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Pat’s Chat - 05.19.15

The Gilmer Free Press

Mother’s Day has come and gone, leaving sweet memories of family, beautiful flowers, pretty, useful gifts, and extraordinary cards, but mostly being with family, except Chuck in Florida whom I visited via Skype.  He and Sonny are my main Skype-users.  I love it when I can see them.  Back when we were small, Sonny traded comic books with other kids and brought them home for all of us to enjoy.  It seems that I remember some of them being futuristic stories that had pictures on screens of folks the heroes were talking to.  Maybe I am wrong and these were stories from my own children’s comic books in the 50’s.  I never dreamed I would actually LIVE to see that future that I had seen portrayed in comic books so long ago.

The concert by Karla Rivera Bucklew last month at our church was wonderful.  Remember that you can have her come to your church or other function.  You can contact me if you want to do that, 304.472.5102.

The Inside Yard Sale our church had this month was quite successful.  Now I am looking forward to the Twelfth Annual Burnsville School Reunion on Friday, May 22, and seeing classmates that graduated with me sixty-four years ago.  We went to the K of P cemetery to place a few flowers for Alumni and Memorial Day Weekend.  I sent a payment for the upkeep to Tom Crutchfield, 128 N. Main Street, Burnsville.  I hope you who have people there will also make it worth his while to do a good job.

I really enjoy Larry Knight’s stories of Burnsville and its people.  If you don’t get a Braxton paper, you are missing some very good stories.  This is true of all the local papers, whether Buckhannon, Weston, Glenville or elsewhere.  It is a good way to keep in touch with what is happening in your community or county, even if you no longer live there.

Some close to me do not believe in God or are doubtful of His existence.  My constant prayer is that something or someone will awaken each of them to the love of God.  Pray for my loved ones.  Queen Victoria was visited once by a Zulu king.  To the Africans she was affectionately called the “Great White Mother.”  After he had been shown the great city and the treasures of the empire, he asked her what was the secret of her greatness and power.  She took her Bible from a small table beside her and held it out to the Zulu chief and said, “This Book, O king, contains in its pages the foundation, the secret, the key to all the greatness and wealth and power of my empire.  Take it as my gift to you.”

She was so right!  This Book presents religious liberty in Christ; this holy Book of God makes men and women and nations great when they honor it.  The price of heaven is Jesus.  The price of soul freedom is the Saviour.  We just need to accept Him, the Son of God and Redeemer of mankind.  He brings peace and liberty of soul.  It is all there in the Bible.  If you don’t have a Bible, almost any church or Christian would find one for you.  In it is the “daily bread” you pray for in the Lord’s Prayer.  Partake of it daily and your life will change for the better.

Maranatha!

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - WV Supreme Court Misses on Drug Case

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The West Virginia Legislature made significant progress during its session earlier this year returning balance to the state’s civil justice system.  The bills passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by Governor Tomblin should restore greater predictability to the system, while still protecting a person’s right to seek redress when they have been wronged.

Unfortunately, the state Supreme Court is taking the state back in the wrong direction.

Last week the high court, in a 3-2 decision (Workman, Davis, Benjamin in the majority; Ketchum, Loughry in the minority), issued an answer to a question in a Mingo County case that clears the way for individuals addicted to pain killers to collect damages from doctors who provided the prescriptions and pharmacies that distributed the drugs.

In this case, the addicted individuals admitted they broke laws to get the drugs, including misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, doctor shopping and more.  Not all of the doctors were blameless.  Several operated out of Mountain Medical Center, a pill mill that was busted by the FBI.  One of the three drug stores named in the suit and a pharmacist who worked there were “subject to disciplinary and/or criminal action.”

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Margaret Workman determined there was culpability on all sides, and just because a person has become a drug addict does not mean they should not be able to recover damages because of the “tortuous conduct” of another.  Workman said it’s best to let a jury sort it out.

Justices Menis Ketchum and Allan Loughry issued blistering dissents, with Ketchum arguing “criminals should not be allowed to use our judicial system to profit from their criminal activity.”  Ketchum wrote that allowing criminal plaintiffs “to maintain these civil lawsuits ignores common sense and will encourage other criminals to file similar lawsuits in an attempt to profit from their criminal behavior.”

Loughry was equally perturbed.  “It is simply unconscionable to me that the majority would permit admitted criminal drug abusers to manipulate our justice system to obtain monetary damages to further fund their abuse and addiction,” he wrote.

This decision will encourage aggressive lawyers to round up admitted and/or convicted drug addicts to file suit against doctors, pharmacies and deep pocket drug companies.  Lengthy and expensive litigation will follow, leading to the unpredictability of a jury trial or a costly settlement.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Legislature should pass—and after this decision likely will pass—a “wrongful conduct rule.”  Thirteen states or jurisdictions already have in place a rule that bars individuals from recovering damages for injuries that result from their own criminal activity.

That does not let the unscrupulous doctors and complicit pharmacists off the hook. They’re already subject to criminal charges and license forfeiture.

West Virginia has a serious prescription drug problem requiring a multi-faceted attack, ranging from police investigations and medical board enforcements to addiction treatment and personal responsibility.

