Political Quackery

Whenever I hear someone from the medical profession in the news, it’s a fair bet they are engaged in politics rather than medicine. Probably the best examples are the public health fascists that Christopher Snowdon and Dick Puddlecote talk about, but what I saw this morning was quite different:

Lawmakers concerned about President Donald Trump’s mental state summoned Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee to Capitol Hill last month for two days of briefings about his recent behavior.

In private meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress held on Dec. 5 and 6, Lee briefed lawmakers — all Democrats except for one Republican senator, whom Lee declined to identify. Her professional warning to Capitol Hill: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

That would be this Dr Bandy X. Lee.

In an interview, she pointed to Trump “going back to conspiracy theories, denying things he has admitted before, his being drawn to violent videos.” Lee also warned, “We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency.”

I wonder what this “internationally recognized expert on violence” is basing her evaluation on. Has she even met Trump, let alone examined him? If a structural engineer were to issue a public statement declaring a bridge unsafe on the basis of a photo or drone footage, he’d be laughed out of his profession and rightly so.

Lee, editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” which includes testimonials from 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts assessing the president’s level of “dangerousness,” said that she was surprised by the interest in her findings during her two days in Washington.

Pray tell, what is the difference between the behaviour of Lee and her 27 colleagues and that of a preacher in rural Texas clutching handfuls of rattlesnakes?

The tweet resuscitated the conversation about the president’s mental state and the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of the president from office if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet deem him physically or mentally “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Isn’t retaliating to a nuclear strike one of the duties of his office? Or have these professional psychiatrists divined a first-strike intention from his tweet that passed me by?

The amendment is purposefully set up to require a high burden of proof…

Well, yes. The drafters didn’t want a bunch of quacks sitting down with the President’s political opponents, declaring him insane, then running to the press with their findings.

On Wednesday, Lee and two other medical professionals released a statement following Trump’s late night Tweet baiting Kim Jung Un into a potential nuclear war. “We write as mental health professionals who have been deeply concerned about Donald Trump’s psychological aberrations,” the statement read.

“We believe that he is now further unraveling in ways that contribute to his belligerent nuclear threats. … We urge that those around him, and our elected representatives in general, take urgent steps to restrain his behavior and head off the potential nuclear catastrophe that endangers not only Korea and the United States but all of humankind.” The statement, released on behalf of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts, was signed by more than 100 medical professionals.

During the Cold War, one of the most damning criticisms the Western powers made of the USSR was their practice of declaring political opponents insane and locking them away, subjecting them to all sorts of nasty treatments to “cure” them. The willingness of doctors to break their Hippocratic oath in this manner was monstrous, but at least the Soviet quacks actually met the people they were certifying and pretended to carry out an examination. In modern America they don’t even bother to do that. How anyone can support this, let alone put their name to it, and call themselves a medical professional is beyond me. They’re political hacks and nothing more, just like their Soviet counterparts were.

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16 thoughts on “Political Quackery

  1. You cannot analyse at a distance.

    Hence these lawmakers and shrieking banashees are utter suckers for bullshit.

    The medical staff quotes are also deliberately and dishonestly giving analysis that they know they cannot.

    So much for alt facts and fake news being a right wing thing…..

  2. I’m sure that the medical professionals involved are completely unaware of their own bias. As a psychiatrist, I wonder if Dr. Lee would be prepared to admit that humans are often blind to their motivations, and explain why this does not apply in her case.
    Further, it is a well known fact that psychiatrists and psychologists tend to be lunatics who are drawn to that field of study in order to examine their own mental issues. Search her on YouTube – there’s something a little odd about her. The proportions of her face are wrong. Could be a sign of something. Definitely don’t let her get control of the nuclear button.

  3. “The Goldwater rule is the informal name given to Section 7 in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics that states it is unethical for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements. It is named after presidential candidate Barry Goldwater” (Source: wikipedia)

    Why was I not surprised to learn that Goldwater was GOP?

  4. If a belief in conspiracy theories and denying what you said last week is evidence of mental illness then the Democrats are truly fucked.

    Great doublethink by them though. They have spent the last year shrieking about Russian involvement in literally everything yet forget it all to ruminate about Trump.

  5. The anti-Trump movement is like waiting for a bus. Don’t worry if one wild, unsubstantiated and frothing theory is rebuffed, because another will be along shortly.

    These people have too much time on their hands.

  6. One would think going around calling yourself Bandy X. Lee would provide enough evidence for certification. Physician heal thyself.

  7. She is probably deeply scarred since childhood by being teased as Bandy Legs Lee.

  8. I agree with Nikolai that psychiatrists have mental issues, that’s why they drawn to psychology, and it is much more likely that female doctor is unravelling, not Trump.

    I find it interesting how left wing people around the world, and in different eras, they always have same instinct to punish those people who disagree and are keen to send dissenters somewhere for reeducation.

  9. “She is probably deeply scarred since childhood by being teased as Bandy Legs Lee.” Or Bandy Ex-Lax.

  10. You know what popped into my head when I read this?

    A spoof, late ’80s story I read as a kid in a Viz annual, where IIRC some bloke in England claimed he had smoking gun evidence that Elvis Presley had assassinated JFK after carrying out an autopsy on photos of the dead president.

    Apparently the lyrics of Rock-A-Hula Baby carried clear evidence of The King’s remorse.

    That’s how far beyond parody this is for me.

  11. (not sure if it was part of the joke or they just picked a particularly unlikely song, but yes, it was written and performed well before the assassination)

  12. If a structural engineer were to issue a public statement declaring a bridge unsafe on the basis of a photo or drone footage, he’d be laughed out of his profession and rightly so.

    It’s at least grounds for censure in the medical profession, although she’s likely no longer board certified. I suspect she’s exploiting the American ambiguity between the prefix “Doctor” meaning either a PhD or a licensed physician.

    It’s further evidence of just how unhinged the #NeverTrump brigade is, when they’re willing to self-immolate their careers this way.

  13. I’m not an psychiatrist, but most of this is wishful thinking.

    Trump isn’t going to fall apart under stress because he isn’t a career politician. He isn’t like Hillary who has spent decades trying to get here. He doesn’t care that much about the job. He cares about what he can do with it, and that also means he doesn’t want to compromise much.

  14. “What is the difference between the behaviour of Lee and her 27 colleagues and that of a preacher in rural Texas clutching handfuls of rattlesnakes?”

    The rattlesnakes are allowed, and often do, bite back.

  15. A spoof, late ’80s story I read as a kid in a Viz annual, where IIRC some bloke in England claimed he had smoking gun evidence that Elvis Presley had assassinated JFK after carrying out an autopsy on photos of the dead president.

    Ahahaha! Viz is hit and miss, but when they hit they score a bullseye. I still laugh out loud at some of their stuff.

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