Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/27/2019: Desperation

Good morning.

1. Here is why the breast-beating about “doing something” about climate change is dishonest, disingenuous, futile and pointless. Brazil is telling the rest of the world, especially nations that developed their own economies with reckless impunity on the way to wealth and power, to back off its demands that Brazil stop burning its own rain forest. Of course it is taking this stance, and Brazil isn’t the only developing nation that will take that position and has every right to take that position.

Brazil’s defiance is also a definitive rebuttal to the argument that the United States should spend billions—trillions?—in virtue-signaling climate change policies that under the most optimistic scenarios won’t “fix” anything without mass cooperation by nations in Brazil’s position—and that’s not going to happen.

2.  The theory: somebody has to pay. A judge in Oklahoma yesterday ruled that Johnson & Johnson  intentionally hid the risks and hyped the benefits of opioids, ordering the company to pay the state $572 million in damages. This is the first trial of a drug manufacturer for the destruction wrought by prescription painkillers.

I don’t know if the verdict is fair, having not seen the evidence and heard the arguments. I don’t know that the verdict will hold up on appeal. The theory used by the state was questionable: the judge found that Johnson & Johnson perpetuated a “public nuisance” by  contributing to an ongoing public health crisis that could take decades to address successfully. Yet there was no proof offered that doctors who prescribed the drugs were misled, or that Johnson & Johnson violated federal drug regulations.

Public nuisance laws typically apply in cases where something interferes with a right common to the general public and results in danger on roads, parks,and other public areas, and not usually public health, which is what the state argued in this case. Johnson & Johnson’s lawyers contended that the state was contorting public nuisance law to the point of being unrecognizable. Of course, the same argument was made when product liability laws started moving beyond the “buyer beware” stage.

Not reading and hearing all the evidence, I can only wonder if this is case of deep pockets being held responsible for a tragedy that had no single, obvious villain. Doctors prescribed drugs approved by federal regulators, and the drug manufacturers supplied them, legally. Then citizens took the drugs, voluntarily, in a political and social culture that increasingly shrugs off drug use and abuse.

3. I know I keep asking these questions, but do progressives really not see how desperate, dishonest and Orwellian this is? The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is asking the public to start using intentionally deceptive words and phrases to describe citizens who have broken laws or engaged in anti-social activities.  Convicted felons or inmates released from prison should  be called “formerly incarcerated persons,” “justice-involved persons,” or better yet, “returning residents.” Juvenile offenders are to be referred to as “young people with justice system involvement” or “young people impacted by the juvenile justice system.’”

How did an entire end of the American ideological spectrum come to adopt the totalitarian theory that reality can be changed by calling it something other than it is?

Supervisor Matt Haney explained, “We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done. We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”

That’s great, Matt. If they are felons, then they should expect to be referred to as felons and treated as felons, meaning that they have to work to earn the community’s trust, having betrayed it. The formula is ancient, and it works: individuals should realize that there are serious, life-altering consequences to wrongful conduct. A society that prioritizes reducing those consequences by facilitating the disguising of the conduct is making unethical conduct more attractive by making accountability less painful.

4. I think I know why there have been new outbreaks of the various coup plans from the resistance.

The news media is fixating anew on Plan E, the completely hopeless and fanciful 25th Amendment theory, while others are going all the way back to Plan C, the Emoluments Clause (which is archaic, has never been used, and which is a stand-in for “Trump is corrupt because he didn’t sell everything he owned once he was elected.”) The latter is especially low-hanging fruit: unless we want to de facto ban  business owners from running for President, massive conflicts of interest are unavoidable in practical terms for people like Donald Trump. Thus the electorate gets to waive such conflicts by electing them President despite the conflicts. In 2016, the news media and Democrats didn’t inform the public about  the conflicts issue, as they should have, and in my view, and therefore they were estopped from screaming about conflicts once Trump was elected.

If they want to make conflicts an issue in 2020, that’s fine; indeed the public should be able to waive such conflicts properly, with informed consent. I seriously doubt many voters will care after Trump has served a full term. Nonetheless, the fake non-partisan corruption watchdog organization CREW (it is entirely an ally of the Democratic Party and hardly tries to hide it), just issued “Trump’s 2,000 Conflicts of Interest (and Counting).”

