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Newt Understandings

The State Department had it coming. Plus: Unconstitutional medicine. Sad Sacagawea. Kick the coffee habit. And more.

4.24.03

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UNCONSTITUTIONAL MEDICINE
Re: Robert A. Levy's Constitutional Malpractice:

Robert A. Levy made several excellent points about congressional abuse of its enumerated powers in his article. It seems that Congress has never asked the question, "Is there any constitutional basis for this legislation?"

Mr. Levy unfortunately oversimplifies the medical malpractice issue in this context. Starting in 1972, and again in 1976, 1982 ... etc. the Congress passed legislation enabling managed care insurance companies, HMOs, to begin their slow march towards dominance of the insurance industry. These are national companies, regulated and protected by the federal government. Much of this regulation allows them to set prices and prevent physicians and hospitals from passing along cost increases (malpractice insurance) to the purchaser of these services. A large part of the "malpractice crisis" is rapidly rising premiums and the inability to pass this cost along to the consumer. This situation was created by the federal government, even if unconstitutionally.

Secondly, medical malpractice insurance is "commerce and it is interstate." Much of the recent crisis involves reinsurance. State insurance carriers purchase reinsurance to protect themselves from large losses. These reinsurance sellers are large regional, national and even international insurers. In Virginia recently, the Doctors Reciprocal Insurance Company was placed in technical default because of reinsurance issues in Tennessee. This left many Virginia doctors without insurance. Once again, federal regulations have interfered with the marketplace. HR 5 might reduce the reinsurance crisis by allowing actuaries to calculate risk and possible liabilities instead of the uncertainty of possible huge multimillion-dollar payouts.

The real crisis is only corrected with comprehensive tort reform. Just as the argument between the House and Senate over a $350 billion versus $550 billion tax cut is ridiculous so is this liability Legislation. We should be arguing between a 15% and 17% flat tax rate after having thrown out the entire income tax code as it now exists. Similarly, the entire malpractice and tort process should be thrown out. I favor a "malpractice court" system allowing injured parties to be compensated, negligent physicians to be identified and corrective measures taken, and horribly greedy, rich, unethical trial lawyers to be hired as public defenders. Federalists need not worry, HR 5 will not work. Only a comprehensive overhaul of all interrelated federal interventions (see HIPPA, CLEA, EMTAL, OSHA, National Data bank, HMO protections, Sherman anti-trust act, etc.) will allow real improvement in our ability to provide reasonably priced, quality medical care.
-- Michael R. Warner, MD, MBA

NEWT TALK
Re: The Washington Prowler's General Gingrich:

Wait a minute -- the White House is afraid that the State Department is going to be angry at them because of something that Newt said? Isn't there something terribly wrong with this picture? Shouldn't the State Department be the ones concerned about maybe, possibly getting on the wrong side of the White House? If this is reflective of White House thinking, maybe it's time to bring Newt on board as Chief of Staff.
-- John Shirvinsky
Camp Hill, PA

My understanding is that Newt was criticizing the old guard at the State Department and not Powell directly.

The State Department needs an overall to ferret out Clintons minions who might still be embedded there plus this old European-style thinking which is definitely outdated as has been seen in the U.N.
-- Hal
Hayward, CA

Well, it looks like Newt Gingrich has joined Rep. Tancredo on the "Never to darken the door of the White House" list.

Let's see if I have this right. Representative Tom Tancredo, a Republican, is banned after criticizing the almost total lack of effectiveness of the Border Patrol and the INS in protecting our national borders and enforcing the immigration laws. Ex-Speaker Gingrich is in the dog house for criticizing the almost total lack of effectiveness and accountability of the State Dept. and its agencies over a number of years. Oh BTW, State has been doing their own thing regardless of the President since at least prior to the onset of WWII.

In the meantime, President Bush will host Oliver Stone and the other radical liberal Left critics of both him and America at a Yale alumni function.

I can't help feeling that something is wrong with this picture. The only common denominator seems to be Pres. Bush and his White House staff, almost assuredly with Karl Rove in the vanguard.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

BLOODY FRENCH
Re: George Neumayr's Peace in Milan:

Re: "You can still walk into French bookstores and pick up a copy of Bob Woodward's Bush at War, which the French publisher of it tellingly translates as 'Bush the Warmonger' (Bush s'en va-t-en guerre)."

My French is always a bit shaky, but I don't think "Bush s'en va-t-en guerre" translates as "Bush the Warmonger," but rather as "Bush goes to war." The specific phrase comes from an old French marching song, "Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre" (the tune was later adopted for "The Bear Went Over the Mountain"). I will grant that neither Marlborough nor President Bush are big favorites of the French!
-- Cathy Windels

SAD SACK
Re: Bill Croke's Where's Sacagawea?

Once again Bill Croke scores with his article about Sacagawea who became part of the Lewis and Clark expedition during the last half of the trip west. Since I am a native Oregonian who has a strong interest in history, especially Oregon's, her story is quite familiar to me but it is the story of the two men and the adventure itself that I think are much more important. For the first 11 years of my life I lived in northwest Portland, close to the "World's Largest Log Cabin" built in honor of the Lewis and Clark Centennial. Sadly, it and its enormous wealth of artifacts, were lost in a disastrous fire that destroyed all in the 1960s. The cabin itself was huge and made of very large Douglas fir solid logs. No way could it be replicated today. We do have a pathetic dinky Forestry Center that is a mere shadow of the former grandeur of the old log building.

