Obama Makes “Environmental Justice” a Defense and Homeland Security Issue

Judicial Watch

Van Jones is gone, but Obama is still carrying out his agenda

Though it is unrelated to their mission, the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Housing are among the federal agencies that will focus on helping minorities get green under an Obama administration plan that aims to bring “environmental justice” to poor and underserved communities nationwide.

The effort was launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last fall and the agency has doled out millions of dollars in “environmental justice grants” to dozens of left-wing groups, including some dedicated to helping illegal immigrants. Earlier this year the administration dedicated an additional $7 million to study how pollution, stress and social factors affect “poor and underserved communities”…

As if it weren’t bad enough that millions of dollars have already gone to this initiative, the president is further wasting valuable taxpayer resources by forcing other federal agencies, most with unrelated duties, to participate. Besides the previously mentioned, the Department of Education, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Justice, Health and Labor have all been forced to develop “environmental justice strategies to protect the health of people living in communities overburdened by population.”

This week the agencies signed an official Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice outlining some of their new duties. Under the agreement the agencies will make environmental justice part of their mission and they will provide the public with annual progress reports on their efforts. In a written statement, the Obama Administration proclaims that it’s the latest effort to address the inequities that may be present in some communities.

Obama’s EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, has promised to bring minorities environmental justice since getting appointed, saying that all too often they live in the shadows of our society’s worst pollution and, as a result, face disproportionate health impacts and greater obstacles to economic growth.

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ObamaCare May Force You to Pay for Abortion Pill

Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the Obama administration approve new guidelines calling for the Obamacare health care system to require every health insurance plan to cover all FDA-approved birth control drugs.

The decision, which is expected to be adopted by the Health and Human Services Department has far-reaching effects because it would force insurance companies to include coverage of drugs like the Plan B pill that may cause an early abortion of a newly-conceived unborn child or the Ella drug, which causes abortions days after conception. Health insurance plans would likely pass on the increased coverage costs to consumers.

Americans United for Life staff counsel Anna Franzonello said today that the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendations on “preventive services for women” are “unsurprisingly supportive of abortion-inducing drugs because the IOM chose to invite abortion advocacy groupsto the table to make recommendations.” Franzonello, who testified before the IOM during hearings asking that the birth control and abortion-causing drugs not be included, says the Obama administration is responsible for the stacked hearings that led to the IOM recommendations.

If adopted, Franzonello says the recommendations would yield a horrendous result: “No American will be able to choose an insurance plan that does not include the abortion-inducing drug ella under the IOM plan released today.”

“No American will be able to choose an insurance plan that does not include the abortion-inducing drug ella under the IOM plan released today,” the pro-life AUL attorney explained. “Despite the fact that ella can kill a human embryo even after implantation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled the drug as emergency contraception. Thus, the IOM’s broad inclusion of the ‘full-range of FDA approved contraceptives,’ includes ella. This really was a one-two punch by the FDA and IOM to force all Americans to pay for the abortion-inducing drug.”

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ObamaCare Ruins Medicare Deliberately — But Why?

Dr. Milton Wolf, The Washington Times

“We don’t want to take away people’s health insurance,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius so graciously declared earlier this year. But then she quickly qualified that with these ominous words: “before they have some realistic other choices.”

Americans have overwhelmingly, consistently and wisely been opposed to a European-style, single-payer, government-run, socialized health care system. So how might the big- government types who are hell-bent on forcing their will upon us attempt to implement this oppressive system in America? Simple. By creating medical refugees desperate for any port in a storm. That storm is coming and, unlike global warming, it’s actually man-made.

America somehow managed to survive for 189 years without Medicare or Medicaid and, in fact, became the greatest nation in the history of humankind. Established in 1965 – a mere 46 years ago – too many politicians today lack the perspective to understand this health care altar at which they worship. Instead of reforming the system to align it with American values, they abuse it as an eternal source of giveaways to buy votes. As for the politicians of the 1960s, except for the mop tops and go-go boots, they were very much like the politicians of today: They made a lot of empty promises.

President Lyndon B. Johnson promised that Medicare would cost about $500 million a year – yes, million. He even said that if costs went higher, then he was going to look like the “worst kind of damn fool.” Just a year later, in 1966, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated thatMedicare would cost about $12 billion a year by 1990. The actual 1990 cost was $107 billion – off by an order of magnitude but close enough for government work. And that’s when costs really took off. By 2008, annual costs hit $599 billion and the program for the first time went into deficit-spending mode.

