Democrats & Liberals Archives

Edwards: Being Firm or Giving In?

A slew of nasty conservatives have stirred the pot again, this time by attacking John Edwards for hiring two women bloggers who, these conservatives claim, used obscene language and denigrated the pope and Catholics on their blogs. The whole liberal blogosphere, it seems, erupted in striking back by fiercely attacking in kind these nasty conservatives, and insisting that Edwards dare not give in. When Edwards remained firm, he was applauded by everyone in the liberal blogosphere. Except me.

John Edwards hired Melissa McEwan, from the Shakespeare's Sister blog to be a netroots coordinator; and Amanda Marcotte from the Pandagon blog to be his chief blogger. As soon as he did this, the fierce criticism began from right-wing bloggers: Michelle Malkin, John Locke, Walter Olson, William Donohue, etc, etc. William Donohue, of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights wants Edwards to fire these "trash-talking bigots." Here's what he says about Amanda Marcotte:

Writing on the Pandagon blogsite, December 26, 2006, Amanda Marcotte wrote that "the Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics." On October 9, 2006, she said that "the Pope’s gotta tell women who give birth to stillborns that their babies are cast into Satan’s maw." On the same day she wrote that "it’s going to be bad PR for the church, so you can sort of see why the Pope is dragging ass." And on June 14, 2006, she offered the following Q&A: "What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit," to which she replied, "You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology."

There's no need to quote all the other stuff spewed by conservatives against Marcotte and also McEwan. All the big guns in the liberal blogosphere - DailyKOS, MyDD, Atrios, Unclamed Territory and practically all other liberal blogs I checked with - disregarded the substance of the criticism and fiercely attacked the criticizers. Media Matters correctly displays Donohue's warts as follows:

William A. Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has made 23 guest appearances on TV news programs in 2004. Donohue uses his appearances primarily to attack gays and progressives. He has referred to the "gay death style," remarked, "God forbid we'd run out of little gay kids," claimed that Senator John Kerry "never found an abortion he couldn't justify," and claimed that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular ... Hollywood likes anal sex."

Democrats did this because of their previous experience with the Republican noise machine. Every time the Republican noise machine was not answered, the Democrat in question lost. Democratic bloggers decided that this would never happen again. All smears will be answered.

Edwards decided to keep the two women and issued this statement:

The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.

All the liberal blogosphere is in praise of Edwards because he stuck to his guns and was not intimidated by nasty conservatives. But what he did bothers me.

Of course, Democrats must not be intimidated by Republican criticism - if the criticism is not warranted. From the point of view of John Edwards, the criticism IS warranted. He said the tone and sentiment of some of their posts offended him. They may be great liberals, but their language is offensive to a lot of people and that will hurt Edwards' campaign. He needs writers that are more discreet if he wants to win over wavering voters.

Edwards' mistake was to hire these 2 women in the first place. Instead of sticking with them, which I am sure he will regret, he should have stood up and said that he made a big mistake in hiring them because they are not in tune with his approach to politics.

Had he done so, he would have had plenty of opportunities in the future to show that he would not give in when baseless smears are thrown at him by nasty and extremist conservatives.

Posted by Paul Siegel at February 8, 2007 6:28 PM
Comments
Comment #207224

I’d like to know what other people think about this:

  • John Edwards had 50 cases over $1 million each, and 63 cases totaling $159 million)

Posted by: d.a.n at February 8, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #207226

Paul
If he had fired them he would have been accused of not backing up his people,flip=floping etc. probably by some of the same people attacking him in the first place.Another Rovian multi-barbed attack.Damned if you do Damned if you don’t. I doubt if he lost the right wing Catholic vote because of it.What do you think.
When they cannot attack substance they attack the incidentals and hope something sticks.Our hope is moe and more Americans seeing through this farce.

Posted by: BillS at February 8, 2007 7:32 PM
Comment #207227

d.a.n.
I think Edwards is a damn good lawyer.

Posted by: BillS at February 8, 2007 7:34 PM
Comment #207231

BillS,
That’s fine.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 8, 2007 7:53 PM
Comment #207234

BillS,

I respect your opinion.
You say he’s a good lawyer?
Hard to argue with that.

In my opinion, using a lawsuit, in-league with the legal system, to win lottery-type awards, such as John Edwards did (50 cases over $1 million each, and 63 cases totaling $159 million), diminishing the awards to the client by millions of dollars, is a vile practice, abuse of the legal system, and a manifestation of unchecked greed.

OK … now you can all respect my opinion and tell me how evil I am.

But it doesn’t really matter much.
Hillary and John McCain have a lot more money.
Obama has a better chance that Edwards.

90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money. Not even Edwards personal wealth can not easily compete with Hillary’s hundreds of millions of campaign donations.

John Edwards won’t get the Democrat nomination.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 8, 2007 8:17 PM
Comment #207239

Paul: While the blog statements of Marcotte & McEwan were rather over the top, they were and are true in the context of the blog posts. Both women were criticizing the Institutional Church (i.e., the pope) and the lunatic right within the RC Church so ably represented by Mr. Donahue, the same Mr. Donahue who opposes democratic elections and advocates for theocratic government just as do radical Islamists.

The political reality, is this brouhaha will not cost John Edwards any votes. In fact, it will probably gain him votes from the majority of American Cathholics (like myself) who are mainstream, rational persons, and who reject the hateful lunacy of Mr. Dohanue’s crowd. Mr. Dohanue no more speaks for American Catholics than does Shrub for American United Methodists.

Posted by: Dr Poshek at February 8, 2007 8:40 PM
Comment #207249

d.a.n.

Seems to me was overpaid. Of course I figure about anybody pocketing more than a mil a year is overpaid.At least he trying to give something back through public service. Vile? I don’t think so. In leage with a Barry Bonds etc. I do not think what he does is as vile as say a rapaceous CEO that takes home a huge bonus on the backs of his workers and investors regardless as to whether his company is doing well.
Contingency lawyers do perform a vital role in the legal system. They allow people without the capital to access to the tort system that would otherwise be shut out. They have no garentee of payment in most cases and often work for years on one case alone.

