Thursday, March 31, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Guilty Until Proven Innocent

March 30,2005- The U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for employers to be sued by their employees. The case involved older law officers in Jackson, Miss. suing the city for giving new officer recruits a disproportionately larger wage increase than was given to older officers. The city of Jackson argued they needed to give the younger recruits higher salaries to be more competitive in attracting personnel. The city actually won the case because they were not intentially discriminatory but also there reasons were justified. But the reality of the case will be a new cause for lawsuits. The city spent almost a $ 1 million in defending itself. They won but they lost money. The older officers did not get what they wanted but they didn't have to pay anything anyway because the case was on contingency. This case would not have gone to trail if the suing officers had to put up a $1 million to fight it.

The Supreme Court cracked the cupboard door for the whiskered attorneys by lowering the hurdle of this kind of lawsuit. The burden of proof will be on the defendants to show they were not biased another word for critical thinking when they formulate a business model.

I always thought one was innocent until proven guilty.

We need a" loser pays" legal system like the rest of the world. People who file lawsuits must risk the loss of money if they fail. Otherwise we will continue to lose jobs to more competitive legal systems around the world.

Our legal system does a better job of protecting morons than protecting people with critical thinking ability.

What about the Pope?

Pope John Paul II is failing. He needs a feeding tube to receive nourishment. I will make a prediction. He will not last long. The Catholic Church is in crisis. The homosexual priests and their predatory behavior with children and the cover-up by the church has been costly in terms of money and in keeping and attracting new members. The church's relevance on issues of birth control, abortion, stem cell research and assisted suicide are questions of policy that need to be addressed. We need a new functioning Pope with a somewhat more liberal view for the church to recover. In this case a liberal view would be one that follows the teachings of Christ. Not the
proclamations of church bureaucrats that followed Him.

Don't underestimate a desperate clergy in the Vatican. Things will happen. It won't be the first time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Intelligent Design: Creationist's solid Trojan Horse

The Trojan Horse in Homer's Illiad advanced the Greek's siege of Troy because there were armed men concealed inside. The creationist's theory of intelligent design has god hidden inside. This presumptive theory is their answer to Darwin's theory of evolution. But this horse has blinders and is solid with the dense idea of god. It's cargo carries no advancement of knowledge. Intelligent design is a retreat from the revealed facts of simple observation. Evolution by definition is caused by change and the resulting adaptive behavior of organisms. Thus diversity is found everywhere as proof of evolution. Intelligent design does not prove gods existence or by extension certain designated religious groups who carry his message exclusively.

The addition of creationist theory in science class has the effect of slowing or stopping scientific curiosity.How much knowledge was stifled and postponed because of the Catholic church meddling in science. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for supporting the theory of the planets revolving around the sun. The travails of Galileo are similar. Today abortion and assisted suicide are targets for the wrath of god's representatives.

There is one bigger lesson to be learned from this revival of creationism. People can only learn so much before they quit. They quit because they don't get it or don't want to get it. But this fracture at the educational level points up the differences in people. Differences don't mean much in an uncrowded world. But in our crowded America these differences will seperate us. America is slowly reverting back to regional tribal-like states with an aversion to a central Washington-based government. And this is the good that comes out of the bad of teaching creationism in place of evolution.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Lawyers: They have a license to steal..

When does losing still mean winning?

Only America's legal system can reward losers in lawsuits. America is unique in the world. It has a legal system that does not penalize people who sue and lose. Plaintiffs need only pay on average $100 to file a suit. Lawyers can be had on contingency- a share of the reward. Lawyers always encourage contingency suits no matter the merits of the case. Plaintiffs rarely know the law and will follow their attorneys advice. If the suit is successful then everything works to the plaintiff and the attorneys favor. But what if the suit fails, what happens to the plaintiff? Nothing happens to the plaintiff. Plaintiff's attorney was on board only on a contingency so there is no cost to plaintiff.

