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Belmont Club

Before the Law

May 22nd, 2014 - 4:03 pm

The key difference between a profession based on human law and those founded on natural law is which system each obeys. Lawyers speak to the world of men. Doctors, engineers, scientists and mathematicians speak to the world of nature. Lawyers conjure before men to compel other men using human agents. Doctors use the laws of physics and chemistry to alter their patient’s conditions.  They act through physics, chemistry and reality. Their agents are natural processes, not legal ones.

Dr. Zane F. Pollard, an opthalmologist, describes the clash between the two worlds in a Wall Street Journal article. Dr. Pollard treated a child under Medicaid, used by Obamacare to treat low income patients. Pollard filled out the Medicaid form for a planned procedure and operated. But Dr. Pollard had to update his approach based on new information and adjusted his surgery accordingly with complete success. The patient’s vision problem was corrected.

It was medical triumph but a bureaucratic disaster.  He describes what happened.

I recently operated on a child with strabismus (crossed eyes). This child was covered by Medicaid. I was required to obtain surgical pre-authorization using a Current Procedural Terminology, or CPT, code for medical identification and billing purposes. The CPT code identified the particular procedure to be performed. Medicaid approved my surgical plan, and the surgery was scheduled. …

Every surgeon must have the option to modify and change a surgical plan according to actual anatomical findings that only become apparent during surgery. … The physician should not be denied payment simply because of a rigid government requirement to follow only the pre-approved plan. …

However, because I filed for payment using the different CPT code for the surgery I actually performed, Medicaid was not willing to adjust its protocol. The government denied all payment … Eventually I gave up fighting what had obviously become a losing battle.

It was frustrating to him, besides being a seemingly pointless waste of time. If this is a typical experience, it is no coincidence that more and more doctors are withdrawing from the Medicaid program. In Medicaid the doctor doesn’t work for the patient, he works for Medicaid.  But the surgical glitch was not an isolated example.  Dr. Pollard notes the problem permeates all therapy, including medication:

 My patient’s glaucoma had been well controlled by a particular eye drop dispensed in a bottle available only in one size containing a dosage that would last for two months. Medicaid regulations only allowed the pharmacy to fill a prescription for a one-month supply. Medicaid did not want to approve my prescription.

Other medications in one-month sizes were available, except they were of the wrong kind. The pharmacist suggested Pollard prescribe what was allowed rather than indicated. The medical solution was to prescribe a two month supply of the right medicine. The bureaucratic solution was to supply two one month bottles of the wrong medicine.

The pharmacist asked me if I would change the prescription to order another Medicaid-approved medication that would satisfy the one-month-only supply policy. I refused because my patient’s ocular pressure was well controlled by the particular medicine I had requested. Her vision was preserved because of that drug’s effectiveness. Only after numerous contentious calls with the pharmacist and Medicaid was I able to obtain the prescription. Why should a physician have to struggle with the government for the most effective care for a patient?

In the natural world the edicts of men mean nothing. King Canute demonstrated to his courtiers that the waves would not stop at the monarch’s command. He knew that in the universe the only writ that matters are the laws of physics; natural laws and mathematics reign supreme. But in the world of lawyers, physics means nothing. What is real is what is written on the paper. The legal truth reigns supreme, no matter how much it is at variance with the facts.  You might think for example, that the solution to the aircraft security problem is to find and destroy al-Qaeda. But you would be wrong. The real answer is to compel all air travelers to purchase TSA-sized contact lens, lotion or toothpaste carry-on containers.

Since the world has both kinds of people, men in their wisdom put lawyers in charge of forms and doctors in charge of patients. The surpassing genius of Obamacare lies in reversing the arrangement so the lawyers are put in charge of approving treatments and the doctors are occupied in filling out forms. The potential for disaster in this new system is manifest. Yet it cannot even be questioned because Obamacare is the “law of the land”. It is such a definite reality that its own reality cannot even be impeached.

James Taranto points out, Obamacare is an example of the continuously mutating immutable. It is an Eternal Law good until next week.

