The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

How Should CEOs And Politicians Be Punished For the Evil They Do?

Came across this tweet about the Philadelphia water spillage the other day:

So, shit happens and sometimes truly, no one is really to blame. But a lot of bad things which happen are a result of deliberate negligence or direct action. A good example is PG&E, the California power utility, which hasn’t been bothering to clear the areas around power poles and transmission poles or replace or repair old power poles. They knew this would lead to more forest fires and it did and people lost everything, including their lives, in some of those fires. PG&E had the money to do the maintenance but preferred to pay larger dividends and give more stock options to executives.

So the chemical spilled into Philadelphia’s water supply were spilled by a private company. We don’t know if negligence was the issue, but if it was, what should be the punishment?

Lately we tend to just fine companies, but that does nothing, especially as the fines are often less than the amount of money they made thru being negligent, and in any case, fines don’t remove the massive money executives already made from their actions, nor the money the owners made.

Clearly fines don’t work.

The first issue is the question of limited liability for shareholders and the use of corporations as shields for executives. There were sound reasons for limited liability for owners who really don’t control corporations, with unlimited liability people wouldn’t want to invest in companies and when primary issue of stock was a major, or the major source for creating new companies, new corporation creation would have collapsed without limited liability.

But the disadvantage of limited liability is, indeed, that corporations tend to do evil acts knowing that their owners won’t pay the full price for them, and the way corporate executives and decision-makers tend not to go to jail for actions that an individual would go to jail for (or be liable for personally in civil court) is causing huge problems.

I think we’re going to have to remove these shields, in the case of anything where a reasonable person would know that harm was likely to occur. If you make the decisions or get the benefits, you are on the hook, and you need to be on the hook for more than you made.

But there’s another question. What is the correct punishment beyond financial, because a lot of the crimes aren’t crimes where money can make the victims whole?

Perhaps with respect to polluters, for example, the executives might be made to partake of their pollution. “This is what people drank, you will drink the same.” Or “this is what people breathed for days that caused cancer, you too will breath it.”

There’s a certain eye-for-an-eye beauty to this, but I dislike doing evil to people even when they have done evil because it’s still doing evil.

I would suggest instead a simple rule. Take back all the money them made while in charge, then take enough to bankrupt them. Next, since they have shown they can’t be trusted, forbid them from any position of authority in any organization: no management or executive or board positions, no legal ability to control anything. All their possessions in the future must be controlled by an executor appointed by the government.

For truly significant harm, we might say that they are no longer allowed to work, but must subsist on whatever welfare or other provisions are provided for the indigent. Given background checks, this is often what happens to criminals: no one will hire them.

(Doing this to important people would likely lead to a significant improvement in the welfare system.)

These should probably be time gated. Ten years minimum, thirty year max, with the possibility of “parole” where they’re allowed to have a low level responsible positions, like foreman or control over their own assets while someone watches over their shoulder to see how they do.

All such rules, of course, must be done with the presumption of control. If you’re CEO or a board member, you don’t get to dodge any decision you should have known about. You don’t get to blame managers or grunts.

What sort of solution do you think would work to stop corporate malfeasance (or political)? Put it in comments.

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  1. Astrid

    The parasites will be around no matter what, swatting a few isn’t going to make a big difference. You may just end up with replaceable drones in ostensibly responsible positions taking the fall, as we seen with robosigning “VPs” who made $20/hour.

    A solution is to implement a corporate 3 strikes law. If any company has an incident that kills x number of people or cause y amount of damage (this can vary, obviously a hospital or an autofactory will have different acceptable risks compared to a grocery store, but should be at a level that the population deems to be an acceptable risk for a properly runned business) they’re on notice. After 3 in a span of time (say 10 years), they will be confiscated by the public. A federal body will oversee the business and at least fire all leadership positions and recompete of all management positions. Then after 5 years, the community impacted by the poor business practice can can solicit for bids and vote whether to transition to public ownership or sell to one of the bidders (with the payout to members of the public to occur over 10 years, so there’s less temptation to take the windfall and run.)

