Is Charles Krauthammer on LSD or have an undiagnosed mental disorder. I ask because those would be legitimate excuses for the bizarre diatribes he writes at the Washington Post. If he does possess all of his mental capabilities and is not on mind altering substances he is responsible for dispensing garbage that would make communist and fascist propaganda ministers proud – Government by regulation. Shhh.
Well, it’s back – by administrative fiat. A month ago, Medicare issued a regulation providing for end-of-life counseling during annual “wellness” visits. It was all nicely buried amid the simultaneous release of hundreds of new Medicare rules.
[ ]…On Dec. 23, the Interior Department issued Secretarial Order 3310, reversing a 2003 decision and giving itself the authority to designate public lands as “Wild Lands.” A clever twofer: (1) a bureaucratic power grab – for seven years up through Dec. 22, wilderness designation had been the exclusive province of Congress, and (2) a leftward lurch – more land to be “protected” from such nefarious uses as domestic oil exploration in a country disastrously dependent on foreign sources.
The very same day, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that in 2011 it would begin drawing up anti-carbon regulations on oil refineries and power plants, another power grab effectively enacting what Congress had firmly rejected when presented as cap-and-trade legislation.
What we have here in Chucks general unhinged diatribe against executive orders in the ongoing game of It Is Great When Republicans Do It and Is Evil When Democrats Do It. When marketing specialists measure the most popular games of all times they really should include this one. Chuck doesn’t like governing by executive order? Where was this voice of reason from 2000 to 2008 when the president the Supreme Court appointed to office issued an astonishing 291 executive orders. Bush gutted the Presidential Records Act – Bush tried to scrap the whole thing and did succeed in hiding a lot of information from public scrutiny. Bush blocked stem cell research (research which is proving to be just the great medical advance it’s advocates – which included Nancy Reagan and Krauthammer – said it would be). No vote from Congress on Bush’s unitary decision on setting back life saving therapies by a decade. Bush executive order to, undermine by John Yoo-ish type reasoning, U.S. full compliance with the Geneva Convention. Bush gave 4th branch Cheney and the Vice President’s office unprecedented control over what becomes secret and what does not. Information during the Bush administration became unclassified and then classified, literally according to how politically useful releasing snippets of information was - here and here. By executive order Bush gave private contractors in Iraq broad legal protections for a variety of illegal and unseemly behaviors. In a kind of twofer Bush also signed an order which gave the government a free hand to punish anyone they felt deep in their little hearts was impeding progress in Iraq. The language was so vague and open to interpretation that the government could seize the property of anyone without due process – a violation of the Fifth Amendment. More on Bush’s Stalinesque use of executive orders here . I could offer up an ideological olive branch and say Chuck and I agree that too much power has been invested in the executive branch, but as a leader in the hard-core kool-aid drinkers club of conservatism I know Chuck is being dishonest and disingenuous. Today he is using Obama’s alleged abuse of executive power as a club to bludgeon him with. Chuck is not against what Bush 43 and Dick Cheney worked so hard to enshrine in the executive branch – more on that subject here, Cheney Plotted Bush’s Imperial Presidency ‘Thirty Years Ago’ and here – The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State? The worse an honest opponent of Obama’s views on executive powers can say is that he is simply using a similar view of the presidency of Krauthammer and his conservative comrades.
About those so-called “death panels” – Republicans were for them before they were against them – Oh, Those Death Panels
You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody’s business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn’t already voted for just a few years earlier. Because that’s not just shameless, it’s stupid.
Yes, that’s right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!
The only difference between the Democrat counseling and the right-wing counseling is the latter makes everyone wait until they are at death’s door. The Democratic approach let’s people have voluntary counseling while they are in good health and not under the emotional stress of being terminally ill. Rep. Earl Blumenauer(D-OR) gets into several myths regarding health care reform in a recent column at HuffPo - Unhinged!
Rep. Broun from Georgia demanded to see the bill, “Show us the bill”, “don’t hide the bill,” at exactly the same time that his colleagues were waving the bill and misreading what was in it. Rep. Buck McKeon admonished people to read the bill and then specifically cited Section 1233. Actually, I know a little bit about this section because it’s a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation. His statement was a complete fabrication (check out my myth vs. fact sheet pdf). At least he didn’t get to the point that Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina did when she claimed that the Republican approach would be more pro-life because it, “would not put seniors in the position of being put to death by their government!” (emphasis added).
I think it was Vice President Dan Quayle who once said that a mind was a terrible thing to lose. This was certainly two hours that gave me a sense of just how confused and disjointed the Republicans are.
From Rep. Blumenauer’s fact sheet,
Myth: Patients will be forced to have this consultation once every five years.
* Fact: Advance planning consultations are not mandatory; this benefit is completely voluntary. The provision merely provides coverage under Medicare to have a conversation once every five years if – and only if – a patient wants to make his or her wishes known to a doctor. If desired, patients may have consultations more frequently if they are chronically ill or if their health status changes.
Myth: Patients will be forced to sign an advance care directive (or living will).
* Fact: There is no mandate in the bill to complete an advance care directive or living
will. If a patient chooses to complete an advance directive or order for life sustaining
treatment, these documents will help articulate a full range of treatment preferences, from full and aggressive treatment to limited, comfort care only. Patients that choose to have these documents and can customize them so that their wishes are appropriately reflected.
Myth: Patients will have to see a health care professional chosen by the government.
*Fact: There are no government-chosen professionals involved. The legislation simply allows Medicare to pay for a conversation between patient and their doctors if patients wish to talk with their doctor about end of life care preferences.
Conservatives and their oil exploration myths. We’ve had right-wing Republican legislators mind you, not some deranged AM radio pundit, claiming China was drilling off the coast of Florida. Chuck is claiming there is plenty of oil but those mean liberals won’t be giving them access. Oil companies have plenty of leases to land – dry and off the coast – which belongs to the people of the United States. They not using the leases they have - America’s untapped oil, Lawmakers lay into big oil for leaving million of acres untouched while at the same time asking to drill in Alaska and off the coasts. I’m not sure why the ANWR oil myth persists. It does not contain enough oil to solve any long-term energy issues – holding enough oil to supply California for one lousy year. Rahall to Big Oil: Use It or Lose It
In an effort to compel oil and gas companies to produce on the 68 million acres of federal lands, both onshore and offshore, that are leased but sitting idle, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) today introduced legislation that gives Big Oil one option – either “use it or lose it.”
“Big Oil, as many Americans already suspect, are perfectly fine with high gasoline prices at the pump while they hold back domestic production on federal leases and enjoy world record profits. I am calling them on the carpet. I am calling their bluff. We are not going to continue to allow them to speculate and profiteer with public resources to the detriment of the American people,” Rahall said.
The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 (H.R. 6251) is a direct response to the facts outlined in the recent House Natural Resources Committee Majority Staff report, “The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits”, that illustrate how energy companies are not using the federal lands and waters that are already open to drilling. The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).
The 68 million acres of leased but inactive federal land have the potential to produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. This would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75 percent. It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than one-third, reducing America’s dependency on foreign oil.
Salaries are difficult to check, but it is rumored Chuck makes a healthy six figure salary for dispensing fact-free tripe and spin. Talk about unearned welfare.