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POLITICS: Bush Pushes to Limit Class-Action Suits

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posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 07:47 AM
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The so-called "Class Action Fairness Act" has now passed Congress. President Bush will sign it into law.

Once again, America is safer for international corporations. Wal-Mart rules!




posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 02:32 AM
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Sorry this has been a while- I have been 'off'
Anyway, the class action bills are nothing more than (as soficrow states- corporate rip-offs.

However, they hide something far below their surfaces.

Remember when- bush was ranting on tort-reform and asbestos? I couldn't grasp the asbestos angle. Sure I knew johns-Manville and others had died off because of asbestos but there was something more.

Well here it is (in teaser form):
(also known as why America and Britain are so tight)
London is a financial city- not much besides finances. London is and wants to stay the financial center fo the world (and Americans thought it was New York).

Back, prior to WW II, London was indisputably the financial capital of the world and the 'pound Sterling' was the currency of commerce.

WW II ruined that. The American dollar (almighty dollar) became the currency of commerce and New York became the business capital (not financial) of the world.

Commerce was big business. Commerce tended to center around nations capitals. Tokyo, New York (sorry Washington), Paris*, Bonn* (later Berlin), Peking* (Be- whatever), Taipei, Singapore, Sydney (Canberra didn't fit) and a slew of others.

Paris and Bonn suffered from not having harbors as did Peking and Canberra. Harbors. Why are they important? To commerce a harbor is a must.

Britain has has multiple seaports as America, Canada, Japan, China and virtually every other industrial country. The business of shipping is as old as history. Insurance for these cargoes began in the dim recesses of mankind, perhaps in pre-history. Modern insurance began in London with Lloyds.

What is unique about Lloyd, what makes them 'special.?'
Lloyds has its own laws (called rules to be sure) and is virtually suit proof. An Act of Parliament provided Lloyds the same protections governments enjoy with none of the responsibilities.

Lloyds derived its wealth from shipping and insurance of shipping. Insurance of ALL things became 'Lloyds'

Like a few other institutions British, nothing else in the world is like it. Lloyds creates syndicates (mini-campanies) at will. Each syndicate operates for its own benefit. The shareholders (Names) of each syndicate. Syndicates buy and sell coverage to each other. Lloyds is a completely incestuous business relationship- it self deals, kills off individual parts at will, uses the government as a shield and has no public responsibilities.

Without the connivance of the American government Lloyds also has the ability to bring the British government to its knees and bankrupt the 'empire.' Murder, suicide, disappearances, sabotage, bribery and all the rest have been laid at the feet of Lloyds. It took a poor dying cancer victim

As these things so often do, the Lloyd's debacle began with an obscure person in an obscure place. In 1969, a dying insulation installer, Clarence Borel, began a lawsuit in federal District Court in Beaumont, Texas, against 11 asbestos-insulation manufacturers alleging that they had known of the dangers of working with asbestos but had failed to warn him. Four years later, a federal appeals court ruled that the companies were liable for damages. Other asbestos workers sued--in small numbers at first, then by the hundreds, then by the thousands.

In the beginning:

Time of Europe special report
"What can you tell me?" Bradley finally asked as they idled on the fourth tee, waiting for the players ahead to clear the green.

"What I can tell you," Rokeby-Johnson replied in a stage whisper, "is that asbestosis is going to change the wealth of nations. It will bankrupt Lloyd's of London and there is nothing we can do to stop it."


Asbestos litigation
America's top asbestos producer, Johns Manville, was forced into bankruptcy in 1982. By 1992, Lloyds of London was averaging nearing $3 billion a year in losses, due mostly to asbestos claims.
Asbestos litigation has pushed at least 54 companies into bankruptcy, and judgments are often imposed with little regard for proof of wrongdoing or causation. Encouraged by porous legal standards, asbestos attorneys have filed claims for more than 1.4 million persons, against more than 1,400 companies.


Different spin
July 2003
ROYAL SUN ALLIANCE LIABLE?

A High Court Judge, on the 9th May 2003 has rejected Royal Sun Alliance's claim that a clause in their insurance policy excluded asbestosis, this did not include claims for mesothelioma and other asbestos related claims. This could mean that Royal Sun Alliance - who are Britain's second biggest insurers, could be liable to pay out millions of pounds in compensation to the victims of asbestos related disease. R.S.A. had no right to exclude any of the asbestos related diseases (including asbestosis) after 1972 as this was illegal under the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act.
-and-
As you know Clydebank Asbestos Group has been campaigning, alongside Clydeside Action on Asbestos, to the Scottish Parliament for a change in the Law to ensure that Asbestos sufferers are given the justice they deserve. The Petition was asking for a review of procedure and powers of the Court of Session to ensure that delays were minimised and the real issues between parties would be identified, Interim Payments would be made, and obstacles would be removed for hearings by way of a Jury Trial. To initiate any legislation as is deemed necessary to improve civil justice for asbestos victims.


