May 13, 2009

Legalized Plunder, Thankfully Rebuffed

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:08 pm

From the Wall Street Journal (bolds are mine):

Court cases get dismissed all the time, but rarely are dismissals as significant as the two lawsuits against Dole Food and other companies that were tossed recently by a California judge. Among other good things, the ruling is a setback for tort lawyers who troll abroad seeking dubious claims to bring in U.S. courts.

The allegations against Dole, the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producer, involved banana plantation workers in Nicaragua who alleged that exposure to the pesticide DBPC in the 1970s left them sterile. The only problem is that most of the plaintiffs had not worked at plantations and weren’t sterile. In fact, there’s no evidence that farm workers at Dole facilities were exposed to harmful levels of the chemical — which was legal and widely used at the time — or that the level of exposure they did experience even causes sterility.

“What has occurred here is not just a fraud on the court, but it is a blatant extortion of the defendants,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney in her oral ruling. More than 40 related cases involving thousands of plaintiffs from Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and the Ivory Coast are pending in her court. And the ruling puts in doubt some $2 billion in judgments that plaintiffs lawyers have already obtained in Nicaragua.

Judge Chaney dismissed the cases “with prejudice” to prevent the plaintiffs from filing again on the same claims, and she denounced the lawyers who hatched the scheme. “This is a very sad day for me to be presiding over such a horrific situation,” said the judge, who described a “pervasive conspiracy” involving U.S. plaintiffs lawyers and corrupt Nicaraguan judges.

….. “There have been groups of medical personnel providing sham laboratory reports indicating sterility where none really exists; groups of fathers denying paternity of their own children, posing as lonely men coming into the court, saying that they had no solace in their old age because they have no children,” said the judge.

…. The ruling is especially useful as a rebuke to the torts-for-import business, whereby U.S. tort lawyers travel abroad, join with local lawyers to manufacture claims, and then engage in client recruitment practices that are blatantly illegal in the U.S. In essence, the tort bar’s goal is to import lawsuits from foreign countries where it’s nearly impossible to challenge claims on factual grounds because evidence is hard to come by.

It is no accident that this orchestrated fraud originated in Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua. In Danny’s world, capitalism is apparently so evil that blatant theft disguised as reparations is apparently acceptable.

Far-Left Blogger Does BizzyBlog a Favor

Filed under: Economy,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:09 am

BrilliantBeer0509.jpgYesterday, the ever-myopic and conveniently anonymous Modern Esquire, who has apparently kissed and made up with whoever happens to be running Buckeye State Blog at the moment, wrote what he must have thought was a “brilliant” take-down of yours truly (link is to a pic of most of the post; this will spare readers who wish to avoid the root canal-level pain the need to visit BSB; but if you think you can stand it, the BSB post is here).

Its title is: “Yep, BizzyBlog is still insane…”

Note how a far-lefty invokes his dream of a return to Stalin’s psych wards for political dissidents at the slightest imagined provocation. ModEsq has a particularly bad strain of this common far-lefty disease, having stated recently at his own place (link again is to a pic, again in the name of pain avoidance) that perhaps yours truly “ought to be declared mental incompetent for his own protection.” Yes, he wrote “mental incompetent,” not “mentally incompetent.” This pathetic grammar comes from someone who is allegedly a lawyer.

ModEsq was attempting to critique a detailed, perceptive, and thorough fisking of ABJ editorial writer Steve Hoffman’s pathetically ignorant column about the state of the Ohio Repubican Party and the apparently impending gubernatorial candidacy of John Kasich.

As he rumbled, bumbled, stumbled, and fumbled his way through over 1,350 words (a bit under 1,200 excluding quotes), ModEsq hilariously cited “Laffner” as the founding father of supply-side economics three times. Although ModEsq’s post was indeed a real laugher, the name of the economist in question is Arthur Laffer.

More incredibly, ModEsq wrote his lengthy screed without recognizing that the composer of the detailed, perceptive, and thorough BizzyBlog fisking was Rose, and not yours truly.

As Rose said in her response post last night:

…. exactly how do you expect anyone to “buy” the crap you’re writing  when you get THAT wrong right off the bat? Zheesh. If you went to public screwal, I want a refund.

Rose, even I couldn’t believe I was seeing this at first, but here it is: The guy’s “About” page (a pic, again) says, “I’m a product of public education, and it shows.”

It’s as if to this day, at age 34 (according to the “About” page), ModEsq bears no personal responsibility for his poor grammar and spelling. He’d be a completely literate guy, if it weren’t for the fact that the evil government of the State of Ohio denied his poorly-funded school district the money they needed to properly educate him. It’s all on them, and it’s apparently too late to do anything about it.

You really can’t make this stuff up.

I suppose he’ll find it impolite to point this out, but if he is indeed 34, most of ModEsq’s elementary-school education and perhaps a year or two of high school apparently took place while Democrat Dick Celeste was the Buckeye State’s governor.

Now ModEsq’s post has created a “problem” here at BizzyBlog.

You see, Rose is proving that she is at least as adept at driving far-lefties batty with reasoned, thorough, accurate, witty, and pointed discourse as yours truly.

Word will spread, and quickly, that Rose is a good writer.

Pretty soon, some readers seeking thoughtfulness in the blogosphere will be coming to BizzyBlog just to read Rose’s posts.

Then “some” might become “more.” “More” might turn into “many.” Who knows, maybe “many” will turn into “most.”

Wait a minute — In the bigger-pie real world of sensible conservatism, that’s a good thing.

Because of ModEsq, Rose-related growth here at BizzyBlog will likely occur faster than it otherwise would have.

