- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2006

The will of the people

I want to add my two cents to the excellent Washington Times editorial “The Senate’s Take on Amnesty” (Wednesday) which succinctly listed critical provisions of the Senate amnesty bill. The editorial rightly inferred that some Republican senators vigorously or quietly supporting the bill would not be able to recite these provisions or articulate their harsh impacts.

The same can be said for Republican senators who supported the budget-busting Senate emergency-funding bill. Republican senators supporting both these bills do not have a clue what the majority of Americans want. Shame on Majority Leader Bill Frist for not being the leader we need. The House of Representatives, on the other hand, has crafted immigration and emergency-funding bills which most Americans can support.

Both bills will be going to conference. I’m betting on the House to hold strong and give very little on either bill. Democrats are enjoying themselves. They have a Senate bill which exacerbates our illegal alien problem and a spending bill the president threatens to veto even though it funds America’s war on terror. Only with the House holding strong will Democrats, whose only goal is to embarrass all Republicans, and appeasement-like Republicans, feel the will of the American people.

ROBERT L. BEAUREGARD

Alexandria

Mexican President Vicente Fox must be dancing like a drunken spider watching our senators tripping over each other to be the one to give the most rewards to illegal aliens (“Senate likely to pass bill on aliens,” Page 1, Wednesday). The U.S. Senate fails to understand that immigration reform is not supposed to be about rewarding 10 million, 20 million or as many as 66 million illegal-alien lawbreakers with amnesty and a path to U.S. citizenship. Instead, immigration reform should be about securing our borders against the relentless illegal invasion from Mexico, severely fining and jailing employers who hire illegals and discontinuing free health care, welfare and other benefits for those here illegally.

The Senate needs to understand that we already have a path to American citizenship. It’s called applying for citizenship from one’s home country, then waiting in line behind those who have applied before them.

JOANIE ALLAN

Rochester Hills, Mich.

Hollywood assault on Christianity

I think the letter “Keep the Faith” (Thursday) concerning the controversy over “The Da Vinci Code” misses the main point. First, those of us who object to this movie do not consider it to be a serious challenge to our faith. We object for other reasons. To me personally, I see this so-called piece of historical fiction as just one more example of the extent to which our motion picture industry in particular, and our mass-communications media in general, have apparently come under the absolute control of those who are bound and determined to use our public air waves for the propagation of a virulently anti-Christian message.

A casual viewing of any of the major Hollywood studio releases over the past decade will immediately reveal an overwhelming anti-Christian bias from beginning to end. Unfortunately, “The Da Vinci Code” is only the tip of the iceberg. For more than two decades, the major Hollywood studio monopoly has exploited its preferred position in our taxation and legal environment to dominate the mass media with an all-out assault on Christianity.

JOE CASSITY JR.

Fu Jen Catholic University

Taipei, Taiwan

Malpractice and abuse

In his letter “Malpractice lawsuits” (May 18), Ken Suggs, president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, makes a few misleading statements about frivolous malpractice suits.

First, referring to research published in the May 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Mr. Suggs says that almost every medical malpractice suit filed is meritorious. This is not what the report says.

What it does say is that three percent of the claims had “no verifiable medical injuries” and 37 percent “did not involve errors.” No matter how you look at it, that adds up to 40 percent of the claims being without merit.

Second, Mr. Sugg mistakenly concludes that the 37 percent of the claims not showing negligence do not automatically mean they were “illegitimate.” Yet the position of the reputable physicians who conducted the study was that, indeed, those cases without negligence were frivolous.

I think Mr. Sugg is trying to defend the 40 percent of frivolous suits that are filed because, as he said, “a lawsuit often is the only avenue available to determine the facts.” But this ignores the fact that opportunistic lawyers can use this as an excuse to shake down innocent doctors.

In addition, Mr. Sugg completely ignores the scathing consequences that frivolous suits have on doctors. Even if dismissed, the threat to a doctor’s reputation and the fear of losing one’s insurance are both wrenching experiences. The ordeal can last for five years or more. A 40-percent frivolous-lawsuit coefficient discriminates against doctors and is the ultimate indicator of how dangerous the system is.

The climate of fear is so bad that doctors have come to view patients as potential lawsuits and order expensive tests, scans and consultations to protect themselves in case a suit is filed. This raise the cost of health care enormously.

The current system lends itself to lawsuit abuse by unscrupulous lawyers. The result for innocent doctors and patients is devastating.

Clearly, a system with safeguards against abuse which protects everyone equally is needed.

DR. EDWARD J.

VOLPINTESTA

Fairfield County Medical Association

Bethel, Conn.

Coming together — for all the wrong reasons

Rarely do Democrats and Republicans join together. What kind of event can cause them to completely agree on something? Has such an event occurred? Yes, when a Democrats gets busted for corruption, $90,000 in marked bribe money is found in his freezer and the FBI goes to search his office with a warrant, they cry foul. Apparently it’s a constitutional crisis when the FBI searches the offices of a member of Congress who allegedly commits a crime. Republicans join Democrats in the outrage of it all (“Office raid called unconstitutional,” Nation, Thursday).

Of course, when the National Security Agency conducts surveillance over the phones of ordinary people like you and me without a warrant, our Congress critters aren’t sure if anyone broke the law. They don’t cry foul when our rights are violated. But when it’s about them — well, that’s a different story. The men and women in Congress will tell you that they aren’t above the law, but they want to control the investigation. That’s why when Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, is caught driving drunk after wrecking his car, the police give him a ride home without checking him for alcohol or drugs. We’re all equal, but some of us are more equal than others.

The congressman can claim separation of powers and various immunities, but I would argue that taking bribes is not an official duty of a member of Congress and that taking a bribe is a personal crime. It is an act outside the protections of his office. So if a member of Congress commits a crime, especially a crime which he used his position to commit, then it is fair to search his offices for evidence. If Congress will not protect our rights but will let the government conduct surveillance on our phones illegally, then I’m not ready to come to their defense when they claim a constitutional foul. Let them feel the hand on their throats and live like the rest of us.

MARC PERKEL

San Francisco

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