Read the URLs and know the why behind the recent moves against class-action lawsuits. From Big Tobacco to Asbestos the American public are going to be asked to take a whipping even larger that the S&L scandal (Silverado=Bush).

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[edit on 1-3-2005 by JoeDoaks]



posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 06:51 AM
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Interesting that folks are so quick to jump all over Bush and make him the fall guy for trying to come up with a solution.

And for the record, No... I am not always pro-Bush.

But it amazes me that folks can't see that where we are is a direct relation to what we have become and where we've been and learned.

You are quick to jump on one man and make him the scapegoat for your own stupidity.

Lawyers, much as we may not like them are a direct result of what we want. You have something go wrong in your life and you'd feel better if someone sued someone and you got a million bucks. Well, Duh! What do you expect, higher prices, companies going out of business, people dumbing down of their own accord, people not accepting responsibility for their own actions. Nah... Not my fault! McDonalds made the coffe hot, and even though I know it's hot, I order it and try to gulp it like iced tea? Or the cup is hot, so I'm going to handle it in such a way that I spill this stuff all over my lap! Yeah! Now! It's McDonalds fault. A million bucks will make it all go away.

What the Heck do you expect?

I'm not saying there shouldn't be lawsuits. I'm saying that there should be a little common sense applied. You don't have to get a hundred million bucks because you had an allergic reaction to lipstick ...

Lawyers are making large bucks over lots of class action suits, many of which are probably dumb, but what are you gonna do? Oh well.... I'll take my cut too.

The world doesn't owe you a living. You owe it to yourself to get off your a$$ and do the best you can without waiting for the big jackpot from a drug company or what-have-you to make your life livable.

Man! This site is making me curmudgeonly.



posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 07:16 AM
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what about a million bucks when the company knowingly sells you a product....like asbestos....that is dangerous, and then your employer (may or may not know or the danger) hires you to work with the stuff....
and since the company decides it doesn't want to tell you of the danger, well, how can you take responsibility for the harm being done to you when you don't know about it?
which was one of the things Bush listed as "frivolous lawsuits" in his speech awhile back..

These people are dying, and well, they do deserve some compensation, don't they?

meanwhile, you got a bunch of money hungry lawyers, ready and willing to take any type of case they think they can win, and well, most of the money that is won on many of these cases goes directly to them!!

there seems to be alot or things wrong with the system, but the fact that the asbestos worker got up everyday and went to work to support his famliy isn't one of them.

and well, I tend to believe that this action was more because of cases like these than the wacko who sues Mc Donalds offer hot coffee..

Although, considering that the asbestos cases alone has the potential, if you believe the articles posted above, to bring down Lloyds, well, maybe it is a good idea that the federal government gets into the picture here....as long as they play fairly...

but, I think there will be more and more cases like those relating to asbestos as we look closer into the effect of all this man-made crap we've thrown into our rivers and streams, and into our products...
many of which, they knew danged well were a problem way back in the 50's and 60's, but they just chose not to say anything....which again I ask, if one doesn't know of the dangers, just how is one susposed to act responsibly to begin with?

Don't blame it on the people, it was the industries that were negligent, dishonest, and silent about the dangers!



posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 07:40 PM
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JoeDoaks - Excellent post above. Very informative. Thank you.

Much there that I didn't know, some things I had forgotten. ...Can't believe I would forget the insurance angle!



Good comments from you too dawnstar.



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posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 08:27 PM
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i see debating this yet has anyone actually read the text?



posted on Mar, 1 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by namehere
i see debating this yet has anyone actually read the text?





We're actually more into discussion here. The driving concern with many of us ordinary Americans is the impact on our lives - our health, radiation poisoning, medical care for veterans, mundane stuff like that.

The line by line legal analysis is on another thread.




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posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 04:25 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Much there that I didn't know, some things I had forgotten. ...Can't believe I would forget the insurance angle!

