Goodwin Liu: Obama's radical left appointee to the Federal 9th circuit court

"Liu believes that judges have the authority to impose their views... using clever verbal camouflage to disguise what they’re doing." -- Ed Whelan, a one-time clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and now president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (3/4/10)

It was this statement from an email forwarded to me by a friend who is a member of Gun Owners of America (GOA)  that first caught my eye.  In an article titled "Obama Pushing Another Radical Anti-Gunner to the Federal Bench", GOA goes on to detail out the biography of Obama's new federal judgeship appointee, Goodwin Liu.

Based on this article, I decided to do some more digging into the appointment and what I found truly scared me.  By looking at the views of Mr. Liu, we can gain a much deeper understanding of President Obama's views and intentions for our country.

To begin, Mr. Liu does not even meet the standards required by the American Bar Association for federal judgeship.  According to the ABA's published evaluation criteria, a appointee should have at least 12 years experience in the practice of law, with substantial courtroom and trial experience. As Mr. Liu is only 39, he has not yet even been out of law school for 12 years and has no experience as a trial lawyer, having never represented a case before the courts. Even more shocking than his lack of experience necessary for this life time appoint, is his societal and judiciary views.

In 2005, Liu, in speaking out against the nomination of  John Roberts, made the statement that "the values of Free Enterprise, private ownership of property, and limited government were code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.".  Read that carefully, this nomination for a federal judgeship believes that very core principals on which America was founded, are coded words for an ideological hostile agenda.  To think that we could have a judge appointed to the 9th district court who does not value private property rights and extols the virtues of an expanded government are nothing short of pure frightening.

In the same strain, Theodore Frank, President of the Center for Class Action Fairness, goes on to state that Mr. Liu also believes that the judiciary has the duty to foster the "evolution of welfare rights".  That it is the judicial responsibility to step in and act as the both the legislature and executive branch in instances where legislatures have failed to affirmatively act in areas to "leverage the expansion of existing social programs".  Further more, William Wilson expands on this by stating, that according to Liu, a "right" is what ever society says it is.  He goes on to quote Liu as saying that the federal courts have a duty to render decisions based upon societal consensus that a person possess a right to goods and services based on "how a society understands it's obligations of mutual provision."  In 2008, Liu wrote that "the existence of a welfare right [emphasis added] depends on democratic instantiation in the first instance, typically in the form of a legislated program, with the judiciary generally limited to an interstitial role".  This simply means that if the government performs subsidy or provision of welfare to any portion of the population, then the whole population should have access to that right.  I.E., if government provides assistance to any group, then the entire population should be afforded the same assistance via "judicial distribution".  He continues his defense of this position by suggesting that constitution "assigns equal constitutional status to negative rights against government oppression and positive rights to government assistance on the ground that both are essential to liberty", but does not point to where these "positive rights to government assistance" exist within the constitution.

In his 2008 Stanford Law Review article, Liu supports a judicial role in establishing constitutional welfare rights, or "affirmative rights" to education, shelter, subsistence, healthcare, and the like, or to the money these things costs.  So, either we provide full welfare, or we extract the monies needed to provide them.  Can you see the case that he would make for the upholding of the health care bill?  It is Liu's view that there is a constitutional right to welfare that echo's Obama's discontent that the Warren Court didn't break free from "the essential constraints" of the US Constitution to launch a major redistribution of wealth.  Starting to notice a theme here?

To further compound his radical views, it is his opinion that reparations for acts committed in the 19th century should be born by those of the 20th century.  According to Bench Memos by Ed Whelan, in 2008, Goodwin commented on a documentary film Traces of the Trade, exploring the role of New Englanders in the slave trade, that:

"I think I would draw a distinction between a concept of guilt, which locates accountability in a sort of limited set of wrong-doers, and, on the other hand, a concept of responsibility, which is, I think, a more broad suggestion that all of us, whatever our lineage, whatever our ancestry, whatever our complicity, still have a moral duty to … make things right."

He goes on to state;

the exercise of that responsibility … necessarily requires the answer to the question, “What are we willing to give up to make things right?” Because it’s going to require us to give up something, whether it is the seat at Harvard, the seat at Princeton. Or is it going to require us to give up our segregated neighborhoods, our segregated schools? Is it going to require us to give up our money?

Clearly he thinks that it is the burden of all people, regardless of compliancy in a crime, to  have the duty to provide money, or other reparations, to any that may have suffered in the path.  Again, this is yet another expansion of social programs, in that the provision of monetary reparations for actions against an ancestor, not those actually harmed, is deemed "morally prudent and right".

Lastly, Mr. Liu has far left radical views on the merits and translation of the constitution which could irrevocably harm future ruling of the courts.  In a book written by Liu, Keeping Faith with the Constitution, he states:

"Applications of constitutional text and principles must be open to adaptation and change ... as the conditions and norms of our society become ever more distant from those of the Founding generation." 

Going on, he further comments that "it's clear why 'originalism'  or 'strict construction' doesn't' make a lot of sense.  The framers deliberately chose broad words so that they would be adaptable over time."  It is this belief that the founding principals, thus their interpretation within the confines of the constitution, that most frightens gun owners and constitutionalists alike.  It is Liu's belief that, while gun ownership was prudent in the days of the founding, that dictate doesn't apply to today's day.  Further more, he went on to co-author an article (Separation Anxiety: Congress, the Courts, and the Constitution) with then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in which they criticized the Supreme Court decisions declaring two federal bans unconstitutional stating:

[W]hat we have seen in recent years gives me pause. . . . Those changes have come directly from the courts in a series of rulings that have effectively worked to exclude the body politic from the ongoing search for constitutional meaning.

Unless I have a complete misunderstanding of the American political system, it is not the duty of the political body (Congress) to deem what is constitutional and what is not, that is a duty left expressly to the judicial branch.  By checks and balances, if the judicial branch deems a legislative action unconstitutional, the the political body has the option of trying to amend it.  To further compound this view of judicial legislation, Liu goes on to try and expand the roles of congress for determining constitutionality by stating:

When the Constitution says that Congress shall have power “to regulate commerce ... among the several States,” does that not suggest that Congress has some role in determining what counts as interstate commerce? . . . The Court’s recent opinions seem to say no. In the eyes of the Court, whatever Congress may think the Constitution permits or requires does not seem to count for much.

Again, this is a matter of checks and balances.  If the Congress has the authority to "regulate commerce", but also has the power to decide what is deemed to be "commerce", then what limitations exist to the power of congress.  The founders created a three part government specifically to counter the ability of any one group to hold a supreme power over the others.  If Congress were allowed to deem what is/isn't considered commerce, then additionally have the power to regulate it, then by virtue, the congress would have unlimited power over every aspect of society.  The limitation imposed on this power is by virtue of the President being able to veto legislation proposed by Congress, but also by the ability of Judicial branch to determine the scope in which the Congress can regulate via the constitution.  With a federal judge believing that the legislative branch has this power, we risk the chance of handing unbridled control over to them and imposing a threat of tyranny upon the people.

