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Category Archives: Golden Rule
Posted: September 18, 2020 at 1:17 am
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. The pandemic has made efforts to get out the vote difficult for both parties, but Democrats and Republicans are still hitting the street when they can. And using tech to get people registered and educated.
The standard, golden rule in politics is theres no substitute for door-to-door canvassing, for talking to voters face-to-face, said Gary Stark, chair of the Kent County Democrats, and we always think we can do that. But were all facing the same kinds of constraints.
Both the Democratic party and GOP have their own registration websites. Theyve been around for a while, but their importance is renewed this year with the pandemic hampering efforts to door-to-door canvass.
Were getting out how we can, obviously you have to do it very carefullyyou have to do it with masks and distance and being respectful of people who want to keep their distance, said Joel Freeman, chair of the Kent GOP. So its kind of an all-of-the-above approach this year but yes, certainly going digital and going by mail is a much bigger factor this year.
We have been reluctant to [canvass] because of the governors guidelines and the dangers of that and the uncertainty of how that would be received, said Stark. Many people dont want people strangers knocking on their door.
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Posted: at 1:17 am
Cognitive dissonance. What is it?
It is when a person holds two beliefs that contradict one another. Cognitive dissonance causes feelings of unease and tension, and people attempt to relieve this discomfort in different ways. Examples include explaining things away or rejecting new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs.
Newborns are immune. They have no preconceived notions. They are not swayed by propaganda or fables. They enter life with a clean slate.
As people age, they acquire new information that is either factual or false. Unless they analyze the data that comes their way, they may be duped into believing false evidence appearing real. Opinions and outlooks are thus formed.
Strong personalities are often capable of pulling the wool over the eyes of many otherwise well-intentioned people. Folks hear things that strike discordant chords and thereafter abandon the precepts of the Golden Rule in favor of slick hoopla and myth put forth by silver-tongued orators.
Donald Trump did not become president because he offered rational alternatives to complex yet solvable problems in our nation. His approach was and remains aggressive, belligerent and extremely self-aggrandizing. As an example, any criticisms of the president that appear in the media are simply labeled fake news by the Trump entourage. End of discussion.
And here is where cognitive dissonance appears. Many people who voted for him in 2016 try to explain things away or reject new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs. Doing so is easier than coming to grips with the truth: Voting for him in 2016 was a mistake.
Hopefully, in the quietness of their souls, come Election Day, they will choose to remedy that error.
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Posted: at 1:17 am
Let's get back to basics everyday ethics.
I began writing this column to take ethics out of the classroom and into the wider world. My model was Socrates, the father of ethics, who went into the city where he lived to engage in dialog with others. It was Socrates who gave us the most lasting definition of ethics how best to live.
Ethics is fundamentally a practical philosophy. It seeks to help individuals make the best decisions they can for themselves, consistent with their beliefs and values.
There are various ethical traditions that offer roadmaps about how best to live.
The early Greek philosopher Aristotle said we should seek to live a life of moderation. He called that the Golden Mean. Think of the extremes of any value, take courage as one. Courage to live is an ethical principle, but the extremes are what cause difficulty being too risky or being too shy.
Aristotle said the best way to live a good life is to practice what you believe. In other words, if you want to be a compassionate person, you need to be kind to yourself and others as often as you can.
Other world ethical systems from the East and West offer guidance on making moral decisions. The most common principle is treating others as you wish to be treated or love your neighbor as yourself. This is called the Golden Rule.
When you have time to consider a pending decision, here are three areas to consider,
First, look at any existing rules or laws. By these standards would your decision be right or wrong? For example, thinking about whether or not to cheat on a test to get a higher grade is obviously a violation of school rules.
Second, look at issues of character. Would your decision fit your values and needs and that of others? Some might consider sacrificing themselves for the good of others, but that would not be good for you.
Third, examine the situation you are in. Sometimes the context in which you make a decision weighs heavily. A friend may ask you to lie to protect himself, and though as a general rule you don't advocate telling lies, in this particular case that rule takes second to a higher one of protecting a friend.
Ethics is about making decisions, sometimes difficult ones. But a fundamental question to ask yourself is this one: Is what I am going to decide something I will regret later? Asking and answering this one, may clear things up.
John C. Morgan is a teacher and writer whose columns appear here weekly.
Posted: at 1:17 am
Employment attorney Gerald Maatman Jr. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP talks about how to avoid legal pitfalls during the coronavirus pandemic.
Labor and employment attorney Gerald Maatman Jr. is tasked with advising clients on avoiding potential legal pitfalls that may arise in the workplace because of the coronavirus.
However, he admits that nothing in his 40-plus years specializing in labor law has prepared him for the challenges employers face because of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 6 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 196,000 people since January.
I thought I had seen everything and then COVID-19 occurred, said Maatman, senior partner of Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw LLP, on Thursday at the virtual American Shipper Global Trade Tech summit. Ive worked harder and longer hours to assist employers with all of the challenges and the changing playing field that they find themselves on today. Its been extraordinary times.
Businesses are already starting to see a spate of lawsuits filed by employees who were furloughed or laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Maatman expects the majority of litigation is going to be filed in the first and second quarters of 2021. However, more than 1,000 COVID-19-related lawsuits have been filed across the country since March.
Companies are battening down the hatches and COVID litigation is going to be with us for the next five to seven years, he said. If you think of litigation as a bell jar curve, were just starting on the front end of the upward curve. We have a long way to go to get through it all.
In March, Maatman said his firm created a task force of lawyers from across the country to track all new laws and regulations and lawsuits stemming from COVID-19 claims. The initial one-page spreadsheet has grown to more than 800 pages in the past six months, he said.
What happened is that at the local, state level and federal levels, a series of laws and regulations were passed, Maatman said. If youre a nationwide logistics company, youve got a bit of a patchwork quilt in front of you in terms of all the duties and requirements.
Complying with employee leave laws and responding to workplace safety concerns is an incredible task for any human resources director or business owner amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
His firm is advising employers to follow five basic guidelines to avoid potential legal pitfalls stemming from workers complaints during COVID-19.
Remember that any personnel decision you make anything you do in this day and age has to pass the social media test, Maatman said. How does this look to your customers? How does this look to your employees? How does it look to an outsider looking in at your business? So the fundamental HR blocking and tackling of doing the right thing pays incredible dividends in this time of stress.
SUBHEAD: Diffuse the problem before it becomes a bigger issue
Addressing small disputes before they become a bigger problem is key to avoiding class action lawsuits and large payouts.
You want to make sure that an individual lawsuit doesnt turn into a giant lawsuit, Maatman said. Diffusing a problem while its small and before it turns into a big problem has lots to do with saving money and avoiding huge claims.
Employers need an understanding of various laws that shield employers from liability, he said.
While employers in the health care industry or first responders may have the greatest amount of immunity by lawmakers, the rules are different for profit companies and vary by state.
In South Carolina, theres a lot of immunity, but in California, theres virtually no immunity, Maatman said. The only way thats going to be solved is on the federal level.
However, determining if a company has immunity is complicated because of the roadblock between the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress.
I think the best way to make decisions, if youre a company, is assume there is no immunity, he said. Try to make the best, most measured and sound business decisions you can on the theory that those are the best defenses if youre challenged.
Developing a sense of creativity relative to applicable legal standards is crucial for businesses to innovate and adapt amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Plaintiffs attorneys are experiencing cash flow issues right now and tend to settle their cases for less money than before COVID.
A very creative outside-the-box thinking, in my experience, has been the winning formula for these cases, Maatman said. Ive also been able to say, Well settle, but were going to pay it one month at a time over the next 10 months and stage the payments.
The old way of doing business, even in the courthouse, has changed completely, he said.
Theres been a revolution in the way in which cases are brought and defended, Maatman said.
Practicing The Golden Rule is crucial to a companys success during these unprecedented times. This can be achieved by ensuring workers know the rules and that employers interpret the rules consistently and fairly in the workplace, Maatman said.
Would you want to be heard and treated the same way if the tables were turned and you were the recipient of the employers decision? he said. Doing the right thing and doing it in a fair way tends to be, at all times, the best possible defense to these sorts of problems.
Read more articles by FreightWaves Clarissa Hawes
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Posted: at 1:17 am
Belleza Med Spa and Clinic Ribbon Ceremony took place on Thursday September 10, 2020 with the Chamber of Commerce of west Ridge Park. We are excited to have launched this new venture within the community and look forward to many great years ahead!!
Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce of west ridge Park and Alderman Deborah Silverstein for welcoming us into the community and being part of our new venture.
Thank you to Rohit Joshi for the religious ceremony and all the blessings, Thank you to all of the great supporters to our friends and family that made this day so special.
Dr. Rani Yousefzai:
With 20 years of experience in leading and directing thriving different healthcare companies Dr. Rani Yousefzai builds and retains high performance teams by hiring, developing and motivating skilled professionals in healthcare. She is Dynamic health care entrepreneur who creates strategic alliances with organization leaders to effectively align with and support key business initiatives.
Her academic achievement is:
Nursing, Bachelors in Architecture interior design, masters in health care administration, doctorate in wellness studies and doctorate in community development.
Her Achievement highlights are:
She has been honored as the Top 20 Women of Excellence in 2018.
She has been presented with the World Civility Award as a World civility Ambassador.
