Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tort reform? We don't need no stinkin' tort reform!

Ever wonder why lawyers get no respect?

Why Medical Malpractice Is Off Limits
A few thousand trial lawyers have a lock on Democrats, who refuse to consider any legal reform.

Eliminating defensive medicine could save upwards of $200 billion in health-care costs annually, according to estimates by the American Medical Association and others. The cure is a reliable medical malpractice system that patients, doctors and the general public can trust.

But this is the one reform Washington will not seriously consider. That's because the trial lawyers, among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party, thrive on the unreliable justice system we have now.

Almost all the other groups with a stake in health reform—including patient safety experts, physicians, the AARP, the Chamber of Commerce, schools of public health—support pilot projects such as special health courts that would move beyond today's hyper-adversarial malpractice lawsuit system to a court that would quickly and reliably distinguish between good and bad care. The support for some kind of reform reflects a growing awareness among these groups that managing health care sensibly, including containing costs, is almost impossible when doctors go through the day thinking about how to protect themselves from lawsuits.

The upshot is simple: A few thousand trial lawyers are blocking reform that would benefit 300 million Americans. This is not just your normal special-interest politics. It's a scandal—it is as if international-trade policy was being crafted in order to get fees for customs agents.

Trial lawyers are agents, and their claims are only as valid as those they represent. They argue, of course, that they are champions of malpractice victims. As Anthony Tarricone, president of the trial lawyers association (called the American Association of Justice) put it: "Trial attorneys see first-hand the effects medical errors have on patients and their families. We should keep those injured people in mind as the debate moves forward." But under the current system, 54 cents of the malpractice dollar goes to lawyers and administrative costs, according to a 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. And because the legal process is so expensive, most injured patients without large claims can't even get a lawyer. "It would be hard to design a more inefficient compensation system," says Michelle Mello, a professor of law and public health at Harvard, "or one which skewed incentives more away from candor and good practices."

Read it all
Why Medical Malpractice Is Off Limits

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The libertarian "problem"

Jurek Martin writes in London's Financial Times a hit piece entitled American libertarianism is dancing to the shock-jocks attempting to show, that while libertarian ideas are gaining a foothold in American political discussion, it is mainly being brought into the spotlight by "the hyperactive right" and is not "intellectually elevated".

The delete function removes [email screeds], invariably unread, from my system in a nano-second. But America is discovering it cannot consign libertarianism to such instant oblivion, as it might have been fooled into thinking it had when the latest of Congressman Ron Paul’s many campaigns for the presidency sank, without much trace, in last year’s Republican party primaries.

For it is becoming increasingly evident that libertarianism is a common thread in the patchwork quilt of vocal opposition to Barack Obama’s attempts to change the way America is run. Not only does it pull many of the organisational strings behind the often raucous public protests of the last few months, but its essential philosophy, that the less government the better, is espoused by some of the titular leaders of the mob [Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Armey].

Now, shots like these are not uncommon from the US mediots on the left but it is interesting that libertarianism is now beginning to be ridiculed in Europe as well.

To me, it would seem that our message of small government is getting out there and it scares the crap out of, not only the left in the US, but also those in other countries that rely on the US taxpayer to fund their economies, social programs and militaries. I see this as a good thing. What it does is gets the message out to others that there is an option to the big government, nanny state. It lets people know that they are not alone in their beliefs and there are like minded individuals who believe in freedom and liberty.

I'm not for one minute going to let the mediots say that I am in this because someone on TV is telling me to. I am in this because I do not like the direction this country has been heading in for a while and I'm ready to do something about it.

You can trust me when I say that I am becoming involved in this battle, like many others, not because I particularly feel the need to be politically active but because I do not like what is happening with our government and want to do something about it. Protest is a young person's game and it was great to be active in causes when I was in my 20's but now in my early 40's, I do not have as much energy and have responsibilities now that I didn't back then.

In the words of Samuel Adams "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." We need to be that tireless minority for, the future of our country is at stake. We need to be the libertarian problem.

9 Simple Truths - The House of Cards Crumbles

Here is a great blog entry by Left Coast Rebel from a while back. This completely sums up what any libertarian minded person is fighting for.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves

- William J.H. Boetcker, 1916, often attributed to Abraham Lincoln

How do these simples truths apply to America today? How do they destroy every single argument of the Statist/Progressive/Moral Relativist/Big-government Enabler of today? Sometimes as it seems, simplicity is the best policy, the best weapon in an intellectual arsenal. Where is the American leader to spread these simple Thatcherisms?

Read the rest from Left Coast Rebel
9 Simple Truths - The House of Cards Crumbles

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Constitution: The God That Failed (To Liberate Us From Big Government)

It may well seem, as it is so wonderfully written by William Buppert, that the energy that many of us use to point to the Constitution as the true intentions of the Founding Fathers may be somewhat misplaced and that it is really the Articles of Confederation, along with the Bill of Rights, that small government advocates should gravitate to and look to for guidance.