Posted by: BillS at February 8, 2007 9:27 PM
Comment #207259

Personally, I actually wrote a Comment to Talking Points Memo supporting their firing.

Still, I can’t help but think there’s a certain wisdom to his approach. The first half of that statement lets people know that he’s in charge, that he won’t tolerate such offensive material on his own behalf.

The latter half allows him to be the forgiving boss, who having disciplined his employees, is not going to be bullied into throwing them to the wolves for his own sake. By doing the first part, he makes it very difficult for his opponents to say that the second part is about rewarding their behavior.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 8, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #207264

…and then they’ll both be quietly let go in a couple months after all this dies down. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 9, 2007 12:11 AM
Comment #207266

Wow. How the Democrats have changed their tune.

And after all these years of slamming Bush for not firing Brown fast enough, for not firing Rumsfeld, for too often being the “forgiving” boss and not holding people to account.

I didn’t (and don’t) like the way Bush covers for ineffective and/or incompetent underlings, and I don’t like it in Edwards any better.

Strong leadership does not mean that you let people on your team get away with garbage like this for fear of looking “weak.”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 9, 2007 1:07 AM
Comment #207267
John Edwards’ statement: … I’ve talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word.

Not their intention to malign anyone’s faith?
It’s hard to see how it could be anything else.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 9, 2007 1:22 AM
Comment #207272

LO, those women aren’t ineffective or incompetent. They just didn’t smooth over their language. Also I thought you righties appreciate straight-talkers. Have you guys flip-flopped on that too?

Posted by: American Pundit at February 9, 2007 1:53 AM
Comment #207274

This does show the Rep machine must think Edwards is the man to beat. They seem intent on knocking him out early. One day accusing him of living in a nice house and now this.Next Wed. it will be something else. They are fond of picking our candidates for us. Like Nixon and Muskie.

Posted by: BillS at February 9, 2007 2:20 AM
Comment #207275

Great take on the situation, Paul. I have nothing against the two women in particular, but it doesn’t appear that they were vetted well enough before hiring. Edwards made a mistake, even if the criticism was more shrill than necessary.

We all know it would have gone the same way if a GOP candidate had made the same gaffe, hiring a blogger of similar language/style. They are part of the “red meat” blogosphere, and that isn’t what a serious candidate needs to hire for that position.

BillS, I don’t think the Rep machine sees Edwards as the man to beat, but he is always named as one of the top three Dems, with Obama (who is inexperienced and the country knows little about) and Clinton (whose experience and exposure are as much a detriment as a boon with the general public). It couldn’t hurt the Right to take shots at Edwards whenever they can… but I think this one was a legitimate point. He needs to think more clearly if he wants my vote for such a powerful office.

Posted by: Wulf at February 9, 2007 6:50 AM
Comment #207277

LO-
So writing thing things that offend people are tantamount to being the Secretary of Defense who lost us a war and the Homeland Security Undersecretary who bungled the aftermath and recovery of Katrina?

I don’t buy it. Last time I wrote a controversial post (I think that was day before last) thousands didn’t die.

This is a public relations problem, not a national crisis. Like I said, I think he handled it rather deftly: not approving of their past behavior, but not letting the opposition push him around. He showed he had control of his employees, and control of his organization.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 9, 2007 8:35 AM
Comment #207282

The angry left has just shown John Edwards that they are the boss. Is that really a surprise?

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 8:59 AM
Comment #207284

Come on Jack, “angry left” is soooo 2004. People got labeled “angry left” for saying that the war was going badly (giving aid and comfort to the enemy!) Now that is what moderate Republicans say. You guys need a new smear.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 9, 2007 9:12 AM
Comment #207292

Woody

Did you read what the women wrote? I think that qualifies for angry, maybe hysterical, left.

I suppose they are mostly angry at life and not at Republicans, but it spills over.

Anger and outrage are big aspects of the left’s appeal. If you are angry and outraged, you get the moral high ground w/o having to do any hard work.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 11:10 AM
Comment #207299

Jack,

Both Marcotte and her critic Donohue write like Ann Coulter. Note that Donohue is anti-Semitic, something which good conservatives like to claim (with virtually no evidence) is a left-wing value.

Look, there are angry people all over the political spectrum. If by saying “Angry Left” you are merely asserting the existence of angry people on the left, I obviously can’t argue with you. (Of course they would say they are being humorous, as many of their right-wing counterparts do. Let’s poison John Paul Stevens, hahaha.) If you are using it as a blanket smear to discredit people by association, I can’t take that seriously.


Posted by: Woody Mena at February 9, 2007 11:35 AM
Comment #207300

Paul, Aint it great-I finally found something that I disagree with you. Keep up the good work in making us think, a good Democratic tradition.

Posted by: C.T. Rich at February 9, 2007 11:37 AM
Comment #207303

d.a.n
I just hope you are never in need of a personal injury attorney. Then you would be praising John Edwards and the others who represent the little guy.

Posted by: C.T. Rich at February 9, 2007 11:42 AM
Comment #207323

Question,

Did Edwards hire them because of their beliefs, or because of their talents at doing the type of job he wants them to do. I would imagine the latter. One thing about Edwards, he doesn’t always follow the party line, he plays his own line of thinking.

I may not agree with what they have said, but I will defend their right to say it - or in this case write it.
The information on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Edwards#Legal_Career has been rather interesting.

I hope they are still on his staff - there seems to be some question about this. Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/02/08/bloggers_rehired/index.html

I would actually enjoy having someone would is willing to rock the boat some, and someone who remembers and supports the rights of everyone regarding our personal expression constitution. Someone not afraid to buck the system. Someone not willing to run away from confrontation.

If the women do a good job at up they were hired to do, I say more power to them, if not, at least John Edwards can think outside the box.

As for his legal abilities - well, half of me is disgusted, but then there’s the half of me that secretly admires the way he has managed his money.

