#APA

Analysing 37 anti-Trump Psychiatrists for glaring bias

On July 7, 2019, a video did the rounds on social media referring to a book titled, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,which contained the updated findings of 37 psychiatrists and mental health experts, led by Dr Bandy X. Lu, a forensic psychiatrist from Yale School of Medicine.  It followed on from a previous work published in October 2017, where only 26 other psychiatrists had joined forces with Lu at the time. 

Social media lapped up Dr. Lu’s claim that she was the President of the World Mental Health Coalition (WMHC).  If one throws ‘world‘ in a title it sounds more impressive, doesn’t it? Although Americans often struggle with the word “world”. For decades Americans hosted a baseball event called the “World Series” where no other nations played.

Still, we felt compelled to check how gargantuan the WMHC is to properly measure its global status. For reference, the American Psychiatric Association has c. 38,000 members. We could be easily led to believe the WMHC had multiples of that. Sadly not. It has a total of 37. Yes, thirty-seven. Given the World Psychiatric Association represents 200,000 members worldwide, we can get a fair idea of how much ‘pull’ WMHC hasn’t.

Turns out WHMC is an “all-volunteer organization, and donations are used for direct educational activities, to strengthen the fabric of society as we better our collective mental health.” with the following donation manifesto:

“We:

1. provide consultation to government bodies upon request;
2. organize public forums for discussion and education; and
3. alert, protect, and educate the public when when we see signs of imminent or lasting danger within the body politic or in its leaders.” [although there is a typo they might wish to address which we have highlighted for them]

Perhaps the most telling part of the bias in the updated version can be found in the Amazon summary of the latest book,

The prestigious mental health experts who have contributed to the revised and updated version of ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ argue that their moral and civic “duty to warn” supersedes professional neutrality.

You don’t say? If these psychiatrists ever testify in court (as they proudly claim they often do), any attorney defending the accused should just dredge out this summary to prove they aren’t impartial by their own admission.

Lu proved once again that Trump Derangement Syndrome lives and breathes within the walls of elite tertiary institutions of America, just like Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan who admitted she crossed the road to avoid walking in front of a Trump building during her impeachment testimony. This is the level of maturity one gets for a $70,000pa education.

The WMHC has no qualms publishing a question from a town hall which included an “…historic number of leading psychiatrists in our country felt the imperative to publish such a book because of their unprecedented fears about a President with such severe mental problems…”

Historic being 37…If 500 law professors can get their act together on co-signing a letter on articles of impeachment, surely the psychiatric community can achieve a higher watermark. May we suggest they take a leaf out of the 11,000 scientists who signed a letter on climate change which Mickey Mouse, Albus Dumbledore or Araminta Aardvark were among the co-signatories.

Back to the video. Lu’s opening statement was that Trump “failed every criterion for rational and reality-based decision-making capacity.”

Reading in a robotic style off an autocue, Dr. Lu said that Trump is unfit to be president based on the wealth of data gleaned from the 448-page Mueller Report (released to the public on April 18, 2019). So between April 18th to July 7th, the WMHC has absorbed all 448-pages with a thorough and impartial eye.

Forget that the Mueller said under oath that the report “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated” with Russia.

Dr Lu said, “first and foremost, we want to remove Mr Trump’s access to nuclear weapons and war-making powers…we could offer many more, but given the urgency, we decided to focus on the two most important.”

Since when did 37 psychologists become experts in foreign policy?  In more than 1,000 days in office, no country has come close to being nuked by Trump. Unlike his predecessor, foreign powers realise he is not messing about. Cross a red line and there are consequences. Period. Are psychiatrists confusing unorthodoxy with mental illness?

Did the WMHC predict that Iran would end its retaliation so soon? It is a bit silly to believe that they won’t continue the 4-decade proxy war.

However CNN (which is in thorough need of psychiatric assessment alongside WaPo. NYT and other mainstream media outlets) indulged us with, “Iran’s strikes seem intended to avoid US deaths. Here’s why that might be the case.” Wow. That is a pretty darned expensive way to fire shots across a bow. We guess once in possession of Obama’s gift of billions, Iranian generals can afford the luxury of expending multiple $100,000 missiles instead of $1,000 shells.

Maybe the WMHC can tell us why CNN believes those thoughtful leaders of the Iranian regime were compassionate enough to spare the lives of an enemy they swear death to. Who knew?

Lu makes the audacious claim that, “Our work is not about Mr Trump who may not be a danger as a private citizen, but about protecting society against the powers of the presidency in a person who has not demonstrated the ability to handle them.

