- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2002

Trading economic disconnects

Alan Reynolds' column rebutting the "disconnect" between the stock market and the real economy ("The disconnect was disconnected," yesterday) contained its own disconnect. Mr. Reynolds was on target when he criticized "demand side" theory by saying that "we are constantly told consumers account for two-thirds of spending, never that business accounts for 85 percent of production. Consumers do not cause economic growth, they benefit from it. Before consumers can spend more money, they must first earn it by working and investing."
The disconnect came when he criticized President Bush for "initiating trade warfare in steel." Mr. Bush did not "initiate" anything, as trade rivalry is a constant part of the world economy. What Mr. Bush did was recognize that trade rivalry determines where production takes place and where income is earned, and acted to protect American capabilities in the face of foreign threats.
Mr. Reynolds' embrace of free trade has become synonymous with the shift of production and jobs overseas, with the U.S. trade deficit more than tripling since the last round of World Trade Organization negotiations.
Boosting domestic production and employment is what will revive economic growth and the stock market. To encourage investment in American industry, there must be some safeguards against pernicious foreign onslaughts. Mr. Reynolds has the right goal but must connect with the right policies to get there.

Senior Fellow, U.S. Business and Industry Council

President right about 'junk' medical suits

President Bush is right to criticize the excessive litigation that has infected health care ("Bush slams 'junk and frivolous' suits," National, Thursday). The system is in its death throes and bleeding like a harpooned whale.

It has become too easy to take advantage of the risks that physicians take when treating patients. Legal firms advertise on television and in the newspapers offering free consultations for those who "may have" suffered malpractice. Who would deny that the system is out of control? The public, too, is increasingly aware that medical care lends itself to being exploited by unscrupulous trial lawyers.

Putting limits on noneconomic damages is necessary. The multimillion dollar awards that are publicized in the news media arise from this readily tapped source. The trial lawyers are quick to respond that physicians are "shamelessly" asking for immunity from errors. Do they really expect the public to believe that?

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Many physicians have become so fearful of the ever-present threat of a lawsuit that they frequently order more tests than are necessary, which raises the cost of care tremendously. But perhaps the worse effect of out-of-control litigation is that it has made doctors see patients as potential lawsuits. Cynicism and suspicion are not the qualities that medicine should be based on. Is it any wonder that so many physicians are so unhappy with the practice of medicine?

It is natural that the so-called right-to-sue has found its best breeding ground in medicine. Human life is precious and no one wants to see a loved one suffer unnecessarily because of negligence. But too often in medicine, the errors and complications that happen are unavoidable. In retrospect, it is easy for a trial lawyer to concoct reasons why things should have been done differently.

Putting caps on noneconomic damages is necessary. It need not be seen as a curtailment of constitutional rights any more than a speed limit on a highway is. Speed limits are there to protect everyone on the road, not just the person driving the car. The same thing can be said about caps on lawsuits.



Connecticut State Medical Society

Bethel, Conn.

EEOC critics sound crabby

Columnist Cal Thomas may view the litigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Joe's Stone Crab restaurant as "ridiculous" ("Litigatory license," Commentary, July 28), but it is unlikely many women in Miami's food server community would agree.

Before the EEOC stepped in to challenge Joe's hiring practices, women had virtually no chance of being hired at that restaurant. For example, during the five-year period before the EEOC stepped in, of the 108 servers Joe's hired to wait tables, there was not one woman.

What was behind this all-male hiring practice? After carefully listening to witnesses, a federal judge decided that women's supposed inability to carry heavy, crab-laden trays had nothing to do with it. The answer, said the judge, was that "Joe's engaged in blatant, prolonged sex discrimination." Twice now, Joe's has sought to get the judge's finding overturned and twice the appellate court has rejected Joe's efforts.

Was the owner of Joe's a woman? Yes. Should the EEOC look the other way simply because a business is owned by a woman? No. Should Joe's get a pass because women quite rationally stopped making the futile gesture of applying for jobs there when they knew they had no chance? Again, absolutely not. The civil rights laws do not exempt the employer whose discrimination is so notorious as to deter women from applying.

Interestingly enough, once the EEOC challenged Joe's hiring practices, things changed at the restaurant. To its credit, Joe's immediately started hiring women.

Yes, there was a time in the not-so-distant past when Mr. Thomas would not have been served crabs by a woman. That a woman did on his most recent trip to Joe's is a reminder that discrimination lawsuits can make a difference. Rather than attacking the EEOC, Mr. Thomas should thank us.


Regional attorney

EEOC Miami District Office


Hitler's pet mufti mentored Arafat

David N. Bossie's column ("Yasser Arafat: Nazi trained," Op-Ed, Friday) omits many substantive details regarding the World War II activities of Yasser Arafat's acknowledged mentor and his predecessor as leader of the Palestinian Arabs, Haj Amin Al Husseini, the former grand mufti of Jerusalem.

After his expulsion from Palestine by the British, the mufti organized a brutal anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad in 1941, concurrent with his failed effort to install a pro-Nazi Iraqi government. Escaping to Europe after his failed coup, the mufti spent the remainder of World War II in Germany and Italy.

From this sanctuary, he provided active support for the Germans by recruiting Bosnian Muslims, in addition to Muslim minorities from the Caucasus, for dedicated Nazi SS units. The mufti's objectives for these recruits, and Muslims in general, were made explicit during his multiple wartime radio broadcasts from Berlin, heard throughout the Arab world to provoke a campaign of genocide against the Jews. For example, during his March 1, 1944, broadcast, he stated: "Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion."

The mufti made an especially important contribution to the German war effort in Yugoslavia, where the Bosnian Muslim SS units he recruited (in particular, the Handzar Division) brutally suppressed local Nazi resistance movements. To further inspire them in their bloodshed, the mufti wrote a pamphlet, "Islam and the Jews." This hateful propaganda served to incite the slaughter of Jews, and (Serb) Christians, also.

Indeed, the Bosnian Muslim Handzar SS Division was responsible for the destruction of whole Bosnian Jewish and Serbian communities, including the massacre of Jews and Serbs, and the deportation of survivors to Auschwitz for extermination. But these heinous crimes, for which the mufti bears direct responsibility, had only a limited impact on the overall destruction of European Jewry when compared with his nefarious wartime campaign to prevent Jewish emigration from Europe to Palestine.

Invoking the personal support of such prominent Nazis as SS chief Heinrich Himmler, the mufti's relentless hectoring of German, Rumanian and Hungarian government officials caused the cancellation of an estimated 480,000 exit visas that had been granted to Jews (80,000 from Rumania, 400,000 from Hungary). As a result, these hapless individuals were deported to Polish concentration camps.

A U.N. General Assembly document presented in 1947 that contained the mufti's June 28, 1943, letter to the Hungarian foreign minister requesting the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Poland, includes this stark, telling annotation: "As a Sequel to This Request 400,000 Jews Were Subsequently Killed."

The mufti escaped to the Middle East after the war to avoid capture and possible prosecution for war crimes.


Chepachet, R.I.

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