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In Some States, a Push to Ban Mandate on Insurance

ST. PAUL — In more than a dozen statehouses across the country, a small but growing group of lawmakers is pressing for state constitutional amendments that would outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

Approval of the measures, the lawmakers suggest, would set off a legal battle over the rights of states versus the reach of federal power — an issue that is, for some, central to the current health care debate but also one that has tentacles stretching into a broad range of other matters, including education and drug policy.

Opponents of the measures and some constitutional scholars say the proposals are mostly symbolic, intended to send a message of political protest, and have little chance of succeeding in court over the long run. But they acknowledge the measures could create legal collisions that would be both costly and cause delays to health care changes, and could be a rallying point for opponents in the increasingly tense debate.

“This does head us for a legal showdown,” said Christie Herrera, an official at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group in Washington that advocates limited government and free markets, and which on Sept. 16 offered guidance to lawmakers in more than a dozen states during a conference call on the state amendments.

So far, the notion has been presented in at least 10 states (though it has already been rejected or left behind in committees in some of them), and lawmakers in four other states have said they will soon offer similar measures in what has grown into a coordinated effort at resistance. (Arizona, which has placed the amendment on its ballot in 2010, seems the furthest along)

Here in Minnesota, like in many of the other states, the move to amend the State Constitution is being driven by a handful of Republican lawmakers.

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer, a Republican. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

The first efforts actually predate the Obama administration and the current federal health care debate. Proposed constitutional amendments began cropping up after 2006, when Massachusetts passed a sweeping state law meant to create nearly universal health coverage for residents. Elsewhere, some leaders — opposed to the possibility of insurance mandates, government-run systems or rules barring people from paying for their health care procedures — began suggesting constitutional amendments to block such measures from their own states.

In Arizona, with help from Dr. Eric Novack — an orthopedic surgeon who says his intent was not “some grand secessionist plot” but merely a health care overhaul with protections for individuals’ rights — an amendment first went before voters in 2008. The idea lost, but by fewer than 9,000 votes among more than two million cast. This year, Arizona’s Legislature, dominated by Republicans in both chambers, voted to send the question back to the ballot in 2010.

Few in the public seemed focused on health care a year ago, those involved in Arizona’s ballot question said, but the recent debate over a federal overhaul has changed all that, and proponents of the amendment believe that will improve its chances both in Arizona and in other states, where similar efforts have taken root.

The federal proposals, though, have also changed the potential fallout if such amendments were to pass.

Clint Bolick, litigation director at the Goldwater Institute, a conservative research group based in Arizona that favors free enterprise, and who has helped lead Arizona’s efforts, said he believed the inevitable “legal clash” — if the federal government adopts a health care law and if states change their constitutions — was winnable for the states.

Although the Constitution’s supremacy clause ordinarily allows federal law to, in essence, trump a state law that conflicts with it, Mr. Bolick said that was not always the case, depending on “the strength of the state interest.” Mr. Bolick said he viewed two recentSupreme Court cases, related to an education question in Arizona and a utility district in Texas as indications that the current court might be open to such a state claim.

But several other legal experts said they saw little room for such a challenge. “States can no more nullify a federal law like this than they could nullify the civil rights laws by adopting constitutional amendments,” said Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a health law expert at Washington & Lee University School of Law.

Mark A. Hall, a law professor at Wake Forest who has studied the constitutionality of mandates that people buy health insurance, said, “There is no way this challenge will succeed in court,” adding that the state measures seemed more “sort of an act of defiance, a form of civil disobedience if you will.”

Even Randy E. Barnett, a Georgetown Law professor who has written about what he views as legitimate constitutional questions about health insurance mandates, seemed doubtful.

“While using federal power to force individuals to buy private insurance raises serious constitutional questions, I just don’t see what these state resolutions add to the constitutional objections to this expansion of federal power,” Professor Barnett said.

In Minnesota, even before the prospect of a court clash, Mr. Emmer appears to have an uphill battle ahead. Before voters can consider amending the state’s constitution, Mr. Emmer needs approval from the Legislature, which is dominated by Democrats. He has offered the Health Care Freedom Act in years past, but it has never made its way to a vote, and Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the Democratic speaker of the House who is also among the wide field of candidates for governor, said last week that she doubted it stood much of a chance this time either.

“Most legislators are interested in improving the health of Minnesotans, and how to do more health care reform,” Ms. Kelliher said. “No one thinks the answer is a states’ right movement.”

