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On the first day of August, a mob of 200 right-wing Texans stormed the parking lot of a Randalls grocery store in southwest Austin. They were united in a single goal: Disrupt the "office hours" that Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the district's congressman, had scheduled for his constituents. The protesters targeted Doggett for his role in crafting the House's bill to reform health care, brandishing signs that read "No Government Health Care" and "No Government Counselor in My Home!!!" But their anger seemed to encompass a universe of conservative fears: higher taxes, illegal immigration, socialism. The threat of violence was thinly veiled: One agitator held aloft a tombstone with the name Doggett. Screaming, "Just say no!" the mob chased Doggett through the parking lot to an aide's car — roaring with approval as he fled the scene.
Conservatives were quick to insist that the near-riot — the first of many town-hall mobs that would dominate the headlines in August — was completely spontaneous. The protesters didn't show up "because of some organized group," Rick Scott, the head of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, told reporters. "They're mad about the stimulus bill, the bailout, the economy. Now they see that their health care is about to be taken over by the government."
In fact, Scott's own group had played an integral role in mobilizing the protesters. According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients' Rights had been working closely for weeks as a "coalition partner" with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett's. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993. Read more.
RICHMOND, Va. - Today (Wednesday) is the eight year anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. As President Barack Obama huddles with advisers to examine strategy for the war, with requests for more troops from General Stanley McChrystal and other top military officials, its cost is also being analyzed.
According to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research organization that analyzes federal data,
the tab is more than $228 billion. Jo Comerford, the group's executive director, says Virginia taxpayers are on the hook for $6 billion of that total. Since such large numbers can be difficult to understand, she explains, her organization breaks the spending down to the local level.
"The $228 billion also means taxpayers in Richmond, Virginia, have spent $115 million. That's 21,000 fully-funded Pell Grants."
Pell Grants are federal, need-based financial aid for students who want to attend college. The combined costs for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq will top $1 trillion in March 2010, she adds.
While more military spending is often equated with better national security, Comerford believes that assumption should be receiving greater scrutiny - not just in terms of how much is being spent, but where it's being spent.
"Right now, our military spending is unbridled. We're not being good stewards of the taxpayers in the United States that we need to be."
Comerford notes that the lives lost in the wars also deserve acknowledgment, although the casualty numbers are not part of these statistics. The full report is online at National Priorities Project.
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Tonight! NY'rs Mark Afghan War Anniversary - Ending Obama's War; Solidarity With the People of Afghanistan & Pakistan
Tonight: NYC Event on Afghan War Anniversary
ENDING OBAMA’S WAR: SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
When: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 7:00pm
Where: Proshansky Auditorium, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave at 34th Street [BDFV & NQRW trains to 34th St, 6 train to 33]
October 7th marks the eighth anniversary of the launch of the US led “War on Terror” in Afghanistan. Defending it as a “war of necessity,” the Obama administration is on the precipice of an enormous troop surge in Afghanistan and an escalation in Pakistan, which has already begun with drone attacks. This strategic dialogue will explore a deeper historic analysis of the realities on the ground in order to inform our resistance in the U.S. and to develop a more effective solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Jeremy Scahill: Independent journalist, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He is a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine and a correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now! He is currently a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. He has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS’s The NewsHour, Bill Moyers Journal. Rebel Reports
Zoya: a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Like many RAWA members, Zoya has witnessed and endured more tragedy and terror than most people do in a lifetime. Zoya grew up during the wars that ravaged Afghanistan and was robbed of her mother and father when they were murdered by fundamentalists - Zoya was only fourteen. Devastated by so much death and destruction, she fled Kabul with her grandmother and started a new life in exile in Pakistan. After attending a school funded by RAWA, she joined the underground women’s organization and continues their work resisting fundamentalism and war today. RAWA
Bill Fletcher: the Executive Editor of The Black Commentator and founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. A longtime labor, racial justice and international activist, he is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. Black Commentator
Adaner Usmani: works with the Labor Party of Pakistan (LPP) and Action for a Progressive Pakistan (APP). With these and other groups, he has been involved in antiwar work, principally in Pakistan but also in the US, as well as assorted campaigns for peasant and worker rights. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology from NYU. Blogspot
44,000 Uninsured Americans Die Annually While U.S. Spends $651 Billion on Military
Florida Mass March to End War Economy: Healthcare, Not Warfare
When: 12pm, Saturday, October 17th
Where: Main entrance to the University of Central Florida, Orlando (South East corner of Alafaya Blvd. & University Blvd).