I don’t generally like personal injury lawyers, but then I must also admit, they do have their place in the world - but I do believe there should be a cap on amounts a jury can award. However as long as this is not the case, I can’t actually fault Edwards for getting rich while working in the system.

Posted by: Linda H. at February 9, 2007 12:37 PM
Comment #207349

Paul,

Agreed.

Posted by: Trent at February 9, 2007 2:33 PM
Comment #207400

Woody

Does Ann Coulter actually work for a particular Republican candidate? She writes what she wants because she writes for herself. If Edwards would give those two colleagues of his the same option, nobody would have reason to question him.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 5:46 PM
Comment #207427

Stephen, I never said that the failings of Edwards bloggers were equal to the failings of Bush administration officials. That’s comparing apples and oranges.

For one thing, it’s a lot more difficult to win a war than it is to refrain from writing things like “What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?”

It just seems to me that if you’re running a political campaign, you’d want to win that campaign and have people on your team who’d help you advance that goal instead of make you look like a bigot. How many votes or donations do you suppose Edwards wins by having his staff members make statements about the Lord’s hot, white sticky Holy Spirit?

Hey, but if that’s Edward’s strategy here, he’s welcome to it. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 9, 2007 9:50 PM
Comment #207478

Paul, and other lefty posters,
Please read this.
It’s a mirror of my thoughts on this subject.

Since the two best men for the job (Feingold, Gore) aren’t running, and among the Democratic candidates that definitely are in the ‘08 race, Edwards is currently the one who would be getting my vote.

Btw, I personally think that both McEwan and Marcotte’s comments were spot on, as well as absolutely hilarious! Also, I don’t see the hate there. Exposing the machinations of men (including the Pope) who are forever trying to dictate and control women doesn’t automatically mean that these two women are haters of all people who are Catholics.
Let me also say here that I was raised Catholic (though born predisposed to being both liberal and agnostic), and my family is comprised of nothing but Catholics (some very religiously devoted), but hate-filled extremists like Donohue don’t speak for any of us. Indeed, I get the sense that the vast majority of American Catholics are more enlightened and intelligent than to follow that line of thinking.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 10, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #207505
C.T. Rich wrote: d.a.n I just hope you are never in need of a personal injury attorney. Then you would be praising John Edwards and the others who represent the little guy.
“Praising”?

Not likely. I’d bargain for something more reasonable. There are other lawyers willing to work for more reasonable earnings. I don’t believe it’s right to use a lawsuit, in-league with the legal system, diminishing the awards to the client, capitalizing on the pain and misery of others, to win lottery-type awards for the lawyer. Some disagree, and merely chaulk it up to an imperfect system.

“representing the little guy”?
Think so, eh?
The sad fact is, it is often only if the defendent being sued has very deep pockets.

Didn’t you notice?
All but a few cases (50 of 63) were for over $1 million, and all 63 received awards of $159 million.

Linda H. wrote: … but I do believe there should be a cap on amounts a jury can award.
Hmmmm m m m m … limit the award, or limit the amount that the lawyer takes, perhaps (instead) ?

By law, lawyers are limited to one-third of the award.

It is very interesting that the courts saw fit to set a one-third limit.
That means the lawmakers felt that the plaintiff’s should not be taken advantage of, right ?

Therefore, why not take it to the next logical step, and set a limit on the lawyer’s total take (not merely a percentage, since one-third of a fortune is still a fortune).

Such as ($500,000 X years worked) + expenses (and that is regardless of whether the lawyer worked on the case every week or not; that would limit the lawyers’ cut to $500,000 per year + all expenses in addition).

Isn’t that generous enough ?
Had that been the law, wouldn’t John Edwards clients have received much more money?
After all, they (the little guy) are the ones that need it most, eh?

The important question is, is the legal system supposed to be making personal injury lawyers rich?

Should the victims of torts have their awards diminished so drastically ?
One of John Edwards cases was for an award of $25 million. One-third of that is $8.3 million, leaving $16.7 million for the tort victim. Is that the way the legal system is supposed to work?

If lawmakers saw fit to set a one-third limit as fair, then why can’t they see fit to set a $500,000 per year + expenses limit ?
Why did they conveniently overlook the fact that one-third of a fortune is still a fortune?
Makes you wonder?
Surely, no one is going to allege that no lawyers exist or take such cases for $500,000 per year + expenses?

So, why hasn’t such an obvious, no-brainer law been passed?
Perhaps it’s the same reason many of this naiton’s problems are ignored, and law makers refuse to pass a myriad of other common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms ?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 3:21 PM
Comment #207528

d.a.n.

By law, lawyers are limited to one-third of the award.

I’m not sure where you got this number. The last fee agreement I was handed would have awarded the lawyer 40% of the payout, had they agreed to take the case. This is a middle-of-the-road fee agreement as well, with lawyers generally charging between 30%-50% where I live.

Maybe some states have caps on the lawyer’s fees, but it isn’t nationwide. I do, however, agree with you on the idea of capping their fees. Capping the payouts to the victims is nothing more than a giveaway to the perpetrators of gross injustices and grievous harm.

Lawyers, just like those responsible for the injuries, should not be profiting off the misery of others.

Posted by: Liberal Demon at February 10, 2007 8:13 PM
Comment #207539

It seems to me their tone was quite in keeping with the blogoshpere.

I think Edwards decicsion was smart and reasoned.

AS to John Edwards wealth…please indicate which candidate isn’t a millionaire. You might have some sort of point, if that were true.

Posted by: gergle at February 10, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #207540
Liberal Demon wrote: The last fee agreement I was handed would have awarded the lawyer 40% of the payout, had they agreed to take the case. This is a middle-of-the-road fee agreement as well, with lawyers generally charging between 30%-50% where I live.
Really? Up to 50% ?