If the work isn’t about Trump, why does the WMHC have a section that also targets this administration’s border protection policies? It released a statement on refugees which said the following,

We write as mental health professionals who are deeply concerned about the psychological harm our nation’s current immigration practices inflict on asylum seekers, immigrant communities, and our society…We are alarmed that recent changes in executive policy and personnel show increasing cruelty with intent to inflict as much pain as the law allows.”

It is a safe assumption to think that the WMHC members aren’t staunch Republicans. Never mind that Obama first introduced kids in cages separation laws at the border, something confessed by the mainstream media late last year. Who needs facts on the psychiatrist’s couch?

Presumably, the next iteration of the book will suggest that the 63m that voted for Trump are equally in need of having their voting rights repealed for their inability to handle their democratic rights.

Lu proudly states she has testified in court cases with respect to forensic psychiatry but in this case feels that interviewing the subject is not important. She read out from the screen,

As the evidence was overwhelming, and since outside perspectives are more important in a functional exam than a personal interview, we did not feel we needed one…the wealth and quality of the report’s content made this possible…in fact we had more and better data under sworn testimony than we have ever had in our usual practice.

Psychiatrists are banned by law from diagnosing patients without examining them although Lu thinks this step is unnecessary to make a determination that he is unfit. Hmmm.

Also, we are not interested in a diagnosis of the president because he is not our patient.

Lu said her group offered the president to undergo an examination if he believed himself fit. His office acknowledged receipt of the request. Like any sane human being, a polite “p*ss off” was the only appropriate reply to a bunch of sanctimonious intellectuals who think they know better than all of us.

Force in numbers (even as tiny as 37) signing consensus-based documents like this are the latest weapons used by liberals. Albert Einstein once said to a scientist who claimed he’d get 100 scientists to prove him wrong replied, “it only takes one!

Of course, we can already hear the defenders of the WMHC ring loud on the basis of their academic credentials.

However, we hold a different view. Just because one holds qualifications in a particular field from a reputable institution, doesn’t mean they don’t carry biases or conflicts of interest. Schools with brand names often escape rigorous scrutiny because they are so revered and citing them is seen as adding credibility to one’s own arguments.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change.

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that

“two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary? Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate sceptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not, in fact, possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

We don’t accuse the WMHC of committing crimes but we think this example shows that we shouldn’t blindly accept the findings from academics without heavier scrutiny.

Certainly, in the case of these 37 psychiatrists, even a deplorable uneducated Trump supporter can see through the heavy coats of bias and condescending rhetoric. The ultimate irony is these people have such confidence in their own intellectual superiority that they reckoned one would look under the hood.

Maybe when 200,000 global psychiatrists ascribe to the same view as WMHC, we may be inclined to lend more credibility to the suggestions of Trump being unfit for a role. At the moment the WMHC appears to be mentally unsuited to uphold the very high standards of the wonderful work done by the rest of the mental health community.

They needn’t worry. It is likely that more than 63 million Americans will make that determination in November 2020 on whether he is still fit to serve.

Global Warming & Murder

Last week, CM wrote about the American Psychological Association (APA) claim that,

“between 2010 and 2099, climate change would cause an estimated additional 30,000 murders, 200,000 cases of rape, and 3.2 million burglaries due to increased average temperatures.”

If we take the US murder rates we see that states with colder average temperatures have higher murder rates.

In the highest quartile for murder per 100,000 inhabitants, we see

DC (Washington)

Maryland

Alaska

Illinois (Chicago)

None of the above states are regarded for excessively high temperatures bs national averages.

The lowest quartile for murder were found in the following states

Hawaii

Idaho

Utah

Arizona was in the 3rd quartile of least likelihood of murder. Seems that heat is helpful.

Did the APA get distracted by snowfalls in Hawaii?

As for the 200,000 extra rapes as quoted in the APA report,

The most rapes per 100,000 people committed in the following states

Alaska

Michigan

Colorado

The 3 states above more likely to suffer cold weather have rates of rape per 100,000 inhabitants higher than the national average. At the low end of rapes per 100,000 we have:

New Jersey

Connecticut

Georgia

Note Hawaii, California and Florida also have rape rates below the national average.

So we can pretty much conclude that the idea global warming will trigger such crimes is not supported by temperatures as they stand. On the contrary Americans should pray for warmer weather to lower the incidence of murder and rape because the stats contradict the studies.

Did you put on your bulletproof vest sweetheart?

