed by the Government, spent, and has been empty for years.  Are we to trust that they now are honorable and will reestablish this Trust Fund?
  7. In line with real- data review, under the President’s prescription proposal, he wants providers and states to “review and update their care plan to reduce utilization” of certain prescriptions.  The end result of course, will be that people will not be able to get elective prescriptions such as those for weight-reducing, smoking cessation, ED drugs such as Viagra,  depression, and certain senior drugs, because the Government is lining up to determine what prescriptions do not improve “beneficiary quality of care”.
  8. The President proposes to change the Medicare Review process from a “random” process to one with “statutory reviews.”
  9. Cadillac plans are once again attacked, and the Proposal seems to be looking to “average out” fee for services costs in all areas, and the Proposal still taxes high-cost health insurance premiums, although not until 2018.
  10. More importantly, The Proposal on Page 8 requires a “payment adjustment for unjustified coding patterns” than have raised costs …more…than the evidence of their enrollees’ health status…”  In short, Government will determine if treatment for the elderly is justified based upon cost, not “improving quality of life.”
  11. The President’s Proposal adds a total of 5.2% increase in the hospital insurance portion of these plans.
  12. The President wants to tax brand name pharmaceuticals in the interest of “fairness”.  Many prescriptions given to Americans are not yet in a generic form and I assume, the legislation intends to restrict these drugs.
  13. The President has a new “Improvement.”  He wants to give states “100% Federal Support for newly eligible individuals” for 2014 through 2017.” Surely that will give him enough time to get the millions of illegal aliens covered under his proposal.
  14. The Proposal changes eligibility for certain low income  programs (not defined) from adjusted gross income to modified adjusted gross income. That would allow more people to be subsidized or exempted.
  15. There is still a fee on medical device manufacturers, which most certainly is either going to prohibit seniors from receiving scooters, walkers, more “unconventional” oxygen devices, etc., or those costs will be passed along to the consumer to pay.

The President’s Proposal is all smoke and mirrors again, is a rehash of the Big Government intrusion into our personal health care decisions and more importantly does nothing about tort reform, portability, or being able to purchase across state lines, and fraud/abuse which could all be addressed with simple standalone legislation.  He also phrases several of the changes he wants to appear as they are “budget items” to more particularly conform to the requirements for the reconciliation Process.  This “Reconcilation Process” would allow passage of a health care bill with 51 votes as opposed to 60 required under current Senate Rules.

The Republican position at the February 25 meeting should demand including the four principles above under a simple, understandable and controllable piece of legislation, not the massive Senate Bill and the bureaucracies that will be created. The President’s Proposal was aptly described by Brad Blakeman on Fox News this morning as “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

If you Can’t Attack the Message, Attack the Messenger

by Richard H. Frank

In an article written in Politico.com by Kenneth P. Vogel and Michael Calderone entitled “Beck’s CPAC Coming Out Party” prior to his address to the convention, the article  seems to be asserting that Glenn Beck is somehow not qualified to be making the speech.  Like many in the media, they have, in the article, selected snippets of Mr. Beck’s comments, taken out of context, to reinforce their somewhat slanted view of the 912 and Tea Party movement.  The entire focus of their assertion is that Glen Beck’s only motives are for self-enrichment and personal aggrandizement.  Mr. Vogel and Mr. Calderone are entitled to their opinions and their skepticism of Glenn Beck, but not the truth in his message.

Because they find it difficult to place a tag on his politics as Republican or Democrat, let me help them.  The grass-roots movements so pervasive in America today support limited Government, maximum freedoms and a return to the principles enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.  They view the damage inflicted on this Country by the “progressive liberals” over the past 50 years as detrimental to the survival of our Republic.  Glenn Beck and “Mercury Radio Arts” have become a voice for “We the People” who overwhelmingly support a label of “Constitutional Conservatives.”

I think Mr. Beck’s message tonight will be straight talk to Republicans urging them to return to the base principles that the party has historically represented and turn away from those that espouse moderation and bi-partisonship with progressives.

As for Mr. Beck becoming wealthy as a result of his beliefs, more power to him!  He is doing the job of re-educating Americans in a way the public school institutions have not for over 50 years.

So to Politico, an organization I used to respect, I say “Just because you don’t like the messenger, don’t disregard the message.  It just might save this nation!

The Passing of a Patriot

by Richard H. Frank

Alexander Haig died at 85 years of age today after spending more than half of his life in the service of his Country.  A graduate of West Point, he rose to the rank of Four-Star General, served three Presidents in positions ranging from National Security Advisor to Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan.  His military career was extraordinary from serving as an aid to General Douglas MacArthur in Korea, being awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star and ultimately he rose to be Supreme Commander of United Nations Forces.

Alexander Haig while working for Henry Kissinger, was instrumental in planning the resumption of diplomatic relations with China, forging strategic arms agreement with Russia and development of the post-Vietnam war policy.  He was an outspoken individual that was not afraid to speak his mind on political policy or on the individuals involved in crafting that policy.  As James Rosen from Fox News stated, Haig’s language was deeply influenced by his military background and he often expressed himself with four-letter expletives.

Too often we forget those men that devote their lives to the service of our Country and are true Patriots not unlike the Founders.  The common thread that joins men like Alexander Haig is their devotion to “God, Country and Corps”.  They are only human like the rest of us, possessing the frailties that affect the human existence, and yet they are held to a higher standard than the rest of us.

These individuals are not divine to be held as idols but should be honored for their service and sacrifices.  Men such as Secretary Haig understand their oath to protect and defend the Constitution and have demonstrated that oath through their actions and not just words spoken to create the illusion of leadership.  We need more patriots the likes of Alexander Haig representing “We the People” in Congress and in the White House.