She has been awarded the 'Civility Golden Rule' Award as a human rights activist in recognition of her work to promote equality and principle.
She has been awarded the Certificate of Excellence for commitment and dedication to the Arab American Community.
She is a women's rights activist and leads organizations to secure equal rights for women and remove gender discrimination in all fields. She is also an active member of many different ethnic organizations including the St. James Armenian Church, and she sits on the committee board of Multi-ethnic coalitions of elected officials.
She believes the key to success is to keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.
Belleza Med Spa and Clinic is a full Med Spa
Where we offer Hair laser removal with the latest state of the art laser hair machine, we do BOTOX, Fillers, Chemical peels, I-Lipo, PRP hair growth treatment and Stem Cells we also have Our own VIP room for Manicure and pedicure. We offer a weight loss program that is a monitor of an MD that is licensed to see all patients where our program is alter for each and every patient depending on the patient's needs.
"The staff was very informative and straightforward. I wanted a service for my feet and the staff was straightforward with me and advised me not to waste my money due to my particular situation. I really appreciated her honesty and did not try to take advantage of my needs for monetary gain. In addition, the doctor was friendly and informative as well. He will recommend what is best for you and not just give you anything to take your money if it won't benefit you. My results were immediate and lasted longer than he anticipated" said by Kimmiy smith.
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Want To Be An Amazing Neighbor? Five Ways To Start (And Some Things To Avoid) by Mike Stonestreet | Sponsored Insights – Greater Wilmington Business…
Posted: at 1:17 am
With Americans spending more time at home than ever these days, being a good neighbor is of the utmost importance. Sure, not many people are actively trying to be bad neighbors, but if you sit down and think about it, do your daily habits exude neighborliness? Now that we're seeing a lot more of the people who live next door to us, its a great time to consider some ways we can all pitch in to make our communities better, more harmonious places to live. Here are 5 small ways everyone can ensure they're being considerate of those who live nearby.1. Introduce Yourself to New NeighborsNow I know what you're thinking - how do I know these people want me barging up to their door and striking up a conversation? Well, you don't. But with practicing social distancing and general disconnect many are feeling these days, it would be awfully hard to be the new family in the neighborhood. No, you shouldn't greet strangers with a hug or even a handshake right now, but if you see someone new moving into the house across the street, make it a point to go outside and introduce yourself from your driveway. Welcome them to the street, make some small talk, ask if they need help with anything and encourage nearby neighbors to do the same. Small acts of kindness like this go a long way and will help lessen the burden of what can already be a very stressful time.2. Maintain Curb AppealThat one neighbor who just can't seem to follow the rules regarding trash pickup and lawn maintenance - every community association member's worst nightmare, right? You, of course, don't want to be that person, so make sure you're vigilant in keeping your property neat, well-maintained and in compliance with any association rules and regulations. No one wants to look out their window each day only to see overflowing garbage cans, knee-high weeds and dead flower beds, and you wouldn't either. So, be sure to put your garbage and recycling at the curb on the appropriate pick up day and bring the bins back up once the items are collected. Keep your lawn mown, edged, trimmed and watered (if needed) on a regular schedule. But remember - curb appeal isn't just lawn care and garbage cans. It can also be having a surplus of lawn ornaments, flags, broken bicycles and toys, dirty patio furniture - you get the picture. The main point here is keeping your property neat and clean. Besides potentially incurring HOA violations and fines, messy lawns are just an eye sore and bring down property values for everyone who lives nearby.3. Comply with Community RulesHumans don't necessarily like rules, but we all need them and, if you live in a community association, there's a good chance there is a set of them you're supposed to follow. The point of these rules isn't to be controlling but rather to preserve the property values within the community and maintain a peaceful living environment for all property owners. With that being said, there will probably be a rule or two that you don't care for, but that doesn't mean you can just ignore it - you wouldn't want your neighbors picking and choosing which rules they comply with, would you? Plus, in most communities you'll eventually end up owing some fines if you keep breaking the rules. Disregarding rules and regulations will ultimately lead to conflict between neighbors or between association members and board members or managers, and no one wants conflict. If there really is an issue with a community rule, its best to express your opinion and any suggestions to the board at the next open board meeting so a productive discussion can be held.4. Don't be the Town CrierIf your community actually has a crier in the newspaper-sense, that's wonderful, newspapers are underrated these days but you don't need to personally fulfill that role. No one likes a gossipplain and simple. Part of being a good neighbor is avoiding gossip and this includes listening to it, spreading it or participating in it. When you live close to others, yes, you're bound to hear and see things, but that doesn't mean you should be sharing that information with others. There are certain instances where it may be alright to share something you've heard (for example, a neighbor had a death in the family and you tell some others so they can send condolences), but no one needs to know that Mr. Smith's son has been sent to rehab for the 3rd time. Plus, do you even know if that's true? Spreading gossip will ultimately only hurt your reputation in the neighborhood and cause distrust among neighbors, something you don't want to see happen in an otherwise happy community.5. Be Mindful of NoiseKeeping the music down when you're having a gathering may be a no-brainer, but there are other aspects of hosting a party that may be irritating to your neighbors. If you throw a party, be sure that you've considered where attendees will park - can they all fit in your driveway or in approved street spaces without blocking neighbors? Will there be people outside talking late into the night? If you are planning on having a gathering that will last later than 9:00 or 10:00 PM (especially on a weeknight), it is probably best to let your neighbors know and invite them to text or call you if there are any issues. Noise, of course, doesn't apply to just parties. I can't think of anyone that wants to hear hedge trimmers at 7:00 AM on a Saturday. So, unless there is a hedge trimming emergency that mandates you start those bad boys up at 7:00 AM on the dot, be courteous and wait a bit later until folks are awake.Though we've thrown a bit of humor into this piece (who couldn't use a laugh right now?), the overall message is clear: don't regularly carry out activities you wouldn't want your neighbors carrying out. If this sounds like a subtle variation of the golden rule, that's because it is - if you want good neighbors, you also must be one.We at CAMS know it can sometimes be difficult reading through and understanding your community's rules and regulations. That is why these documents can be easily accessed via our website for each of the communities we serve. And, if you still have questions or concerns about a particular rule or a compliance letter you received, you can always reach out to our team of experts via your owner portal or at 877.672.2276 for trusted guidance.Mike Stonestreet, CMCA, PCAM, AMS, is Founder/Co-Owner of CAMS (Community Association Management Services). CAMS began in 1991 with Stonestreet and a few employees in a small office in Wilmington but has since grown to over 300 employees serving eight regions across North and South Carolina.
His current role at CAMS focuses on mergers and acquisitions, culture alignment and high-level business relationships. Stonestreet is an active member of the NC Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and has spent time on their board of directors, serving as the chapter President in 2019.
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Letters to the Editor 9/11, Shanksville, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, law and order, the Golden Rule – The Dallas Morning News
Posted: at 1:17 am
Thoughts on 9/11 and today
Since today is the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I close my eyes and see smoke billowing from the towers. I can see New York City covered in ash. As I open my eyes I see great American cities looking like war zones. Fires, rioting, looting and murder are tearing us apart.
As I look back on Sept. 12, I remember political, civic and religious leaders arm-in-arm, as they should be, extolling us not to allow the action of a few Muslims to condemn all Muslims. Where were these same leaders after Minneapolis? Unfortunately, nowhere to be seen.
What a difference America would be today if the recent protesters in Dallas had gathered arm-in-arm to extol us not to condemn all police because of the action of one.
Ted Gold, Plano
On Christmas morning in 1914, unarmed British and German soldiers climbed out of their fortified trenches and joined one another in No Mans Land to celebrate their common humanity and Christmas Day.
On Friday, 19 years will have passed since a group of brave Americans attempted to retake United Flight 93 from the four al-Qaeda terrorists who had hijacked the aircraft. In sacrificing their own lives, these American heroes saved the lives of many other fellow Americans.
At Shanksville on Friday, the National Park Service will observe a 20-minute Moment of Remembrance in which the names of each passenger and crew member will be read aloud, accompanied by the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance.
Can we imagine a United States of America in which Donald Trump and Joe Biden respectfully join one another for this Moment of Remembrance in Pennsylvania? Putting aside their political agendas and their political parties to engage in a short truce to celebrate our American spirit and shared humanity? A truce that will honor brave Americans who selflessly sacrifice their own lives for the lives of their fellow Americans?
Andrew Stevenson, Prosper
Chief U. Rene Hall was selected to serve as Dallas police chief and started in 2017. She has a huge list of changes that need to be made, but she cannot be expected to make these changes without strains and comments from her own rank-and-file officers, as well as developing new procedures from the way things have always been done.
Dealing with a dwindling officer count, trying to please the community, seeking understanding from the City Council and the total list of boards, committees and other groups, all at the time when there are societal changes across the nation that make their way to Dallas. She carries a great burden of leading the department, battling crime and personal criticism, all the while being expected to be Super Woman. It is hardly fair to her. Dallas residents should be proud to stand with Chief Hall and let her know they all support her in the monumental task of bringing new procedures and values to the Dallas Police Department.
Gary D. Sawyer, Garland
Looks like The Dallas Morning News' liberal reporters and editors are trying to disparage Dallas Police Chief U. Rene Hall and the police force from saving Dallas from most of the looting and burning experienced by other central cities. Hall and the police force should get gold medals and perhaps a bit of positive reporting for the wise decision to keep most of the prospective rioters and looters from downtown by stopping them on a bridge. The News might consider law and order and conservative reporting occasionally.