For all the Democrats’ dishonesty and reckless spending, Republicans weren’t exactly blameless either. In 2003, President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress doubled down and ushered in the largest expansion in Medicare history with their senior citizen prescription drug entitlement program. They claimed the price tag would be $400 billion for the first decade but quietly adjusted that estimate upward to $534 billion just one month after passage.

Parenthetically, just three years later, in 2006, the free market roared as a private company in Bentonville, Ark. – without a single dime of taxpayer money or the compulsion from know-it-all government bureaucrats – lowered prices of the top 331 prescription medications to just $4 per month (and later to $10 per three months), not just for seniors but for all Americans. And equally importantly, Wal-Mart did not send the bill to our children.

Today we know that LBJ and a lot of other politicians indeed are the worst kind of damn fools.

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Get Ready for ObamaCare Rationing

John Goodman, FloydReports.com

There were two recent announcements that I hope you paid attention to:

  • The American Medical Group Association, representing medical groups that provide care for roughly 1 in 3 Americans, said that 90% of its members would not participate in the new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model the Obama administration wants to impose on Medicare providers.
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, exercising new powers conferred upon her by health reform (ObamaCare), said insurers would have to justify any rate increases greater than 10%.

So what does one announcement have to do with the other? A lot. I’ll connect the dots below.

Here’s the bottom line. The administration uses the rhetoric of choice and competition and some isolated souls within it may actually think competitive pressures can reduce health care costs. But if that doesn’t work out, it’s goodbye to volunteerism and hello to another way of constraining costs: global budgets and rationing.

The core of Obama administration health reform is managed competition, instituted through a health insurance exchange. In embracing this reform, the administration is following the lead of Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and before that Hillary Clinton’s failed attempt in 1993/94. But the idea really harks back to a book written by Stanford professor Alain Enthoven in the early 1980s. Enthoven argued that the entire health care system should be patterned after the Federal Employees Health Benefits system. (See a brief history and analysis.)

Here’s the difference. Enthoven believed (and still does believe) that competition in health insurance can actually work. Mitt Romney believed that as well. Maybe Hillary Clinton did too. But almost no one in the Obama administration believes that. When is the last time you heard any federal official praising the virtues of a competitive market for any good or service?

For Obama, the purpose of the health insurance exchange is not to bring needed competition to an imperfectly competitive market. The purpose is to exert control over the industry. If you believe in competition, then you want lots of competitors. But the administration is imposing rules and regulations that are driving insurers from the market, as we have previously reported here, here and here. In fact, some careful observers believe that by the time the exchanges become operational (in 2014) there will be only one or two insurers left in most markets….

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Sex Change You Can Believe In! Obama Enacts Transgender Policies by Executive Fiat

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

HUD's new ad campaign promoting transgender rights.

Call it sex-change you can believe in. This author reported Tuesday that Barack Obama had held the first-ever White House transgender conference last Friday. The People’s House conducted this proud meeting in such complete secrecy that we know the identity of only one attendee, Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), a group lobbying for “a comprehensive civil rights bill that protects people from discrimination based on gender identity.” The measure, which would forbid private individuals from refusing to do business with or rent a home to a cross-dresser, is but one of many extremist policies that earned NCTE a meeting with White House brass. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission is now planning to “hold its first-ever hearing to specifically address the civil rights of LGBT people.” Despite these “firsts,” the Obama administration has already advanced transgender interest groups through a series of executive fiats. If you don’t believe me, believe The Huffington Post. It remarked that a recent housing proposal “marks the latest in a string of Obama administration attempts to enhance gay rights through federal regulation.” Some of the administration’s actions literally redefine the government’s definition of the family, stifle any opposition to gender confusion, and encourage schoolchildren to think of transgender practices as normal and mainstream (or else).

The First Transgender Appointee?

Last January, Obama named Amanda Simpson the Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department. Simpson, who served as a test pilot and longtime employee of Raytheon before becoming a “woman,” sits on NCTE’s board of directors. The move was thought to be the first-ever transgender presidential appointment.

During his budget showdown with John Boehner, Obama (and Boehner) managed to see that LGBT programs escaped deep budget cuts. Aside from these two matters, Obama has chosen to act through federal regulation, having government agencies write new rules without sullying his own hands. His administration has proven indefatigable in pursuing transgender concerns.

Thoughtcrime, Obama-Style

Last Thursday, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (an Open Borders advocate) issued the department’s new harassment policy, which applies not only to the department but to all its “contractors at every level.” It bans….

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