Volume 64, No. 11 November 2008
A TRILLION-DOLLAR "RESCUE"?
Holding the threat of a world financial meltdown over
Congress, President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson rammed
through an unprecedented and unconstitutional financial takeover
in record time: no hearings, no committee mark-ups, no open
debates. Republicans did not use the tool that destroyed the
Democrats' energy proposal: insisting that the 500-page bill be
read into the Senate record in its entirety.
What's Really in the Bill
The root of the problem is supposed to be subprime
mortgages, many a direct result of the 1977 Community
Reinvestment Act (CRA). Caught in a Catch 22, banks could either
make risky loans, or face financial penalties or "protests" by
"community groups" that blocked mergers or branch creation, wrote
Thomas DiLorenzo (LewRockwell.com 9/6/07).
The "troubled assets" that the Treasury could purchase,
however, are not restricted to mortgages, or to American
institutions. In addition to the $700 billion authorized for
assets that could potentially be sold later say if the housing
market recovers is $150 billion in outright subsidies or tax
To help capture the needed revenue, the IRS gets permanent
authority to conduct undercover operations and to divulge
personal tax returns to agencies involved in investigating
"terrorism." Meanwhile, the Treasury will have to get the money
by borrowing it; the bill increases the government's debt limit
from $10.6 to $11.3 trillion.
The most dangerous stealth provisions lay the foundation for
a carbon tax, or "cap and trade" ("tax and charade") regime like
the one that is killing European economies. Section 117 calls for
a "carbon audit of the tax code." On Oct 2, House Democrats
released an aggressive set of principles even more restrictive
than those in the failed $6.7 trillion Lieberman-Warner Climate
Security Act. The bailout shovels subsidies into noneconomic
"alternative energy," while loading CO2 sequestration
requirements onto coal users.
Who Are Our Saviors?
Not coincidentally, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is
former CEO of Goldman Sachs and an environmentalist true
believer. Others from Goldman Sachs control large parts of the
federal government and are involved in Generation Investment
Management (GIM), a "green" company co-founded by Al Gore. The
Goldman Sachs venture with the biggest money-making potential
is carbon trading.
According to economist John Kenneth Galbraith, Goldman
Sachs, with its "large-scale corporate thimblerigging" in the
1920s, set the stage for the Great Depression. See Fred Lucas,
"In Goldman Sachs We Trust: How the Left's Favorite Bank
Influences Public Policy," Foundation Watch, October
Others who will be involved in re-writing the rules of the
U.S. financial system include Rep. Barney Franks (D-MA), Chairman
of the House Financial Services Committee. At September 2003
hearings, he called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ("Frannie")
"fundamentally sound financially." Instead of a focus on safety,
he said, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more...towards
subsidized housing" (Wall St J 10/2/08).
The recent $200-billion nationalization of Frannie did not
solve the credit crunch, but did help the owners of its
$5.3 trillion in bonds largely governments with big trade
surpluses with the U.S., such as China and oil producers.
"As the world's biggest debtor, the U.S. can ill afford...a
reputation for stiffing its creditors" (Time 9/11/08).
Implications for Medicine
In the vice presidential debate, Sen. Biden said that the
credit crunch wouldn't affect Barack Obama's idea of providing
affordable healthcare to all Americans, but might slow his
commitment to doubling foreign assistance. Gov. Palin noted that
she hadn't made many promises, other than to put the government
back on the side of the American people.
To skirt the constitutional requirement that bills that
raise revenue must arise in the House, the bailout was wrapped in
the House mental health "parity" bill a mandate that will
increase premiums and the number of uninsured.
Will It Work?
Governments both in the U.S. and abroad have been pumping
liquidity into the financial system for months; the latest rescue
brings the U.S. total to $1.8 trillion. The Federal Reserve,
suggests Richard Maybury, may be trying to "thread the needle,"
treading a narrow path of stagflation between runaway inflation
or deflation and depression, while shaking out malinvestment the
slow way. It's a tightrope act a misstep is likely, triggering a
political crisis that will lead either to total fascism or a
return to the Constitution, he said (EWR 10/08).