Lawsuits are expensive to defend. Defendants always have a lot to lose. Why else would they have been sued? So even if the defendant prevailed in the first trail there is always the prospect of appeal to another court by plaintiff. This guarentees more time and money in defense- a sure loser. What happens 99% of the time? The beleagured defendant will settle for a sum of money that normally covers plaintiff's attorney's fees and costs. Thus predacious behavior is rewarded. This effective license to steal manuever is done daily across America thousands of times.

Estimates of actual tort costs and non-productive defensive behavior to guard against lawsuits go as high as 10% of America's GDP or $1 trillion. These legal costs are a major reason why manufacturing in America is non-competitive with other countries with more rational legal systems. Also the costs of healthcare are driven higher by legal costs-some estimates run as high as 40% of America's healthcare costs are padded by legal considerations.

How do we mitigate or stop predacious lawsuits? America must adopt a " loser pays " system like the rest of the world. There must be a downside to lawsuits from the plaintiffs side. Lawsuits should be a last resort. Plaintiffs who lose lawsuits should be required to pay the defendants legal fees and other costs.Our Medicare system would be somewhat easier to support if thes kind of lawsuits were mitigated.

The realities are that everyone is on a budget. This includes the federal government and tax payers. Lawyers and their clients will have to be included in a budgeted and disciplined legal system.

The main argument againsat a " loser pays " system is that less wealthy people could not afford to sue wealthier defendants. The argument is a distraction.The rest of the world finds "loser pays"an acceptable system-they have justice. Certainly our system can be streamlined to make it less costly. I will write my thoughts on how to shorten up the process another time.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Medicare versus Reality

Medicare is a relative newcomer to the American scene. It was created in 1965 as part of the Great Society legislative machine of President Lyndon Johnson. The program was packaged as a"right" that all were entitled. The costs and the mission creep of what procedures would be covered was never thought out.

When does an entitlement contribute to or cause poverty?

The bureaucrats over at Health And Human Services are weighing yet another procedure to include as a "right" under Medicare law. This procedure is for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. If approved, they estimate 50,000 patients will be covered in the first year. The procedure costs $35,000 each. The cost for the first year is $175 million.

The poverty level in America is $ 18,000 annual earnings for a family of 4. We have about 36 million people living in poverty. Consider this. If we didn't make the new procedure a "right" and left it up to individuals to provide for themselves this new defibrillator the governtment would not have to tap $175 million from our economy or borrow it from abroad. That would result in helping 9800 families in poverty ($175 million divided by 18,000 ) better able to find jobs and lift themselves out of poverty or prevent others from falling into poverty. One of the main reasons we lose jobs overseas is because of the high coast of manufacturing in the America. Health care costs are a large part of this problem.

We live on a zero sum planet. Choices will be made by us that are sustainable or will be made for us by the laws of nature.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Israel: America's Brat

On March 22, 2005 Israel announced it was going to build 3500 new housing units in the largest settlement in the occupied west Bank, Maale Adumin.

The Palestinian Authority criticized the expansion plan as a further land grab in the eastern parts of Jerusalem which would further cut up historic Palestine. King Abdullah II of Jordan warned that prosoects were "dwindling" for successful peace talks because of this preemptive agressive step by Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas, the newly elected Palestinian president has his hand full trying to bring Hamas and other groups to the peace table. If he can't deliver results with negotiations then the suicide bombing will surely start up again.

Is building a house on someone's elses land a terrorist act that is properly answered by a terrorist act? Palestinians who are denied a place to live will certainly deny others a place to live. What have they got to lose?

Another recent example of Israel's rogue behavior was it's boycotting of the Middle East peace conference in London on March 1, 2005. The conference was attended by senior officials from America, U.N. and the E.U. This telltale behavior was largely unreported in America's press.

Only America can twist the ear of the Israeli brat. But Geoge " W for Wimp " is not up to the task.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Afghanistan: Whats new and whats old?

