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One nation, under too many laws (I never read a better OpEd.)
Washington Post ^ | December 12, 2010 | Philip K. Howard

Posted on 12/12/2010 11:50:05 AM PST by neverdem

America is choking on laws of our own making.

Once a law is in place in the United States, it's almost impossible to dislodge. Our political class assumes that, after a law is forged in the crucible of democracy, it should be honored as if it's one of the Ten Commandments - except it's more like one of 10 million...

--snip--

Sunset laws have been proposed from time to time, and they were a domestic priority for President Jimmy Carter. "Too many Federal programs have been allowed to continue indefinitely," he wrote to Congress in 1979, "without examining whether they are accomplishing what they were meant to do."...

--snip--

Americans know that the government is broken. According to a recent Clarus Research Group poll, 80 percent agree with that conclusion. By the same overwhelming majority, Americans also agree that the government "needs a basic overhaul" and should undertake "an annual 'spring cleaning' to eliminate unnecessary regulations and red tape."

Our founders never intended democracy to be a one-way ratchet, making laws but almost never unmaking them. Thomas Jefferson famously advocated small revolutions from time to time, believing that they are "as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. . . . It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." This is the medicine that America very much needs today.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: conservatism; legislation; liberalism; repealthecrap; sunsetlaws; teapartymovement
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Philip K. Howard, a lawyer, is the chair of the legal reform nonprofit Common Good and the author, most recently, of "Life Without Lawyers."
1 posted on 12/12/2010 11:50:10 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem
“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against... We’re after power and we mean it... There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
--Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged, 1957
The answer to this is widespread non-compliance and armed resistance.
2 posted on 12/12/2010 11:55:51 AM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: neverdem

Philip K. Howard, a lawyer,

That’s the only reason WaPo let him in the door.


3 posted on 12/12/2010 11:58:32 AM PST by DontTreadOnMe2009 (So stop treading on me already!)
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To: neverdem
after a law is forged in the crucible of democracy, it should be honored as if it's one of the Ten Commandments

For little people. If you ran your company into the ground and need a bailout, if you committed fraud, but with good intentions, if you need to violate accounting rules, if you need to make sure the right candidate wins, then laws are an inconvenience. Laws are there to determine who is in the club. If you have to obey the laws, you are not in the club.

4 posted on 12/12/2010 12:01:47 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: neverdem

Well, it is certainly a timely reminder that we need to reform and simplify our laws.

The tax code is the one most often talked about. Eliminate a few thousand pages of exceptions, to start with, and balance them with equivalent across-the-board tax cuts so that taxes don’t go up as a result.

The EPA is another obvious place to look. And the financial regulations, which seem mainly designed to crush competition while helping the big boys to cheat.

Affirmative action is another obvious place to start. All men (women, and children) are created EQUAL.

But I suspect we also need to finally put the screws to the tort lawyers. Some sort of lid needs to be put on liability lawsuits, if we are ever to get back to a simpler, more open kind of life.

Then it would be nice if we could throw out all the crooked, activist judges.

Utopia, anyone? Well, at least let’s make a start.


5 posted on 12/12/2010 12:10:04 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: neverdem
Grand sunset BUMP!
6 posted on 12/12/2010 12:17:54 PM PST by BenLurkin (This post is not a statement of fact. It is merely a personal opinion -- or humor -- or both)
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To: Noumenon

You beat me to it.


7 posted on 12/12/2010 12:20:17 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Cicero
The Tax Code should be pretty simple.

US Citizens and Resident Legal Aliens

Gross Income * 0.08% = Total Federal Tax Burden

No Deductions, no loopholes, nothing. Flat 8 percent.

US Owned and Operated Businesses and Corporations.

No Taxes.

8 posted on 12/12/2010 12:31:04 PM PST by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: neverdem

The we need to get something done syndrome. No, they need to get a lot Undone.


9 posted on 12/12/2010 12:31:19 PM PST by screaminsunshine (Americanism vs Communism)
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To: neverdem

jury nullification


10 posted on 12/12/2010 12:48:56 PM PST by phockthis
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To: Noumenon
Ayn Rand was so on the money. I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time during the '08 campaign. The whole beginning is almost verbatim what's happening today and the quote you gave sums it up.

After Friday's dueling Narcissist presser I really am fearful of where our country's headed.

11 posted on 12/12/2010 12:50:36 PM PST by YankeeReb
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To: neverdem; All

I have said for sometime that the problem with us is that “we don’t have the rule of law, we have the rule of lawyers.”