It must vary by state?
Someone in another thread said it was one-third and I mistakenly took their word for it.
Yes, it doesn’t seem right to put caps on the victims of tort reform … just on those trying to capitalize from others’ pain and misery (something you are very familiar with).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 10:49 PM
Comment #207547

gergle,
There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy is there?
The question was, is it right to use a lawsuit to win lottery-type awards, such as John Edwards did (50 cases over $1 million each, and 63 cases totaling $159 million; one case for $25 million, one for $5.75 million, and another for $3.7 million), greatly diminishing the awards to the tort victim by millions of dollars ?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #207564

d.a.n.,

Without the particulars of a case, it is patently unfair to term a judgement, which often differs widely from a payment, a lottery.

By your logic, If I make millions, but only kill or maim a few…then I’m NOT a lottery winner? Perhaps I could then be described as a contract killer? The deep pockets didn’t accumulate out of thin air.

I’m not accusing anyone of a crime for being wealthy, but it has been asserted here of John Edwards while excluding the other wealthy candidates. That is also patently unfair.

Posted by: gergle at February 11, 2007 3:35 AM
Comment #207576

LAUGH. Right, Republicans are SCARED TO DEATH you folks will run Edwards….a man that can’t even cary his own home state!

LAUGH.

Hillary’s smear team is taking down all her opponents and you folks are doing her work, pretending it’s Republicans who are supporting her. Get Real. It’s the democratic party primary and Hillary is crushing anyone who stand in her way. In the end, there can only be one….and Hillary will make sure it is her.

Are you prepared to support the corrupt Hillary? If not you better try to at least be as sharp as she is because she has you dancing to her tune.

Posted by: Stephen at February 11, 2007 10:49 AM
Comment #207612

Stephen, do you think there is a Republican with an ice cube’s chance in hell of winning? If so, who?

Posted by: gergle at February 11, 2007 3:18 PM
Comment #207618
gergle wrote: d.a.n., Without the particulars of a case, it is patently unfair to term a judgement, which often differs widely from a payment, a lottery.
No, lets assume the victim was truly and severely harmed, and that the size of the award is sufficient to punish the perpetrator of the tort, and sufficient to compensate the victim as best as possible (excluding the fact that the lawyer will get a significant percentage of the award; something the jury does not know). In that case, the particulars of any case is not the issue. The issue is purely about what is a fair and just compensation for the lawyer? Is it right for lawyers to get huge, multi-million dollar awards (per year, or less) this way? Some say it is, some say it isn’t, some say it’s not perfect but have no solution, some want to set caps on the awards (to both victim and lawyer), and some want to set caps on the laywer’s compensation only.
gergle wrote: By your logic, If I make millions …
That’s not my logic, because I am not opposed to anyone making money or being wealthy, if it is accomplished in a fair, honest, and moral way, but I am opposed (as you appear to be also by your statement above) to those that acquire deep pockets by harming others, or taking advantage of others, which can take on many forms. No doubt, lawyers (nor anyone) should not be expected to work for free, but should they also take advantage of the situation by using a lawsuit for a tort victim to also make many millions per year which also takes a significant portion of the awards away form the tort victims ?
gergle wrote: By your logic, If I make millions, but only kill or maim a few … then I’m NOT a lottery winner?
Are you referring to corporations or individuals responsible for a tort (i.e. damage to someone else)? Of course they should be held responsible, and I don’t support caps on awards for tort victims. So, why do you say “By your logic …” as if I am defending anyone who by negligence or other nefarious reasons causes harm to another?
gergle wrote: Perhaps I could then be described as a contract killer?
Yes, a killer, if your negligence killed some one, an especially dastardly deed if you knew of a problem and ignored it, tried to hide it, and others were subsequently harmed as a result. I don’t condone letting tort defendants off easy, or caps on tort awards. The awards need to be sufficient to punish those responsible for the tort, and compensate the victim of the tort. But, should it also reward a lawyer too, which obviously significantly diminishes the award to the victims of the tort, by giving millions (per year, or less) to the lawyer ?
gergle wrote: The deep pockets didn’t accumulate out of thin air.
That’s right. By that statement, you concede that deep pockets (money) shouldn’t be acquired unfairly or by harming others. Along that same line of thought, should a law suit be used to win lottery-type awards for a lawyer, diminishing the award to the tort victim, and capitalizing on the pain and misery of others (regardless of the legality)? That is, the courts in some states saw fit to set percentage caps (e.g. one-third) because they felt the same way as you … that no one should accumularte deep pockets by taking advantage of others. So, why not cap the lawyers take to the smaller of one-third or a maximum annual amount plus expenses (say $500,000 per yer)? Of course, that would make it difficult for some personal injury lawyers to acquire deep pockets (e.g. $60 million or more within a relatively short time).

Tort victims are at the mercy of the system.
An analogy is the person dying/suffering from of a disease that can be treated/cured by a specific drug.
They are also at the mercy of the system (i.e. the pharmaceuticals corporations).
The pharmaceutical corporation can set a extremely high price on the drug.
The person can accept the price, or suffer without it.
The question, again, is what is fair and moral ?

As for John Edwards’ statement:


… I’ve talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word.
John Edwards is giving them a second chance, and that is fine, but to say “it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith” is B.S., since their statements are hard to see as anything other maligning religion.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 11, 2007 3:53 PM
Comment #207647

First off, I not defending Edwards here. I don’t really care to be honest. But pointing to his salary alone as the sole reason to say he’s immoral is just assumptive and wrong D.A.N.

Just because a lawyer works on retainer doesn’t mean he gets a windfall every time. He’s taking a risk. Anyone with money hires a lawyer by the hour and pays for actual work done. Other folks rely on attorneys to put in all the time and money for research, discovery, settlement proceedings, and trial. If that lawyer loses, then they get nothing. And they do lose sometimes, you know. Statistically speaking, 50% of the time.

Anyway, maybe he was, in fact, just good enough to win most of the time. Maybe he got the pick of the litter as far as his case-load. Maybe a lot of things.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 11, 2007 9:35 PM
Comment #207661

D.a.n.,
As to not maligning religion, Yes it is possible to see it that way, I do.

As to your twist of my logic, nice job of contortion, but no more true.

