Thursday, December 16, 2021


Consider January 6, 2021


With respect to treason:

     §2381 Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.).

With respect to misprison* of treason:

     §2382 Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any treason against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President** or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.).

With respect to rebellion or insurrection:

     §2383 Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.).

With respect to seditious conspiracy:

     §2384 If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.).


     More than 600 rioters have been charged and cases added nearly daily.  The charges have been, widely speaking, misdemeanors.  Examples are, entering and remaining in a restricted building, destruction of government property, civil disorder, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, and illegal possession of a firearm on Capitol grounds. There were a few charges of obstructing an official government proceeding.  None have been charged with sedition, or more seriously, treason. Treason has a limited definition in the constitution Article III, Section 3: the term refers to the commission of overt acts to overthrow one’s own government or to consciously and intentionally aid an enemy of the nation. Here is the catch.  “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. Legally speaking, we are not in a declared war [The last time the US declared war was in l941].  Clearly this should be amended to address today’s realities.

       The bottom line is that we need a more aggressive Department of Justice. The charges so far are pathetic. No informed citizen questions that the intent of the insurrection was the overthrow of a legitimate election and essentially the resulting government.  At least go for a rebellion or insurrection charge or seditious conspiracy. We cannot allow this behavior to be protected by freedom of speech law.   Hopefully, the House Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection will find even more evidence of sedition. 


* The deliberate concealment of one's knowledge of a treasonable act or a felony.

** Unbelievable lack of foresight.

Law references:, 2382, 2383, 2384

Sunday, August 29, 2021


 The Great Miscalculation in Afghanistan

          There is no reason wasting time tabulating the reasons given in the press by pundits, academics and government leaders for the “situation” in Afghanistan.  They are all wrong, wrong, wrong! Except for one reference I found from Thomas Friedman in a New York Times Op-Ed piece recently [April 17, 2021] *.  The reason for the costly twenty-year failure was simple.  It was what I call, the great miscalculation.  Our leadership failed to realize the conflict involved the taking of sides in a religious war within the religion of Islam—a fierce and senseless internecine conflict that was and is, because of this definition, unwinnable.  This conclusion can be best understood with a brief review of Islamic history.          

          Understanding the history of Islam is the key to formulating foreign policy.  From the time of the prophet, in every century, there have risen reform movements declaring that the failures of governance within Islam could only be addressed by a return to the guiding principles of the founder**.   The Taliban, or “student” revolt was nothing more than history repeating itself—a movement that wanted to return to a fundamentalist Islamic agenda.  Ben Laden had wrapped the cloak of the prophet upon the shoulders of blind Omar Mohamad to lead the way.  As Lapidus concludes, “Islam has to be understood as a universal religion and in its numerous particular (local) contacts, meaning tribal culture.  Further a study of Islamic history tells us that in most Islamic societies the state was conceived as a direct expression of God’s will for the ordering of human affairs.  In other words, no separation of church and state” ***.   There is no place for democracy in such context.  History further reveals that from 1900, there were 23 constitutions adopted and put aside leading up to the one that was written under our leadership after the early defeat of the Taliban following our response to 911.  The surprise came when the Afghan government insisted on inserting a preamble which said that nothing in the new constitution presented shall be contrary to Islamic law. Case closed! No army, however well equipped or funded or trained was to exist outside Shari’a law.  Why did we not recognize the clarity of this great miscalculation?  Let me throw out some hints. As the State Department is short on Arabic speaking Islamic scholars, the Pentagon has even less.  The American people read the bible, but never the Koran.  Furthermore, the American people are so obsessed with not offending anybody’s religion, that they do not want to even discuss it.  The result?  We do not know the enemy.  The great miscalculation is complete and becomes a doomed national policy.        


  * Friedman, Thomas. “Biden Could Still Be Proved Right in Afghanistan. Op-Ed and Letters, NYT 17 Aug. 2021. Friedman had always questioned the Mission that stated, “We are there to train the Afghan Army to fight for its own government”. He notes that,” The Taliban had the stronger will as well as the advantage of being seen as fighting for the tenets of Afghan nationalism: independence from the foreigner and the preservation of fundamentalist Islam as the basis of religion, culture, law and politics”.

**Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies.  Cambridge University Press. 1988.

***There had been attempted separation during the late Abbsid Caliphate, the Ottoman and Mughal empires.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


The Contamination of the Republican Party

    Rather than constructively reviewing the reasons for losing control of the House, Senate and Presidency during the last four years, the GOP has embarked upon a vindictive path* of creating election barriers, obstructing people from registering, blocking voting accessibility, voting record purges and blindly following the dictates of the cult of Donald Trump.  Rather than diagnosing the political realities of the presidential defeat 2020 as any thinking leadership would do, the party has ignored the treason of the January 6th invasion of the capitol building of the United States, convinced the party will lead a majority of the voters to believe the Great Lie. The destructiveness of this course results in a party that struggles on a daily basis to find any semblance of a loyal opposition to the Democratic Administration.

     As this blog is posted, Liz Cheney, three-term Wyoming Congresswoman, is voted out of her leadership position as GOP conference chair of the House of Representatives by a voice vote (of all things) simply because she refuses to believe the Great Lie, insists on the truth and will not be a “Trumpster” even though she has been a loyal supporter in the past.  So, it appears the party of Lincoln has a litmus test—agree with Trump or you are out.  The contamination of the truth has evolved a split in the ranks.  Cheney states that the party not only has abandoned the truth, but in doing so, Trump has become a “threat”.  He is a threat because he obstructs the emergence of an open mind, so necessary to a convincing consensus.

      The fixation by Trump on the Great Lie has no end.  Some 55% of his blog time since November is focused on telling the Great Lie.  And a significant number of republican voters believe it.  It is like insisting on changing the rules of the Constitution.  It would be like a baseball team that lost the World Series declaring that they were the winners.  It is brain-washing on a gigantic scale. It leads to speculation on how it will end.  Is it possible that the cult can win in 2022, led by a puppet master who is mentally ill?  Will the body politic re-elect a twice impeached former president?  Is this the road to dictatorship? 

     But back to the contamination and focus on the politicization of vaccines for instance. The Trump record on anti-science and refusal to follow legitimate science leaders has sown the seed of hesitancy toward covid-19 vaccination campaigns. And leads to anxiety for all of us.  Kentucky Senator Ron Paul simply has no regard for the truth and he is nasty in Senate hearings as well. Witness his recent confrontation with Dr. Anthony Fauci over Wuhan Lab funding theory.  Nasty leaders result in nasty followers.  I believe it goes deeper that that.  Nasty leaders represent nasty constituencies. 

     The cult of personality that is Trumpism did not suddenly start with the January 6th insurrection.  It was more than evident in the Senate voting on the two impeachments: the common denominator in the Republican voting pattern was FEAR!  The Republican strategy is all about fear--fear of the loss of political power and that was more than evident in those two votes.  Those, and the vote to cut taxes for the wealthy.  Which brings me to the last element of contamination of the party—money.  Is Kevin McCarthy (R 23rd District CA) following the cult because Trump is able to raise gobs of millions of dollars in so-called dark money funding to use in any way he pleases which of course means on candidates he anoints with the oil of cash?


*Note: See the For the People Act, the Democrats’ election reform bill, currently before the Congress.

Sunday, March 7, 2021


Truth is Essential to Democracy

          The case can be made for explaining America’s political divide on failure of the body politic to agree on the truth of facts.  For example, the American Enterprise Institute’s January survey finding that 66 percent of Republicans believe that Biden’s victory was illegitimate. The truth of the matter is that the presidential election of 2020 was well conducted and remarkably free of tampering or distortion.  So, what are we dealing with?  Are we dealing with an instance of mass brainwashing?  Is it possible that a president can condition the collective minds of his party and followers to believe an outcome by repeating month after month that defeat could only be due to manipulating the results of a national election, whose voting system has been through the years remarkably honest?  I find it almost impossible to know how to think about this issue. I do not know where to start, but let us by sidestepping the journalists, pollsters and pundits, and begin with the social scientists.

          Rasmus Klein Nielsen, Director at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford writes that, “First, on social science, I don’t think we can understand the 2020 election outcome without putting identity in center place, especially if we are to understand why many white Americans have responded favorably to Trump’s explicit racial appeals.” He goes on to elaborate that, “voting has its origins “in ethnic, sectional, class, and family traditions” and is a matter of sentiment and disposition rather than “reasoned preferences”, an approach further develop in the “Michigan model” that put party identification at the center. I think I can understand that summation in that in my own family growing up in the last mid-century in western New York State, in sum, believed in the Catholic Church, General Motors, and the Republican Party—sort of a cultural triad. Nielsen cites Ashley Jardins’s White Identity Politics as a likely cause and not for any of the other crazy reasons. We can at least start there and ask if consultants, pollsters, lobbyists, and think tankers, if they have anything to add to the social scientists’ conclusion have anything to contribute. We know that social science may not be as precise as medical science, which has many forms of quackery, but “white identity politics” is a strong argument, in my research, the strongest.  Trump is clearly not the cause, but certainly the latest symptom of a very bad disease corrupting Truth.  I cannot believe that white identity politics is the entire reason for the irrationality of the rampant conspiracy theories permeating the social media of the country. What of the incredible irrationality of Republican party leadership?  An example is the criticism faced by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey after voting to support the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