Richard Squires, Allen
When you vote for president in November, you have a very simple choice to make. Ask yourself these three questions.
1. Do I want our economy/jobs to continue to improve for me and my family? 2. Am I comfortable with my taxes being used to provide welfare, free health care and possibly free college for noncitizens who crossed into our country illegally? 3. Is it OK for China to continue unchecked to infiltrate our way of life with the long-term goal of one day conquering our country?
Please vote like your extended families' way of life depends on it. Because it really does.
David Lee, Carrollton
Re: America must embrace God again, by Anton Skell, Sept. 4 Letters.
Skell suggests that supporting Republicans will help our nation get back on track to live by the golden rule. This is truly funny! I guess he is telling us that President Donald Trump is a shining example of how to live by the golden rule. I didnt realize that the golden rule had so much hate and fear involved. His letter should have run in the comics section.
Mark Walberg, Carrollton
I want to thank The News for recently printing the letter from Anton Skell. Its always good to see whats going on in his alternate universe. He said it was refreshing to watch the positive messaging from the Republican National Convention. He must have been watching Mr. Rogers reruns. From the first speaker to the last, the RNC was full of attacks on Joe Biden and blatant lies. Just google Lies at the RNC if you want to kill half an hour.
Some of the choicest: To save lives, we are focusing on the science, the facts. All actions say the opposite. He [Biden] has pledged a tax hike on almost all American families. Yes, all that earn over $400,000. Under Biden, the radical left will defund police departments. Biden is against defunding.
Skell goes on to say that the golden rule can be followed only if you understand what it means. Can anyone really mention the golden rule and the hate and fear themes from the RNC together? If lying and misleading are positive messages, we are in a sad state as a nation.
Tom Feczko, Flower Mound
We love the food sections and recipes in the paper. We used to like the travel section but it is pretty much gone. Please add more articles that include recipes. I enjoy looking at the shopping sales and your wonderful articles on food. I also hope you will bring back a big travel section.
Caren B. Barnes, Kemp
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Posted: at 1:17 am
Dr. Jerry E. McGee enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in the history of college football officiating. From 1972 to 2009, he worked 404 games at the FBS level, including a pair of Rose Bowls, a pair of Army-Navy games and three games that determined the national championship, including his final game between Florida and Oklahoma.
He also raised two boys, my brother, Sam, and I. Now the three McGees have coauthored a book, "Sidelines and Bloodlines: A Father, His Sons, and Our Life in College Football," which is on sale now.
In the following excerpt, exclusive to ESPN.com and presented with permission from Triumph Books, the McGees provide insight into the question that they -- and every sports officiating family -- receive whenever football is played.
"Hey, what's that coach yelling at that ref?"
This excerpt is exclusive to ESPN.com, presented with permission from Triumph Books. For more information or to order a copy, please visit Triumph Books.
After three decades of officiating football in the ACC and Big East, my father, Dr. Jerry E. McGee, has an incredible collection of photographs on display at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, images of him in action everywhere from the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl to Death Valley and Notre Dame Stadium.
However, the best photos are of the angry coaches. I call it the Wall of Screaming.
There's Joe Morrison, the man who built South Carolina into something other than an also-ran, who introduced the Gamecocks' black jerseys and their "2001: A Space Odyssey" stadium entrance, on the sideline during the Clemson game of '84. "Old Dependable" is screaming, his jaw unhinged, and appears to be pointing directly at Dad, who appears to be totally ignoring the coach.
The caption that accompanied that photo in the Sunday morning paper read: "Coach Joe Morrison explains his point of view to a less than interested official."
My father, Dr. Jerry E. McGee, aka Dad:
I don't think he's even actually yelling at me, but the camera angle sure makes it look like he is, doesn't it? I don't know. Maybe he was. What I do remember about that game was that I had to get the South Carolina captains for the coin toss, but no one knew who the captains were because Morrison picked them game-by-game. They told me I needed to ask him, and they walked me down to a door under the stadium. I opened it, and there was Joe Morrison, sitting totally alone on a folding chair in the middle of an empty concrete room. There was one light bulb hanging right over him, like a spotlight, and the room was full of smoke. He was sitting there, basically in the dark, chain-smoking like crazy before the game.
"Uh ... Coach, I need to know who your captains are ..."
The most notable photo on the Wall of Screaming was taken in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Oct. 6, 2006, when Duke visited Alabama. Crimson Tide head coach Mike Shula is standing at most two feet off the back of Dad's head, his mouth wide open and his hand extended to underline the point he's so angrily exclaiming. Once again, Dad seems to be purposely ignoring it, looking toward the scoreboard clock as he fills out his penalty card with the details of the foul that Shula is so unhappy about.
Alabama won that game 30-14, the third from last win of Shula's four-year Tuscaloosa tenure. Six weeks later, he was fired. The Tide replaced him with some guy named Nick Saban.
When I look at that picture, what I think about is the amount of pressure that these coaches are under. When Mike Shula was unloading on me that night, he probably already knew he was finished. It's a reminder that you never truly know what's going on with a coach behind closed doors.
The reality is that over 404 games of college football officiating, almost all of it on the sideline, I only remember a very few times when a coach truly just flipped out on me. And looking back, like Shula that night, there was almost always something else behind it.
Take, for instance, Jim Young. During Young's 17 years as head coach at Arizona, Purdue and Army, he was universally considered one of the truly good guys of college football. So Dad was shocked on Sept. 27, 1986, when Wake Forest traveled to West Point, and his experience on Young's sideline at Michie Stadium was a cacophony of cuss words. The Black Knights were favored in the game by a couple of touchdowns but instead were trailing the Demon Deacons early en route to a blowout upset loss.
There was bad call at the start of the game, a defensive pass interference flag on the other side of the field. Those officials were too far away to hear Young, so he aimed his anger at the field judge, the ref who was most easily at his disposal. He stalked Dad up and down the sideline, screaming over and over again, "You have already f---ed up this entire game!"
My brother, Sam McGee:
I think that football fans assume that an official is out there just looking for a reason to throw his penalty flag, but the good ones have the complete opposite approach. Typically, if a player draws an unsportsmanlike penalty, or even something like a holding, there's a really good chance the official has already warned them about it at least once. "Keep that up, and we're going to have to flag you."
Anyone who doesn't believe that needs to do what we have always done and really watch how a good sideline official reacts to a coach who has spent a ridiculous amount of time in the game screaming, yelling and complaining. The official will walk away from a coach like that. They will warm him directly. They will even go to other people on the sideline and say, "Hey, someone needs to calm him down before he draws an unsportsmanlike." If he keeps it up after that, there is going to be a penalty. Or if he breaks the golden rule.
Ah yes, the golden rule. When it comes to flagging a coach with a personal foul, the guideline is very simple. You unfurl the yellow napkin only when the rants have become personal. For example: "That's was the stupidest god damn call I've ever seen!" is OK. But "You are the stupidest god damn human being I have ever seen!" is not. If you need a more detailed illustration, please watch the film "Bull Durham" and the scene in which Crash Davis calls the umpire the one name he knows you can never call an umpire because he's trying to get thrown out of the game and perhaps get his teammates to finally become fired up and focused.
Jim Young kept railing, and it was getting worse. Dad went to the Army assistant coaches and asked them to tell their boss to cool off because he didn't want to flag the supposed nicest man in football. They told Dad no way. He was on his own.
The clock is ticking down to the end of the first half, and he is just getting louder and louder. I'm watching the clock thinking, "OK, we're going to be saved by the bell here." Then, with about 38 seconds remaining, Young leaned right into my ear and screamed, "You guys are just a bunch of god damn sons of b----es, aren't you?!" I threw my flag. Personal foul, 15 yards.
I went to the white hat, Bob Cooper, and he said, "What in the hell have you done? That's probably the nicest head coach in America."
I said, "Well, I flagged him."
Bob said, "Why? What did he say?"
"He called me a god damn son of a b----."
Bob said, "Well, you are a god damn son of a b----."
I told Bob, "Well, he said you were a god damn son of a b----, too."
Bob said, "Well, then give me that damn football ..." and he marked off the 15-yard penalty.
Nearly a decade later, Dad was back at Michie Stadium for a Rutgers-Army matchup as part of a Big East officiating crew. As that crew held their pregame meeting, in walked Jim Young, now retired as a football coach but still omnipresent in West Point as a living legend. Young introduced himself to the room.
When I said my name, he said, "You know, there used to be a McGee who officiated in the ACC." I told him, "Yeah, I know. It was me." He said, "You are the only official who ever flagged me during a game."
I asked him, "Well, did you deserve it?" And Coach Young said, "Oh, hell yes. The only mistake you made was that you didn't flag me five minutes earlier. Sorry about that. I was just trying to do something to wake my team up."
Just like Crash Davis.
For Dad, the most notorious case of "pressurized coach + dealing with problems no one knows about + losing a game you shouldn't = sideline explosion" took place on Halloween 1996. Boston College was visiting Pitt for a coveted Thursday night national showcase game on ESPN. The 4-4 Eagles were 11-point favorites over the scuffling 2-6 Panthers. But BC never got into gear and lost an ugly contest 20-13.