Your first statements assumes a lot. Why? So you can twist the logic backwards? I say lets not assume.

Without knowing the particulars of how I made my money, how can you define it as moral or injust? You’re simply ducking the question and my point.

Your defending tort, by using the pejorative and demeaning term “lottery win” to describe what could be a just award.

That money doesn’t come out of thin air demonstrates my point. Lottery wins do. Which one is it d.a.n? The tort is a lottery win or the judgement is? Without the particulars just how in the hell do you know?

You assume big tort wins are Lottery Wins. No, they aren’t. They are often Justice, and many fall short of that.

As to capping lawyers fees, welcome to socialism. Perhaps we can control everything that everyone makes. Your assumption that tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious is not founded on fact, in my opinion.

Posted by: gergle at February 11, 2007 11:59 PM
Comment #207670

That’s fine. That is your opinion and while I don’t agree with it, I support you right to it.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2007 12:55 AM
Comment #207727
gergle wrote: d.a.n., As to your twist of my logic, nice job of contortion, but no more true.
Like when you said “Your assumption that tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious”. I never said that all tort lawyers abused the system. Or when you said “Your defending tort, ” I never defended tort (damage to a person) either. In fact, I rejected caps on awards for victims of a tort.

Talk about twisting and contorting things.

gergle wrote: Your defending tort, by using the pejorative and demeaning term “lottery win” to describe what could be a just award.
I’m not defending tort, or calling for caps on tort awards for the victims. I’m questioning the practice (by some lawyers, not all) of winning millions of dollars per year, which greatly diminishes the compesation to the tort victim.
gergle wrote: That money doesn’t come out of thin air demonstrates my point. Lottery wins do. Which one is it d.a.n? The tort is a lottery win or the judgement is? Without the particulars just how in the hell do you know?
Nonsense.

The judgement is not the issue.
The particulars of the case are irrelevant.
The lawyer’s cut (total award per year) is the issue.
The average tort award in the U.S. is $51,000 .
John Edwards won 63 cases in less than 20 years for a total of $159 million (which created his personal fortune of upto $60 million).
How is it John Edwards didn’t have many (if any cases) for lower award amounts?
Perhaps it is because he only fights for the little guy when the tort defendant has deep pockets? (e.g. 50 cases for over $1 million; 63 cases for $159 million).
Seems to me that would be impossible, unless plaintiffs were screened to determine if the defendant had deep enouugh pockets?

gergle wrote: You assume big tort wins are Lottery Wins. No, they aren’t. They are often Justice, and many fall short of that.
Not for the tort victims, but yes for some (not all) lawyers, such as these lottery-type awards.
gergle wrote: As to capping lawyers fees, welcome to socialism. Perhaps we can control everything that everyone makes.
It’s not socialism. It’s common-sense. What if Congress and the President could set their salaries to millions per year? Would you call the moral?
gergle wrote: Your assumption that tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious is not founded on fact
Wrong. That’s not my assumption. Your assumption of my assumption is what is not founded in fact.

I’m not criticizing all tort lawyers. Just those that abuse the system.
Or are you saying such abuses never occur?

gergle wrote: Your assumption that tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious is not founded on fact, in my opinion.
Mine neither.
gergle wrote: Without knowing the particulars of how I made my money, how can you define it as moral or injust? You’re simply ducking the question and my point.
What question? I’m not ducking anything, but you are ducking my question. We know how the money was made. There’s no mystery about that.
    QUESTIONS:
  • The question has NOTHING to do with the particulars of the case.
  • Let’s say all the cases ended with a just verdict for the tort victim and the lawyer did a good job. Thus, the particulars are now no longer a question. What is left is what is a fair portion of the award for the lawyer ?
  • The courts in some states set a percentage limit (e.g. one-third). But, one-third of a fortune is still a fortune. Thus, is the law robust enough for such instances?
  • If some courts saw fit to set some limits, why not set a reasonable limit, such as 10 times the median income (e.g. $460,000 per year + expenses in addition)?
  • Is if fair for a lawyer to get (say $8 million) for less than six months of work?
  • Is that fair to the tort victim, whose award was vastly diminished by that huge cut ?
  • Does that mean that a lawyer should use a lawsuit to receive very large awards (many millions per year)?
  • Do you think that is OK ?

If that is your opinion, then fine … you are entitled to it.

But that does not justify twisting my words:

    • saying that “You’re defending tort” (i.e. harm to a person)

    • or alleging that I said all “tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious”

    • or that I am an advocate of “socialism”

    • or alleging it is envy or jealousy of the wealthy, etc.

Talk about twisting, contorting, obscuring things, and avoiding the questions.
That reveals the weakness of your own argument and unwillingness to answer some of the QUESTIONs above.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2007 1:56 PM
Comment #207886

O.K.,
D.a.n.

Then why are you accusing Edwards of unfairness as opposed to the other millionaires in this race? What are the particulars? Are you saying he got unusual settlement figures? Are you saying he got paid large amounts for 6 months of work? Are you saying anything, or just ranting?

You say you don’t think Tort lawyers are being singled out in your piece. What the hell are you saying then? You don’t like that they make more than you? What about fooball stars and celebrities, and CEO’s? Should we pass laws against their salaries also? Sounds pretty socialistic to me.

Posted by: gergle at February 13, 2007 3:35 PM
Comment #207923

gergle,

You’re still avoiding the questions.

I’m not talking about other candidates.

You think the practice is OK.
Why not just say so, rather than trying to cloud the issue, osbscure the facts, and avoid the questions?

You seem to think the practice is OK.
Fine. We can simply agree to disagree.

But that does not justify twisting my words:

  • saying that “You’re defending tort” (i.e. harm to a person)

  • or alleging that I said all “tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious”

  • or that I am an advocate of “socialism”

  • or alleging it is envy or jealousy of the wealthy, etc.

  • or alleging that I believe some CEOs compensation is moral and fair.

Those things simply reveal the weakness of your own argument and continued unwillingness to answer some of the QUESTIONs above.