On MacDonalds- lots of people (as FURTHER evidenced by the posts herein) seem to forget the 'why' of the massive award.
It was NOT the old woman burned her crotch (genetalia)
It was NOT that Mickey D has dough$$$
It was - ready ?
MacDonalds KNEW up front about the coffee. They knew it was dangerous. There had been multiple complaints before this suit. Of the ones reported:


During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700
claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims
involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This
history documented McDonalds' knowledge about the extent and nature of
this hazard.

Now let's be 'gorwn-up' here- MickeyD KNEW

Further MD did what?


McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants
advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to
maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the
safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell
coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is
generally 135 to 140 degrees.

Clearly taste was the determining factor- NOT safety.

One more time:


Further, McDonalds' quality assurance manager testified that the company
actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185
degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn
hazard exists with any food substance served at 140 degrees or above,
and that McDonalds coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured
into styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn
the mouth and throat. The quality assurance manager admitted that burns
would occur, but testified that McDonalds had no intention of reducing
the "holding temperature" of its coffee.

See how this works?

A company KNOWINGLY sells something they KNOW is dangerous.


McDonalds asserted that customers buy coffee on their way to work or
home, intending to consume it there. However, the companys own research
showed that customers intend to consume the coffee immediately while
driving.

Here's a replay of the court action:


Lectric Law lib
The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages. This amount
was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found Liebeck 20 percent at
fault in the spill. The jury also awarded Liebeck $2.7 million in
punitive damages, which equals about two days of McDonalds' coffee
sales.

Post-verdict investigation found that the temperature of coffee at the
local Albuquerque McDonalds had dropped to 158 degrees fahrenheit.

The trial court subsequently reduced the punitive award to $480,000 --
or three times compensatory damages -- even though the judge called
McDonalds' conduct reckless, callous and willful.

The woman had been hospitalized [b[8days!

But, none of this has much to do with the class action law. And YES it is Bush's fault. Every Senator and Congressman that voted for this bill needs to be voted out of office.



posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 10:56 AM
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Thanks for the info JoeDoaks.



If anyone had any real doubt about how the Anti-Class Action bill would play in the Supreme Court - here's a taste:


"It shouldn’t surprise us that the Supreme Court has decided to take a case about the public displaying of the 10 Commandments, but refused to hear the case of Jose Padilla, the alleged “dirty bomber”. On the one hand, we have a hot-button cultural issue that is bound to divide the country along ideological lines. (good for Bush). On the other, we have the most significant case in the history of the court, casually pushed aside for a later date. Both cases reveal how deeply politicized the high court has become, and how (eventually) some of its members will have to be removed in order to restore confidence in the legitimacy of the institution." more at...

Class Action Political Priorities



posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 08:24 PM
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Jose Padilla?
Has zip to do with class action (in the near term anyway).
The 'classic' of all class-action suits (if there is such a thing as a classic) must be either 'big tobacco' or 'agent orange.'

One punished an entire industry for deliberately drugging its customers (tobacco) and knowingly making a bad product worse, while the other bankrupted one of the most powerful companies in the history of the world. In both cases a few lawyers made a lot of money. Many, many people benefited from both while many people suffered as a result (employees, stock holders, etc.).

What drives Bush's agenda on this? I have no idea but a lot of speculation.
Firstly, this is a classic business/Republican issue.
Secondly, many companies and industries are worried.
Thirdly, large damage settlements hurt the economy- sad but true.

No one seems to voice the clarion call- 'hey folks, American business is leaving in droves because of lawsuits!'
Simple fact.
Lawsuits and the specter of them drive business to other places.
Business as a general rule has zero conscience- by definition this is so. Rare businesses develop social conscienceless. Most, if any thought is given to the foreign concept, pay scant lip service to it.

Henry Ford was rare- one of a few that had an inherent realization that social conscience equated to better workers, more consumers and hence more profit.

For all the ills laid at Henry's feet he realized that his workforce could also be customers. Many companies seem to forget this fact. Look at the mines and steel industry. Without Union and government pressures things would have stayed as they were in the 1800's. Death at work was a given. Low wages, company stores, terrible work conditions- none of this mattered as long as profits were good.

Law suits really have social goals as an end result. I will post part of one below that epitomizes ill treatment of one's own customer. While this is not a class-action suit, it demonstrates the essence of what drives class complaints- bad treatment and arrogance with a generous portion of plain old greed.

