Lies, Dunces, Fools, Villains, Hypocrites And Big Liars In The Resistance’s Plan E, “The President Is Disabled!” [Part 3]

This topic started out as a morning warm-up and has stretched into three posts. I’m sorry: the more I look at it, the more infuriating Plan E appears.

Let’s briefly recap, shall we?

…The news media, using the dubious claims of Michael Wolff as its catalysts, and following the dictates of the anti-Trump resistance, is trying panic the public into believing that the President is mentally incompetent, and that the provisions of the 25th Amendment might have to be activated, removing him from office.

…That this claim is legitimate, justified, or based on anything but the same view of the President the news media, progressives and Democrats had and loudly publicized through the 2016 campaign is a lie.

…Because it is an audacious, unconscionable lie devoid of evidence or justification being repeated for the purpose of making its targets deny it and discuss it, thus giving it more publicity and legitimacy (“Did the Holocaust really happen?” “Did Trump make a deal to have Russia take down Hillary?”), it fits the description of Hitler’s Big Lie propaganda technique.

…The foundation of this disgusting plot is Bandy Lee, Yale professor of psychiatry who has been condemned by her profession, who is hawking a book, who relies on rationalizations, and whose statements betray a political rather than a professional agenda.

Now we continue…

7.  Ethics Dunces: Everyone who accepts, supports or furthers Plan E, the “Trump is disabled” lie. Ethics Dunce is too mild a name here. We have the mainstream news media proclaiming to the world that the President of the United States is mentally deficient based on tweets, gossip, leaks, unethical diagnoses by discredited professionals, an author who has admitted making things up and lying to the White House to get access, and Steve Bannon. Those who enable Plan E are deliberately risking Constitutional disaster and permanent weakening of our institutions. Jonathan Turley properly called this out as the nonsense that  it was in October, only then the supposed crippling malady being claimed was narcissism. That wasn’t flying—Turley: “If we started removing public servants because they were narcissists, the nation’s Capital might become a virtual ghost town. In D.C., the question isn’t who fits that definition? but, who doesn’t?”—so Lee et al. switched to “dementia.”

That’s equally weak and dishonest, and obviously so to anyone who is objective. In the Washington Examiner, Eddy Scarry asks,  “Why hasn’t Michael Wolff’s dementia-Trump ever been seen in public?” We have seen public figures and elected officials show signs of mental problems, like Nancy Pelosi, who has frequently mixed up names, forgotten where she was, sounded disoriented and confused, and talked gibberish in public appearances, or John McCain, who had a disturbing episode in a Senate hearing before his brain tumor was discovered. Trump has had nothing like that occur, either before or after being elected. Scarry:

As president, Trump frequently approaches the press pool in order to answer a range of questions, something former President Obama rarely did. In Wolff’s book, he says Trump is perpetually distracted, can’t train his mind on substance, and couldn’t recognize his own friends. Contrast that account with the transcript of a 30-minute interview Trump gave at his golf club in Florida on Dec. 28 to the New York Times. It shows him talking at length about the Russia investigation, the threat from North Korea, and immigration. He even interrupts his thoughts to speak with guests he presumably recognizes. [Transcript follows.] That doesn’t read like a mentally impaired geriatric’s interview. More accurately, it reads like someone who can speak casually about policy and assumes his audience has some grasp of it, too….

Citing an impossible-to-understand mix of conversations, Wolff otherwise says Trump is mentally diminished. And reporters believe it, despite what we’ve all seen with our own eyes over the course of two years. But they don’t believe it because they know it’s true. They believe it because they want it to be.

Bingo.

8. Plan E’s #1 Hypocrite: CNN’s Brian Stelter. There is, I hope, a special place in Hell for ethics watchdogs who use their job for partisan hits rather than to enlighten the public. Stelter has become the worst of the worst, with this recent installment especially damning.

During the 2016 campaign, Stelter railed against media outlets thatraised questions about Hillary Clinton’s health, even though Clinton had suffered through several medical episodes, including a concussion and a life-threatening blood clot, had repeated coughing fits,  and often appeared shaky in public.  Stelter deferred to Clinton’s doctors about the state of her health, acknowledging that Clinton had a “health scare” in 2012, but he reassured his viewers that “her doctors say she is now physically fit to be president. There is no doubt about that.”