12 posted on 12/12/2010 12:53:09 PM PST by Sola Veritas (Trying to speak truth - not always with the best grammar or spelling)
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To: neverdem

The government is broken and it must be sterilized.


13 posted on 12/12/2010 1:03:04 PM PST by DarthVader (That which supports Barack Hussein Obama must be sterilized and there are NO exceptions!)
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To: YankeeReb; Lurker
With each passing day, Atlas Shrugged is becoming less of a novel and more of a documentary. I make it a point to re-read it every couple of years or so.
14 posted on 12/12/2010 1:04:33 PM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: Bryan24

.08% = a total tax of $80 on an income of $100k. While that’s a lovely idea, it won’t pay for our military, much less anything else.


15 posted on 12/12/2010 1:08:39 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: phockthis
jury nullification

Jurors are carefully selected to have no knowledge of this and many other topics. The only desirable skill of a juror is to listen to the "professionals," and judges are very much in support of this arrangement. There are plenty of people who can't find the USA on the map, and those become jurors who decide who is guilty and who is not. That's how Jammie Thomas verdict came to be.

16 posted on 12/12/2010 1:09:13 PM PST by Greysard
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To: Noumenon
“We want them broken. We’re after power and we mean it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking lawsnow, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game”
17 posted on 12/12/2010 1:09:23 PM PST by Publius (No taxation without respiration.)
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To: neverdem

how about another “house” of congress devoted to repealing laws?


18 posted on 12/12/2010 1:18:10 PM PST by bd59903
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To: neverdem

My solution...In order to pass one law you must REPEAL 100 until we get back to the original 10. Even that would take millenia.


19 posted on 12/12/2010 1:31:04 PM PST by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannolis. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Sherman Logan

It’s obvious he meant 8%, he actually stated that in his next sentence.

If you multiply a number by 0.08, you get 8% (8 parts of one hundred).

Pedantry is unbecoming.


20 posted on 12/12/2010 1:34:06 PM PST by Don W (I keep some folks' numbers in my 'phone just so I know NOT to answer when they call...)
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To: neverdem

In my high school “Humanities” class my very liberal teacher asked the class what law they would pass if they could pass only one.

Most of the kids gave the standard suck-up responses but when she got to me I replied, “If I could only pass one law it would be that for every new law passed four would have to be eliminated”.

My lefty teacher was shocked, “Why on earth would you do such a thing?!”

“Simple” I explained, “We already have too many useless laws on the books. Tons of them don’t make any sense now, even if they ever made sense to begin with.”

“So Congress would have to pick four laws - at random if they like - and eliminate them. In due time they would get to the point where they would actually have to think about the laws they were enacting.”

She flunked me...;-)


21 posted on 12/12/2010 1:34:56 PM PST by rockrr ("I said that I was scared of you!" - pokie the pretend cowboy)
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To: Sherman Logan

$100,000.00 * 0.08 = $8,000.00


22 posted on 12/12/2010 1:36:03 PM PST by avoCAdos
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To: Don Corleone

LOL. I just read your post after posting my #21 ;-)


23 posted on 12/12/2010 1:37:56 PM PST by rockrr ("I said that I was scared of you!" - pokie the pretend cowboy)
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To: screaminsunshine
The we need to get something done syndrome. No, they need to get a lot Undone.

Exactly!


Runaway Slave

Apostle Claver tells the world how the real party of racism is the Democrats

24 posted on 12/12/2010 1:56:49 PM PST by rdb3 (The mouth is the exhaust pipe of the heart.)
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To: neverdem

One nation, under too many laws..

Been saying that for years and I strongly believe being a member of Congress is at best a part time job. You get called in when there’s REAL problem like someone getting ready to attack us etc. Otherwise, sit on your ass and do NOTHING and America will once again prosper.


25 posted on 12/12/2010 2:04:50 PM PST by maddog55 (OBAMA, You can't fix stupid...)
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To: Don W

“Pedantry is unbecoming.”


That’s what I tell the IRS when I use the 0.35% rate on my income tax.


26 posted on 12/12/2010 2:14:26 PM PST by zeestephen
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To: neverdem

Awesome post!

My feeling is we are choking under the weight of one insane law after another, and then they have to be enforced with specialized agents, or the local cops have to do it. It is why I no longer truly feel we are living in the free country that our founders gave us.

