#politicalbias

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.

The ABC shows its shocking political bias

The ABC loves to say it has no political bias. Yet one of its leading journalists posted this tweet essentially encouraging people to vote Labor or Greens to ensure they get more funding.

As CM wrote at the start of the month, the ABC’s own internal staff survey showed how poorly run the corporation is. It doesn’t need more funding but better managers to improve efficiencies. Moreso the staff satisfaction is below 50%. Read on…

The ABC conducted its second Corporation-wide employee engagement survey in late 2017. The previous survey was conducted in November 2015, with outcomes reported in the 2016 Annual Report.

The overall employee engagement score from the 2017 survey was 46%, down six points from the 2015 results. 6% down!!!!

This moved the ABC from the median to the bottom quartile when benchmarked with other Australian and New Zealand organisations. Bottom quartile!!! 

Employees expressed the need for improvement in several areas, including:

• that the ABC Leadership Team needs to be more visible, accessible and communicate more openly.

 that the ABC needs to do a better job of managing poor performance. Even the staff want to move duds on. A commercial spirit among the staff?

• that employees want to know what action is being taken to address feedback received in the survey.

The ABC management (no longer with us) conducted sessions on the back of the survey.

Three key priorities were identified from these sessions:

1. The way in which the ABC recruits, contracts, inducts, develops and manages its people needs a huge amount of work. Inefficiency!!!

2. More communication is needed between teams – employees want to know what other teams are doing, and want less top-down, hierarchical communication. Bureaucracy!!!

3. Many of the ABC’s processes, tools and technology don’t work effectively for its people. Obsolescence!!!

So instead of giving the ABC more money, perhaps an efficiency drive driven by a change manager could achieve the same outcomes desired by the market for far less cost. This reads like an organization that has too much fat.

To that effect, the annual report also noted:

Bureaucracy Stop was launched in March 2018 with the aim of creating a working environment with less bureaucracy and red tape. The program wrapped up three months later with 147 ideas on simplification of processes, 55 of which were resolved by the end of the financial year.Where a simplification solution wasn’t available in response to an idea, an explanation was provided as to why that process needed to remain.

What were the dollar savings for these 55 improvements?

Maybe the government should say to ABC management for every dollar saved, the ABC keeps 50c? For a broadcaster with over $1.1bn in funding, 10% of savings would mean they keep c.$60m. Morrison’s $44mn is easily covered.

Digging a bit deeper into the stats of the ABC reveals a big need for overhaul. Comparing 2017/18 and 2015/16 we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 49.7% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 54.0%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 18% from $86,908 to $105,219. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4939. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn in 2015/16 to A$46mn last fiscal year.

It is a breach of charter for the ABC to be using taxpayer dollars to advertise political messages for its own purposes. If it was managed properly it could comfortably do more with less rather than ignore the realities that improvement is required across the scale rather than chucking more money at it.

Google’s gaffe only proves the massive opportunity for others

5ADFA0A8-7474-43F0-A432-C467B335FE45.jpeg

The publishing of Google’s internal post-election debrief video shouldn’t surprise anyone in the slightest. All the outer appeals to the group’s impartiality were smashed by this leaked video. In a sense Google was the victim of the half-life nature of the very digital media feeds it seeks to control. Even worse it was all the fromage-grande senior management talking about what really goes on. Sunlight is truly the best disinfectant.

Putting the need to respect the “confidential’ nature of the meeting  (it seems employees aren’t all following those protocols) to one side, this video totally backs up the CM piece which spoke of the opportunity to plug the gaping hole in social media.

We shouldn’t forget what this episode makes blatantly clear – how toxic the work environment must be for staff who don’t share the political views of the politburo.

Mark Zuckerberg openly admitted that Silicon Valley is dominated by the far left. Stands to reason only conservatives get blocked, suspended of banned. Poor old #WalkAway activist Brendan Straka was the latest victim. The articulate openly gay hairdresser was suspended for 30 days for highlighting he’d appear on the recently banned InfoWars. Not posting the video.  Just that he’d appear. Talk about the mixed emotions of the Facebook censor who probably required counseling for having to choose partisan politics over LGBT rights?

None of us need a technical overlord determining what they see as fit for us to consume. If it is Icelandic pig racing in winter or dwarf tossing into a mud pool, should demand for it exist and it is legal then who is Google to censor it outside of respecting government mandated maturity ratings??

If Google had half a brain it would publish the “raw” data of trends. Not its selective manipulated subjective view of what it wants to see but what might be driving populism in Europe or the 2016 Trump election victory? If Google had properly recognized the trends it’d have seen for itself the raw power of understanding motivations rather than cast aspersions and skew feeds to support its own narratives. Truth be told it isn’t working. Every person banned (and the hurdle gets lower every time) highlights the agenda based nature of these social media houses. Search impartiality and no social media house should pop up toward the top of the list.

The beauty of social media is that we are free to choose. Switching costs are effectively free. Yet we use Google because it’s the best search engine and there is little in the way of competing product.

Which stands to reason if a social media proposition with more conservative values which didn’t cut off those who didn’t agree with internal biases was built, the servers would probably crash due to the stampede to join it.

Growing numbers of people have become fed up with what they can’t say (even when completely appropriate) on social media. Not bleedingly obvious profanity and senseless racism but reasoned argument. People are also fed up with learning their data has been used without permission to profile them with ads. In all fairness if one openly publishes his/her/xir data on a social platform then there is an expectation that it’s “at risk”.

Still CM has all “location services” switched off yet a social media service asked to rate a Bavarian beer hall CM visited  the very next day. When a help yourself drinks counter in a reception area of a corporate office provided whiskey the ensuing discussion with a fellow delegate brought up his preferred brand – Johnny Walker Blue. The next day were banner ads on that brand on top of unrelated searches. Presumably the mic is being accessed. Or is it a purely freakish coincidence?!?

The market for free speech is being eroded before our very eyes. The big organizations controlling much of our social media are constantly being outed for their double standards. More consumers are not blind to it yet all the while no real alternative exists the social media giants hold all of the aces.

Therein lies the opportunity.  The demand is there. The day a comparable service is offered without big brother controlled censorship the door will be beaten down. Even if we wish to call the actions of Google et al into question we can choose not to use them at any time.

Let Google, FB and Twitter  treat us as mugs.  Let them exercise their questionable moral value sets on us. The more they do, the more they draw the ire of a growing number of  users. An alternative will come and their behaviour will backfire big time. Live by the sword, die by the sword. CM won’t have the slightest sympathy.

The attitude driven by these divine franchises can be felled very quickly. Bring on the alternative ASAP. Then Google execs will really start crying. #biasbackfire