Thanks, ModEsq …. I love you, man.

(but you still owe me and my readers a boatload of apologies for accusing one of my best commenters of posting a racist comment and questioning my sanity and mental competence)

Lucid Links (051309, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:50 am

SocSecBrokeCard0309Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

Worse than presented — The Social Security and Medicare crises (y’know, the ones that didn’t exist in 2005 but “somehow” do four years later) are even worse than the Social Security Administration portrayed yesterday. The Trustees’ report, according to this AP item, said that Social Security will go negative in 2016. We should be so lucky. As I noted in early April, unless economic growth comes back, and quickly, it’s going to happen in fiscal 2011, and conceivably fiscal 2010. Even if it limps to 2016 with annual surpluses, they will be so relatively tiny that they’ll do virtually nothing to shore up the rest of the government, which has been spending those surpluses for decades. As recently as a year ago, the total 2009-2016 surpluses were supposedly going to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The creation by Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid in June of last year of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, now also known as the POR Recession as Normal People Define It, has had many horrible consequences, but this one may be the most dangerous.

With the obvious help of the SocSec trustees, the AP’s coverage of the Social Security situation perpetuates the “Trust Fund” myth. There is no Social Security “Trust Fund” with a stash of cash to pay benefits. The $2-plus trillion Social Security “Trust Fund” has virtually nothing in it besides IOUs from the rest of the government, which is itself $11 trillion or so in debt, and growing. All that matters is that in 2011 or 2010, and probably not 2016 as the Trustees predict, the government is going to have to raise taxes, cut benefits, or borrow more money to keep Social Security going. My late father predicted in the 1970s that Social Security’s fall-apart would occur in about 2050. He underestimated the Baby Boom generation’s irresponsbility.

A fairly easy prediction is that the Obama administration, one way or another, will try to “solve” the Social Security crisis by turning the program into an open-ended entitlement program where the 75-year link between what a person pays in and the benefits they collect is broken. This will “justify” the “need” to hit all income earned above $250,000 with Social Security’s 12.4% tax (6.2% from the employer, 6.2% by the employee) without increasing benefits for those paying the extra taxes. Obama pushed this hard during the presidential campaign, and can now frame it as a way to “save” the system. This was done with Medicare with Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increases. Medicare’s 2.9% (1.45% employer, 1.45% employee) applies to all earned income. Note how the extra billions raised by that tax solved nothing.

First, the good newsBanks are attempting to flee the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP by racing to raise capital, perhaps as much as $58 billion, to pay back the money that was forced on them. Whether Tax Cheat Tim Geithner will allow it to happen is, as far as I can tell, still not clear. Now for the bad news — Tax Cheat Tim is not going to use the returned TARP money to reduce the monstrous national debt that TARP has helped to significantly increase. No-no-no. James Gattuso at Heritage’s Foundry Blog reminds us that Geithner intends to recycle it, as the legislation whooped through in early October of last year sadly allows. Though Geithner’s financial recycling program apparently won’t involve buying actual “toxic assets” (they created a separate program, i.e., slush fund, for that purpose in March) Geithner is otherwise doing exactly what I feared Treasury would do in the latter part of this column written just after TARP was passed. It would appear that the Obama administration’s intent is to make TARP a permanent fixture of the financial landscape that is outside the scrutiny of Congress and, of course, the people.

Roger Simon prescribes a cure for atheismSee Ahmadinejad in person.

Positivity: As police seek driver, jogger just happy to be alive

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Sioux Falls, SD (bold is mine):

May 9, 2009

As police seek driver, jogger just happy to be alive

Nestor Ramos

Lying in the road as she regained consciousness, Amy Osborne thought of her two children and wondered who – or what – had saved her life.

Osborne, 33, was on her regular run along 41st Street at about 7:50 p.m. Thursday when a car struck her and sped away as she crossed Meadow Avenue, just west of Interstate 29. Police still are searching for the man who hit Osborne.

Jogging up to the intersection, Osborne said she made eye contact with the driver, who was stopped and set back from the intersection. She began running across the street, and the driver of the blue-gray four-door car – witnesses described him as white and in his mid-20s – sped up and swerved toward her.

Osborne said she slammed her hands against the hood.

“I guess my hands on the hood kind of made it real that this guy was planning on running me over. He yelled something and sped up even more.”

She couldn’t make out what the man yelled but said he wasn’t someone she knew.

Police retrieved a video recording of the incident from a nearby gas station surveillance camera. “The angle is a little tough,” police spokesman Sam Clemens said, “but it looks like he didn’t even stop for the stop sign.” Witnesses said the man was stopped well short of the intersection and sped up when Osborne jogged into the street.

….. From her hospital room Friday at Sanford USD Medical Center, Osborne said her injuries could have been far worse. She has no broken bones and no major internal injuries.

“For what happened, and for how far I’m told I was thrown, I was lucky,” Osborne said. “All I had on was a pair of running shorts and a tank top.”

Osborne said the last thing she remembers is somebody pulling her up by the shoulders, saving her from being pulled under the car and from injuries that would have been far worse. The next thing she remembers, she said, is “looking into a bald firefighter’s eyes.”

But witnesses said there was nobody there, a fact confirmed by a video police retrieved from a nearby gas pump. Only after the car was gone and she was lying in the street did a small group of witnesses race over to stop traffic and stand guard as paramedics came.

Osborne said she couldn’t quite explain it.

“If there was nobody there to pull me up,” she said, and paused. “I didn’t come up on my own. And if that was my guardian angel, then that’s great.”

Go here for the full story.