To this day, Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee remains shocked by what happened on the evening of October 16, 2017.

It was a little more than a week after the release of her instant New York Times best-seller, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, and Lee was scheduled to speak at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

At a three-course dinner a couple of hours before the talk, Lee got a first hint that something was awry. In an apologetic tone, Lee’s host, Brenda Berger, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, informed her that the department chair, Jeffrey Lieberman, would be on the program along with Lee and one of her co-authors, James Gilligan, a professor of psychiatry at New York University. According to Lee, a flustered Berger acknowledged that once Lieberman insisted on being added as a speaker, she had been powerless to stop him.

Bandy Lee

“We were never consulted about whether this change was OK with us,” Lee says. “And then Lieberman shows up in a white lab coat! That’s something that I haven’t seen before or since—not in the wards nor anywhere else,” says Lee, the author of a textbook on violence, whose quarter-century-long career in psychiatry has also included a stint as an intern at Bellevue and as the Chief Resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. “And in his flamboyant way, Lieberman stated everything that he felt was wrong with the book and accused us of being completely unethical.”

Before the standing-room-only crowd, Lee and Gilligan both gave 20-minute lectures in which they fleshed out the central argument of their book—that Donald Trump is not mentally fit to be president. This conclusion is not based on a particular mental health diagnosis, but on an assessment of Trump’s dangerousness. As forensic psychiatrists, Lee and Gilligan are often asked by the courts to decide whether violent criminals are likely to re-offend—say, if a batterer is likely to beat his wife or children again upon returning home. “Dangerousness is dependent not on the person, but on the situation,” says Lee. “The book resulted from our conviction that we have a duty to inform Americans about the extreme danger that President Trump poses to the nation’s public health.”

In his unexpected rebuttal, Jeffrey Lieberman, whose one-year term as president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) ended six years ago, compared the two guest speakers to Nazi and Soviet psychiatrists who relied on bogus diagnoses to punish enemies of the state.  His comments revolved around their alleged violation of the so-called “Goldwater rule,” which the APA incorporated into its ethical guidelines in 1973 and which prohibits members of this influential trade association—to which neither Lee nor Gilligan happens to belong—from diagnosing public figures.

“Lieberman was not responding to what we actually said,” says Gilligan. “We never diagnosed Trump. I think we were set up because his talk appeared to have been written out beforehand.  And his white coat captured his arrogant attitude toward us. In his harsh and insulting language, he was implying, ‘I’m the scientific authority and the two of you have no credibility.’”

Silenced in a Time of Crisis

With over 50,000 Americans already dead from the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are terrified that their increasingly erratic president poses a serious threat to the public health of the nation. When filmmaker Rob Reiner tweeted last week,”It’s very simple. Donald Trump’s mental illness is causing Americans to die,” he got over 104k likes. While Lee and her co-authors locate the problem not in mental illness per se, but in psychological dangerousness, they have been warning about Trump’s potential to harm Americans for over three years. Remarkably, even during this national emergency, their voices are rarely heard in the mainstream media. The reason is that Jeffrey Lieberman and other senior leaders at the APA managed to enlist the help of The New York Times to convince most news organizations that their perspective itself is so dangerous that it must be silenced.

How did this ostracism happen? Why did Lieberman and the APA set out to muzzle Lee and her co-authors?  And whose interests were ultimately served when some of America’s most thoughtful psychiatrists were silenced by their own profession?

The New York Times Falls in Line

Lieberman’s invective at Lee’s book talk constituted just one rung in a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign against Lee and her co-authors. That fall and winter, Lieberman and senior officials at the APA kept up the pressure. Lieberman also cranked out a series of articles in both academic journals and the popular press and sat for numerous interviews on national TV. This biological psychiatrist, best known for his numerous studies on antipsychotics, also added a dose of online trolling. For example, in a middle-of-the-night tweet on January 7, 2018, Lieberman challenged Lee’s expertise simply because he assumed she was only an assistant professor; along with that demeaning comment, he also expressed his agreement with a psychiatry professor at Stanford University that the Goldwater rule needed to be bypassed in order to “do something” about Lee and “the grave risks” she posed.

A couple of days later, the APA issued a press release that articulated a new, stricter version of the Goldwater rule. And a few days after that, The New York Times lined up with the APA against Lee, publishing both an editorial in support of the new Goldwater rule and an op-ed by Lieberman in which he accused Lee of engaging in “clinical name-calling.”

In his Times piece, as in his remarks at the Weill Cornell Medical Center a few months earlier, Lieberman claimed that her position had antecedents in the abuse of psychiatry by totalitarian regimes. Psychiatry had a checkered past, he wrote, which included its “collusion in Nazi eugenics policies, Soviet political repression and the involuntary confinement in mental hospitals of dissidents and religious groups in the People’s Republic of China.”  When asked about this argument, Lee says, “What Lieberman glosses over is that we are not using psychiatry to support a destructive regime, but to challenge a leader who is too mentally impaired to give America the leadership it needs.”

Nevertheless, the efforts by Lieberman and the APA, together with the New York Times editorial, have effectively marginalized the voices of Lee and her co-authors, who include such esteemed psychiatrists as Robert Jay Lifton, author of The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (1986) and Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence (1992). Whereas a few months earlier, several influential publications such as The New Yorker questioned the usefulness of the Goldwater rule in the Trump era, now other mainstream media outlets began to treat Lee as an unethical psychiatrist who “should know better”—to cite the wording in the Times editorial—than to talk publicly about Trump’s mental state. “In early January, my inbox had been flooded with invitations to appear on national TV,” says Lee. “But that stopped almost immediately. And since then, dozens of TV producers have invited me to be on their shows, but have always ended up canceling at the last minute.”

