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This is just a simple blog by LeRoy Rice.  Its purpose is to keep friends and family informed of my activities and as a medium to express my rambling and miscellaneous thoughts. It has no commercial purpose and you readers will not be blasted with ads.

You can email me at leroy@leroyrice.com

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Litigation Processes – The New Norm

The new norm. Criminal cases must be tried in the media before going to the courts.

The recent presidential election spectacle in the US has brought home one disturbing fact of the new normal in America. The press are demanding that criminal cases be tried in the media before they go to the courts. Several high profile cases in the last few years have been tried in the media long before the cases went to trial. Then, when the case went to court; and if the court ruling differed from the media ruling, there were massive public outcries and demonstrations.

In the 2020 presidential race, President Trump refused to accept the election results and vowed to take the issue of election fraud to the courts. Nobody knew at the time if his claims had any basis or not. A lot of people assumed that his claims were baseless, and they possibly were. However, as soon as he made the claims, several news media organizations stated categorically the he had no proof (they were already reporting on the outcome of litigation that had not yet begun). They said that, he had not submitted his evidence to the press, therefore there was no proof. Again, they reported this as absolute fact, not speculation. They continued to demand that he submit his legal proof to the press BEFORE he submitted the evidence to the courts. And the general public seemed to agree!

What a shocking change in the rule of law! It used to be that you presented evidence of criminal wrong doing to the courts for adjudication. Now it seems the the accepted legal process is that you present you evidence to the press and they must adjudicate it before it goes to the courts. The standard, and accepted, response to the press by lawyers and principals in a case used to be “we can not comment on pending litigation”. Seems that is no longer a valid response. And should you fail to bow to the press’s demands to disclose all your arguments before you present them to the courts, you do so at your own peril. They will punish you with relentless public attacks on you character; again all presented as absolute fact.

In this particular case, the media predictions of the legal arguments not standing up in court may come true. However that does not excuse their penchant for reporting speculation as fact. We are heading down a slippery slope of subverting the legal process by the media.

I can still remember the “old days” when there was something called “investigative journalism” but that died with the proliferation of social media which fueled the public’s demand for instant reporting of events, even before there was any facts to report.

The outhouse

Oh well. I guess I will head to the outhouse and read a newspaper and see if I can find some “real” news.

Rainbows and Unicorns

Image by maneya from Pixabay

This COVID-19 pandemic has spawned an even more dangerous set of twin pandemics of silliness.

First – a certain faction of the USA population is advocating (very vocally) that the government should cease to govern in the interests of all citizens, and instead abdicate all political decisions to the “medical professionals”. This, they claim. will make COVID-19 magically disappear (figuratively it would vanish into thin air without further intervention). Of course the economy would collapse, the newly healthy population would experience a lower standard of living that they have had in 100 years, and the democratic processes and freedoms that used to be guaranteed by the US constitution would be long gone.

Additionally – a faction of that population is advocating that the government should take over the operation of the health care system. This would, they say, make make health care free to all and the world would be filled with rainbows and unicorns. If you want to see what government run health care looks like in America, check out the VA system of health care. People dying waiting months to see a doctor, never seeing the same doctor twice, diagnostic testing severely limited.

To paraphrase an old and revered document, these truths should be self evident; doctors should not run the government, and politicians should not run the medical system.

Do Politicians Lie?

Politician speaking on podium with microphone, about liar election concept

We are in the midst of campaigning for a federal election here in the US. This means that we are being blasted with virtually nonstop TV commercials by all the candidates for federal political office. It seems to me that the word lie, and lair are being used even more this year than in past campaigns. Everyone that is campaigning is saying that every other person that is campaigning is a liar. If we are to believe all these campaign adds on TV (and surely everyone believes every word) then we must conclude that everyone running for office must be a lair, all their opponents said so, and they wouldn’t lie. Such a dilemma, should we vote for liars? Is being a liar a prerequisite for political office?

Some fun trivia on liers:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/thriving101/202002/9-truths-you-should-know-about-expert-liars

https://www.prweek.com/article/1454441/3-types-liars-spot-deal-ruin-team

If You Only Have a Hammer

On reflecting on today’s “new normal” of shutting down countries to control an infectious disease, an old adage came to mind. If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.