ORLANDO – On Saturday, October 17, citizens from across Florida will participate in the “Florida Mass March to End the War Economy” in Orlando, Florida. The march is being held in solidarity with anti-war groups around the nation who are participating in a day of protest and action called for by the National Assembly Against the Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
More than 44,789 Americans die annually for lack of healthcare services ("Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults"), a fact recently pointed out by Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-8). The state of Florida has the second largest number of deaths resulting from lack of health insurance, more than 3,900 (report).
Meanwhile, in 2009 the U.S. has allotted $651.2 billion dollars for military spending, including emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending (document). Orlando’s Research Park is home to four of the top 10 recipients of tax payer dollars via the United States’ bloated military budget including: Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and General Dynamics corporations. Together, these corporations received $96 billion dollars in tax payer dollars via the 2007 military budget.
On October 17, 12pm, protestors will march from the main entrance to the University of Central Florida (South East corner of Alafaya Blvd. & University Blvd) to the Central Florida Research Park entrance to protest local divisions of Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and General Dynamics.
But, then, Brigadier Eli Avraham, an Israeli representative, played a videotape showing a meeting between Abbas and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister during the Gaza war, in which Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, was also present, the report said.
The tape showed Abbas trying to convince Barak to continue the offensive, according to the Shahab report.
Avraham also played an audiotape of a telephone call between Dov Weissglass, a senior Israeli official, and al-Tayyib Abdul Rahim, secretary-general of the Palestinian president's office, the report said.
In the conversation, Abdul Rahim noted that circumstances were suitable for entry of the Israeli army into Jabalya and al-Shatea refugee camps, and said that the fall of these two camps would end Hamas's rule in Gaza Strip, Shahab said in its report.
Weissglass then told Abdul Rahim that such an army operation would lead to the deaths of thousands of civilians, but, according to Shahab, Abdul Rahim said: "They have all elected Hamas, so they are the ones who have chosen their fate, not us."
Members of the UN Security Council will meet to discuss Libya's request for an emergency session on a report that claimed war crimes were committed by Israel during last year's offensive on Gaza.
Le Luong Minh, Vietnam's ambassador who holds the council presidency this month, said he had scheduled closed-door talks for Wednesday after receiving a request from Libya, the only Arab member on the 15-nation council.
Libya circulated a letter on Tuesday on behalf of the UN Arab group urgently seeking "an emergency meeting" of the council to consider the Goldstone report, Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador, said.
The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, Switzerland, postponed a vote last Friday on a resolution that would have condemned Israel's failure to co-operate with its investigation into the December-January war. Read more.
UPDATE: Senator (Finally!) Franken's Proposal To Guarantee Sexual Assault Victims Their Day In Court Passes - see how YOUR Senators voted here.
Jamie Lee Jones was brutally gang raped when she worked for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq. When she tried to sue she learned her contract required her to use arbitration - a secret proceeding that denies civil rights.
Tuesday the Senate will vote on an amendment (SA 2588) that will prohibit defense contractors from requiring arbitration in cases of rape or sexual harassment.
Bombing Afghanistan: Where Have All the Photos Gone?
Mounting Civilian Casualties ...Silently
By Sibel Edmonds
The latest bombing in Afghanistan killed at least nine Afghan civilians, including six children. Here are a few excerpts from the report:
“Nine civilians including six children were killed in a NATO air strike targeting a Taliban position in restive southern Afghanistan, the provincial governor's office said on Thursday.”Six children and three women were killed and another three civilian men were wounded," he said.”
“Ehsanullah, an elder from Khoshal village, where the strike took place, earlier told AFP that Haji Kot Aka's house was hit late Wednesday."They had four guests at home when the bombing took place. The bomb killed Aka, his wife, four children and three of the guests. One of the guests was wounded," he said.
Civilian casualties are a sensitive issue in Afghanistan, creating a rift between President Hamid Karzai's government and international forces as well as resentment on the ground against foreign troops.”
Here is a section from my op-ed piece last May on Mr. Obama’s presidency and the mounting casualties in Afghanistan:
Here is the first paragraph in a New York Times report on May 15, 2009:
“The number of civilians killed by the American air strikes in Farah Province last week may never be fully known. But villagers, including two girls recovering from burn wounds, described devastation that officials and human rights workers are calling the worst episode of civilian casualties in eight years of war in Afghanistan.”
The report also includes the disagreement over the exact number of ‘Civilian Casualties’ in Afghanistan by our military airstrike: Read more.