Goodwin Liu is an unqualified, far left radical, who if appointed to the 9th district court, stands in line to be groomed for the Supreme Court.  His views of social impact on constitutional interpretation, along with his belief that Congress has the ability to determine scope of constitutionality, make this a very dangerous man who could stand to fundamentally change the method of checks and balances imposed on our government.  I urge you write your senators and demand that they deny confirmation.  A man of these views has no right to sit in a life time judicial appointment and his confirmation must be stopped!


Health Care: Why you should support challenging the bill...

Well, folks, it's final.  ObamaCare has been passed, signed, and is now the law of the land.  However, don't you think for a second that this debate is over.  Even as the ink of the Presidential signature was drying, nine states readied their legal machines to post constitutional challenges to the bill, including: Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington.  As of this writing, officials in North Dakota are also considering joining the case.

In addition, many states are also taking legislative actions to try and block the bill.  Virginia and Idaho have already passed laws aimed at blocking the bills insurance requirements in their states.  Michigan and Colorado are now in the middle of a petition drives asking voters if they would like to add a measure to exempt their states and Arizona has approved a constitutional amendment for their ballots in November.  Regardless of whether these states succeed, they are keeping the issue in front of the voters until the all important November elections, ensuring that we don't forget about this monstrosity that was rammed down our throats.

So, you may be asking yourself, "why should I be concerned with these challenges?"  The answer is simple, if upheld, this health care bill will give the Federal government unprecedented control over your personal lives and freedom.  Not only in the realm of health care, but on the slippery slope that could extend to all facets of your life.

In an interview with Rep Michael Burgess (R-Tx) written by Nicholas Ballasy of CNSNews, Rep. Burgess contends that if government could require US citizens to purchase health care insurance via an individual mandate, then a precedent is set in which the government could require all Americans to purchase anything, such as a GM car.

Think about that for a second.  Could this really happen?  I don't see why not. With all the false hoopla surrounding global warming and human impact on the environment, is it really such a stretch to imagine a time where the government would force citizens to purchase yet another product for the "good of the union"?  The Fed already owns and controls a majority of the auto industry with it's take over of General Motors.  So hypothetically, let's say that that GM produces an automobile that gets 50 mpg with only a 1/3rd of the emissions of current day cars.  Can you honestly say that you think it's implausible that the government would mandate all Americans would have to purchase that automobile in an effort to "save the environment".  Too far out there you think?

Well, folks, it's not really!  You need only look at the "cap and trade" bill to see that the Fed is already started down this path.  Within the bill, the fed is attempting to legislate everything from your appliances, hot tubs, even the light bulbs that you are able to put in your house.  In fact, per the bill, as early as 2012, all current outdoor lighting will be eliminated (parking lots, stadiums, etc) in favor of more "energy efficient lighting".  It is estimated that this change over could cost one small utility company over $30M in annual revenue.  Where do you think that utility company will make up those costs?  By shifting that burden over to the consumers of course.  You looking to sell a house in 2012, well you may not be able to unless your house passes a government imposed "energy audit" that will penalize you for older windows, dated appliances, and yes, even the wrong type of light bulbs.

So if the sell of your house could be blocked by not having the "right" appliances installed, isn't the government already mandating what products you can buy?  Aren't they already exerting control over your lives and economic livelihood?   Now couple that with the fact that these appliances, lights, etc are REQUIRED by federal law, you'll have no choice, you must buy them.  If that's the case, where is the free market and competition to drive prices down?  There is none, as you are now a captive market.  You can't simply choose to use another light bulb for fear you will be penalized by the government, so therefore, manufacturers can charge what ever they want.  You want to talk about price fixing, this is the bill that will pave the way for price fixing on a massive scale.

So why should you support these challenges?  You should support them to remain a free people.  You should support them to remind the Federal government that it is subservient to the people.  You should support because you value the freedom of choice and liberty that makes America the greatest nation the world has ever known.  You need only to look at "hybrid" cars today to know that this kind of intervention will harm your lives.  Yes, you can buy a car now that gets 45 MPG, but when you look at the price differential between these hybrid and conventional autos, you know that unless you drive 100,000 miles a year, you will never offset the cost that the extra fuel saving will grant you.  Now imagine being told by the Federal government that you have no choice, you must purchase this car and that those that can't afford the car, will be subsidized out of YOUR pocket book.  This is what the health car bill does and this is the precedent it sets.  It's time to fight for your right to be free and support anyone that opposes this bill.  Your very freedom and economic livelihood depends on it.


Jay Inslee (D-WA) calls out Rob McKenna (AG - WA) in the most offensive of ways

Check out the following email forwarded to me by Lola in Washington state.  In a letter to IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) asking them to rally against Rob McKenna's effort to challenge the Health Care bills constitutionality.

Pay special care to the sections that I placed in bold and my following comment.  These are the tactics that are being utilized by those on the left.  We simply can't allow this.  If your AG is one of the ones challenging this healthcare monstrosity, call them and show your support.  If you AG is not, make your voice known that he/she should be.  Lastly, if you are one of those "right-wing extremists" that feels this bill imposes on your personal freedoms, by all means, call Jay up and let him know what you think of his email!

Jay Inslee

United States House of Representatives

403 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 205156-4701


District Office

Shoreline Center, Suite E-800

18560 1st Ave NE

Shoreline, WA 98155-2150


Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 19:30:28 +0000
From: Getactive@ibew46.com
To: <email removed>        
Subject: Are you a party to this lawsuit?

Dear <name removed>,

As a Washingtonian, born and raised on the Puget Sound, having
lived on the east side of the state for almost 20 years, having
been elected on both sides of the state, and Trudi and I having
raised our family in the state these past 35 years, I think I
have a pretty good handle on what it means to be a

Attorney General Rob McKenna joining a cabal of states like
South Carolina, Utah, and Alabama to strip Americans of health
care coverage is, in my opinion, not the Washington Way.
Nonetheless, McKenna is dragging you, me, and all Washington
taxpayers into a high profile tilt at windmills backed by the
fringe elements of the Republican party

Rednex Note:  Fringe elements of the Republican party?  Really?  I guess the 54% of Americans who favor repealing the law are also "fringe" elements?  44% of that 54% STRONGLY FAVOR repeal.

We should not allow Rob to use our tax dollars to go against
Washington interests. I'm glad you signed our petition already
and are with me on this -- but now we need to get others to
join. Please forward this email to five of your friends right
now and ask them to sign, too.