In contrast, Stelter is fully committed to Plan E. Following the Presidents response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last August, Stelter suggested Trump was “suffering from some sort of of illness” and was not “fit for office.”  Funny, I pretty much agree with his position on the Charlottesville riots, if not his mode of expressing them. Oh-oh—I must be getting dementia!

Last week, Stelter called Trump’s latest tweets “madness” and stated as fact that Trump is mentally unfit to serve. He cited no medical evidence, just tweets. Appearing on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show,  Stelter cited the tweets Trump sent that day. “We could apply a test to his 16 tweets today. If this were the leader of Germany or China or Brazil, what would we say? How would we cover these tweets? We would say these are the messages from a person who is not well, from a leader who is not fit for office,” Stelter said.

I have heard this same kind of  intellectually vapid argument on Facebook. Yes, and if I read about a foreign leader being shot in the chest by a would-be assassin and insisting on finishing his speech with a bullet in his chest—as Teddy Roosevelt did—I would think that leader was nuts. And if I read about a President making one of his ambassador candidates strip in the Oval Office—as FDR did—I would question that leader’s stability. And in both cases, I would be wrong.  Stelter’s test is worthless because it posits that conclusions based on incomplete evidence are fair or reliable, and we know they are not.

25 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

25 responses to “Lies, Dunces, Fools, Villains, Hypocrites And Big Liars In The Resistance’s Plan E, “The President Is Disabled!” [Part 3]

  1. Chris marschner

    On point 7. Enablers of plan E are not dunces. To be a dunce one must not know any better or had a brief lapse of thought. Those pushing the narrative do know exactly what they are doing and bank on the ignorance or unquestioning loyalty of their following.

    I would characterize these people as ethics corrupters insofar as they use their supposed referrent power to legitimize the “truths” they espouse. They know the consuming public rarely challenges the experts opinion; especially when much of the consuming public relies primarily on sources that validate existing opinions.

    Those who know what they are doing are deluding themselves with the idea that they have the power to effect a change in leadership. What we must guard against is the creation of legislation that might surface when existing law does not allow the ethics corrupters to achieve the desired results.

    • Oh, my Facebook friends are Dunces. They are smart, nice, generally ethical people, but their sense of responsibility, fairness and common sense just evaporates in the anti-Trump echo chamber. They are clueless enablers, but the most crucial kind, because they constitute mass. They are just following a mob, with the mentality of the mob. They are dunces because their ethics alarms are too weak to recognize what’s happening to them, and they are being manipulated by propaganda.

      • JP

        I consider it fortunate that while most of my liberal facebook friends are making fun of the tweets themselves, they are not giving this particular voice anymore of an echo chamber. Perhaps a few are starting to see what’s happening.

      • Chris marschner

        Fair enough, until they use their positions to push the narrative such as Stelter, et al. Those who simply believe without question and don’t suggest that because they are lawyers, psychiatrists or Constitutional law experts they should be believed can be considered dunces. Once, they establish themseves as expert trained opinion on these matters they become corrupters.

      • Chris marschner

        Clueless enablers is another term for useful idiots.

      • Jack wrote, “They are smart, nice, generally ethical people, but their sense of responsibility, fairness and common sense just evaporates in the anti-Trump echo chamber. They are clueless enablers, but the most crucial kind, because they constitute mass. They are just following a mob, with the mentality of the mob. They are dunces because their ethics alarms are too weak to recognize what’s happening to them, and they are being manipulated by propaganda.”

        That kinda sounds like they’ve been brainwashed.

  2. Glenn Logan

    Ethics Dunces: Everyone who accepts, supports or furthers Plan E, the “Trump is disabled” lie. Ethics Dunce is too mild a name here.

    Much too mild. These people are taking ethical principles, killing them, drubbing the corpse, and having a cur drag the remains around by the tongue.

    As an aside, I have seen the professor in question identified as “Bandy Lee,” not Lee Bandy.

