Kavanaugh: On Second Thought

Based on the new information that has surfaced about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, I have some additional thoughts. Instead of taking an adversarial position, Kavanaugh could ask President Trump to order an FBI investigation of the claims of sexual assault. That would help resolve the controversy and put the facts on the table. If President Trump refused, he could withdraw his name from consideration for the nomination. That action would say a lot about the integrity of the nominee and would be exactly the type of person I would like to see as a Justice on the US Supreme Court.

Additionally, any Senator who votes to push through the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh before reviewing the facts and allowing for ‘due process’, undermines an important historic role of the Senate. Again, it promotes his/her private agenda and makes them complicit in what appears like a possible cover-up.

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How About Being Open, Honest, and Transparent?

I am strongly in favor of being Open, Honest and Transparent (OHT), and I am really bothered by the decision that has been made to exclude a considerable amount of evidence from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing to be a Justice on the US Supreme Court.

The inforsupremem courtmation is related to Judge Kavanaugh’s two-year experience on the White House Counsel’s Office, and later as staff secretary of President George W. Bush. The documents, which are held by the National Archives and subject to release under the Presidential Records Act, are currently under review for release under that Act. The White House turned down the Senate Judiciary Committee’s request to see over 100,000 pages of documents related to Judge Kavanaugh’s experience, citing executive privilege.

The decision not to provide that information has the appearance of being a cover-up in order to help guarantee Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment. There is a simple way around the problem, one which makes it clear that everyone is being open, honest and transparent. Judge Kavanaugh could simply say that he wants the material to be considered in the review. He could add, that if the request is denied he will withdraw his name from consideration.

If Judge Kavanaugh does not take that position, it makes him appear to be complicit in the appearances of a cover-up. Under those circumstances, any Senator who votes for his confirmation becomes a party to the appearances of a cover-up as well .

Should Judge Kavanaugh refuse to follow through on this suggestion, it opens up the question “Is that the type of person we want to be a Justice on our Supreme Court, the highest court in the land?”

Apparently the old small-d democratic rule, “Majority rule with minority security” no longer applies. We are all part of the Hive, living in “One World” as part of United Nations. Let’s make that fantasy a reality.

 

Should I Enter a Clinical Trial–Part Two–The Beneficiaries

The Beneficiaries

It is at best uncertain whether you or anyone else currently in your condition will benefit from your participation in a clinical trial. If the trial is successful — and as we have mentioned earlier not all of them are — and the drug or appliance is cleared for marketing, some of those who get a similar condition in the future may benefit from it. Your participation is your legacy to them. But the important question is, “Who benefits now?” That is particularly relevant since large amounts of time, effort and money go into clinical trials. Someone must believe the investment is worthwhile. Let’s take a look at each of the stakeholders.

The stakeholders

Those conducting trials are stakeholders in it. They benefit from it. They include:

  • The doctors and other practitioners involved.
  • The organizations and institutions they are a part of and represent– the Medical Centers, Hospitals, Universities and PhysicianFirms.
  • The pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies whose products are being tested and who sponsor the trial whose self-interest is definitely connected to the success of the project.

The principal investigators — a.k.a., the lead doctors — have their reputation on the line. The study is based on their hypothesis. If the clinical trial turns out favorably, they can say, “See I was right!“ Not only is that a boost to their ego, it enhances their reputation and all that goes along with it. If successful, they get to publish the results and present the findings at national meetings. Moreover, it enables them to test out their ideas, to get funds for their projects and it increases their income as well. Those personal benefits contribute to their wanting you to participate and, perhaps, inadvertently encourage you to do so. That is particularly true when the number of possible candidates for the clinical trial is limited, and the lack of participants threatens the validity of the results or even makes it impossible to conduct the trial. In fact, the possibility of being pressured to enroll has led to the requirement that in order to participate in a clinical trial you must sign a form indicating that you are giving your informed consent. Continue reading “Should I Enter a Clinical Trial–Part Two–The Beneficiaries”

The Cost of War

We all know that war and any other aggressive action, by its very intent, causes damages and destruction. It is likely to cause death, damage, destruction, injury and disability to the “enemy” — and to ourselves and our own forces as well. Moreover, each action always involves time, energy, resources and funds — all of which could have been used for something else. It is essential to understand and plan for the resources required before taking any action.

Moreover, any action will almost certainly provoke a “retaliatory response” requiring additional resources to react to it. There is an almost instinctive, virtually automatic, retaliatory reaction to any initial aggressive act — meet aggression with aggression. Frequently it leads to an escalation of the conflict. Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War. His important post-Vietnam advice was — understand your enemy before engaging in hostilities and taking any action. Add to that the likely collateral damage and the potential for unforeseen and unintended consequences and the additional cost of providing compensation and restitution for any damages and injury caused, certainly to one’s own forces, and perhaps to others as well. All those factors contribute to “The Cost of War.” Be mindful of them. Continue reading “The Cost of War”