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.