Via Zandar, I see that paranoid Texas congressman Louie Gohmert has found a new existential threat to the very existence of a free America:
Rep. Gohmert: Libya Goal Is To "Deplete The Military" So Obama Can Call Up Private Army
[Wednesday] night on the House floor, ... Gohmert nonsensically suggested that Obama might be trying to "deplete the military" in Libya, so he can call up the Commission Corps established in the Affordable Care Act:
GOHMERT: ... But then when you find out we're being sent to Libya to use our treasure and American lives there, maybe there's intention to so deplete the military that we're going to need that presidential reserve officer commissioned corps and non-commissioned corps that the president can call up on a moment's notice involuntarily, according to the Obamacare bill.
Gohmert is repeating a claim that's being made in widely circulated e-mails: that the U.S. Public Health Service's "Ready Reserve Corps," which is expanded by the new health care law, is some sort of private army. As FactCheck.org notes, this (of course) isn't true:
The truth about the new Ready Reserve Corps is a lot less interesting than the conspiracy theories. Before the law was passed, the Public Health Service, unlike other elements of the government's seven uniformed services, didn't have a "ready reserve" -- a cadre of individuals who could be called up involuntarily in times of need. What it had was a regular, full-time corps of 2,800 doctors, nurses, scientists and other medical professionals, which was the limit under law. It also had a reserve corps. But most of the individuals in the reserve corps, which was larger than the regular corps, were on extended active duty for the duration of their careers; in other words, they worked full-time, just like the regular corps, because they were needed, but the statutory cap prevented the service from bringing them into the regular corps.
The new law eliminates the personnel cap and brings the members of what used to be the reserve corps into the regular corps, which as a result now numbers about 6,600, according to an official at the Public Health Service who spoke to us on background.
Even Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is willing to acknowledge that the Ready Reserve Corps was established more than sixty years ago, in 1944 (although it should be noted the president at the time was that non-Kenyan socialist FDR).
The Ready Reserve Corps is part of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps -- and, as USA Today noted a few years ago:
The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps dates its beginning to a 1798 act providing for the care of merchant seamen.
Remember that? No, I'm serious -- you might remember it. Rick Ungar of Forbes noted on his blog a couple of months ago that that act was an early sign that the Founding Fathers actually did think a health care mandate was compatible with Constitution:
In July of 1798, Congress passed -- and President John Adams signed -- "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen." The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.
Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its members were the drafters of the Constitution.
So, if the Commissioned Corps's origins can be traced to that law, maybe the establishment of the Corps really was an unconstitutional big-government power grab -- by some of the Framers of the Constitution!
But I believe that was a precursor to the Commissioned Corps we have today. The president-day Commissioned Corps was established during Benjamin Harrison's administration:
In 1889, following another deadly outbreak of yellow fever in the South, Congress officially created the Commissioned Corps of the Marine Hospital Service, a mobile force of physicians organized along military lines. The surgeon general was to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The following year, Congress gave the Marine Hospital Service interstate quarantine authority.
Obama ... FDR ... the Founders ... Benjamin Harrison ... a Kenyan-Muslim-socialist-fascist conspiracy so vast....
UPDATE: Embarrassing error in header corrected.