In the middle of it all, Boston College head coach Dan Henning, a former NFL quarterback, two-time NFL head coach and two-time Super Bowl champion, totally and completely lost it.
Honestly, it escalated so quickly that it didn't seem real.
The back judge had a penalty against Boston College for 12 men on the field. We actually had some disagreement on that. I had counted, like I always did, and had 11, but the back judge was adamant, and he was a good official, so the penalty stood. That triggered Henning, and as always, I was the guy who was right there next to him, so I was the one catching hell. At one point, I even tried to explain, "Coach, if you'll notice, there's a flag on the field out there, but my flag is in my pocket." I was trying to let him know: Stop screaming. Certainly stop screaming at me.
For the next little while, he is following me up and down the sideline, just F-bomb after F-bomb, and finally he says, "My job is on the line, and you motherf---ers are out here half-assing the game ..." and then he said something that ended up triggering me. "I don't know where the f--- they found you guys!"
Now I turned around and walked toward him. I said, "Well, I'll tell you where they found me! In a university president's office, where I work Monday to Friday ..."
Dad was in his fifth year as president of Wingate University, a job he would hold for two decades. He continued to respond to Henning.
"The question is where they found you. You're losing to Pittsburgh. On national television on Thursday night, with everyone in the country watching. If I was president at Boston College, you'd be looking for a job!"
I shouldn't have said that. And I wish that had been all that I said. I tried to walk away, but he followed me. He said something, and when he walked away, I followed him. It was the only time I just lost the handle. But I was a university president now, and there was a lot of stress in my job, too. Football was supposed to be my stress release, but on a Thursday night, getting screamed at by this guy, who was supposedly known as a good guy, I just couldn't take it anymore gracefully.
Once it finally started to calm down, I looked over, and I saw a kid holding a sideline microphone for ESPN. I said to him, "You didn't get all of that, did you?"
He didn't get all of it, but he absolutely got some of it. Most of the exchange had taken place during a TV timeout, so the nation didn't hear it. But I was two years into my entry-level career at ESPN, and at the Worldwide Leader in Sports, we don't see commercial breaks during games on our air. The satellite feed that is beamed back to our offices is what we call the backhaul, a clean feed that includes everything at the stadium during those breaks when the viewing audience is watching ads or SportsCenter score updates. In the booth that night was play-by-play man Mike Patrick, a man with deep ACC roots, who called many of Dad's earliest TV games on Jefferson-Pilot back in the '80s. The sideline reporter was Dr. Jerry Punch, a coworker I knew very well.
This particular night, I was in the ESPN Charlotte office. The only sound in the building was from BC at Pittsburgh, echoing throughout every room. But then, during this one commercial break, I heard a familiar sound that made me look up from my paperwork. Was that ... Dad? And did he just drop an F-bomb?
I heard Doc Punch reporting to the production truck, not to be aired, but just in case it became a bigger problem once they returned from the commercials: "Guys, Coach Henning is really going at it with an official down here. That's the field judge, Dr. Jerry McGee, Ryan McGee's father."
In the closing moments of the game, Henning walked over to Dad. This time he didn't scream. "Jerry, if I offended you, I apologize."
"Me, too, Coach. We both lost our cool, didn't we?"
After the game, when cornered by a very nervous Big East officiating coordinator, Dad refused to divulge the content of his conversation with Henning, saying only that they were having a disagreement over where to get the best steak in Pittsburgh after the game. In fact, he never fully explained what happened until now, not even to Sam or me.
I've never gotten into that much because I'm not proud of it. It was not my finest moment. Nor was it Dan Henning's finest moment. He didn't know the kind of stress I was under at my job. And, as we know now, that night we had no clue what a total and complete mess he was in the middle of at Boston College.
The following week, the entire nation knew. That's when Henning announced that he was suspending 13 Boston College football players for gambling. The game before Pitt, the Eagles had been crushed by Syracuse 45-17, and rumors were rampant in the Boston College locker room that some of the players on the team had placed bets on the game -- against their own team. In the days leading up to the Pitt game, Henning held a team meeting to address those rumors and asked anyone who had bet on the Syracuse game to come forward. No one did. But as the night at Pitt turned ugly, so did Henning's mood. In the locker room after the loss, before leaving for the airport, he exploded on his team, promising that he would get the bottom of the gambling chatter. By the end of November, the county district attorney had become a regular in the BC football office, a campus gambling ring had indeed been exposed, eight Eagles were off the team permanently, and Henning would never coach college football again.
In the early 2000s, he lived in Charlotte, not far from us. He was offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. I used to wonder what would happen if we ran into each other at the grocery store. We never did.
I think, looking back, we understand why Dan Henning was in the frame of mind that he was that night at Pitt. But when he was calling the offense for the Panthers, if they had a bad day, I don't think any of us went out of our way to cut him much slack when it came to criticism.
By the way, there is no photograph of the Dan Henning vs. Jerry McGee exchange on the Wall of Screaming. But there is videotape in the ESPN library. I know -- I checked. Maybe I should have erased it.
Posted: at 1:17 am
We are living in heinous times. Strange things are afoot in every direction. Bogus fiends stalk the corridors of power. A virus spreads through the air. The Arctic is burning. Its easy to feel pessimistic about the future right now, but if movies have taught us anything its that whenever the balance of the universe is threatened a hero will emerge or sometimes a couple of heroes. If anyone is equipped to defeat the cynicism of this most egregious year its the pure-of-heart Bill and Ted, who return to cinemas this week in Bill & Ted Face The Music.
From the moment lovable slackers Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan first air-guitared their way into our hearts in 1989s time-hopping cult hit Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure, the pair have embodied a spirit of pure, unwavering optimism thats carried them through every seemingly insurmountable crisis. Even when they were thrown to their deaths by evil robot uss in 1991 sequel Bill & Teds Bogus Journey they greeted their mortal end with stoicism. Taking their cue from Ingmar Bergmans 1957 existential classic The Seventh Seal, in which a knight challenges Death to a game of chess, they set about defeating the Grim Reaper at Battleship, Cluedo, Electric Football and then finally and definitively at Twister. By the end of their Bogus Journey through the afterlife Bill and Ted were resurrected and victorious, ushering in a new era of world peace with their band Wyld Stallyns. Death himself played bass.
Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves pose for a promotional shoot for Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure in 1989. Credit: Alamy
For Alex Winter, who plays Bill, that seemed like the natural end of his and co-star Keanu Reeves excellent adventuring. Winter retired from acting in 1993 to focus on documentary filmmaking, but says his interest was piqued by the story Bill & Ted creators Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson pitched to their two leads. Keanu and I had no intention of making a third Bill & Ted movie, Winter says. The thing that hooked us back was the idea that we could expand on these guys in an interesting way. Were coming back to them 25-30 years later, and theyre not bros who are in a stunted adolescence. They are adults with wives and daughters who they love, but things have not worked out exactly the way they thought they would when they were young.
In Face The Music, Bill and Ted are washed-up has-beens who know the last of their dwindling fanbase by name. They have failed to write the song that would unite the universe, and now time and space are collapsing as they near the ultimate deadline. While their daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving) set about putting together their dream band from throughout history (First stop: Jimi Hendrix), Bill and Ted themselves leap forward in time in the hope that future versions of themselves have actually gotten around to writing that all-important tune. The thing that was inspiring for me to come back to was the fun of playing different versions of Bill at different ages and in very, very different places in his life, says Winter. There was, for me, great comic potential in the idea of playing myself as a convict, or as a drunken lout.
Bill and Ted team up with Death once more in Face The Music. Credit: Warner Bros.
Seeing Winter and Reeves bring these warped, refracted Bill and Teds to life from beneath layers of heavy prosthetics is indeed hysterical, but as ever with Bill and Ted theres something profound going on beneath the surface silliness. By stepping outside of time, our heroes are able to see the arc of their lives more clearly. I think Chris and Ed did that very intentionally, says Winter. They were looking to use time to expand the existential dilemma that Bill and Ted are in at middle age so they can look at that very concretely from different perspectives. He adds, however, that they never let the heavy stuff weigh them down. We try not to wear it on our sleeve, he says. I wouldnt be coy and say that we dont try to play with some grandiose ideas, but we dont think of the films as vegetables or medicine. Theyre really there for you to have a good time and put a smile on your face.
As well as the script, the other thing that convinced Winter to return to acting was the chance to renew his partnership with Reeves. Bill and Ted are truly symbiotic characters, and over the course of all three films the only time theyre separated is, fittingly, when theyre in hell. Like Station, the Martian scientist from Bogus Journey who can split into two alien beings, theyre really one. Their co-dependence is taken to hilarious extremes in Face The Music when they arrange joint couples therapy with their disconcerted wives (Were a couple of couples, right? says Bill, obliviously). Winter uses a musical analogy to explain his relationship with Reeves. I think its very similar to being in a band, he says. I suck as a musician, so Im not trying to elevate myself, especially given Im speaking to NME! That being said, we both play bass. When youre a rhythm section, its really all about how you work with the drums, right? If youre not in a groove its just gonna be horrible. If you are, you can go to some really beautiful places. Reeves and I just play well together, so that makes performing these characters as sort of one person broken into two kind of effortless.
Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine play Bill and Teds daughters in the new film alongside a cameo from Kid Cudi. Credit: Warner Bros.