When confronted with the Covid-19 problem, politicians consulted their “infectious disease experts” for a solution. If you are an “infectious disease expert” your logical response is that the sure way to control the spread of infectious diseases is to isolate and quarantine everybody, forever. They have to say that, it is the only arrow in their quiver.

One would have thought that the leaders of the countries of the world would have considered all factors related to shutting down a country such as:

  • How will people earn a living while locked down.
  • How will businesses survive without workers or customers.
  • Once the companies have shut down, and more people are out of work than those still working, how will we finance social welfare programs for all the newly unemployed people that we forced out of the workplace.

Obviously the leaders of the various countries are more savvy on such things than me, and have this all figured out, and have considered all factors for the greater good of their populations. I am patiently awaiting the results of their secret master plans to fix all this and end up with society better off than when the pandemic started.

Can I Go Out Now?

I am so excited, I drove around a bit yesterday and a few restaurants are opening their dining rooms! So many have been closed entirely or only doing curbside pick up of to-go meals. Outback Steakhouse in Athens was open. Donna and I went in for dinner. Things are definitely different. Only half the tables were open (every second one closed) and all the staff were wearing masks. There is nothing on the tables; no salt and pepper or other condiments, no even the cards you normally see that are advertising some special or other. The menu was a single sheet of printer paper. Not sure if this was simply because they were starting out with a reduced menu, or because it was so that they were single use and disposable. However, it was so great to have a sit down restaurant meal again.

Link to Outback https://www.outback.com/

Coronavirus Reality Check

I was so encouraged to watch President Trump’s press conference last evening (Mar. 23). He made it clear that the USA can not shut down indefinitely. If we continue with the current “shelter in place” and “social distancing” for several months waiting for the virus to go away, the US economy collapses, businesses shut down, the supply chain disappears, and we all ultimately end up living in caves or huts made of twigs and leaves; and we forage for roots and berries for food.

The current situation is that most social interaction is eliminated. People are staying put in their homes. Businesses are running at reduced capacity, Most forms of entertainment and professional sports are canceled. Businesses are shutting down or severely limiting their business. This is all being mandated by various levels of government. These are all necessary short term measures, not a long term way of life.

The reality is that Coronavirus is a new virus that the medical community does not currently have a vaccine for or drugs to treat the symptoms. There is a lot of effort by various drug companies and government agencies to find effective drugs and vaccines. They will most likely develop the required drugs and vaccines; within the next 2 years or so. These developments will help the next time we have an epidemic of Coronavirus, perhaps in 10 years or so, but they will likely be too late for the current pandemic.

The current pandemic is very fast moving. Ultimately the entire population of the globe will be exposed and that fact can not be avoided. The majority of those exposed will recover on their own without the need for hospitalization. Some number will have serious symptoms and will require hospitalization, but will recover. A very small percentage of people, with weakened immune systems, because of old age or preexisting illnesses, will not survive. By the way, I am one of those high risk people.

The problem is that this country does not have sufficient medical infrastructure to handle a sudden rise in the number of people needing hospitalization; for any reason. The sad reality is that the US has spared no expense to prepare itself for a global war, but has given little effort to preparing for a global pandemic. This reality will likely never change.

Some people think that we just hide at home and wait it out for a few months, the virus will go away and they will never be exposed. Not true. After you filter out all the useless hype the news media are spewing, the official reason for all the “social distancing” is to “flatten the curve” not to eliminate it. The medical infrastructure, as it existed at the start of this pandemic, could not handle the projected need for hospitalization of the serious cases. Therefore all the special effort being practiced now is to spread the load on the medical infrastructure from a big peak spread over a few weeks to a much lower peak spread over several months. At the same time we need a breather to beef up the medical community’s capacity. The same number of people will get sick. The virus is not going away, a cure is not imminent, it will not magically disappear when summer comes. The plan of attack is we slow the spread down until the medical infrastructure catches up. We also prepare to better handle a future pandemics a few years from now. This or some other unknown virus will come again someday.

Eventually the majority of the global population will be exposed to Coronavirus. All we can do at this point is fine tune the rate of exposure. And that process seems to be working. Have faith in God. The world is not coming to an end.