    Yes, there are still graft opportunities, but hopefully by putting control in the hands of stakeholders who live with these businesses (yes, this can be national for airlines and rail companies), they will care enough to monitor it well.

    The way to have an even slightly healthier capitalism is to realign the incentives so that the pain and benefits are clear to everyone involved, not have a lemon market that end up selecting for ever more psychotic and dumb leadership. Maybe the Chinese and the more sensible southern Europeans and RoW can consider such a solution to encourage a responsible mixed economy.

    But here in the Anglosphere? We’re 35 years past “late capitalism” and are currently fully on a “feudalism without responsible ownership” aka “kleptocracy with extra gaslighting” model. Things will have to break hard and then we can only hope to survive it and hope somehow things turn around.

  2. Astrid

    PS – to clarify, I think the shareholders and creditors should get $0 in case of forefeiture. The government/community would be senior creditors taking everything of value. Not fair? Don’t do business with rogue actors with 2 strikes against them.

    And no corporate restructuring to get around past offenses. If two companies each have one offense and one buys out the other, you now have a company with 2 offenses. Better be careful.

  3. Curt Kastens

    There should be 4 levels of punishment.

    Level Four: 40 years of imprisonment with the possibility of parole which can only be granted by myself.

    Level Three: Life imprisonment with no possibilty of parole at the bottom of an abandon Russian or Chinese Coal or Uranium Mine.

    Level Two: Being stripped naked and hung from the feet from a bridge and smeared with Napalm and set on fire.

    Level One: Have a strong fishing line tied around their tongue. Have that fishing line tied to a rope. Have that rope tied to the I95 (Beltway) Bridge Northwest of Washington DC. Then toss the guilty over the bridge. If they are really guilty the fishing line will hold and the they will slowly die of exposure and starvation hanging from the bridge. If they are innocent (or if the Simulation Central Committee decides that for some reason unknown to us they deserve mercy the fishing line will break, or thier tongue will get ripped out, and they can quickly die by falling to the rocks below.

    Such rhetoric may be irresponsible . But it is colorful. And I am not a politician let alone a peace maker.

    But I can understand if this proposal may violate laws as well as some people’s sensibilities and therefore can not be made public.

  4. Curt Kastens

    Oh by the way, high ranking military officers, and high ranking civilians in the intellegence fields, need to be added to that list above. That is a very serious failure not to include them.

  5. Ché Pasa

    Apparently, the US has no mechanism for punishing the Malefactors of Great Wealth and/or the politicians who serve them for anything… well, maybe with the exception of sexual impropriety with the potential for blackmail… cf. Epstein.

    This is not unlike the situation of the pre-revolutionary aristocracy in France and Russia, but we love and adore Our Rich and Powerful, no? They, as we know, are the Rebels fighting the Good Fight against Liberals and Others, fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way, and pissing on anyone who thinks otherwise.

    But does anyone think they’re not the Best and Brightest of our kind? Don’t we want to emulate and be like them? Are we not in their thrall?

    This is our problem. Until we and then our politicians can break free of our thralldom to the high and the mighty, the rich and powerful, the drug-addled and power-mad tech bros and what have you, the struggle is lost before it’s even begun.

    Hint: these people are not our friends.

  6. coloradoblue

    “Take back all the money them made while in charge, then take enough to bankrupt them.” And all the money/assets they “transferred” to their spouse just before the shit hit the fan. And all the money/assets transferred to children or other relatives. And all the money hidden in tax havens, even if it isn’t uncovered for decades.

    Yes, bankrupt them, and their families.