The Return of the Goldwater Rule

To understand how Lieberman and the APA managed to flex the Goldwater rule to muzzle Lee and her collaborators, we have to go back to exactly what psychiatrists said about Republican Senator Barry Goldwater in the run-up to the 1964 presidential election. That fall, FACT, a muck-raking magazine, published a special issue that was based on a survey sent out to all 12,000 or so members of the American Psychiatric Association. Of the approximately 2,400 psychiatrists who responded, about half determined that Goldwater was “psychologically unfit” to be president. Unfortunately, few comments were fact-based; epithets like “lunatic” and “sadistic” were flung around a lot without any context, as were various crude Freudian terms such as “anality” and “latent homosexuality.”

Barry Goldwater

After losing the election to Lyndon Johnson, a furious Goldwater successfully sued the magazine for libel. In an effort to recover from this public humiliation, the APA made that 1973 addendum to its professional guidelines, declaring that “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.”

As Lee stresses, over the next few decades, just about everyone in America forgot about the Goldwater rule—even most psychiatrists. “To my surprise, when the APA reaffirmed it in a release in March of 2017, the organization subtly shifted the emphasis from protecting public health to protecting public figures,” she says.  “In the original version, psychiatrists were encouraged to educate the public as long as they did not formulate a diagnosis. But now, any comment about a public figure is prohibited in all circumstances, even in a public health emergency.”

In the first half of 2017, even before Lee’s book was published, Lieberman had begun waging a PR campaign to prevent psychiatrists—even those who are not APA members—from saying anything about Trump’s mental health. His first major move was a paradoxical one. In order to advocate for the importance of the Goldwater rule, he violated it. Enlisting the help of seven colleagues whom he has described as “experts in disorders of the brain (neurologic and psychiatric),” he did the very thing that he has repeatedly described as unethical. Based on readily available biographical information, Lieberman and his colleagues both diagnosed President Trump and published their findings in a popular magazine.

The resulting article, which appeared in September of 2017 in VICE, under Lieberman’s byline, repeated the very same half-century-old error that it was designed to fix. It’s an inside-out version of the sensationalistic 1964 FACT article that is also steeped in psychiatric pseudoscience. Instead of wild psychoanalysis, Lieberman analyzed Trump through the lens of biological reductionism. Instead of unfounded assertions about Goldwater’s flagrant pathology, readers get reassurances about Trump’s relative normality.

In their assessment of Trump, Lieberman and his fellow biological psychiatrists displayed the conceptual framework that Caleb Gardner and Arthur Kleinman, in a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, cited as an example of the failures of modern psychiatry. “Checklist-style amalgamations of symptoms,” concluded the two Harvard psychiatrists, “have taken the place of thoughtful diagnosis.”

In his VICE article, Lieberman made no attempt to understand Trump, the person; instead, he relied exclusively on DSM checklists. And the “diagnostic” conclusions that he reached would surprise many Americans who have read biographies of Trump.

For instance, he starts off by asserting that Trump’s childhood was “non-traumatic.” As numerous journalists and biographers have discovered, Trump’s bonds with both his parents were frayed, and that’s a key reason why they shipped him off to military school at the age of 13. As Politico has reported, his mother suffered a near-fatal illness when he was two years old that had long-term consequences for his emotional development. Likewise, as The New York Times has noted, his authoritarian father was emotionally abusive to his children—a fact that may well have contributed to his elder brother’s tragic death from alcoholism at the age of 43.

Lieberman ends up ruling out a host of possible diagnoses, including Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and incipient dementia because he could not find evidence that Trump meets all the DSM criteria. And he dismissed the possibility of a personality disorder because he claimed that character structure is not something that psychiatrists should ever even consider. “A diagnosis of Personality Disorder (narcissistic or otherwise), while plausible,” wrote Lieberman, “is of limited significance, as they lack well-established scientific validity.”

In contrast, Lee and her collaborators did not view Trump through this modern diagnostic lens. Their perspective is rooted in the neo-Freudian ideas of the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, who developed an intriguing theory about how the destructiveness of certain personality types can manufacture evil.  For Fromm, psychopathology often has little to do with impaired daily functioning—say, being too anxious or depressed to go to work—which is a key yardstick in DSM diagnoses. As Fromm sees it, it is not uncommon for people in positions of power who appear normal to be deeply disturbed. As Robert Jay Lifton writes in the foreword to Lee’s book, “Our Witness to Malignant Normality,” in which he channels Fromm, “A dangerous president becomes normalized, and malignant normality comes to dominate our governing (or, one could say, our antigoverning) dynamic.”

Fromm’s insights are also found in many writers, from Homer on, who have depicted the tragic consequences of character flaws. For example, Shakespeare, as James Gilligan observed in his chapter in Lee’s book, “The Issue is Dangerousness, not Mental Illness,” was keenly aware of the subtle ways in which certain personality types engage in destructive behavior. Noting Trump’s tendency to incite violence by his followers, Gilligan quotes a line from Henry II, where the king encourages his minions to murder his enemy, Thomas Becket, by implication rather than by a direct command, “What miserable…traitors have I nourished and promoted in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born clerk?”

A couple of months after the VICE article, Lieberman published a scathing review of Lee’s book in Psychiatry News, a newsletter put out by the American Psychiatric Association. Despite his own recent VICE article, he once again insisted that any discussion by psychiatrists of a president’s mental health violates “our professional ethics,” adding that his own political ideology was not a factor in his defense of this particular president, as he had supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. “Sadly, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” he concluded “is not a serious, scholarly, civic-minded work, but simply tawdry, indulgent, fatuous, tabloid psychiatry.”