This is one of the biggest problems we have and is never discussed. Also, there is the claim that “ignorance of the law” is no defense - well, I’d say its a damn good defense nowadays!


27 posted on 12/12/2010 2:23:36 PM PST by LibertyLA (videos fighting libtards!)
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To: neverdem
Sunset laws have been proposed from time to time, and they were a domestic priority for President Jimmy Carter. "Too many Federal programs have been allowed to continue indefinitely," he wrote to Congress in 1979, "without examining whether they are accomplishing what they were meant to do."

Damn! Jimmy Carter did say something that made sense once.

28 posted on 12/12/2010 2:26:59 PM PST by Tom D. (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benj. Franklin)
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To: Sherman Logan

I think the extra % sign was a typo.


29 posted on 12/12/2010 2:33:32 PM PST by rfp1234 (Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers!)
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To: neverdem

ping for later


30 posted on 12/12/2010 2:49:37 PM PST by jocon307
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To: Sherman Logan

Bryan24 should have left the percent sign out of his formula. He meant 8%. Which I believe is too low. Prolly more like 20%.

Merry Christmas


31 posted on 12/12/2010 3:19:45 PM PST by upchuck (When excerpting please use the entire 300 words we are allowed. No more one or two sentence posts!)
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To: Noumenon
The answer to this is widespread non-compliance and armed resistance.

Thanks for the quote from Ayn Rand. Limited gov't being one of the primary aims of the Tea Party movement, I'd like the Tea Party movement to take up the issue of sunset laws and repealing a lot of the nonsense before we have to water the tree of liberty, IMHO.

32 posted on 12/12/2010 3:22:10 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...

This should be the Tea Party’s cup of tea. I haven’t read anything in this forum against the Tea Party movement, so I’m pinging all my lists for this OpEd about sunset laws and repealing a lot of the nonsense that Congress just ignores once it is passed as a law. Jimmy Carter had one good idea!


33 posted on 12/12/2010 3:59:50 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: rockrr
She flunked me...;-)

No wonder why the others sucked up.

34 posted on 12/12/2010 4:01:32 PM PST by danielmryan
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To: neverdem

bump for later read


35 posted on 12/12/2010 4:02:30 PM PST by RightField (one of the obstreperous citizens insisting on incorrect thinking - C. Krauthamer)
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To: Tom D.
"Damn! Jimmy Carter did say something that made sense once."

Concur. I'm amazed that there is even this ONE thing that I agree with Jimmuh on, but he was right on this.

36 posted on 12/12/2010 4:07:58 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: neverdem
--good one-

-ties in with my oft-stated comment that when I was a kid you often heard the phrase "it's a free country" and every now and then "there oughtta be a law"-- unfortunately , the second statement came to dominate---

37 posted on 12/12/2010 4:09:03 PM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the media or government says about firearms or explosives--)
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To: neverdem

One addendum I would putin, is that any repeal MUST be of the EXACT original bill or you would get crap like the extension of the current tax rates which seems to have turned into a porkfest.


38 posted on 12/12/2010 4:39:31 PM PST by dynachrome ("Our forefathers didn't bury their guns. They buried those that tried to take them.")
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To: Wonder Warthog
"Damn! Jimmy Carter did say something that made sense once."

Concur. I'm amazed that there is even this ONE thing that I agree with Jimmuh on, but he was right on this.

Stopped clocks and all that.

39 posted on 12/12/2010 4:51:59 PM PST by iceskater (11/2/10 - the beginning of the beginning of restoration.)
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To: neverdem
Our political class assumes that, after a law is forged in the crucible of democracy, it should be honored as if it's one of the Ten Commandments

Unless, of course, they're immigration laws. Then it's just mean old Republicans that want to keep the poor minority "undocumented future citizens" from crossing the border to a better life that only America's Socialist party (DemonRats) can provide.

40 posted on 12/12/2010 4:53:33 PM PST by Hardastarboard (Bringing children to America without immigration documents is child abuse. Let's end it.)
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To: neverdem
Our political class assumes that, after a law is forged in the crucible of democracy, it should be honored as if it's one of the Ten Commandments

Unless, of course, they're immigration laws. Then it's just mean old Republicans that want to keep the poor minority "undocumented future citizens" from crossing the border to a better life that only America's Socialist party (DemonRats) can provide.

41 posted on 12/12/2010 4:53:33 PM PST by Hardastarboard (Bringing children to America without immigration documents is child abuse. Let's end it.)
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To: neverdem

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Congress shall meet for one session not to exceed one year total in any two year congress.