Isn’t that a non-partisan headline…

My theory: First the Russian conspiracy theory collapsed, then the fallback “The President is a racist and white supremacist” Big Lie only resonated with the Stage Five Trump Deranged and the New York Times was caught admitting that its plan was to spread it.  Meanwhile, recent polls show three unelectable and variously ridiculous Democratic contenders—Biden, Warren, and Sanders— rising to the top of the party’s polls.

All are well over 70 in a party that purports to represent the young. None have relevant executive experience,  unless Bernie’s  tenure as a mayor of a small Vermont ski-town 30 years ago impresses you. Sanders is an admirer of communism, his proposals are fiscally irresponsible, and his appeal is largely to millennials who have been raised to expect free stuff. Warren is a the biggest and most shameless demagogue in a field full of them, and too close to Hillary Clinton in character and expedient ways for anyone to feel good about her running against Trump, though she is a better speaker. And Joe, the compulsive hugger/fondler/sniffer aspiring to lead the #MeToo party—well, last week  he told an audience during a campaign rally in Croydon, New Hampshire, “I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts.” This was prompted by a week of unsettling gaffes.

From Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” to poor Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch,” such reassurances properly cause objective observers to expect career funeral arrangements.

Democrats and the “resistance” have already given up on the election. I think that’s rash, even with such horrible candidates, but the perception is quickly escalating into panic and desperation, increasing the likelihood of violence. Absent realistic hope of a win at the polls, they are seeking alternatives. The Trump-obsessed are now being guided and motivated by the  rationalizations  8A. The Dead Horse-Beater’s Dodge, or “This can’t make things any worse”…25. The Coercion Myth: “I have no choice!”…28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”…31. The Troublesome Luxury: “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now” and  40. The Desperation Dodge or “I’ll do anything!”

This is not a good development for anyone.

45 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/27/2019: Desperation

  1. 3. Is particularly stupid. The idea is to change the perception of felons by changing the words we use to describe them. It’s not going to work, because even if the linguistic revisions catch on with the educated, progressive elite, they’ll never catch on with the unwashed masses. Both because no one will be confused by what’s going on, and labels like “justice involved persons” is frankly cumbersome. The entire reason we call them “felons” is because “person who commuted a felony” was too cumbersome. Whatever the language eventually settles on (“The Involved”? “J.I.s”? “Jips”?) will still be derogatory.

    • Even if it does catch on, it will just come back full circle. Then it will be changed to something else. Sort of like this:

      Negros
      African American
      Person of Color

      • Exactly. At some point, you’d figure that they’d come to understand that it doesn’t really matter what you call it, it matters what you’re describing, and in this case you’re describing someone who has been found guilty of committing a felony, and regardless of what label you use, it will always have derogatory connotations.

        Illegal Alien
        Illegal Immigrant
        Undocumented Immigrant

  2. I see the following as the relevant facts in this opioid mess.

    (1) The drugs were tested and approved according to the law.
    (2) The drug companies tried to get physicians to buy the drugs, as all drug companies do with all their drugs.
    (3) The drug companies encouraged physicians to not shy away from prescribing pain-killers. Before this time period, physicians were loathe to prescribe powerful pain-killers and were justly criticized for leaving people in pain (often people who were dying) because they were afraid of addiction to pain killers.
    (4) Many of the physician expressed bewilderment when their patients became addicted to opioids after constant use of only 2-3 years.
    (5) Many physicians were continuing to prescribe opioids for patients long after they had recovered from their injuries.
    (6) There are no good drugs for treating chronic pain. They all either result in addiction, liver damage, ulcers, etc. Addiction to opioids may be the best option for some patients.
    (7) Insurance plans were requiring people to buy drugs 3-6 months at a time to save money in bulk orders. This resulted in physicians prescribing more than normal ‘just in case’, since they couldn’t make on-the-fly corrections to prescriptions. My mother-in-law was getting 600 hydrocodone pills at once (for 6 months) even though she would only use 20-30 each month. The doctor was worried that if her condition worsened next month and she needed more, he couldn’t get her more for 5 months.
    (8) Some people sold these excess opioids illegally.
    (9) Some physicians decided to make an easy buck by just writing prescriptions for opioids to drug users. Many of those seem to now be writing recommendations for ‘medical’ marijuana. The medical community (the only ones allowed to do anything about this) refused to cooperate with law enforcement to stop these pill mills.
    (10) The state tried to pressure pharmacists to refuse to fill opioid prescriptions to ‘certain types of people’.

