“ARRGH!” [Translation: “Here Are Some Oct. 1 Ethics Notes Before I Snap After A Horrible Day!’]

And, to make the day perfect, WordPress is forcing me to use its damn new “block” system, which I do not have the time of patience to fool with. In the immortal words of Basil Fawlty,

1. JAMA says that it’s important to help people with dementia vote.

Nearly 6 million people in the US have some form of the condition, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, and they represent almost 2.5% of the 253.8 million US residents who are of voting age. The oldest voters, those aged 60 years or older, are more likely to vote than younger age groups, according to the United States Elections Project; the lion’s share of people with dementia fall into that demographic….having dementia doesn’t revoke a person’s fundamental right to cast a ballot.

“Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and it evolves over many years. A person in the early stages, and even into the more moderate stages, still has the capacity to vote,” Beth Kallmyer, MSW, vice president of care and support for the Alzheimer Association, said in an interview.

They may have the capacity, but it unethical for them to exploit that capacity if their cognitive functions are impaired. Anyone with diagnosed dementia should voluntarily decline to vote. Such individuals are, of course, invitations for voter manipulation and fraud.

It should go without saying that it is also unethical to run for office when one is suffering from dementia,

2. I don’t understand this at all. The Commission on Presidential Debates has chosen Steve Scully, C-SPAN political editor and host of the network’s “Washington Journal” call-in program, to moderate the second presidential debate on October 15 in Miami. The puzzling part: When he was in college, Scully worked as an intern for  Joe Biden in the Senate. Later, he was  as a staff assistant in the late  Sen. Ted Kennedy’s communications office.

The background doesn’t mean Scully is necessarily biased, but how hard can if be to identify a qualified moderator who has no ties at all to either candidate?

3. Boy, Big Lie #4 sure is getting a work-out! Big Lie #4 is “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist”, now having a resurgence thanks to a cheap question in the debate that the President didn’t answer directly enough, despite the fact that he shouldn’t have had to answer it at all.

At the White House press briefing today,  Fox News’ John Roberts asked  Keyleigh McEnany “for a definitive and declarative statement, without ambiguity or deflection, as the person who speaks for the president, does the President denounce white supremism and groups that espouse it, in all their forms?” McEnany replied that the President had answered that question the day before, and at the debate, and read a list of past quotes in which the President denounced white supremacy, including when the President said: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.”

Roberts then asked, “Just to clear it up this morning, can you, naming it, make a declarative statement that you denounce — that the President denounces it.”

McEnany replied: “I just did.”

Roberts: “You read a bunch of quotes from the past. … I’m just asking you to put this to rest.”

McEnany: “I just did.”

Before she could make another statement,  Roberts interjected: “Can you, right now, denounce white supremacy and the groups that espouse it?”

McEnany replied:

I just did! The president denounced white supremacy, the KKK, and hate groups in all forms. He signed a resolution to that effect. The president just last week — perhaps you all weren’t covering it — just last week expressed his desire to see the KKK prosecuted as domestic terrorists. This president advocated for the death penalty for a white supremacist, the first federal execution in 17 years. His record on this is unmistakable, and it’s shameful that the media refuses to cover it.

Finally, McEnany tweeted this clincher:

KE tweet

The constant repetition of a question employing a false allegation is about as perfect an example of the Big Lie technique as one could find.

4. Nothing to see here, just another female accuser who shouldn’t believed…that’s how that #MeToo thingy goes, right?

From the Washington Examiner:

The wife of a Massachusetts transit police officer who was injured in the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers accused Joe Biden of touching her inappropriately and making a suggestive comment in 2014.

In two Facebook posts, one of which has since been deleted, Kim Donohue alleged that during a remembrance ceremony in Boston, a year after the April 2013 deadly bombing, then-Vice President Biden began “rubbing” her lower back.

“Look at those eyes, where did you get those eyes?” Donohue wrote. “Anyone else as good looking as you in that family … those eyes are mesmerizing, people must just do whatever you say…”

When reached for comment, Kim Donohue confirmed making the accusations against Biden but would not discuss them further.

It sure is fun to go back and read all the high-minded pronouncements of Hollywood celebrities and Democratic officials regarding the vital need to hold powerful men accountable for sexually abusing and harassing women.

38 thoughts on ““ARRGH!” [Translation: “Here Are Some Oct. 1 Ethics Notes Before I Snap After A Horrible Day!’]