Ineffectiveness and Dangers of Flu Shots
By Stephen Lendman
Believing what governments say can be hazardous to your health. It's even truer from corporate-sponsored studies on the benefits of their products. Thus, be very leery about the new CSL Ltd. one on the effectiveness of taking one Swine Flu dose. More to the point, any Swine Flu shot as, in single or multiple doses, they're all extremely toxic, dangerous, and must be avoided to protect human health from the pathogenic onslaught vaccines are designed to unleash.
CSL is "Australia's leading biopharmaceutical company (and) the only commercial manufacturer of influenza vaccines in the Southern Hemisphere." It's currently producing "a pandemic influenza vaccine called Panvax H1N1 which uses the proven technology that has enabled us to provide Australia with seasonal flu vaccines over the last 40 years."
Late Night: Vertebrates on Parade By Gregg Levine | FireDogLake
Dana Milbank, whose incredibly stressful job at the Washington Post allows him to go to White House press briefings, watched Thursday as Helen Thomas did something she has done pretty much every time she’s had the chance for the last half-century—she asked a straight question, and then pushed for a straight answer.
On Thursday afternoon, Thomas gave a clinic in fortitude to President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, during the briefing. "Has the president given up on the public option?" she inquired from her front-row-middle seat.
The press secretary laughed at this repetition of a common Thomas inquiry, but this questioner, who has covered every president since Kennedy, wasn't about to be silenced. "I ask it day after day because it has great meaning in this country, and you never answer it," she said.
"Well, I -- I -- I apparently don't answer it to your satisfaction," Gibbs stammered.
"That's right," Thomas snarled.
"I -- I'll -- I'll give you the same answer that I gave you unsatisfactorily for many of those other days," Gibbs offered. "It's what the president believes in --"
"Is he going to fight for it or not?" Thomas snapped. Read more.
Vets Loving Socialized Medicine Show Government Offers Savings
By Kristin Jensen | Bloomberg
Rick Tanner is one American who loves his government-run health care.
After serving in Vietnam and spending three decades in the U.S. Navy, Tanner retired in 1991 with a bad knee and high blood pressure. He enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration and now benefits from comprehensive treatment with few co-payments and an electronic records system more advanced than almost anywhere at private hospitals.
“The care is superb,” said Tanner, 66, a San Diego resident who visits the veterans medical center in La Jolla, California, and a clinic in nearby Mission Valley. The record- keeping, he said, is “state of the art.”
As Congress considers changing Americans’ access to health care, the veterans agency, whose projected budget this year is $45 billion, is evidence that the government can provide care favored by patients that may offer savings when compared with private insurers.
Researchers publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and the Annals of Internal Medicine in recent years have endorsed the system. A Canadian policy journal, Healthcare Papers, devoted an entire issue to it in 2005.
“The VHA’s experiences have become a model around the world,” the editor-in-chief of Healthcare Papers, Peggy Leatt, wrote at the time.
The government is both payer and provider of care to the veterans, employing 19,000 salaried doctors in 153 medical centers and more than 900 outpatient clinics. Last year, 5.1 million veterans were treated, and millions more are enrolled. Read more.
- Iraqi Oil Worker Union Leaders
- Pakistani Women, Youth & Labor leaders
- Scholars and Policy Experts on Afghanistan
- Antiwar Trade Unionists from Across the US
- Iraq & Afghan War Veterans
We are at a turning point in US History. In 2008 the labor movement had a moment of triumph, playing a critical role in electing Barack Obama and a majority Democratic Congress. In 2009 we find ourselves still in the middle of a devastating economic crisis with wars and militarism standing between working people and the peaceful just world we seek and deserve.
Revealed: millions spent by lobby firms fighting Obama health reforms
Six lobbyists for every member of Congress as healthcare industry heaps cash on politicians to water down legislation
By Chris McGreal | Guardian.co.UK
America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.
Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ‑ principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.
The industry and interest groups have spent $380m (£238m) in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totalling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law.
A former member of Bill Clinton's cabinet says fears that the industry could throw its money behind the populist rightwing backlash against public insurance have scared the Obama White House into pulling back from the most significant reforms in return for healthcare companies not trying to scupper the entire legislation.
Drug and insurance companies say they are merely seeking to educate politicians and the public. But with industry lobbyists swarming over Capitol Hill ‑ there are six registered healthcare lobbyists for every member of Congress ‑ a partner in the most powerful lobbying firm in Washington acknowledged that healthcare firms' money "has had a lot of influence" and that it is "morally suspect". Read more.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2009)--According to a new review of neuroscientific research, coercive interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration to extract information from terrorist suspects are likely to have been unsuccessful and may have had many unintended negative effects on the suspect's memory and brain functions.