Secretary of State Rice, our naive civil-rights activist,was recently in Afghanistan. She was praising the seeds of democracy that had been planted by the American invasion over 3 years ago. But these seeds are having trouble sprouting. The parliamentary elections are being delayed yet again until 2006-2 years after the original election date. The problem continues to be the disarming of 100,000 members of private militias. Why would any militia disarm? Even Americans have" the right to bear arms". Afghanistan is being occupied by 18,000 American troops. Any disarming would invite the occupying forces to stay. Another little known fact that is an obstacle to the elections is 28% of the voters are illiterate. How will these voters know what or who to vote for unless it is explained face to face-a challenging task.

America's mission has expanded yet again-spraying poppy crops with powerful herbicides to destroy the source of opium. With the fall of the Taliban, opium the main cash crop that equals Afghanistan's GDP has made a comeback. But spraying poppy crops can be sloppy. People,animals,staple crops and water supply are collateral damage.

In many ways Afghanistan is becoming another Colombia. Plan Colombia is more than 5 years old and has cost the U.S. about $5 billion. America spends about $1 billion per month in Afghanistan-$36 billion year to date.

Secretary Rice's 7 hour meeting with President Karzai in Kabul on March 17, 2005 was indeed most expensive in preparation with little to show from results.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Act of Congress: What is Terri Schiavo getting from all this?

On oneside the Christian lobby is flexing it's muscles in the name of God's will. They presume to know his mind even if he never wrote anything down about these particular circumstances. The Catholic Church and the feeble-minded Pope have been referenced also.Please take a close look at their respective credentials.

Tom DeLay the beleagured House Majority Leader finally has an oppurtunity to scapegoat his alledged misconduct by claiming to be a victim of his faith. Now he knows how the Taliban felt.
Bill Frist the Senate Majority Leader is demonstrating to the democrats what can happen to any hold up of judicial nominees.

Bush and his guilty conscience is trying to balance the Iraqi death toll by literally jamming a tube down a woman's throat and symbolically jamming unconstitutional legislation down the throats of Americans. W is quoted"it is wisest to always err on the side of life". This is the same moron who launched a preemptive war.

Ms. Schiavo's parents are winning their vindictive battle against their estranged son-in-law.
And of course the lawyers are getting paid more than they diserve.

But what about Terri? Fifteen years of a vegetative mental And physical state is needlessly cruel and unusual suffering. There is a time to go.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Wolfowitz & World Bank- Whats he up to now?

Paul Wolfowitz the contraversial Pentagon Likudnik is on his way to the World Bank as its new president. How can that profit Israel and/or the military-industrial complex ?

Here are some thoughts.

An op-ed piece in "The New York Times" on February 2, 2005 was written by Frank Carlucci. He was President Reagan's Secretary of Defense from 1987 to 1989. He is currently Chairman Emeritus at the Carlyle Group where he directs policy with George H. W. Bush and others who have connections to the American Enterprise Institute and The Project for the New American Century. Carlyle is an investment firm with a weighted portfolio in firms who make profits from preparing for war(they call it defense spending) or from war itself.They are also in a position to make things happen to help their investments.

Carlucci was bemoaning the fact that after 6 years of the U.S. led invasion of Kosovo, the enclave is still in financial limbo. Simply, because the U.N. administers its affairs, foreign investors cannot get bank financed investments. Kosovo needs a final independent status.Voila! Wolfowitz will be in an important position when that status is resolved.

Also on March 7, 2005, United Defense, the maker of the Bradley Fighting Vechicle, announced the sale of the company to BAE Systems,a British military contractor for $4 billion. United Defense is 49% owned by the Carlyle group. Could construction firms be the new additions to the Carlyle portfolio?Destroy first then rebuild-in growth we trust.

What about the Likudnik connection? The World Bank has a say in policy at the Palestinian Authority! One can be sure Israel's interests will be represented.