Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty teeth.

First Inaugural Address of George Washington...April 30, 1789

The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Abraham Lincoln said:

"In this age, and in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it nothing can suceed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions."

James Madison Declared

The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the PEOPLE altogether in their reasonings on this subject; and to have viewed these different establishments not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY, wherever the derivative may be found, RESIDES IN THE PEOPLE ALONE. (Federalist Papers, No. 46, p.294; emphasis added.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The truth...we may never find it

David Hume (1739) summed it up very well I believe:

"Thus not only our reason fails us in the discovery of the ultimate connexion of causes and effects, but even after experience has inform'd us of their constant conjunction, 'tis impossible for us to satisfy ourselves by our reason, why we shou'd extend that experience beyond those particular instances, which have fallen under our observation. We suppose, but are never able to prove, that there must be a resemblance betwixt those objects, of which we have had experience, and those which lie beyond the reach of our discovery."

We live in a time and culture in which the people involved in the brain tumor cluster in McCullum Lake may never know the absolute truth regarding this issue. I say this because the techniques and purposes of law and science differ dramatically. Both seek to find the truth, but each applies a different meaning of "truth".

According to L.O. Gostin, Public Health Law...Power..Duty..Restraint, "While law seeks finality and closure, scientific inquiry is continuous; while law in civil litigation makes decisions by the preponderance of evidence (greater than 50 percent), science uses statistical significance (greater than 95 percent, with a confidence limit that does not include 1.0); while law follows an adversarial method, science embraces the experimental design (the "scientific" method); while legal evidence is testimonial, scientific evidence is empirical. These different understandings do not mean that one field discovers truth and the other less than truth. Rather, the two fields have different missions and each operates, at least partly, in the other's environment. Science and law, therefore, must seek to understand the other, and each must accommodate the methods and cognitive processes of the other."

Conflicts and differences of opinion can occur between law and science in several areas; one area is that of the issue of causality - did an event or exposure to a substance produce or cause a certain harm to an individual or group of individuals. The plaintiff attorney tries to assign responsibility for the alleged harm to the defendant; that is his/her mission. The attorney for the plaintiff claim that a certain substance or substances caused a detrimental health condition to the plaintiffs. Sometimes this allegation takes place years or even decades after the alleged exposure to the alleged agent.

Problems arise in trying to prove scientifically that the alleged exposure to the alleged agent was directly and causally related to the detrimental health condition. Why? ...because of the number of individuals involved, the time span between the alleged event and the detrimental health condition and the many variables that might have or could have affected each of the plaintiffs over the many years since the alleged event and the detrimental health condition.

According to L. O. Gostin, Public Health Law...Power.Duty.Restraint, the "plaintiffs in exposure litigation must establish two types of causation: general and specific. General causation assesses whether the substance is capable of causing the harm found in increased levels in the population. Specific causation assesses whether exposure to the substance in fact caused caused the plaintiffs' harm." It can rarely be proven that the harm in the population or individual was directly caused by a specific event or substance which that population may or may not have been exposed to many years ago.

The epigraph by David Hume states that positive correlations never establish causation; however epidemiologists use statistical significance to establish positive correlations between two events, the exposure and the harm done, to support causality. But to do this by using the scientific method the causality is assumed only if there exists more than a 95 percent chance that the exposure results in harm.

This is the conundrum that exists in proving causation by using the law and using the scientific method.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today, October 29, 1940

On Oct. 29, 1940, the Secretary of War reached into a container containing capsules with the names of 8000 individuals in each capsule who would be drafted into military service to defend this country. It was a solemn moment. The capsule Serial # was 158. The President of the United States, FDR, gave a short statement and ended it with these words which I hope the current President of the United States understands: "only the strong may continue to live in peace." Words we should never forget.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Civilian Police Investigative Agency

With all the recent controversy surrounding the McHenry County Sheriff's Police Department it might be prudent for the McHenry County Board to consider establishing a Civilian Police Investigative Agency. In order to be successful the Civilian Investigative Agency would have to possess the following elements:

  1. Independence - The civilian review body must be independent of the Sheriff's Police Department.

  2. Investigative Power - The civilian review body must have the authority and resources to independently investigate complaints.

  3. Mandatory Police Participation (aka Subpoena Power) - The civilian review body must be able to compel the participation of officers in their investigations and hearings.

  4. Role in the Discipline System - A civilian review body must have a role in the discipline of officers where complaints are upheld. That role may be advisory to the Police Department, or civilian review may have a disciplinary role in certain defined cases.

  5. Statistical Analysis and Reporting - The civilian review body should issue a report at least annually on statistics involving police complaints and other aspects of policing, and analyze the data to identify trends and to identify practices or even individual officers that may require remedial action to improve policing and prevent future incidents.