  7. anon y'mouse

    we already have a two tier justice system, and so it would likely be used against your local guy who only could grease local palms rather than the big guys.

    let’s face it, the laws that are out there aren’t enforced much for the big players.

    the only hands that would get truly slapped by this are those they are trying to make an example of because they victimized the wrong group of people and/or their activities drew inordinate attention to the rot at work(Madoff, Shkreli), which the PTB can then pretend they “did something” about, a la congressional hearing dog & pony shows.

  8. StewartM

    I agree with your sentiments. I would make not only CEOs, but also, say, the top 20 % of stockholders, criminally and civilly liable for any wrongdoing and damages. That’s because the CEOs, while powerful in some ways, are also in other ways well-paid stooges. I posted an article explaining why railroad employees either didn’t have or couldn’t use paid sick leave, and the reason why was a form of scheduling that had been introduced (unrealistically ‘lean and mean’). It also said that even if you had a CEO that would be willing to ditch such a scheduling system, it would cause a stockholder revolt.

    I would make this 20 % rule apply to any individual or holding company that was within the total top 20 % of the stockholders over, say, a 25-year period up to the criminal or civilly liable event (i.e., you couldn’t urge a CEO to do bad things for decades then dump your stock and run away after taking the loot to escape the consequences). True liability would only apply to the little stockholders, who often don’t even vote and hold no real power which is why 20 % of the top stockholders essentially control most companies. If one of those top 20 % holders is a holding company, then you include its top 20 % of stockholders, and so down the line.

    Being on the risk for being bankrupted, and/or jail time, would change the advice that the CEOs (already motivated not to suffer jail time or being bankrupted themselves) get from “just do whatever you can to up the stock price baby” to “whatever you do, don’t kill or injure or poison anybody or have something blow up on your watch!!!”. Nothing focuses attention like personal risk, eh?

    I’ve also, to bring back “investment” to its original economic purpose of “putting up the money for people with good ideas to try to implement good, real, things” I would adjust the capital gains taxes, at least for paper investments, on a scale where they are taxed at least as wage income (if not higher) initially, and the only way to get those taxes lower are to hold the asset form many years (not just one as currently). So instead of a system that focuses on paper manipulations or ‘going cheap’ to drive up the stock price in the short-term, the focus would be “what will this company be like in 10 or 15 or 20 years? What real products and services will it be selling then?” This long-term focus was eliminated from Western companies starting with Reagan/Thatcher.

  9. Willy

    As always, I’d rather comment from the viewpoint of the common culture instead of a common man who claims to have stayed at an ivory tower hotel once.

    The NFL business is run as a fairly ruthless meritocracy. Players and coaches are well compensated, but if they get injured or lose one time too many they’ll get unemployed. All the fans know this and expect a winning franchise lest paper bags on heads or season ticket cancellations happen. Interestingly, few seem to ever call for a change in ownership. As if the ownership is something untouchable and sacrosanct. Yet how many owners lose year after year and dangle out hope each new season to their long suffering fans like a carrots on a stick? And then they’ll say, “but we need a better stadium” and get taxpayers to be on the hook for billion dollar extravaganzas, after which, they’ll continue raking it in while providing a losing product.

    Obviously, the common culture needs to be changed. Much of modern civilization trickles down from the owners, except for real wealth and power. Talk about a scam. Brainwashing the masses to where only the masses have to play by the rules of accountability. Who hasn’t seen Elon Musk assumed to be a super genius just because he’s insanely wealthy, to then witness him spouting nonsensical gibberish?

    Well, apparently many it seems. Too many words for something everybody here already knows, I know. What I’m getting at is that we might need to start with new terms, something catchier and simpler than “incompetently sociopathic plutocrat grifter who can still keep themselves unaccountable and untouchable”, to try and turn the common culture around.

  10. StewartM

    I should have wrote “limited liability would only apply to the little stockholders”, who have no power.

    Actually, one of the things I would also do is to tax wages at a lower rate, but increasing the standard deductions and personal exemptions to be something, well, reasonable for someone to live in the US. That would probably exempt the first $35,000 or so of income for single people, and double that for married couples (no children) and heads of households supporting one other person. Then just eliminate most of the other deductions (many of which distort the economy) and simplify to tax code.

