American Elephants

Do Old People Have a Duty to Die and Get Out of the Way? by The Elephant's Child

Doug Ross@ Journal has a very funny piece that makes a good companion to my post below “A Warning Voice From Across the Water.” The Democrat view, and its results in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now being argued before the Supreme Court, is a serious problem that nobody really wants to talk about.

It has been  a frequent subject in the British press, as the elderly in British hospitals are abused and mistreated in the name of saving money.  What do you do with those annoying old, sick people who need expensive medicine? Does society have a duty to make their lives pleasant and comfortable? Or should we force them to kick the bucket? Elderly family members used to live with their children, who cared for them. Now, with both members of a family often working; with families spread out across the country, situations are different.

Back in 1984, a Governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm, spoke on the “duty” of elderly people who are ill to “die and get out of the way.” People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to “leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up. Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.” Nice.

In the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s new heart transplant, and aside from the leftist boors who hoped he’d die in the operation, voices were again raised to say that because he is 71, he should not have had access to a transplant. Seventy-one is not as old as it once was, and Mr. Cheney waited far longer for an appropriate transplant than others do, partly because he was unwilling to take any advantage. His operation was a great success, and we wish him many more years of fly-fishing and commenting on national and international affairs. He is a great patriot and an important voice.

What is medicine for? Is it only to fix the broken arms of healthy young kids? Much of the medicine that serves the young (the under 55 group) is precautionary in nature and not all that necessary, if we are comparing needfulness. Most old people are perfectly capable of assessing the value of expensive operations  at their age, and in their condition with the help of their doctors — without interference or regulation from the federal government.

People who fear being old, sick and in pain have voted in “assisted suicide” in the state of Oregon. The old do not want to be a burden to their family, either for care or expense. Then, of course we had Dr. Kevorkian, and a few rather ugly movies, notably “Solyent Green.”

I think the federal government should have no involvement in health care. To the extent that they have been— they do a lousy job of it. Why anyone who is familiar with the Indian Health Service’s record, or Veterans’ health care would want ObamaCare is beyond imagining.

I think assisted suicide laws are passed, like light rail laws, by people who think it would be nice for other people, though they have no intention of using it themselves. I think that caring for the old, sick and frail is an important part of what medicine is all about.

Volunteer to commit suicide if you choose, but don’t be telling other people what they should do. And maybe Doug Ross’s “Codgers” humorous take will do more to make people think about a serious problem than all the scare stories.

Fiona’s Rescue by The Elephant's Child
March 28, 2012, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Politics | Tags: , ,

A sweet little feel-good story . Your mom will probably send you an e-mil with the link.

The Out-of-Control EPA Requires Some Adult Supervision. by The Elephant's Child

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

— Bad Days at the EPA. First the Supreme Court unanimously slapped down the EPA’s vast overreach in the case of the Sacketts who simply wanted to build their dream home on a normal residential lot in Priest Lake, Idaho when the EPA descended on them with orders and fines — $70 something thousand a day, and denied them any possibility of a hearing in court.  That was last Wednesday, March 21.

— March 23, the U.S.. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in the case of Mingo Logan Coal v. EPA. The court said the EPA’s interpretation of its authority to enforce the Clean Water Act was erroneous. The EPA tried to withdraw permission to use two streams as discharge sites.  The permission was granted three years earlier by the Army Corps of Engineers. Mingo Logan filed the lawsuit because the company believed the EPA did not have the authority to modify or revoke the permit.  They also thought the revocation was unlawful and the permit was still valid

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, wrote that “the EPA exceeded its authority.” She also said the EPA’s action was extraordinary.” This attempt to withdraw the specification of discharge sites after a permit has been issued is unprecedented in the history of the Clean Water Act.” Ouch.

— In Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on March 27, slapped down the Out-of-Control EPA, and not too kindly. There are restrictions on major sources of pollution, according to law. There are “minor sources”  noted in the law as well, fo which there are only minimal standards. This sort of pollution is left up to the states, except that they must comply with the minimal requirements of federal law. The EPA has 18 months to approve or disapprove the states plan. The EPA decided to disapprove a plan Texas submitted four and a half years ago. Then they created their own “regulations” for minor source pollution, deciding that they could pass their own laws, outside the normal Constitutional framework.

