Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Great Unknown

Acknowledging "It remains unclear how medically serious Merkel’s shaking incidents have been," Siobahn O'Grady and Rick Noack of The Washington Post report

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel was filmed shaking at an official ceremony in early June, her office brushed it off as an episode of dehydration. Then it happened again. And again.

On Thursday, she opted to sit through national anthems during an official visit with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. After the event, she told journalists that she is fine but “will have to live with it for a while.”

“I am very well, and you don’t need to worry about me,” she said. “Just like how it has come, one day it will go away, too."

The Post reporters recall that the late-stage cancer afflicting French president Francois Mitterand was not revealed until he had left office and died in 1996  and that the nation's Francois Hollande did not acknowledge he had undergone surgery for benign prostate swelling until he was elected France's president.  Additionally, they note, the American public was unaware that President John F Kennedy had been prescribed numerous medication for Addison's Disease. 

It turns out, however, that the Post's reporters are only modestly concerned with post-war European history, even Chancellor Merkel's difficulties. Instead, it may have been a pretext for a cheap shot against someone who never became a Chancellor or President:

A number of American leaders and high-profile politicians have chosen to keep their medical conditions out of the public eye. On the campaign trail in 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton fell ill at an event honoring 9/11 victims and had to depart earlier than planned. An onlooker captured video that appeared to show her legs buckling as Secret Service agents helped her into her van. The campaign said she was dehydrated and later expanded the explanation to clarify she had recently been diagnosed with pneumonia after a long allergy-related cough. Her somewhat mild illness came after months of accusations from her Republican competition that she was suffering from an undisclosed condition.

As The Washington Post reported at the time, her initial instinct to keep her pneumonia diagnosis secret “set in motion perhaps the most damaging cascade of events for her in the general-election campaign — giving fresh ammunition to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who lags in the polls, and spoiling a two-week offensive she had plotted before the first debate.”

She later told CNN she kept the diagnosis private and tried to power through because she “just didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal.”

It was a big deal- but only because The Washington Post and other media outlets decided to blow the incident out of proportion in her race with the Republican nominee. Hillary Clinton, who released her full medical records prior to the election, evidently was not on death's doorstep, whatever her opponents and  his supporters implied. Yet, the Post excludes from those "American leaders and high-profile politicians" the current President, Donald J. Trump.

The President underwent an annual physical exam last February, and we learned little. He continues to take Ambien, Crestor, antibiotics, Propecia, and a low dose of aspirin.

We know also that Trump avoids exercise, eats fast food so he won't be poisoned, evinces evidence of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, sleeps four to five hours a night, and has been described as "increasingly isolated." We do not know for sure whether he has continued a prior likely drug habit. In a story which lasted, oh, perhaps 24 hours, during a set last December

comedian Noel Casler claimed President Donald Trump used to snort Adderall on the set of The Celebrity Apprentice.

Casler, who worked on the show's crew, had a few other comics – mostly ardent Trump opponents – come to his defense on Twitter, calling him “professional” and “discreet.”

The six-minute routine at the Gotham Comedy Club drew plenty of laughs on Dec. 1, but it didn’t start going viral until a few days later.

“He’s a speed freak,” Casler told the crowd. “He crushes up his Adderall and he sniffs it, ’cause he can’t read, so he gets really nervous when he has to read cue cards. I’m not kidding. This is true.”

He went on to describe a “24-page nondisclosure agreement” – then apparently dismiss it.

“I didn’t know then he was becoming president,” he continued. “Now it’s, no way, dumbass. I’m telling you everything I know. So he gets nervous and he crushes up these pills, and that’s why he’s sniffing when you see him in debates and when you see him reading. It’s why he’s tweeting, you know, it’s like he’s out of his mind.”

Riffing on the allegations, he continued.

“It makes sense if you think about it,” he said, “methamphetamine was invented by the Nazis to keep the fighter pilots up all night on bombing runs, so it makes sense that Trump would use it to hate-tweet.”

Thanks to The Washington Post, we are to believe that Hillary Clinton nefariously hid from the public an incident of what is sometimes referred to as "walking pneumonia,"  but we still don't know why the sniffing. Also thanks to The Washington Post and the other media evidently afraid of what they'd find, we do not know whether the individual who was elected President of the USA, now possessing the nuclear football, is physically and psychologically healthy.

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