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Is this the next school uniform? As written yesterday, gun violence in US schools has been a problem for decades. Metal detectors have been installed at certain schools since the 1990s. Gun massacres have still occurred. The problem stems from a growing tide of broken homes and kids venting out. The Zero Hour documentary on the Columbine massacre reveals in chilling details how premeditated and well prepared (not to mention preventable) the attack was – propane bombs, pipe bombs, machine guns, pistols and even handgrenades. Perpetrator Eric Harris’s father called up the police on hearing of the shooting fearing his son maybe behind it. The police had received multiple enquiries from concerned parents over death threats Harris had made online to students yet chose to do nothing. Harris and Klebold openly documented their intent in videos and diaries. It is patently clear they wanted revenge for their subjective feelings of having had their esteem crushed by society, especially by more popular class mates. It is clear there were no role models trying to pull them back from the brink.

Still the ‘banning guns will solve it all’ solutions still avoid dealing with the real problem. The psychology of kids lost in a world where they feel outcasts. Feelings of rejection, loss and trodden on self esteem are shown to be time and time again to be a leading factor in kids picking up a weapon and seeking to right perceived wrongs. Many American high school kids drive to school. Can we envisage one deciding to drive a car on campus mowing down students at lunch time? Will banning cars be a solution?

What next? Will parents be decking out kids in bulletproof vests and hoping teachers who are incentived to arm themselves in the class room step up if all hell breaks loose? One wonders whether kids like Harris & Klebold would have been deterred by teachers packing heat. Even worse, SWAT snipers at a distance of 500 meters may not be able to determine at the time who are the ‘bad guys’. Even worse, how terrible it would be for a teacher to be tasked with ‘offing’ a student who he or she teaches in remedial maths class. One would hope the motivation of teachers is to want to educate students to get ahead rather than aim at their head. Or have things got so bad in some schools that such a remedy gets leant a sympathetic ear. Having armed security at schools is less and less a rare occurrence.

In 2015, about 3,000,000 teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode over the year according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million admitted they were experiencing depression in ways that impair daily function. The National Institute of Mental Health reported about 30% of girls and 20% of boys– some 6.3 million teens–have had an anxiety disorder.

A Seattle Children’s Hospital study tracked hashtags people use on Instagram to talk about self-harm. It noted a dramatic increase over the past two years. In 2014 researchers got 1.7 million search results for “#selfharmmm”. By 2015 that number had surged to over 2.4 million.

The American Psychological Association (APA) released a report several years ago during the school year saying that teens report their stress level is higher than levels reported by adults in the past month. Many teens admitted feeling overwhelmed (31%) and depressed or sad (30%) as a result of stress. More than one-third of teens report fatigue or feeling tired (36%).

Sales of antidepressant drugs is expected to be a $17bn industry in the US in 2020, up $3bn from 2015. The National Center of Health Statistics reports the prevalence of teenagers taking such drugs has grown to 13%, in 2015 up from 11% in 2008. 68% of people ages 12 and up said they had been taking their antidepressant for two years or more. A quarter who took antidepressants reported taking them for 10 years or more. Clinical depression affects about 16mn people in the U.S. and is estimated to cost the U.S. about $210 billion a year in productivity loss and health care.

Is this honestly seen as the best way to tackle a mental health crisis? Just dope up teenagers and hope they are comfortably numb so as to not want to do harm to themselves or others? It was shown that Harris had switched antidepressants which could have fueled not quelled his homicidal and suicidal tendencies. This isn’t about guns. It is about ignoring the elephant in the room – stressed out kids with no mentors or role models to coax them out of their problems.

In some respects, schools are only making it worse by pandering to safe spaces and enforcing trigger warnings. Instead of dealing with the psychological problems at source and proactively targeting attention starved kids growing up in broken homes by counselling them in ways to build self esteem and how to get on in the “real” world, the problem will only fester because irrational feelings of hopelessness will get reinforced by ignoring the real issue.

Tranquilizing people with mental issues by molly-coddling them is also the mantra in the world of identity politics. By muzzling people from speaking truths we only build barriers around effective solutions. That regulations around hurting people’s feelings are increasingly being enforced, is it any wonder we are growing a generation of victims who can pin the blame on irrelevant and unrelated things? Healing comes through listening and understanding by open and transparent dialogue. Not by banning it.

Will an hypothetical ban on guns prevent the growing trend of kids growing up in single-parent households (and all of the psychological data which shows clear evidence of a higher rate of delinquency in children) from committing  such terrible acts of violence because they have no access to firearms? Feelings of desperation will only lead them to find other ways of seeking their distorted view of attaining inner peace. More kids will die and at the end the exact same problems will manifest themselves again – what lead to the act? At least in this case, Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz survived. Perhaps we will learn much more about the psychological timeline of him if the press can wake up for 5 minutes and stop trying to link the act purely to white supremacy because it fits a narrative.