Wednesday, September 13, 2017

It's How You Spin It - Numbers for Uninsured

So the Census Bureau released numbers about insurance rates in Arkansas. The left is claiming that they prove how wonderful Obamacare has been in Arkansas. I look at the same numbers and think how few people have actually been helped considering how much trouble it has been for the rest of us, and how catastrophic it will be when this unsustainable system finally goes away.

The chart shows that when we first implemented Obamacare in Arkansas in 2013 about 14.5% of people interviewed did not have health care insurance at that time. There are lots of reasons for that but the biggest one is probably that a lot of young people are healthy and felt that they had no need for health care insurance. After all, the state has been giving it away since 2013 and signing up everyone they can and still about 8.5% don't have health care insurance. It is very likely that the bulk of those people are just those who are not bothering to get it because they don't feel they need it, even if they are so poor that the can get it paid for by the rest of us or so wealthy that they should be able to afford it and face a penalty from the IRS if they don't.

So all of the controversy and rate increases and losing our doctors for the rest of us has been so that at most six percent of the population gets covered. The number is probably less than that because if you look at the trend line before Obamacare was imposed the uninsured rate was already declining from 2010 through 2013. It looks like it would have gone down to about 13% rather than 14.5% by now if we had just left things alone. So that means that all of this hassle has been for the benefit of around 4.5 percent of the population. That is not counting the insurance companies and hospitals who are gathering in taxpayer money hand over fist.

Also, the rate of uninsured seems to be leveling off. In other words about everyone that wants it has it. We are not going to get the number down to zero uninsured, even giving it away to the poor. Even before Obamacare Arkansans provided health care for poor children, the poorest of the poor adults, the disabled, and the elderly. The only group expected to provide for their own health insurance was able-bodied adults.  Most of us did. This program and all the expense and trouble it caused was about getting 4.5% of the population of able-bodied adults a welfare benefit paid for by the rest of us and the children of the next generation. That doesn't even count that it is fiscally unsustainable and is in a slow collapse anyway- who knows how many will be caught in the fallout when that happens. I suppose if you throw enough taxpayer dollars at a problem you are bound to help a few people, but I question whether we have gotten our money's worth on this one.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Who Is and Isn't a 'Real Republican'

Conduit for Action recently put up a piece that got a lot of attention called "In Defense of Governor Asa Hutchinson." The article was the furthest thing from a defense. It started with a run-down of all the ways that Hutchinson crossed not only the conservatives which are alleged to be the base of the Republican Party, but even moderates and liberals who are against corruption or downright idiocy ingovernment. For example when he, over the objection of legislators, awarded a contract to a vendor which submitted a bid $20 million dollars higher than the current vendor who had been providing the service without deficiency. Maybe the displaced vendor failed to "donate" to the right PACS?

After the long list of shady and/or leftist actions by the Governor the article finally got to the one thing that they were defending him for. They have heard more and more conservative activists complain that Hutchinson is not a "real Republican" because of issues like the ones that cropped up on that list. But they "defended" him by saying that he is a "real Republican" because the State Republican Party accepted his filing fee! Then they ended with the somewhat cryptic statement "this is what primaries are for."

Independent free-thinking persons will have slight disagreements from time to time and I have a disagreement with my friends at Conduit on their reasoning here. Asa Hutchinson is not a "real" Republican simply because the party accepted his filing fee. The whole point of distinguishing "Republicans" from "Real Republicans" is that some activists believe that there are people abusing the label and filing as Republicans even though they have no commitment to the agreed-on platform or what the vast bulk of the people who vote Republican want. So simply because they took his filing fee does not make him a "Real Republican".

However, the fact is that he is the realist of real Republicans. By that I mean that he accurately and fully represents what Republican leaders have actually done (as opposed to what they said when they campaigned) on a regular basis for a long period of time. He is a real Republican. He has served in very prominent roles for Republican administrations. And the "leadership" of the Republican party does the same kinds of things that he does. He does the kinds of things that leading Republicans have been doing for decades now.

That is because he is one of them and that is what the Republican party now in fact is, no matter what longtime conservative activists want it to be in their fantasies or think of it as in their fading memories. I hate to sound harsh, but the activists who insist that the Republican Party is something different than what Asa Hutchinson is and does are indulging in absurd delusion that we can no longer afford. Remember when you used to be critical of your Democrat neighbors because they refused to see that their party had changed? Well that's you now.

The only thing that might actually save it is for you to leave it and support other brands. At this point, staying is enabling. They have no reason to change anything so long as you continue to support their brand instead of another brand. I am a part of a group, Neighbors of Arkansas, who are seeking ballot access. We are not quite a political party in the traditional sense of the word. We are more like a network of citizens than a formal hierarchy. Starting Sept. 22nd, we will be circulating petitions to get on the ballot. I ask you to go to the link and print off one petition and get nine other voters to sign it and mail it in to us. If you want to do more, get in touch with us, but if we all do a little, it will add up to a lot.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Sorting Out Governor's Claims on Medicaid Spending

