In the early spring of 1995, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan medical liability bill (tort reform) by a significant margin (247 to 171), despite a strong opposition by the trial lawyers. This legislation was a sweeping tort reform bill that would have gone a long way towards reforming medical "malpractice" and alleviating the adversarial and litigious climate in which physicians have been practicing medicine for the last three decades. It included a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, limits on "joint and several" liability, and even a provision for "loser pays" rule that would have penalized plaintiffs for filing frivolous lawsuits.
Robert E. McAfee, M.D., then president of the American Medical Association, called it "a giant leap forward"; not surprisingly, the AMA flexed its heretofore flabby abdominal musculature claiming victory for "its decade long advocacy on behalf" of physicians.(1) But, unfortunately, it was a premature muscle flexing exercise.
Something happened on the way to the forum in the high stakes of politics. Less than two months later, the U.S. Senate, led by then-Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., and outflanked by his own Sen...
I was struck one particular morning when I heard on the radio on January 15, 1999, that the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), George D. Lundberg, M.D., had been fired by the AMA for using JAMA for his own political purposes. The chickens had come home to roost, I thought.
JAMA and Medical Journalism
In 1991 when the AMA launched a major campaign against domestic violence, I joined in this campaign as a member of organized medicine, although admittedly, with significant skepticism. What I found over the next four years, particularly after I became editor of the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia (JMAG) was that instead of providing a balanced and honest approach to socioeconomic and political issues based on facts and scientific data, as would be required by professional, objective medical journals, JAMA and other AMA literature, echoed the emotionalism, rhetoric, and political correctness (and particularly so with fashionable and trendy issues) championed by the mass media.(1) This was particularly dishonest because physicians, policy makers, and the general public place a great deal of trust and credibility in the AMA,...
The AMA is joining the gun prohibitionist movement in full force. Led by the long-time speaker of the AMA's House of Delegates, now president-elect of the AMA, organized medicine has joined the gun control movement full steam ahead. This new leader, Richard F. Corlin, M.D., will call for the AMA to increase funding to "study data on firearms injuries" at its June 20 annual meeting.(1)
The fact is that the public health establishment, incarnated in the CDC, other government agencies and the myriad of schools of public health, has been sponsoring and conducting "gun research" for nearly two decades that has been found to be biased, result-oriented, and based on what has been characterized by a number of serious investigators as junk science.(2)
The AMA, using its publication empire, has been publishing this "research" in its journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Essentially only those researchers who embraced the politically correct, preordained conclusions that "easy gun availability results in crime" and that "guns and bullets are pathogens that must be eradicated" were published. Contrary views have been censored.
Another favorite view of the gun control, public health establishment is the myth propounded by Dr. Mark Rosenberg, former head of the NCIPC of the CDC, who has written: "Most of the perpetrators of violence are not criminals by trade or profession. Indeed, in the area of domestic violence, most of the perpetrators are never accused of any crime. The victims and perpetrators are ourselves - ordinary citizens, students, professionals, and even public health workers."(6) That statement is contradicted by available data, government data.
Gun Violence and Street Crime
The fact is that the typical murderer has had a prior criminal history of at least six years with four felony arrests in his record before he finally commits murder.(17) The FBI statistics reveal that 75 percent of all violent crimes for any locality are committed by six percent of hardened criminals and repeat offenders.(18) Less than 2 percent of crimes committed with firearms are carried out by licensed (e.g., concealed carry permit holders) law-abiding citizens.(11)
Violent crimes continue to be a problem in the inner cities with gangs involved in the drug trade. Crimes in rural areas for both...
Americans lost a bit more of their right to privacy last week -- and a little more of the freedom that goes along with it.
On April 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be implementing the so-called medical privacy regulations which were written and hurriedly submitted in the closing days of the Clinton administration.
The initial date for implementation of the "regulations" had been set for Feb. 26, 2001, but it had to be postponed because of a groundswell of opposition that developed as a result of a Feb. 22 press release issued by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
The AAPS press release pointed out that even though problems existed with specific provisions in the regulations, the bottom line was that the regulations were so egregious that they should be discarded. The regulations, ballyhooed as protecting privacy and medical record confidentiality, actually would compromise the privacy of unwary citizens.
Among other things, the "regulations" create a behemoth federal bureaucracy, which has been estimated to cost anywhere from $18 billion over 10 years to a much more frightening...