What is the reason for this? To deny insurance coverage to 32
million Americans
and 1.5 million Washingtonians? To cozy up to
the insurance lobby, America's Health Insurance Plans, which
opposed the bill? To ingratiate himself with the Tea Party
activists and right-wing extremists

Rednex note:  First, challenging the law will not deny coverage for 32M Americans, but instead, mitigate the mandate that Americans MUST buy coverage.  This bill does not provide health care, it instead makes you purchase it.  Also, to cozy up and ingratiate himself?  Again Jay, 54% of Americans do not want this bill!  Maybe you should try listening to the people instead of thinking you know what is best for them, even against their wishes.  Lastly, only Tea Party activists and "right wing extremists" oppose this bill?  Amazing to me that he thinks an overwhelming majority of the country are extremists.

These are questions that I cannot answer with certainty. What I
certainly do know, is that we should demand he stop.
Whatever his motivations are, we can't let Rob McKenna deny
health insurance to thousands of Washingtonians

Rednex note:  He's not denying anything.  He's challenging the constitutionality of the ability of an over bearing government to impose a purchase mandate on it's people.  He is upholding the rights of the citizenship to be free peoples. Sounds like a reasonable challenge to me.

Please sign my petition. If you believe, as I do, that
Washington State taxpayers should not be party to this suit,
please forward this to five friends now and invite them to sign
the petition as well!


I find Rob McKenna's actions particularly disturbing. Not
because I worked for over a year to get this health care bill
passed. Not because my colleagues and I spent many nights
negotiating language that finally addressed a decades-long
Medicare reimbursement inequity for our state. And not
necessarily because he decided to do this without consulting
with his clients
, the governor and the Legislature.

Rednex note:  Of course you do Jay.  The leftists find anything to promote freedom, liberty, or free choice disturbing.  As far as not consulting his clients, I beg to differ and to keep badgering on this point, but 54% of Americans oppose this bill. Try listening to YOUR clients!

What I find particularly disturbing is that the state that has
led the country in technology, led the country in environmental
protection, and led the country in tolerance is now in league
with the Attorney General of South Carolina, a state where they
are fighting against teaching evolution in schools and continue
to fly the Confederate flag on public grounds
. This is not the
Washington way.

Rednex note: Wow!  Not really sure what to say to this one.  Is he just saying that South Carolina is a backward state when it comes to comparison with Washington?  Or, by the merits of "led the country in tolerance" then following with South Carolina's allowance of the "flying of the Confederate Flag on public grounds", is he implying that South Carolina is a racist state who's ideals on the constitution should hold no bearing for that reason?  Surely not!  Far be it from the Democratic party to ever take part in race baiting??  You decide.

While growing up, I knew a lot of families in difficult
circumstances. I know that Rob McKenna's actions have real
impacts on real people. This is not an academic debate.
We need a strong statement, and we need it now. Please forward
this message to five friends now and invite them to sign the
petition as well!

Rednex note:  On this, I agree with you Jay.  This is not an academic debate.  When it comes to health care, the left solidly lost the academic debate, instead resorting to buying of votes and corrupt measures to push the bill thru.  When you were unable to defend the position on academic grounds, you resorted to thuggery.  Even on the grounds of constitutionality, you are losing the debate and are now resulting in name calling to try and further your agenda.

Thank you for joining me in this important and pressing fight.
Your support has helped carry us through the long year to
achieve health care reform, and it will sustain us again as we
work to defeat this last-ditch effort to defeat the change we
voted for in 2008.

Rednex Note:  I know, I know, I sound like a broken record, but 54% Jay did not want this bill.  "We" did not vote for this monstrosity, you did.  You and your leftist elites voted for this bill because you cared not what the people want, but because you think you know best.  You voted for a health care bill for the "little people" but also chose to exempt yourself.  Hmmm, if it's so good, why are you and your comrades not participating.  All I can say is, watch your political back in November, as it seems only 37% say you deserve to keep your job.

Very truly yours,
Jay Inslee
Member of Congress

Health Care Options not accounted for in ObamaCare - Part 3: Tort Reform

For part three of viable health care options, we will look at the very controversial subject of Tort reform.  If you were to research tort reform, you will find countless articles and papers both for, and against, the impact of reforming our court systems as they pertain to medical practice.  Many in the opposition will state that tort reform results in little (less than 1% of total)  of health care, thus stating that tort reform will be inconsequential in lowering cost.  However, many of these stories are one sided and do not look at the big picture.  In addition, it must be remembered, that advocating for Tort Reform is not be seen as the "silver bullet" to making costs affordable, but instead, one of a number of steps that build off each other for the end goal.

First, the impact of medical malpractice on our health care system.  According to the American Academy of Orthopedic  Surgeons,  it is estimated that between $76B - $126B is spent each year on medical liability litigation.  In addition, one year later, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported that malpractice premiums have increased by 920% during the past three decades.   Furthermore, in a study by the Massachusetts Medical Society, it was found that the growth rate of medical malpractice premiums grew at 12% per year, four times the rate of inflation, since 1975.  The same study also  found that million dollar verdicts were now the norm, with 52% of all awards exceeding $1M, with the average reward coming in at $4.7M.

We should note that the above costs are hard costs only, meaning that this is just the estimated costs that will get passed on to consumers, in that, as doctor's medical malpractice premiums rise, then the additional cost for those premiums will be added to costs of service.  It does nothing to show the "soft costs" of medical care which we will explore below, and are often the costs that are left out of other reports.

Limitation of Doctors services:  Specifically in rural areas

One of the associated soft costs is how the current medical malpractice system limits the amount, and quality, of medical services, specifically in rural areas.  According to Government Accountability Office (GAO) study GAO-03-836: Medical Malpractice and Access to Health Care, they were able to confirm that physician responses to malpractice pressures resulted in a decrease to access to high risk services such as emergency surgery, newborn deliveries, and orthopedic practices in five states.  This typically happened in more rural areas, meaning that patients typically had travel much further to receive care.  In addition, it impacts the number of doctors who choose to practice in "high risk states", or states without some measure of tort reform.  In the same GAO study,  Jacksonville, FL, alone has seen the loss of 75 ER doctors due to malpractice pressures, while Clark County, Nevada, has seen over 60 orthopedic surgeons move to other regions thus creating access problems there.  The study goes on to give more examples in talking about loss of orthopedic wards,  trauma centers, and other high risk practices through out states such as Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

As more doctors leave states and rural areas, then the supply of doctors for those services goes down, while the demand maintains or climbs due to population growth.  This results in doctors that do continue to practice these services to raise the cost of their services due to more of the hardship and demand upon their services.  In addition, hospitals and care facilities, must also raise their prices, as more consumers come from wider areas due to lack of access nearby consumer need.