The report was titled "Governor touts $175 million reduction in Medicaid spending last fiscal year" and it was in, of all places, the Arktimes Blog. They were suspicious, but short on specifics as to why. Poor though that is, it was still a step up over the establishment media in this state which simply reports these claims from the Governor as fact without any discernible attempt at actual journalism. I look at the bright side though, if they actually did what they are telling you their job is, then there would be no need for citizen bloggers like me to inform the public of the wide gap between Government claims and the real situation.
Not that I am saying that the Governor is lying. What he is saying may be technically true, you just have to listen to him real closely in order to avoid being misled. Nor can he fairly be blamed for putting what he is doing in the best possible light. Human beings are going to do that. But what is supposed to happen now is that the "watch dogs" of the media are supposed to come along and tell you the rest of the story. And that's where the system is failing. The Governor has an approval rating which is far higher than it would be if we had a functioning media in this state. By "functioning" I mean functioning in the traditional way that the media is supposed to- calling politicians on claims that are too skewed or misleading. The media we have now does function- to prop up and support the system we currently have in place regardless of whether it deserves it or not.
So first of all, when the Governor says that they had a $175 million reduction in Traditional Medicaid spending this does not mean that we spent $175 million less than the year before. It means that we spent less than was budgeted for this line item. That is, we did not spend as much as we planned to spend. It is actually unclear from the report whether we spent less on Traditional Medicaid in 2017 than we did in 2016. Now $175 million is a lot of money and if we really "saved" that much this year without spending less than we spent in 2016 then it would be an indication that our budgeted spending increases were pretty ridiculous. I can't tell if that happened or not from the Governor's report and it seems that none of his groupies in the state's media pool bothered to ask.
But the real thing you have to be careful of is that the Governor specified that traditional Medicaid spending was going down. You see, even though legislators like Davy Carter (and even Charlie Collins who is on the Governor's task force engineering these cuts) claimed that "The Private Option/Arkansas Works" were not expanding Medicaid, they were expanding Medicaid. They just didn't expand traditional Medicaid. Instead, they opened up a whole new strain of Medicaid Program. One whose primary goal was to siphon off money from D.C. to fund health insurance coverage for able-bodied adults. Other categories of people were and are served by the traditional Medicaid program.
So you have this new Medicaid program which is, no matter what they call it this year, the expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults authorized by Obamacare. Then you have traditional Medicaid which pays groups like developmentally disabled adults, the blind, nursing home care for the elderly, Autism therapy, and health care for many children via ARKIDS. So, new Medicaid is health coverage for able-bodied adults. Old Medicaid is for vulnerable people in our society like children, the aged, and the handicapped.
Total Medicaid spending has not been reduced in Arkansas. In fact it has increased dramatically over the last few years. This is because spending for the new Medicaid program for able-bodied adults has grown tremendously while the cuts are coming from the traditional Medicaid program. A look at the payment structure reveals why. Uncle Sam has paid all the bills for this new Medicaid program up until recently, and still pays for 95% of it now. For traditional Medicaid FEDGOV only pays around 70% of the tab.
Think about that. If the state spends more on Obamacare-Medicaid then Uncle Sugar pays for 95% of it, while he only pays for 70% of traditional Medicaid. So as near as I can tell what the Governor and most of the legislature have been doing is slashing the traditional Medicaid budget for blind people, for kids with autism, for children, and for the disabled, and instead putting every dollar they can in a mushrooming budget for the new Obamacare-Medicaid program for able-bodied adults. They are doing this because the program's incentives are set up so perversely that they can scam more money from Washington if they do this.
Not that FEDGOV really has the money to pay for all of this. They are borrowing it from the Chinese et al to buy votes now and plan on sticking the next generation of children with the tab. I don't complain about having the social programs, I know that with humanity in its current state we are better off with some social spending than without it. But by all means let each generation fully pay for whatever level of spending it finds appropriate. What we have now is people who are telling themselves how wonderful they are to vote to stick today's babies with a crushing amount of debt so that they can hand out social benefits. Even if the social program is good, the way we are paying for it is not.
If you or the ones you love are served by traditional Medicaid, expect more belt tightening to come- all so that able-bodied adults can get their health care for free. The "Provider Led Shared Saving Entity" (PASSE) is a convoluted new model by which the state wants to invent a middle-man to say "no" to traditional Medicaid spending. That is how I see it so far. That way the parents won't be mad at the Governor and legislators like Collins who are slashing the budget for blind people and poor children to pay for Obamacare. The state won't be telling the parents "no" directly anymore. Nor will the providers. Parents are supposed to be mad at this entity the state and the providers created instead. That model swings into operation next month I believe. Then the "savings" from traditional Medicaid to pay for new Medicaid will be even greater.
People who are served by these programs have to take a hard look at what is going on and decide if they are going to continue with this attitude that "all Medicaid is good Medicaid" and stick together with the Obamacare-Medicaid beneficiaries That model usually works but here the result is that the people who counted on traditional Medicaid are taking all the pain and the Obamacare-Medicaid gaining all the benefits. It is time to make some hard choices about which served group is most worthy of those dollars and advocate accordingly.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

E-Book Giveaway Tweet This!

I am having a drawing for E-book giveaways of my new book "John Henry: Race Against the Robot". The idea is that the African-American Folk Hero John Henry was not a railroad worker from the 1800s, he's alive today and a champion but underappreciated race-car driver. Just as he is about to retire a giant tech company says it has a driverless race car that can beat any man alive, and make his profession obsolete. 1-in - 10 chance of winning but even if you lose I show you how to get a free one. See details here...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Senator Bryan King Goes "Bulworth"

The movie "Bulworth" is about a Senator who thinks he is dying anyway so he might as well start telling the truth. So far as I know, King's health is fine, but he's decided to tell the truth regardless...

printed in the Carroll County News

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

By Scott Loftis,

"Arkansas’ state budget has been a moving target for the past several months, and state Sen. Bryan King of Green Forest says much of the turmoil is related to the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

Arkansas first implemented the Medicaid expansion in 2013 through a compromise agreement often referred to as the “private option.” That plan allowed the state to use federal Medicaid-expansion funds to purchase private insurance on the state’s health insurance exchange, with the state paying a small percentage of the costs — gradually increasing from 5 percent in 2017 to 10 percent in 2020 and beyond.

On April 8, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill enacting changes to the program. Those changes include requirements that enrollees participate in job training programs. The new law is titled “Arkansas Works.”

Later in April, Hutchinson announced $70 million in cuts to the state budget to address what he described as a revenue shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30. However, the Hutchinson administration restored all but $10 million of that funding on the final day of the fiscal year. The state finished the year with a $15.7 million surplus, according to published reports.

King, a Republican who has been an outspoken opponent of the state’s Medicaid expansion, says the program is rife with fraud and abuse. And he says the state’s portion of the costs have contributed directly to its budget uncertainties.

“We’re in a spending problem,” King said. “Arkansas is raising more revenue than ever, and (Hutchinson) had to cut the budget. Well, you have to do that because you’re spending too much.”

According to King, the state’s spending is out of control.

“There’s two aspects of it,” he said of the state’s budget situation. “I don’t know what percentage of it, but some of it is the tax cuts that we enacted in years past that decrease revenue. Some. But the vast majority of the problem is that we are spending too much money, and when you look at our expenses, what’s went up is, 90 percent of is related to Medicaid and this expansion program.”

King said the Medicaid expansion has led some able-bodied Arkansans to quit their jobs.

“Because now we’re having the detrimental effects of disincentivizing people to work, so it’s hurting our revenue that we bring in,” he said. “We have people who were making $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a year and people with health insurance coverage quit their jobs and now are working less. Well, when they work less, and you create a program that disincentivizes them to work, you collect less revenue. Somebody making $20,000, $30,000, or $40,000 obviously spends more money, pays more income tax than somebody who makes zero.”