A new article, published in the journal, Trends in Cognitive Science, reviews scientific evidence demonstrating that repeated and extreme stress and anxiety have a detrimental influence on brain functions related to memory.
Stacie Ritter’s twin daughters were diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. Their insurance provider, CIGNA, denied them coverage even though they had been covered by the family’s former insurer. The incident marked just the latest chapter in the family’s ongoing troubles with the health insurance industry. A few years ago, the Ritters filed for bankruptcy due to their high medical expenses—even though they had health insurance at the time. Stacie Ritter joins us to tell her story. Read and watch it here.
Sick of Congress ruining healthcare reform? Join the effort to make Pennsylvania the first state to provide Medicare for All -- come with us to Harrisburg on Tuesday, October 20, to Rally for the state single payer bill in Harrisburg in the Capitol Rotunda 10 AM to noon, flyer attached. Take the 7:25 AM Amtrak train from Philadelphia for $46 round trip (15 % off for seniors) or take the bus from Bala Cynwyd at 7:25 AM for $25, details below.
But first, check out our blog and see just how alive single payer is in PA!
All About Single Payer for Pennsylvania.
Click here to reserve online for the Bala Cynwyd Bus: Call Joan Martini 215 242 4057 for questions.
Tell us about any insurance company horror stories here.
From the Associated Press:
In New York, Baltimore, Washington, San Diego and San Bernadino, ACORN workers gave advice to Hannah Giles, 19, and the man who rescued her, James O'Keefe, age 26, about how to get a mortgage to buy a house where Giles and the girls would no longer be abused and exploited by "Sonny", a pimp with ties to the Mafia known for his violent physical abuse. Giles, isolated from her family, said that all previous efforts to get help had been rebuffed by mainstream lenders who had discriminated against her because merely she was a prostitute. O’Keefe, a law student and aspiring politician, said that he came forward because he needed to ensure that Hannah and the girls were safe. ACORN workers gave the couple school advice, tax advice and urged Giles and O'Keefe to reach out to family and friends for help while evaluating their current choices. "We are not going to judge these young people in their efforts to save themselves", said a spokesperson for ACORN. "They are poor, they need help, and it is our mission to help them since it was made clear that no one else would. We are confident that with just a little help and guidance, Giles will be able to leave the Life behind someday thanks to O'Keefe promising future and commitment to Giles. Certainly, they have shown through their insistence that they free other young girls from sex slavery from the same pimp that abused Giles that they are worthy of help.
I've sort of exhausted myself this past two weeks here defending in the comments section of numerous diaries (most of which, to be fair, were trying to help folks understand what really was happening with this story) the reputation and importance of the largest community organizing group in the United States, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), against what has been a plethora of claims about its being a "corrupt criminal enterprise" that "turns a blind eye to prostitution." And against claims that ACORN is unimportant to the Left because "it raises no serious money" and "has no vital constituency" and should be thrown overboard post-haste for political cover.
But I hadn't seriously defended the alleged conduct of that handful of employees/volunteers out of the 400,000 nationwide who had supposedly been "caught". I had not raised any serious challenge to the narrative. I merely assumed without actual close study that the ACORN employees had indeed done what they are repeatedly being accused of having done, a fair summary of which is this: Read more.
PEACE GRANNIES EMBRACE THE HEALTH CARE ISSUE
by Joan Wile
New York City peace grannies -- Grandmothers Against the War and the Granny Peace Brigade -- who have heretofore focused on urging an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have expanded our horizons to the fight for universal health care.
"These are two issues of extreme urgency to the U.S." said Barbara Walker, a member of both granny groups, "and each is at a critical juncture. The issues really can't be separated, as the gross funding for the unnecessary and doomed wars wastes money which could be used to cover all citizens' health needs."
Nine grandmas participated in an action held on Sept. 29, 2009, in front of the Bristol-Myers Squibb and Aetna insurance companies. In addition, there was a gaggle of Raging Grannies singing their satiric new lyrics to old standards. A surprisingly large turnout gathered in front of Bristol-Myers, and after a rally and a picket line which circled in front of the company's building, walked approximately 13 blocks down Park Avenue to the Aetna building, where they again formed a picket line for about an hour. A number of disabled people in wheelchairs participated in the action, adding to the drama of the occasion and demonstrating effectively the need for reform.