Defensive Medicine

Another main soft cost attributing to higher health care costs is the practice of defensive medicine.  By definition, defensive medicine is the practice of ordering, or performance, of medically unnecessary procedures unlikely to benefit the patient but to protect one from lawsuit.  Since it's hard to tell what is medically necessary or not, the true cost of defensive medicine is hard to "score", but a report by Philip Howard in the Washington Post puts the estimated cost at $100-$200B per year.  Additionally, a Pacific Research Institute study found that the impact of defensive medicine on medical expenditures was estimated to be $124B annually, with another $38 billion in reduced access to health care.   In 2003, the Harvard School of Public Health and Columbia Law performed a study for the Journal of American Medical Association that found that ~90% of doctors in high risk specialties performed some measure of defensive medicine.  In all these incidents, doctors reported ordering test that they considered medically unnecessary as a matter of avoidance behavior, while others reported changing their practices to avoid high risk procedures or patients that they feared would result in legal action.  To really get a look at costs across the nation, look at the results of the Massachusetts medical study above, that showed, just for Massachusetts alone, that the estimated costs of defensive medicine cost $280,925,220 annually (Table 1).  If you take these figures and used across all states according to population, you start to understand the astronomical "soft cost" that defensive medicine enacts on the health care system as a whole.

So how do we fix these issues?  What are the proposals that that will represent the step of tort reform in the total package of health care reform?

Well the first step is the limitation on erroneous pay outs in the areas of "pain and suffering".  As detailed above, the average payout of verdicts is now reaching $4.7M, which has led to an era of "jackpot legal lotteries" within our justice system.  Instead, it would seem prudent to allow unlimited damages for "actual" damages, but to limit the amounts of verdicts for these so called "pain and suffering" claims.  Several states have already led the way with these enactments.  Within Texas, Proposition 12, which placed a limit on jury awards for medical cases had the direct impact of reducing the number of claims by 50% and allowing more than 3,000 physicians to return to the state.  By providing more physicians to come to the state, the laws of supply and demand come back into effect.  With more doctors competing for business, and providing more access to service in rural regions, prices come down to reflect the new market conditions.  Likewise, California also enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, imposing a $250K cap on non-economic damages.  Since the passage of this act, medical liability premiums have been 75% lower when compared to the rest of the nation.  By the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) own study, if nationwide jury limitations were imposed, $54B in savings would be realized over the next decade, which is almost 10 times more than previously expected.  Of that $54B, $13B would come in the form of revenue realized by health care costs decreasing for employers, thus driving up wage increases and taxable income.  In the same strain, a study by Daniel Kessler and Mark McClellan, showed that in states with tort reform already enacted, that an overall reduction of 5-9% was seen in medical expenditures with no substantial effects on mortality or medical complications.

Another reform effort is the elimination of the "joint and several liability" precedent now in effect.  Under joint and several, a claimant is able to recover the entire amount of an award from any one of the parties, regardless of their degree of responsibility for the injury.  By eliminating this precedent, parties would only be responsible for payment based on their degree of responsibility.  Why should parties be subject to higher pay outs based on their ability to pay, when they may have only a fraction of responsibility.  In effect, this would help to limit the amount of liability that a person must have, thus further reducing risk and premium increases.

Another form of reform, largely unpopular with the trial lawyer special interests that back the Democratic party, is the limiting or cap on lawyers fees that attorney's can collect on a damage award.  When awards are granted, on average, only $.15 of every dollar actually go to the claimant.  Lawyers can often collect up to 50% of settlements in contingency fees (average is 1/3rd).  By allowing for these huge payoffs, lawyers are more likely to seek exorbitant amounts of damages in order to line their own pocket book and at the expense of the client.  Likewise, since clients often can sue with no risk to themselves, they will be more likely, sometimes even persuaded, to partake in frivolous suits in hopes of a big payoff.  If we were to cap the amount of contingency fees allowable, lawyers would be less apt to engage in these sorts of suits, thus again, limiting the amount of malpractice claims.  In fact, a study posted in New England Journal of Medicine showed that 40% of all claims showed no neglect or fault (3% no actual injury, 37% no error).  40% reduction would also help clear up our clogged and back logged legal system, which is just another soft cost not attributed as directly impacting the taxpayer.

Lastly, we should establish a specialized court system to specifically handle cases of medical malpractice.  Let's be frank, accidents happen, short cuts sometimes result in loss of life or preventable injury, and those people deserve to be compensated.  However, in today's systems, we leave the merit of such claims to jury's of medically uneducated people leaving court cases to often become a case of emotional involvement and who makes the best argument.  While I fully back a jury system of trials, there are cases in which the jury should be comprised of peoples specifically trained as subject matter experts in the issues involved.   I am in no way a medical expert, but if involved in a medical malpractice case, it would be up to me to help determine fault, and amount of responsibility, each party had.  How can the common man be expected to make such determinations?  Instead, it would be better to have specialized medical courts with juries comprised of medical personnel and judges with medical knowledge serving the bench.  These courts would be better equipped to understand the severity of malpractice claims, thus rewarding accordingly.  Shift the responsibility to judge onto those people best equipped to do so.  When we take the emotional aspect out of the trial system, focusing on medical fact and known science, we would have the ability to better expedite judgements, and penalties,  based on the knowledge of the system.  Such cases could then be modeled after hospital "mortality hearings" that follow the death of a patient in which a group of doctors discuss and analyze the care that was granted to the deceased to see if appropriate care was given.  Expand this mentality to all medical cases, thus allowing, not only true, fair judgements on case merits, but also an establishment of medical precedent to prevent failures in the future.

While there are other methods that we can help reduce health care costs, these three parts represent what I believe to be the heavy hitters.  Other methods of cost reduction would be directly born from these measures (such as tax code revisions, etc), but with these three, we would set our country on a path to true reform. 


Health care reform options not accounted for in ObamaCare - Part 2: Health Savings Accounts

Welcome to part 2 of real reform options that will help the true issue of high medical cost, thus making health care more affordable to all Americans.  In this segment, we will discuss the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to help provide choice, cost savings, and options for providing of health care.

Most people have heard of the HSA idea, but few are really aware of how they can be used.  You've probably heard all the talking points of how no one can afford to fund the accounts, how it will shift costs on to the worker, etc, but is any of that information really true?  The answer is partially, but only in circumstances where HSAs are not set up in the appropriate manner.

First, let's define HSAs.  HSAs are a tax deferred medical savings account in which both employees and employers can contribute pre-tax money for the purpose of paying for qualifying medical expenses when used in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance plan.  HSAs are one of the only tax-free vehicles that allow, not only the pre-tax contributions, but also tax-free withdrawals if used for medical expenses.  In addition, HSAs, unlike Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), allow the interest bearing money in the account to roll over year to year rather than being a "use it or lose it" method and these accounts are owned by the employee, not the business.  In this capacity, HSA also provide a valuable retirement savings option.