The debt pyramid is collapsing, and "it is the money that is
broken," writes Judy Shelton. Money is the standard that defines
the very substance of all economic contracts. "Fiat money does
not represent a store of genuine value but rather an airy
government claim to future wealth not yet created."
After this debacle, "no one can believe in the omniscience
of central bankers any more" (Wall St J 9/30/08).
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Federal Reserve chair-man Ben
Bernanke both referred to credit that is, debt as the "lifeblood"
of the economy. Apparently, politicians think that "rescue" means
getting Americans to resume overborrowing and overspending. Shut
down the bone marrow, ignore the hemorrhage, and keep
transfusing as long as we have donors.
The mental health shell is ironically fitting.
A Financial PATRIOT Act
AAPS life member Ron Paul, M.D. (R-TX) comments on the
financial "rescue" at www.ronpaul.com:
"It took quite a bit of trampling of the Constitution, but
the bailout bill passed, as I suspected it would.... The rallying
cry...was that Congress must act. Our economy is facing a
meltdown. Would this bill fix it? Nobody could really explain how
"Sometimes doing nothing is better than thrashing about
aimlessly. When one is caught in quicksand, for example, or when
one doesn't understand economics and finds oneself in the
position Congress was in...with decades of irresponsible monetary
policy coming to a head. Why should we trust the same people who
said just a few months ago that the economy was perfectly
sound?... Why not consult the people who had the foresight and
understanding to see this coming? They would have recommended
such logical action as repealing the Community Reinvestment Act,
which forces banks to make bad loans, or allowing the market to
set interest rates instead of the Federal Reserve system. How
about abolishing the Federal Reserve altogether?"
Ideas Have Health Consequences
The real lifeblood of the economy is energy. A major part of
the financial hemorrhage of the U.S. economy is the some $600
billion required to import 30% of our energy supply.
Even without the mandatory carbon restraints envisioned by
architects of the "rescue," the U.S. faces possible brownouts or
blackouts as early as the summer of 2009, according to a study by
NextGen Energy Council (www.nextgenenergy.org).
U.S. baseload reserve generating capacity has declined
precipitously from 30%-40% in the 1990s to 17% in 2007. Just to
maintain a marginal 15% reserve will require 120 gigawatts of new
capacity by 2016.
Power failures not only cost tens of billions of dollars but
also can cost lives.
In the past year, Al Gore and his retainers have caused
cancellation of plans for 60 new coal-fired facilities. The
"rescue" continues to subsidize wind and solar, which could not
compete without taxpayer help. Because of unreliability, wind
cannot replace a single watt of fixed capacity. It would take
100-200 years for a solar panel to generate the amount of energy
it costs to manufacture and install it; it lasts about 30 years
The consequences of carbon restriction are already becoming
apparent in the UK: "People will have to be rationed to four
modest portions of meat and one litre of milk a week," states a
report by the Food Climate Research Network (Guardian
9/30/08). The UK government has plans for 15 "eco towns" that
would potentially house 100,000 people and reduce their
ecological footprint by two-thirds. Constant monitoring in each
dwelling would "help with behaviour change." Residents would have
to pay a œ2 fine each time they left. Some meal choices would be
available but no choice about waste disposal mechanisms; i.e. no
"The dry fecal mater is captured by a built-in teflon-coated
bowl with a turning mechanism and is flushed' into wheeled bins
in the buildings' basements. Flushing' uses sawdust, dispensed
from the back of the toilet, instead of water."
This was a "shock vote winner" for Conservatives, who
promised to scrap the plans (Register 7/3/08).
AAPS Resolutions, Election
Resolutions passed at the 65th annual meeting:
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT: the Association of American
Physicians and Surgeons oppose the imposition of additional
licensure or relicensure requirements that are not shown, in
valid scientific studies, to produce gains in quality of care
outweighing costs and diminished availability.