Still, Mr. Emmer, who is a candidate for governor, says he is hopeful. He emphasizes that such an amendment — regardless of court battles over a federal plan — would certainly spare Minnesotans from the potential downsides of some future state health care plan.

And this whole amendment notion, he said, would not prevent anyone from taking part in a federal health program; it would merely block people from being forced to do so.

Of legal experts who discount the states’ chances of trumping a federal plan, Mr. Emmer seemed unconvinced.

“They’re essentially saying that state constitutions are meaningless, and I disagree,” he said. “And tell me where in the U.S. Constitution it says the federal government has the right to provide health care? This is the essence of the debate.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/us/29states.html?_r=2&8au&emc=au

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Breitbart.tv » FCC ‘Diversity Czar’: Few Things Frighten Americans More Than ‘Dark Skin Black Men’

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“There are few things I think more frightening in the American mind than dark skin black men. Here I am.”

In this piece you will also hear Mark Lloyd say:

–Affirmative action “largely benefited white women.”

— Diversity requires asking “who is going to step down” so “someone else can have power.”

— “What we are really saying is the Fairness Doctrine is not enough.”

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Woman gives birth to 19.2lbs. super baby

An Indonesian woman has given birth to an 8.7 kilogram (19.2 pound) baby boy – the heaviest newborn ever recorded in the country.

The baby, who is still unnamed and is 62 centimetres long, was born by caesarean section Monday (local time) at a public hospital in North Sumatra province, a gynaecologist who took part in the operation said on Wednesday.

“This heavy baby made the surgery really tough, especially the process of taking him out of his mum’s womb,” Binsar Sitanggang said.

“His legs were so big.”

The boy is in a healthy condition despite having to initially be given oxygen to overcome breathing problems, the gynaecologist said.

“He’s got strong appetite, every minute, it’s almost non-stop feeding,” he said.

“This baby boy is extraordinary, the way he’s crying is not like a usual baby. It’s really loud.”

The boy’s massive size was likely the result of his mother, Ani, 41, having diabetes, Mr Sitanggang said.

She had to be rushed to hospital due to complications with the pregnancy, which had reached nine months.

The baby, her fourth, was the only child not delivered by a traditional midwife.

Indonesia’s previous heaviest baby, weighing in at 6.9 kilos, was born in 2007 on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta, according to the Indonesian Museum of Records website.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/23/2694755.htm

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US backing for world currency stuns markets

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner shocked global markets by revealing that Washington is “quite open” to Chinese proposals for the gradual development of a global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund.

The dollar plunged instantly against the euro, yen, and sterling as the comments flashed across trading screens. David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC, said the apparent policy shift amounts to an earthquake in geo-finance.

“The mere fact that the US Treasury Secretary is even entertaining thoughts that the dollar may cease being the anchor of the global monetary system has caused consternation,” he said.

Mr Geithner later qualified his remarks, insisting that the dollar would remain the “world’s dominant reserve currency … for a long period of time” but the seeds of doubt have been sown.

The markets appear baffled by the confused statements emanating from Washington. President Barack Obama told a new conference hours earlier that there was no threat to the reserve status of the dollar.

“I don’t believe that there is a need for a global currency. The reason the dollar is strong right now is because investors consider the United States the strongest economy in the world with the most stable political system in the world,” he said.

The Chinese proposal, outlined this week by central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, calls for a “super-sovereign reserve currency” under IMF management, turning the Fund into a sort of world central bank.

The idea is that the IMF should activate its dormant powers to issue Special Drawing Rights. These SDRs would expand their role over time, becoming a “widely-accepted means of payments”.

Mr Bloom said that any switch towards use of SDRs has direct implications for the currency markets. At the moment, 65pc of the world’s $6.8 trillion stash of foreign reserves is held in dollars. But the dollar makes up just 42pc of the basket weighting of SDRs. So any SDR purchase under current rules must favour the euro, yen and sterling.

Beijing has the backing of Russia and a clutch of emerging powers in Asia and Latin America. Economists have toyed with such schemes before but the issue has vaulted to the top of the political agenda as creditor states around the world takes fright at the extreme measures now being adopted by the Federal Reserve, especially the decision to buy US government debt directly with printed money.

Mr Bloom said the US is discovering that the sensitivities of creditors cannot be ignored. “China holds almost 30pc of the world’s entire reserves. What they say matters,” he said.