    This would also have make IRA and 401k withdrawals mostly non-taxed or taxed at far lower rates than today, and (if you taxed short-term capital gains as wage income) lower than what current capital gains are today. As it stands now a rich person pays lower taxes on pulling out $150,000 of income than a person of more modest means pulling out, say $50,000–it’s that bad.

  11. Purple Library Guy

    Tumbrils at dawn springs to mind.

    More seriously, I think that those responsible for corporate crimes should probably be, as you say, bankrupted. And then, they should probably simply be punished in whatever way normal people would get punished for the same sort of crime. And the distinctions between as it were blue collar and white collar versions of the same crime should be removed (much as, if you’re going to have a drug war at all which you shouldn’t, the distinctions between white-people drugs and black-people drugs should be removed).

    So for instance, if you conspired to do something that you knew would result in people dying, that’s first degree murder–I don’t think it matters whether you know just who would be doing the dying. If you weren’t sure people would die but the chances sure got increased by your actions, and then they did, that’s some kind of negligent homicide or voluntary manslaughter or something. If people didn’t actually die it’s (however many counts of) aggravated assault. Wage theft or embezzlement or stealing people’s pension funds are theft; I don’t think it should have a different punishment from some schmuck knocking over a 7/11 except in the sense that it’s usually a lot more money. Sure, a firearm probably wasn’t involved in the case of white collar theft, but on the other hand betrayal of trust generally isn’t involved in knocking over a 7/11. And so on and so forth. White collar crimes are crimes, they should be treated as crimes serious in proportion to their consequences.

    There are some questions about whether long stints in jail are a good form of punishment (especially given conditions in North American jails). But, those are questions that apply to everyone’s crime, not just rich people crime. Reform of the criminal justice system is a fine idea, but that reform, whatever it might turn out to be, should apply to everyone. Both before and after such reforms, the principles of punishment for rich offenders and for the crimes typical of rich offenders should be the same as for poor offenders.

    (I think even after the drug war is finally rolled up, there should probably be a crime of encouraging addiction for profit, which would apply even for legal addictions. That would apply to getting people hooked on heroin if you were intending to be selling it to them, but it would also apply to advertising gambling and to those bastards who pushed Oxycontin)

  12. Soredemos

    Abolish corporations and make everything collectively owned is an obvious solution to me. You might still have some form of management to run things, but they would be drawn from the workers and directly accountable to them.

  13. Feral Finster

    Is the goal to actually punish important malefactors, or is it to give them a slap on the wrist and tell them sternly never ever to get caught again?

  14. Stormcrow

    What sort of solution do you think would work to stop corporate malfeasance (or political)?

    I’m a lot more interested in the following question, about which I don’t have the first clue of a non-nil answer: what solution would actually deter corporate malfeasance without requiring a prior civil war before it ever gets put into place?

  15. Mary Bennett

    We tend to forget that corporations are chartered entities. PG&E should have been relieved of its’ charter long since, with prosecutions for criminal negligence for responsible executives and lifetime bans on working in the energy sector for the go along to get along types. Fines can be levied on shareholders on an individual basis. All of a sudden, the paying of fines would be no longer a mere cost of doing business. I had rather see public money spent on a public power system than on an easily corruptible beaurocracy overseeing the home confinement of former execs.

    Don’t forget that the crews hired to clear brush are likely not PG&E employees and possibly not legal residents. Those folks, when they can be found, should be prosecuted as well, and sent home if not American citizens. Send a message that the easy money has dried up.

  16. Curt Kastens

    I really look forward to seeing some more bright ideas here. The brighter the better.

  17. Preston

    Financial penalties don’t work. It is far to easy for the wealthy to hide money, and nearly all of them do it to avoid taxation. The only thing that will work is to take away their freedom. If that means prison or some other form of incarceration, that is fine. But losing their freedom is the only thing that they will fear enough to change their behavior.