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT: the Association of American
Physicians and Surgeons promote legislation requiring that
licensure boards assure that one or more competent expert
witnesses are willing to support by sworn testimony any
allegations requiring expert witness support (i.e. obtain the
equivalent of a certificate of merit) before the licensure board
investigates a complaint against one of its licensees and before
any disciplinary action is taken.
The Assembly also reaffirmed Resolution 2003-1 opposing a
single-payer medical system.
Mark J. Kellen, M.D., of Rockford, IL, assumed the office of
President. Hilton P. Terrell, M.D., Ph.D., of Florence, SC, was
elected President-Elect. Other officers: Tamzin A. Rosenwasser,
M.D., of Lafayette, IN, is Immediate Past President; Charles A.
McDowell, Jr., M.D., of Johns Creek, GA, is Secretary; R. Lowell
Campbell, M.D., of Corsicana, TX, is Treasurer. Elected to the
Board of Directors are: Curtis Caine, M.D., of Brandon, MS;
Kenneth D. Christman, M.D., of Dayton, OH; James F. Coy, M.D., of
Punta Gorda, FL; and Lee D. Hieb, M.D., of Yuma, AZ.
AAPS News of the Day
For more information on the rescue/bailout bill, with
numerous links, including the text of the final bill and the
votes, go to www.aapsonline.org. If you are not receiving the news, along with information
and action alerts, send your email address to
[email protected]. You can now submit comments on the
news. Occasionally, messages get caught in spam filters, so you
might want to check the site periodically; let us know if you
If you are not opted out of Medicare, note: CMS has
changed Medicare Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN)
requirements. Learn more and download the new form;
click on the red "Information Alert" tab.
Also available under the red "Issues and Analysis" tab: "Diagnosing the Obama and McCain Health Care
Feb 6-7, 2009. Workshop, board meeting, Dallas, TX.
Sep 30-Oct 3, 2009. 66th annual meeting, Nashville,
"Fannie Mae...has been under increasing pressure from
the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and
moderate income people.... [T]he government-subsidized
corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn,
prompting a government rescue...." (NY Times
Your Office or Home May Need EPA Permit
No need to wait for Congress to impose carbon restrictions:
a 5-to-4 vote of the U.S. Supreme Court has taken care of it in
Massachusetts v. EPA. Even though the author of the
Clean Air Act (CAA), Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), has stated that
the Act should not be used to regulate greenhouse gases, the
Court has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
treat CO2 as a pollutant, or explain why not.
Career bureaucrats are eager to tackle the task, but in the
introduction to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR),
EPA director Stephen Johnson and the heads of eight other
departments explain the disastrous effects.
Far more draconian than the Lieberman-Warner bill rejected
by the Senate, the rules are "a radical plan for restructuring
the entire U.S. economy," writes Phil Kerpen of Americans for
Homes of more than 5,000 sq ft, if heated with natural gas,
and the majority of small commercial buildings would require an
EPA CO2 emissions permit.
A Greater Depression could result from enforcing the
rules or might be required to achieve their CO2 goal.
For more information, and directions on how to file comments
(due in early November), see
Civil Defense Perspectives, July 2008).
AAPS Files Motion to Compel in TMB Case
Stating that the Texas Medical Board is withholding
documents essential to the case, AAPS has asked the U.S. District
Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, to
The primary claim made by AAPS is the TMB's abuse of power.
Specifically, the AAPS Complaint alleges that the president of
the TMB, Roberta Kalafut, D.O., arranged for her husband to file
anonymous complaints against her competitors. The proof is almost
exclusively in the complaints filed against particular
physicians which the TMB is withholding, claiming a state law
Although fewer than 10% of Texas physicians are the subject
of a complaint each year, a far higher percentage of Dr.
Kalafut's competitors have complaints against them. In a letter
to State Senator Kyle Janek, Dr. Norman Dozier writes:
"I am the only doctor left in a 150 mile
radius that is involved in Pain Management in
any form or fashion that has not been
sanctioned by TMB..., but God knows she
[Kalafut] has been trying."