QUESTION: While legal, is it moral for John Edwards to have received many large awards, becoming very wealthy (net worth upto $60 million amassed via 50 cases with awards over $1 million and 63 cases with awards over $159 million over a period of less than 20 years) via personal injury law suits? Is that right? Some think that’s OK. Some don’t. Some see no solution.

Is the legal system supposed to be making personal injury lawyers that rich?

There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy.
This isn’t envy and jealousy disguised as demands for equality.
Also, the goal shouldn’t be to limit awards for the tort victims.
The issue is merely the lawyer’s cut of the awards.
Tort victims are at the mercy of the system.
Should some personal injury lawyers be getting lottery-type awards, that diminish the award of the tort victim?
It appears to be an obvious flaw in the system that could easily be remedied, but isn’t for some reason?

By law, some states limit personal injury lawyers to one-third (33.33%) of the award.
It is very interesting that some courts saw fit to set a one-third limit.
That means the lawmakers felt that the tort victim (plaintiff) should not be taken advantage of, right?

Therefore, why not take it to the next logical step, and set a common-sense limit on the lawyer’s total take (not merely a percentage, since one-third of a fortune is still a fortune)?

Why not set the cap to the lesser of one-third, or 10 times the median income in the U.S. (i.e. 10 X $46,000 X years worked) + expenses in addition (and that is regardless of whether the lawyer worked on the case every week or not?

That would limit the lawyers’ cut to $460,000 per year + all expenses in addition. Surely no one is going to allege that there is a shortage of lawyers that are willing to work for almost half a million per year (plus expenses)?

Isn’t that more than enough and fair enough?

Other laws exist to prevent usury. For instance, credit card companies can not charge interest rates over a specified limit. Small claims courts often will not enforce any contracts for loans that charge interest over 10% because it is considered usurious. So, why are there no common-sense limits on awards to personal injury lawyers? Obviously, some people will view this practice as one that is unjust or discriminatory as are predatory money-lending practices?

However, had such a law existed, John Edwards would not have become so wealthy the way he did, and his clients (tort victims) would have received more money from their award (instead of John Edwards). But, isn’t the little guy (as John Edwards often calls them) the one that need it most?

The judgment and particulars of each law suit are not the issue.
The question is, is the legal system supposed to be making personal injury lawyers rich?
The lawyer’s cut (total award per year) is the issue.
The average tort award in the U.S. is $51,000 .
John Edwards won 63 cases in less than 20 years for a total of $159 million (which created his personal fortune of upto $60 million). He didn’t inherit his wealth, nor did he inherit his 28,200 square foot mansion on a 102 acre estate. In fact, he proudly admits to how he made his personal fortune.

So, how is it John Edwards didn’t have many (if any cases) for lower award amounts (under $1 million)?
Perhaps it is because John Edwards only fights for the little guy when the defendant has deep pockets (at least $1 million, based on John Edwards 50 cases for over $1 million, and 63 cases for $159 million)?
Seems to me that would be impossible (to only have deep pocketed defendants), unless the plaintiffs were screened to determine if the defendant had deep enough pockets?

Should the victims of torts have their awards diminished so drastically by the lawyer’s cut?
One of John Edwards cases was for an award of $25 million. One-third of that is $8.3 million, leaving $16.7 million for the tort victim. Is that the way the legal system is supposed to work? Should personal injury lawyers be getting rich by capitalizing on the pain and misery of tort victims, and then touting that they are for the little guy? Perhaps that explains why there are so many lawyers, and so few engineers, scientists, doctors, etc.?

The goal is not to set people’s salaries or dictate how much they can make. Socialism is not the goal. But tort victims are at the mercy of the legal system, and the legal system has some obvious problems. This appears to be an obvious abuse of the legal system and a usurious practice that is a manifestation of unchecked greed, to receive exorbitant amounts of money by capitalizing on the pain and misery of others. Also, according to some legal and medical experts who spoke with CNSNews.com, they say John Edwards used “junk science” to win cases.

Something is definitely wrong when (a few years ago), every neurosurgeon in Washington D.C. had been sued by some lawyer for medical malpractice. Does that mean that the nation’s capital has ONLY bad neurosurgeons? It seems more likely that the legal system is being abused by some opportunistic personal injury lawyers.

So, why hasn’t such an obvious, no-brainer law been passed to set some common-sense limits to curb these abuses? Or, do you feel there is no abuse of the system?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2007 6:54 PM
Comment #207925

gergle,

I’m not talking about other candidates.
You’re still avoiding the questions.

So, you think the practice is OK ?
Fine. Why not just say so, rather than trying to cloud the issue, osbscure the facts, and avoid the questions?
Fine. We can simply agree to disagree.

gergle wrote: Are you saying he got unusual settlement figures? Are you saying he got paid large amounts for 6 months of work?
Yes.
gergle wrote: You say you don’t think Tort lawyers are being singled out in your piece.
No. Not all. But you don’t give up trying to twist it that way.

But that does not justify twisting my words:

  • saying that “You’re defending tort” (i.e. harm to a person)

  • or alleging that I said all “tort lawyers standout as particularly aggregious”

  • or that I am an advocate of “socialism”

  • or alleging it is envy or jealousy of the wealthy, etc.

  • or alleging that I believe some CEOs compensation is moral and fair.

Those things simply reveal the weakness of your own argument and continued unwillingness to answer some of the QUESTIONs above.

QUESTION: While legal, is it moral for John Edwards to have received many large awards, becoming very wealthy (net worth upto $60 million amassed via 50 cases with awards over $1 million and 63 cases with awards over $159 million over a period of less than 20 years) via personal injury law suits? Is that right? Some think that’s OK. Some don’t. Some see no solution.

Is the legal system supposed to be making personal injury lawyers that rich?

There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy.
This isn’t envy and jealousy disguised as demands for equality.
Also, the goal shouldn’t be to limit awards for the tort victims.
The issue is merely the lawyer’s cut of the awards.
Tort victims are at the mercy of the system.
Should some personal injury lawyers be getting lottery-type awards, that diminish the award of the tort victim?
It appears to be an obvious flaw in the system that could easily be remedied, but isn’t for some reason?