    Whoever she is, consider this argument she makes in the Guardian:

    To make a diagnosis one needs all the relevant information – including, I believe, a personal interview. But to assess dangerousness, one only needs enough information to raise alarms. It is about the situation rather than the person. The same person may not be a danger in a different situation, while a diagnosis stays with the person.

    In other words, the first case (a diagnosis) requires being an actual doctor. The second merely requires an opinion, and not a medical one. That defeats her argument without the necessity of further analysis, but there will be more, alas:

    Indeed, at no other time in US history has a group of mental health professionals been so collectively concerned about a sitting president’s dangerousness.

    Joined at the hip by the Global Warming alarmists, no doubt. Collective opinion is no more medically valid, absent careful examination, than it is science.

    Politics require that we allow everyone an equal chance; medicine requires that we treat everyone equally in protecting them from disease. That is why a liberal health professional would not ignore signs of appendicitis in a patient just because he is a Republican.

    Neither would an ethical medical doctor write an op-ed telling the world that the president is dangerous to us because of the potential for septic shock due to his inflamed appendix. A doctor would treat any such signs as a private matter, and the rational physician would admit that he could always be wrong absent an actual examination. Not, apparently, Dr. Lee.

    But when the disorder goes so far as to affect an individual’s ability to perform her function, and in some cases risks harm to the public as a result, then the health professional has a duty to sound the alarm.

    Just because President Trump does not perform in office to the satisfaction of Dr. Lee does not give her the right to place her credentials behind a claim of fact that cannot be anything more than an informed opinion, in the most liberal interpretation possible.

    In other words, it is no more valuable than the opinions of the Vast Hall of Trump Hate that where today’s liberal left lives. In fact, it is worth even less, because the liberal left, at least, offers it as an opinion rather than fact.

    Dr. Lee has shamed her profession irreparably along with her own reputation, worked violence upon the presidency, and libeled the president and the Americans who have an equally valid opinion of Trump’s fitness that don’t comport with hers. Only an abject repudiation of her can begin to redeem the damage done to the mental health profession by this woman.

  3. My stocks have gone up since Trump became president. If he has dementia it’s really helping my portfolio.

    Besides I thought good liberals were supposed to respect those with disabilities and treat them equally. Hmm.

  4. Steve

    There is a large segment of the population that have to be believers due to some mental condition, imperative or need. I wouldn’t be surprised that the percentage of the population affected hasn’t changed in decades just the belief. There has been a steady decline in religion, religions that were fairly deverse in a political sense, and an increase in partisans, specifically progressives.

    Many of these faithful feel the need to be part of a group, with the demonizing of religions, our local neighborhoods weakened, with little pressure from the judgment and shame from the community many of them have turned to politics. The behaviors, attitude and faith that Jack has been chronicling of these progressives closely aligns with many religious zealots.

    The big lie works not only from conditioning but also because this segment of the population that used to be be grounded through church or personal relationships with those in their communities now turn to universities and the internet.

    Until these believers find something else to believe in their clergy will continue to lead them down this path.

    • Isaac

      “There is a large segment of the population that have to be believers due to some mental condition, imperative or need.”

      It is a default human value. Materialism requires individual training. If said training is not kept up by institutions, materialism can diminish within a single generation and the default value return.

      Thus, here’s what I think is a more elegant variation on your point: Humans are hardwired to think and behave in a “religious” way. The hypothesis that denigrating and removing religion would create a utopia of Spock-like rational beings was false from the start. In the absence of the theistic/objective worldview that birthed modern science, people will simply fashion secular platforms (like politics or even skepticism itself) into makeshift religious worldviews, or adopt pantheistic or non-theistic subjective religions that they can customize to their own whims (i.e. paganism, which is indeed on the increase these days.)

      I could point out all of the progressive parallels to dogmatic religion (and they are unmistakeable) but I could also easily do the same thing with the New Atheist science-worshipping crowd, the alt-Right, etc. It’s just more glaringly obvious with the Progressives that they are forming a religion.

      • Well worded AND succinct.

        “Humans are hardwired to think and behave in a “religious” way.”