The Fifth Circuit did not look kindly upon this double contempt of actual written law. The EPA also created three extra-statutory standards out of whole cloth — in the context of a federalism regime that gives sweeping discretion to the states, and assigns only  to the EPA  the narrow task of ensuring that the state plan meets the minimum requirements of the law. An agency literally has no power to act…unless and until Congress confers power upon it.

— Undeterred,  the EPA proceeds. In the press release announcing their proposed MY 2017-25 fuel economy standards, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood boast that they are bypassing Congress. “Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for congressional Republicans to act.” Claims that the fuel economy standards which will rise to 54.5 mpg in 2015 will produce net benefits ranging from $363 billion to $358 billion suggest that considerable skepticism is in order.

A legislative proposal boosting average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon would not pass in the 112th Congress. They didn’t need to propose standards for MY 2017 until 2014. Obama is big on going around Congress. He doesn’t like disagreement, and is not interested in persuasion. Under Congress’s statutory scheme, one agency, the NHTSA regulates fuel efficiency through one set of standards, according to the Energy Policy Conservation Act. Yet today three agencies — the EPA, NHTSA and the California Ar Resources Board regulate fuel efficiency via three sets of standards, under three different standards. The EPA’s grasp for power contains all sorts of funny business, a protection racket, and Carol Browner’s order “never to put anything in writing.” The EPA really doesn’t have any such authority, but perhaps if the court can continue to slap them down, someone will restrain the power grab.

— Now the EPA has released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which will effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities. The rationale is extremely shaky, and claims about endangerment are preposterous.

You may have noticed that President Obama is bragging at every campaign venue about his “all of the above” energy strategy which does not meet the most minimal standards of veracity. Obama said early on that he intended to bankrupt the coal industry. The fact that coal plants produce almost half of our electricity seems to have missed their notice.  He wants us to depend on “clean energy” but the clean-energy industry isn’t producing any significant amount of energy. Obama seems to have forgotten that natural gas is a fossil fuel, so perhaps he expects that to take over.

Our economy depends on cheap, abundant power. High gas prices are increasing inflationary pressure, as everything is transported by plane, train or truck, all powered by gasoline. The increased costs — inflation is running at over 8.3% — are a real burden on an economy that is not noticeably recovering, and where unemployment is sky-high. This is Obama’s effort to go around Congress and establish the cap-and-trade that they would not pass.  But actions have consequences, and closed power plants mean more unemployment, higher prices, and potential brownouts and blackouts.

Congress needs to rein in this out-of-control agency, and with it the President’s attempt to rule without regard for the other two branches of government or the Constitution.

The ObamaCare Arguments: Day Two. by The Elephant's Child

The long article about Attorney Paul Clement, now arguing the case against ObamaCare before the Supreme Court opens gracefully:

A little before noon on March 23, 2010, President Obama sat at a desk in the East Room of the White House, where—surrounded by Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Ted Kennedy’s widow, among others—he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. It was, as Biden memorably told Obama, “a big fucking deal.” Seven minutes later, at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola, Florida, thirteen state attorneys general—all but one of them Republicans—filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Obama­care. It was, as one legal expert told the Pensacola News Journal in the next day’s paper, “a political lawsuit [likely to] be dismissed.” In fact, most papers on March 24 barely reported on the suit’s filing; the New York Times devoted just one sentence to it.

Two years later, that lawsuit—which now includes 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and two small-business owners as plaintiffs—sits before the Supreme Court.

Most of us are familiar with the Justices, but the attorneys who argue the case are unknown except to Washington insiders and Court watchers. The administration’s case is being argued by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who has been called one of the best lawyers in the country.

The case for the plaintiffs — 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business, and two small-business owners — is argued by Attorney Paul Clement, who was Solicitor General in the Bush administration. He is widely regarded as one of the finest lawyers of the last century.

The second day of argument was rough going for the government. General Verrilli had a difficult time defending the mandate. The Justices failed to elicit from Mr. Verrilli some limiting principle under the Commerce Clause that would distinguish a health plan mandate from any other purchase mandate that would easily be unconstitutional.

United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al.
v. The State of Florida, et al.

Attorney Paul Clement arguing for the State of Florida et al.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli arguing for HHS et al.

Wednesday is the final day of arguments. The arguments will be about severability— can the mandate be overturned and the law survive — in the morning, and in the afternoon the expansion of Medicaid onto the states.  Then we wait.  The decision will come down supposedly some time in June. And that will be a very big deal indeed.

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