    I see this as a ‘chickens coming home to roost’ problem. As a society, we decided not to take a strong line against the use of mind-altering substances. Since no one wanted to be the ‘bad guy’ and spoil everybody’s fun, we got a high tolerance in society for people abusing drugs. We then wanted to control healthcare prices by getting insurance to do it for us. With little ability to implement meaningful change, they resorted to gimmicks like requiring patients to buy drugs in bulk for cheaper prices. This lack in flexibility led to the market being swamped with extra drugs. With extra drugs in a society with a lax attitude on drug use, you know this is going to result in illegal use of the narcotics. Into this society, we dumbed down the schools to the point that our physicians don’t understand how the drugs they prescribe work (or they don’t care). They prescribed drugs in such a way that their patients obviously were going to become addicted and they pretended to be shocked when this happened. Add the unscrupulous physicians who face no consequences for essentially becoming ‘legal’ heroin dealers and you have a mess. The medical community doesn’t want to take any responsibility for it, law enforcement is powerless to do anything about stopping activity with such strong public support, and they need someone to blame. They tried blaming the pharmacists and it has started to result in a shortage of pharmacists (who wants to go to all that school just to be blamed for this), so they are going after the big, bad, pharmaceutical companies. Big pharma didn’t help themselves with their aggressive advertising, so there you go. We just voted on who has to pay for this mess and we decided it wouldn’t be us. Next, we are going to complain when we can’t get painkillers after surgery and we have a shortage of drugs of all types after the pharmaceutical companies go bankrupt to pay for our drug habits.

    • What was needed was to make examples of doctors who ran “pill mill” practices and those who illegally sold excess pills. Felony convictions, long sentences.

    • I am a long term user of a prescribed opiate for pain management, we are talking about a decade or more. I certainly have a dependency on them but I don’t abuse them, they work well and keep me mobile. I have also worked on drug task forces and done research on the subject. It isn’t and hasn’t been a problem with long term users but we were the targets for a while. Going from active duty to the VA was a nightmare that I almost didn’t survive and that was the beginning of 18. Policies are now moving back towards resonable with doctors being sued for withholding treatment over licence fears. It needs to be made clear the epidemic of overdoses has little to do with legal prescriptions and everything to do with illicit behavior and drugs.

      • This is the same failed approach society seems to take with gun control. The issue is not legal users/owners. The issue is not those producing or distributing the product legally.

        The issue is a people problem.

    • Michael R.,
      Then, contrast with this: last fall, my wife had abdominal surgery. She was prescribed oxycodone, I believe.
      As is her way, she exerted herself (she walked up the stairs or something) and ripped her internal stitches. We did not know that at the time. Went to the ER after a day or so. They prescribed some more drugs. We started getting the stink-eye from the pharmacists. We were getting about 1-2 days supply at the time. The pain did not let up for another day or so, so we got back in for the doctor to open her up again. The real problem was finally discovered and the doctor triple-stitched her up that time. So, back on more pain meds. Luckily, one her doctors said he has no problem prescribing meds where there is a genuine need, so he filled one of the gaps; I guess he has been brought in front of the Board before, but is not apologetic about his treatment decisions.

      The doctors were limited on what they could prescribe and the pharmacists had to clear “repeat customers” to make sure people were not abusing them.

      Mind you, this was a 1-2 week time-frame after (essentially) two abdominal surgeries.

      That’s bureaucracy for you! And, under single payer, the bureaucrats would be in charge of all this.

      -Jut

      • That is what they are doing now in response to the ‘crisis’. A friend just had a C-section. She had to go get pain medication prescribed on a day-to-day basis. They were quite rude when she wanted one or two hydrocodone for the third day. Let’s have the pendulum all the way to the right or all the way to the left, please.