King said the state’s Medicaid costs, which were $3.145 billion in 2006, are now $7.2 billion.

“It’s over doubled,” he said. “We’re spending more than ever in Medicaid, and we’re in budget trouble at a time we’re not in a recession.”

The state’s Medicaid rolls have swelled from 215,000 people to 320,000, according to King.

“We have had situation after situation — you have to understand this is 320,000 people,” he said. “This is (equivalent to the population of) northeast Arkansas. And their average income, half of ’em make zero. And then … we have people coming down from Missouri that sign up on this program. Never lived one day in Arkansas. Never paid school taxes, never paid that kind of stuff and we’ve become a Medicaid magnet.”

The abuse occurs both close to home and half a country away, according to King.

“Do you know there are people in Carroll County with a half-million dollars in assets that are on this program?” he said. “There is somebody in New Jersey with a home valued at $750,000 that’s on Arkansas Obamacare.”

King also expressed frustration at what he described as a double standard and a lack of enforcement related to Medicaid fraud under the expanded program.

“Let me tell you something else that never has been addressed,” he said. “Why is it — if you’re on traditional Medicaid and you’re found to be collecting benefits, and you’re actually ineligible, DHS will come after you. They would expect you to pay that back. Why is it if you’re on this program, why do we have two standards that you’re on this other program — a program that I busted out, that we had somebody in every state in the union on Arkansas Obamacare, Medicaid.”

Primarily, King said he was unhappy about how state officials like Hutchinson and state Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe), who serves as the Senate’s President Pro Tempore, have “misled” the public about the financial impact of the Medicaid expansion.

“These guys have misled people,” King said. “They’ve misled and deceived people. And for Gov. Hutchinson to go out there and say that our budget problem is not related to a spending problem is a bold-faced lie.

“When it comes to our revenue growth, and he had to project a balanced budget over the next two years, his spending target that he put in last year — which he’s not meeting because he’s having to make cutbacks — he then doubles down. He puts in a 2.9 percent growth to balance this coming year’s state budget. So he didn’t make last year’s. Now he’s already rolling that back. And it’s year two. If you wanna talk about spending, we have to have 4.9 percent growth to balance his budget. The national GDP growth is estimated, maybe a little over 2 percent. So you’re gonna say our state economy is gonna grow more than our national economy in an agriculture economy. Nah. He puts these things out there to balance the budget because our expenses, our spending side, is growing. He’s trying to catch up our revenue projections with his spending.”

King, who said he has not decided whether to seek re-election, said he was targeted by Hutchinson and other Arkansas Republicans because of his opposition to the Medicaid expansion.

“What I want to focus on is last year when he was calling me out and contacting you guys and all this to get after me and the superintendents were saying ‘if Bryan doesn’t vote for this DHS appropriation bill, it’s gonna crash the state budget,’ ” King said. “I said at the time, Medicaid was on an unsustainable path, we had too many people on Medicaid, there was corruption going on with Medicaid and lawmakers. I said there were problems at DHS that needed to be fixed. I addressed those four major concerns when I said ‘I’m not voting for this DHS appropriations bill because it’s gonna put us on an unsustainable path.’ We had too many people on Medicaid that we had to make changes to it. I said that there was corruption going on, and I said there was mismanagement in DHS that needs to be fixed, OK? Guess what? Four months later, what’s Asa Hutchinson say: ‘Medicaid’s unsustainable. We’ve got too many people on Medicaid.’ What’s happened since then? ‘State rep pleads guilty to bribery.’ Now we have all this stuff coming out and some of it’s involved with this college, but some of it’s involved with Medicaid. So you’ve got this corruption going on. I said that at the time. You know what? That’s happened. You’ve got problems at DHS. We were promised a great verification system by lying Senate president Dismang. We were promised that in 2013 — ‘you vote for this, we’re gonna get this great verification system.’ That never happened. DHS wasted $60 million on a program that did absolutely nothing. They then spent $200 million. Guess what? They’re coming back for more money because that $200 million system doesn’t work. So you have all these things come up. Why is it we have one standard for somebody that’s ineligible on traditional Medicaid, but on this expansion program they have not recouped $1 of benefits from any ineligible people?”

King said Hutchinson, Dismang and other state lawmakers aren’t being honest with the public about the Medicaid expansion.

“These guys lack the character to come back and say ‘Bryan King was right,’ and retract what they said. … They don’t want to talk about the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been paid to ineligible people, and recouping that. You know why? Because it makes them look bad.”

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Ravenous Republican Revenue Rampage (Internet Sales Taxes)

Internet Sales Tax Collections is the subject here. The two traditional parties in this state just insist on passing new laws to collect sales taxes on online purchases made from out of state vendors. This even though the 800-pound gorilla of online sales, Amazon, voluntarily collects Arkansas sales tax. In spite of their stated reasons, I think that Wal-Mart's positioning on the issue is an important factor. They are pushing a model where you order online but go pick up in store. I think that is smart, too bad their e-commerce site is such a mess. But it means they are most directly competing with online retailers, and they want government to move the bar in their favor by increasing tax collections from such retailers, even if it precipitates a lot of other problems for the rest of us.

I recently got into a FB discussion on it with a State Senator who in many ways is one of the top five or ten in the legislature. I will give his provocative post first, then my responses, so you can be ready when you hear the same line....