The judicial system is already jammed with drug offenders.  It would be costly, not to mention peculiar, to see some of those same people working their way back through the courts at some later time blaming others for their addiction and seeking monetary damages.

Ron Paul: New Military Spending Bill Expands Empire But Forbids Debate on War

The Gilmer Free Press

On Friday the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee U.S. involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act – limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.

But not even slower growth is enough when you have an empire to maintain worldwide, so the House majority slipped into the military spending bill an extra $89 billion for an emergency war fund. Such “emergency” spending is not addressed in the growth caps placed on the military under the 2011 budget control act. It is a loophole filled by Congress with Fed-printed money.

Ironically, a good deal of this “emergency” money will go to President Obama’s war on ISIS even though neither the House nor the Senate has debated – let alone authorized – that war! Although House leadership allowed 135 amendments to the defense bill – with many on minor issues like regulations on fire hoses – an effort by a small group of Representatives to introduce an amendment to debate the current U.S. war in Iraq and Syria was rejected.

While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president’s unwise decision to send hundreds of U.S. military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The military spending bill included $300 million to directly arm the Ukrainian government even as Ukrainian leaders threaten to again attack the breakaway regions in the east. Does Congress really think US-supplied weapons killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine is a good idea?

The defense authorization bill also seeks to send yet more weapons into Iraq. This time the House wants to send weapons directly to the Kurds in northern Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government. Although these weapons are supposed to be used to fight ISIS, we know from too many prior examples that they often find their way into the hands of the very people we are fighting. Also, arming an ethnic group seeking to break away from Baghdad and form a new state is an unwise infringement of the sovereignty of Iraq. It is one thing to endorse the idea of secession as a way to reduce the possibility of violence, but it is quite something else to arm one side and implicitly back its demands.

While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true. As the CATO Institute pointed out recently, President George W. Bush’s average defense budget was $601 billion, while during the Obama administration the average has been $687 billion. This bill is just another example of this unhealthy trend.

Next year’s military spending plan keeps the U.S. on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over U.S. interventionism overseas. It is a recipe for disaster. Let’s hope for either a presidential veto, or that on final passage Congress rejects this bad bill.

WV Legislative Update: Delegate Brent Boggs - Minority House Finance Chairman - 05.18.15

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Next week we will celebrate Memorial Day.  It is a solemn day in which we as a nation call into remembrance the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors and airmen that made the supreme sacrifice for our nation, past and present and also those that served in the military but now deceased.

Sadly, the majority of Americans focus on calling Memorial Day the beginning of summer; talking about how many people will be on the roads during the holiday weekend; or, the price of gas.  Let’s not diminish the ultimate sacrifice of our service men and women on Memorial Day.  Whether at home this weekend, enjoying the day with friends and family, or on the road, take time to give thanks for those that provided for the freedoms we all cherish and enjoy and remind others of the importance of this day of remembrance.

Saturday gave Jean and me the first chance this spring to drive down to Hurricane to watch grandson Carson play baseball.  At six years old, he’s tall, lanky and really a good hitter and fielder.  Carson, like his twin sister, Kenzie, loves school.  And, while he’s loves baseball, he loves to fish even more, with a patience and skill way beyond his years.  It speaks volumes when he wants to take his fishing pole to the baseball game and stop to fish on the way home.  I could not be more pleased to have all the grandkids that prefer being outside and active.

May is graduation time for our college and university students across West Virginia and the nation.  Years of hard work and dedication – not to mention a major financial investment – has provided a platform to launch new careers and opportunities.  To our recent graduates and their families, please know that you have our congratulations and appreciation for a job well done.

Congratulations to BCHS Senior Lindsey Kiplinger on her selection as one of the prestigious West Virginia University Foundation Scholars for 2015.  While I was unable to attend the formal announcement at WVU with President Gee, I am so proud of Lindsey and her educational and community service accomplishments over the years.  All these factors are considered in the highly competitive selection process for this award.  Congratulations to Lindsey and to her parents and family.  She becomes the fourth BCHS student to win this coveted scholarship.

Also, the week of vacation, we missed two functions that I have rarely missed over the years.  The Prayer Breakfast on the National Day of Prayer and the spring ramp dinner at Frametown Fire Department.  The prayer breakfast, hosted annually by the Braxton Ministerial Association, is one of my favorite and most meaningful events each year.  I’m thankful to the local pastors for their perseverance in keeping God, country and our citizens at the forefront of prayers on a continual basis.

Frametown VFD and their Auxiliary work diligently to raise funds for the department, which is used to provide fire protection services, training and the basic needs beyond the available state funding.  I am so appreciative of their efforts and of all our central WV firefighters as they devote countless time and energy to keep each home and business safe and help keep your fire insurance rates as low as possible.  We look forward to the next opportunity to support our volunteer fire departments.  And remember, you do not have to wait until the next dinner or function.  You can donate to any of our volunteer fire departments at any time.  It’s the right thing to do.

In the interim, send your inquiries to my home office at:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624; call 304.364.8411; or fax 304.364.8711.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

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