          Washington county (PA) Republican Chair Dave Ball in a TV interview [1], viciously attacked Senator Toomey for justifying his vote to convict Trump on the charge of inciting the violent January 6th riot at the US Capitol with the absurd statement,” We did not send him to Washington to vote his conscience   We did not send him there to do the right thing or whatever he said he was doing.  We sent him there to represent us, and we feel very strongly that he did not represent us”.  That statement stands as a marker for all time. The same reference continues reporting that, “York County, PA Republicans voted to censure Toomey over the weekend, arguing that he is out of touch with the core beliefs of the people of Pennsylvania.  But Not Out of touch with Truth!  The message is, we have to solve this problem or we will not keep our democracy.


[1]. Santucci, Jeanine. Impeachment Vote Brings Censure. 2021. USA TODAY, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Feb 18, 2021.

Friday, February 5, 2021


What Have I Learned from the Transition of Trump to Biden?

    The first lesson that I learned pertains to the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.  The Vice-President of the United States refused to employ the amendment.  Vice-President Pence wrote that using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump would “set a terrible precedent”. Instead, he argued that it should only be used in instances where the president is incapacitated or has a disability that prevents him from carrying out the duties of the office.  He refused to act even after directed to do so by a vote by the House of Representatives. Essentially the people in their congress asked Pence to do something and he refused to do it or even answer the call.

     Two points here.  What was meant by a “terrible precedent”? We may never know.  Secondly, there is a solid argument for declaring that the president has a disability that prevents him from carrying out the duties of the office. It seems that Pence was assuming that the entire decision was his.  It is not. The 25th amendment states,

 Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

      At the time of Pence’s statement, there were already several resignations of cabinet members, leaving that element in flux, therefore quite unworkable.   Note there is no time limit on the period of deliberation regarding the question of disability.  Finally, with the extreme divisions between the two political parties, this entire Section 4 process is essentially unworkable.  I can only conclude therefore, that the both the 25th Amendment and the impeachment process are nothing but blunt instruments, particularly in the presence of a true emergency, particularly a mental health crisis with which I believe we are dealing.  It is also my belief, that Pence would never exercise his 25th Amendment option no matter what because of fear of political consequences.  It is clear to even the superficial critic that the Congress must address the 25 Amendment and provide for more specific and reliable language.

   The second lesson is that the myth that vote-by-mail is susceptible to widespread fraud was propagated by a “coordinated disinformation campaign” by President Donald Trump and other Republican elites, not by fringe internet actors commonly associated with “fake news”. *  For months prior to the election, Trump insisted that voting by mail was corrupt and illegal.  He repeated this lie so often that a large segment of the population began to believe. In the face of the clear reality that he had lost the election by over seven million votes, he insisted incessantly that he had not only won, but “in a landslide”.  The was not the work of a nickel-dime manipulator, but a symptom of a very mentally ill man who sad to say needs help he will never get.  Never get because no one wants to discuss the truth.

     Watch what the Republicans do now.  At the state level where possible, they will do all in their power to introduce legislation and pass it to block black and brown citizens from voting.

     The third lesson is that the entire spectrum of conspiracy theories particularly the QAnon phenomenon was and is much more widespread and serious derangement of the collective minds of right-wing conservatives and Trumpsters than was imagined.  Millions of Americans have embraced these delusions or believe lies propagated on chat rooms? What do you do with people who believe without question, that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring?  It is the second Trump-supported pandemic. It is much more serious that any Kool-Aid drinking religious fanatics of yesteryear.  This was most evident on the January 6th assault on the government.  At best, this will take years to repair—this loss of respect for the truth and regard for facts.

     Perhaps we need, as the New York Times [Feb 4th] ** suggested, a “Reality Czar”, since we are dealing with the nation’s mental health as well as its safety and other social issues as well.  It will require a long and costly common effort.  Control of information feeds into Twitter, Facebook, U-Tube and other platforms will involve ranking the level of truth.  It will be accused of attacking Freedom of Speech, but it is necessary to building our survival as a free educated society. It is what Biden means by uniting the country.


*[ref; Report by Berkman Klein Center for Internet & society].