WINNERS AND LOSERS (about keeping internet sales tax free while forcing local retailers to collect the taxes WE voted for highways, jails, city fire and police, game and fish, and schools)
There are examples such as the name brand chainsaw. The manufacturer sets a MSRP of $149. They sell to both the local Mom and Pop small engine business and the internet retailer at $135. That $135 includes shipping. The Mom and Pop small engine business has the chainsaw shipped to their site, because they will sell it in the community. Because it becomes part of their inventory, they will also pay property taxes on it that support the local school, library, solid waste, roads, city and county government, etc. The internet retailer never owns the chainsaw but has it shipped direct from the manufacturer or distributor anywhere in the country. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, the local Mom and Pop has to collect $14.16 sales tax. They also have to hire a bookkeeper to keep up with the tax and remit it to the state.
I, shopping in my pajamas can order it from the Goliath internet retailer for $149. Or I can go locally and pay $163.16. He gets asked a dozen times a month if he will eat the sales tax and sell it for $149. Sure, he can now sell the chainsaw for which he paid $135, for $136.08. (That does not include the people who came in and asked for his expertise on how it worked and whether it was any good or not, before ordering it via internet without even asking him to meet the price. His time after all doesn't cost anything). Yep, local retailers get to figure those numbers out because the state requires that they collect the exact amount of sales tax on the sale. They must collect the whole amount of sales tax, but they must be careful not to mistakenly overcharge the sales tax. You will be fined or jailed for going under or over.
How do we benefit from that? Let's set aside the macro that there are millions of dollars now not going to schools, libraries, roads, etc. Let's look at the micro.
Anyone who has operated a business, knows that they were only selling that chainsaw to start with, to find that one little bit more of income to make the whole thing make sense. How is the community better off, when he closes the small engine shop and and goes to work for Walmart? How is the community better off, when an ice storm or windstorm hits and instead of running down to Tony's or even Lowes for that matter, you sit and wait. Now you get to live like the settlers did in the plains (and here) when you ordered out of the catalogue and waited. Mean time, we could have been clearing the broken trees off of the roads and our homes.
DO NOT ARGUE, THAT THEY WOULD HAVE CLOSED ANYWAY because they were small and local. I have been told since the 70s that I couldn't compete against the big boys and the local store was on the way out. Well, the Big Boys of the 70s in my business are gone. Sure small mom and pops close all of the time, even if the sales tax were fair and equal. But so do Circuit City and Montgomery Wards.
Buy why do you want me not to offer 25 good jobs in my community? Why do you not want me to pay large amounts of property tax to educate our kids and pay our teachers? Why do you not want me here to donate to every local activity to come along?
Why do you think that we should be punished for being in business, but rewarded if I shut down my showroom and only take orders from people in other states just like you? I can then participate in helping people in other communities starve their schools and other government services because somehow if I sell online rather than storefront I become special.
Don't be surprised when I do just that. We have been headed that way for awhile. If by tax policy you pick on-line retail as the winners, only a fool would not get on the winning side. When I do that, I can pick my business up and relocate wherever I want. No need to support this community or this state for that matter.
P.S. For the number of people who have never operated a business who say "sales tax doesn't matter, they would have went out of business anyway", take 9.5% out of your own budget and get back to me. For many if not most, they will find that paying the mortgage, car payment, and health insurance becomes difficult if not impossible when you take 9.5% out of your budget.
To which I responded...
You have convinced me- that Arkansas sales tax is way too high. Ten percent sales tax is outrageous. I live three mile from the Missouri border and Wal-Mart opened a huge store on the other side of the line and lots of folks around here go there for large purchases to save on sales tax. Heck, the Hendren's had a car dealership right on the other side of the line for a long time. Maybe still do. The root problem is that AR sales tax is high enough to cause real distortions in the market. Solving the problem of government intervention with more intervention is going to cause two problems rather than solve one.
In addition, the "Goliath" in your scenario can only be Amazon, which is already voluntarily collecting the Arkansas Sales tax for you. So you are not really hurting the Goliath when you pass your law increasing collections, you are hurting other, smaller, online retailers. Including maybe your local hardware store if they choose to do that. There is also no reason why they can't have a customer order direct from the factory and not pay property taxes on it if the customer is willing to wait a few days. One only pays it for inventory at the end of the year anyway.

My grandfather owned a hardware store. I would be very sympathetic if that was what this was about. Wal-Mart is pushing an order-online pick up at store program right now. THEY are the ones who would benefit if online sellers from out of state were somehow forced by the Arkansas legislature to collect sales tax. They are more directly competing with online sales than walk-in mom and pop stores because the order is made online. I think enforcement costs of your new tax collections will be greater than the revenue collected but Wal-Mart won't be paying those costs, we will. Whatever you think this is Senator, this is in fact yet another AR-leg indirect subsidy for WAL-MART.

And the Senator answered by asking a series of leading question based on dubious premises.....

Political philosophy, tax policy, etc should be able to be conducted in a vacuum and the answers be the same. Truth is truth.

Should the government pick winners and losers?
Should retailers be treated the same?
If there are incentives should they drive jobs and capital in or out of the state or community?
Does tax policy matter in economic development?
It is interesting that you can see a tax rate difference of 3% drives people across state lines but not that a 10% difference would close down local jobs.

Or are you intentionally arguing for protectionism for certain businesses?

Which I nevertheless attempted to answer....
No, the government should not pick winners and losers, in particular for folks who don't even have a chance to vote against it, and that is exactly what you would be doing with this law: Wal-Mart would be the winner. Small online retailers, in state and out, would be the losers. 
Retailers under your purview should be treated the same- and that is what existing law does. They all operate by the same rules and nothing should prevent any brick and mortar from going online too under the same rules. Now if they choose not to go online as well that is THEIR CHOICE and I do not think the government should try to protect them from the consequences of their choices. It would be like a hamburger chain that refuses to get a drive-through window asking you to tax others that do have one because of the "unfair" competition.

There should not be incentives from government. That is government picking winners and losers as your leading question previous hinted at. Like Big River Steal which I remind you that you and most of your colleagues voted for. Since you swallowed that camel should you really be straining at these gnats? Instead they should tax the least amount possible in the least disruptive way possible to fund essential services. This would not be least disruptive. It involves reaching into other states and attempting to collect from people who you have no just authority over, as they chose not to live within your jurisdiction. All they can do is have their legislatures retaliate AGAINST ARKANSANS. This is taxation without representation, which our founders rightly labeled tyranny.

Tax policy does matter in economic development. Wal-Mart will want this because it is a tax policy which will support what they are doing but it will hurt the rest of us once other states retaliate. What you are doing is basically like an anti-free trade measure between the states.
You wrote: "It is interesting that you can see a tax rate difference of 3% drives people across state lines but not that a 10% difference would close down local jobs. " - Ha! I see both, what you are not seeing is all the potential consequences of your actions. You seem to think that we can step on their toes without them ever stepping on ours. Government is the only winner in this course of action.

As for the "protectionism" I have already explained how what you are doing amounts to protectionism and intervention on behalf of Wal-Mart. Leaving the rules as they are, especially when the largest online retailer is already paying voluntarily, is not protectionism.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Conduit's Calvin Coolidge Contenders

Conduit for Action recently announced their "Calvin Coolidge Awards" for the best bills and legislators. I guess Conduit for Action likes Coolidge because government didn't do much during his tenure and Coolidge defined that as "success." I am a bit more partial to Grover Cleveland but I get it.