By law, some states limit personal injury lawyers to one-third (33.33%) of the award.
It is very interesting that some courts saw fit to set a one-third limit.
That means the lawmakers felt that the tort victim (plaintiff) should not be taken advantage of, right?

Therefore, why not take it to the next logical step, and set a common-sense limit on the lawyer’s total take (not merely a percentage, since one-third of a fortune is still a fortune)?

Why not set the cap to the lesser of one-third, or 10 times the median income in the U.S. (i.e. 10 X $46,000 X years worked) + expenses in addition (and that is regardless of whether the lawyer worked on the case every week or not?

That would limit the lawyers’ cut to $460,000 per year + all expenses in addition. Surely no one is going to allege that there is a shortage of lawyers that are willing to work for almost half a million per year (plus expenses)?

Isn’t that more than enough and fair enough?

Other laws exist to prevent usury. For instance, credit card companies can not charge interest rates over a specified limit. Small claims courts often will not enforce any contracts for loans that charge interest over 10% because it is considered usurious. So, why are there no common-sense limits on awards to personal injury lawyers? Obviously, some people will view this practice as one that is unjust or discriminatory as are predatory money-lending practices?

However, had such a law existed, John Edwards would not have become so wealthy the way he did, and his clients (tort victims) would have received more money from their award (instead of John Edwards). But, isn’t the little guy (as John Edwards often calls them) the one that need it most?

The judgment and particulars of each law suit are not the issue.
The question is, is the legal system supposed to be making personal injury lawyers rich?
The lawyer’s cut (total award per year) is the issue.
The average tort award in the U.S. is $51,000 .
John Edwards won 63 cases in less than 20 years for a total of $159 million (which created his personal fortune of upto $60 million). He didn’t inherit his wealth, nor did he inherit his 28,200 square foot mansion on a 102 acre estate. In fact, he proudly admits to how he made his personal fortune.

So, how is it John Edwards didn’t have many (if any cases) for lower award amounts (under $1 million)?
Perhaps it is because John Edwards only fights for the little guy when the defendant has deep pockets (at least $1 million, based on John Edwards 50 cases for over $1 million, and 63 cases for $159 million)?
Seems to me that would be impossible (to only have deep pocketed defendants), unless the plaintiffs were screened to determine if the defendant had deep enough pockets?

Should the victims of torts have their awards diminished so drastically by the lawyer’s cut?
One of John Edwards cases was for an award of $25 million. One-third of that is $8.3 million, leaving $16.7 million for the tort victim. Is that the way the legal system is supposed to work? Should personal injury lawyers be getting rich by capitalizing on the pain and misery of tort victims, and then touting that they are for the little guy? Perhaps that explains why there are so many lawyers, and so few engineers, scientists, doctors, etc.?

The goal is not to set people’s salaries or dictate how much they can make. Socialism is not the goal. But tort victims are at the mercy of the legal system, and the legal system has some obvious problems. This appears to be an obvious abuse of the legal system and a usurious practice that is a manifestation of unchecked greed, to receive exorbitant amounts of money by capitalizing on the pain and misery of others. Also, regarding particulars, according to some legal and medical experts who spoke with CNSNews.com, they say John Edwards used “junk science” to win cases.

Something is definitely wrong when (a few years ago), every neurosurgeon in Washington D.C. had been sued by some lawyer for medical malpractice. Does that mean that the nation’s capital has ONLY bad neurosurgeons? It seems more likely that the legal system is being abused by some opportunistic personal injury lawyers.

So, why hasn’t such an obvious, no-brainer law been passed to set some common-sense limits to curb these abuses? Or, do you feel there is no abuse of the system?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2007 7:00 PM
Comment #207980

Even though, you frame this as discussion about how I twisted your words, I’ll sum it up for you:

gergle wrote: Then why are you accusing Edwards of unfairness as opposed to the other millionaires in this race? What are the particulars?

d.a.n. replied:

While legal, is it moral for John Edwards to have received many large awards, becoming very wealthy (net worth upto $60 million amassed via 50 cases with awards over $1 million and 63 cases with awards over $159 million over a period of less than 20 years) via personal injury law suits? Is that right? Some think that’s OK. Some don’t. Some see no solution.


So, yes, D.a.n. you are singling out Edwards above the other millionaires running in this race. You seemed agrieved that he is a good lawyer and wins large cases over the last 20 years. You note it isn’t illegal, but morally outrageous to you. Then you remain silent about the means of wealth accumulation about the other multi-millionaires. Interesting.


Gergle wrote: What the hell are you saying then? You don’t like that they make more than you? What about fooball stars and celebrities, and CEO’s? Should we pass laws against their salaries also? Sounds pretty socialistic to me.

D.an. replied: Well, yes. and then d.a.n. remained silent about other capitalistisic means of accumulating wealth. I guess this means he isn’t a socialist since he is only agreived by one means of wealth accumulation.

Gergle said: Are you saying anything, or just ranting?

D.a.n. replied with a post longer than the rest of the thread:) I sometimes feel long winded, but you put all of us to shame:)

P.S. D.a.n., you know I agree with MOST of what you post. I even agree that personal injury lawyers are often a racket in bed with insurance companies. BUT, I feel you are attacking Edwards unfairly.