  1. 3) Regardless of the clear ethical implications of being the WH spokesman… I think, much like the hitman discussion from months ago, automatically choosing a career that compels unethical behavior, the WH spokesman is already on shaky grounds…so the ethical implications of anything they say or do are questionable.

    BUT

    Can we at least agree that Mcenany has been a downright excellent counterbalance to the treacherous anti-American media?

  2. 3.
    This is from the Washington Post in 2015.

    “But Trump undercut his adversaries with a searing attack, claiming that local officials seemed to accept the established private clubs in town that had excluded Jews and blacks while imposing tough rules on his inclusive one.

    Trump’s lawyer sent every member of the town council copies of two classic movies about discrimination: “A Gentleman’s Agreement,” about a journalist who pretends to be Jewish to expose anti-Semitism, and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” about a white couple’s reaction to their daughter bringing home a black fiance.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-palm-beach-castle-and-his-30-year-fight-to-win-over-the-locals/2015/11/14/26c49a58-88b7-11e5-be8b-1ae2e4f50f76_story.html

  3. So far we had Biden refusing to be tested for performance enhancing drugs prior to the debate and now more evidence of Creepy Joe making suggestive remarks to console the wife of a victim of terrorism. I’m seriously thinking of becoming an expat in Portugal if he gets elected.

  4. 2. The fix is in, once again. I admonished about Mike Wallace’s son. If Biden is elected, yep, we deserve who we get, and we get who we deserve.

    • And now we get to find out, once and for all, if spray tan is the miracle cure for COVID-19.

      My wife was watching CBS (I believe) this morning. They brought on a physician who said that, at his age, Trump has a 5% chance of needing hospitalization from COVID-19. Before the next commercial break, one of the talking heads said “And you heard it, doctors say Trump has a 10% chance of being hospitalized”. I quipped “Coming up next: Trump has a 20% chance of dying by the end of the week”.

  5. I pray that Donald Trump’s case of Covid-19 turns out to be mild and he recovers quickly with no permanent damage to his health.

  6. I think it fair to say that most of my friends are not fans of the Trumps.

    I was gratified that 80% of them passed the simple human decency test, of wishing the Trump family and entourage a complete recovery.

    Most of them admitted that it wasn’t easy, and that they had to make continued efforts to wish Donald Trump well, but they were managing.

    Others sent “thoughts and prayers”. I count those in the 20%.

    At this early stage, many are awaiting confirmation from medical sources, in case the original Trump Tweet was economical with the truth, as has been known to happen.

  7. Voting a Democrat ticket could certainly be a sign of early dementia, so it’s probably a safe bet that those with a clinical diagnosis of it would vote Democrat as well. After all, they wouldn’t be pushing for this if they believed it could backfire on them.

    • About 140,000 of them.
      Canada is almost a bonsai USA, demographically and politically.
      It has 1/3 the number of cases per capita as the US., despite a lacklustre response.

      So while 70,000 of the 210,000 (and rising) deaths in the US would probably have happened with mediocre federal leadership, to triple that took incompetence to a new level.

      Yes, we did tell you so. Repeatedly. We are still telling you to take reasonable precautions, mask up, socially distance, no indoor mass rallies, open bars or indoor church services. No doing what Florida is doing.

      Maybe this event will change some minds, but there are still literally tens of millions of Trump supporters who believe it’s a Hoax to make Trump look bad for the election.

      • So while 70,000 of the 210,000 (and rising) deaths in the US would probably have happened with mediocre federal leadership, to triple that took incompetence to a new level.

        Yes, we did tell you so. Repeatedly. We are still telling you to take reasonable precautions, mask up, socially distance, no indoor mass rallies, open bars or indoor church services. No doing what Florida is doing.

        So we can flatten the curve?

        Here is an article published at the National Institute of Health.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7300906/

        To save lives, you must decrease the area under the Mortality Curve. Flattening the curve will inherently modify the rates of infection, mortality, and recovery. By flattening the curve with social distancing, the shape of the curve is different, the slopes of the tangents are different. However, the area under the curve does not necessarily change. Flattening the curve, can bring down the peak and widen the base, maintaining the same AUC (Figure ​(Figure55).