Now that we've defined HSAs, let's look at how these can be best used.  As stated above, HSAs must be used with a high-deductible health insurance (HDHI) plan.  What this means, much like car insurance, HDHI plans have a much higher deductible that the participant must meet with their own funds before the health insurance plan kicks in.  Due to the statistical probability that the need will not go above the deductible amount, the cost of the premiums are therefore lower. However, with most HDHI plans, once the deductible is met, the plan will kick in at 100% rather than the 80/20 expense reimbursement that most plans have.  This simply means, if you have $10,000 expense, the HDHI would cover the full $10,000 after you meet the deductible, while most plans would only cover $8,000, leaving you to pay the remaining $2,000.  Already, you can see the benefit of the HSA, in that there are no hidden costs, but many of you still have fears of how you would meet those high deductibles.  To explore this, lets look first at an example of a self-insured individual, then move that into an employer provided health plan.

Example:  Using actual premium rates form Anthem Blue Cross Blue shield for a family plan:  Husband - Age 49, Wife - Age 49, Chile - Age 20

Plan Option 1:

$500 deductible per person

Co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs

$644 monthly premium


Plan Option 2:

$5000 family deductible

No co-pays

$210 monthly premium

As you can see, there is already a $434 price differential in premium.  Plan 1 would require that the family pay an annual amount of $7,728 annually just for the premiums.  In addition, they would be responsible for the first $500 for each person making the total annual expenditure of $9,228.  However, in plan 2, if the family saved enough money to pay for their deductible by investing $417 into an HSA, then they would paying $2,520 in premiums, plus $5,000 to meet the deductible, for a total annual expense of $7,520 resulting in an annual savings of $1,708.  But wait, that's not it!!  We must remember that once the HDHI deductible is met, most plans cover at 100%, while conventional low deductible plans only cover at 80/20.  So if this same family had a baby during this year and that hospital expense equaled $10,000, then they would still be on the hook for 20% of that charge ($2,000 - total annual expense $11,228) while in the HDHI plan, there are no extra fees to deal with.  Add to that fact, should the family not use all $5,000 in the year due to them being healthy, then any money not used that year rolls over into the next, allowing for a nest egg savings, or a reduction of funding need the next year to meet their deductible.  So if they had $2,000 left in the account, they would only need to fund an additional $3,000 in the following year to meet that deductible, or $250 per month, thus reducing their monthly expense.

I'm sure most of you are now saying "I'm covered under an employer provided health care plan, so how would this affect me?"  Well, the answer will be made clear, but first we must make some clarifications on employer based plans.  First, remember that the contributions made to HSAs are considered pre-tax.  All companies have to submit a payroll tax to the government on behalf of their employees, so any contributions made on your behalf would result in a payroll tax savings to the company.  In addition, when a company provides a health care plan, they must have people on their payroll to administrate the plan, adding administration and headcount costs to the company to facilitate payments, disbursements, etc.  Since the employee owns the HSA and it's their money to spend, the employee is in control of how the money is spent and dispersed, not the company, thus alleviating that cost.  I will talk more on that later.

Now, that being said, let's see how this would benefit employers and employees.  Keeping in mind that the costs would be less for employers due to business exchanges and discounts, lets use the same figures as above for the sake of comparison.  If the employer chose to fully fund the HSA account for the employee ($417/month), they are effectively reducing the payroll tax on that employee that they must pay by that amount.  Add to that the $210 premium for the HDHI, they will realize an annual savings of $204 per employee per year.  While this may not seem like a huge amount of money, when you consider the reduction of administrative costs and headcount to see to the conventional plan, the saving starts to add up.  As a case in point, Michael Lafaive,  Fiscal Policy Director of Michigan, wrote an essay detailing how the state of Michigan would realize a savings of $16.2M per year by simply switching to a program in which the state adopted a HDHI/HSA program in which the state would fully fund the HSA accounts of 50,000 employees.  This would not only benefit the state, but it would provide for completely free health care for the employees: no deductibles, no co-pays, and no unexpected/hidden expenses.  For smaller companies, even greater savings realizations could be made by enacting a program of matching funds into the HSA accounts.  Using the following, the employee could contribute half ($2,500) with the employer matching those funds.  Now for the cost of $208 per month, the employee would realize a tax break and completely covered care, while the business would realize a hard savings of $2704 per employee plus the untold soft savings in reduction of administration.  Starting to see how this benefits, not only employees, but employers as well?  Couple this with portability of insurance as discussed in part 1, we now start seeing costs savings growing exponentially.

Lastly, since the HSA belong to the people, it now puts them in charge of their health care spending.  With the current insurance methodology, how often do you ask the doctor the cost of procedures ordered for you?  How often do you research their necessity?  My guess is not often and why should you?  You aren't paying the bill, someone else is.  However, if you are now spending your money, your control over the cost will become yours alone.  After all, it is YOUR money, so wouldn't you want to make sure that you are getting the best for your dollar?  Now people will start questioning their doctors and shopping around for the best price compared to service.  If you require a colonoscopy, you will now be more inclined to shop around for the best deal.  In doing this, doctors are now going to have to compete for your business.  Rather than just charging a price that would be handled by insurance companies, they will now have to start lowering prices or increasing service to entice you come to them for health care.  It will embolden and strengthen the doctor/patient relationship, in that doctors will now have to work harder to earn your business for fear of effecting their livelihood.  By putting the funding and choice into the hands of the consumer, market forces will now come into play forcing those with exorbitant prices or lacking services to change or go out of business.  Likewise, those that offer the best price/service combination will see their business grow, and with growth, comes price reduction.  Isn't it better to be able to chose your doctor and care based on your individual need and circumstance rather than having to chose within a limited pool of doctors in "your plan" as determined by a health insurance company.  The by product of allowing you to be in charge of your options is increased quality of service and savings.  As more begin shopping around for best prices, then the overall cost of health care will be required to come down to meet that need, thus affecting the cost of insurance premiums as a whole.

I've said it once and I will say it again, health insurance was never intended to become "pre-paid" health care that it is today.  Insurance is to be used for catastrophic circumstances, not day to day care.  Just as you don't use your car insurance to pay for oil changes and tune ups, neither should health insurance be used for preventative care.  In the terms of car insurance, it does not cover those maintenance expenses, but instead covers catastrophic expense cause by accident or acts of god.   One of the reasons that health insurance is so expensive is that it is used for means not intended.  HSAs help alleviate that issue, places responsibility and choice of health care in your hands while providing methods to reduce cost via competition.  No, it's not the end solution to cure our health care problems, but it is one piece of the puzzle that will contribute to true reform.

Stay tuned for Part 3, where we will talk about Tort Reform and it's cost on our medical system.