Posted by: gergle at February 13, 2007 11:24 PM
Comment #207992
gergle wrote: D.an. replied: Well, yes.
Press Ctrl-F and search for “Well, yes.” No where did I write that in that in this thread thread. Never did I condone other immoral capitalistic extremes. But, if you see capitalistic extremes, how is using a law suit to make $8 million a year any different (by capitalizing on the pain and misery of others)?
gergle wrote: So, yes, D.a.n. you are singling out Edwards above the other millionaires running in this race.
No. Not at all. If their methods of acquiring wealth were immoral, I’ll berate them too.
gergle wrote: You seemed agrieved that he is a good lawyer and wins large cases over the last 20 years.
I think it is an abuse of the legal system.
gergle wrote: You note it isn’t illegal, but morally outrageous to you.
Yes. It is an abuse of the legal system, and greatly diminishes the awards to the tort victims.
gergle wrote: Then you remain silent about the means of wealth accumulation about the other multi-millionaires. Interesting.
Wrong. I have raised questions about other Congress persons have become wealthy. For instance, many times I have noted that Bill Frist’s HCA hospitals over-charged Medicare for a billion dollars (yes, that’s a billion with a B), and had to refund over half of it back to Medicare. That is fraud on a grand scale.
gergle wrote: Gergle wrote: What the hell are you saying then? You don’t like that they make more than you?
Not at all. Bill Gates is wealthier than all of them, but he earned it by creating one of the most popular and widely used operating systems in the world. He didn’t earn it by blatant fraud (such as Bill Frist’s HCA hospticals) or John Edwards flagrant abuse of the legal system to enrich himself by capitalizing on others’ pain and misery, and greatly diminishing the awards for the tort victim.

Also, don’t you think it’s a bit strange that 50 of 64 cases were for over $1 million, and 63 cases totaled $159 million, when the average tort award in the U.S. is $51K ? Seems like John Edwards is only for the “little guy” if the defendant has deep pockets (at least $1 million)? Seems like some screening of plaintiffs would be necessary to only find defendants with such deep pockets?

gergle wrote: What about fooball stars and celebrities, and CEOs? Should we pass laws against their salaries also? Sounds pretty socialistic to me.
No. There’s a difference. We don’t have to pay any attention to celebrities, or patronize the products of corporations. We are not at their mercy. But a tort victim is at the mercy of the legal system.
gergle wrote: I even agree that personal injury lawyers are often a racket in bed with insurance companies.
Hhhmmmm … I’m not sure about that. They are typically diametrically opposed, since the insurance companies are essentially the defendants in most personal injury trials.

What is a problem is some sue happy lawyers, as evidenced by the fact that (a few years ago), every neurosurgeon in Washington D.C. had been sued by some lawyer for medical malpractice. Does that mean that Washington D.C. has ONLY bad neurosurgeons? It seems more likely that the legal system is being abused by some opportunistic personal injury lawyers.

gergle wrote: BUT, I feel you are attacking Edwards unfairly.
Fine. That’s an honest, straight forward statement. I accept your opinion, and your right to it, even if I don’t agree with it.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2007 12:18 AM
    Comment #208016

    d.a.n.

    Your statements weren’t quotes, rather MY summaries, interspursed with quotes, since you walked around my questions with your “twisting dance”. In court, I would have deemed you non-responsive.

    You have the stay on message skill of many politicians:-)

    Attack the others, now, not in the future, and I’ll agree you’re being fair.

    Posted by: gergle at February 14, 2007 4:39 AM
    Comment #208017

    By the way,

    I disagree, that lawyers and insurance are diametricly opposed. That’s the problem. It’s a self -driven, self-perpetuating and paid off regulatory system that guarantees work and generous remuneration for lawyers. Insurance companies are simply financial investment groups with actuarials and lawyers paid to generate them revenue. Insurance is a skimming scheme. The game is to expand your revenue base and skew your payouts. Lawyers will help you with regulation and benefit denial and negotiate settlement. Actuaries help you calculate risk. The rest is money management. Insurance companies rarely really lose money. It’s one of the most profitable businesses in the world. Ask Warren Buffett. Lose in the stock market—raise your premiums. Lose in the Gulf Coast—raise your premiums. Set the rules so you never lose, better than Vegas.

    Posted by: gergle at February 14, 2007 4:53 AM
    Comment #208050
    gergle wrote: By the way, I disagree, that lawyers and insurance are diametricly opposed.
    We’re talking about personal injury lawyers. Personal injury lawyers and insurance companies are diametrically opposed, since the personal injury lawyers are trying to get as much money as possible out of the insurance companies. The issue was John Edwards and personal injury lawyers; not all lawyers and those working for insurance companies.

    And you then subsequently accuse me of …

    gergle wrote:
    You have the stay on message skill of many politicians

    gergle wrote: Your statements weren’t quotes, rather MY summaries
    OK, if you say so, but the following looks a lot like a quote, even though I never wrote “Well, yes”:
    gergle wrote: d.a.n. replied: Well, yes.
    gergle wrote: Attack the others, now, not in the future, and I’ll agree you’re being fair.
    I don’t know about all the others yet. Don’t worry … I’ll get around to all of them. I just told you about Frist’s HCA hospitals scamming Medicare for hundreds of millions. I’m not aware of all of the other candidates source of wealth, or weather it was obtained immorally or illegally. Even if others acquired it immorally, it doens’t justify it for others.

    I have written about the Rep. Jefferson Williams bribe scandal, and have often raised questions and posted Hillary Clinton’s irresponsible voting record, other scandals, excesses, and abuses. Likewise with John McCain who admitted to “looking the other way”, and Obama’s (and others’) vote to give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens.

    So, as for singling out one politician, observation of my many posts, web-pages, and web-site don’t show favoritism for any politicians. In fact, for over a year, no one yet as answered the challenge to name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, much less 268 (half of 535) in Congress that aren’t irresponsible.

    gergle wrote: Insurance is a skimming scheme. The game is to expand your revenue base and skew your payouts. Lawyers will help you with regulation and benefit denial and negotiate settlement. Actuaries help you calculate risk. The rest is money management. Insurance companies rarely really lose money.
    Agreed.

    Insurance is a nice concept in theory.
    In reality, it often (not always) fails to be of any benefit.
    For instance, healthcare insurance is becoming increasingly useless, as evidienced by the 47 million Americans with out it; who can’t afford it, or choose to take their chances without it, or choose to self-insure with HSA accounts.

    And look at what All State is doing now … trying to scam people out of coverage for their homes leveled by Katrina, by saying it was water damage (instead of the obviously high wind speeds that leveled their properties).

    Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2007 12:01 PM
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