At any rate, I am not sure I agree that every bill on their list is a good bill. For example their "School Choice" bill had some very interesting financial dots that could be connected into something really awful. Still there were a lot of very good bills on that list and a lot of the legislators they recognized as doing a great job were the ones which I also noticed were thinking independently and making good choices. I also like the idea that a local group, not funded by DC money or a front for a specific corporate interest, is out there giving awards to legislators. Its something we need more of, not less.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Abusing the Language of Civil Rights Until Respect for Them is Gone

What is a "right"? How are they determined? Even more fundamentally, where do rights come from? These days all sort of people are abusing the language of rights so that whatever social policy they prefer becomes a " civil right". Leftists are the worst about it, but libertarians do it a lot as well. Conservatives not so much, but it still happens.

Let me start by answering the first question, "what is a right?" in terms of what they are functionally. The power to declare rights is the power of tyranny. I explored this at length in the first book on Localism and even more in the second. Once something becomes a " civil right" then it takes it out of the public sphere. It becomes the purview of whoever has the right. For example, if we have the right to free speech it does not matter if what I say is offensive to the majority in my community. They can't pass a law telling me to shut up because by definition a "right" is a claim against the majority. The same thing if they don't like my religion, or that I own a gun. A civil right is an area of life which is not subject to a vote. That's how rights are supposed to work. And they were so essential that the view of our founders was that if a government habitually crossed the line and failed to respect the rights of its citizens then armed rebellion was justified.

The concept of civil rights was so powerful that our founders worked out a laborious process for quantifying them. Not all of them wanted to do that- those who favored a strong central state did not want to spell them out, but those suspicious of a strong central state would block the ratification of the constitution without an attendant Bill of Rights which put them in writing. History has proven them more correct, for our governments frequently violate the rights which are plainly spelled out in the text of the constitution in violation of the Rule of Law. How much moreso if those rights had never been spelled out on paper in the first place?

The Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments to the constitution, some of which had to do with civil rights, were legitimized through a laborious process of ratification. Everyone had a chance to understand what they were getting, and the majority of citizens, through more than one process, basically signed off on the idea that the federal government they were creating would have large areas of life that it could not mess with. They were recognizing limitations on what they could collectively demand of their neighbors through the new government which they had created. Once these restrictions were in place, it was from time to time the duty of the Judicial Branch to remind the Executive and the Legislative Branch that some action of theirs went too far and violated the compact which established their right to govern.

But this is not what we see going on today. We have lost touch with the original process of determining "rights" the process has now mutated into something which is unhealthy, unsustainable, and eventually chaotic. The process of something becoming a civil right is disconnected from any prior recognition by the people that the label fits. Nor are they now limited to the idea of claims that an individual has against the state. They are now doled out by group identity- that the state uses to limit the actions of other private citizens. So instead of the state being the one limited by civil rights, individuals are limited by them via state action. Thus what was originally recognized in order to limit state action has become the tool by which the state is empowered to meddle further in the lives of citizens.

These days people just declare something a "right" and demand it be treated as such regardless of whether or not their neighbors or ancestors ever agreed to be bound by such a view of rights. If some judge backs them up, then its considered that a new "civil right" has been discovered. It's asinine. It flies in the face of the principle of the rule of law, and the consent of the governed, as well as historical truth about where rights are considered to come from and how they are recognized.

This promiscuous manufacture of pseudo-rights will only feel liberating and empowering for an historically brief period of time. What it will lead to is the rapid division of America into "victim's groups" competing for a share of an ever-more-overtly politicized court system which will squander its remaining public legitimacy attempting to bench-legislate the personal preferences of its judges into "rights". None of us will be at peace as the rules are constantly at risk of changing based on who is up and who is down in this process. Congress will become even less effective than they are as they off-load all responsibility for their tough decisions to the other two branches- maximizing the incumbency of their members.

The end result will be one that the totalitarian state will love- the very concept of "rights" will be de-legitimized in the minds of the people. They will equate the idea of "rights" with the idea of the state pushing them around on behalf of someone else- the exact opposite of what a right is actually supposed to be. Just like flooding an area with counterfeit money causes people to doubt the legitimacy of the real thing, flooding a society with hackneyed pseudo-rights will erode confidence in the very concept. This is why the people who are questioning this proliferation of new "rights" are not necessarily mean people who want to hurt others anymore than people who question whether money is real or counterfeit are just trying to stop whoever holds them from having nice stuff. Some of us are concerned for the integrity of the process because we understand how terrible it could be were it fatally compromised.

The functional definition of what a right is and the process of how rights become recognized has been hijacked and mutated. The poisonous fruit of these mutations will be cataclysmic if not addressed. And the root cause of the how and the what being mutated is that the where  was first mutated. The population has rejected the Founder's belief about where rights come from. The Founder's believed that rights were from our Creator. They were only recognized by the people and by the state, not granted by either. Jefferson described the recognition of this source for rights in the mind of the people as "their only firm basis".  It is the view of rights reflected in the Bill of Rights, for it does not say "the people shall have the right to bear arms." Rather it says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms". The right pre-exists the state, and is only formally recognized by it, not granted by it.

I believe that those who cheapen the concept of rights are, whether consciously or not, acting as enemies of the rights which we legitimately have. This is especially true when they refuse to countenance the view of the Founder's as to their source.  This is the idea that the true source of our rights is our Creator, not the people, and not the state.

These days a lot of citizens, especially younger ones, are Theophobic. They have an irrational fear of, and in some cases even a loathing of, God. This irrationality expresses itself on this issue. If the state or the people are the source of our rights, then they can take them away. It's their option. This demotes "rights" into an artificial political construct. If on the other hand, governments and people only recognize rights which are granted by Nature's God (and are present whether they choose to acknowledge them or not) then the failure to recognize them is an offense, not just an option.

This is what Jefferson was talking about in quote above. On the subject of slavery he was complaining that his countrymen where not recognizing the rights of black people to be free and that there would be consequences for their failure to recognize the moral order of the universe. He was right, and Abraham Lincoln said as much in his second Inaugural address - he basically said that maybe this civil war is so bloody and awful because we are paying for our sins of keeping blacks as slaves for so long.