  18. multitude of poors

    My knee jerk (because lack of time to meditate), the perfect solution, to my thoughts, would be an elixir which evoked the same 24/7 suicide evoking (i.e. White Gloved MURDER) terror in them as it did their victims, while putting them on a suicide watch, so they can’t off themselves. A week, or even a day. should do.

    That, with the threat that if they broke down or cried like so very many of their victims have (when they actually survived), they would be declared Mentally Ill™. Then, subjected to Gavin Newsom’s New Care Courts™; in California’s totally broken and corrupted Superior Court Systems™: appointed one of California’s countless corrupt to the bone Court Appointed Guardians™; sent to one of California’s sadistic Mental Health Facilities™ to be pumped with every manner of unneeded/and or way over prescribed benzos; opiates, and SSRIs and then billed for the potentially life and sanity threatening treatment after they’ve been bankrupted.

    After that, kind of like Jean-Paul Sartre’s No exit backdrop, but much more lenient. They must live in the same cramped housing—say two to a room—together with their capitalist free market frenemies, with no access to anything where they can conspire, and rely on one another to do the right thing. Never ever again being given the ability to effect anyone but their fellow frenemies.

    Adding, again a knee jerk due to stolen time, I would add, at a minimum, Lawyers, Judges, Doctors™, and Social Workers ™ to that title. Also adding that any of the perpetrators who were supposed to be providing basic needs, should be required to receive that elixir for a two week maximum, versus a one week maximum.

    But, sigh, no such elixir exists, and likely never will. Many of us had hope in the Fourth Estate AND ONLINE PUNDITS, SOME DOING QUITE WELL, FINANCIALLY, for something approaching Moral Justice, yet have been utterly betrayed by it.

    gotta run ….

  19. mago

    Ah, well, not trying to be a smart ass, but I think you could put a perp tied and blindfolded in the back of a beater van on a summer Saturday night and drop him/her off untied and un blindfolded on a Roxbury (Boston) street corner and let events take their natural course.

  20. Ché Pasa

    Ehn, all right, tumbrils at dawn. This ought to wake up the Parasite Class if nothing else will.

    PG&E is an excellent example to start with. They’ve been killing their customers and rate payers and increasing utility rates to pay fines and settlements for decades. They know what they’re doing and not doing. And they know it kills people; to them, it’s the nothing but the cost of doing business.

    Well, they should be out of business. PG&E should have been taken over and run as a publicly owned utility (like SMUD and a few others in California) a long time ago. The reason it wasn’t is because PG&E hires an army of lobbyists to do whatever it takes to keep that fate from happening. And they’ve been successful. The whole French Laundry Scandal for Gavin (Getty) Newsom came about because of the deal PG&E made with the state whereby several billion dollars would be “made available” to the victims of the Paradise Fire provided that blah blah blah blah blah, more fine print, and the victims and rate payers would be made to pay for it. Genius. The PG&E lobbyists, executives and the Governor were at the French Laundry to celebrate and pat each other on the back for a well-played game.

    Tumbrils. It’s the only solution at this point.

  21. Lex

    So I often work for the polluters who have to hire me when something like this goes wrong. I’m the one who tests air/water/soil, or does the cleanup plan/execution. There are huge differences in the types of people in charge and from my inside perspective it’s almost immediate knowledge of the big picture. That is, are we dealing with a tragic accident or the culmination of not listening to people like me?

    The E. Palestine derailment was the latter. I’m not involved but immediately saw that they’re just using MultiRAEs to scan for total VOCs. The tool has too high a limit of detection for the compounds we all knew were there. It was all for show, dazzling people with “science”. Been there and done that, though usually low stakes.