  6. Policy Recommendations - The civilian review body should be both retrospective, investigating individual complaints, but also prospective, proactively looking at ways to improve policing. Policy recommendations in civilian review bodies are often the result of investigating individual complaints, which may identify a need for new or better police practices, policies, or training.
  7. Hearing Component (Formal or Informal) - The civilian review body must have the ability to conduct hearings on individual complaints and on matters of policy.
  8. Adequate Funding - Funding must be adequate to effectively support the investigative, analysis and reporting, and policy roles of civilian review.
  9. Reflects Community Diversity - Both the staff and the civilian review body should reflect community diversity.
  10. Accessibility - The public must be able to easily and directly access the civilian review body, whether physically, by phone, e-mail or fax. The physical location of the civilian review body office is an important consideration, and should reflect both the public accessibility of the body, and its independence from the police department.
  11. Qualifications and Training - The civilian review staff must be appropriately qualified and trained, and time and funding dedicated to continuing education and peer-to-peer learning. The members of the civilian review body will probably need to meet certain qualifications, and should be given initial orientation and training, with opportunities for ongoing education and peer-to-peer learning.

The above was taken from a discussion by Director Tom Radulovich,BART Police Department Review Committee Meeting of April 29, 2009.


The current administration and congress has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009. We are being feed the line that this new health care plan (entitlement or in other words give away or here is a reason to vote for the democrats in congress and for Pres. Obama again next election cycle) will reduce the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years. To believe this you have to be blissfully ignorant about everything you know about Washington and government involvement in health care programs.

The democrats in congress and the President believe that a federal role in health care will make health care more affordable. The opposite has occurred. Here are a few facts:
  • Prior to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health care inflation ran slightly faster than overall inflation.
  • In the years since, medical inflation has climbed 2.3 times faster than cost increases elsewhere in the economy.
  • Much of this reflects advances in technology and expensive treatments, but the contrast does contradict the claim of government as a benign cost saver.

Let's now examine the record of Congressional forecasters in predicting costs. We will start with Medicaid, the joint federal-state program for the poor:

  • The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that its first year costs would be $238 million. It hit more than $1 billion and costs have kept climbing since then.
  • Thanks in part to expansions promoted by California's Henry Waxman, a principal author of the current House bill, Medicaid now costs 37 times more than when it was launched -- after adjusting for inflation.
  • Currently the cost is $251 billion, up 24.7 percent or $50 billion in fiscal 2009 alone, and that's before the health care bill covers millions of new beneficiaries.

Medicare has a similar record:

  • In 1965, Congressional budgeters said it would cost $12 billion in 1990.
  • Its actual cost that year was $90 billion.
  • The hospitalization program alone was supposed to cost $9 billion but wound up costing $67 billion. These aren't small forecasting errors--the rate of increase in Medicare spending has outpaced overall inflation in nearly every year (up 9.8 percent in 2009), so a program that began at $4 billion now costs $428 billion.

The lesson to be learned is that nearly all federal benefit programs grow relentlessly once they are started. This history won't stop Democrats bent on ramming their entitlement into law. But every Member who votes for it is guaranteeing larger deficits and higher taxes far into the future.

Source: Editorial, "Health Costs and History;Government programs always exceed their spending estimates," Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2009.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks! James C Zoes

Thanks for your Letter To the Editor dated Monday, October 12, 2009. It is entitled "Defense decision". I think you were much too kind in using this title; I would have used the title "Defense sellout". On Sept. 17 President Obama sent the wrong message to Russia; that we perhaps were not really that concerned about Eastern Europe. When the President cancelled the ABM missile defense of Eastern Europe it sent the message to Eastern Europe that they could not really count on this administration to fulfill it's promises but that the President was more concerned with satisfying the Bear, Russia on the date of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. As you said in your letter, this did not go unnoticed in Europe but the media in the US treated it as a very minor event. In reality it reminded me of the heady days of FDR and the partitioning of Eastern Europe. Why did President Obama do it? I never heard a satisfactory answer; have any of you? If a Bear is not afraid of you it will attack and devour you. To make things even worse President Obama took the "sting" out of our Alaskan missile defence system by his budget cuts of this system which as you said effectively "standing it down". This leaves our western flank and shortest route to Russia vulnerable. What will he do next; recall all our ballistic missile subs and have them sit in port and have them shut down their nuclear power plants?

I do not understand the man, President Obama and I do not understand why he is not taking his first and foremost responsibility more seriously; to protect the security of the United States of America and its' citizens more seriously. Can anyone give me a good and reasonable answer to this question? Weakness is never rewarded by peace in this real world we live in....history has told us so over the millenniums.