        Well, all humans adopt a “worldview” of guiding principles, every world view and it’s associated metanarrative all seek to answer our fundamental Human questions, from the most basic like “Where did we come from” and “Where are we going” to the more complex ones like “How does the individual relate to the community” and “How does the individual relate to other individuals” and “What artificial structures should exist to manage those two relationships” and “How much power out to exist to work out that management”. Every Single person has some sort of worldview whether they acknowledge it or not. All worldviews are ultimately a type of religion, some more obviously than others.

  5. So at what point should we assume any commentary by a knee jerk Trump-hater as being immediately suspect…even when they assert that a non-overcast noon-day sky is blue or that 2+2=4?

    I mean, at some point they have no credibility…on any topic…even if it turns out to be accurate.

    • Another Mike

      I dare say that some of us have reached that point.

      The press has cried “Wolf!” so many times that I scarcely pay any attention, let alone take up my fowling piece and run out to save the flock. [I think I committed a pun and am unsure whether to take credit or apologize.]

  6. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Washington was an inch away from leading an army personally to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Andrew Jackson had a notorious temper (all his life), fought duels (though not while in office), and said he was going to hang the first South Carolinian who defied Federal law to the first tree he could find if bloodshed resulted from that defiance. LBJ gave interviews while on the toilet, more than once. Jimmy Carter talked about having consulted with his young daughter regarding policy matters and claimed to have seen a UFO. Calvin Coolidge brushed off a reporter who had made a bet that she could get more than two words out o him by saying “you lose.” Grover Cleveland had half his jaw cut out due to cancer and told the press he had had two bad teeth extracted. He also married a woman who was young enough to be his daughter. Lincoln of course battled what we’d probably now recognize as clinical depression.

    The two biggest offenders for presidential disability were Woodrow Wilson, who was actually completely disabled by a stroke and hid it, in effect making the nation an oligarchy ruled by his wife and closest advisors, and JFK, who hid the fact that he had Addison’s disease (why that didn’t keep him out of the Navy I don’t know), probably PTSD, and crippling back pain that sometimes left him unable to stand without drugs. I also wonder if it would be out of line to diagnose Clinton with satyriasis, given his behavior.

    My main point is that some of the arguably best presidents like Washington and Jackson, others who were at least popular like Cleveland and Clinton, and some that official history is reluctant to examine too closely like JFK (although that is starting to change) all had issues of risky or extreme actions, bizarre behavior, or concealing disability from the public, and no one now calls any of them unfit for office, nor was that charge ever leveled to my knowledge at any of them with any level of seriousness. As far as I know no Republican leader has ever leveled the charge of mental or other unfitness at any Democratic president with any seriousness, although Clinton’s sexcapades, Carter’s incompetence and errors, LBJ’s open crudeness and weirdness, and JFK’s litany of problems presented the opportunity several times.

    In all fairness, even the charge that Reagan was senile only started to be spoken of openly when he was almost out of office, and only gained traction when he was 6 years out of office and made the admission that he was deteriorating from Alzheimer’s disease. All four of the White House physicians during his tenure and his personal physician deny that he was suffering from the disease during his time in office. James Baker, his chief of staff, denies it. His other staff members, friends, and aides deny it. The only evidence that could point to the conclusion that he was senile in office consists of two incidents: one mistaken greeting of a cabinet member with “Hello, Mr. Mayor,” during a reception for mayors not long after John Hinckley’s attempt to kill Reagan, and one interview with Lesley Stahl in 1986 where he seemed to be all over the place, but regained his alertness. That’s it.

    Yet somehow it seems to have now become established fact on the left that he was in fact senile in office, and those who choose not to believe it are just in denial. Tell me, what’s more likely: that Reagan, recovering from gunshot wounds and major surgery, along with the mental trauma that goes with that, made a mistake during a meet and greet where he shook a hundred hands and more, and later, at 75 and after six years of the stress of being president on top of that, that he stumbled during yet another interview, or that all that time he was senile and it just peeked through those two times? Are you really going to say you believe that not one, but four or five medical doctors are all lying or incompetent, and that Reagan’s entire staff, including James Baker, were either too loyal or too cowed to tell the truth? Do you really think that among a staff that numbered 200 at any given time and probably saw 400 or 500 people pass through it during Reagan’s tenure that someone wouldn’t have eventually talked? BTW, Ron Reagan recanted in 2011 and said he did not believe his dad’s lapses were due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Never mind, though, for the left it’s become an article of faith that Reagan was senile: Baker was just being a loyal soldier protecting his general, the doctors were all either trying to protect a patient from a devastating diagnosis or too worried about the consequences to tell the truth, staff members were all bribed, threatened with either pension consequences or outlight violence, or gaslighted (you didn’t really see that), and Ron Reagan was probably pulled aside by his brother and told to recant or else. I just pulled all of this up in about 10 minutes using public sites like Wikipedia. Still, if you’re determined to believe something, no evidence will lead you away from it.

