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Laws and Disagreement

     In 2007, TV commentator, Gretchen Carlson, called Ted Kennedy “an enemy of America”. Her personal framework of ideaology viewed Kennedy that way, because she disagreed with his beliefs. Because of 24-hour-news, viewers hear more of that sentiment from both sides. It then stirs up the public to despise everyone in the political process.

     A jury consultant once told me that everyone brings a certain bias to Court. Then, they take the facts of the case before them, and decide it early on. From that point forward, they put the facts in “their trial story”. Evidence that doesn’t fit within that thinking are then thrown out.

      A writer for Forbes describes that viewpoint reaction  as a bias process. She places such thinking and reasoning into 3 categories: Ignorance Assumption, Idiocy Assumption and Evil Assumption. The thinking goes like this:

     First, when someone disagrees, then we assume that we can “share information with them”. In doing so, we believe that we can change their mind. When we can’t it must just be attributed to…

     Second, Idiocy Assumption. When we have shared our thinking and can’t convince them of our viewpoint; then it must just be that they are idiots. Obviously, they would come to our way of thinking if they weren’t so stupid. Unless…..

     Finally, when we find out that the person who disagrees with us, despite having the same facts as we do and are as competent as we are, then we draw a different conclusion about them. We conclude that they are deliberately distorting the truth for their own evil purpose. How else could they know the truth and not agree with us?     

      Here’s how it’s applies. Politicians like to use the phrase that “if we restrict (insert position)” or “if the government does/doesn’t (insert some action)” then “jobs will be lost or jobs will be created”; depending on the argument. It’s why Republicans and Democrats completely disagree on opinions, legislation and proposed solutions.

     A political example of this “same fact thinking” is always present in elections. Apply it to Oil Drilling, Government regulation, or tax rates. Or, how about the allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain? Political commentators either cover it, embrace it, argue against; report it or interrupt a co-panelist that is discussing. It’s the application of the three categories of assumption.

          You can either get angry about it or laugh about it. It happens over and over. Now, the jobs bill that is being considered in the US Senate, includes economic stimulus, tax issues and tort reform. It it impossible for legislators not to make every piece of legislation about politics.

     During the Bush Presidency, he was pushing immunity for Pharmaceutical companies. The reasoning, at the time, was that you had to give these companies an incentive to work on new healing drugs. If they were worried about being sued, then they wouldn’t come out with necessary medications, which only hurts the public. So, it made the argument that, anyone who was against caps or restrictions for Pharmaceutical companies, must be evil; because they were against healing and helping the American People. The same thinking that Lawsuits cost jobs.

       No broad based immunity made it into law. Contrary to the necessity of those claims that Drug companies would not have an incentive to keep producing new medications; the FDA just announced this week,  that new drug approvals are going to set a record for the decade. 35 new drugs have been approved  . The benefits of healing continue.

     Self-professed liberal Chris Matthews used to work for Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. He remembers how many philosophical differences President Reagan and O’Neill used to have. But, he said that Reagan and O’Neill “knew when to argue and knew when to have lunch”. He repeated O’Neill’s thinking that “here in Washington, we’re all friends after 6”. Wouldn’t it be great if laws were crafted by working together, instead of assuming that the other side is evil, because of disagreement.

      Now, Pic O’ day is a reminder that sometimes you just have to dive in, to get things done!

Nikki Haley’s Lawyer Campaign

     In 1978, a low budget movie titled “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”  hit the Big Screeen.  The concept was that tomotoes had decided to revolt against humanity. It was somewhat driven by the previous Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The Birds”, where angry birds attacked humans.

     In the movie about these killer tomatoes, the government keeps assuring everyone that there is no real threat. The President’s press secretary, meanwhile, assembles a team to go undercover and infiltrate these angry tomatoes. Unfortunately, the team’s cover is blown when one of them, while sitting around the campfire eating hamburgers, asks if someone would pass the ketchup.

     The movie ends with a giant carrot standing up out of the ground and announcing, “All right you guys, they’re gone now”. Of course, there were more captivating sequels with such enthralling titles as “Return of the Killer Tomatoes!”; “The Killer Tomatoes Strike Back!”; and “Killer Tomatoes Eat France!”

     With just a bit of time to go before Tuesday election day, we have now entered the political funny season. Campaigns pull out all stops and overspend to get last minute messages on the airways.  Sometimes you just aren’t sure what to fear. Is that a flock of Birds or a bushel of tomatoes that is headed this way?

     The NY Times just did a book review and discussed that the author has figured out what is the driving force behind the beliefs of our President. In short, he’s a philosopher who simply “has a love for America”.

     Sometimes, when you see certain statements made in politics, like the one in the previous paragraph, you just have to keep on driving; Nothing to see here. I have wanted to do that regarding the political campaigns of Democrat Vincent Sheehen and Republican Nikki Haley, for South Carolina Governor.

     I have not contributed to either campaign. However, I have watched as Haley has sidestepped attacks on being unfaithful to her husband and failing to pay taxes. Haley denies the charges of the two gentleman that make the  intimacy claims,  as being attacks by people who “simply want to get in the news“.   The two who allege the physical relationships, happen to  both be republicans, but they had worked for opponents during the Republican primary. Since, one of the “gentleman” has produced phone records of late night calling between  Haley’s number and his number.

     Haley has faced attacks on failing to personally pay taxes on family income and also repeatedly having tax issues at the family business, where she was the person responsible for the books and the filing. Reports indicate that she has repeatedly paid tax fines going all the way back to her returns in 2004. Her response to all that has been that she understands the difficulties of personal and business hardships. For that reason, she has assumd the role as the pro-business candidate.

     None of that did anything but make for interesting reading to me. I did keep my eyes on the voting poll surveys and it appeared that the people of SC were not bothered by any of these issues, as she held a lead. Her opponent is a lawyer, so it didn’t surprise me that she would attack him as a lawyer; I have seen that political playbook, repeatedly. 

     Then, I saw a story on a Haley ad.   It shows a picture of Sheheen and describes him as an Obama liberal and a trial lawyer. Then, the ad appears to have a picture of him,  with bullet holes in it. 

     Part of Haley’s campaign is to attack the legal profession and portray it as bad for business. As the Pro-Business candidate, one of the items where she is proposing great change,  involves the Worker’s Compensation Commission.

     Currently, the Governor of South Carolina has the authority to appoint those as Commissioners, to sit and hear all job injury claims. Not surprisingly, as each Governor comes in, Commissioners are replaced,  with those that more closely mirror the new administration philosphy. That is exactly what Governor Sanford had done and, there were Commissioners appointmented who have been very Pro-Business in their rulings. Ultimately, though, Commissioners are still required to follow the law,  which still recognizes benefits for getting injured on the job.

     For Haley, that’s not enough. She  states that she wants to get the laws changed regarding how permanent injury is determined. If the legislature goes along with that, then she will be able to change the law.

     More significant is her opinion on the appointment of Commissioners. Because on the job injuries are costing business, she believes that there needs to be something done about that. Her remedy: Only non-lawyer/business persons could be appointed to sit as a Worker’s Compensation Commissioner.  Having “accomplished and respected members of the business community” will assure that these benefits that are paid to injured workers, will no longer be so expensive and part of a “subjective judicial process”,  because business leaders would be viewing the claims with an eye for what is good for business.

      Sometimes Politics can be better than a good book. It can even take you for a better spin than “Dancing with the Stars”. On Tuesday, I guess South Carolina will determine what they want for the future. As to the injured worker, will they end up on an episode of Lost?  Or,  should all those lawyers supporting Sheheen, be viewed as large Red objects that are angry at humanity?

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