Reverence for God has gone out the window in our culture, and with it is going due reverence for the concept of rights as our Founders described them. Because the proper recognition of the source of human rights would limit their counterfeit application, some of the counterfeiters are unwilling to accept this truth. What they don't want to understand is that it is impossible to sustain respect for civil rights as a concept once it is severed from the idea their origin is from a source greater than mankind. They may long for and demand just government, but they will never for any great length of time have it, for they undermine the foundations upon which it must rest.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Secretary of State's Office Wins E-Award

Not that you would read it in the Arkansas Establishment Media, but Secretary of State Mark Martin's office won a national award recently for their Go-2-Gov effort to be a one-place access point for all the information needed by a citizen. Over 375,000 Arkansas citizens and businesses have signed up! How did that happen with so little media coverage? Not that the blame is theirs alone. Heck the RPA can't even be bothered to brag on Martin's office, not even a tweet! They did find time to talk about how $1,000 donors to their new HQ will get their name etched in the foyer glass though.

Look, I have had my ups and downs with the Secretary of State's office. I've been a strong defender in the past, but I am also part of a lawsuit against Secretary Martin because his office seems determined to enforce new laws against independent candidates which have already been declared unconstitutional in the past. The one place I can't give kudos to Martin's office is the election law portion.
That has been so at least since Doug Matayo moved on and Martha Adcock unexpectedly passed away. Assistant Secretary A.J. Kelly has proven very partisan and defends the status quo to ridiculous extremes. For instance, he fought in court for a law forcing new parties to declare their candidates earlier than the establishment parties even after the legislature itself threw in the towel and repealed the law! The judge, Moody Jr. who our suit is also with, ruled in favor of the Libertarians. He also awarded the attorney in the case (Jim Linger who is also one of our attorneys) taxpayer money for legal fees because it was deemed a civil rights case. I have come to the conclusion that Kelly will use the powers of his office to defend the interests of the Republican party to the last taxpayer dollar.
But at the same time, it seems the media as are quick to pile on Martin as "his" party is reluctant to defend him. I thought the story about providing publicly available voter data to the commission on voter fraud was a nothing burger. I walked in the elections office myself today and got similar data for $2.50. Any of us can. It is what the commission might do with the data that would be untoward, not giving the data itself (for example singling out minorities to mail cards to see if they are still at their voting address in an attempt to suppress minority turn out. That was what Lt. Governor Tim Griffin did to minorities in Florida when he was working for Karl Rove.)
At any rate, congratulations is in order to the Secretary's IT department for winning a national award for work which is already helping large numbers of people in our state. The alternative media exists in large part because their are things that the establishment media seems very reluctant to tell people. Good things coming out of Martin's office is one of them even if they go on and on about "bad things" that don't amount to a hill of beans.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Governor Frustrated that Washington Does Not Keep its Promises

I noticed an article yesterday which chronicled the debate over tweaking Obamacare (you didn't think the Republicans were going to repeal it did you?) prominently featured Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. He complained to Vice President Pence that the new version was "cost shifting to the states".  I found particularly amusing his quote ,“I wish the federal government would keep its bargain,” Hutchinson said. “That’s the frustrating part.”

Governor Washington D.C. is filled with liars from stem to stern, as you well know. Your real concern should be that your bargains with them are making a liar out of you! As it is written,
"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?"

I do not understand how someone who is supposed to be wise in the ways of the world in general and Washington D.C. in particular could fail to anticipate this outcome. He and others are acting like "nobody could have seen this coming" when in fact the Tea Party right and the Ron Paul types were warning for years that this would be the inevitable outcome. Yet somehow, we have little credibility in the eyes of the media (and therefore the group-thinking members of the public) while the Governor and all the legislators and "experts" who utterly failed to see the obvious somehow still have credibility. Why?

The Governor thinks he has reason to be frustrated? Try being one of those who correctly sees things coming in a place where those who are repeatedly correct in their warnings are dismissed as fringe extremists while those who make titanic and obvious mistakes in judgment are never-the-less accorded great credibility.

For example, in December of 2012 I wrote in this piece in an article aptly called "The Politics of Fiscal Delusion.....
"Some Arkansans are screaming for us to take this "free money." Problem: There is no money. Only the promise of money from the most indebted institution in human history- the federal government of the United States. They cannot keep their past promises, much less this current one...........
..... If Washington reneges on its promise to pay 90% of the bills for eternity then our state can't afford it and again those who became dependent on the system are worse off. We should say "no" to this "free money" from our bankrupt and delusional federal government just as a fish should say "no" to "free food" on the end of a hook. Washington does not have the means to keep its promise. This is going to be a "bait and switch" where states will wind up paying for more and more of this program. If we can't afford that, and we can't, then we should just say "no." 
It really does not matter whether you like the idea of expanding Medicaid or hate it. It does not matter whether you want to help the poor or want to eat the poor. The fiscal reality is, neither the state nor the nation have the money to pay for it, promises to the contrary not-withstanding. A person who says "we can't afford this" is not a heartless person, they are a realistic person. They are a grown-up in a landscape of perpetual adolescents who think prices are evil and only exist to keep people from getting things."
That was in 2012. Here was one I wrote in 2013 that gave much the same warning...
Washington D.C. is isolated from reality and suffers from a bad case of "normalcy bias". They think things will be the same as they've been for years because that's the way things have been for years. It's somewhere between circular reasoning and delusion. It is also a frequent mistake made by persons without a lot of experience or perspective (i.e. adolescents). FEDGOV presses on with lavish promises and massive expansions just like they still have money. They don't, and foreigners will decide when our last national credit card has been maxed out.
 Many of our wiser state legislators are wondering if they should launch major new commitments based on the promise of funding from the most indebted institution in all of human history. Suppose you knew a man who used to be rich, but was now living off of credit in a state of denial about his present financial position. If he offered to fund a joint venture with you, would you re-arrange your life so as to take the offer?
Those wiser leaders were ignored. In some cases, the Governor found primary opponents for them. Others lost plum committee assignments for daring to ask troubling questions.