Lieberman’s personal media blitz, which also included a talk delivered in his signature white lab coat on Medscape, culminated in the APA’s decision to issue its release strengthening the Goldwater rule in January of 2018. In its key new tweak, the APA directly addressed media organizations, calling for an end “to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media.” The APA also attempted to expand the purview of its authority by “urging all psychiatrists, regardless of membership, to abide by this guidance in respect of our patients and our profession.”

Once The New York Times seconded the APA’s injunction against “armchair psychiatry,” any psychiatrist who spoke publicly about Trump’s dangerousness ran the risk of being quickly dismissed as the true danger to America’s public health.

Eager not to alienate APA members who might not agree entirely with their take on the Goldwater rule, Lee and her co-authors sought a rapprochement with APA leadership. This effort was led by psychiatrist Leonard Glass, a professor at Harvard Medical School, who had resigned from the APA after 41 years of membership in March of 2017 to protest the reimposition of the Goldwater rule. “We very much wanted to see if there was a way we could find a compromise,” says Glass. In the spring of 2018, Glass’s working group formulated a proposal that recommended keeping the Goldwater rule, as long as the APA could grant a few concessions such as affirming the duty of psychiatrists “to use our professional knowledge to educate the public on matters that fall within our areas of expertise like all other [medical] specialties.” That June, a letter signed by 22 psychiatrists calling for this rollback of the Goldwater rule was sent to the APA by Robert Jay Lifton. The response: radio silence.

Is the APA Protecting Guild Interests?

Having achieved their desired outcome, Lieberman and other senior APA officials have said little publicly about this matter since early 2018. And when asked to respond to the arguments raised by Lee and others in this article, Lieberman, communicating through his publicist, declined to comment.

Numerous psychiatrists believe that the APA’s vehement defense of the Goldwater rule is disingenuous and that something else besides a sudden revival of interest in this ethical guideline accounts for its intransigence. In the fall of 2017, John Zinner, a psychiatrist at George Washington University, told The New Yorker that he had heard a “high official” of the APA acknowledge that its leaders were worried that if psychiatrists started criticizing Trump, the president might retaliate by reducing federal dollars for psychiatric treatment. Zinner is also quoted as saying that the Goldwater rule was laid down “really not out of ethical concern, [but…concern for] our pocketbooks.”

Likewise, NYU’s James Gilligan thinks that following the money might provide an explanation for the APA’s actions. “I wonder if the primary worry of academic psychiatrists like Lieberman may be the loss of NIH funding for their biological research,” he says. Trump’s sudden decision earlier this month to suspend the $500 million in funding that the US gives to the World Health Organization lends credibility to Gilligan’s hypothesis. This is clearly a president who uses the power of the federal purse to support his friends and punish his enemies in the scientific community. So perhaps a strict Goldwater rule is one way for the APA to make sure that it stays on amicable terms with Trump.

If this is, in fact, the APA’s strategy, it appears to be working. As the APA noted in a release at the end of 2019, it is pleased with Congressional funding for psychiatric research during the Trump administration, which now includes $2 billion a year to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)—up $155 million from the previous year. And over at Columbia University, where he heads up the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) as well as the medical school’s psychiatry department, Lieberman also continues to be the beneficiary of considerable funding by the feds, even though the NYSPSI was slapped with a roughly $10 million fine for overcharging NIH in 2016.  According to the latest publicly available figures, in 2018, the NYSPI received  about $64 million in NIH grants and, in 2019, the psychiatry department at Columbia another $17 million.

The Loser in All This: The American Public         

Though Lee has largely been frozen out of the mainstream media for the past couple of years—say, by the op-ed pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post and by the major cable news networks—she continues to speak out as much as she can. Last spring, she published a second edition of her book, which features an additional ten contributors. At around the same time, she and her co-authors, along with thousands of mental health professionals from around the world, formed the World Mental Health Coalition, which seeks to educate the public about the dangerousness of President Trump. She also maintains an active presence on Twitter; the webzine Salon continues to write about her efforts.

A discussion of the pros and cons of the World Mental Health Coalition’s prescription for America, which focuses on the need to remove Trump from office—via some constitutional mechanism, such as by invoking the 25th Amendment, for example—goes beyond the scope of this article, which seeks only to highlight how a few major movers and shakers at the American Psychiatric Association have shaped the national conversation about Trump’s mental fitness. Unfortunately, even though Lee’s ideas are popular among many rank-and-file psychiatrists and psychotherapists—in December of 2019, for example, over eight hundred signed a petition sent to Congress about Trump’s rapidly deteriorating mental health—the insistence by the APA’s leaders that essentially all mental health professionals, even psychologists and social workers, have an ethical duty to remain silent continues to serve as the de facto law of the media landscape.

As Richard Painter, who worked as the chief White House ethics lawyer during the presidency of George W. Bush and co-wrote a chapter for the second edition of Lee’s book, stresses, most media outlets readily assume that the American Psychiatric Association formulates its policies based on an assessment of what is likely to be in the best interests of the American people. “But journalists forget that the APA is a guild, and professional guilds—like the APA or the American Bar Association—tend to focus on protecting their members. These guilds often do everything in their power simply to help lawyers or psychiatrists earn a better living,” he says.

Harvard psychiatrist Leonard Glass argues that doctors in other medical specialties are often called upon to provide some insight into the health status of a celebrity without conducting an examination. “When Hillary Clinton fainted during the 2016 campaign, cardiologists were asked about what might have caused it,” he says. “If Tom Brady were to suffer a high ankle sprain, many reporters would immediately seek the professional opinion of orthopedic surgeons on the possible extent of the quarterback’s injury.”