Back to Sacagawea, or "Sack," as she is known in our household, there is a bronze statue of her in a heroic stance in Portland's Washington Park. She stands facing west with her right arm extended pointing to the Pacific Ocean. She was a local historical character and offered linguistic services to the expedition. I suspect that she joined up to get the hell out of the situation she was in. I am offended by the efforts of the feminazis to make her into a larger than life person. Their efforts to put her and Susan B. Anthony's image on a base metal coin have gone begging as we simply will not accept either. There are others, both men and women, who are move deserving of the dubious honor of gracing a rejected coin.

For those who have an abiding interest in the story of the expedition, I suggest that they visit the Oregon Historical Society in Portland and especially travel west to Astoria where they can see a replica of Fort Clatsop. Go inside the fort and try to imagine spending week upon unending week in there during a rain soaked cold and dark winter. That corner of Oregon is truly miserable in terms of weather. A bit further south at Seaside, there is a stone cairn to mark the spot where members of the expedition boiled sea water to make salt for preserving meat and curing animal hides. All in all it is a pretty miserable place to try to scab out a living in the wilderness.

The Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition were two of the greatest achievements, albeit lesser known, of President Thomas Jefferson.
-- Al Martin
Gleneden Beach, OR

I was always impressed with how the Snake tribe (Sacagawea's brother was the chief) turned the Corps of Discovery away from the Snake River plain where they lived and which had abundant game and had them travel over 500 miles out of the way to the Lolo pass and an old growth forest where there was no game and where they ended up eating their ponies!

Pretty clever on their part to resist the encroachment of the white man for another 10-15 years.
-- T. Steven Roosevelt, MD

Regarding Bill Croke's excellent article on Sacagawea, and the burial of both herself and her son, Jean Baptiste aka "Pomp."

Indeed, Jean Baptiste died on the Oregon-Idaho border on May 16th,
1866. An obituary was published in the June 2nd, 1866 edition of the Owyhee Avalanche of Ruby City, Idaho, as follows:

"DIED -- we have received a note (don't know who from) dated May 16, '66, requesting the publication of the following: 'at Inskip's Ranche, Cow Creek, in Jordan Valley J.B. CHARBONEAU ... of pneumonia; one of the oldest trappers and pioneers, he piloted the Mormon Brigade through from Lower Mexico in '46 ... was en route to Montana."

This courtesy the late estimable Ralph Friedman's The Other Side of Oregon.

Of course, I'm sure the Wind River tribe will claim it's just another example of white European male lies ...
-- Alexander Craghead
Portland, OR

A GREAT SCOT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Looney Clooneys:

This might be a bit late, but does any other 'American Prowler' reader recall that Tim Robbins got his first real break playing a navigator in Top Gun, one of the most unashamed celebrations of American military prowess ever put on film? He may have been going through a Republican phase but if not then I gag on the stench of his hypocrisy. Anyone who makes more than any serviceman for saying words that other people put into their mouth, while pursuing a particularly unwholesome and unattractive political agenda, should exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to be silent, and give all our ears a break. Robbins and his enamorata Ms. Sarandon describe themselves as "citizens of the world." I will gratefully do a 1 for 2 swap deal with them, whereby they can have my British passport in exchange for their American ones. That would provide a real test of their commitment to world citizenship.

Kind regards to all in the Land of the Free.
--Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

JUST SAY NO JOE
Re: Jeremy Lott's Hill of Beans:
I'll try not to be a righteous health food nut, just the facts ma'am.
It's a commonality for Americans, these days, and for a long time, to drink their java allotment. Fancified by a Starbucks or the cheapo instant brand, the hit from the caffeine is definitely why it's sucked down the gullet. I think of it as low level cocaine. Here's one of the most harmful effects, besides doing damage to the heart -- stop reading if you want to remain ignorantly blissful:

The colon is not a smooth tube, but if you remember your high school biology, you'll recall the word villus singular, and villi, plural. To quote from my dictionary: "Any of numerous hairlike or fingerlike vascular processes on certain mucous membranes of the body, as in the small intestine, serving to secrete mucous, absorb fats, etc." When you eat, the food eventually enters the small intestines, hopefully having been broken down into small pieces, which are supposed to be further broken down by friendly lacto baccilus bacteria, which live in the intestine. You know -- that's why people eat yogurt, and other soured foods. Well, coffee tends to kill these good guys, so guess whatdoes not happen? The result is that digestion is faulty, and over time what is not digested putrefies, and is sent on its way to other cells in the body. Ever wonder why some people's faces get wrinkled, prematurely? The essence of the habitual coffee intake, then, is a shortening of the health and vigor of one's life, a trade off for a short-term energy boost. Depending on your genetic makeup, the body will turn into a walking cesspool, quicker or slower.

I spent some years doing the coffee drug, but was "saved" by a great friend, who introduced me to a Chinese herbal beverage, which has me as full of energy as most young men -- and I'm over 60.
-- unsigned

STILL COLD
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Dealing With the Corpus Delicti:

I think it is past time that serious investigative journalists turn their sights once again on the puppet masters pulling the strings of terrorism today -- Russia and China. These were for some reason left off of Bush's Evil Axis list. Could it be that to call a spade a spade (especially in China's case) would cause too much pain for American business interests who have invested heavily in China and Russia during the 90's?

For starters, one could reexamine the dusty old goal of the Soviets to break up NATO and integrate parts of Europe into a Soviet-controlled group of states, while at the same time lessening the influence of America in European affairs. Isn't that what is happening now? Who said the cold war is over? Perhaps Angleton and Golitsyn were right after all.
--Mark Pettifor
Goshen, IN

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