Obama’s red lines

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Government Spending, Law, Liberty, People, Philosophy, Politics, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama’s red lines

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

President Obama has a credibility problem concerning red lines.

On Aug. 20, 2012, in a press conference from the White House, Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.” A YouTube video titled “US President Barack Obama in ‘red line’ warning to Syria over chemical weapons” captured Obama’s statement.

On Sept. 4, in a press conference in Stockholm, Obama said, “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’ credibility’s on the line.” A YouTube video titled “President Obama: I Didn’t Set The Red Line, The World Set The Red Line” captured Obama’s latest statement regarding a red line.

On Aug. 31, Obama announced that he would be seeking from Congress a resolution authorizing military action against the Assad regime for using chemical weapons on the Syrian people.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) appeared on “Face The Nation” on Sept. 1 and was asked, “How would the United States look if the president says I have decided to take military action,  I want Congress to give me authority, Congress does not give that authority?”

Paul answered, “I think it would show that he made a grave mistake when he drew a red line. I think a president should be very careful about red lines he is not going to keep.   But, then again, when you set a red line that was not a good idea and now you are going to adhere to it or show your machismo, I think then you are trying to save face and adding bad policy to bad policy.”

On Sept. 3 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Syria. Paul praised Obama for asking Congress for a resolution to use military force. However, he pressed Secretary of State John Kerry as to whether Obama would still order military action should Congress vote down the resolution.

Kerry said, “The president still has the constitutional authority, and he would be in keeping with the Constitution.”

Paul replied, “I disagree. I do not believe he has the constitutional authority.”

“This power is a congressional power, and it is not an executive power. They didn’t say big war or small war. They didn’t say boots on the ground or no boots on the ground. They said declare war. Ask the people on the ships launching the missiles whether they are involved with war or not. If we do not say that the Constitution applies, if we do not say explicitly we will abide by this vote, you are making a joke of us. You are making us into theater. So we are playing constitutional theater for the president. If this is real, you will abide by the verdict of Congress,” Paul added.  A YouTube video titled “Rand Paul Grills John Kerry: Will Obama Honor Congress’ Vote or Make ‘Constitutional Theater” captured the exchange between  Paul and Kerry.

Paul paraphrased the words of James Madison, the father of the Constitution, who wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1798, “The Constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it.  It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the legislature.”

Paul agrees with Madison who wrote in 1793, “The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature . . . the executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”

Obama would be well advised not to cross this constitutional red line, since in poll after poll the American people have indicated they do not want military action in Syria.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Obama’s war on Texas woman, children and religious freedom

Posted on March 21, 2012. Filed under: Columns, Economics, Government Spending, Health Care, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Barack Obama addressing Planned Parenthood.

Credit: http://www.mahalo.com/planned-parenthood/

President Barack Obama’s popularity with women is falling in the polls as gas prices rise and unemployment remains high. Unless this is reversed quickly, Obama is going to lose in November.

For weeks now, Obama, the Democratic Party and their supporters in the media peddled the propaganda of a Republican Party war on women. This distraction is simply not working.

Why? Propaganda works when people trust or believe you. Many Americans simply do not trust or believe Obama, anymore. Case in point is the Texas Woman Health Program (WHP).

The Obama administration announced on March 15 that it will be terminating federal Medicaid funding of WHP. An estimated 130,000 of the state’s poorest low-income women who are between 18 and 44 and who do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid are covered by the program. Established in 2006, this research and demonstration program provides family planning services, physical exams, gynecological exams, breast and cervical cancer screening, diabetes testing, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screenings and contraceptive services. Texas is the first state to have the federal funding cancelled for this type of demonstration program.

Many Texans think if there is a war on women, Obama started the war.

