So much stuff.
Did you see the one about Breitbart and Sarah Palin blaming an immigrant for the 12 Northern California wildfires? He had nothing to with any of them — read the story — but then again, neither did Hillary run a child porn ring out of a DC pizza parlor. In Trump/Putin/Palin world, truth is not a concern.
Our president — inducted into the fake-professional-wrestling hall of fame — is matched against Vladimir Putin, the genuine martial arts expert who installed him, and who continues to attack our democracy.
Do you know a guy named Melvin Reddick, from Harrisburg, PA? Backward-facing baseball cap with a young daughter? Nice guy — maybe you want to friend him on Facebook? As the New York Times explained last month — read that story, too? — he’s just one of many remarkably convincing fake Americans created in Russia to set us against one another.
Have you read conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine?
. . . Trump is careening ever more manically into a force of irrational fury. I watched his infomercial with Hannity Wednesday night and see a sharp decline even from his previously unhinged and malevolent incoherence. He riffed for a while on how the rise in the stock market since he came to office somehow halves our national debt. He asserted, like an American Erdogan, that no citizen can disrespect our flag, anthem, or country … or else. He claimed that the economy — which a year ago was a “total disaster” — is now a staggering overnight success. He boasted of unemployment numbers he described as fraudulent only months ago. In his interview earlier this week with Forbes, he sounds like someone so stoned he can barely parse a sentence, let alone utter a coherent thought, and whose utter indifference to reality still staggers.
But it’s the impossible reactionary agenda that is the core problem. And the reason we have a president increasingly isolated, ever more deranged, legislatively impotent, diplomatically catastrophic, and constitutionally dangerous, is not just because he is a fucking moron requiring an adult day-care center to avoid catastrophe daily. It’s because he’s a reactionary fantasist, whose policies stir the emotions but are stalled in the headwinds of reality. He can’t abolish Obamacare because huge majorities prefer it to any Republican alternative, so he is sabotaging it. He hasn’t built a huge wall across the entire southern border because it’s a ludicrous project that cannot solve the problem it was designed for. Ditto ripping NAFTA to shreds, which would cause immense disruption to three countries’ economies and ricochet around the world. Or attempting to ally with Russia against the E.U., as if Merkel was worse a threat than Putin. Or removing NBC’s license, which it doesn’t actually have, for political reasons. Or deporting 11 million people. Or pretending that climate change is not happening. Or a massive tax cut on the wealthy, and arguing, as Trump did Wednesday night, that it would create surpluses as Reagan’s did, which, of course, Reagan’s didn’t.
These are not conservative reforms, thought-through, possible to implement, strategically planned. They are the unhinged fantasies of a 71-year-old Fox News viewer imagining he can reconstruct the late 1950s. They cannot actually be implemented, without huge damage. And so he resorts to executive sabotage — creating loopholes in the enforcement of Obamacare to undermine the entire system. Or he throws a temper tantrum because Obama’s Iran Deal is actually working as promised, and attempting to undermine that as well. At this point, the agenda is so deranged and destructive almost every sane senior member of his cabinet is trying to rein it in. . . .
Richard Painter, formerly of the Bush White House, asks: “Is America today in need of an unprecedented constitutional intervention?” The answer, surely: an emphatic yes.
. . . The 25th Amendment is the ultimate constitutional “check” — a corrective mechanism for an American president who is physically or psychologically unable to lead. Most important, it grants legal authority to those closest to power — first, the vice president and Cabinet members, then members of Congress — to stage an intervention. At the very least, these individuals are authorized to call a temporary timeout if the president is judged unfit to govern.
Is America today in need of such an unprecedented intervention?
The amendment, ratified in 1967 after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, was constructed to assure a smooth transition when a president becomes incapable of leadership. (Its vague wording leaves room for both physical and psychological justifications.) By the 1960s, the dangers of an incapacitated president were far greater than at the founding of our country. But arguably, the stakes have only gotten higher. With tensions flaring around the globe, there can be no doubt as to the fitness of the man or woman in possession of U.S. nuclear codes.
Pundits and politicians alike have called for the amendment’s implementation over the past few months. But it is both practically and philosophically a tool of last resort. Unlike impeachment, which is controlled solely by Congress, the 25th Amendment requires action by the majority of the president’s Cabinet and potentially Congress. This means that even in today’s polarized climate, partisan removal is unlikely. In addition, the bar for diagnosing mental health conditions is quite high.
It’s crucial to note that having a mental illness does not automatically disqualify a person from serving successfully as president. Indeed, as a Duke University Medical Center study estimates, up to half of the first 37 U.S. presidents displayed clinical features consistent with mental illness at some point in their lives. Two of our 10 most respected presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, displayed symptoms suggestive of depression and anxiety disorders.
So how would one diagnose a sitting president — if it is indeed even possible?
. . . [Read the piece to find out, after which it continues] . . .
Nearly 800 mental health professionals have joined a coalition asserting that they are so alarmed by Trump’s mental health that they feel a duty to warn the public. An online petition, intended for mental health professionals who believe the president is unfit to serve, has been signed by roughly 62,000 people.
At this juncture, waiting for unfitness to manifest beyond the types of observable and highly predictive behavior patterns studied by psychiatrists and psychologists is, we believe, naïve. Though remote, we cannot rule out the possibility that a president in a downward mental health spiral could destroy important global partnerships, alter centuries-old alliances and leave the United States vulnerable to terror attacks or war.
The 25th Amendment was created so that those closest to the president could respond in the event of a physical or psychological crisis. In turn, it is the duty of these individuals to be vigilant and act in the best interests of both the president and the citizens who rely on him — because responding to danger from within is as crucial to this nation’s survival as responding to danger from without.
Have a great weekend.
Quote of the Day
Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.~Teddy Roosevelt, 1902
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