The online Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders says "behavior modification," a controversial psychological treatment, can be accomplished through positive reinforcement or "punishment" – and now President Obama has signed an executive order specifying the treatment for all Americans, to be prescribed by government bureaucrats.
Obama's order appoints members to a new government committee set up by the Democrats' new health law that will evaluate, make recommendations about and establish rules for everything from how people exercise to whether they smoke to the food they eat and the medicines they use. And it specifically requires the committee list the priorities for "lifestyle behavior modification" that the government will pursue.
The encyclopedia report describes "punishment" as "the application of an aversive or unpleasant stimulus in reaction to a particular behavior." Two experts who reviewed the president's June 10 executive order establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council say the plan easily could encompass exactly that.
Herb Titus, a veteran constitutional expert and lawyer, told WND, "The council is designed to basically implement future policy that ultimately everything will be governed by federal authorities, from food to dietary supplements to vitamins."
Deborah Stockton, executive director of the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, which deals regularly with natural foods such as raw milk, agreed with the Titus analysis.
"They say, 'We're going to centralize power and control. We're going to be in control,'" she told WND. "It's [going to be] another epic confrontation between those who will and those who won't."
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The council's membership, including the chiefs of the Agriculture, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Education and Homeland Security departments as well as the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, National Drug Control Police, Domestic Policy Council, Corporation for National and Community Service and others, also is alarming, Titus noted.
Most of those positions have no qualifications for making decisions about health care, so what would be their involvement, wondered Titus.
Could it be that non-compliance will bring down the wrath of those agencies?
"It'll be criminalized … if you don't follow federal guidelines on nutrition, exercise," he said. "That's what this is designed to do. Ultimately bring everything under the federal umbrella. The only way they can accomplish that is through force.
"Ultimately that's where it's headed," Titus said. "This is what people have been warning about. Here you have it."
The executive order requires the council to "provide coordination … with respect to prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices, the public health system, and integrative health care in the United States."
It further must develop a "health-care strategy that incorporates the most effective and achievable means of improving the health status of Americans" and also must "carry out such other activities as are determined appropriate by the president."
It will "set specific goals and objectives for improving the health of the United States" and "establish specific and measurable actions and timelines to carry out the strategy."
"Citizen, stop and show your papers and certify under oath you have properly exercised and ingested the proper amount of nutrition today!" scoffed one blogger.
The council then will have to report to the president on what it has done, what progress has been made and provide a "list of national priorities on health promotion and disease prevention to address lifestyle behavior modification (including smoking cessation, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, mental health, behavioral health, substance-use disorder, and domestic violence screenings) and the prevention measures."
That paragraph alone raised eyebrows for those wondering what the government would do to demand "lifestyle behavior modification." It also raised concerns over its reference to "domestic violence screenings" as well as "mental health."
The order also targets most of the products that are promoted as natural supplements or remedies, demanding that all "prevention programs" be based on the "science" guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control, virtually eliminating anything that is not put through the multi-million dollar tests required of the federal agency.
Asked a blogger at Techimo.com, "Is this something we need to worry about? Is (sic) Obama and his 'advisers' attempting to modify our behavior through legislation?"
"It's a done deal," said Titus.
The White House declined a WND request to comment on the action.
But the initial blog comments were no more favorable to the details of Obamacare that are being unveiled now than they were to the overall idea of a nationalized health care with mandatory payments by taxpayers.
"If any government perverted junkie tries to tell me or my family what to do there is going to be a lot of unhealthy issues," wrote a forum participant at Conservative's Forum.
Added another on the same page, "Karl Marx would be proud."
Another forum page posted the headline "Obama creates behavior modification commission," and a writer called the council a "stepping stone to what the Soviets did to dissidents."
Added the YourWebApps site, "What do we take for prevention? Herbs and vitamins. Herbs that you grow in your backyard and vitamins that are not approved by your doctor do not fall under these 'science-based' guidelines and are not allowed. Therefore, this will effectively open the door to outlawing ALL disease prevention practices that use herbs and vitamins."
Columnist David Limbaugh put it this way: "Lifestyle behavior modification is none of the government's business, but it is even less the prerogative of a renegade, unaccountable executive acting outside the law through unconstitutional executive orders."
Stockton said she already sees people in revolt – "waking up to see what really does create health." Her group has monitored several raw milk fights of late in which farmers are selling unpasteurized milk to consumers who demand it.
The process has enraged state and other food regulators.
And she cited the reference to behavior.
"How are you going to address that? Put everyone into drills?" she said.
She said there's a huge failure to see that what the government is trying to impose has been done before – unsuccessfully.
But it will result in confrontation, she forecast.
"It's a conflict that has to be resolved."
WND previously reported when the federal government argued in a case in Iowa that individuals have no "fundamental right" to obtain what food they choose.
The brief was filed April 26 in support of a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ban on the interstate sale of raw milk.
"There is no 'deeply rooted' historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds," states the document signed by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose, assistant Martha Fagg and Roger Gural, trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.
"Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish," the government has argued.
WND also reported on a bill pending in the U.S. Senate that critics say would do for Americans' food supply what Obamacare is doing to the nation's supply of health-care resources.
"S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the U.S.," writes Steve Green on the Food Freedom blog. "It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money."
The plan is sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who explains the legislation "is a critical step toward equipping the FDA with the authorities and funding it needs to regulate what is now a global marketplace for food, drugs, devices and cosmetics."
His website explains, "The legislation requires foreign and domestic food facilities to have safety plans in place to prevent food hazards before they occur, increases the frequency of inspections. Additionally, it provides strong, flexible enforcement tools, including mandatory recall. Most importantly, this bill generates the resources to support FDA food-safety activities."
The proposal cleared the U.S. House last year but has been languishing in the Senate because of a full calendar of projects. It creates a long list of new requirements for food-producing entities to meet the demands of the secretary of agriculture. It is expected to be the subject of discussion in coming days.