Health care reform options not accounted for in ObamaCare - Part 1 - Portability of Insurance

Obama's much touted health care plan was finally pushed into law against the will of the people .  The main talking points in support of this health care plan were:  Universal coverage, increased competition,  and coverage for pre-existing conditions.  However, ObamaCare missed the mark when it came to the "real" reason that health care is unaffordable and that pertains to the high cost of medical care.

Without getting into the legal and constitutional challenges that threaten this health care bill, it's time we looked at the options that will actually address the main cause contributing to lack of medial coverage for a small population of the US and that is the rising costs of such medical coverage.  First off, to make myself clear, ObamaCare does nothing to lower medical cost, it instead mandates that all people must purchase health care insurance and then helps subsidize a small fraction of the population deemed unable to buy on their own, but doesn't forcing the purchasing of coverage make things harder on everyone, including individuals and businesses?  If you couldn't afford health coverage to begin with, how will the new bill help with that without lowering the costs associated?  In my view, it doesn't and we are missing a real opportunity to enact "real" health care reform to fix the issue of rising cost. 

Due to the sheer magnitude of the options available and the amount of time necessary to explain them, I will publish one option at a time with information to support.  This way, it becomes much more readable and useful.  :)

Portability of Health Insurance

One of the main talking points of ObamaCare is that it would increase competition and drive down insurance costs, however, this is precisely an area that the government had forbidden such competition.  Thru unintended consequences of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, the regulation of health care insurance was left to the states.  The consequence of this was that it lent itself to an anti-trust exemption within each state.   Only insurance companies licensed in the state are able to operate within the state leading to no measure of price protection or real competition to drive the price of premiums down.

With the above, coupled with widely varying state regulations, we now have an atmosphere of "privatized socialism" in which some states, seeking to create a localized, universal health care system, causing state insurance agencies to drive premiums higher to provide coverage for generalized coverage not conducive to the public needs.  For example, in states like California or New York, regulation states that the insurance provider must provide coverage for podiatry, chiropractic care, pregnancy assistance, etc.  All of these conditions serve to raise premiums, but why should a 25 year old man pay for health insurance covering pregnancy costs when it's physically impossible for him to ever use the benefit?  Why should an individual who does not believe in Chiropractic care pay for a policy that covers such care when they will never use it?  The reason is that within these states, the cost of such services are enacted upon all to help pay for those that can not, I.E., "privatized socialism".  This is described by a statement from the National Center of Policy Analysis as such:

The cost of individual health insurance varies widely from state to state.  In a January 2006 report, The Commonwealth Fund compared the prices of individual health insurance policies in seven states with varying degrees of regulation.  The price of policies varied tremendously, due mainly to state regulations rather than variation in health care costs.

research illustrates how regulations can impact the insurance market.  But it is no accident — rather it is by design.  In states where health insurance costs are the highest, a portion of the premiums paid is being used to cross-subsidize the premiums of high-risk individuals.

By providing the ability of people to shop for insurance across state lines, you enable people the ability to chose a policy that best fits their own specific circumstances.  In a 2007 study by Center for Policy and Research, it was found that the average annual policy premium for single coverage was $8,537 in Massachusetts vs $1,254 in Wisconsin ($16,897 vs $3,087 for families, Tables 3 & 4).  Now, in looking at that, what do you think would make health care insurance more affordable?  Many people unable to afford insurance in Massachusetts could most likely afford a policy from Wisconsin, even if they had to supplement that insurance for specific needs.  This sounds like true reform to me!

In addition, by promoting nationwide competition, market forces will allow those companies that under perform or abuse clients to be weeded out.  With a national pool of providers, if a customer is unsatisfied with their insurance company, they could simply change policies, an option not available within a heavily regulated, carrier deficit state.  As companies compete, those policies with the best service, best care, best price will rise to the top via people participating, while those who are not, will lose clients and drop out of the industry.  Market force is how most all business is done with the US, why should it be any different in this industry?  John Goodman, writer for HealthAffairs.org, stated it best in his article, when he made reference to car insurance commercials like Allstate, stating "You are in good hands with Allstate".  Have you ever heard such a statement from a health insurance company?  No, because there is no competition for your hard earned dollars.  Unless we can get to a position of de-regulation and true competition among providers, there is no incentive, nor avenue, for these companies to try and earn your business.

Another benefit of opening up competition across state lines (nationally), there is now an option for insurance carriers to provide specific, customer focused policies that can cover specific areas of the population based on risk and health.  I.E., if you are fit, reasonably healthy,non-smoking  individual that goes to the gym 2-3 times per week, you are at much lower risk than other within your age group.  Opening up the realm of cross-state health insurance coverage would allow coverage's just for that demographic.  You would not be required to subsidize those that do not abide by the same lifestyle as yourself, but instead would be in a pool that is more representative of your circumstances, thus lowering cost of premiums.

In the end, it allows consumer choice and control in their health care decisions.  It allows people to find the coverage that is best and appropriate for them rather than being locked into a regulatory state that may not have their best interests considered.  ObamaCare is built off a "one size fits all" approach by requiring all people to buy coverage, but does nothing to try and address individual needs within that coverage.  In this respect, it is driving a push for even more "privatized socialism" by forcing many to endure costs to help cover those few who cannot.  In this manner, the only way to create "equality" in coverage is to lower all participants down to the lowest common denominator.  It would seem logical that if we could reduce the burden of cost, then we would open the industry up for the inclusion of more people.  According to a study by the University of Minnesota, enacting this kind of interstate purchasing would enable 12 million additional Americans to afford coverage.  The conclusion of that study stated that by allowing policies with fewer benefit mandates (interstate purchase), health care is made more affordable for a larger portion of the American population. 

So using the number of 47M uninsured often touted by the Obama Administration using statistics from the Census Bureau, let see how this simple change would affect the "crisis" we are now in.

  • 10 million are illegal or non-citizens bringing the number down to 37M
  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, 45% (16.6 M) will have insurance within four months due to job transition leading CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin to state that 40+M Americans lacking insurance is "an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of the uninsured population.  New number:  20.4M
  • 8M are under the age of 18 and qualify for public programs, but their parents have not signed them up.  New Number: 12.4

So, by breaking down those numbers and assuming that the University of Minnesota's study was correct, then by opening up interstate policy purchasing, we almost completely wipe out the uninsured population!  Seems to be a compelling argument for such a reform doesn't it?  It certainly sounds better than handing over 1/6th of our economy over to the government to "manage" to me.  Couple this with other options, I think we may be on to a process of true reform that allows coverage, medical care, and keeps the government out of our private lives.

Stay tuned for the next installment where we will talk about tax code adjustments and health savings accounts.