While Reeves went on from Bill & Ted to become one of the most recognisable movie stars on the planet, Winter has spent most of his career behind the camera. Even back in 1989 when they were shooting the first Bill & Ted, he was already building a parallel career as a director of music videos. That same year he and his directing partner Tom Stern shot Red Hot Chili Peppers videos for Knock Me Down and Taste The Pain, while the following year he was behind Ice Cubes debut solo video for Whos the Mack?. Cube told NME recently that he stills remember the exact reason he hired Winter: hed seen a trailer for Winters MTV sketch show The Idiot Box in which a handcuffed Winter is being dragged away by men in suits, all the while still desperately trying to promote his show. When I saw that I was like: This dude is funny, man! Cube said. He got the sensibility straight away. Hes a great director. We hit it off and then he was like: Yeah, I did this movie Bill & Ted. I was like: Damn, that was you!
Having also made a short film with US rock band Butthole Surfers and directed videos for acts as diverse as P-Funk bassist Bootsy Collins and Aussie experimentalists Foetus, the last music video Winter shot was for New York alt-metal band Helmet live at the Astoria 2 in London. Things ended bloodily. I was in the front of the theatre with a Bolex [camera] and someone stage-dived and kicked me square in the face and drove the camera right into my face, he says, with what sounds like a wince. It just broke my nose open like a hot dog. Thats legitimate guerrilla filmmaking! Its also very stupid.
These days hes established himself as a rather more highbrow documentary maker, and in November hes set to release his long-awaited documentary about experimental music icon Frank Zappa. Fortunately that didnt require him to return to the mosh pit. Its a lot more noodling in the studio, he notes. His other films have seen him dive into the world of tech, taking on subjects like the rise of illegal downloading in 2012s Downloaded and the underbelly of the Internet in 2015s Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and the Silk Road. I ask him if his research has made him fear the way social media algorithms are already rewiring our puny human brains and if that represents the true victory of the evil robot uss. Im inclined to agree, he says with a laugh. Its like [Bogus Journey villain] De Nomolos, making the world just a little bit worse.
Bill & Ted Face The Music, on the other hand, might just make the world a little bit better. Winter suggests we could all do with being a bit more Bill and Ted. To play Bill, I have to find the more joyful, open-hearted, innocent side of my nature, he explains. Thats a pretty lovely world to inhabit. You have to find that place within yourself and then you get to stay there and see the world that way.
Its from that place of joy and openness that their famous credo springs, as good a golden rule as any religion has ever come up with. It is most outstanding to have Bill and Ted back in 2020, reminding us once more to be excellent to each other.
Bill & Ted Face the Music, starring Alex Winter, is in cinemas now
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Posted: at 1:17 am
Below is a transcript of the remarks as delivered by Attorney General William Barr at Hillsdale College on September 16, 2020, including the subsequent question and answer period. The remarks as prepared are available here, and full audio of the event is available here.
Thank you very much. I'm very honored to have been invited to speak at this dinner and I really appreciate your comments. Its been great to get to know you. I've been reading you over the years, and it's a real delight to have spent the evening with you. And Im very pleased to be able to speak to you at this Hillsdale College celebration of our magnificent Constitution, and I'm a great admirer of Hillsdale.
As I was telling Larry, I don't get to make many speeches like this, I'm usually talking about crime rates and that kind of thing. But I wanted to speak at Hillsdale because it's one of the few, maybe a handful of institutions of higher learning where it is actually worthwhile spending the money to get an education. And I mean that sincerely. Sadly, many colleges these days don't even teach the constitution, much less celebrate it.
You know, one out of every four Americans don't know who we fought the revolution against. It's pretty pathetic. And that number is increasing steadily as our educational institutions fail us. But at Hillsdale, you recognized that the principles of the founding are as relevant today and as important today as ever, and vital indeed today to the survival of our great experiment here, freedom. And I appreciate your observance, and all you do for civic education and education period in this country.
Now, when many people think of the virtues of our Constitution, they first mention the Bill of Rights. Of course, that's the talking point of the Constitution. There's a bill of rights, you have rights. And I guess that makes sense. They get the great guarantees of the bill of rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and especially the right to keep and bear arms, just to name a few that are critical safeguards to our liberty.
But as President Reagan used to remind people, the Soviet Union had a constitution and even included some of these lofty sounding rights. Ultimately, however, those promises are just empty words. Because there was no rule of law in that society to enforce them. The rule of law is the linchpin of American freedom, and the critical guarantee of the rule of law comes from the Constitution's structure of separation of powers.
Now, there are many, many elements of the rule of law, and there are many, many safeguards built into our great Constitution. But tonight I want to talk about the separation of powers. The way the framers recognized that by dividing the legislative, executive and judicial powers, each significant, but each limited, would minimize the risk of any form of tyranny. That is the real genius of the Constitution, and it ultimately is more important to securing liberty than the Bill of Rights. After all, the Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the original Constitution. And I know you all know that the framers did not think it was needed.They didn't need to include it into the Constitution and express an enumeration of rights.
Today, I want to talk about the power that the Constitution allocates to the executive branch, particularly in the area of criminal justice.
The Supreme Court has correctly held that under Article Two of the Constitution, the executive has virtually unchecked discretion to decide whether to prosecute individuals for suspected crimes. We all know that the executive is vested with the responsibility for seeing that the laws are faithfully executed.
The power to execute and enforce law is an executive function all together. And that means discretion is vested in the executive to determine when to exercise the prosecutorial power. The only significant limitation on that discretion comes from other provisions of the Constitution. For example, the United States Attorney could not decide to prosecute only people of a particular race or a particular religion. But aside from that limitation, which thankfully, remains only a hypothetical in our country, the executive has broad discretion to decide whether to bring criminal prosecutions in particular cases.
The key question then is how the executive should exercise its prosecutorial discretion. 80 years ago this spring, one of my predecessors in this job, then-Attorney-General Robert Jackson, gave a famous speech to the conference of United States Attorneys in which he described the proper role and qualities of federal prosecutors. Justice Jackson was one of only a handful of, I think three, maybe, attorneys general who ultimately ended up as a justice on the Supreme Court. Much has changed in the eight decades since Justice Jackson's remarks, but he was a man of uncommon wisdom. And it is appropriate to consider his views today and how they apply in our modern era.
Federal prosecutors possess tremendous power, power that is necessary to enforce our laws and punish wrongdoing, but power that like all power carries inherent potential for abuse. Justice Jackson recognized that, as he put it, the prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America. Prosecutors have the power to investigate people, to interview their friends, and they can do so on the basis of mere suspicion of wrongdoing. People facing federal investigations incur ruinous legal costs and often see their lives reduced to rubble before a charge is even filed. Justice Jackson was not exaggerating when he said that while the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficence forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst. Think about the power of a prosecutor: he doesn't have to answer to anything outside the office of the prosecutor and he can destroy peoples lives just by bringing an investigation, destroy their reputation, destroy their livelihood in today's world.
Its not just individuals: think of the corporations -- Anderson, the accounting firm, thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs done away with in an instant because of a prosecutorial decision, and a decision that was largely discretionary, because individuals are initially responsible for the crime. And the question of whether or not you're going to impute that to the corporation and take down the corporation as well as largely a discretionary call by prosecutors. In today's world, going after a corporation or a white collar defendant is like shooting fish in a barrel. There is no contest. You threaten the company with criminal liability and all the collateral effects. No corporation is going to go to trial and fight that and the prosecutors. Its just the question of how much the check is gonna be.
That's all within the control of a prosecutor: the power, as Justice Jackson said, to strike at citizens .The power that the prosecutor has can strike at citizens not with just his individual strength, but with all the force of the government itself. And that has to be carefully calibrated and carefully supervised, because left unchecked, it has the power to inflict far more harm than it prevents.
The most basic check on prosecutorial power is political accountability. It is counterintuitive to say that, as we rightly strive to maintain a political system of criminal justice.
But political accountability is what ultimately ensures our system does its work fairly and with proper recognition of the many interests and values at stake. Government power completely divorced from political accountability is tyranny.
Now Justice Jackson understood this. And as he explained, presidential appointment and Senate confirmation of the United States Attorneys and the senior Department of Justice officials is what legitimizes their exercises of sovereign power. You are required to win an expression of confidence in your character by both the legislative and the executive branches of the government before assuming the possibilities of a federal prosecutor.
Yet in the decades since Justice Jackson's remarks, its become a commonplace to argue that prosecutorial decisions are legitimate only when they are made by the lowest level line prosecutors, the career prosecutors handling any given case. Ironically, some of those same critics see no problem campaigning for highly political elected district attorneys to remake state and local prosecutorial offices in their preferred progressive image, which often involves overriding the considered judgment of the career prosecutors and police officers. But aside from that hypocrisy, the notion that line prosecutors should make the final decisions within the Department of Justice is completely wrong. And it is antithetical to the basic values that undergirds our entire system.
The Justice Department is not a praetorian guard that watches over a society impervious to the ebbs and flows of politics. It is an agency within the executive branch of a democratic republic, a form of government where the power of the state is ultimately reposed in the people acting through their elected president and their elected representatives.
I know I don't include many applause lines in my prepared speeches. Had I known this was going to be a fireside chat, I would have cut this shorter -- but I will give you something to clap about later. Okay.