What does it mean to leave the law “unchanged” when the Supreme Court has already struck down parts of it and the administration has declined to follow or enforce others? That’s not a salient question for immediate electoral purposes; in terms of voting intention, “left unchanged” can be taken as a statement of support for the Democrats. But even if the statutory language proves resistant to any effort at modification, there will be a new administration after 2016. That could mean more discretionary (or extralegal) changes and perhaps the end of ObamaCare as we know it.

Taranto concludes: “President Obama keeps insisting the debate over ObamaCare is ‘over.’ That declaration, wish, exhortation or command does not correspond with reality.” It doesn’t have to correspond to reality. It need only conform to an interpretation of a piece of paper.  Once you have control of the “law of the land”, who cares about reality?

Western society’s obsession with paper has reached absurd heights.  Just now the UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on the Boko Haram.  ”The UN Security Council has approved sanctions against the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, five weeks after it kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls. It will now be added to a list of al-Qaeda-linked organisations subject to an arms embargo and asset freeze.”  Do they actually think the Boko are planning on going to Davos? No not really. Even the UN is not that stupid. It may have some indirect long term effect on discouraging financial supporters, yet it will do nothing to save the schoolgirls. Still, it’s what they can do with a piece of paper and a piece of paper is all they have.

Our touching faith in laws is matched by a surpassing contempt for physics. Nigeria has just admitted that drones it acquired from Israel to hunt down the terrorists were never operational, never maintained, never provided with spare parts and simply don’t work.   Probably it has no qualified operators either, even though there are almost certainly any number of officials drawing salaries as “official” drone pilots and mechanics. “Legally” Nigeria is probably awash with drone operators. In actually the number may be zero.  But it’s the ‘legal’ that counts.

In a way the “sanctions” are like Dr. Pollard’s medication problem. You can’t have the drones, which work. But you can legally have the UN sanctions, even though they don’t work.

The West is slightly better off, but not by much.  The West lives, not under the sun of natural law, but under the rule of lawyers. While 0.6% of Americans are lawyers,  41% of all Congressmen are attorneys.  Officials in Washington are 68X more likely than the general population to be lawyers.  Take the president for example; he’s a lawyer. But that’s still not enough.  As Dr. Pollard notes, it won’t be over until medicine is practiced by lawyers and bureaucrats.

And then things will be perfect. Legally.

Recent items of interest by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.

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Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
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Top Rated Comments   
Still can't raise the Belmont Club with IE, but a switch to Chrome reveals all are still here. While scrolling down, catching up on what I missed since May 13 when BC, and only BC, froze forever, I came upon a post called The Walt Scale, in which Richard said, "The Walt Scale represents the degree to which we can converse with (hear and speak) to the reality itself."

As it happens, I spoke to reality just the other day, and this is what he said:
“I am, like you, an intelligent being, with a body to house myself, a brain to think, pellucid lenses to see, and appendages to push my body through the murk." I agreed that pushing our bodies through the murk was the most we could hope for.

We push our bodies through the murk
Believing we are first in line
That we alone make all things work
And disregarding every sign
That universes come and go
Pellucid lenses dim with age
Synapses gradually slow
And every book has a last page
It matters not what lawyers write
Or mountain heights the techies stride
We’re born at dawn and leave at night
Along for life, a wondrous ride

40 weeks ago
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The Medicaid reimbursement problem is frankly unavoidable. There is no possible way to square this circle. If the program is not run by a busybody bureaucracy enforcing ironclad regulations, it will be picked clean by fraud. (It probably is being picked clean by fraud even with these controls.)

That is unavoidable when running a "business" that trades in treating Other People's Problems using Yet Other People's Money. That slope is simply too slippery for people to navigate successfully. It will always end up in this or another pit of compounded absurdity.

I am not a lawyer. I have a low opinion of lawyers.

The problem is not with the law or with an obsession with paper. The law and its attendant paper are necessary side effects of collectivization. The collectivization is the root problem.

