Friday, January 17, 2003

Empty war heads

Bush wants pain and suffering in malpractice lawsuits limited to $250,000. That last sentence was of course fallacious. Bush couldn’t give a shit about limiting pain and suffering, he wants to limit compensation for doctors whose incompetence inflicts pain and suffering, or perhaps more importantly, for their insurance companies. Those insurance companies have, like everyone else who invests heavily in the market, not been doing that well, but they expect their other investments, in campaign donations to Republicans, to perform rather better. Naturally the insurance companies want to shift their losses from having bought stock in Enron to those who most deserve to bear them: those scheming bastards who have been crippled and tormented by the mistakes of their doctors. Bush of course said nothing about doing anything to reduce malpractice, which you might have expected at the same time as he was proposing to reduce the costs to doctors of malpracticing. Maybe this is because gross incompetence is a way of life for GeeDubya, taken for granted like the air he breathes.

Any comments he might have made about doing this to ensure continued access to doctors (didn’t read the whole speech) were made nonsense of by his plans to cut payments to Medicare doctors yet again, announced last month, or by the plan announced on the very same day as his malpractice speech to let states restrict the access of Medicare patients to emergency medical services.

But that isn’t the real addition of insult to injury. No, the real jaw dropping, you gotta be shitting me insult is the provision that got almost no attention: he wants any money plaintiffs receive from their own insurance companies to be deducted from awards. In other words, he wants to shift penalties awarded against doctors guilty of medical malpractice from the guilty doctors to the insurance companies of their innocent victims.

So the inspectors found some empty warheads in Iraq. I guess that means the warhawks will stop attacking the inspectors as incompetent, huh? I’ve heard conflicting opinions from Iraq and from the empty war-heads in charge of US foreign policy as to whether Iraq accounted for them, but nothing from the UN inspectors yet. Of course anything that the US says about the content of the Iraqi submission is automatically suspicious given the 8,000 pages the US decided to censor before handing it to anyone else. In further sloppy reporting, I haven’t heard what happened to the warheads: did the inspectors remove them for destruction, or what? Also, I take it warhead means the part of a rocket that doesn’t contain the engine and propellant, which makes it pretty much just an empty metal container. OK, they may be more sophisticated than that, but it would have been nice if one of the many fine news sources I patronize had looked into this. One quick and dirty guide to their sophistication or lack of it might be the price.

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