    • If only there was some kind of non-opioid chronic pain killer in the market. Man, that stuff would be so awesome, I’d call it “Can’t Beat Dat”, or CBD, for short.

      Oh wait, CBD exists, except it stands for “Cannabidiol”, and is a cannabis derivative which is molecularity not addictive and has the THC (which is the part of cannabis that makes you high) excluded. On might ask: “Jeff, why would someone take a pill that is not addictive and does not get you high?” And the answer is awesome: It’s been proven effective against chronic pain.

      So despite point 6 above, there is a safe alternative to opioids…. You’d just have to get over your fear of anything derived from the devil grass.

      • HT now that I am retired I use cbd as well, it certainly helps but doesn’t replace my pills. As to stigma there was a none narcotic, soma, that I took before that helps better than anything but is now a schedule 2 and despite being available no one will prescribed it as it was stigmatized as being dangerous, it is addtive and has been abused so now no one will have it.

      • If only there was some kind of non-opioid chronic pain killer in the market.

        Proven is too strong a word. Clinical research is extremely limited regarding CBD, and most claims are anecdotal at best. This may be due bias against researching cannabis derivatives, but that does not change the current clinical record.

        Strong evidence exists that it can treat certain rare forms of epilepsy, but limited evidence exists for its effectiveness treating other conditions such as chronic pain.

        • Good data surrounding cannabis derivatives is rare. The obvious stigma aside, there’s also the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of financial incentive behind it, because growing the plant is relatively cheap absent the frankly, insane amounts of regulation surrounding them. And so the only real data being created that doesn’t reek of reefer madness is done by pro-cannabis activist organizations. But that data *does* prove that CBD decreases pain, you just have to decide whether you trust their science.

          More, I think we can infer a couple of things;

          At the end of the day, the inescapable fact is that people take CBD for pain. Again, it’s not addictive, and the active ingredient that causes you to become high is absent, so the question becomes: “If it is not addictive, does not get you high, and does not help with pain, then why are people paying for it?”. Even if you discount the studies that say that CBD is effective in treatment of pain, people are reporting decreased pain. Which is… counter-intuitive. If CBD does not decrease pain, does the argument then become that the reduced pain is some kind placebo effect? And to give the opposing argument every benefit of the doubt; Even if the reported pain decreases are in fact some kind of placebo effect, is a placebo not better than an opioid?

          The relative efficacy of CBD as a pain killer, however, is a better question: Does CBD offer the same kind of pain relief that an opioid does? We don’t know. Pain is qualia, and relative pain is subjective. Worse, once someone is addicted to an opioid they aren’t really being treated for pain, they’re getting a fix, even if the pain remains in the background. So even if CBD was effective at treating their pain, it wouldn’t stop their withdrawal symptoms. All that said, I think it’s foolish not to try. The worst case scenario is that we treat pain with CBD and the treatment is ineffective, the best case is it works. The worst case when treating pain with an opioid….

    • Michael, excellent observation on this very complicated problem. Reason has a series of articles on various aspects of the “opioid crisis” that provide detailed information about a number of aspects of it including the Johnson and Johnson lawsuit. I highly recommend reading those articles if you are interested in this topic.

      In another comment in this thread, you make a very perceptive comment about the “pendulum” of pain management. I’ll try to provide a simplified overview of what happened. Starting in about the late 90s, the American Academy of Pain, began addressing the issue of undertreated pain. In 2001, the Joint Commission, the organization that inspects and accredits hospitals, ordered that “pain” be addressed as the “5th Vital Sign” the other 4 being of course blood pressure, temperature, pulse and respiratory rate. Pain though is a purely subjective phenomenon and was typically rated on a scale of 1 to 10 by the patient. Healthcare providers were then expected to treat the pain. How to treat the pain. Well the literature on pain management at that time had indicated that previous fears about the risks of opioids for chronic pain were overblown and that they could be safely used. One of the primary findings of the literature was that only a small percentage of patients prescribed opioids for pain will become an addict. [Being an addict is not the same as being dependent on a drug. Dependence is a physiologic process that will occur in anyone given certain drugs long enough and will cause withdrawal if they abruptly stop the drug. Addiction is a behavior characterized by such things as stealing to buy drugs, overusing drugs, etc.] With the 5th vital sign movement and the Academy of Pain recommendations, the use of prescription opioids inevitably increased.

