Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gross, Absurd Negligence

In the law of torts, negligence is defined as "the failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation." Gross negligence is defined as "a conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty and of the consequences to another party...." That pretty much fits the description of the Bush Administration's approach to veterans' health care, but we already knew that. What's even more deplorable is this recent lawsuit, which the Administration is defending against, brought by veterans who are just trying to get the health care they were promised.

I could spout on and on about honoring those who've served our country, risking their lives in the belief that they were securing our freedom and safety. That would be great, but really, I'm not going to launch into some patriotic rant, and I'm not a veteran, so I feel I can't take up some patriotism laced moralistic rant.

But I am a lawyer. I've learned a thing or two about a thing or two, and one of those things is that our system of justice puts a lot of emphasis on fulfilling promises. We really don't like it when someone makes a promise to get someone else to do something, and then that first person backs out, leaving the other guy in the lurch. We're so about that principle of fairness and fair dealing that we teach it to our kids at a young age, and long before the founding fathers had grand notions about the form of government, jurists had settled on the principle that you don't make promises you don't intend to keep.

If there was a Ten Commandments of Anglo-American law, the first commandment would be "don't screw people over."

But that's exactly what these Bush folks are doing. They wanted lots of soldiers to go abroad and fight this Administration's enemies, but the Administration didn't really want to get stuck paying them. So, they made promises they weren't willing to keep. They've baited people in with promises of health care, which is gold nowadays, education, and a lifetime of slaps on the back at the bar. Now, thousands of veterans are hurt and filled with thoughts of suicide. They've been screwed; the Administration is not fulfilling its end of the bargain. The veterans' health care issue is emblematic of the Bush Administration's approach to governing: make promises about taxes, the war, health care, and a wide range of other things, but don't keep them. Just bait people into going with you, and then slyly back out before you have to pay the bill.

It's just not right.

Written while listening to Neil Young, Live at Massey Hall 1971


Jack Gonzo, MD said...

I however am a veteran and this was going on prior to 9-11. Any soldier that paid any real attention to the administration after it took power saw what Bushco did right away to veteran benefits.

One of his first acts when President was to slash funding to the Department of Veteran Affairs and other such areas. It was then I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was never going to be a "lifer" as the benefits you were supposed to get would no longer be there when I reached my 40s.

It's just another example of Republicans talking out of the side of their mouths, saying one things and doing another. If he really gave a damn about the troops he would have boosted money to the veteran area ten-fold, not slash and burn.

On a side note Dewey, CityCat is taking a great class this semester, Tort Stories.

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

Tort Stories? Explain.

Jack Gonzo, MD said...

I believe the description of said class is as follows.

To often in law we get lost in facts and evidence and forget about the people of the case...or something like that, I'm sure she'll eventually post the actual description.