COGNITIVE DISORDERS (PPT 2 MB)

I do not trust emotional reactions to events. In my experience, visceral reactions are a poor guide to action, and when I recognize that I’m responding emotionally to events, I step back and consider what facts are better brought to bear on the issue than are my immediate feelings. In fact, I’m not alone in thinking emotional reasoning is a kind of cognitive disorder.

Watching the impeachment theater (or rather reading about it to save time and avoid being influenced by the hypnotic effect of television) I’ve concluded that the congressional Democrats and their base live in a postfactual “inner child” world  of fact-free enthusiasms and conniption fits. In their world, a Republican president they cannot manipulate to their will must be impeached and removed from office. That a Republican president must be stripped of his clear constitutional right to shape foreign policy instead of Democratic plants in the Civil Service. That words are not entitled to their clear and normal meanings but can be restated fraudulently to fit the removal goal. That Congress, not the President, can determine what constitutes executive privilege. That witnesses with no direct knowledge can impute whatever meaning they choose into the events and such hearsay and mind readings must be credited. That the House that decides whether to institute impeachment proceedings can, claiming urgency, speed through them in secret, deny the president the right to a defense and can keep hidden from him and his defenders evidence which totally exculpates him. That having expedited a star chamber proceeding, the Democratic House can then demand the right to drag out the process in the Senate under rules they, not the Senate, set. In sum, that none of the long-established guides to evidence and fairness and constitutional protections should be followed when Democrats have a multiyear temper tantrum because they lost status and power.

My friend Jeffrey S. Malashock quotes John Innes Clark Hale, paraphrasing Alexis de Tocqueville:

“A decline of public morals in the United States would probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.’ What House Democrats are doing is not only unfair to Mr. Trump and a threat to all his successors. It is an attempt to overrule the constitutional process for selecting the president and thus subvert American democracy itself. For the sake of the Constitution, it must be decisively rejected. If Mr. Trump’s policies are unpopular or offensive, the remedy is up to the people, not Congress.”

Scott Johnson at Powerline Blog calls this “a postmodern impeachment”

The House impeachment managers have wound up their case for the removal of President Trump from office. With lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, Dems got the man they deserved. For those of us who followed the rise and fall of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, Schiff must be the most notorious liar of the United States. He is certainly the most notorious liar to be celebrated by the mainstream media. We don’t need no stinkin’ fact-checkers to understand that Schiff will say and do anything — has said and done anything — to promote the destruction of Trump.

The mainstream media now celebrate the Schiff variation of the Epimenides paradox in his closing remarks Thursday evening (video below): “If right doesn’t matter — if right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how brilliant the Framers were,” he proclaimed. “Doesn’t matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. Doesn’t matter how well written the oath of impartiality is. If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.”

Adam Schiff, you’re lost.

How to wrap your thinking brain around such nonsense as the claim that the President abused his authority when he briefly delayed aid to Ukraine to encourage them to reinstitute corruption investigations Joe Biden had blackmailed them into abandoning? How to register the dissonance in the claim that Trump is Putin’s tool when he provided to Ukraine lethal aid that Obama refused to provide for fear of upsetting Putin? How is it an “abuse of power” for Trump to investigate Joe Biden and the overwhelming evidence of his corruption because Biden is running for election but not an “abuse of power” for House Democrats to investigate and impeach him while he’s running for reelection? Even more crazy is how is this is an “abuse of power” when the entire Obama and Hillary Clinton teams illegally spied on Trump’s campaign and filed false reports with the FISC (Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court) to obtain warrants for this purpose and generously paid people like Stefan Halper out of the Treasury to spy on Trump’s team and leak anti-Trump stories to the Washington Post.

In any event, the Democrat show in the Senate was a total flop. Law professor Jonathan Turley predicts, as I have, this may go down as one of the great historic blunders.

Not only was instituting this a blunder, but the presentation itself probably cost them any chance of wooing on-the-fence Senate Republicans to their cause.  Nadler’s insulting charge that Republican Senators engaged in “ a treasonous vote” when, in following the precedent of the Clinton trial, they decided to wait to decide whether witnesses will be called, seems to have riled Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, two senators he needed to vote for compelling testimony from administration officials.

Pelosi wants to remain speaker of the House. She knows that a failure to impeach President Trump would invite a challenge from the left. Especially if Trump wins a second term. Jerry Nadler and fellow impeachment manager Hakeem Jeffries are both from New York, where the Democratic establishment lives in fear of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her woke brigades. Impeachment is a base play, a way to protect your flank from accusations of anti-Resistance activity. It has also boosted the reputation of Adam Schiff in Democratic circles. He seems right at home in the Senate.