** Roose, Kevin.” How the Biden Administration can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis”. New York Times 4 Feb.2021.

Monday, January 4, 2021


If You See Something, Don’t Say Something?

     If you stroll through any airport, sooner or later the public address system will blast, “It you see something, say something”. No problem! We all agree. Well almost.  Everyone agrees except the psychiatrists, with respect to their self-imposed Goldwater Rule. The rule, named after the 1964 Arizona candidate for the presidency, Barry Goldwater—the Republican candidate, who displayed questionable symptoms of significant mental illness, was revised in l973 by the American Psychiatric Association in its first edition of its Code of Ethics [1]:

     It is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.

     On July 4, 2017. The Independent, a UK news source (May Bulman reporting) stated that a “group of psychiatrists at a Yale University conference warned that President Trump has a dangerous mental illness”.  There have been several petitions calling for removal from office on the grounds of mental illness. Other psychiatrists have argued that a mental health professional should not make a diagnosis public without examining the patient. It is my contention that if a public official has a physician-patient relationship with a psychiatrist, then that relationship should be bound to secrecy and the physician should not release or discuss any diagnosis without the express permission of the patient. This is considered standard patient confidentiality covering all mental health providers-public figure patients.

     But what if the public figure’s mental health affects the future of the country or of the world as Danny Wedding PhD, editor of PsyCRITQUES pointed out? [2] 

What if a public figure contests the outcome of a presidential election duly authorized as fair and square? Then you have added a different dimension to the conflict.  Then the Goldwater Rule becomes a gag order. If you are a practicing psychiatrist and on court order, conclude after examining a patient that that person is a clear danger to himself and others, you act accordingly.  It happens in our court system every day.  So, simple common sense tells us that the Goldwater Rule is ridiculous and worse, dangerous to the welfare of the state.  Patient-physician confidentiality is too narrow an argument.

     The APA should point out that psychiatrists have a professional, moral and social responsibility to notify the public of the danger consequent to the mental state of an elected official who is capable of great endangerment.  Failure to do so is not only gagging the science, but is thwarting the access to open discussion and freedom to engage in open debate in the public square.  The psychiatrists, indeed all mental health workers, by virtue of their education and training, should be the very people leading the education of the consequences of mental illness.

      I write this on January 4, 2021, two days before the Senate is to meet to formalize the Electoral College results, with the likelihood of open objections from twelve senators and over one hundred Republicans of the House stating their rejection of reality.  The president’s perception of reality has a pervasive effect. So I am saying something!






Thursday, November 26, 2020


We Dodged the Bullet 

     Today is Thanksgiving, 2020, and I offer no apology for turning the day into a joyous political celebration. Yes, I am thankful for escaping the nasty covid-19 pandemic for nine months, and my family staying healthy as well.  Yes, I give thanks to whatever prime mover exists in the great unknown for living long enough to start my 90th year in a couple of weeks, free of dementia.  Thanks, after more than 25 years of retirement, we are solvent and have not run out of money. Yes, and thanks for so many wonderful friends, staying busy every day and living in a comfortable senior community free of dogs and as far as I can tell, republicans.

     But that is not what I celebrate most today.  No, today I give thanks for the salvaging of democracy with a remarkably honest and transparent election, and the removal from public office of the worst President of the United States we have ever had in the history of the republic, Donald J. Trump and his sycophantic Vice-President.  I give thanks to the election inspectors and the tireless Postal Service for the extra effort. I write these words, some 18 days since the election became apparent in Biden’s favor and taking note that Trump has not yet conceded.  In fact, his post-election behavior has been absurd and irrational, which brings me to the final thanks for this Thanksgiving—giving thanks for science.  It is science, and not politics that yields the explanation.  The science of it is that Trump is mentally ill and deteriorating while we watch. He suffers from malignant narcissism with a notable paranoia and a destructive behavior pattern. Will someone in the family please call for a psychiatrist!

      And the bullet we dodged? We dodged, in a word, a Trump dictatorship.  We dodged a “Third Term Campaign Office”. We dodged the tsunami of lies. We dodged the further dismemberment of democracy and the constitution. We dodged a Republican Party governed by fear. We dodged an EPA that would have further degraded our air and water.  We dodged a Department of Education that would have further dismembered our public-school system. We dodged an impeached president gone unconvicted by the people. We dodged a president interested in only furthering his own interests. We dodged a president that believed he was above the law. We dodged an administration that would not regard the survival of mankind on this planet as any kind of an objective.

     So, I am celebrating Thanksgiving.  Yes Sir! I may even have a martini.