The men and women who have ultimate authority in the Justice Department are thus the ones on whom our elected officials have conferred that responsibility: by presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. That blessing by the two political branches of government gives these officials democratic legitimacy that career officials do not possess. The same process that produces these officials also holds them accountable. The elected president can fire senior Department of Justice officials at work, and the elected Congress can summon them to explain their decisions to the people's representatives and to the public. And because these officials have the imprimatur of both the President and Congress, they also have the stature to resist these political pressures when necessary, and they can take the heat for what the Department of Justice does or doesn't do.
Line prosecutors, by contrast, are generally part of the permanent bureaucracy. They do not have the political legitimacy to be the public face for tough decisions, and they lack the political bias necessary to publicly defend those decisions. Nor can the public and its representatives hold civil servants accountable in the same way as appointed officials. Indeed, the public's only tool to hold the government accountable is an election, and the bureaucracy is neither elected nor easily replaced by those who are. Moreover, because these officials are installed by the democratic process, that is the appointees, they are the most equipped to make the judgment calls concerning how we should wield our prosecutorial power. As Justice Scalia observed in perhaps his most admired judicial opinion, his dissent in Morrison vs. Olson, almost all investigative and prosecutorial decisions, including the ultimate decision -- whether, after a technical violation of the law has been found, prosecution is warranted -- involve the balancing of innumerable legal and practical considerations. Those considerations do need to be balanced in each and every case. As Justice Scalia also pointed out, it is nice to say, Fat jstitia ruat clum -- Let justice be done though the heavens may fall -- but it doesn't comport with reality.
It would do far more harm than good to abandon all perspective and proportion in an attempt to ensure that every technical violation of criminal law by every person is tracked down, investigated and prosecuted to the nth degree.
Our system works best when leavened by judgment, discretion, proportionality and consideration of alternative sanctions -- all the things that supervisors provide. Cases must be supervised by someone who does not have a narrow focus, but who is broad-gauged and pursuing a general agenda. And that person need not be a prosecutor, but someone who can balance the importance of vigorous prosecution with other competing values. In short, the Attorney General, senior DOJ officials and U.S. attorneys are indeed political, but they are political in a good and necessary sense.
Indeed, aside from the importance of not fully decoupling law enforcement from the constraining and moderating forces of politics, devolving all authority down to the most junior officials does not even make sense as a matter of basic management.
Name one successful organization or institution where the lowest level employees decisions are deemed sacrosanct. There aren't any. Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori Preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency. Good leaders at the Department of Justice -- as any organization needs to -- trust and support their subordinates, but that does not mean blindly deferring to whatever those subordinates want to do.
One of the more annoying things that I hear and face and you know, this has been going on for decades, is this strange idea that political officials interfere in investigations or in cases.
I'm saying, What do you mean by interfere? Under the law, all prosecutorial power is vested in the Attorney General. And these people are agents of the Attorney General. And as I said, FBI agents, Whose agent do you think you are? I don't say this in a pompous way. But that is the chain of authority and legitimacy in the Department of Justice. And I say, Well, what exactly am I interfering with? When you boil it right down, its the will of the most junior member of the organization. He has some idea that he wants to do something, and what makes that sacrosanct? What makes the judgment of the next layer up or the next layer up or the next layer up -- each layer, by the way, fanning out and having broader and broader experience, much more experience and a broader portfolio portfolio and a broader perspective -- what makes the line attorney who's handling a particular case, their judgment so sacrosanct? The idea is, I guess, well, they're not political, and therefore their judgments won't be political.
But from my experience in the department in two different eras, career employees are not apolitical necessarily. Some are. Some are very political and can check their politics at the door, and others can't, and can be partisan. But they're not apolitical necessarily. They're human beings like everybody else, and they're very, usually less experienced individuals than their supervisors.
So this is what presidents, the Congress and the public expect. When something goes wrong in the Department of Justice, the buck has to stop somewhere, and that's at the top. The statute I referenced was 28 USC section 509, which couldn't be plainer: All functions of other offices of the Department of Justice and all functions of agencies and employees of the Department of Justice are vested in the Attorney General.
And because the Attorney General's ultimately politically accountable for every decision that the department makes, I and my predecessors have had an obligation to ensure that we make the correct decision. The Attorney General, the assistant attorneys general, the US Attorneys are not figureheads. We're supervisors. Our job is to supervise and anything less is an abdication.
Active engagement in our cases by senior officials is also essential to the rule of law.
The essence of the rule of law is that whatever rule you apply in one case must be the same rule you would apply in a similar case. Treating each person equally before the law includes how the department enforces the law. We should not prosecute someone for wire fraud in Manhattan using a legal theory we would not equally pursue in Madison or in Montgomery, or allow prosecutors in one division to bring charges using a theory that a group of prosecutors in another division down the hall would not deploy against someone who's engaged in indistinguishable conduct.
We must strive for consistency. And that is yet another reason why centralized senior leadership exists: to harmonize the disparate views of our many prosecutors in a consistent policy for the department.
I was being interviewed by a member of the press for a radio interview. And I got one of these questions like, Why are you interfering in some case over here or some case over there? And I said, Well, why do you think we have one Attorney General? I said, We have 93 districts -- 50 states, 93 districts. Why don't you think each U.S. attorney should be a law unto themselves? Why do you think we have one Attorney General? For uniformity of law. For having consistency in the application of law. For having someone who has the entire perspective of the playing field. And the cameramen were all nodding their heads. This made sense, this made sense.
Jackson said, We must proceed in all districts with that uniformity of policy which is necessary to the prestige of federal law. But I think there's more involved than prestige. Uniformity is what protects us. At the end of the day, our system is really the crystallization of the golden rule in a political system. And that's ultimately what protects us, which is, I'm not willing to do to somebody else, what I'm not willing to have done to me. That is ultimately the foundation of our freedom, okay?
We see that in the legislative branch. Think about it constitutionally here, since I'm talking about the constitution tonight.
The legislature in the United States, our national federal legislature, can't make one law that applies to New York and another to California. Now, there are a lot of reasons for that, think about it. Because then you could have little factions in the country, you know, buying favor and building a majority to adopt rules that don't apply to everyone the same. But it's also because you can't have the rest of the country say, we're gonna go to war and by the way, the draft law only applies to New York.
The Constitution requires a uniformity across the nation, so that's legislative. When you make a rule legislatively, it has to apply to everybody. But it also applies in the enforcement of the law. The same uniformity is required, because that is the ultimate guarantor of freedom.
All the supervision in the world won't be enough, though, without a strong culture across the Department of fairness and commitment to even-handed justice. That's what Justice Jackson described as the spirit of fair play and decency that should animate the federal prosecutor.
Sounds quaint today, doesn't it? In his memorable turn of phrase, even when the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done. We want our prosecutors to be aggressive and tenacious in their pursuit of justice, but we also want to ensure that justice is ultimately administered dispassionately.
So one thing I'll say is that the job of the prosecutor is to try the case and attempt to achieve a conviction of guilt. But that's when the job of the prosecutor is over. In some cases, we may express our views as to what the sentence should be, but the sentencing belongs to the judge -- the judicial function. And thats after the prosecutor wins the case. We like that competitiveness. We like that spirit and aggressiveness, but once the case is won, passions must cool. And justice in the sentencing phase has to be fair, and that's why the sentence is given by the neutral judge.
We're all human, and like any person, a prosecutor can become overly invested in a particular goal. Prosecutors who devote months and years of their lives to investigating a particular target may become deeply invested in their case and assured of the rightness of their cause.
But when a prosecution becomes my prosecution, particularly if the investigation is highly public, or has been acrimonious, or if the prosecutor is confident early on that the target has committed a serious crime, there's always a temptation to will a prosecution, a charge into existence. Even when the facts of the law, or the fair handed administration of justice do not support bringing the charge.
This risk is inevitable and cannot be avoided simply by hiring as prosecutors only moral
people with righteous motivations. I am reminded of a passage by CS Lewis: It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep. His cupidity may at some point be satiated. But those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
They may be more likely to go to heaven, I don't know, but at the same time likelier to make hell on earth. There's yet another reason for having layers of supervision. Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters. It's all too often. They're consumed with taking down their target, subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors to ensure the involvement of dispassionate decision makers. This was, of course, the central problem with the independent counsel statute that Justice Scalia criticized in Morrison vs. Olson. Creating an unaccountable headhunter was not some unfortunate byproduct of that statute. It was the stated purpose of the statute.
That was what Justice Scalia meant by his famous line, this wolf comes as a wolf. As we went as he went on to explain, how frightening it must be to have your own independent counsel and staff appointed, with nothing else to do but investigate you until investigation is no longer worthwhile -- with whether it is worthwhile or not, depending upon what such judgments are usually hinged on, competing responsibilities, and to have that counsel and staff decide, with no basis for comparison, whether what you have done is bad enough, willful enough, and provable enough, to warrant an indictment. How admirable the constitutional system that provides the means to avoid such a distortion. And how unfortunate the judicial decision that has permitted it.