As the American people face the devastating toll of the coronavirus pandemic, they are vigorously debating whether their president is psychologically fit to lead the country in the weeks and months ahead. The silencing of Lee and her collaborators by Lieberman and the APA detracts from the ability of the mainstream media to conduct this vital discussion. And today, looking back at the public relations campaign against her book, key questions have yet to be definitely answered: Why did Lieberman and the APA seek to silence the voices of these distinguished psychiatrists who study dangerousness? Was the potential loss of federal funding the main driver? Was it perhaps also done for reasons of ego and power, with Lee and her collaborators getting too much attention?

But the most pressing question now is this: Is it time for the APA to modify or even suspend the Goldwater rule? As the nation grapples with a series of previously unimaginable long-term threats to the health and well-being of its citizens, can America afford to be guided by a guild that silences experts who could provide insight into the mind of a president who may be exacerbating this crisis?

****

MIA Reports are supported, in part, by a grant from the Open Society Foundations

242 COMMENTS

  1. The Goldwater Rule is not the problem. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to criticize Donald Trump on his supposed dangerousness. Donald Trump has committed crimes in office that would get an ordinary man arrested. His crimes include incitement to violence at his rallies and against journalists, encouraging citizens to break public quarantine orders they disagree with, repeatedly lying during presidential addresses, repeatedly violating the emoluments clause, and many more actionable offenses.

    Donald Trump is narcissistic but he is not crazy and this is not a version of “dangerousness” that should ever become precedent in removing someone from office. Try him for the crimes he’s committed.

    Remember once upon a time when Mad In America published articles criticizing the biases and inconsistencies in violence prediction? Remember when Mad In America rejected the narrative myth of the violent mental patient? Now we’re supposed to embrace two violence prediction “experts” because it fits the narrative against a man we don’t like?

    This is low, MIA. Donald Trump is a criminal. Demand that your leaders follow the law and try him for his crimes. Please don’t support the setting of bad precedent for convenience.

    And please remember that our choices in the 2020 election now boil down to President Pussygrabber and Former Vice President Just a Little Rapey. I believe Tara Reade. I voted for Bernie Sanders. I will never vote for Trump or Biden. The DNC did this.

    • “to use our professional knowledge to educate the public on matters that fall within our areas of expertise like all other [medical] specialties.” The problem is your “medical specialty,” and your “bible,” were debunked as scientifically “invalid” by the head of NIMH seven years ago. Your “professional knowledge” is based upon “bullshit,” according to the primary editor of your DSM “bible.”

      “The DNC did this.” I have to say that’s what it looks like to me. Fauci is a big time Clinton supporter, and he’s the one calling the shots. To the contrary, I agree with the doctors who are working in the trenches, who’ve done their homework, found that Covid19 is basically not much worse than the flu. Who reminded reporters that traditionally, as should be the case now, we quarantine the sick, not close down and destroy the entire economy by quarantining all healthy people, except the so called “essential workers.”

      I agree with Steve, too, “I think the Goldwater Rule was put in place for a good reason and should remain.” As one who had a psychiatrist incorrectly misdiagnose a grandmother of mine, who he never met, as “psychotic,” so he could rationalize some sort of non-existent “genetic” etiology for his misdiagnosis and anticholinergic toxidrome poisonings of me.

      And I was able to get a note stating my grandmother was not psychotic from my grandmothers’ former doctor, since he is still my mom’s doctor. I know psychiatrists should NOT be “diagnosing” people they’ve never met, and defaming people’s loving grandmothers, or others they have never met. That is appalling, unethical, and unacceptable psychiatric behavior.

      • Let me clarify my position. The DNC, in collusion with the large media outlets like NYT and WaPo, promoted the “pied piper” candidate in 2016 in order to attempt to guarantee Clinton’s win in the general election. Their attempts to promote Trump as the Republican candidate the Democratic nominee would face was based on the belief that there was no way Trump could win. They also tipped the scales in favor of Clinton during the primary and admitted in the DNC lawsuit (which was brought in Federal Court in Florida) that they felt no obligation to elect the candidate with the most votes in the primary, thus perpetuating the harms of the electoral college and superdelegates.

        Unfortunately, due to the nature of the US Election system with it’s combination of decades of gerrymandering and it’s electoral college, we ended up in a situation where the two most unpopular presidential candidates in history faced off against each other and despite Clinton having 3 million more votes, Trump won the election. This is an indictment of the dysfunction in the US electoral system, and not a suggestion that either candidate was fit for office.

        As for COVID-19, I think the evidence is fairly robust that we are dealing with a unique situation that is wholly unlike the seasonal flu. I think Dr Fauci has done a remarkable job of promoting the known risks and that social distancing and shutdown measures have indeed worked to flatten the curve. My criticism is of Congress doing nothing to protect the American people from the devastating effects of poverty in the face of a severe economic collapse. We already knew that the majority of Americans could not afford a $400 emergency. Now there are millions out of work, tens of thousands facing eviction, looming food shortages, and seemingly no political will to do more than prop up corporations – the exact failed response of the 2008 bailouts. These failures are across the political spectrum and occurring in CONGRESS. Our president is not a king, nor a dictator, by any reasonable definition. We must hold CONGRESS to account for this inaction.

        • I largely agree. But I do try, perhaps more than you, maybe not, to see both sides of the situation. Then I try to discern the common sense reality going on behind the insanity of what’s going on in our society. I believe both sides of our political system are largely totally corrupted. As a bankers’ daughter, I know enough to “follow the money,” when looking for the criminals, and I know that “all wars are bankers’ wars.”

          https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/all-wars-are-bankers-wars/

          And I know from research, that we have some satanic globalist banksters, who’ve historically always used “schizophrenia,” to ostracize and discredit political dissidents, in country after country, like Russia and Nazi Germany.