Is it possible that the the Anti-Federalists' fears of giving too much power to the central government are coming true, that the Presidency is becoming a monarchic position and that a strong centralized government is a threat to our rights, liberties and freedom?

Today, 17 September 2009, is Constitution Day. There will be paeans, abundant commentary and church-like observances of the glories of this document in making us the most blessed nation on planet earth. This essay suggests a contrarian thesis. The Constitution is an enabling document for big government. Much like the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain is a fraud. In this case, for all the sanctimonious handwringing and the obsequious idolatry of the parchment, it sealed the fate of our liberties and freedoms and has operated for more than 200 years as a cover for massive expansion of the tools and infrastructure of statist expansion and oppression. Among the many intellectual travels I have undertaken, this is one of the most heart-breaking I have ventured on. I want to acknowledge the compass-bearers who sent me on this journey: Kenneth W. Royce (aka Boston T. Party) and his seminal book, The Hologram of Liberty and and Kevin Gutzman’s Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. For most of the political spectrum in America, the document represents their interpretation of how to make the this mortal coil paradise. Even in libertarian circles, it is taken as an article of faith the Constitution is a brilliant mechanism to enlarge liberty and keep government at bay. That is a lie.

The document was drafted in the summer of 1787 behind closed doors in tremendous secrecy because if word leaked out of the actual contents and intent, the revolution that had just concluded would have been set ablaze again. They were in a race against time and did everything in their power to ensure that the adoption took place as quickly as possible to avoid reflection and contemplation in the public square that would kill the proposal once the consequences of its agenda became apparent. They were insisting that the states ratify first and then propose amendments later. It was a political coup d’état. It was nothing less than an oligarchical coup to ensure that the moneyed interests, banksters and aristocrats could cement their positions and mimic the United Kingdom from which they had been recently divorced.

The original charter of the drafters was to pen improvements to the existing Articles of Confederation. Instead, they chose to hijack the process and create a document which enslaved the nation. Federalist in the old parlance meant states rights and subsidiarity but the three authors of the fabled Federalist Papers supported everything but that. Their intent and commitment was to create a National government with the ability to make war on its constituent parts if these states failed to submit themselves to the central government.

As Austrian economists have discovered, bigger is not necessarily better. The brilliant and oft-dismissed Articles of Confederation (AoC) and Perpetual Union are a testament to voluntarism and cooperation through persuasion that the Constitution disposed of with its adoption. Penned in 1776 and ratified in 1781, the spirit and context of the Articles live on in the Swiss canton system and are everywhere evident in the marketplace where confederationist sentiments are practiced daily. The confederation’s design divines its mechanism from what an unfettered market does every day: voluntary cooperation, spontaneous information signals and the parts always being smarter than the sum.
Ask yourself this question: have the robed government employees who read the Constitutional tea leaves for the most part defended individual liberty or have they rubber-stamped the exponential growth of power and control of the colossus that sits astride the Potomac?

Read the rest
The Constitution: The God That Failed (To Liberate Us From Big Government) by William Buppert

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Black Sea Wars

I disagree with Pat Buchanan on some issues but I can agree with him on our need, as a country, to be non-interventionist.

In August, the Georgian navy seized a Turkish tanker carrying fuel to Abkhazia, Georgia’s former province whose declaration of independence a year ago is recognized by Russia but not the West.

The Turkish captain was sentenced to 24 years. When Ankara protested, he was released. Abkhazia has now threatened to sink any Georgian ship interfering in its “territorial waters,” but it has no navy.

Russia, however, has a Black Sea Fleet and a treaty of friendship with Abkhazia, and has notified Tbilisi that the Russian coast guard will assure, peacefully, the sea commerce of Abkhazia.

Not backing down, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili – who launched and lost a war for South Ossetia in 48 hours in August 2008 – has declared the blockade of Abkhazia, which he claims as Georgian national territory, will remain in force. And he has just appointed as defense minister a 29-year-old ex-penitentiary boss with a questionable record on human rights who wants to tighten ties to NATO.

We have here the makings of a naval clash that Georgia, given Russian air, naval and land forces in the eastern Black Sea, will lose.

What is Saakashvili up to? He seems intent on provoking a new crisis to force NATO to stand with him and bring the United States in on his side – against Russia. Ultimate goal: Return the issue of his lost provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia back onto the world’s front burner.

While such a crisis may be in the interests of Saakashvili and his Russophobic U.S neoconservative retainers, it is the furthest thing from U.S. national interests. President Obama should have Joe Biden, Saakashvili’s pal, phone him up and instruct him thus:

“Mikheil, if you interfere with the sea commerce of Abkhazia, and provoke Russia into a Black Sea war, you fight it yourself. The Sixth Fleet is not going to steam into the Black Sea and pull your chestnuts out of the fire, old buddy. It will be your war, not ours.”