Now that was a problem that took care of itself. It was a statute that Democrats applauded until it applied to Bill Clinton. We did away with it in H.W. Bush's administration, took the heat, [were] castigated by all the media for killing the independent counsel statute. And then during the transition, Bernie Nussbaum, who lasted about two seconds as a White House Counsel -- a fancy New York lawyer came down, and he was part of the transition, and he came in and he said, Do you have any advice? This was while I was in my last days as Attorney General and I said, Well, I think you should allow the independent counsel to die its natural death here. We took the heat for it. We did what had to be done. Don't resuscitate it. As a Republican, nothing would please me more. But as an American, its a bad statute. And he said, Well, we are committed to the most moral and ethical administration in history and we're gonna reenact it. So they did, and the rest is history.
By the way, if you want a little kick, go to C-Span. I think they took my name off of it. But if you put in, you know, special independent counsel statute, Nadler, you'll see a hearing from like 1995 or six or whenever the lightwater thing was going on, with Nadler leading the committee [talking] about how terrible the independent counsel statute was, and how terrible Ken Starr was. Its great actually, if you have time to look at it, because you know, all the arguments that were made here today nowadays were laid out before. The role of the players was. He said, Mr. Barr, I admire you, you're very consistent on this question. So anyway. [laughs]
Now, I said headhunters, and that's because as Jackson said, if the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick the cases that need to be prosecuted.
Any erosion and prosecutorial detachment is extraordinarily perilous, for as he said, it is in this realm in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal. And the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to the prosecutor himself.
And that's what we frequently say. I'd like to be able to stand here and say, we don't see headhunting in the Department of Justice, and that would not be truthful. I see it every day. And it's a temptation that the power of prosecution is a heady power. And it is a temptation sometimes to go after people rather than crimes.We see that every night, you know. This country is in serious problems with all the problems, with real problems, we face in international affairs and domestically, when most of our news coverage -- or what passes for news coverage -- are bloviating talking heads discussing whether some action in Washington, some action taken by an official, constitutes some esoteric crime. And, you know, looking through statute books to see if we could, you know, say that this is a crime? Because disagreement no longer is enough -- political disagreement and political debate. Now, you have to call your adversary a criminal. And instead of beating them politically, you try to put them in jail. So we're becoming sort of like an Eastern European country, where if you're not in power, you're in jail or you're a member of the press.
Now one of the areas that I think there's a problem is the way we interpret statutes these days, and we have to recalibrate that if we're ever going to restore the rule of law. Clarity in the law is indispensable to the rule of law..
If a law is malleable, then it can be applied differently in different cases, and that is the breakdown of law. Now one of the most irritating developments over the last 50 or 60 years is equity driving law out of the marketplace. If you go and read Supreme Court decisions, the Supreme Court thinks it's being oh so . And this has been going on, as I say, going on for decades instead of articulating a law, a rule, they say it's the totality of circumstances and its equity. What is the conscience of the fifth vote on the Supreme Court? They can't articulate the rule. Its that very discipline of being able to universalize the principle that you're applying in a case that ensures the rule of law and that ensures that the person is being treated fairly. And it is that process of universalizing it that says, I'm only going to apply to this person what I'm willing to do to every other similarly situated person and be able to articulate the rule, and we've completely lost that in our law.
That's why lawyers are so infuriating beyond their normal, you know, irritating nature, which is they can't tell the client what the law is. Yeah, well, you could go this way, it could go that way. And that's because their law has broken down, and it's broken down because the justices don't feel they have to go through that discipline anymore. The nature of judicial power is being debased.
Equity has its uses and its place, but it can't be constitutional law. And these are some of the points that are similarly made by Justice Scalia in his article about the rule of law being the law of rules. And in recent years, the Department of Justice has sometimes acted like a trade association for prosecutors -- more like that than the administrator of a fair system of justice based on clear and sensible rules. In case after case, we've advanced and defended hyper- aggressive extensions of the criminal law. This is wrong, and we have to stop doing it. Now.
I couldn't believe it, you know, Id get in and I'd see some statute and people would say, Well, how are we going to interpret this statute? This court over here said this should be limited to such and such, are we going to acquiesce in that and adopt that as our interpretation? And normally the answer you would get in the Department of Justice is, Well, that sort of ties us down. Of course, that's the whole point of the law. That sort of ties us down, we want our prosecutors to have the broadest possible discretion. We can't buy into that. Let's leave it loosey goosey.
And I said, Well, no, I mean, we have to say what the law is. And that decision was a good interpretation of the law. And it should be adopted. The fact that it hems us in and we can't just use this law, you know, as a utility knife is a good thing.
But that's not the perspective generally and institutionally recently in the Department of Justice. We should want a fair system with clear rules that people can understand. It does not serve the ends of justice to advocate for fuzzy and manipulable criminal prohibitions and maximize the options of the prosecutor. Preventing that sort of pro-prosecutor uncertainty is what the ancient rule of lenity is all about. Sure, you know what that is, which is if there's fakeness in a law, you interpreted in the most lenient way possible from the standpoint of the defendant, and that rule should likewise inform what we do at the Department of Justice. When we think about the substance of the criminal law, advocating for clear and defined prohibitions will sometimes mean that we cannot bring charges against someone whom we believed is engaged in bad conduct. But that is what it means to be a government of laws and not men. We cannot let our desire to get bad people turn into the functional equivalent of the Mad Emperor Caligula who inscribed criminal laws in tiny script, atop a tall pillar where no one could read it.
To be clear, what I'm describing is not the Al Capone situation, where you have someone who has committed multiple crimes and you decide to prosecute that person for only the clearest violation. I am talking about taking vague statutory language and then applying it to a criminal criminal target in a novel way that is, at minimum, hardly clear from the statutory text. This is inherently unfair because criminal prosecutions are backward-looking. We charge people with crimes based on past conduct. If it was unknown or unclear that the conduct was illegal when the person engaged in it, that raises real questions about whether it is fair to prosecute the person criminally for it.
Examples of the department defending these sorts of extreme positions are unfortunately numerous, as are the rejections of those arguments by the Supreme Court. These include arguments as varied as the department's insisting that a Philadelphia woman violated the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, implementing the Convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. She did this by putting chemicals on her neighbor's door knob, as part of an acrimonious love triangle involving the woman's husband. The Court unanimously rejected that argument in Bond vs. United States.
Or they argued that a fisherman violated the anti-shredding provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley law when he threw undersized grouper over the side of his boat, which the Supreme Court rejected in Yates vs. United States. Or more recently, arguing that aides to the governor of New Jersey fraudulently obtained property from the government when they realigned the lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create a traffic jam, which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected in Kelly vs. United States.
There are many other examples. In fact, you know, it's interesting when people say that the Trump administration is lawless. And I usually am kind of scratching my head saying, you know, we, we litigate all our stuff, we win a lot of it. We go through the process -- what exactly is the lawless panic? The fact is that the Obama administration had the worst record in the Supreme Court of any recent administration losing cases. Our administration so far has been doing above average in terms of winning in the Supreme Court. So, you know, I wouldn't say we were lawless.
But again, the Obama administration had some of the people who were in Muellers office writing their briefs in the Supreme Court, so maybe that explains something. Yeah, very aggressive positions very, you know, sort of aggressive and we're gonna prosecute these people and so forth. And then they're not crowing so much after they get whipped in the Supreme Court.
Anyway, taking a capacious approach to criminal law is not only unfair to the criminal and bad for the department, it's corrosive of our political system. If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, and everything becomes a potential crime, rather than watch policy experts debate the merits and demerits of a particular policy choice, we see pundits speculating about whether things can be prosecuted. This criminalization of politics is not healthy. The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct, conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment up to and including being locked away. These tools are not built to resolve political disputes. And it would be a bad development for us to go the way of these third world countries where political parties routinely prosecute their opponents for various ill defined crimes against the state. This is not the stuff of a mature democracy.
We abet this culture of criminalization when we are not disciplined about what charges we will bring, what legal theories we will adopt, rather than root out true crimes, while leaving ethically dubious conduct to the voters.
Our prosecutors have all too often, and they insert themselves in the political process based on the flimsiest of legal theories. We have seen this time and time again, with prosecutors bringing ill-conceived charges against prominent political figures, or launching debilitating investigations that thrust the Department of Justice into the middle of the political process and preempt the ability of the people to decide.
This criminalization of politics will only worsen until we change the culture of concocting new legal theories to criminalize all manner of questionable conduct. Smart, ambitious lawyers have sought to amass glory by prosecuting prominent public figures since the Roman Republic. It is utterly unsurprising that prosecutors continue to do so today, to the extent the Justice Department leaders will permit it. As long as I'm Attorney General Im not going to permit it.
In short, it is important for prosecutors at the Department of Justice to understand that their mission above all others is to do justice. And that means following the letter of the law and the spirit of fairness. Sometimes that will mean investing months or years in an investigation and then concluding it is without criminal charges. Our job is to be just as dogged in preventing injustice as we are in pursuing wrongdoing. On this score, as in many, Justice Jackson said it best, and I'll close with his words: The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive, and as impossible to define as those which mark gentlemen, and those who need to be told would not understand it anyway. A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power. And the citizens safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes. And who, above all, approaches his task with humility.
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Questioner: So thank you, General, that was spectacular. Also profound, I think. So I have the first question. I've got a few from the audience, and the minute your duties require you to go home and rest, you may do so. Partly what you just said was a process of a transfer of authority from elected people to civil servants. Do you see that going on in other parts of the government?