And in 2014  I wrote this article which said...
This is my prediction for what will happen. We will get into this thing and in a few years FEDGOV will try to shift costs to the states or something else will happen which will cause it to fail. We will then realize that the money to pay for all of these promises does not exist. The money to pay for it never existed, they only said it did in order to gain control over your family's health care. We will have dismantled our existing health care structure for the poor only to see the single federal system the state's leaders pinned all of our hopes on fall apart.  
And I am pretty sure if I dug around enough I could find something from 2015 and 2016 too. My point is that the Governor thinks he has good reason to be frustrated, but I think those of us who have been right from the beginning are the ones whose frustration is most justified. That's my little point.

My big point, and my next prediction, is that a whole lot of people who consider themselves loyal voters for the Republicans and the Democrats are going to wake up one day- a day not far off- and realize that they have been betrayed. Many others will refuse to see that, and get angry with those who point it out to them, but it will still be obvious.

Their problem is that they have surrendered too much of their humanity. Humans are supposed to be social animals, but not herd animals. We are supposed to join together into groups, but not follow our leaders off the cliff like lemmings. Humans have something that animals don't - we have the capacity to love truth. And love of truth can top loyalty to herd leaders. At some point they are going to realize that "their" herd leaders are working for someone else- shearing and eating the flock more than looking out for it. They are going to realize that many of the people they looked up to were not the great men they thought, but just men. Men who made serious lapses in judgement and worse.

My prediction is that very soon, by November of 2018 even, people are going to wish that they had someone else, someone competent, honest, and sane, to vote for.  You may even be one of those people. But you can't wait until November of next year to give yourself a better choice. If you want a better choice then you have to do something about it right now. Go to this link and get a ballot petition to let Neighbors of Arkansas present a slate of candidates in 2018. Sign it and get nine other voters to sign it, and then mail it in to the address given. Encourage others you know to do the same.

That is what you are going to have to do if you want better ballot choices. If you will think back, many of you have been unhappy with a lot of your lack of choices in past elections. Why do nothing and let yourself be put in that position again and again? The time to do something about it is now. But hey, why listen to me?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wal-Mart to Fine Suppliers for Being A Day Early

The Wal-Mart supplier squeeze reaches a new high (or low depending on perspective).

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Troubling Lack of Self-Objectivity

Very few legislators craft the bills that they sponsor. The ideas in the bills are usually not their own. Instead, think tanks or similar associations funded by various interests generate support for issues and help craft (or completely write) bills. The idea of concerned citizens sitting down with "their" representative and explaining some problem they have which is addressed by the legislator then crafting a bill themselves is a rare thing (some of us hope to change that). ALEC is the most prominent national example. But there are state versions of these things too, and this story concerns two of the biggest on what is considered "the right" in Arkansas, and some of the biggest names.

Dan Greenberg runs "Advance Arkansas" which is a think-tank for Arkansas public policy that focuses on economic freedom issues. Mr. Greenberg also writes for and runs the website "The Arkansas Project", which gives political voice and commentary on many issues related to those that Advance Arkansas is for or against. In other words, these operations are Dan Greenburg's instruments for advancing public policy as he sees fit. Joe Maynard and Brenda-Vassaur-Taylor run an outfit called Conduit for Commerce which is much like Advance Arkansas. They too have an associated organization which gives political commentary on issues relevant to their think tank- Conduit for Action. The Paul Harrell Program, on which I have sometimes been a guest, is a part of that commentary effort.

Up until a couple of years ago, Conduit and AA worked together on certain things. And when I mean "together" part of what I mean is that the founders of Conduit paid Mr. Greenberg and AA to produce material. That was as recently as 2015. I did not have to FOIA anyone for this interesting tidbit- Mrs. Vassaur-Taylor told me they paid Mr. Greenberg $20,000 to do a legislative scorecard in 2013. That is a heck of a lot of money for a scorecard.

They were not completely satisfied with his work- for example he refused to weight bills. That meant that a bill which spent a billion dollars to restrict our freedom in a big way may get a "-1", and a  largely symbolic bill which saved us $52 could get a "+1". Using that scoring system a legislator could make up for voting for Obamacare in Arkansas by voting for the second bill. They thought that a more fair method would be to subtract more for a bill that was not only negative, but negative over a broad area in a big way. Sounds reasonable to me. They also, at some point, wound up splitting with him over his approach to "tort reform".

At any rate, they recently issued their own scorecard and did it their own way. They were not paying Dan Greenberg anymore. They were not going along with Dan Greenberg on the approach he had (which was basically the nursing-home industry's approach) on tort reform. Dan Greenberg then co-wrote an extremely critical article slamming Conduit's scorecard for their alleged poor methodology and lack of transparency. He failed to mention that a few years before they were paying him a very substantial amount of money to do a scorecard. He failed to mention that they were basically now a competitor for credibility in the niche market of those who care about economic freedom issues. He failed to mention some other very glaring conflicts of interest which I will document in short order.

It is ironic that he did not disclose any of those potential conflicts because the main thing he slammed them on was "transparency".  He said concerning the negative scores of some legislators "nobody has any idea what it means, really, because Conduit’s methodology is completely invisible". Well, some of the details were invisible, but a lot of the main criteria were easily visible, or at least discernible. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what a negative score meant. He said it was "pointless" to rely on the scores in their ranking system. Also "As it stands now, we don’t see much difference between Conduit’s rankings and the random results that you’d get if you called each legislator’s name and then picked a number out of a bingo basket."

I really thought that went too far. I thought he was just bad-mouthing the competition, and very oriented to the nursing-home industry's idea of tort reform for biased reasons. So I went on the radio and said so.

I followed that up with an article, and we went through a dreary session of comments back and forth. I admit that I did not understand the scale of the scoring correctly, but after talking with Vassaur-Taylor I had almost everything about the methodology right. I don't need to know the scale in order to obtain relative values. If you understand the basis of a process having a total grasp of the minutia of the process is not essential to obtaining value from it. But if you want to know how Dan Greenberg works, it is like this: He finds some area where we do not have perfect knowledge or something is said with less than perfect precision, then he greatly exaggerates the significance of that uncertainty or imprecision. He acts as if it invalidates everything you are saying and establishes everything he is saying. That's his m.o.