It is tragic that the child had crossed eyes, but the chain of events that led to the run-around that Dr. Pollard faced begins with the fateful step of our decision as a society that the child's crossed eyes are society's problem. Without that first step, none of the rest of this story would have followed. That is an ice cold thing for me to say, but there it is.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The sovereign remedy with bureaucracy is to lie on the form. In fact Obamacare Navigators are accused to advising people to lie to get a bigger subsidy.

Pretty soon everybody does it. While I accept that this may be the only way to work things, my former experience as a database developer has taught me that if you put enough garbage into your database it soon ceases to be worth anything.

You would rather get no answer from your database than get the wrong the answer. A null is better than a mistake. But that's not the way the users see it. And soon enough you get the perfect bureaucrat's database: the kind that gives you different answers to the same query.

Eventually you succumb to your own lies. In the beginning you fool yourself (you lie to yourself) into thinking that you can recover the "true" values. But along the way you soon discover the "true" values are also lost. There is no system of true and false books. There is only the false book.

All institutions which corrupt their own data eventually die. Whether we are talking about banks, SCADA, medical data, climate data -- whatever -- the lie is eventually going to kill you.

It's like going on a long, long trip and finally tapping your compass only to find it spinning like a top or see the needle drooping to the ground when when you hold it sideways. You've outsmarted yourself. And there's no way back.

Just then the wolves howl and you know that despite your lies, some things are real.
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40 weeks ago
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Naive thought: Imagine if legal services were reimbursed in the same manner as health care expenses, that is, held by government bureaucracy to only those fees determined to be standard and reasonable.

The legal industry holds a verifiable monopoly on the redress of malpractice--to address medical malpractice requires the services of a lawyer, and likewise, legal malpractice demands approaching the same system. Should only those who can afford to pay multiple retainers be afforded access to legal services? Emergency rooms in hospitals are arguably accessible for those "without access to health care," or in reality-speak, without health insurance? Can the legal profession argue the same? What would come of holding the legal profession to the same proverbial fire?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Our touching faith in laws is matched by a surpassing contempt for physics. "

For those of us who are grounded in reality and who use real science and physics to guide our search for the truth (I assume this describes the majority of the BC family), I believe that the opposite of this statement is more likely to describe our philosophy. IOW, Our faith in the laws if nature and in reality is matched by a surpassing contempt for the law. Personally, I find that the ONLY reason why I would obey most laws of this country now is the fear of consequences should I not. And this situation, I believe, is not a hopeful view of the future of this country.
40 weeks ago
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40 weeks ago
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SHAPIRO: Left's VA-Worship Comes Back to Bite

There are some pretty big names on that list. Paul Krugman in 2011 wrote of the VA’s “huge success story”:
"Multiple surveys have found the VHA providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers…the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense."

Krugman added, “Yes, this is ‘socialized medicine’…But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of US health care more broadly.

Similarly, Nicholas Kristof of the Times wrote in 2009:

Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more “socialized medicine” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effectiveelements in the American medical establishment.

Just last year, Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton wrote in the pages of the Times:

Remarkably, Americans of all political stripes have long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (generally known as the V.A. health system). If socialized medicine is as bad as so many on this side of the Atlantic claim, why have both political parties ruling this land deemed socialized medicine the best health system for military veterans? Or do they just not care about them?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
They just do not care about us. Duh, needing VA treatment is one of the risks you consider before you sign the contract, like death, dismemberment or serving under someone like Cally, or Ghormley.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment

In Riven Chinese City, Nervous Talk of Terror and Unity

Women traded stories of loss and near misses on Friday after one of China’s worst terrorist attacks in recent memory.

A day after terror attacks in the city of Urumqi left more than 30 people dead, members of the ethnic Han and Uighur groups said they wouldn’t let the bloodshed divide them.

China Warns of Increasing Terror Threat
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rush had a caller today who said his flood insurance was going way up due to FEMA redrawing Flood Areas.