Mr Geithner’s friendly comments about the SDR plan seem intended to soothe Chinese feelings after a spat in January over alleged currency manipulation by Beijing, but he will now have to explain his own categorical assurance to Congress on Tuesday that he would not countenance any moves towards a world currency.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/5050407/US-backing-for-world-currency-stuns-markets.html

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Planning the H1N1 Flu Pandemic: Body Bags, Mass Graves, Quarantine Orders

An atmosphere of insecurity and fear is being created simultaneously in several countries in a global public health initiative under the auspices of the WHO.

We are summarising selected reports on body bags, mass graves and quarantine orders. Swine flu is acknowledged to be milder than seasonal influenza. So what is the purpose of these initiatives?

There is a consistent pattern. These reports raise serious questions as to the public health objectives of our governments, not to mention the WHO. The entire construct is politically motivated and corrupt . It serves the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. It justifies the militarization of public health and violates fundamental civil liberties.

CANADA
VIDEO: Preparing for the H1N1 Pandemic: Body Bag for Canada’s First Nations

“It is unfortunate that this has been linked exclusively with H1N1,” he said. “Health Canada apologizes. We all regret the alarm caused by the stocking of this particular item.”

Health Canada regularly re-stocks body bags every three or four months, he said. But especially in the case of Wasagamatch First Nation, which received roughly 30 of the bags, the number of bags delivered “was excessive.”

“In this case, we overestimated,” he said. “Our apology is to all First Nations.” (see H1N1 Swine Flu: Health Canada apologizes, says body bags were ‘routine restocking’, Globe and Mail September 18, 2009)

Source CBC

THE UNITED KINGDOM

Mass Graves. Increased Mortuary Capacity

Àccording to an Official Home Office Report, see below. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Fear, Intimidation & Media Disinformation: U.K Government is Planning Mass Graves in Case of H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic, Global Research, August 2009)

The mass graves, according to the report, “are being planned to deal with the rising death toll from swine flu if the pandemic escalates”:

“The grim revelation will see the mass burial sites dug in advance to cope with any potential crisis.

The Government is planning to create a series of communal graves to cope with the second outbreak expected in the autumn and through the winter.

A Home Office document published earlier this year sets out plans for how local councils should deal with a high death toll – estimates of the number of deaths range from 55,000 to as high as 750,000 from the H1N1 killer virus – including setting up temporary mortuaries.

So far, 44 people in England have been confirmed as dying after contracting swine flu and another five have died in Scotland. The document says that while most cemeteries have sufficient burial capacity for a number of years, this could be put to the test at the peak of a pandemic. (Daily Express, August 19, 2009)

Concepts:

increasing mortuary capacity,

chilled storage area,

body hoists, deposit/exit the deceased, etc (see above)

UNITED STATES
US Homeland Security. Quarantine Orders

The following Report was released at the very outset of the crisis in Mexico by CBS News regarding the implementation of nationwide quarantines.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has sent a memo to some health care providers noting procedures to be followed if theswine flu outbreak eventually makes quarantines necessary.

DHS Assistant Secretary Bridger McGaw circulated the swine flu memo, which was obtained by CBSNews.com, on Monday night. It says: “The Department of Justice has established legal federal authorities pertaining to the implementation of a quarantine and enforcement. Under approval from HHS, the Surgeon General has the authority to issue quarantines.”

McGaw appears to have been referring to the section of federal law that allows the Surgeon General to detain and quarantine Americans “reasonably believed to be infected” with a communicable disease. A Centers for Disease Control official said on Tuesdaythat swine flu deaths in the U.S. are likely.

Federal quarantine authority is limited to diseases listed in presidential executive orders; President Bush added “novel” forms of influenza with the potential to create pandemics in Executive Order 13375. Anyone violating a quarantine order can be punished by a$250,000 fine and a one-year prison term.

A Homeland Security spokesman on Tuesday did not have an immediate response to followup questions about the memo, which said “DHS is consulting closely with the CDC to determine appropriate public health measures.”

