1. On the same New York Times front page (June 21) that announced the Georgia 6 result, surrounded by Times’ agenda-advancing stories with slanted headlines (climate change, North Korea, the Obamacare overhaul, the “divided GOP,” and Michael Flynn) was the kind of story that once made the Times’ reputation. It was headlined, “Haven for Recovery Becomes A Relapse Capitol,” Will this story be discussed today by the Sunday talking-head shows? Of course not. The implications of it are not friendly to progressive mythology.
The story explains how Delray Beach, Florida has become a Mecca for drug addicts and a bonanza for treatment centers and “sober houses,” group living facilities for addicts. Some quotes will provide a sense of the report, but you should read it all:
Unlike other places in the United States that have been clobbered by the opioid crisis, most of the young people who overdose in Delray Beach are not from here. They are visitors, mostly from the Northeast and Midwest, and they come for opioid addiction treatment and recovery help to a town that has long been hailed as a lifeline for substance abusers. But what many of these addicts find here today is a crippled and dangerous system, fueled in the past three years by insurance fraud, abuse, minimal oversight and lax laws. The result in Palm Beach County has been the rapid proliferation of troubled treatment centers, labs and group homes where unknowing addicts, exploited for insurance money, fall deeper into addiction.
Hundreds of sober homes — some reputable, many of them fraud mills and flop houses for drug users — sprawl across Delray Beach and several surrounding cities. No one knows exactly how many exist because they do not require certification, only city approval if they want to house more than three unrelated people. Hoping for a fresh start, thousands of young addicts from outside Florida wind up here in places that benefit from relapse rather than the recovery they advertise.
…the proliferation of fraudulent sober homes was in part also the result of two well-intentioned federal laws. First came a 2008 law that gave addicts more generous insurance benefits; then the Affordable Care Act, which permits adults under 26 to use their parents’ insurance, requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and allows for multiple drug relapses.
The result was a whole new category of young addicts with access to insurance benefits. This gave rise to a new class of abusive operator, as painstakingly chronicled in The Palm Beach Post: the corrupt sober house owner. Many drug treatment centers — which also treated inpatients — started paying sober-home owners “bonuses” from insurance money and fees for referring outpatients to their centers while they underwent therapy, according to law enforcement, a grand jury report and court records.
Sober homes, which are not covered by insurance, can get thousands of dollars a month for each recovering addict, in large part from treatment providers, law enforcement and city officials said. Much of it goes into the owners’ pockets. But it is also used to pay rent so patients can live free and to provide perks that lure patients from other sober houses: manicures, mopeds, gym memberships and, worst of all, drugs. Relapses are welcome because they restart the benefits clock.
To increase profits, many treatment centers and labs overbill insurance companies for unnecessary tests, including of urine, blood and DNA. Some have billed insurance companies thousands of dollars for a urine test screen. Patients often unnecessarily undergo multiple urine tests a week.
Ah, glorious compassion! So those of us who managed to not break laws and cripple ourselves while doing so get to pay for not only the self-inflicted problems of those who did, but also get to enrich the scam-artists who live off of their addictions, protected by compassionate, expensive insurance guarantees that require no personal responsibility or accountability. Meanwhile, “federal disability and housing anti-discrimination laws offer strong protections to recovering addicts who live in them.”
This is the better “treatment” alternative to the “war on drugs” that the compassionate people harangued us about for decades.
2. Bill Cosby’s announcement that the serial sexual predator will deliver educational talks aimed at teaching young people how to behave to avoid sexual assault allegations exploded the Ethics Alarms chutzpah meter, already weakened by Jon Ossoff’s condemnation of big money in politics. Maybe he will use this announcement in his next trial to prove that he is clinically insane. This is public gloating and an intentional insult to all the women he abused. What institutions and parents would allow children in their charge to attend such a session? This is like Bernie Madoff holding seminars on holding the trust of your investors.
3. In more revolting Cosby news, one of the two black jurors who deadlocked Cosby’s sexual assault trial said this week that he found Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand, to be untrustworthy because she seemed “well-coached,” and also because she ” went up to his house with a bare midriff” a before the alleged assault in 2004. The anonymous juror added that he thinks Cosby has already “paid dearly” and should not be retried in the Constand case said that he thinks “more than half” of the over 60 other women who have also accused Cosby of sexual assault made up their stories and “jumped on the bandwagon.”
Oh! Cosby only raped or sexually assaulted about 25 or so women after drugging them! That changes everything; yes, he’s “suffered enough.”
And this, my friends, is why it is almost impossible to convict beloved celebrities with benign public images of criminal acts committed when when they are being themselves.
4. On “The View,” about the last place I would expect anyone to say anything worthy of Ethics Alarms notice unless it was offered as proof of ethics duncery, Michael Bloomberg said this about President Trump:
“We’re a democracy, the public has spoken, whether you like the results or not, and other than with a little help from the Russians, he was elected. We have to make it work… We have an election—whoever wins, you got to get behind.”
This is an unremarkable statement that simply restates the essential democratic principles the nation followed for its entire existence…until the Democrats decided that it would be politically expedient to behave otherwise now. It also repeats what I have been writing since November. Bloomberg and I, and everyone who agrees with us, are right. Everyone else is wrong…and dangerously so. (Further proof is the lame and typical rebuttal of the linked source: “Trump obviously won, but Hillary Clinton got more votes, and Trump’s disapproval rating is at a staggering 58 percent. If anything, the public spoke out against Trump and continues to do so—but thanks to an insufferably quirky electoral system, he’s the president anyway.”
5. From Tim Levier comes this story, where Colorado threatens to show us what “nanny state” really means, and a parent who second-guessed his own bad decision shows how statists think. I doctor whose kids became addicted to their smartphones formed a nonprofit called PAUS (Parents Against Underage Smartphones) has launched a ballot initiative that, if passed, would make Colorado the first state in the nation to establish limits on smartphones sales for young users. I wonder how many other areas of parenting the state could dictate like this? Meanwhile, this same state is telling all children that pot smoking is wonderful. If Dad gets his way, his children will avoid the perils of having “too much technology too soon” which “can impair brain development, hinder social skills and trigger an unhealthy reliance on the neurotransmitter dopamine,” as they grow into typical Colorado adults whose recreational drug habits impaired their brain development, hindered their social skills and triggered a healthy reliance on a Rocky Mountain high, blessed by the State.