The Journal


Serving the Metropolitan Area


Since 1872



February 16th




By Jack Parnell - retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate


Syndicated by Acme Features



MMM"...and then the keroseneM Is brought down from the castle M By insurance men who go... MM MCheck to see nobody is escaping to Desolation row..."



- Bob Dylan



          If you want a society as furnishes illusions of the immortality... good!... but not at the expense of more gumment... (bad - except as it regulates those other people!)... best way of doing so's to hand life over to the life-insurance companies.

          Insurance people run our lives! Big Data and our hopeless quest for immortality's allowed those underwriters in the sky to nullify most everything as makes a life worth living (save those vices already proscribed by the pee ceisters) out of some fear that someone might fall down, scrape their knee and sue! Easter Seals programs for kids in the wheelchairs!  Kaput!  Chinese New Year's parade in San Frisco, Mardi Gras in New Orleans... going!... Saturnalia, long gone, too! Ice skating rinks, swimming pools, mostly run off... even that artist whose paintings inspired projectile vomiting, causing some "victim" to blow out an artery and sue the gallery! Police and Good Samaritans bankrupted by relatives and lawyers of suicides as jump off freeway overpasses stand by, now, and record the tragedy on their phones for uploading to You Tube. Corporations packing boards with rank incompetents, bankrupts and common crooks because intelligent and honest people refuse exposure to the personal liability provisions liberals put in the business laws of some states.

          "The best are the first to go," acknowledged business insurance lawyer Lyle Sparks, the rest park their net worth in the Caymans and such other places as also welcome drug dealers and dictators. And we wonder why there's such criminalization of business and corporatization of crime these days!

          Our Insurance-Litigation Complex has been round almost as long as some strains of the venereal disease; credit Kaiser Bill in Germany for lifting it up, as an alternative to the Communism, in the '80s or so... the 1880's. The previous President snarfed up that Massachusetts Mormon’s scheme to lock up them as don't buy sufficient insurance; Brother Tillerman accuses it of contributing to arson, malpractice, fraud and, even, murder. Mr. Gilder merely considers it a liberal plot... though I think liberals worse than Commies... a "moral hazard" that depresses productivity and desensitizes the economy to what ails it.

          "Viewed as a substitute for adequate public social welfare spending," this old JFK liberal, Lester Thurow, contended, "private suits have a certain logic, but unfortunately it is an inefficient logic."

          Since frivolous malpractice suits get settled because it's cheaper than litigating, insurers just hike malpractice premiums on all doctors, good or bad. Gynecologists and cardiologists seek better careers in mail-order nutritional supplements; their former patients as can afford so go to the Pakistanis or Venezuelans in strip malls. The rest haunt emergency rooms of public hospitals, go on TV weeping and rattlin' the charity can or, dada-run-out-o'-luck, just die.

          Now, to hear 'em scratch and hiss at one another, one might almost believe the lawyers and insurers mortal enemies... the reality is that they are equal participants in a complicated dance, and the public is the floor their hooves tap-tap across.  That Flo from that company is doin’ the nasty with your favorite daytime TV ambulance chaser, while the Geico lizard’s pleasurin’ Tonya Harding in a sort of mutual admiration society whereas the insurers blame greedy lawyers in public and... where politically feasible... the civil justice system. Citing a RAND study that found lawyers kept an average 63% of damages awarded in asbestos-related cases, columnist Guy Wright blamed juries. "There are many alienated people to whom serving on a jury in a damage suit is a chance to hit the hated establishment in the pocketbook."

          In one case... Alabama, the Mecca of outrageous judgments... a boy won nine hundred thousand dollars for the burns suffered by having stuck his finger in an electric socket, and a rejected cheerleader candidate sued the Vestavia Hills school for the "humiliation and anguish". As for California... this is the state where an effin' burglar, as fell through the roof of a school he was ripping off, sued and won... another jury awarded some crybaby as claimed not to understand the warning on cigarette packs twenty-eight billion dollars.

          Even patriotic art gets gummed up by the litigation. That old favorite... Washington crossing the Delaware... took a hit from the good citizens of Columbus, Georgia as sued to get it out of textbooks when a bureaucrat alleged Georgie's bullocks were hanging out'n the stall! Then, some idiot claimed it gave him the notion that standing up in boats was safe, so, when his client fell overboard, it was the fault of the painter, Emanuel Leutze... and since he was safely dead, the National Museum's deep (taxpayer) pockets were ripe for the picking!

          But, speaking of culture and the First Amendment, it's the insurance companies most responsible for taking us back to 1984. Thanks to dot-com technology (and a little help from friends like the NSA), they know what we eat and drink, what we read, what we think about in bed (if we've ever logged onto the Internet or commiserated over the telephone or been red-light photosnapped in the back of a taxi with a certain somebody), whether we've got AIDS or itchy feet or chewed gum back in third grade. Since gumment made it a crime not to have the right automobile insurance, we're complicit when insurers deny drivers based... not on their driving records... but on credit and marital status, on frequency of job changes, residence (meaning race) and membership in the right kind of church, astrological sign or just whatever.

          Those advertisements for the company as installs spyware in the Subaru and doles out discounts to “good” drivers who obey the speed limits even when Junior’s suffering explosive diarrhea or bleeding out on the way to the hospital after being shot by some malcontent… they’re not funny anymore.  They’re our reality!

          Then the slippery slope began sliding right down through healthcare and towards those in the Congress as advocate replacing all jobless compensation with admonitions that workers buy private unemployment insurance policies with premiums determined by whatever little nuggets of dero are provided them by the happy gnomes of Larry Ellison and Peter Thiel’s Big Data and the data-mining minions of the NSA.  What could go wrong with that?

          "Insurers are dictating people's lifestyles and acting as moral censors," concluded Insurance Commissioner Tim Ryles of Georgia who, shortly after, lost his job owing to insurers pouring millions into the campaign of a born-again competitor, whose own abhorrence of sinful people behind steering wheels when the Rapture comes meshed more with their philosophy of turning over bad moral risks to the state for prosecution, and the moral hazard of the Tribulation days be damned.

          Now, after all this, you might think I'd make it criminal to practice law or underwrite insurance policies, as Mr. Terry Johnston, of California, and certain high Democratic mucky mucks advocate. Tempting as that would be, it's not Catfish. But - as to them as cry out for tort reform or insurance reform, my point is: "why not the both?"

          Oh... and them burglars, suing those they rob for inj’ries suffered on the "job"? By all means, give 'em all the free medical treatment they're entitled to... as in the Eighth Amendment as applicable to that place in which they should be staying, and for a good long time...