Seeing the Round Corners

July 11, 2016

 In this “highly charged” Presidential election year, the fuel for commentary columnists just gets better. Obviously, the Clintons (both Hillary and Bill) believed a decision by the FBI to not recommend indictment of Hillary in the e-mail debacle would be the end of it. Republicans are having no part of that, and who knows, maybe FBI Director Comey should be refreshing his resume.
 The arrogance and political fall out of spouse Bill's “accidental encounter” on the airport tarmac in Phoenix was grossly under-estimated by advisers to the Clintons.
 The lack of time between the FBI's announcement to “not recommend indictment” and announcement by Attorney General Loretta Lynch (AG Lynch) that there would not be an indictment was short, way too short, further telling of her lack of experience in dealing with the high and mighty, even acknowledging on national television it was not the wisest thing to do.
 When the Clinton-Lynch meeting first broke, AG Lynch announced the following day that she would defer to lead prosecutors for the final decision on indict or not, to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Justice Department lead prosecutors made the decision in record time, or most likely, the decision had already been made – Comey's statement was timed and the announcement of no indictment by AG Lynch was yet another misstep on her part rather than have it come from the lead Justice Department prosecutor.
 The zeal shown so frequently in this day and age by those obsessed with the “first women . . .”  is a sad commentary on this country and the world. The debacle over Clinton's encounter so early in the tenure of Attorney General Lynch as the “first black woman attorney general” is an example of lack of insight, foresight and experience on her part, and let's face it, the classic example of lowering of the bar to enable her selection for the job of attorney general.
 This writer has written often about how having women at the table brings a different prospective on the issue at hand whether it be war, world hunger, reproductive issues, economic issues, the entire gamut of matters that literally control the world of ordinary citizens, not just here in America, but globally.
 Remember, women at the table are reluctant to send their children into war to kill other women's children! That's an idea that would never enter the mind of a man when deciding to declare war. War is a male ego way of dealing with differences.
 Now for a May 2011 column from this writer's archives on politicians and their brains, or as one reader opined, lack of. Readers, be sure to catch the writer's 2016 update at the end of the column.

May 9, 2011

 The killing of Osama Bin Laden (Bin Laden) stirred a vast display of emotions.  Decent, moral and caring people were reluctant to react with joy over someone being killed, but with the heinous conduct Bin Laden so openly, willingly and proudly pursued, most people found it difficult to deny. 
 Self deception is a character trait that the human species is oh so adept at, whether it is deceiving themselves about an inherently dangerous activity, or something so mundane as looking great in inappropriate attire. 
 Listening to the various published rants of Bin Laden about the evils of America could be described as the ultimate self deception. What harm has America inflicted on Bin Laden until Sunday? The number of immigrants to America identifying themselves as Muslim seems to defy the rules of common sense if America is indeed the vile place Bin Laden portrays. Why do so many immigrate to America?
 Regardless of ethnicity, the human species seems to have the innate power to deceive itself on just about any issue. 
 The Skeptic’s Dictionary defines self deception as “the process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.” Perhaps a more apt definition is a way we justify false beliefs to ourselves.” Bin Laden seems to have been an expert at self deception. 
 Daniel G. Amen, M.D., tells of writing a “tongue-in-cheek” Op-Ed piece for the Los Angeles Times in 2007 on whether brain scans should be performed on political candidates. (Amen is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, brain-imaging specialist, best-selling author, and medical director of the world-famous Amen Clinics, and has conducted more then 45,000 brain imaging studies.) 
 In Amen’s Op-Ed piece, he opined that “the President of the United States is the most powerful person on earth, so before we vote for someone, shouldn’t we know if he or she has a brain that works correctly.” Amen explained the impetus of that question was he had “grown weary of the country being run by presidents who show clear brain abnormalities, from Reagan’s memory issues to Clinton’s struggles with impulsivity to Bush’s cognitive rigidity.” 
 When asked to explain where free will came into the equation if say Clinton’s brain scan showed he would have impulse-control and self-control issues, Amen explained that brain scans can be used to determine problems such as low activity in the frontal lobe which many ADD patients treated by Amen have. 
 Without a brain scan to show the low activity in the frontal lobe, people behaving badly or inappropriately are judged as having free will and choose to act as they did.       
 Amen is serious about brain scans for political candidates, and notes that President Reagan’s Alzheimer’s disease became evident during his second term.  Non-elected staff members covered up periods of forgetfulness and ran things so as not to alarm the country. 
 President Clinton’s conduct was ignored and portrayed as poor judgment (free will??) as the country “suffered through his poor judgment, impulse control problems, not learning from mistakes and excitement-seeking behavior – all problems that point to prefrontal cortex problems,” according to Amen.
  Amen advocates the possibility of brain studies to determine the fitness of potential candidates – after all, presidents undergo physical checkups and brain studies “have shown predictive value five years before Alzheimer’s disease becomes evident.” Reagan’s Alzheimer's disease would have been detected before he was re-elected to a second term. 
 The downside of such brain studies would be the loss of what Amen terms “truly great presidents” – President Lincoln who suffered from a brain injury at age 12 and also suffered from severe bouts of depression and delusions; President Kennedy used painkillers which affected his brain. 
 Amen’s brain studies led him to the conclusion that “there is a powerful feedback loop between brain function and the condition of the soul.” “A dynamic feedback loop exists between the brain and the events in our lives. The brain impacts our behavior, and how we behave impacts actual brain function.” 
 Understanding this connection may help to understand brutal dictators such as Hitler, and while not a dictator, Osama Bin Laden. Amen’s studies also led him to conclude that faulty brain wiring is likely the cause of conduct so inhumane as inflicted on the world by Hitler and other brutal dictators. 

Writer's update to 2016:  Remember, Bill Clinton was the first President in modern history to be impeached, but still had the balls to not step down. What a guy, and yet there are those, maybe fewer this month than before Phoenix, who want to see him calling 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue home again.

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