    I’m also involved in a public health emergency related to an industrial facility that’s probably unsolvable due to the specific fungus that’s causing it but impossible to isolate from environmental samples. They called me, I said I can’t really help, they said please help to the extent you can and “cost is no object”. Every manager and exec is in meetings most all of every day about it. They invited several federal agencies and simply dedicate as many people as I or the agencies need to whatever we want to do. It is easier because the company didn’t do anything wrong in this. But that’s the point.

    When companies behave well, events like E. Palestine or Philadelphia are very rare. Shit really does happen and people do make tragic mistakes. But companies also cut back on preventative maintenance, safety and all those things to maximize profit. The little bit I’ve picked up on the Philly situation suggests the latter. (But I haven’t followed the details since I have my own emergency public health response.) the people in charge at the highest levels deserve no mercy for creating situations where these sorts of consequences happen. Fuck ‘em.

  22. Interestingly enough, I am deeply involved in an effort to stop a multi-billion dollar corporation, Holtec, from — contrary to US and MA law — discharging ~1.1 million gallons of radiologically and chemically contaminated wastewater into Cape Cod Bay.

    As I read it, the US Clean Water Act actually does what you are asking, Ian (I am not a lawyer, but this is informed by discussion with those who are). The EPA wrote to Holtec in Dec. 2022 that if it discharges this water in violation of its permit, it is liable under 33 US Code Section 1319.

    At 33 U.S.C. 1319 (c) (6), corporate officers are made responsible persons, liable to criminal sanctions (up to 3 years in Federal prison) for violating the Clean Water Act.

    Laws, however, as my lawyer friend says, are not self-executing; there needs to be an executive branch worth the name and willing to enforce those laws.

  23. Trinity

    Well, ice floes for sure or their equivalent. The one thing most precious to them is their life (and what a nice, nice life it is).

    Along with all the great answers here, I would only add that the will of the people needs to overcome the inertia deliberately built into the system preventing positive change, as France has been trying to do. Right now it seems like we have to keep rolling the same boulder up the hill every day, every minute, just to see it roll back down the hill, further away from the peak each new day. Whether the response takes shape as tumbrils at dawn, ice floes, or some other method doesn’t matter as much as whether we collectively are committed to change things permanently.

    I’ve said before the only thing they are afraid of is us. It’s why they continue to do what they do, and keep closing little doors that demean us even more, slowly building their castle walls and fortresses leaving the rest of us on the outside. I experienced this same learned helplessness as a battered wife, the world diminishes and hope for any change seems as distant as the stars. This is where we are right now. That’s what needs to change first. Like a battered wife (or battered husband) we forget the power and the abilities we do have. We think we are alone, but as shown here every day, we are not.

    Either way, their reign of terror needs to end. And preventions need to be in place to ensure it never happens again. Education on why it’s bad to revere psychopaths would be a good place to start.

  24. GrimJim

    I’ve long dreamt of building Anglostans, Corporate Zones, and Budayeens or Galtburgs.

    Anglostans would be huge (multi-county sized) walled reservations, along the style of Coventry in Heinlein’s Future History series. We’d give the Christian White Supremacists the wall they wanted and lock them away behind it and throw away the keys. 1-mile Kill Zones inside the walls, anyone goes near they die. Plenty of warnings, lesser wall, etc. No modern tech allowed, enforced by targeted missiles at any electrical source. Let them live their medieval lives and leave the rest of us alone.

    Corporate Zones are about the size of Manhattan from “Escape from New York.” Instead of slaughtering the rich, dump them all in there. But there is a society — everyone in the Corporate Zone must either work a crap factory job or other crap job or starve. Give them what they gave the rest of the world.

    Budayeens aka Gaktburgs come from the works of George Alec Effinger. Basically like a Corporate Zone, but you can go in and come out if you wish. They are Anarchy Zones, “Purge Zones.” Anything goes. All trade in or out goes through the government. You can only go in and come out with your clothes, limited cash, and a few innocent trinkets. All the drugs, gambling, boozing, prostitution… Any vice is allowed. No laws, no courts. No communication with the outside world. The Ultimate Vegas. And anything that happens there, stays there. You can live there full time if you want. Adults only, of course.