For an example, his strong statements about how useless conduit's ratings system was were hinged in part on the argument that a few committee votes were counted in the scoring, so that not all legislators had the chance to participate in every vote. He put it like this...
"If we told some legislators to run a hundred-yard dash and other legislators to run a marathon, and we gave them all one score that was based on how long it took for each one to cross the finish line, even a child could see that just judging them all on this one statistic would be unfair. Everybody has to be judged by the same yardstick – if we’re going to give everyone one meaningful rating. "
The truth is they got ranked on 30 floor votes and three committee votes in the senate. Not all of them had a chance to vote on the three committee votes (for good or bad) but that hardly amounts to the difference between a 100 yard dash and a marathon. It does not invalidate the rankings, particularly when comparing two legislators who were not on those committees, or were both on them, or who had a wide gap in their scores. Any lack of precision on the rankings from the decision was compensated for by the increased usefulness of using key committee votes as a rating of overall value, IMHO. Comparing that to the difference between a 100 yard dash and a marathon is hyperbole but this is what Dan Greenberg does. He finds some minor lack of precision and blows it all out of proportion and acts like this distinction (that does not really make much of a difference) is somehow disqualifying. He nitpicks the lack of perfect transparency in others, but exempts himself from anywhere near that same amount of scrutiny.

He then wrote a second piece on Conduit's scorecard controversy, the tone of which made it sound like Conduit started the fight when in fact he did. I am going to give an extended quote from that one so that you can marvel at how this guy operates....
Instead, she replied “Dan is paid by the people who want the tort reform bill passed, and his wife does work for the nursing home association PACs, and that is what it is. And so he has an interest in writing an article like that.” 
Now, I am sure that Brenda knows perfectly well that none of that is true. I am paid – indirectly, I guess – by hundreds of AAI donors, some of whom support tort reform and some of whom don’t. (I admit that, in the past, I have helped draft some proposed tort reform amendments, and I was honored to do so.) My wife doesn’t work for any political action committees at all. My position on tort reform hasn’t changed; every two years, we publish our Action Plan for Arkansas; in 2013, 2015, and 2017 we published almost identical tort reform recommendations in that book. In fact, before its recent move to the left on tort reform, Conduit cosponsored the 2015 edition of our book that contained our tort reform recommendations.
This is a carefully crafted statement worthy of Slick Willy Bill Clinton himself. First, he says he is paid by "hundreds of AAI donors" with various views on the issue- implying that he is not paid by those specifically pushing tort "reform". He then says he was honored to "helped draft some proposed tort reform amendments". Does that mean he did a little volunteer work? One might think so from the phrasing. But it turns out that "honor" was not his only reward. He got paid almost $30,000 by the sponsors. Maybe more, that is just what I can find. Yep. Here is a picture from one of the filings for the group pushing the amendment that was struck down by the courts for confusing or deceptive title language late in is their expenses and it shows Dan Greenberg gets over $18,000 in that reporting period alone...

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Also, he didn't just "help draft" the proposed amendments. He was their lead attorney! Here is shot from a letter from the Attorney General concerning the proposed amendment. It is addressed to him!
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And who is this group? Well I will put their donors list from that same report below this paragraph. They are interests associated with assisted care facilities- old folks homes. These are the people behind the so-called "tort reform". Compare that to his statement in red above, which strongly implies that he was not being paid by tort reform interests but small donors from AAI with various views on the matter. You see what Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky did was not technically sexual "relations" so Bad Boy Bill was telling the "truth". And when Greenberg tells you that his money from AAI is not from the industry he may also be telling you the truth- because they give the Greenbergs money outside of AAI.
In that statement in red Dan Greenberg just says "my wife does not work for a PAC" and leaves it there as if it was a ridiculous lie made up from whole cloth by Brenda Vassaur-Taylor. This is exactly what I said about his M.O. He takes the slightest imprecision in communication and makes it seem like either nothing is there or it proves everything, depending on what he wants at the time. It is like Bill Clinton saying "it depends on what the meaning of is is." Greenberg's wife does not work for a PAC, but the firm she works for (AHCA) has several PACS. It also represents 93% of the assisted living facilities in this state. They employ a number of lobbyists as well as having their own. Here is a pic from their website describing her duties...(correction/clarefication, both of these things, the picture and the description, are under the "About" tab of their website, but the description of  their mission is not next to her picture on the site).
click on image to get a larger view

According to that part of her job is to go before government agencies and provide information on behalf of the clients they represent- which includes almost all assisted care facilities in this state. (Editor's Note: Dan Greenberg says his wife cannot legally go before government agencies herself as she is still subject to a lobbying ban. So perhaps that screen shot from her own company's web site means that she is doing the research and preparing the reports that their people deliver to government entities and that she does not deliver or appear before them directly.) That same circle of people were the donors to the so-called "tort reform" amendment that Greenberg was the lead attorney for. So he has made money from them, and she is making money from them. For all we know he still could be, because for a guy who demands total transparency from others he sure seems reluctant to disclose potential conflicts of interest from himself. Both Greenbergs have made money from the people on the opposite side from Conduit on this particular mutated view of tort reform.

This is not Conduit picking on a wife who has no skin in this game. This is like a miniature version of Bill and Hillary Clinton where they are both making money from the same people and it is connected to what they are advocating for in terms of public policy. The idea that he can just brush off the suggestion that he should disclose that he has a potential conflict of interest here is outrageous. He should have disclosed. Especially if he demands transparency of others.

Not only that, Greenberg is still at it. He put up an article today singing the praises of his version of tort reform. Earlier his site put up an article which chastised a Democrat-Gazette reporter for her coverage of what his site called the "non-scandal" associated with nursing home owner Micheal Morton! I think you would have a hard time finding someone in this state to write defenses of Micheal Morton unless they (or their boss) are paid by or related to Micheal Morton.

I absolutely don't think Dan Greenberg is in position to be neutral on this issue and he is not being neutral on it. Further, he refuses to disclose, or maybe even see, how compromised his position is on it. He and his wife are serving as agents of nursing home interests. She is at least doing it openly because she works directly for a firm which counts them as clients. He is peddling his advocacy as neutral public policy.

Though the amendment he drafted was thrown off the ballot for deceptive/confusing language, the vast influence of this lobby has given us SJR8- which should be on your ballot next year. It is a referred ballot amendment from the legislature and it has a lot in common with the one Greenberg helped write. That is, it is bad tort reform as opposed to good tort reform. To understand why it is bad tort reform, here is an audio of me on the Paul Harrell Program talking about it.

I don't say to put your trust in any group, Conduit or Advance Arkansas. We all go astray and we all need correction from time to time. Some of us know that, others insist on very high standards for others while oblivious to their own failings. It is not falling into error that I object to the most, its the troubling lack of self-objectivity.