Texas law prohibits public funding of health care provider clinics with affiliates that offer abortions. According to the Texas Health and Human Service Commission (THHSC) website:

“Section 32.0248, Human Resources Code, prohibits payment of WHP funds to a provider that performs elective abortions. A provider that performs elective abortions (through either surgical or medical methods) for any patient is ineligible to serve WHP clients and cannot be reimbursed for those services. This prohibition has been in effect since Sept. 1, 2005. The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) may recoup WHP funds that it determines were paid to providers that have performed elective abortions.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued Opinion No. GA-0844 letter dated Feb. 17, 2011 on the Constitutionality of subsection 32.0248(h), Human Resources Code, which prohibits the THHSC from contracting under the WHP with entities that perform or promote elective abortions or with affiliates of such entities. The opinion summary stated:

“Human Resources Code section 32.0248(h), which applies to women’s health care demonstration project services, provides that the Health and Human Services Commission may not contract with entities that are affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions. This provision is not preempted by federal law.”

The opinion letter points out that Medicaid was established under Title XIX of the Social Security Act and under Title 42, section 1396a(p) of the United States Code:

“(1) In addition to any other authority, a State may exclude any individual or entity for purposes of participating under the State plan under this subchapter for any reason for which the Secretary could exclude the individual or entity from participation in a program under subchapter XVIII of this chapter under section 1320a-7, 1320a-7a, or 1395cc (b) (2) of this title.”

Without these restrictions on abortions, the WHP would not exist because the Texas Legislature would have not have created and funded the program.

There are more than 2,500 qualified providers that offer health care but do not promote or provide elective abortions, according to the THHSC. Planned Parenthood is a qualified provider with 44 clinics in Texas, making it the largest abortion chain in Texas. Federal regulation mandates that patients can pick any qualified provider participating in Medicaid. Texas requested a waiver from the regulation for the first time in 2011.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided to decline Texas’ waiver request solely because Texas law prohibits taxpayer dollars from being allocated to entities that perform or promote elective abortions. On March 16, the Texas attorney general, Gregg Abbot, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, challenging Sebelius’ decision. The lawsuit alleges that:

“The Secretary’s action violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and “not in accordance with law.” See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). It also violates the Constitution of the United States by seeking to commandeer and coerce the States’ lawmaking processes into awarding taxpayer subsidies to elective abortion providers.”

The program is funded 10 percent by the state and 90 percent by the federal government. Administrative costs are split 50 percent by the state and 50 percent by the federal government. For 2012 Texas provided $3.3 million and the federal government $29.8 million for the WHP.

This funding will be phased out over the next three months, according to Cindy Mann, Director for Medicaid and State Operations, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This federal division is responsible for overseeing and administering the Medicaid law for HHS. She said, “We don’t have a choice. Medicaid law is clear: Patients, not the state, are able to choose the doctors and health care providers that can best serve them.”  Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed that Texas will find state funding to replace the $30 million from the federal government.

Planned Parenthood has endorsed and supports Obama for president. In an election year, the funding of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics apparently takes priority over the health care needs of Texas woman. For additional background information about Planned Parenthood see the sidebar story.

On Jan. 20 HHS mandated that nonprofit religious employers that provide a health care plan for their employees must provide free contraceptives, sterilization procedures and abortifacients (abortion-inducing drugs) without the insured paying a co-pay, co-insurance or deductible.

 

Most group insurance employer-based plans do cover so-called “reproductive services,” namely contraceptives, sterilization procedures, abortifacients and abortions. However, employers in the past were allowed to select a health insurance plan that excluded these reproductive services.

The Obama administration is now forcing all employers including nonprofit religious employers to provide these services even if it is against the religious beliefs and convictions of employers and their employees. This includes both group insurance employer-based plans as well as employer self-funded plans where the employer funds or pays for all claims and a third party such as an insurance company is administering the plan.

The issue is not whether “reproductive services” are included in health insurance plans, but religious freedom. Obama’s war on women, children and religious freedom is a direct assault on the American people, their religious beliefs and the U.S. Constitution.

The American dream cannot long survive if we abandon our poor, murder our children and lose our faith. Obama and his progressive supporters need to be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who said “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.”

[Raymond Thomas Pronk is host of the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 3-5 p.m. Wednesdays and author of the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com]

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