Members of congress shall remain within the boundaries of their respective congressional districts when not in session.

The members of congressmen’s staff shall be present within the confines of the congressional district when congress is not in session.

All measures passed into law by the congress shall apply equally to the members of congress and the other branches of federal government and to the people. Congress shall not exempt its members nor any other employee of federal government, whether elected or appointed, from laws passed.


42 posted on 12/12/2010 5:06:11 PM PST by oneolcop (Lead, Follow or Get the Hell Out of the Way!)
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To: neverdem
I’m pinging all my lists for this OpEd about sunset laws and repealing a lot of the nonsense that Congress just ignores once it is passed as a law. Jimmy Carter had one good idea!

The ESA expired. Did that do any good, or was it revised by an even more craven claque of fools?

This strikes me like "term limits," a systemic band-aid that supposedly fixes a more serious structural problem. Good representatives get rid of bad laws without need for sunset provisions while nothing in a sunset provision precludes bad representatives from making things worse when bad laws expire. So what is to prevent a legislature "too busy" to pass continuing legislation from crafting a statute that over-rides existing sunset provisions so that they can get to that "another day"? I just don't think it would do very much.

That should tell you all you need to know about whether this would work. There is no substitute for informed voters electing good people.

43 posted on 12/12/2010 5:10:29 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: Carry_Okie

What was the ESA?


44 posted on 12/12/2010 5:29:25 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
The important safeguard of environmental review, for example, has evolved into a kind of perpetual process machine. A wind farm was recently approved off the Massachusetts coast after 10 years of study by 16 different agencies. Now the project is stalled by a dozen lawsuits claiming, yes, inadequate review. Rebuilding this country's fraying infrastructure is basically impossible, at least in a timely way, because no official has the authority to say "go." To overcome delays such as these, Congress needs to reconsider how its laws requiring environmental study work in practice.

The LAST thing we need is an 'interstate' for looney liberal environmental 'laws' - thank God they're slowed down...

45 posted on 12/12/2010 5:46:19 PM PST by GOPJ (Sharpton wants Limbaugh off the air- if you don't hate liberals yet, you're not paying attention.)
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To: neverdem

I received this through Email recently. It fits:

Received from Rev. Keith Plank of Nebraska:
A LAWYER WITH A BRIEFCASE CAN STEAL
MORE THAN A THOUSAND MEN WITH GUNS.
Vito Corleone

This is very interesting! I never thought about it this way.

The Lawyers’ Party by Bruce Walker *

The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers Party.
Barack Obama is a lawyer.
Michelle Obama is a lawyer.
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer.
Bill Clinton is a lawyer.
John Edwards is a lawyer.
Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer(deceased).

Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate).

Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school.

Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress:
Harry Reid is a lawyer.
Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.

The Republican Party is different.

President Bush is a businessman.
Vice President Cheney is a businessman.
The leaders of the Republican Revolution:
Newt Gingrich was a history professor.
Tom Delay was an exterminator.
Dick Armey was an economist.
House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer.
The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon.

Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer?
Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.

The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers.

The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers. Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich.

The Lawyers Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America . And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers Party, grow.

Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail?

Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.

This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers. Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case the American people.

Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side.

Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation.

When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming.

Some Americans become adverse parties of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit. We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.

Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives. America has a place for laws and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked.

When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in America is too big.

** When House Democrats sue America in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning to do to us, then the role of litigation in America has become crushing.

We cannot expect the Lawyers Party to provide real change, real reform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in which every major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges is not what Washington intended in 1789.

Most Americans grasp that we cannot fight a war when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders. Most Americans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore declining moral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy.

Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business.

Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work.

Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 66% of the world’s lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in Congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party.

When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high!

FEEL FREE TO PASS THIS ON.


46 posted on 12/12/2010 5:56:25 PM PST by wizr (Keep the Faith! Even when it gets tough! Nothing else will do.)
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To: Noumenon
The answer to this is widespread non-compliance and armed resistance.

You go first. 0.5 / s

47 posted on 12/12/2010 6:13:34 PM PST by sionnsar (IranAzadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5:SONY|Why are TSA exempt from their own searches?)
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To: Bryan24

What about import tariffs?


48 posted on 12/12/2010 6:45:35 PM PST by wastedyears (It has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with control.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


49 posted on 12/12/2010 7:05:58 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: upchuck

Joke.


50 posted on 12/12/2010 7:06:56 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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