      Over the next ten to fifteen years there were skyrocketing rates of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. This was blamed on the increased prescribing of opioids. (Sounds familiar, maybe all those guns cause mass shootings.) In any event, the powers that be panicked and decided that they had to “do something.” So we got the “CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016.” The overall reports is complicated, but the primary recommendations included guidelines to limit the daily dose of opioid prescribed based on a measure called MME or morphine milligram equivalent so that doses of different opioid could fairly compared since a milligram of one may be much stronger or weaker than a milligram of another. There were also recommendations regarding how much medication should be prescribed at a time in various settings. This led to the type of situation that Jut describes.

      To further complicate the problem, after the CDC guidelines were promulgated many states then wrote statutes to govern the practice of medicine based upon those guidelines. In fact, some states actually set stricter standards that what was recommended. In Florida, the law follows the CDC guidelines fairly closely. Florida, and I believe other states, also requires that before any prescription is written that the state database of controlled substance prescriptions be consulted. Yes, in Florida there is a database of every person over the age of 15 who is prescribed a controlled substance for any reason. There are a few other provisions that govern such things as who has to register as a pain management doctor.

      A doctor must have a license to work. The state passes laws regarding the prescribing of certain substances with the underlying threat that if a provider violates the rules they may lose their license. As may be imagined, many doctors simply stopped writing pain medications. Many greatly minimized what they would write. Some doctors who had patients they may have been seeing for years who were on a higher MME of opioid than the law “recommended” rapidly cut them back resulting in undertreatment of pain and possibly withdrawal. Some insurers even began to refuse to pay for doses of medication that exceeded the guidelines. Then there was a backlash.

      Patients often endured severe suffering due to dose decreases and there were reports of patients committing suicide due to intolerable pain. Patients and their families complained. In April 2019, the CDC put out a statement which basically said that these were just recommendations and that they never intended that pain patients be denied relief and that the physician should use professional judgment in making treatment decisions including dosage and not follow a strict dose limit. Unfortunately, the CDC guidelines have now been given the force of law in some states so providers are limited in what they can do. As often happens when there is a demand to “do something” the outcome is as we said in the AF a real “Charlie foxtrot.”

      Where will the pendulum finally land? I don’t know. I don’t prescribe pain medications (if I did I would stop) and I thank God neither myself nor my family suffer from chronic pain. My heart goes out to those who do. This is another case where the laws that are instituted do little to stop illegal use, very little of the opioids on the street come from diversion of prescriptions, but severely penalize some of the most vulnerable members of society who are breaking no laws and only desire to be able to live with some ability to function and enjoy some pleasure in their life.

      In response to Humble Talent, one of the indications for medical marijuana in Florida is chronic nonmalignant pain. CBD is certainly useful and a safe treatment for pain in some patients.

  3. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is asking the public to start using intentionally deceptive words and phrases to describe citizens who have broken laws or engaged in anti-social activities. Convicted felons or inmates released from prison should be called “formerly incarcerated persons,” “justice-involved persons,” or better yet, “returning residents.” Juvenile offenders are to be referred to as “young people with justice system involvement” or “young people impacted by the juvenile justice system.’”

    And yet these same people accuse the NRA of having “blood on their hands” every time there is a shooting.

    • They have to. They need a designated enemy to blame to keep the questions – and accountability – away from them.

      The real Ethics Dunces are the reporters who let them get away with it.

      • They have to. They need a designated enemy to blame to keep the questions – and accountability – away from them.

        They want to avoid blaming the gangs who do the shootings.

        The real Ethics Dunces are the reporters who let them get away with it.

        I concur.

  4. 1. It’s my understanding the Brazilians are burning farmland. The Paris Climate Thingy is intended to get third world countries (economically challenged countries?) to remain quaint and verdant to keep removing CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by developed countries. The third world will be enticed into doing this by the first world depositing huge amounts of money into Swiss bank accounts of third world kleptocrats. Hilarious.