Appears that many areas are being downgraded, while others upgraded. No doubt the end result will be the Feds milking Owners/Taxpayers for more.
Why Taxpayers Will Bail Out the Rich When the Next Storm Hit (NBC/Obama) --- Map:Flood Zone Changes s
Twice as Many Structures in FEMA’s Redrawn Flood Zone (NY Rhymes)
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Law was passed during Clinton Admin, 1994...

Still Producing results today.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Old Doug,

Virtually all flood insurance in the USA is subsidized by the federal government EXCEPT for places in those specified areas. Odd that!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment

"According to critics of the program, the government's subsidized insurance plan "encouraged building, and rebuilding, in vulnerable coastal areas and floodplains."

Stephen Ellis, of the group taxpayers for Common Sense, points to "properties that flooded 17 or 18 times that were still covered under the federal insurance program" without premiums going up."
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Island Tower's condo association was paying $143,190 a year into the National Flood Insurance Program. Now that it's been reclassified into a lower-risk flood zone, its premium is $8,457 a year, a saving of 94 percent, according to records examined by NBC News."

In Hawaii, we've paid into a Hurricane fund since Iniki.

When the Commie Taxi Driver long time DC Pol
(I remember the name of most of the recent ones, but not him right now!)

Anyway, right after he was elected, he reached into the fund for a big pile of money we paid that he used elsewhere.
Shades of Obama.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
NBC Link above:

GULF SHORES, Ala. — As homeowners around the nation protest skyrocketing premiums for federal flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has quietly moved the lines on its flood maps to benefit hundreds of oceanfront condo buildings and million-dollar homes, according to an analysis of federal records by NBC News.

The changes shift the financial burden for the next destructive hurricane, tsunami or tropical storm onto the neighbors of these wealthy beach-dwellers — and ultimately onto all American taxpayers.

In more than 500 instances from the Gulf of Alaska to Bar Harbor, Maine, FEMA has remapped waterfront properties from the highest-risk flood zone, saving the owners as much as 97 percent on the premiums they pay into the financially strained National Flood Insurance Program.

NBC News also found that FEMA has redrawn maps even for properties that have repeatedly filed claims for flood losses from previous storms. At least some of the properties are on the secret "repetitive loss list" that FEMA sends to communities to alert them to problem properties. FEMA says that it does not factor in previous losses into its decisions on applications to redraw the flood zones.

And FEMA has given property owners a break even when the changes are opposed by the town hall official in charge of flood control. Although FEMA asks the local official to sign off on the map changes, it told NBC that its policy is to consider the applications even if the local expert opposes the change.

"If it's been flooded, it's susceptible to being flooded again. We all know that," said Larry A. Larson, director emeritus of the 15,000-member national Association of State Floodplain Managers. "FEMA is ignoring data that's readily available. That's not smart. And it puts taxpayer money at risk."
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone ought to ask Hillary & Obama, lawyers both, whether they personally support the plaintiff, James Lesmeister, against the defendant, Lawrence G. Romo, in

OF CALIFORNIA (Western Division - Los Angeles)

They do favor gender neutrality, don't they???

What BftP so elegantly called "the employed base of the Democratic Party" were those who would fail the SSCQT.

The history of military manpower policy and college student deferment is reviewed, with attention to the Selective Service College Qualification Test (SSCQT). By passage of the Selective Service Act of 1948, Congress recognized the need to maintain an adequate number of scientific, professional, and specialized personnel in both civilian and military pursuits. A student deferment plan was proposed whereby candidates could qualify to continue their education on the basis of class standing or a specified score on a nationally-administered educational aptitude test. In the fall of 1950, the Selective Service System contracted with Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the development of the SSCQT, a 150-item examination measuring a student's verbal and mathematical ability. The student deferment plan had vocal proponents and opponents. From 1951 to 1954, ETS tested over 500,000 students and conducted a statistical analysis program to supply the Selective Service System with information needed to operate the testing program. The SSCQT was later operated by Science Research Associates for about 6 years. The Vietnam War and related anti-war and anti-draft movements renewed public debate over military manpower policy in the mid-1960s. In 1973 Congress replaced the Selective Service System with an all-volunteer army. A selected bibliography is provided.