          But since I’ve pointed out the iatrogenic, not “genetic,” etiology of “schizophrenia” recently. The negative symptoms of “schizophrenia” can be created via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, and the positive symptoms can be created via neuroleptic/antipsychotic induced anticholinergic toxidrome. So “schizophrenia” is likely largely an iatrogenic illness, not a “genetic” illness.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

          The globalist powers that shouldn’t be, now need a new scapegoat disease. And it seems that the new “invisible enemy” – the new “schizophrenia” – is now Covid19. But what’s good is some of the mainstream doctors are now speaking out against this medical tyranny and insanity. I recommend you looking into this doctors’ concerns about Covid19.

          https://www.youtube.com/drbuttar

          I’m quite certain we’re largely on the same side, kindred spirit, even though I’m an independent, and you’re a democrat. I think we’re both on the side of a better humanity for all, and the impropriety of medical tyranny.

          • I do think we largely agree on many points. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the subject of COVID-19.

            For the record, I’m NOT a Democrat, nor a “progressive”. I’m a Libertarian Socialist (Left Libertarian on the Political Compass – politicalcompass.com), and an anarchist (theanarchistlibrary.org). My views are generally in line with Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Emma Goldman, and Chris Hedges.

          • But since I’ve pointed out the iatrogenic, not “genetic,” etiology of “schizophrenia” recently. The negative symptoms of “schizophrenia” can be created via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, and the positive symptoms can be created via neuroleptic/antipsychotic induced anticholinergic toxidrome. So “schizophrenia” is likely largely an iatrogenic illness, not a “genetic” illness.

            Sorry to see you go down this road. The point of putting quotes around “schizophrenia” is to emphasize that “it” is fictitious, period.

        • I think you need to do more research on 80yr old Fauci. He did NOT study virology in medical school because it didn’t exist yet at that time, and Fauci is an acolyte of Bill Gates demonic wetdream of forced vaccinationing everybody along with Global surveillance and tracking of people by the Gov’t….

      • It seems very strange to me that everythings shut down. The world has never experienced this kind of thing before – so I’m wondering what its about.

        It makes sense to me to genuinely protect all those that are vulnerable from infection – but to allow life to go on as well.

        • Unfortunately, in this instance, almost everyone is vulnerable, or can very easily give it to someone who is vulnerable. Shutting down, has been done in the majority of the world’s 210 countries. Not shutting down, would see tens of millions or hundreds of millions dead and dying difficult deaths.

      • Shrinks are certainly not letting the Covid 19 emergency go to waste.

        And when they act concerned about the possible lives lost I call BS on their fake compassion. Thanks to their “safe and effective treatments” I have an autoimmune disease and am as likely to die from Covid 19 as my Boomer parents.

        And psych drugs make you more likely to die from it.

        So sick of the pearl clutching virtue signallers. 0 regard for the lives of people like us. Phony as a bundle of three dollar bills.

        A nation of lonely, depressed, alienated people is a psychiatrist’s ultimate fantasy. My guess is the APA is tickled pink at all the human misery now. Ghoulish and typical as we know too well.

    • I certainly accept that you don’t think the Goldwater Rule is a problem, but I’m baffled by your claim that “There is absolutely no reason for anyone to criticize Donald Trump on his supposed dangerousness.” I think he’s an extremely dangerous person as president. Many features of his dangerousness — his narcissism, rejection of expertise, unwillingness to take responsibility, lack of empathy, sadism, extreme dishonesty, transactionalism, advocacy of magic solutions, … are all on display in his astoundingly harmful response to the pandemic. His dangerousness has directly contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands and to longterm health and economic problems for many more. If you doubt this, compare the responses in South Korea and the U.S., knowing that the first case in each country was diagnosed on the same day. And it’s not as if his response to the pandemic is the first example of his dangerousness. His willingness to tear kids from their parents and cage them, to remove environmental safeguards, to embolden white supremacists, to fire skilled civil servants who don’t display personal loyalty to him, to weaken international alliances, and his gaslighting, his failure to safeguard our elections from foreign interference because it benefits him, his refusal to eliminate his business conflicts of interest, … — there’s a long list of acts that endanger people and the country’s broader well-being. And the changes in his speech over time suggest significant cognitive decline, which is also dangerous in a person who has so much power and who regularly puts his personal desires ahead of the country’s needs.

      I agree that “Trump has committed crimes in office that would get an ordinary man arrested,” but unfortunately the DOJ is deferring to the decades-old OLC opinion that a President cannot be indicted while in office (https://www.justice.gov/olc/opinion/sitting-president’s-amenability-indictment-and-criminal-prosecution ). Many lawyers disagree with that judgment, but even they agree that the President cannot be tried by the DOJ for crimes while in office, though he could have had a true trial in the Senate if the GOP Senators had taken their oaths seriously. FWIW, your list includes some things that aren’t statutory crimes (e.g., “repeatedly lying during presidential addresses”) and some of these issues are matters of civil law rather than criminal law (e.g., more than one EC violation suit has been filed and some are still working their way through the courts, though others have been dismissed due to lack of standing to sue). The House should have impeached him for additional high crimes, which need not be statutory crimes.

    • He’s looking to become President for Life, once he turns the US into a Third World nation like the Philippines or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He can even be President for Longer than Life, as Trump-bots can succeed him for centuries, because his shallow thought can be easily duplicated in a robotic brain with today’s technology.

      • I know where I live that’s actually a good idea. It would save a heap of money on the farce we call elections where we are forced to vote for one of two parties, which isn’t really voting. It’s a game of toss the coin that you get no choice in participating in. And coming from the people who provide State sanction for psychiatry is it any wonder they like to ‘fix’ the game?