        Dr Robert Katz, founding director of the Yale‐Griffin Prevention Research Center, has been quoted on this topic: “If all we do is flatten the curve, you don’t prevent deaths, you just change the dates”. 3

        This is why, to save lives, you must decrease the area under the curve. Flattening the curve, does not necessarily achieve that on its own. It has the potential to save lives when combined with the following factors.

        This was printed before the public health establishment discredited itself.

      • Zoe
        If social distancing reduces the spread of Covid-19, and Covid -19 is so low in Canada relative to the United States much of that has nothing to do with policy given the population per square km is 4 in Canada and 34 in the US. Therefore, Canada, ceterus paribus, should have 8.5 times fewer infections and deaths than the US. But as you point out the ratio is only 3 to 1 which suggests we are doing far better given our population density which apparently is a factor in rates of infection.

        It would be also helpful to know the number and what percentage of each population has been tested. If the US has administered 30 million tests and Canada only 10 million it stands to reason that even the absolute count should be 3 times higher. Further, if the US tests anyone who shows up and wants a test, asymptomatic or not, but the CHS only tests people who present with symptoms that can skew data as well.

        Comparing Canada to the United States fails to acknowledge that the US is a republic of 50 independent states and Canada is comprised of provinces headed by the PM. I do not believe that the provincial governors or whatever they are called can block the PM’s actions for political gain.

        If you want to play statistical games using the infection and death rates compare the values per 100K between the top 5 metropolitan statistical areas in Canada to the top 5 in the US. Then evaluate who made decisions for each of the measured areas and where the differences are.

        • I think a population density comparison isn’t good. Canada is a huge landmass which on its face reduces population density. But with something like well over half of Canada’s population clustered between Windsor and Quebec city, a land area easily less that 1% of Canada’s total land mass, the practical population density is much higher.

        • But my running assumption, which is highly reasonable, was that any response in a large diverse land like the United States would have results wide open to critique regardless of what the central authorities recommended OR imposed. Which to be clear, had Trump behaved like the dictator the Left has been screaming he is for 4 years now and enacted dictatorial Covid response policies that the same Left has been screaming for, would probably have dire results in some aspect of American life anyway…results which the Left would scream about AND scream “see, we told you he was a dictator!”

          • Michael. I agree with the land mass density issue which is why I suggested evaluating results from the top 5 cities in both countries to better assess rates per 100,000. Further if my country has 100 people and none are infected I have an infection rate of 0 and I may have done nothing to achieve this.

            I doubt Canada has the volume of international travel as well so these comparisons between countries is like creating a scientific study where multiple different variables will impact results.

        • Is that population density comparison valid since Canada has a lot of territory that is totally unpopulated due to hostile climate. I’m not well versed on Canadian population distribution, but it has been said that about 80 – 90% of their population lives within 100 miles (you will have to do your own conversion to metric if that is a thing for you) of their border with the US.

          If you compared the densities of “populated Canada” with the US, maybe the ratio would be different? [This may be straying into math territory, as in having sufficient equations to deal with the multiple variables.]

          • The end of my initial recommendation stated exactly that. I said compare rates per 100k among the top 5 cities of each country. And compare what each did. The fact is that if you want to evaluate efficacy of response between two geographic areas you have to adjust for demographics, population density per square mile ( if population density is seen as a factor) among other variables.
            What did Quebec do differently than NYC metro area. What did Toronto area do etc.

            When Governors in the US are primarily responsible for for its citizens why do we look at the federal response. I see this as the way Katrina was blamed on Bush despite the facts that the governments of the impacted states failed miserably. This is clearly a case of responsibility without authority. The president cannot order people in the states to do anything. Short of imposing marshal law only the Congress can legislate citizen behavior

  8. On point one:
    “having dementia doesn’t revoke a person’s fundamental right to cast a ballot.

    “Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and it evolves over many years. A person in the early stages, and even into the more moderate stages, still has the capacity to vote,”

    I believe their point is that most persons with early onset Alzheimer’s or dementia do not have a significantly debilitating condition. Many live at home with a spouse who, for lack of a better word, is a caregiver. I would have no issue with a spouse helping a husband or wife vote. Even if the voter with cognitive difficulties has very few lucid moments he or she is still a citizen. With that said, the probability of the voter casting a ballot that reflects long held beliefs and political inclinations is exponentially higher with spousal assistance than from any other person including offspring.