Getting a college degree became important if that was the surest way to get classified 2-S (like Slick Willie) not 1-A.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The bean counter mistakes process for product. They don't know what the product is supposed to be, all they can do is follow the process. Are all the boxes checked? Is there something in the boxes that are supposed to have something? Are the boxes that are supposed to be empty blank? They are just as happy processing someone for food stamps as a holocaust.

At some point the structure fails due to the weight of the useless filler. Like computer code where people just follow someone else who didn't know what they were doing, and add their own touch, then wonder why no one can sign up for health care.

Or PJM that took a web site that was not broken, and keeps trying to "improve" it so no one can use it. "NO one needs all those old comments." "Everyone loves that full page pop-up that if you block prevents you from getting to the page. What could possibly go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go ..."
40 weeks ago
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Long time, no see, Presby, welcome back!

(Watch your time just go go go!)

I just took 20 minute on the comment above!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Human law at odds with natural law is law disconnected from reality.

Human law in harmony with the reality of natural law is simple.

The Golden Rule; “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
Reflects the natural law (ethic) of reciprocity. Newton's Third Law of Motion; "When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body."

The Ten Commandments;
1-4 'Honor the Lord our Creator' by placing 'it' above all else. Extends respect to the creator of the reality within which we exist. Separation from reality is insanity.
These commandments also reflect the natural law of logic in prioritization; Sun, Earth, Air, Water are, in that order, necessary for the support of life. But "Man does not live by bread alone".
5 "Honor thy father and thy mother" creates an opposite reaction, honoring the child. Of these are built the foundational societal block; the family.
6 "Thou shalt not Murder" - The act of murder is a unilateral denial of the victim's unalienable right to life. The equal and opposite reaction is a recognition that in denying the victim's right to life, the perpetrator has forfeited their own claim to that right.
7 "Thou shalt not commit adultery" - a fundamental betrayal of trust and violation of the most sacred human covenant, it destroys the relationship's integrity.
8 "Thou shalt not steal" - a self-evident truth
9 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor"
False testimony is an offense against the truth. Bearing 'false witness' is lying and lying is a violation of truth and thus of reality.
10 "Thou shalt not covet"
The internal source of temptation and error springs from the emotion backed demand for what another possesses. It is the well-spring of addiction.

"Truth is simple but seldom ever seen"

Multitudinous and complex laws are a sign that a society has departed from reality.
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40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Today, the kids in my sailing class will be practicing for their color guard duties on Memorial Day. They always do a fine job!

As a history lesson, I think I will show them my draft card. The one I got shortly after my 18th birthday, back when the voting age was 21 years old. When thousands of my contemporaries earned having their names engraved on "The Wall" before they reached the age of 21.

Back when LBJ was breaking his promises to America.

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The biggest problem with lawyers is that they miss the point that the best laws restrain the government, not the citizens. That is what the U S Constitution does, and it is what Obama whines about.

The Magna Carta restrained the king.

Right now the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi highlights the sins of the Mexican judicial system which assumes "guilty until proven innocent" and places all the power in the hands of the judge. Now there is an assertion that the jail he is being held in is controlled by a drug gang lords.

"El Hongo may be a safer and in more secure location than Tijuana’s notorious La Mesa prison, a facility that saw two separate riots in September of 2008 that left 21 inmates dead and 12 injured. But that does not mean that it is an ideal location for a high-profile prisoner like Tahmooressi – or really anyone – to be detained.

Besides being home to murderers and other hardened criminals, El Hongo and most other Mexican prisons are controlled – either openly or in the shadows – by the country’s notorious drug cartels. Through bribes and coercion, life in Mexican prisons is run by the jailed cartel leaders.

"On the outside, we do jobs for the bosses who are in prison," one drug dealer in Tijuana told Reuters. "A lot of people think that when the big guys are arrested, it's over. But no. They are even more protected (in jail)." "
40 weeks ago
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