The motion is posted
NPI: A Small Victory
Edward Chastka, M.D., of Wyomissing, PA, writes: "In my 16
years of psychiatric practice, I have never been a provider for
any insurance company. This does not stop them from trying to
intrude themselves into my relationship with my patients.
Recently, Health America/Health Assurance rejected the claims
filed by one of my patients on the grounds that I did not have an
NPI number. On AAPS advice, I gave my patient a letter stating
that I am not a HIPAA-covered entity, and I am not required to
obtain an NPI. I included a copy of the appropriate section of
the federal legislation that acknowledges that Health care
providers that are not covered entities that do not wish to apply
for NPIs will necessitate the need for healthcare clearinghouses
to accommodate healthcare provider identifiers in addition to the
NPI.' The patient forwarded a copy of the letter and the
legislation to Health America/Health Assurance. The insurance
company has now reversed its decision and is paying her claims."
ISMA Resolution on Sham Peer Review
At the 2007 meeting of the Indiana State Medical
Association, Roger Jones, M.D., introduced a resolution
concerning sham peer review. It was referred to the Board of
Trustees, which formed a task force. A survey of members garnered
384 responses. Of the 14% who were subject/ reviewees, 74% felt
the process was fair, and 26% witnessed misuse or abuse. Of the
54% who participated as reviewers, 93% felt the process was fair,
and 12% witnessed misuse or abuse. While the task force did not
find a "current widespread problem or crisis," the issue was of
great interest and will receive continued attention (www.ismanet.org).
Tip of the Month: From a petition circulated at a South
Dakota hospital (20% of the medical staff needed to sign it, in
order to have policies approved by the medical executive
committee discussed and voted on by the staff): The policy on
"Medical Staff Members Access to Quality and Credential File"
needs to include language that prevents the maintenance of files
other than the official file contained in the medical staff
office file cabinet. Several physicians have had "secret files"
held outside the official file. The policy suggested by the
hospital was written or heavily influenced by the Horty-Springer
law firm, the largest U.S. law firm representing hospitals, and
needs to be reviewed by an attorney hired by the medical staff.
As Lawrence Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the AAPS
Committee to Combat Sham Peer Review, points out, "The first time
the physician learns of the secret file' is when the hospital
administration unleashes it in an aggressive peer review action."
Surgeon General Accused of Scientific Misconduct
Four groups have filed complaints with the Office of
Research Integrity, Health and Human Services, against former
Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D., regarding his report on
environmental tobacco smoke. The report, they state, ignored
credible studies showing economic harm from smoking bans to the
hospitality industry; inflated relative risks; omitted relevant
large long-term studies; and relied heavily on discredited
reports (Baltimore Business J 10/8/08).
Medical Identity Theft Widespread
For Isis Machado, a 22-year-old receptionist at Cleveland
Clinic in Weston, FL, patient identities were a gold mine. She
sold them for $5 to $10 each to her cousin, whom she met at a gas
station. Fernando Ferrer then used the identities to fraudulently
bill Medicare for services never provided.
Medical identity theft costs hundreds of millions of dollars
each year, and leaves victims with corrupted medical records that
may take years to remedy. With full digitization of medical
records, the crime could grow exponentially. Thieves frequently
bill for thousands or millions of dollars over several months
before anyone asks questions. Medical records now sell for $60
each on the black market (BNA's HCFR 9/10/08).
Medical Boards Demand Reports from Hospitals. According
to policy of at least one medical licensure board, any physician
who is accused is apparently "guilty enough" to be reported to
the board by the hospital even if he is not a member of that
hospital's staff. A doctor who "voluntarily" stops practicing
while the hospital is trying to sort things out is also "guilty
enough" to be reported. Why bother with a hearing?
Lawrence R. Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., Lake View, NY
Government v. Private Sector. Unlike politicians, who
might have to stand for re-election every two to six years,
corporate titans routinely come crashing down after a few
quarters of lousy performance. They are far more accountable than
politicians because customers get to vote on them every day.