The memo from McGaw, who is DHS’ acting assistant secretary for the private sector, also said: “U.S. Customs and Coast Guard Officers assist in the enforcement of quarantine orders. Other DOJ law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Marshals, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives may also enforce quarantines. Military personnel are not authorized to engage in enforcement.” (See Department of Homeland Security Guidelines For Possible Swine Flu Quarantines, CBS, April 28, 2009)

IOWA

The FACILITY QUARANTINE ORDER document posted on the website of the CDC, a federal government agency, envisages quite explicitly “forced confinement” in the case of the H1N1 swine flu:

“The Department has determined that it is necessary to quarantine your movement to a specific facility to prevent further spread of this disease. The Department has determined that quarantine in your home and other less restrictive alternatives are not acceptable because [insert the reason home quarantine is not acceptable, the person violated a previously issued home quarantine order, the person does not have an appropriate home setting conducive to home quarantine, etc.] The Department is therefore ordering you to comply with the following provisions during the entire period of quarantine:

1. Terms of confinement. You are ordered to remain at the quarantine facility, _____________________ [insert name and address of facility], from ___________ to ____________ [insert dates of quarantine].

….

4. Legal authority. This order is issued pursuant to the legal authority contained at Iowa Code chapters 135, 139A and 641 Iowa Administrative Code chapter 1, a copy of which is labeled Attachment B and is attached to this order for your review. The Department shall comply with the principles for quarantine contained in subrule 1.9(3) of this attachment when issuing and implementing this order.

5. Ensuring compliance. In order to ensure that you strictly comply with this Quarantine Order the Department or persons authorized by the Department may regularly inspect the quarantine facility.

6. Violations of order. If you fail to comply with this Quarantine Order you may be ordered to be quarantined in a more restrictive facility. In addition, failure to comply with this order is a simple misdemeanor for which you may be arrested, fined, and imprisoned.” Michel Chossudovsky, H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Iowa Contemplates “Forced Confinement” in a “Quarantine Facility”, Global Research, August 2009)

This is an official document of the Iowa State government, which has also been endorsed by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). If it were a preliminary or internal draft, it would not have been published by the CDC. The question is whether similar quarantine procedures are being replicated in other states across America.

MASSACHUSETTS

“A new law just passed in Massachusetts imposes fines of up to $1000 per day and up to a 30 day jail sentence for not obeying authorities during a public health emergency. So if you are instructed to take the swine flu vaccine in Massachusetts and you refuse, you could be facing fines that will bankrupt you and a prison sentence on top of that.” (See VIDEO; Compulsory Vaccination in America?)

The legislation for forced vaccination in Massachusetts  (Mass. Senate Bill)

http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/senate/186/st02pdf/st02028.pdf

or

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17532372/Massachusetts-S18-Swine-Flu-Home-Entry

The announcement of the Mass Public Health Council

http://www.scribd.com/doc/18523710/MA-Public-Health-Council-Swine-Flu-Emergency-Dec

VIDEO featuring Bob Dwyer, discusses the legislation approved by the Mass. Senate

THE MILITARIZATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH

According to CNN, the Pentagon is “to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.”

“The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military.

It has yet to be determined how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces.

Civilian authorities would lead any relief efforts in the event of a major outbreak, the official said. The military, as they would for a natural disaster or other significant emergency situation, could provide support and fulfill any tasks that civilian authorities could not, such as air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from infected patients.

As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called “execution order” that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan.

Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later, depending on how much of a health threat the flu poses this fall, the officials said.” (CNN, Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak, July 2009, emphasis added)

The implications are far-reaching. The decision points towards the militarization of civilian institutions, including law enforcement and public health. (See Michel Chossudovsky, H1N1 Pandemic: Pentagon Planning Deployment of Troops in Support of Nationwide Vaccination, Global Research, July 31, 2009)

Military and Civilian Planning; International Swine Flu Conference in Washington

There is evidence of international coordination, The military and Intelligence agencies are involed in planning  (click the program below to enlarge)

Excerpts from the Program, click to enlarge:

Topics include (quoted in the program)

Mass Fatality Management Planning

When 50% or more of employees are out sick or taking care
of their sick ones

When H1N1 fl u pandemic unfold in two or three successive
waves in a calendar year

Disruptions to public, private and critical infrastructure undermining
your essentials functions

Direct fatality management tactical operations

Activate fatality management operations

Conduct morgue operations

Manage ante-mortem data

Conduct final disposition

Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Continuity
of Government Planning

Public’s distress of exposure and safety

Breakdown of public services, utilities

Medical supplies shortage

Effectively undertake mass vaccinations

Enforce quarantines

Protect public works first responders from falling ill or being hurt in civil disturbances

For detailed review of the H1N1 Flu Pandemic, see GlobalResearch.ca – Centre for Research on Globalization  h1N1 Flu Pandemic News Dossier (60 plus articles and reports)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15307

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Obama ‘asks New York governor not to run’

US President Obama has asked New York Governor DavidPaterson to withdraw from the state’s 2010 governor’s race for fear that the embattled fellow Democrat cannot regroup from a series of political setbacks, The New York Times reported today.