    • Well, Pope Francis can help. Pope Francis’s theology is basically that God only loves the poor. The only reason the church stays in God’s good graces is by the intercession of the poor. The more poor people, the happier God is. The poorer the poor people are, the happier God is. The rich are OK as long as they keep the poor from escaping poverty. If we let these countries develop and raise their poor to the level of the poor in the US*, it will be the end for all of us. We need to keep places like Brazil impoverished and without modern conveniences, medicine, lifespan, etc. It is what God wants/ It is better for the planet.

      These socialist philosophies are philosophies of despair without hope for most people. Look at the ‘Yang Gang’ philosophy in the Democratic Party that robots will take all our jobs and we will just get an allowance from the government to live on. Look at the Global Warming hysteria that inevitably would result in a forcible depopulation of the planet. We should expect more suicides and mass shootings as the despair and hopelessness of these systems takes hold in more young people.

      *Major urban areas under Democratic control seem to be addressing this portion of the problem.

      • Not just poor, ignorant as well. Frankie seems to particularly enjoy hoodwinking and manipulating his flock. He is just another neo-commie flack.

        • It is especially disturbing that the can tout a Chinese-style social credit system and people think it is a good idea.

          People with low social credit scores will fail government background checks, be put on no-fly lists, be denied credit and banking, not be eligible for government programs, housing, or schools, etc.

          I wish Trump would publish social credit guidelines and let them see how wonderful it will be.
          (1) Everyone starts with a 600 score
          (2) +10 points for each gun channel you subscribe to
          (3) +10 points for buying a MAGA hat
          (4) +10 points for loving America
          (5) +50 points for having a private-sector job
          (6) +50 points for working in manufacturing, energy, or agriculture
          (7) -10 points for each socialist site you subscribe to
          (8) -10 points for expressing feminist, antifa, anti-white or anti-male hate speech
          (9) -10 for promoting the Green New Deal
          (10) -10 for promoting radical Global Warming hysteria
          (11) -50 for promoting Russia conspiracy theory
          (12) -50 for doxxing people and trying to get them fired
          (13) -10 for attacking people for calling people racist
          (14) -10 for calling people a Nazi or fascist
          (15) +10 for owning an American car
          (16) -10 for owning a foreign-made car
          (17) -50 for espousing the overturning of democratic elections
          (18) -50 for discriminating in hiring or business based on political viewpoint
          (19) -50 for having a government job or a job paid for by a political party
          (20) -50 for each fake news story you were involved in writing, publishing, or promoting

          Would they think it was great then? The standards they promote are much more dangerous than this.

          My social credit score is now 830. What is yours?

  5. Oh, why shouldn’t we be impressed with Bernie’s tenure as the mayor of Vermont’s largest municipality (actually a college town, not a ski town, but population only about 35,000)? After all, he funded community trust housing (great idea), refused to sell the waterfront to developers (unpopular, but would have created rateables instead of immune property), hosted Noam Chomsky, and even had a pro-Soviet foreign policy (why a town should have a foreign policy I don’t know). Burlington did make it onto one list of 10 great places to live…but so what? (Wikipedia just threw that in to make him look good)

    Liz just hit her 70th, but, better speaker than Hillary or not, her proven and provable lie to get preferential treatment is going to sink her.

    Like it or not, Biden is the Democrats last best hope to win next year. I don’t think it’s going to be his embarrassing gaffes or his wandering hands that are going to doom him, though. What will doom him is his complete lack of energy when measured against Trump, who acts like a man half his age. Joe may have acted like a strong leader once, but his energy was already fading when I saw him live in 2014 in Philly, and it’s now entirely gone (the tragic death of his son from cancer probably didn’t help). Him being an advocate for women is a joke in light of his own behavior, unless too many of the electorate are idiots who can be told “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

    I’m not so sure the left has given up on winning the election. If they did, then I’d really start to worry. There’s already been too many major acts of violence by angry leftists, and there are too many influential people whose idea of politics is mob violence and intimidation, and who believe it is their right and their duty to abuse, attack, even kill those they disagree with. I seriously think if Trump is reelected someone will try in earnest to assassinate him. I know you would have been ok with him being assassinated as a candidate, but it’s a different matter with attempting to assassinate a serving president.

    • Agreed, with two caveats. First, Democrats don’t care about Warren’s lies or contrived past. They want to beat Trump. That’s all.