  2. I tend to agree with Kindred here. This is NOT a time for psychiatrists to start weighing in on whether a given President is “sane” or “insane.” We should expect our presidents to follow the rule of law, and remove them when they show they are unable or unwilling to do that. Whether or not a president is fit to continue in office is an assessment that needs to be made by the people working with him/her at the time, and is ultimately a decision Congress needs to make. I think the Goldwater Rule was put in place for a good reason and should remain.

    The article also tiptoes around the giant elephant in the lecture hall. The fact that people within the profession can so vehemently disagree in a public forum without any objective way to determine who or what is “right” speaks volumes about the profession itself. That lack of any objective standards alone should preclude them from weighing in on whether or not a president (or anyone else, for that matter) is “sane.” If there is no means to come to an objective answer, it begs the question of why they feel qualified to give a “professional opinion” in the first place.

    • You state, “Whether or not a president is fit to continue in office is an assessment that needs to be made by the people working with him/her at the time, and is ultimately a decision Congress needs to make”.

      The Senate effectively deemed DJT fit to govern by not removing him when they had a clear obligation to do so (impeachment). We now hear Mcconnell, the master enabler, saying he thinks trump’s doing a ‘great job’ handling the coronavirus. Hmmm, what do you do if the senate majority leader is a participant in the harmful behaviour? It is crazy (no DSM category for that) to allow one individual to wield such power. If Mcconnell had done his job and fulfilled his oath of office, trump would have been gone before the virus hit.

      Everyday the media pontificates over and over about DJT’s latest horrors, yet no solutions in the offering, no form of concrete “resistance” to the onslaught other than repeatedly trying to keep up by exposing the lies. Trump is a DANGER to the USA (to my country Canada, and to the world). He won’t be leaving any time soon because your mechanisms for removal never anticipated that much corruption and graft on that grandiose a scale, not to mention a rogue administration, compromised GOP leadership, wacky AG. Yet, as people go hungry, as tax dollars are misappropriated, as the bodies continue to pile up in freezer trucks, morgues and hospitals – there seems to be no solution in sight until November. Really? Seven months (210+ more days of – yes, I will say the word, “insanity”.

      It doesn’t take a PHD to pronounce on DJT’s fitness & mental health. Anyone with half a brain from any country in the world can tell you based on observation alone – DJT is incompetent, unfit, self-serving, mean spirited, corrupt, greedy, unintelligent – and as we are all witness to on a daily basis – DANGEROUS, in fact homicidal. I thank Dr. Lee and her co-authors for at least trying to warn us. They should have included a chapter on mccconnell – no wait, that merits an entire book in itself.
      Your system of govt is broken. I sincerely hope that you one day find a way to remove a POTUS that no one deserves – in their worst nightmare.

        • Did you just recently figure out that Congress, especially the House, is basically a well-funded PhRMA puppet? I’d like to have the time to refute the many false anti-Trump statements made here by many people, but i’m vastly outnumbered, and under-supported and under-resourced. Trump is a DISTRACTION, and a SYMPTOM. Trump is not the problem. Don’t you people get it? TRUMP IS A DISTRACTION. TRUMP IS A PUPPET. When you finally realize those TRUTHS, then you might begin to think more freely and naturally, and logically, and rationally…. Your pathological Trump-hatred warps your mind. Trump is a jerk and idiot, that’s all.

          • I absolutely agree, Trump is NOT the problem. Which is why simply removing him is NOT the answer. He’s a symptom of a much larger, more difficult problem that besets our whole society. But it’s easier to blame Trump and imagine that somehow if Biden gets elected things will magically improve. I hope people aren’t holding their breath for that one.

          • I SO AGREE Bradford, and have been saying this (in Canada) from the get go.
            At the very start, I told a few people that he himself did not even understand how much he was the puppet.

        • If that’s the system your forefathers intended, how self destructive and ugly it’s turned out to be. Is greed so powerful a motivator that it overrides all forms of civil responsibility and decency? Sorry, but I actually believed Lincoln when he said, «Government of the people, by the people, for the people».

          • The “forefathers” were very good at formulating universal ideals, and might have been good poets and songwriters. Not so good at actually putting them into practice, though I concede that history must be evaluated considering the context of the time.

            Capitalism and humanity had some initial points of intersection, and Lincoln had some tentative communications with Marx. Many people’s heroes in the U.S. through the ages had very sincere beliefs in some of these principles, and died for them. But no matter how you trace the history, capitalism functions today as a force unto itself, independent of “great men,” with its only goal being the accumulation of more capital.

      • but incompetence, lack of fitness, greed, anti-intellectualism, a self-serving and mean-spirited style, and corruption are not matters of science. They aren’t relevant to any kind of science, which is why one does not need a phD to see them and they have nothing to do with “mental illness.” It’s politics, and almost all politicians are homicidal.–especially presidents. As commander in chief they give the orders to kill people. Obama was homicidal, too.

        Just because you don’t like someone, or don’t agree with them, or even think they are evil, doesn’t make them “ill.” It makes them a human you really don’t like and don’t agree with. Pretending psychiatry or “mental health” has anything to do with that is wrong.

      • JA — thank you for bringing in the phrase “master enabler” in here. I have used phrases like “chronic enabler” and “toxic enablers” with regard to senators and representatives falling in line with Trump. I also consider that a failure to do their job. Using the word “enabler” brings focus to the system elements, not just the individual.

        With Trump, I consider him an “abuser”. Some people call it bullying or counter punching, but I consider his behavior too often to be outright abusive. And those who tolerate it are enablers and complicit.

        At some level, we are involved in abusive systems somehow, some are personal relationships such as family members, others are positional such as corporate abuse (which I feel America is rife with — and then we wonder why we don’t have healthy culture.)

        I believe that if more people put our society and culture under the lens of abusive systems, then things might become more clear.