Barr: The Department of Justice -- I love the Department of Justice. I love the people in the Department of Justice. But as I say, the legitimacy in our system comes from political supervision and political accountability.
Questioner: Should the Supreme Court have the exclusive power to interpret the constitution?
Barr: Yes. I think President Jackson was correct that each branch has in the first instance the responsibility to interpret the constitution and what they think the constitution means. And so if the President believes that he has the power to do something under the Constitution, he should be able to exercise that power. And if the Court disagrees and orders him not to, then he's lost the case.
Questioner: What's your favorite song to play on the bagpipes?
Barr: I don't know. Too many, there are too many songs there. It's not songs. They're called tunes.
Questioner: Scotland the Brave.
Barr: Well, that's a very common one. That's the one that you see on the video playing Scotland the brave. I miss playing the bagpipes. Once when I was Attorney General last time, you know, Scalia called the chambers and said to my assistant, do you think the Attorney General would like to take a quick walk with me around the mall? And I said, Justice Scalia, whether he realizes or not, it's a federal offense to threaten the life of a federal official. I say the same thing about playing the bagpipes these days. People ask me to play the bagpipes. I say you know, it's an offense to threaten the life of emergency vehicles standing by.
Questioner: I think the definition of a gentleman is somebody who knows how to play the bagpipes and does not
Barr: Ive played since I was eight years old. And, you know, my parents being academicians and growing up on the Upper West Side in Bella Abzugs district in New York, we lived in Columbia University Housing, which was great housing overlooking the Hudson River. But they said, Billy, it's time that you learn an instrument: violin, piano? I said, bagpipes.
Questioner: What if somebody wonders if ballot harvesting is constitutional, and also how do we go about in this day and age guaranteeing the propriety of our elections?
Barr: I was once head of the Office of Legal Counsel, which is sort of a legal beagle office. I can't off the top of my head give you authoritative answers on some of these questions. I will just say generally, I'm very concerned.
Let me draw a distinction between what may pass muster under some recent case law at the Supreme Court and what really is in accord with the constitutional scheme and the basic principles. And sometimes you have to go back to basic principles to understand what some of the provisions of the Constitution should mean. As I've said, the whole idea of an election is to have a single expression of will by everybody at the same time based on the same information. That's what an election is. So we have Election Day, and now we have an election season. And not only that, it's a season that has like, extra innings. So it's becoming absurd. Decisions made weeks apart are not the body politic making a sober decision about the state of affairs at one time. We're losing the whole idea of what an election is.
And when people try to play games like, Do you have any empirical evidence that you know, mail-in ballots are, you know Common sense. We haven't had it on the scale that's being proposed now. So I don't have empirical evidence other than the fact that we've always had voting fraud. And there, you know, there always will be people who attempt to do that. I don't have empirical evidence that on this scale, you know, these problems were materialized. But what I say to people is, Why do we vote today the way we do? Think about it? Why do people show up at one place where they have a list of people who are eligible to vote, you show who you are, you go behind a curtain? Why do you go behind the curtain? Secret ballot. No one else is allowed there. Why is that a rule? Coercion, undue influence. Why a secret ballot? Many reasons. You can't sell or buy votes easily if there's a secret ballot. You don't succumb as much to undue influence or pressure.
That is all blown away -- the lessons of the English system before us and the American system, and how the vote evolved and how we tried to perfect it and protect its integrity for all this time are just swept away by mail-in voting. You don't have anonymity -- your name is connected to that vote, and you open the floodgates to coercion. And so I don't think harvesting should be permitted, personally. Some states have passed down under the Constitution, the state sets the rules and theyre permitting harvesting of ballots. But it's a potential abuse.
Questioner: Ill go back to your main argument and that is, the authority of the Attorney General comes through the president from the people. And so do you sense a growing spirit of managing the people, managing how they vote, managing what they can do by the government?
Barr: Our constitution was meant for a discerning, informed, virtuous people. And you have to raise the question of whether we still have that in our country. We certainly have forces that are attempting to cultivate a dependent people. And it's, you know, it's the same old game. What's our bread and circuses today? It's all distraction. You know, as Pascal said, it's all about distracting people from anything that's important and principle and what's happening. That's why so many people don't pay attention. They're distracted. They're distracted by, you know, all the stimulation of their senses that go on, and that goes part and parcel with creating dependence. So you have more and more people that just don't care.
You know, I was mortified. I saw today that most people don't know what the Holocaust is about in the United States, some poll or something. I couldn't believe it. Now, I thought they taught holocausts or concentration camps very well in school, because when I was giving a memorial day speech one year, I did some research. And most high school students, if you ask them, What do you know about World War Two? Well, first they don't know who fought in World War Two. But then they say what they know about World War Two is about the concentration camps. And that we used nuclear weapons against Japan. Those are the two things. So I said, at least you learned about the concentration camps. Yes, the internment of the Japanese."
Questioner: Yeah, you should visit some high schools today. If Muller's team destroyed information, who's responsible? And what I think they're talking about is wiping phones. Who's responsible? What consequences can there be?
Barr: Well, I don't want to get into that particular thing. The appropriate people in the department are taking a look at that. And we'll see. We'll see where that goes.
Questioner: What are the constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during COVID-19?
Barr: The rule right now is articulated by the Supreme Court. Some people might disagree with that, in the sense that it doesn't go far enough in protecting religion, but the current standard is that you can place restrictions on the exercise of religion as long as you don't discriminate against religion and apply the same restrictions on everybody else that is similarly situated. You cant allow people to go to theaters and get together in commercial establishments or other kinds of activities and then prohibit churches from doing it. And some of the states were going that far. So that's the basic hurdle you have to get over.
I know you're from Michigan, and therefore you're particularly sensitive to the caprice of the governor's regulations. I am very amused, because the press gets all huffy, huffy and puffy about you know, Bill Barr believes in strong executive power, ooh, you know, he's a, he's a fascist or something like that. But they couldn't be happier with the Governors. What kind of power are they exercising? Executive power. In many states, there are no statutes, or the legislators bowed out of the picture. Theyre just letting the governors do what they want to do.
What I've said is, yes, executive power by its very nature does come and should fill the void right at the beginning of any crisis like this. In some crises like war, you do need a strong component of executive leadership. But once the emergency nature of it starts to abate, the legislature should give a little bit more guidance -- like yeah, you can do this for 30 days and then come back to us. If we don't like what we're doing, well exercise a little more control over it. But there has been very little of that. And most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they act, you know, they defy common sense. And a lot of what they do is they treat free citizens as babies that can't take responsibility for themselves and others. So I was saying, well, one, you know, we have to give businesspeople an opportunity. Tell them which rule of masks you have this month. Tell the business people what the rules are, and then let them try to adapt their business to that. Then you'll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living. But putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.
We supported this case. We did get a lot of the states to ease up on the churches and you know, we'd write letters to the governors and the governors would comply. But my view was, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that an artificial cap of 10 doesn't make any sense when you're talking about St. Patrick's Cathedral compared to a small country church. And so one of the rules under the Constitution is you have to sort of calibrate whatever burden you're going to place on religion, you're gonna have to take account of the circumstances and make it as narrow as possible to achieve your end. And so we said, how about just a percentage of the fire marshal occupancy standard? The Supreme Supreme Court, five, four vote wouldn't go along with that because they wanted to say that you have to give a lot of latitude to governors in these crises. I agree, you should give a lot of latitude but we have epidemics and pandemics -- this is a very serious one, a grave one. But they come and just because something is a medical crisis, it doesn't give a complete blank check to executive rule.
Questioner: That leads me to wonder: I read that there have been north of 75,000 suicides during the shutdown. And what mechanism is there or should there be in the government to take care of all these ancillary effects?
Barr: Here's my problem. I have great respect for the medical profession. But the scariest day in a lawyer's life is when he realizes the medical profession is really pretty much the same as the legal profession. They're human beings. They put their pants on one leg at a time. Theyre right sometimes, theyre wrong other times. There's some good doctors, there's some bad doctors. But just like lawyers, doctors are specialists. They will view a broad social problem and issue through a set of blinders in a sense. So, you know, your doctor might say to you, Bill, if you want to live 20 years longer, you should just do this, this, this, this and this. And he might be right. But I don't want to pay those costs to live 20 years longer. I'd rather take my chances. Now, I understand there are externalities here, and you can't threaten other people's lives. But the point is that you have to balance that against a lot of other factors. The point you made is exactly what was not done, but was self evident to anyone who had the power of logic. Which is, yes, doctor, you might be right. But just think of all the collateral consequences and the costs of that. And that is not science, okay? It is the generalist and the representatives of the entire community that should be making these balancing acts. It is not dictated by science. So all this nonsense about how something is dictated by science is nonsense.
Suicides are just the tip of the iceberg. The overdoses are out of control, they're getting back up again. After the first time in decades, this administration actually started flattening it out and bringing it down a little on opioids -- theyre going back up again. And now, with cheap methamphetamine swamping the country, and forms of opioid that are extremely deadly -- fentanyl, synthetic opioids -- we now have the overdose deaths going up. We have domestic violence getting out of control. I'm sure that the shutting down of the economy and telling everyone to stay in their house has contributed to violent crime going up in many of our cities. The interruption of education, especially for disadvantaged children in the inner city, is devastating.These costs are massive.