Just for Fun: Revised quotes from the movie "Tombstone" applied to American Politics today

What started as an email exchange between me and my best friend in Seattle resulted in us coming to the realization, that with a little bit of time, we could turn one of the great westerns, "Tombstone",  into a reflection on American politics today.  Below are just a few of the quotes that we came up with:

Conservatives: You called down the thunder, well now you’ve got it! You tell ém the conservatives are coming. You tell them that we’re coming! And Hell’s coming with us!!!

Stranger: Why do you do it? Why do you support this conservative movement?
Rednex: Cause America is my friend
Stranger: Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends!
Rednex: I don’t

Democrats: We’re here for blood. Isn’t anyone here man enough to play for blood?
Tea Party: I’m your huckleberry.

Bart Stupak: It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds

Nancy Pelosi: I have not yet begun to defile myself

Obama: My fight’s not with you, Tea Partiers
Tea Party: I beg to differ, sir. We started a game we never got to finish. “Play for Liberty”- remember?
Obama: Oh that? I was just foolin’ about.
Tea Party: We weren’t.

Conservative: What makes a man a liberal, Jim? What makes him do the things he does?
Jim DeMint: A liberal has a got a great big hole, right thru the middle of himself. And he can never tax enough, steal enough liberty, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.
Conservative: What does he want then?
Jim DeMint: Revenge
Conservative: For what?
Jim DeMint: Bein’ born.

American People: Where is he? (Obama)
Liberals: Down by the creek, walking on water.

Big Government: I’ve been good to you, I’ve taken care of you. If you die, where does that leave me?
American People: Without a meal ticket I suppose.
Big Government: You bastards!!
American People: Why Capital Hill, have you no kind words for us as we ride away?
American People: I calculate not.
[rides off]

American People (to the Republican party): You gonna do somethin’? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?

Big Government: I want your blood. And I want your souls. And I want them both right now!

So what do you think?  Pretty accurate huh?  :)  Anybody willing to put up the capital to fund this venture?  If so, just leave me a mail!  LOL

Where have all the leaders gone? Are there none left that will stand on conviction?

Yesterday was a historic day.  Historic in that the so-called "representatives" of the American people chose to ignore the voice of their constituents and pressed forward with a health care bill that was overwhelmingly opposed by the people.  Historic in that the passage of this monstrosity was done with ZERO Republican support.  Historic in that the passage of this bill showed the true color and character of the leaders that took part in this fleecing of the American citizen.

In the late mid afternoon hours, Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mi) caved under the pressure of President Obama and sold out all of his beliefs for what amounted to little more than a false promise of no federal funds for abortions.  Holding up a finely crafted "Executive Order" written by President Obama reaffirming that no taxpayer dollars would be used to fund health plans that cover abortion, an order that would not even be signed until after HR 3590 was passed, Bart Stupak, along with 7 others, used this proclamation as a crutch to change their votes to a "Yes"  for ObamaCare.

This executive order did little more than allow Stupak to save face for going against his Catholic heritage and place the vote that he knew he was going to make all along.  Bart Stupak is not an idiot, he knows very well that this order does nothing to change the meat of this bill that he had claimed to oppose from of the start.  The seven provisions of the bill that were at the heart of the abortion debate remain unchanged and President Obama's order will have no impact on them in the slightest.   The bill is now a matter of law and the supreme court has already upheld that a presidential order cannot, let me repeat, cannot amend law by issuing an order.  If challenged, the Supreme Court would fall back on the letter of the law, thus making the issuing of the executive order an non-issue.  In addition, an executive order can be rescinded at any time and will most likely expire before the bill goes into effect in 2014.

In addition, the order does nothing more than reaffirm the Hyde amendment.  It's important to note that the Hyde amendment is not a permanent ban on abortion funding, but only applies to Health and Human Services funding.  It is an amendment that gets attached to appropriations bills and must be renewed every year.  Within the order, it states that "The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges".  In short, it means that if the Hyde Amendment fails renewal, then all abortions bans in the health care act will vanish, and should the Hyde Amendment fail renewal, then exchanges would be free to use federal funds for such actions.  Considering the Democratic controlled congress's track record of promoting legislation unpopular with the populace, what is to make us think that the Hyde Amendment will survive the turn of the year?  Lastly, the crux of this order is contingent on the President's promise to sign and given the pro-choice backlash against Obama's issuing of the order to begin with, what leads us to believe that President Obama won't rescind, or  even actually sign this order as promised?  Bart, oh Bart, you sold your ideals, your "moral" stance, your career, and the respect of your constituents down the river for nothing.  You gave everything, you bartered everything, but you gained nothing in return.  It's no wonder that you are now unavailable for comment.  Has your conscience finally gotten to you and made you sorry for what you've done?  Atleast Ben Nelson got a $100M tax break to change his vote.  Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) received $300M in Medicare subsidies for turning her back.  Even Judas was granted 30 pieces of silver for his betrayal, but you sir, got nothing but a worthless paper which may, or may not, be autographed by the President.

So what now?  How do we recover from such a sad mark in American history?  Well, first, it's important to note that not one single Republican voted for this bill.  All social entitlements in our history have passed with Republican votes from medicare to social security, however, this one was elusive of bi-partisan support.  It's also important to note that many states have already pledged to challenge the constitutionality and legality of the act itself.   Currently, there are nine states stepping up to challenge the bill within the courts before the individual mandates take effect in 2013.  Challenges will be coming from states like Texas  questioning the  constitutionality of requiring citizens to purchase coverage and challenges from Virginia and South Carolina on the grounds that the special treatment of certain states, such as Nebraska due the "Cornhusker Kickback" or Louisiana's "Louisiana Purchase" violates Article 1, Section 9 of Constitution which states: "No preference will be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another ...".  In addition, a total of 33 states are already moving bills thru their houses to make it a matter of state law to challenge the impact of the act upon their states, with Idaho being the first to sign it into law, Virginia passing it thru both a Democratic held House and Senate, and many others on the ballot in 2010.

Lastly, the 111th congress discounted the tenacity and veracity of the American people by passing this bill to begin with, but I do believe that this is just the opening bell of a very long fight.  It was the American People that won our independence from an oppressive government in 1775, and I believe that it will the American people that will once again do the same in November of 2010.  The American People will not be discounted and told what is best for them.  Our way of life depends on freedom and liberty and to allow our "elected leaders" ignore our voices because "they know what is best for us, even if we don't" goes against our very nature.  The tea party movements are gaining more ground on a hourly basis.  People never involved in politics are now taking a stand and becoming engaged.  Town hall meetings have turned in to little more than public lashings of elected officials.  The American people will not stand idly by as a growing government seeks to confiscate their money, property, and liberty.  We are sick of seeing our hard earned dollars being thrown to the feed the flames of an out of control Federal government that does not hold our interests at heart.  They will hold their revolution, not by force of arms, but by force of vote come November 2010 and 2012.  Now is the time to get involved in local races.  If your state is one of the ones challenging the bill, then make your support known.  Even as the bill makes it's way to President Obama's desk, ensure that your outrage is expressed to those that voted yes, while showing your support that heard your voice and voted appropriately.