        For example, why would evangelicals support Trump when he has violated something like 7 of the 10 commandments?

        Because evangelicals largely worship an authoritarian (or as I would call an “abusive” God). That is the God that in effect says, “Love me and worship me, or I will send you to hell and eternal damnation.” That’s not love, that’s coercion. And living under that type of fear definitely effects a person’s psyche and their psychology.

        In another example, a friend of mine commented on one of my FB posts that people should just leave Trump alone. I don’t agree with that because at some point, you shouldn’t just be silent about abuse.

        Her comment, though, caught me off guard and I wondered what in her life and most likely in her childhood would teach her that behavior — to just leave someone like that alone. About a month later, she mentioned in a different conversation that her dad was an alcoholic. And then her comment made some more sense. She grew up tiptoeing around the authority in her family — not making waves. And apparently that approach worked well enough for her so she uses it still.

        Just my take.

    • Steve, From Australia, yes, I believe it is a time to have psychiatriatists giving some opinion here. What would the world have been saved if people like Mussolini, a Hitler, etc could have been stopped.

      Trump is an extreme. This is not normal, and very far from it. What price is the country willing to pay to have someone so dangerously unfit as the President?

      When rationality and sanity and good, even heroic leadership is needed, thousands are dying because people aren’t willing to stand up to a wannabe Dictator, one without knowledge, without commonsense, devoid of empathy, truth, and conscience.

      When Administration and Federal Departmental expertise and leadership is sorely needed, govt departments are left with ‘acting’ permanent heads, or antithetical heads, or and barely competent heads.

      It’s appalling, it’s tragic, and it need not have been.

      A dangerous, ignorant, not very bright man, who enjoys watching others suffer, has the power of the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

      It is not a time to play he said/she said, or to coldly debate the differences in terms without reference to it’s real world effect. The population of the world is watching as America shoots itself unnecessarily in both feet, kneecaps itself and ties it’s proverbial hands behind it’s own back.

      I am the child of a common garden variety narcissist and close family member of a malignant narcissist. I know what I’m looking at, as does every other family member who has survived a malignant narcissist. Trump is the worst of malignant narcissists.

      • No one is immune to being the butt of someone’s diagnosis, because after all, it is just name calling.
        We should just call it what it is. Character defamation. I’m sure a lot of psychiatrists quietly “diagnose” each other constantly, because they are very judgemental types, but they know that they can ONLY diagnose the “public”.
        Psychiatry sees itself different from the “public”. And I might agree, but it’s not a compliment.

        Psychiatry is horribly dangerous to society, yet trump has never said so. Once you’re up there, everyone just uses one another.
        No love up there. That is reserved for the “public”. Lee won’t stop at defining a politician, she defines the “public” every day, it’s her job.
        There will be few people that “pass”, for being “normal”, in the eyes of Lee, or any other azz.

        I imagine there are many “spoiled” characters in the position of power.

        • Trump is clueless about psychiatry and all these internal arguments within the “profession.” His main interest is in blaming “mental illness” for mass violence as a way of defending the 2nd Amendment, which is intact and needs no defense.

          • Of course he would. That view has always taken the real issues and problems and puts them on the shoulders of whoever is near, or whoever suits the purpose.

      • Gracie, I agree.
        By mid may there will likely be 100,000 people dead from the virus in the USA. Many of those deaths avoidable had there been competent leadership.

        The country is burning down with an Adderall addled madman at the helm directing the torching. And, what does the defacto authority on mental health do, the APA and their advocates? Nothing? No, worse than nothing. They advise everyone, including the press, to just IGNORE the arsonist as he goes about his business of ‘killing people’ despite the fact that we’re all witness to the daily carnage. No big deal, if they can’t officially pin down what’s wrong with DJT, just ignore it. Oh, and don’t listen to anybody else either. Business as usual.

        To Lee’s credit, her predictions about trump’s ‘dangerous’ proclivities proved accurate. Sadly, we’re still not listening. If there is nothing to be done about removing an incompetent and dangerous POTUS people should have ‘at least’ been paying more attention to the warnings and preparing to mitigate the dangers. Instead, they’re left to pick up the pieces (and the bodies).

        I worry that trump is at the precipice of moving from the “mass killing” phase (dispensable reelection casualties – seniors, front line medical workers, people living in blue states), to the “genocidal phase” (groups he doesn’t like or care about – refugees, people of colour, immigrant workers, prisoners, democrats, etc). What will Americans do. Nothing. They’ll just sit back twiddling their thumbs, navel gazing and talking endlessly about how this not what America is – and do nothing about it.

        • “What will Americans do. Nothing. They’ll just sit back twiddling their thumbs, navel gazing and talking endlessly about how this not what America is – and do nothing about it.” That’s Australia too, but with copious amounts of beer lol.

          Anyone remember when having National pride was related to what you actually did as a Nation? me neither.

        • I’m not going to waste my time refuting you point-by-point on your claims. Please read these few simple words of mine VERY carefully, and THINK long and hard about them. “Trump is an idiot, a jerk, a distraction, and a puppet, but that’s about all”….

      • PS How come no one ever talks about the real problem – that almost half of Americans can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie. It’s beyond sheer ignorance. Many of these folks behave like cult members, brainwashed quite effectively from endless right wing media drivel.

      • Having met several so-called malignant narcissists throughout the years, I found it helpful to learn that the eerily common set of behaviours these people exhibit has been researched, catalogued and given a label. By giving it a name (doesn’t matter to me if it’s a quasi medical label), I no longer have to refer to these miscreants as: “Bone chillingly warped”, “Swirling vortex of malevolence”, “A real sicko, scary sick, evil”, “Writhing pit of vipers ready to devour your soul” (mother,daughter,son ensemble). Now I simply refer to them as, “malignant narcissists”. Boom, covers it all….