      As for Biden, if you have to declare “I am not crazy”, then you have problems. Especially when your wife is out on the campaign trail urging voters to disregard his silliness because beating Trump is so much more important.

      Methinks, barring an economic calamity, Trump wins in 2020. The slate of DNC candidates is just too much for fly-over voters to take. Trump may be a boor, a brute, but his candid speaking style with the “America’s National Interests First” policy is appealing to many voters. Moreover, the tariffs, which tend to hit working and middle classes, are not unpopular with said voting group. Trump says, “yeah, tariffs hurt our people. There is a simple solution: don’t make stuff in China. Make it here and avoid paying those tariffs.” Oh, and guess what? China blinked, suffering its worst economic downturn in 30 years. Who knew?

      jvb

      • China blinked, suffering its worst economic downturn in 30 years. Who knew?

        Trump did. Anyone who has paid attention would know that they would blink, too.

        China is as addicted to selling cheap junk as we are to buying it. The issue now is China cannot make a better grade of junk (the economics just don’t work out) and we DO have alternatives. We just proved it to them. We own them.

        China also holds enormous US debt. They are addicted to the interest payments, basing their economy largely on that. In that case, we own them as well.

      • Not for Roman Polanski or the other cool kids. Letters will be doled out on the basis of politics rather than actual crime, which is a political crime…

        … so they get a pass…?…

  6. #3 I’m sympathetic to the idea that, at some point, a criminal’s debt to society is paid and their past should no longer be held against them. In my view, this is one of the legitimate uses of the Pardon Power: when an offender has demonstrated genuine and lasting reform (which generally means years after completing their sentence), and truly earned back the trust of the community, it is appropriate to wash away the stigma of their conviction and free them from all the miscellaneous disabilities that attend it.

    But the truth is most felons will not demonstrate true and lasting reform, and while it’s only fair to let them earn back the trust of the public, that trust should not be blindly given. Let a felon be a felon until they’ve earned their pardon.

  7. —Supervisor Matt Haney explained, “We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done. We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”—

    I’m pretty sure they’re individual names are not all “felon” now, so this buffoon is not making a coherent argument. Their mommas don’t address them as “felon.” Their drivers’ license doesn’t say “felon.” No one is branding the word “felon” on anybody. They are only called felons at the moment when a term is needed to identify people who committed felonies.

    This is another example of people appropriating the language of compassion and charity who are not qualified or able to do so. It is true that people shouldn’t be “defined by the worst thing they’ve ever done,” but that kind of personal attitude change comes from within the individual. Just addressing a felon as a “justice-involved individual” isn’t going to make one single gangbanger say, “Yeah! You’re right! Im more than the mistakes of my past! I’m turning my life around right now!” They’d have to actually, you know, WANT to do that first. And in 100 out of 100 cases, that newly reformed individual will be the first to tell you he was once a dirty rotten stupid felon. The first step to fixing a problem is accurately defining it.

    Political correctness doesn’t change lives. It only helps lazy people like Supervisor Matt Haney feel as if they’re doing something helpful as they utterly fail at their jobs.

  8. I’m seriously anticipating the Democratic Convention this election. Suppose Biden wins in the primaries but the Super-Delegates pick, say, Kamala Harris (first black woman President, don’tcha know) and Biden doesn’t have enough delegates to overcome the Super-Delegates? Pop some popcorn and settle back for some REAL political bloodshed.

    • I’ve said this before: I don’t think that anyone carrying water for an institution that uses super-delegates can legitimately bitch about institutions like the electoral college. I’m *AMAZED* that after the last DNC they didn’t change the rules and turf them.

  9. #3. I know of one jail in my region which is referred to as a “detention center” and where the inmates are called “residents” and the officers are called “resident supervisors.”

  10. Ethics Quote of the day by James Mattis former secretary of defense

    “I didn’t cook up a convenient tradition here,” he said. “You don’t endanger the country by attacking the elected commander in chief. I may not like a commander in chief one fricking bit, but our system puts the commander in chief there, and to further weaken him when we’re up against real threats — I mean, we could be at war on the Korean peninsula, every time they start launching something.”

    Source: The Man Who Couldn’t Take It Anymore

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