    The irony is that the same people who will insist that Reagan was senile despite the dearth of evidence are the same people who not only will tell you that Trump is clearly insane based on his blunt, brash, arrogant style and tendency to shoot from the hip, and the same people who will tell you that Hillary was just fine, despite the fact that she was the same age as Reagan when he was sworn in and fainted in public with no stressful event beforehand. All those stories about her needing to nap during the day and being scattered while she was Secretary of State are, of course, just disgruntled former employees or people looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

    George W. Bush said recently that “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” He was absolutely right, but I’d take it a step farther. Too often we assume everything those we agree with say and do is true and comes from the best of intentions, while assuming that everything those we don’t agree with say and do is a lie and comes from the worst of intentions. Too often we are willing to believe that our own side’s mistakes or errors are just mistakes or errors or due to circumstances our side couldn’t prevent, while believing that the other side’s mistakes or errors are either deliberate wrongs or clear proof of incompetence. Too often we build up the heroes of our own side as unassailable while tearing down the other side’s heroes as wrong, incompetent, or simply not that important. There are no eyes so blind as those who refuse to see, no ears so deaf as those that refuse to hear, and no minds so foolish as those who refuse to understand.

    The question that should be weighing on everyone’s mind is: do we really want to put those who will not see, hear or understand anything that doesn’t agree with their view of how things should be in charge of this country? It’s just that approach that toppled the Temple of Diana, consigned the Library of Alexandria to the flames (a little bit at a time), saw Simon de Montfort’s knights slaughter their own people to make sure they got the others, let the Turks erase the Armenian nation from Asia, led Russia, Italy, Germany and Japan to somewhere we don’t need to talk about, and got bin Laden to the place from where he persuaded 19 men from decent lives who were not desperate that they should plow airliners into buildings.

    • Chris

      I didn’t know Reagan’s son recanted; thanks for that information, Steve. It looks like I had my facts completely wrong on Reagan.

      Your comment should be another COTD.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Yw, and thanks. My one-time best friend believed the same, at 18, firmly, months before Reagan was out of office. His family were big-time Democrats in Cincinnati (one of the most overrated cities in the US) and he probably grew up listening to the same twaddle – his parents KNEW Reagan was senile, his dad’s law partners KNEW Reagan had trashed the economy, they all KNEW Carter was such a great guy. Say it loud, say it confidently, and say it OVER the guy who disagrees, and you quickly come to believe it’s the truth.

  7. Along the lines of #8, I would emphasize:

    Anyone who, during the campaign cycle, either did not bat an eye nor openly spun for Hillary’s health concerns, many possibly or remotely touching on mental capacity, are ethically estopped from claiming to be concerned about Trump’s supposed mental health issues.

    Does the reversal of this: those who raised hell over Hillary’s possible health concerns ethically obligate them to raise hell over Trump’s?

    Not sure, though I think likelihood and severity of the two individual’s unique “concerns” matters here.

  8. DaveL

    I refuse to go along with the characterization of the 25th Amendment as being about “mental fitness”. It isn’t. It’s about incapacitation, mental or otherwise. I’ve never thought Trump was “mentally fit” for the presidency. That isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, but my own impression of his intellect, his character, and his temperament. However, I recognize that the task of making that determination falls to all voters, in the context of a presidential election, and that I do not get a veto on the question, no matter how strongly I disagree with the result. If only these psychiatric practitioners and their media enablers could learn the same.

    • Questions of ‘fitness’ are only valid when the object is a candidate. Once the voters have spoken, the office holder is ‘fit for office’ per the definition itself.

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