  25. Eric Anderson

    The solution has always existed, Ian. Every state has the power written into their constitutions. Corporations exist because States license them to exist. that’s why every corporation has to be set up through the secretary of state’s office. The state can pull the corporate charter. Boom. Done. The corporation’s assets are immediately frozen and it is sold piecemeal in bankruptcy.

    The problem is George Carlin’s “one big club” problem. You’ve identified it in the past w/r/t say, Bernie Madoff and Enron. Or, now see SBF/Trump.
    The only time the elite turn on other elites is when they’ve been embarrassed or when they’ve been crimed.

    The only solution is to deny the elite political power and let the little guys run the state. That’s it. The. Only. Solution.

  26. multitude of poors

    Adding to my above comment, duplicitous and vile, Presidential striver, California Governor, Gavin Getty Newsom, and duplicitous and vile, but far slyer and smarter (versus Kinder and Wiser, which seems to me is what anyone in a sane world would want), Presidential striver, California House Representative—initially funded by Peter Thiel, et al—Ro Khanna (see, for example , re the Silicon Valley Bank Bail Out: 031623 By Jarod Facundo, Silicon Valley Congressman Fundraising With Whiny Venture Capitalist ) would be the first two on my list for that elixir, if it existed.

    Ro Khanna’s District sports a huge number of Tech Oligarch Hubs, along with a huge number of Unsheltered and Homeless Human Beings.

    gotta really run, I’ve made some extremely POWERFUL enemies—who have obscenely, with malice, bought their power—by being honest, in no less than a Corrupted, Unjust, California, US Civil ™ Court Of Law™…the finer details would make anyone decent, horrified. And no, it is not about homelessness directly,.

  27. Adam Eran

    One commenter already mentioned publicly-owned SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) as an alternative. Not mentioned: SMUD is 35% cheaper than PG&E, and pays it’s CEO about 10% as much, yet it’s better managed.

    Public ownership has been brought up, but none of the political players seem interested…

    Anyway, I’d like to put a halt to the vengeful discussion of how to punish PG&E executives. After all that’s just war on a smaller scale, and even on a large scale war accomplishes precious little. We’re in the third millennium of the war for Canaan–fighting between Israelites and Philistines, or Israelites and Palestine…po-tay-toh, potato. Heck we’re still fighting the Civil War in the U.S.

    And if we just have sticks without carrots, we won’t even be able to train a donkey.

    Let’s have peace, and get on with our lives.

  28. StewartM

    Purple Library Guy

    (I think even after the drug war is finally rolled up, there should probably be a crime of encouraging addiction for profit, which would apply even for legal addictions. That would apply to getting people hooked on heroin if you were intending to be selling it to them, but it would also apply to advertising gambling and to those bastards who pushed Oxycontin)

    People act as if astonished about our Covid response of “let them die for profit”, but why should be be surprised when for untold generations, we have ‘let them die for profit’ in regards to our two most common legal drugs, tobacco and alcohol? The cigarette industry’s shenanigans are well known; as for alcohol, despite the ‘drink responsibly’ small letters on every ad the ‘pushers’ know thatupwards of 80 % of alcohol is consumed abusively with about two-thirds consumed by the physically addicted. They also know that (like tobacco) unless you get your customers started as underaged teens, it’s very unlikely they will become big consumers.

    In fact, much of the historical Russian problem with alcoholism stems from the money stream:

  29. Curt Kastens

    How should those who spread (amplified) American, NATO, and Ukrainian propaganda be punished, if that becomes possible?

  30. Willy

    You’d have to get people to support an autocratic regime over a “democratic/republican” regime owned by autocrats. I really don’t think that’s much of a choice. Wouldn’t it be easier to just explain how all autocracy should be disabled, and how that’d be beneficial to all the rest?

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