Earlier in the day, 16 protesters were arrested inside the Aetna building when they refused to leave until Aetna changed their policies (in both senses of the word). Among the arrestees was another of our Granny Peace Brigade women. She along with the other arrestees, was held in jail for 26 hours.
The prospect for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is “dead as a doornail,” said Francis Boyle in an interview with the Canadian Charger on September 25.
That is “because Obama sided with Binyamin Netanyahu,” at the UN meeting of the General Assembly.
Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois and was legal advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the peace negotiations that culminated in the Oslo agreement.
According to Boyle, former senator George Mitchell “is running a dog and pony show” in his scampering around the Middle East.
“Because of his accomplishments in Northern Ireland, I had given him the benefit of the doubt, but not with what happened at the UN. Now it is clear that Mitchell’s mission is just a public relations exercise to delude the Arab and Muslim world into believing that the Obama administration is going to do something while in fact they are pushing their agenda against Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.”
“At the UN,” he said, “the entire world saw Obama personally get steamrollered by Netanyahu. Obama was humiliated in front of the entire world which saw him as a pusillanimous and feckless leader.”
The US continues to fund Israel to the tune of $4 billion a year but will not insist on peace measures such as a halt to settlement construction.
Boyle believes that the current situation will inevitably lead to a third intifada, which will “sweep aside the geriatric leadership of Fatah.”
As for Gaza, “most of their leaders have been killed by Israel.” And as for Israel, it “never wanted peace. It always wanted more land, a greater Israel.” Read more.
The Pentagon’s efforts to develop a beam weapon that can deter an adversary by causing a burning sensation on their skin has taken a step forward with the development of a small, potentially hand-held, version. The weapon, which is claimed to cause no permanent harm, could also end up being used by police to control civilians.
The idea of the weapon is to “create a heating sensation that repels individual adversaries”, according to the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in Quantico, Virginia, which develops less-lethal weapons for the US military and coastguard.
Tests with a rifle-mounted infrared laser, carried out at a US air force lab near Dayton, Ohio, have determined a combination of laser pulse power and wavelength that causes an alarming, hot sensation on the skin, but which stops short of causing a burn, says JNLWD project engineer Wesley Burgei. Read more.
On Wednesday afternoon, September 30, 2009, the "Mad as Hell Doctors" rallied in front of the White House, in Lafayette Park. The group supports a Single Payer Healthcare System. Two of their slogans are: "Everybody In! Nobody Out!" and "Single Payer or Bust! "The doctors have been on a nationwide tour promoting their cause: via a huge Care-A-Van; staging many rallies, town hall meetings and giving speeches; canvassing numerous neighborhoods for new advocates; and, often times getting their message out by traveling in a caravan, while proudly displaying their symbolic white ribbon. Their laudable initiative, which sees "healthcare for all" as a moral and social justice issue for all Americans, was launched in Sequim, WA, on Aug. 28th. Dr. Margaret Flowers of Baltimore, who helped to organize the rally, also served as the MC for it. For background, see the Mad As Hell Doctors web site.
Speakers at Lawyers, Torture and Accountability, to be presented by the Eric R. Neisser Public Interest Program at Rutgers School of Law - Newark on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 4 pm, will consider the role and accountability of government lawyers in authorizing the torture of suspected terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. The event represents the law school's participation in Alliance for Justice's 2009 Student Action Campaign, programming on social justice topics held around the country each year in conjunction with the opening of the new U.S. Supreme Court term. The program will include a special screening of Tortured Law, a 10-minute Alliance for Justice documentary on the topic.
Following the panel discussion, Erika Wood '99, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, will receive the 2009 Eric R. Neisser Public Interest Award.
What: "Lawyers, Torture and Accountability"
Who: Dean John J. Farmer, Jr., Keynote
- Penny Venetis, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Rutgers School of Law - Newark
- Baher Azmy, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, who represented Guantánamo Bay detainees
- Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice
Neisser Award Honoree:
Erika Wood '99, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law When: 4 pm, Wednesday, October 7, 2009 Where: Baker Trial Courtroom, Rutgers School of Law - Newark
Just one example: "Medical malpractice lawsuits are a hot topic but, are they? Tort Reform is such a “Red Herring” and is easily disproved. A 2004 report by the Congressional Budget Office said medical malpractice makes up only 2 percent of U.S. health spending. Even “significant reductions” would do little to curb health-care expenses, it concluded."