    The flip side of this issue is that if persons with cognition problems are banned from voting what will stop children from seeking to disenfranchise their parents when they hold diametrically opposing political views.

    By looking at this issue only from the perspective that the patient will be manipulated to vote for a candidate who would not ordinarily be of their choosing we are missing the possibility that those same kids who use grandchildren as a means of political extortion will attempt to stop parents, who are living independently with a spouse, from casting a vote for candidates they dislike.

    In summary, Persons with cognitive disabilities should not be automatically barred from casting a ballot when they receive assistance from a parent or spouse who is living in the household and oversees the day to day activities within the household. They are the only people that have sufficient historical knowledge to know how the person would normally vote.

    No third party should be allowed to provide someone with cognitive disorders should be permitted to assist for exactly the reasons established in this post .

    • It’s an unfixable problem. But it is a problem. Many seniors with dementia are still probably more competent voters than non-demented, low-information or just flat out stupid citizens.

      • “Many seniors with dementia are still probably more competent voters than non-demented, low-information or just flat out stupid citizens.” (bolds mine)

        “Ignorance is not something that lends itself to a meaningful discussion […] SOME OF THESE PEOPLE REALLY SHOULDN’T VOTE, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE ISSUES ARE.” (bolds/caps mine)

        To whom might we attribute the above quote? Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, El Rushbo, The Donald, The Gotch?

        None of the above; it was Über Lefty Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

      • I agree that the problem may not be fixable. What I offered was a compromise based on personal experience having had to deal with this very issue with my stepson who had a TBI and lived in an assisted living home. I would not want any third party other than his mother giving him assistance in voting.

        Dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the only form of cognitive disorders. There is no way I would take away the right to vote from a serviceman who suffers with a TBI that results in cognition issues.

  9. “how hard can if be to identify a qualified moderator who has no ties at all to either candidate?”

    It is probably just as hard as it was to find FBI or DOJ employees whose spouses didn’t work for Russia or weren’t Democratic politicians to investigate the President. At this point, there probably isn’t any ‘journalist’ who doesn’t have close ties to Biden. The news media’s main recruiting pool seems to be former Democratic staffers and journalists act like groupies around Democratic politicians. Joe Rogan probably would be the most impartial, widely known moderator they could get. However, I would suggest that even Ted Cruz is a more unbiased and fair moderator than anyone the Commission has chosen.
    Rogan would set several firsts if allowed to moderate:
    (1) Would be the first moderator from the ‘new media’.
    (2) Would be the first moderator who lit up a joint during the debates.
    (3) Would be the first moderator to offer the candidates a hit of DMT.

    • Or alternatively, fuck that guy.

      Here’s my proposed moderator list;

      Thomas Morton
      Walter Butler
      John Smeet
      Simon Girty
      Chief Metacomet
      Thomas Dale
      Edward Teach

    • Perhaps it is not so much the moderator as it is that the moderator creates the questions to be asked.
      Starting with the premise that if this is a debate ask forward looking questions or questions that have competing stands. Then you ask both sides the same question, give them each a fixed amount of time to state their case, allow a fixed amount of time for cross by the opposition, an time each for rebuttals.

      Let the Presidential debate commission use a bipartisan team to craft the questions. The moderator’s job is to keep the process moving and not try to make their own points. The public will know when the person dodges the question or has a limited understanding of the issue. I don’t need a journalist trying to pin down a candidate that is the opposition’s role.

      For example:
      Police reform – What do you see as the issues central to police reform and how would your administration go about advancing such reforms?

      Pandemic: What role does an administration have in preparing for and dealing with a pandemic
      This can be broken into a series of questions but that would take the entire time.

      Race Relations: How would you describe the current state of race relations, what events have led us to this point and how would your administration improve social harmony.

      Maybe the debates should be only one hour and focus on one issue at a time.

      This is not hard. But when you plan to to play interviewer instead of moderator and base your questions on things that try to push the candidate’s buttons you need to decline the engagement. Your job is not to prepare your questions like you were baking a magnificent cake that pushes your disfavored candidate to put his foot in it. That was the analogy used by Chris Wallace in an interview with Bill Hemmer on FOX. I always thought the journalists were not supposed to be part of the story.