Rodriguez v. Horton, 95 N.M. 356, 622 P.2d 261 (N.M.App. 07/03/1980)

Rodriguez sued his attorney, Horton, for fraud and malpractice in connection with the settlement of a Workmen's Compensation case. The jury awarded Rodriguez $10,574.81 in compensatory and $25,000 in punitive damages, respectively. We affirm the lower court's judgment incorporating the jury awards.
-and-
In the spring of 1975, Rodriguez, who was not yet twenty, slipped in a hole, while working underground at his job as an electrician's assistant in the Kerr-McGee mines, thereby injuring his back. Eventually, he contacted Horton to represent him in his Workmen's Compensation claim against Kerr-McGee. The claim was settled, with court approval, for $8,000. Of that settlement, Rodriguez received only $2,440.19, the rest having gone for medical expenses and attorneys' fees. Rodriguez claimed that before he agreed to settle, Horton had told him that the $8,000 would be all his, and that he only learned of the distribution of the award from Horton after he had signed the settlement papers.
-and-
Besides misleading his client in the $8,000 Workmen's Compensation settlement, Horton settled without authorization Rodriguez's malpractice claim against the chiropractor who treated him after the back injury. He also charged excessive fees for miscellaneous services, claiming he or his associate spent over twenty hours at $50 an hour for letters to a few creditors, advice on how to obtain Social Security and welfare benefits, preparation on a simple divorce which was never filed, and a Municipal Court proceeding involving a first offense DWI charge.
-and-
Horton maintains that his defense of "account stated" should have been submitted to the jury. This argument is fallacious because where there is fraud in the execution of a contract, as for example when the instrument is signed under a mistaken belief as to its contents, the contract is null and void. McLean v. Paddock, 78 N.M. 234, 430 P.2d 392 (1967). Thus the account on which Horton relies for his defense does not exist.
-and-
etc.

A simple case of a lawyer bilking an unsuspecting, young, injured, ignorant client. Suits against lawyers are rare. This was 1980 (notice the $50 per hour rate) but the sentiments remain.

What are people supposed to do when they are cheated? As above, in tobacco and Dow they form groups and sue. As in Rodriquez they luck out and find an attorney willing to sue another.

Without class-complaint ability to bend the 'big boys' over in a hurtful way nothing would change. McDonald's coffee was a lucky break for McDonalds- what if all the other people that had been badly burned had formed a class? No more MickeyD? The lawyer suit above had the same effect as a class-complaint. The results were telegraphed to every lawyer in not only that state but many other states. Did society benefit?

While many people would have lost jobs and the economy would have suffered, the long term result would have been Burger King, or someone else, would have replaced McDonald's and the market place would have been a bit safer. A few lawyers would have made a killing, a few class members would have benefited a little but bad products would have been gone and a message would exist. Sometimes the message is worth the pain.

Asbestos is going to be the all time cruncher when the tolls get taken. While Lloyds of London and the British government may escape much of the pain they won't escape enough. Like tobacco, the cost of unconscionable business will be severe. What Parliament did was unconscionable- to protect a corrupt business with new laws is just plain wrong. The U.S. does the same.
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posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 09:17 PM
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Originally posted by JoeDoaks

Jose Padilla?
Has zip to do with class action (in the near term anyway).





My understanding is that class action lawsuits were the one venue left to address rights issues - it has been used primarily for this purpose for the last while - and is the main political reason the road was blocked. Whatever the spin says.



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posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
We're actually more into discussion here. The driving concern with many of us ordinary Americans is the impact on our lives - our health, radiation poisoning, medical care for veterans, mundane stuff like that..


Arent you Canadian????



posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
We're actually more into discussion here. The driving concern with many of us ordinary Americans is the impact on our lives - our health, radiation poisoning, medical care for veterans, mundane stuff like that..


Arent you Canadian????



posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by FredT

Originally posted by soficrow
We're actually more into discussion here. The driving concern with many of us ordinary Americans is the impact on our lives - our health, radiation poisoning, medical care for veterans, mundane stuff like that..


Arent you Canadian????




Look under my name, on your left:

Born in the USA.

I am American. No, I am not an expatriate, yes I retain my American citizenship.



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posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 01:30 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow

Originally posted by FredT

Originally posted by soficrow
We're actually more into discussion here. The driving concern with many of us ordinary Americans is the impact on our lives - our health, radiation poisoning, medical care for veterans, mundane stuff like that..


Arent you Canadian????


Look under my name, on your left:

Born in the USA.

I am American. No, I am not an expatriate, yes I retain my American citizenship

Well, let's 'C' here


Yep, sofi is a Canuck-
American at heart-

Back to Jose- you're probabl yright on avenues (sofi) that is really sad too.