Consider Carly Fiorina at Hewlett Packard, Robert Nardelli at
Home Depot, and Jim Donald at Starbucks. Fired one and all, and
no scandal except poor performance.
Linda Gorman, Ph.D., Independence Institute, Golden,
Rights in Canada. I am a Canadian who immigrated to the
U.S. This is what government medicine is like: The poorest part
of society between 2% and 5% is uninsured. The uninsured can be
and routinely are refused care. My sister, an R.N. in Canada, has
had to refuse admission to them. In Canada, you do not have the
right to medical care only the right not to pay. Getting care is
much more difficult, as I discovered with family members. One
reason for moving to the U.S. is the ability to receive care
here. A "right," by the way, cannot infringe on others' rights or
it becomes a privilege.
Ralph Weber, C.L.U., Paso Robles, CA
The End of Democracy? The fiscal crisis is black cloud
hang-ing over the country. Are we approaching that magic critical
mass that turns a democracy into a short-lived oppressive society
where the producers are killed off by the consumers?
Frank Timmins, Dallas, TX
Lies. Lying is now accepted and systematic.... There is
now nothing I would believe from any political candidate other
than the past record; one can't afford to listen to the words. On
Wall Street, in the schoolrooms, or in the workplace, as well as
in politics, truth is harder to come by, as lying and hedging
seems to be acceptable.... Yet a market depends on trust between
a willing buyer and seller.
Kirby V. Nielsen, Delaware, OH
Plagiarism. The Soviet Union had the Komsomol. Red
China had the Youth Corps. Under authoritarian rule, Taiwan had
the China Youth Corps. The Third Reich had the Hitler Jugend. On
Dec 5, 2007, Sen. Barack Obama proposed expanding AmeriCorps from
the current 75,000 to 250,000 positions; creating a new Classroom
Corps for mentoring young persons; and creating or greatly
expanding a number of other such groups. To make college tuition
affordable, we'll have a new American Opportunity Tax Credit of
$4,000; to receive it, 100 hours of "public service" are required
(that would be $40/hr). I can't decide which is worst: proposing
government fixes for government-caused problems; borrowing from
past dictators' playbooks; or the inability of the press to see
the danger of more government indoctrination of youth.
Craig Cantoni, Scottsdale, AZ
Marxist Health Care Reform. The reality is that people
who supported the Soviet Union and Marxist economics are still
around and still committed to the cause. They have identified
themselves as Marxists and written for Marxist journals. This is
very public and available on Google. It is unfashionable to point
this out, and I will be accused of red-baiting. But it is the
simple truth, and no one is confronting it.
Greg Scandlen, Heartland Institute
Red-Baiting? We must start calling a spade a spade and
confronting the communists/socialists on the real issues. If we
want to preserve the capitalist economy, we have to stop being
afraid of name-calling. These people want to change our country
to one that takes away individual liberty. How can we fight them
if we are afraid of the language?
Terri Buck, Burlington, IA
Whodunnit? A partial list of the entities responsible
for the current financial mess, from "Mish's Global Economic
Trend Analysis," sent to us by Craig Cantoni:
- Fractional reserve banking, an inherently unstable con game
- Congress, for creating the Federal Reserve
- Woodrow Wilson, for using Fed to finance World War I
- Herbert Hoover, for economic interventionism
- John Maynard Keynes, for foundation of public miseducation
- FDR, for banning gold ownership, founding Fannie Mae, etc.
- FDIC, for training people to trust unquestioningly
- LBJ, for 1960s guns and butter
- Richard Nixon, for severing all ties between dollar and gold
- Alan Greenspan, villain number one
- George W. Bush, for embrace of "deficits don't matter"
- Ratings agencies, for stamping garbage as AAA
- Heads of major banks and brokerages, for massive leveraging
- Lawmakers, for kicking looming crisis down the road
- Home buyers who lied about income and credit worthiness
- Predatory lenders who sold people unaffordable mortgages