Thursday, February 26, 2015

Watchdog Death! The Shocking and Tragic Loss of Tom Schweich

Missouri lost an amazing leader and one of the greatest Taxpayer Watchdogs ever with the truely tragic Loss of Tom Schweich.
He aparently shot himself today while his wife was in the next room. Thus, while he certainly had many enemies emanating from audits passed and current, and also as an announced candidate for Governor in what was to be an ugly battle against former House Speaker Catherine Hannaway, foul play seems unlikely. 

 The Missouri Net has the reactions from across Missouri which universally credit Schweich for his brilliance and integrity. In an interview on KMOX radio, veteran Missouri Capitol reporter Phil Brooks described Schweick to host Mark Readon as and amazingly rare politician whose door was always ope, literally. He then gave a most interesting insight wiht his personal assessment that Schweick seemed to lack the personal "thick skin" of most successful politicians he knew. 
Perhaps the personal criticism that all politicians must endure may have in fact taken a toll on the heart of this amazing public servant. 

 As a taxpayer watchdog, Schweick was second to none, and yours truly is in a unique position to assess as a 14 year lawmaker and even candidate for State Auditor (albeit a failed one). I am very familiar with what the job involves, from looking out for taxpayers and making sure taxpayers get the best value and efficiency from government agencies from the state and local agencies to public schools. Schweich not only took on anyone and everyone, he had the brilliance to take on the Mack's Creek Law. I voted for that taxpayer protection in 1995, so I was amazed that an auditor would have the foresight to take on the task of checking up on whether the policy is being followed almost 20 years later. It was another great Missouri invention, limiting the use/abuse of speed traps. Abusive locales like Macks Creek, MO could not gain more than 35% of their revenue from traffic tickets. 

Tom Schweich's amazing ability is perhaps best noted in the way he came to power as the Establishment's pick for Auditor designed to defeat Tea Party favorite Alan Icet, but quickly won over the Tea Party prompting a tribute by St. Louis Tea Party founder, Bill Hennessy. Schweich had all of the trappings of the typical Ladue blue blood, from his Ivy League lawyer credential to Ambassdor appointment, author and scholar. He was so stunningly dynamic and genuinely curious that he won over everyone who got to know him. The real tragedy is the loss to his wife Kathy and two children left behind. I am certain that a man like Schweich made every preparation for them. May God bless them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rand Is Right and Jeb Bush Must Want Government Forced Vaccinations

The vaccine debate is one of the most troubling of our time. The Republican bashing from the media and from fellow Republicans is more troubling than the health questions.
The core issue that Senator Paul espoused and that is lost in all of the vaccine hot air is the critical principle of individual and parental liberty. It is repugnant that anyone outside of the duplicitous political progressives would undermine the Senator for the "sin" of expressing such a bedrock Republican view but that is exactly what is happening. Those who do this are behaving in the cagiest anti-family manner while promoting truly dangerous policy.
We expect statist hate-mongers like the petty school boy impressionist Rachael Maddow to work to spin sentiment in favor of liberty trampling Big Government, but what was especially loathsome was the way would be Presidential nominee Jeb Bush took his shot. With the controversy of the entirely made up measles outbreak pandemic raging (the last US death was 2003), and Rand Paul being forced to "defend" his honest position,
Bush used the timing of s speech in Detroit to throw one of his Iowa opponents under the Big Pharma bus. Taking a page from Hillary Clinton (expect two years of that from the conjoined candidates soon to be separated at the birth of the 2016 campaign) he echoed the type of woefully uninspired vacuous rhetoric we have come to expect from Establishment candidates boldly proclaiming, "Parents should vaccinate their kids".
Really? How about giving us a real position on real policy? The only conclusion from anyone who would distance themselves from Senator Paul's (and to be fair Governor Chris Christie's) absolutely clear statement that parents should control the matter, is that you must hold the opposite view. So when Hillary and Jeb say that parents ought to vaccinate their kids, the only conclusion in context is that they would subvert parental control for government control. I witnessed the tyranny of the Big Pharma oligarchy first hand when I tried to make a simple change in the law. My cautionary note to Republicans and anyone left or right who claims to care about liberty and the Bill of Rights is that our rights are worthless if we do not understand and assert them. Wherever you fall on the vaccine issue, the devil as always,is in the details and the vaccine details hold incredible treachery when you examine two things: !. Who gets to mandate the vaccines on the list? 2. What force is behind the mandate, from a ban from "public, private, parochial or parish schools" (Missouri), from military service, etc)
In Missouri, I was surprised when the chicken pox vaccine was added to the list of mandates vaccines. As I opened the State Statutes to review the relevant vaccine mandate section, I noticed that the varicella vaccine is not on the list passed by lawmakers and no bill had been passed to add it. That is when I learned that the power to add vaccines to the list rests not with elected lawmakers but is 100% in the hands of the appointed Director of the Missouri Department of Health. When I attempted to take back the power and put it with the people, I was shut down by both political parties and the Republican Governor. Virtually every lobbyist related to doctors, hospitals and leftist social service groups opposed me, while Big Pharma hid. My liberty-loving colleagues saw the writing on the wall and hid as well. As I sat there contemplating my own fully vaccinated children and surveyed the sorry state of liberty in the Heartland, my
biggest fear was not vaccine dangers, but the power of corporate America to get politicians to do their bidding. It should be hard to add to the list of mandated vaccines. All Big Pharma needs to do in Missouri to gain a huge new market for a product is to win the support of one appointed Department Director. That is a massive moral hazard. I was then truly dismayed and disgusted when Republican Governor Rick Perry added Gardasil (to prevent a sexually transmitted disease) to the Texas list.
Any debate that centers on whether vaccines are good or bad misses the point. The issue is about whether children should be forced by any government over the protests of their parents, to ingest a for profit product at all, especially in light of the fact that Federal Courts have allowed almost 4000 families to share over $3 billion in awards for vaccine injuries and/or deaths since the Vaccine Injury program was launched in 1988.