Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Consider The Source

As of a year ago when "Frederick Douglass has been doing an amazing job," President Trump didn't know that the abolitionist had died well over a century earlier.  He thought "people don't ask that question- why was there a Civil War" and believed "most people don’t know" Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

Donald Trump is profoundly, spectacularly ignorant. However, he isn't stupid.

Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House physician for President Trump and formerly for President Obama, performed a physical examination upon his Commander-in-Chief and pronounced him in "excellent health."

Most skepticism today is focused on Dr.Jackson's contention that Trump is 6'3" and weighs 240 pounds, which places him one pound beneath "obese." Still, he would be classified as obese if he were not listed at 6'3",  the same height as John Ellis Bush (JEB), who is demonstrably taller than Trump. 

But few individuals care whether Donald Trump, who is intensely bigoted, has threatened nuclear war against Korea and probably presided over a campaign colluding with a foreign enemy and power, is wildly overweight.

Many people do, though, care about the President's cognitive health.  Dr. Jackson observed  that Trump scored 30 out of 30 on a test Wikipedia states was created in 1996 and "was validated in the setting of mild cognitive impairment." Jackson revealed that Trump allegedly scored 30 out of 30 on the test which according to Wikipedia "was validated in the setting of mild cognitive impairment, and has subsequently been adopted in numerous other settings."

The  doctor had previously concluded "I've got to know him pretty well. And I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or his, you know, his neurological function." Afterward he maintained "I have no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues with his thought processes." Yet, Atlantic writer and  editor James Hamblin tweets 

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is a 10-minute test that asks a person to draw a clock, repeat the phrase “I only know that John is the one to help today,” and identify a lion, rhinoceros, and camel. 

It would be extremely concerning if a President scored less than 30/30. 

Additionally, Jackson- who is not a neurologist- revealed that Trump himself had requested the exam. It appears to be "a widely used screening assessment for detecting cognitive impairment" and- despite the possibility of  gaming the test- Dr Jackson did not state whether Trump knew beforehand that the MoCA would be the test given to him.

We also were not told whether the 10-minute test was administered in ten minutes to a patient who has a notoriously short attention span.  But we do know this: Donald Trump is Dr. Jackson's boss.

Dr. Jackson is a United States Navy admiral specializing in emergency medicine, not neurology. He is, however, Donald Trump's subject, as suggested by Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution: the President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of  the individual states when called into the actual service of the United States.

With every outrageous tweet, statement, or action by the White House, Republican members of Congress stand idly by, rarely questioning the President, even lying for him in the instance of Senators Cotton and Perdue. They do so even though they are elected by their constituents and answerable only to their constituents.

And now we have a military doctor assigned to the White House who is answerable, at least de facto, primarily to Donald J. Trump. He has- surprise!- pronounced the President physically and mentally fit and sharp.

The President is ignorant of history and civics. Nevertheless, as this game illustrates, he is far smarter and shrewder than he's given credit for.

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