  10. Dementia, which is now also called neurocognitive disorder, is a neurologic condition, not a mental disorder, characterized by a decline in brain function due to physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type of dementia but there are many other causes too numerous to list. Cognitive impairment due to mental illness is not dementia. Impairment may occur in various areas such as attention, planning, learning, memory, language, and social skills among others. One of my former instructors called it “brain failure” analogous to hepatic or other organ failure.

    The severity of a neurocognitive disorder occurs on a continuum and invariably increases with time but the rate of increase is highly variable depending on the victim and the specific cause. In milder cases, only someone who knows the individual very well will be able to tell that something is wrong. Cognitive testing may not help because someone who was a high performer may still test above the average range even though they have mild dementia. Simply put, an individual may be diagnosed with dementia if they are suffering a decline in their neurocognitive functioning due to a physical change in the brain regardless of the severity of that decline.

    That out of the way, the article in JAMA does not advocate that anyone other than the voter make a decision about who to vote for. In the article, Dr Karlawish who is co director of the Penn Memory Center at the University of Pennsylvania said, “If people with dementia need help reading or marking a ballot, they should get it. Only those unable to communicate their ballot choices after receiving that assistance can no longer vote.” Nina Kohn, JD who is an elder law specialist at the Syracuse University College of Law said, “If an individual cannot express a voting preference, then any vote by that person is not really a vote by that person. You can’t vote for somebody else even if you’re extremely confident how that individual would vote.”

    Clearly, the article states that no one other than the voter should make the choice of who to vote for. An individual could read a ballot to their spouse, for example, and present the choices of Trump or Biden and then mark the answer given. But, if the spouse who has always voted Republican replies they like Ike, the ballot should not be marked for Trump just because the spouse “knows” that’s the way they would have voted. The same would apply to anyone else providing assistance. Of course there is potential for abuse and voter fraud if the person providing assistance does not act ethically, but mail voting itself also provides ample opportunities for fraud.

    In reference to a statement Kallmyer made regarding people with mild to moderate dementia having the capacity to vote, Jack says, “They may have the capacity, but it unethical for them to exploit that capacity if their cognitive functions are impaired. Anyone with diagnosed dementia should voluntarily decline to vote. Such individuals are, of course, invitations for voter manipulation and fraud.” I thought that a person having “capacity” meant that they had “The ability, capability, or fitness to do something; a legal right, power, or competency to perform some act.” I don’t know if Kallmyer was using “capacity” in it’s legal sense but later in the article Nina Kohn, JD said, “short of a court determination that an individual lacks the capacity to vote, an individual has the right to vote.” I do agree that people with dementia at the more severe end of the spectrum are more vulnerable to manipulation and fraud but so are people without dementia who are congenitally less intelligent or sophisticated.

    Jack’s statement says that it is unethical for anyone diagnosed with dementia, that is with impaired cognitive functions, to vote even though they possess capacity. Let’s look at the ethical component of voting given that the individual has the capacity or right to vote understanding that having the right to perform some action doesn’t necessarily make it ethical. As I mentioned above, people who are diagnosed with dementia may still test in the average range or better on tests such as IQ tests or the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) a widely used brief test of cognitive functioning. I had a patient diagnosed with mild neurocognitive disorder (dementia) who scored 120 on an IQ test. In the past he had scored over 130 so clearly he was suffering a decline in brain function which is the definition of dementia. Is it really unethical for him to vote because his brain is not functioning as well as it used to even though he is in the 90th percentile in terms of intelligence? This admittedly is an unusual case but many people with mild dementia are very functional. I believe a problem is that most people don’t understand what being diagnosed with mild dementia means. They don’t consider someone they see with mild dementia as even having dementia because they are not obviously gaga.

    Dementia is not a mental illness, but what about people with a mental illness or developmental disability voting. In Florida, a person committed to a state mental hospital loses the right to vote. A person who is simply in a mental hospital does not. In a guardianship proceeding in Florida, the capacity to vote must be specifically evaluated. People with developmental disabilities may not be denied the right to vote if they are otherwise qualified. In Florida, developmental disability means a disorder or syndrome that is attributable to retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, or Prader-Willi syndrome; that manifests before the age of 18; and that constitutes a substantial handicap that can reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely. Otherwise qualified means that they are 18 and haven’t had their right to vote taken by a court.

    • I also don’t believe people should vote who are uninformed and too stupid to understand the basic functions of government. They have a RIGHT to vote. But an ape has the capacity to pull a lever. They have a right to say irresponsible things too.

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