I have related previously (Medical Sentinel, Spring and Summer 1997) how the 1991 American Medical Associations (AMA) campaign against domestic violence launched for public relation consumption went hand in hand with the public health establishments 1979 stated objective of eradication of handguns in America, beginning with a 25 percent reduction by the year 2000.(1-2) Toward that objective, in the 1980s, hundreds of articles describing politicized, biased, result-oriented research funded at taxpayers' expense were published in the medical journals.(3) One of the principle investigators was Dr. Arthur Kellermann, who now heads the Emory University School of Public Health.
"A Gun in the Home"
A significant portion of the gun control agenda, not only of the public health but the entire health advocacy establishment, in fact, comes from Dr. Kellermann's landmark articles, particularly "Gun Ownership As a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home," published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 1993.(4) And yet, much of the methodology, not to mention conclusions in the article, have been questioned by numerous investigators.(5-7)
Since at least the mid...
In 1997, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., spoke candidly to Time magazine regarding McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. The Democrat admitted, "What we have is two important values in direct conflict: freedom of speech and our desire for healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy. … You can't have both."
Unfortunately, Rep. Gephardt sided against freedom of speech. Moreover, he proposed a constitutional amendment to permit campaign finance reform to abridge freedom of speech. He also voted for the House version of McCain-Feingold legislation in 1999.
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media have categorized this "reform" bill as the solution to a "broken system" riddled with "too much money in politics." They also say that big, powerful, moneyed interests have a pervasive, vested interest in government that is detrimental to the public good.
Unfortunately, they neglect to tell you that in a free society good people must associate or they perish, swallowed up because of the voracious appetite of a runaway government, which is no longer restrained by a...
Early in the 1990s the American Medical Association (AMA) launched a major campaign against domestic violence, which continues to this day. As a concerned physician, neurosurgeon, and then an active member of organized medicine, I joined in what I considered a worthwhile cause.
It was then that I arrived at the unfortunate but inescapable conclusion that the integrity of science and medicine had been violated-and the public interest was not being served by the entrenched medical/public-health establishment-because of political expediency. To my consternation and great disappointment, when it came to the portrayal of firearms and violence, and the gun control "research" promulgated by public-health officials, it was obvious that the medical literature was biased, riddled with serious errors in facts, logic, and methodology, and thus utterly unreliable. Moreover, it had failed to objectively address both sides of this momentous issue, on which important public policy was being debated and formulated. And this was taking place despite the purported safeguards of peer review in the medical journals, the alleged claims of objectivity by medical editors, and the claims of...
The Days of the French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert is another excellent tome on the bloody Reign of Terror of the French Revolution.
The book is meticulously researched and, although the author describes it as a "readable introduction" to other historians' works to which he is indebted, the book contains a fountain of information and should also be helpful to students on the subject and other aficionados on the French Revolution.
The book has an excellent index (done by the author's wife) and excellent appendices both for the glossary of terms (Appendix I) and on "the fate of characters where end is not recorded in the text" (Appendix II). After having read a number of tomes on the French Revolution, it was only after consulting Appendix II in this book that I, for example, found out the fate of Charles Barbaroux, one of the last great Girondins. It was a great disappointment to at last discover that after having evaded his Jacobin tormentors for exactly one year, he too fell to the blade of the Guillotine, only one month before Robespierre himself, the man most responsible for the Reign of Terror, would fall on 9 Thermidor.
This is another volume of...
Just when you thought talking to your doctor or psychiatrist was one of the most private and confidential things you could do ... think again.(1)
In what it describes as an effort to curb handgun violence, a group called Doctors Against Handgun Injury is calling for sweeping changes in doctor-patient confidentiality that would allow doctors, including psychiatrists, to pry about their patients' gun ownership.
In the past, the medical community fought strenuously against any invasion by government or others into the confidentiality of patient records and information.
For example, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) had, in the past and for obvious reasons, been a bulwark in the defense of patient privacy and medical record confidentiality.(2)
Suddenly, events have taken a nefarious course.
The APA has now regrettably joined Doctors Against Handgun Injury, a gun prohibitionist coalition.
This coalition which also includes the American Medical Association (AMA) and, not surprisingly, the strident American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and 10 other medical organizations reportedly comprising 600,000 doctors is calling for a...