Amerika has slipped to the right so very far in 6 years she may never be able to walk a straight line again.

Like an old drunk (getting ugly really quick), Lady Liberty will continue to sell her 'wares' to the highest bidder.

Don't forget the insurance angle- Lloyds is huge and Britain has changed laws to protect them.
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[edit on 9-3-2005 by JoeDoaks]



posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 07:41 PM
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Joe - Demographics give us a good perspective of the why's and wherefore's of corporations' info and resultant agenda.

This thread is about US demographics compliled by the international business community:


America: #22; 49; 54 and Falling Fast


....Check it out - soon becomes clear exactly why current legislation is moving the way it is.



posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 11:42 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Joe - Demographics give us a good perspective of the why's and wherefore's of corporations' info and resultant agenda.

I don't know that I buy that. Demographics are a tool of number crunchers, means whatever the spin is.

However, what you are REALLY pointing out is what does matter- p-e-r-c-e-p-t-i-o-n

What people perceive is what matters. Reality is meaningless. Perception rulz

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posted on Mar, 10 2005 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by JoeDoaks

Originally posted by soficrow
Joe - Demographics give us a good perspective of the why's and wherefore's of corporations' info and resultant agenda.

I don't know that I buy that. Demographics are a tool of number crunchers, means whatever the spin is.




Joe - international businesses hire people to do demographic studies - and collect information for business planning. ...They like to avoid spin so they can make decisions that lead to bigger profits.


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posted on Mar, 10 2005 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Joe - international businesses hire people to do demographic studies - and collect information for business planning. ...They like to avoid spin so they can make decisions that lead to bigger profits.
.

Right and wrong.
Lots of companies (international as well as national) do demo-studies as do organizations of all types. Demo-studies are nothing new.

'avoid spin'

Come on sofi, slow down a little hear. you have been posting some stupendous stuff of late and all is good. But this is off in la-la land.

Perception (AKA spin) is what all this stuff, business, social, religious and political is about.

'social scientists' (love the term) were much used in the '70's. Now the term is in disuse but the philosophy is the same.

A few examples:
Adevertising
Why would advertisers study demographics?
So they can sell their 'insight' to businesses that sell goods and services. They don't call this insight anymore because that term also has fallen out of favor- now conclusions are sold.

Demographics PROVED that a car like the Edsel (Ford failure) would be well received.
Demographics PROVED that a car like the Mustang (Ford success) would have a limted acceptance.
Demographics PROVED Al Gore would be president!

None were correct yet each 'conclusion' was proved.

School systems
School system demos are a favorite. The often used and universally abused results of data accumulated, massaged, interpolated (notice this is NOT interpreted), categorized, analyzed, presented then acted upon.

With this 'presentation' of people/numbers all manner of decisions are made. Where new schools are built, traffic changes, allocation of monies, hiring, bus routes, etc.

Then reality occurs. The bane of demographers and other 'scientists.'

Gerrymandering of political districts in the U.S. are the results of the demographer's art at its most precise. Judges and the media have been embarrassed countless times by Demographers during redistricting fights. Using the same data sets Demographers can show differing results. Is this because of interpretation?

Science is supposed to be fact. That is a result that is ALWAYS the same. Not usually, not routinely but always. Demographics can not produce this.

Here's some little known facts of demographics- some people do NOT have telephones! Many people have unlisted numbers. More televisions are owned than telephones!

As demographics are based upon criteria (white, income level, family size, etc.) the ones that are not measured* are not (get ready for this) counted.

Demographics are used and misused. The proper 'use' is as a predictive tool.

Back (yet again) to what you said sofi, I tend to disagree with absolute statements. While profits are paramount to business, decisions are still based on guess-work. Call it you will, it is guesses that sometimes go awry.

*Many demographic studies footnote or otherwise refer to unresponsive data. These notes are merely statements or wishfulness on the part of the demographer. A demographer is nothing more nor less than a specialty statistician.
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posted on Mar, 10 2005 @ 03:20 PM
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.
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Some may find this recent ruling interesting:



Agent Orange legal case dismissed

A US federal court in New York has dismissed a legal action brought by Vietnamese plaintiffs over the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

The defendants - including Dow Chemical and the Monsanto Corporation - also argued that the US government was responsible for how the chemical was used, not the manufacturers.

They maintained that US courts could not punish corporations for carrying out the orders of a president exercising his powers as commander-in-chief.

The US justice department had urged the federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.





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