A Republican senator told me before the trial began that the conduct of the House managers would play a major role in forming senators’ judgments. Nadler’s eruption proved the point. The contemptuous attitude of Democrats toward Republicans, and the pass-the-buck mentality that drove the House to impeach Trump before the evidence was in and inter-branch disputes settled by the courts, give GOP senators every reason to vote on the charges sooner rather than later. No one doubts that it’s a vote Trump will win.

In the meantime, Virginia’s blackface Governor Ralph Northam awakened a sleeping giant by his gun-grabbing attempts and thousands of peace-loving gun owners of all races and genders peacefully demonstrated in Virginia, putting paid to the media’s distorted view of Second Amendment supporters as redneck men who hate minorities.

Similarly, the false feminist claim that all women are for abortions even at the point of birth got pushback as thousands of marchers for life converged on D.C. and the President — a first time for any president — appeared at the march and applauded their efforts.

As the impeachment farce plays out, the final touches are being made on Brexit, which will take place on January 31, and other countries are signaling they plan to follow on. At the end of the day Germany and France may stand alone as their clever plan to share domination of Europe through a phalanx of unelected, unaccountable, overly compensated bureaucrats crumbles.

Wuhan

The impeachment charade winds to a conclusion, and the media laser pointer seems to be moving toward China where a rapidly spreading, often fatal virus seems to be striking many. Chinese hospitals are overwhelmed and efforts to contain the epidemic by quarantining do not seem to be working.  Chinese state media indicates that all but two of the country’s 31 provinces and municipalities had reported cases of the virus by Friday.

Michael Yon, the independent journalist who’s been reporting from Hong Kong on Facebook, thinks it will continue to spread because of unsanitary habits of the Chinese.

There always are cultural aspects, too, such as the habit of mainlander Chinese sneezing everywhere with no attempt cover their faces. They will sneeze in elevators — yes, they do — restaurants, airplanes, more. They ain’t Japanese who will self-quarantine.

To be clear, I am not talking about “Chinese” (difficult to define), but some cultures in Mainland China. Many in Taiwan or Hong Kong and other places are super-civilized, but many of the mainlanders are like something from another time and planet.

The Thai and China governments jointly published a book years ago showing traveling mainlanders how to behave civilized, such as not spitting on restaurant floors, or defecating in department store changing rooms. This drives Thais crazy. Not to mention everyone else.

This is the sort of barbarian invaders that Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and the rest of us who see, are very concerned about.

They will not hesitate even as known-virus carriers to sneeze on airplanes without covering their faces. Why would they cover their face and soil their hand or whatever when they can just let it fly? They do this constantly.

The virus is doing what viruses do. It bought tickets and flew to Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, more.

Wait ‘till it hits the great incubators of India and Africa. Hopefully it is not that serious but hope is not a plan, or a vaccine.

No one knows for certain how the virus passed into humans. Many target an open market in Wuhan which sold and slaughtered a variety of animals including snakes and bats known to carry the virus (the latter cooked up in a grossly unappetizing bat soup in which the bats are fried and served with their entrails in broth). Others note that Wuhan is the site of two laboratories, part of a covert biological weapons program, suggesting the lethal virus might have escaped from there.

China is already suffering food shortages and the effect of U.S. tariffs, so it’s hard to imagine the impact of this on the governing rulers. How will people get food, fuel, and money? How successful will the containment policies be? Videos of overwhelmed medical personnel and facilities are not encouraging. Dead people lie in the streets and hospital corridors and sickened people sit and lie outside long lines at hospitals.

Maybe instead of building islands in the ocean to extend its reach in Asia and sending in troops to harass freedom-loving Hong Kongers, China should pay more attention to basic sanitation issues. Maybe the World Health Organization can spotlight how disgustingly backward China is on this important point. Year after year Chinese agricultural and food handling malpractice spreads disease throughout the world. At the moment WHO has not declared the corona virus a world health emergency.

The corona virus appears terrifying and hard to contain, but to keep some perspective, 6600 people in the U.S. have died of influenza in the U.S. this year.

Influenza is a greater threat to you than the corona virus. But the corona virus may prove a bigger threat to China’s leaders, just as the Democrats’ impeachment folly is less of a threat to the President than it is to their own credibility and power.