Read the rest
Black Sea Wars by Patrick J. Buchanan

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blind (Department of) Justice

With the latest ACORN scandal, it looks like Attorney General Eric Holder has a big problem on his hands, to investigate an organization near and dear to the POTUS's heart or sweep it under the rug like nothing happened. Now this wouldn't be without precedent in Holder's 9 month stint as AG. He has already dropped charges against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation in Philly and let NM Gov Bill Richardson skate on a pay-to-play scheme.

This time could be different however. With the Democrats in Congress abandoning ACORN like rats on a sinking ship, there may be some political will to go after them. Even Obama seemingly supports an investigation saying on ABC’s This Week in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, “You know, what I know is, is that what I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated.”

Interestingly enough, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, while agreeing that this needs to be looked into, decides to, surprise, play the race card.
"We are their Willy [sic] Horton for 2009. We are the boogeyman for the right-wing and its echo chambers. If ACORN did not exist, the right-wing would have needed to create us in order to achieve their agenda, their missions, their ideal, retrograde America."

Now don't get me wrong here, if there is any investigation it will be a whitewash. Some lower-level people will get punished but that is it. The true corruption will never be exposed. The American people will never get the truth from the DOJ as to the depth and reach of organizations like ACORN, SEIU and other socialist organizations that are attempting to co-opt our Republic.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peter Schiff announces Senate run

Along with Rand Paul of KY, Schiff, who served as economic advisor to TX Congressman Ron Paul's presidential effort, will lend another voice to fiscal sanity should he win. He is the fifth GOP candidate from Connecticut to enter the race along with state Sen Sam Caligiuri, former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon and former US Rep Rob Simmons. If he can get through this pack of heavyweights he could face incumbent Democratic Sen Chris Dodd.

Come on Peter, win one for the Republic.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sen McCain where are you?

In case you didn't know Senator, there was a roll call vote today on the Johanns Amendment #2355 to H.R. 3288 "Prohibiting use of funds to fund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)"

We understand completely that you were in Charleston SC at a Town Hall event with you pal Sen Graham, who also missed the vote, and Charleston is such a long way from DC [1.5 hour flight/cough]. Besides, H.R. 3288 (Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes) is such a piddly bill, with only a total of $68.9 billion in discretionary spending.

But anyway, the amendment passed 83-7 with 9 no votes. Here are the 7 who have no excuse...

Burris (D-IL)
Casey (D-PA)
Durbin (D-IL)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Leahy (D-VT)
Sanders (I-VT)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

And the other 7, along with yourself and Sen Graham, who missed the vote completely...

Burr (R-NC)
Byrd (D-WV)
Coburn (R-OK)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Vitter (R-LA)

The people of Arizona thank you and will remember your outstanding representation come next November.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Partisanship - the disease

With the current state of affairs and especially with the current debates surrounding the healthcare issue, I have come to the conclusion that this is exactly what elected officials and special interests on both sides want.

If you really look at it, the federal government can and should be held solely responsible for what is going on and by extension we as citizen shoulder the blame because we are the ones that put them in power. Both parties have shared equally on pitting one group of Americans against another for the causes of the issues that confront us today yet they are the ones, through legislation, that created the housing bubble, the financial crisis on Wall Street and the healthcare crisis to name a few examples.

It's easy now for Democrats to blame Bush and Republicans to blame Obama for these problems, but it is really Congress that has been screwing thing up for decades. They create laws that are thousands of pages long but no one takes the time to read them. They insert language to help special interests that lobby them and finance their campaign war chests. Then they shift the blame to everyone but themselves, saying it was the other party or special interest group that is at fault, when things go bad.

Sadly, the media plays into this all. In this sound-byte world we live in you can watch FOX or CNBC, for example, do a story on the same thing and come out with 2 opposing viewpoints and neither one has told the whole truth. And now with the healthcare debate we have shifted from debating the issue to debating whether the Town Hall outrage is real or "Astroturf", created by the insurance industry and conservative radio, with both sides lying and manipulating the "facts" to prove a point. How does this achieve anything other than to further divide us.

It is time for us, as Americans, to take the advice of Howard Beale and stand up and scream at the top of our lungs "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!". Let Congress on both sides know that enough is enough. Let them know that very soon they will be joining the ranks of the unemployed. We will also need to let their replacements know that if they try to play the partisan BS game, they are one term and done.

It's time for the citizens of the US to take the power and our country back. No more Democrats, no more Republicans, no more conservatives, no more liberals, no more special interests, no more lobbyists. No more partisan politics, just a rational debate on what is in the best interest of We the People.


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