The Obama administration is worried Paterson’s unpopularity could also drag down Democratic members of Congress in New York and the Democratic-controlled state legislature in the November 2010 election, the Times said.

Citing an administration official, the Times reported that Obama’s request that Paterson step aside was put forward by the president’s political advisers, but approved by him.

The newspaper quoted another administration official as saying: “Is there concern about the situation in New York? Absolutely.” That official added that the concern has “been conveyed to the governor.”

A “New York Democratic operative with direct knowledge of the situation” also confirmed that the request had been put forth, the newspaper said, adding that the operative described Paterson as being “resistant” to the idea.

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity.

Paterson, who as lieutenant governor assumed leadership of the state last year after Governor Eliot Spitzer stepped down in a sex scandal, has seen his approval rating in polls plummet for months after a series of political setbacks.

The state Senate was gridlocked for nearly five weeks during June and July as Republicans and Democrats fought for control. The financial crisis has hit New York hard, and the state has struggled with budgetary woes.

Obama’s unusual request that Paterson not seek to remain in the office he assumed last year – an especially sensitive one given that he is the nation’s first black president and Paterson is one of only two black U.S. governors – was conveyed by U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks, who is close to the administration, the Times said.

Neither Paterson nor his office responded to requests for comment on Saturday, and Meeks could not be reached, the Times said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obama-asks-new-york-governor-not-to-run-1790568.html#

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Obama Plans Internet Grab: FCC to Embrace ‘Net Neutrality’

Since the Internet took root as a mass communications phenomenon in the mid 1990s, a quiet war has raged in Washington over the extent to which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would regulate the new medium.

Until, now the Internet has been largely self-regulated, and the FCC has taken a hands-off approach.

But that could change dramatically soon if the Obama administration has its way.

During the weekend, press reports revealed a stunning development: The Obama administration will announce Monday that the FCC would propose new rules to embrace what it calls “Net Neutrality.”

Obama’s new Federal Communications Commission chairman, Julius Genachowski, will use a speech to the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank, to announce the FCC proposals, according to those reports.

On the face of it, Net Neutrality appears to be a popular and fair proposal.

Genachowski will “propose new rules that would prohibit Internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks,” according to the Associated Press.

The FCC rules “would bar Internet service providers such as Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. or AT&T Inc., from slowing or blocking certain services or content flowing through their vast networks,” according to the AP.

But critics contend that the proposals are nothing more than a backdoor way for the FCC to tighten federal control over the Internet by beginning with the regulation of Internet service providers.

The battle lines over Net Neutrality have formed along partisan and ideological lines, with some exceptions.

During the presidential campaign, Obama said he would embrace Net Neutrality — a cause championed by Google and other Silicon Valley companies that don’t want large Internet service providers denying or controlling their access to Internet users.

But Republicans have largely opposed Net Neutrality, suggesting self regulation has worked well.

The previous FCC chairman, Bush appointee Kevin Martin opposed Net Neutrality. He suggested it was not needed.

Conservatives see Net Neutrality as a power grab that will benefit big Internet players such as Amazon and Google while stifling smaller competitors.

The libertarian CATO Institute, in a 2004 policy analysis concluded: “The regulatory regime envisioned by Net Neutrality mandates would also open the door to a great deal of potential ‘gaming’ of the regulatory system and allow firms to use the regulatory system to hobble competitors. Worse yet, it would encourage more FCC regulation of the Internet and broadband markets in general.”

Democrats in Congress have pushed for such controls in the past without success. In 2006 House Democrats offered an amendment to make Net Neutrality law, but the motion failed.

At the time Republicans warned of efforts to control the Internet.

“I want a vibrant Internet just like they do,” Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, said during the 2006 House debate over the issue. “Our disagreement is about how to achieve that. They say let the government dictate it . . . I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet.”

http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/obama_internet_fcc/2009/09/20/262385.html

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