The fight has just begun!  November is just around the corner and we have a lot of work to do.  It's easy to feel as though we have failed.  It's easy to resign to the fact that our representatives do not listen, but it's important to remember that this is OUR country and that those in Washington work for US.  For all those that chose not to listen and ignored our wishes on March 21st, 2010, you WILL hear our voices in November of 2010 when we tell you that you're services are no longer needed.

For those interested in the voting record, you can find the complete listing here:  Final Vote Results - March 21st, 2010


An open letter to Tom Hanks: You sir, are an idiot!

I first heard about the below when listening to the Mark Levin show on XM satellite radio.  When I first heard the story, I was flabbergasted, even stunned.  Could it be possible that Tom Hanks had let the leftist, moonbat culture of Hollywood infect his mind?  Surely it couldn't be so!

So, upon hearing the story from Mark, I decided to go looking and sure enough, it was true.  The story revolves around an interview that Tom Hanks did with Douglas Brinkley in Time magazine concerning his upcoming mini-series "The Pacific" detailing WWII.

Now let me start off by stating that I've always been a fan of Tom Hanks.  Band of Brothers was one of the best movies I've ever seen.  Saving Private Ryan ranks right up there as well.  So how could a man who had made such great movies have said something so ignorant, so mind blowingly stupid, in a public interview?

The comment I'm talking about is the following:

Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as 'yellow, slant-eyed dogs' that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what's going on today?"

Really Tom?  Really?  Are you that much of a brain dead twit that you actually believe the words that you just said?

Quick history lesson for you Tom, we did not fight the Japanese because we thought they were "yellow slant eyed dogs who believed in different gods", we entered the fight because they attacked us at Pearl Harbor.  Japan went on a campaign to capture all of China, and in doing so, chose to side with Nazi Germany.  America, due to interests in the East Asia and Japan's choice to side with genocidal Nazi Germany, extended financial aid to China and imposed an oil embargo against Japan.  With Japan being poor in natural resources, the oil embargo threatened Japan's survival in the war.  Couple that with America's imposing pacific fleet capable of enforcing the embargo, Japan was fearful of us.  It was for these reasons that General Isoroku Yamamoto decided upon a preemptive attack against the US by striking the heart of the pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor.

On December 7th 1941, at 6:00 AM, the Japanese struck America.  Caught completely off-guard, America, your country, suffered a loss of 188 aircraft destroyed, 159 damaged, 21 ships sunk or critically damaged, and most importantly, 2,403 Americans dead, with another 1,178 wounded.  It was THIS attack that brought America fully into WWII.  It was the deaths caused by the Japanese that united the American people and sealed our unwavering commitment to victory in WWII, not that we wished to annihilate anyone different from us.

So know that you know WHY we entered the war, let us not forget about the Nazi Germany death camps, of which the Japanese were allied.  Let us not forget the Bataan Death March, in which the Japanese forcibly transferred 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war, of which an estimated 21,000 died by the brutal hands of the Japanese imperial army, an act that was later considered a war crime.  Let us not forget about the stories of torture, suicidal missions, and mistreatment of all against the Japanese that happened during this war.  Yet, you, in your infinite, uneducated wisdom, feel it necessary to state that we entered this war because "they had differing gods".

On August 6th and 9th, 1945, America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  With Hiroshima being of prime military importance to the Japanese, HQ of the 2nd Army division which commanded the defense of all southern Japan, a prime communications center, storage point, and primary assembly area for dispatching of troops, the destruction of this city essentially ended WWII.  While some may consider this a stain in history, it ended the most brutal war the world has ever known.  It ended the tyranny and extreme disregard of life that was held by both the Japanese and Nazi Germany.  It saved not only the untold number of American lives, but also the lives of our Allies, who would have continued to die at the hands of these countries had America not put an end to it.

Now to the rest of your comment, is there a semblance of familiarity between WWII and what is happening in the world today?  Yes, I think there is, but not for the reasons you tried to portray.

Again, a history lesson in the war between extremist Muslims and America: April 1983, 17 killed at US embassy in Beirut.  October 1983, 241 dead in attacks against US Marine barracks in Beirut.  December 1983, 5 murdered at US embassy in Kuwait.  January 194, President of the American University in Beirut murdered.  April 1984, 18 dead near US airbase in Spain. September 1984, another 16 killed at Beirut US Embassy.  December 1984, 2 killed on a plane hijacked to Tehran. August 1998, 224 dead at US embassies in Kenya & Tanzania.  17 soldiers killed on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000.  October 1999, 217 passengers killed on EgyptAir flight near NYC. 1982 - 1991, 30 hostages taken in Lebanon with Terry Anderson (one of your fellow citizens) held for 2,454 days. December 1988 270 killed in the bombing of Pan-Am 747 near Lockerbie Scotland.  Lastly, September 11th, 2001 over 2,981 American citizens were murdered by 19 terroristic Islamic extremists, surpassing Pearl Harbor in death toll.

This is not even a complete listing of all of the attacks directed towards America by Islamic extremists.  The 9/11 Commission Report stated that America had been at war for sometime, so the attacks of 9/11, while shocking, should not have been surprising.  If you wish to know more about the attacks against YOUR country, maybe you should direct your "reading frenzy" to the commission report I linked above.

So yes, you are correct.  There are people that are targeting, killing, and murdering people because they are different and do not follow the same beliefs; however, those people are not Americans, but Muslim extremists.  We are now in a war, entered into because of unprovoked attacks against our country, not the other way around.  Finally, America has awoken to the threat to it's safety by a murderous regime and has stepped up to protect its citizens, much like what happened in 1941.  It should be noted though, that the reasons for finally entering that war are ones of safety, not because a group of people "worship different gods".  Our country stood by long enough, and we lost too many of our brethren, before we took that stand. 

So now that you have been properly educated, I wish to tell you that you are a blithering moron not worthy of your status as a star.  I am amazed by the ability of the America hating, liberal cesspool that is Hollywood to affect all that enter.  To me, you now join the ranks of others such as Janeane Garofalo, Jane Fonda, Michael Moore, and Barbara Streisand.  You are undeserving of my time, my money, or my respect.  You are an actor, nothing more.  You should be ashamed of the fact that the very people that you speak out against are the ones that make your stardom possible.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  The soldiers that fought in WWII, and now in the Middle East, give their lives so that you may have the right to spew such moronic, biased drivel.  Rather than discounting their sacrifices, I suggest you drop to your knees and thank them for their loyalty to this country and your safety and beg their forgiveness.