        • You provide an excellent example of a SOCIAL label. I have no problem with social labels as a shorthand way of referring to a set of characteristics, as long as one understands that it’s shorthand and doesn’t come close to fully describing the person behind the behaviors. Trying to take a SOCIAL label and turn it into a MEDICAL label is not something I support, and it is especially pernicious when the pseudo-medical label is used to “other” the person involved and enforce a worldview and possibly a “treatment plan” on him/her. I have no problem someone saying, “My ex was such a narcissist!” I have a big problem with a professional saying, “Your ex has ‘narcissistic personality disorder,’ and his bad behavior is the result of a malfunctioning brain.”

  3. This is where we part as a result of the laws being different in our countries.

    This Goldwater Rule is like the protection supposedly written into our Mental Health Act that requires “personal examination” of the “patient” within the previous 48 hours before a referal can be done. In other words if you haven’t actually seen the person, you can’t form any professional opinion about that person. However, that creates problems for psychiatrists who might wish to give someone (oh lets say Mr Trump) a diagnosis like “psycho” (opinions not facts because thats how psychiatry is). But without being able to get near him in his High Castle, they would not be able to do so. Hence he is protected from slander via the Goldwater Rule I assume.

    Whereas where I live all that would need to be done would be for a Nurse to call police and have them make a referral to him/her under s. 195 of the Mental Health Act (police powers), he could then verbal him up with a fraudulent Form 1 and have Mr Trump delivered to a locked ward of a mental institution for an assessment by the psychiatrsits who is all ready to give him a diagnosis of “psycho” and start treatment immediately. Thus the psychiatrist is not making their opinion based on media reports etc, but on an actual assessment conducted against his will, but all perfectly lawful as a result of a police officer suspecting on reasonable grounds that he was suffering from a mental illness and required treatment, makes referral, and the ball starts rolling.

    Send him over here to Australia, we can snatch anyone from the community and start treatment for any illness a Community Nurse makes up on the spot. We call the inducing of ‘mental illness’ ‘chemical restraint’ of course (whinge fukn whinge You can’t lock me up I haven’t done anthing, they’re all the same. Ive got rights waaahahahah) just to get the new patient acting a little strange and get the outcome we desire first. But once we start with the treatments it usually goes downhill from there.

    I tend to agree with the Goldwater Rule as someone who has been targeted by slanderers not wishing the truth to be exposed. But I get it that these ‘Duty to Warn” people are sitting on this weapon and are not being allowed to use it. Like I say though, consider planting a knife after spiking him with benzos and obtaining a police referral to a psychiatrist for an assessment. Put it to rest once and for all with ‘facts’.

    Though I guess like Goldwater the diagnoses might be varied and politically loaded. Meh, the rest of us have to put up with it, why not the President? We are after all, “all in this together”.

    We (Australians) did after all get “Osama bin Laden” in to see George W Bush when he was here.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdnAaQ0n5-8

    • Just as concerning to see an unelected psychiatrist, and an organisation in receipt of Federal money, given arbitrary undemocratic power to influence what should be unbiased media, and thereby influencing public politics. It goes both ways.

      But, Trump is a danger, and has his finger on the nuclear codes.
      Australian here.

  4. All that most psychiatrists care about is their profit, power, and prestige. This is a big part of the problem. I recently read an op-ed in the NY Times where a psychiatrist did make an armchair diagnosis of a mass murderer as having schizophrenia. So, far from there being any ethical motivation behind not making armchair diagnoses about public figures, they most certainly do, when it suits their interests. Psychiatry has always been about the more powerful damning the less powerful.

  5. Do you really want a guild that prevents criticisms of a president? Really? It’s not about whether Trump is dangerous or not. The public can weigh in on that. The authors here also weren’t diagnosing Trump with the DSM. Nor are they weighing in on dangerousness in a legal setting. And they weren’t weighing in on whether Trump is sane or insane. It’s about the assertion of power that limits public debate.

    Indeed, this article is about the New York Times throwing its prestige and weight behind a power play that does silence one group seeking to weigh in. Should columnists be silenced? Should ethicists be silenced? Nobody has to agree with what Lee and colleagues wrote; but to think that psychiatrists can’t weigh in with their thoughts about whether a president is dangerous?

    If you think psychiatrists should be muzzled, then you believe in muzzling criticism of a president.

    The APA and psychiatry as an institution have successfully “muzzled” critiques of psychiatry within the mainstream media, e.g. critiques regularly voiced in these pages. Is this a good thing? Maybe we should commission a piece that congratulates psychiatry, as an institution–and yes Lieberman too–for being so successful in keeping critiques of psychiatry out of the mainstream media.

    • I think this is an excellent clarification, Bob. It demonstrates how political psychiatry is as well as their lack of coherent philosophical or scientific structure to be able to answer a basic question that is supposed to be central to their own “expertise.”

      But I still think the Goldwater Rule makes a lot of sense!

      • The Goldwater Rule is rooted in an understanding that a psychiatrist can speak out if they have made a personal examination (and have consent.) It is rooted in an assertion that psychiatric diagnoses are in fact valid. The Goldwater Rule is an instance of a guild asserting its medical authority (in my opinion).

        • An alternative description of Goldwater was that is was an attempt by a guild to limit the authority of its members. It discouraged speculation about people one had not personally met. It narrowed the scope of its members authority. Don’t journalistic guilds set up guidelines for journalistic behavior?

          • “It discouraged speculation about people one had not personally met.”

            This principle asserted in our Mental Health Act via “no referral without personal examination” and other protections. Which should stop people being apprehended and referred based on a phone call from someone claiming to be someone elses doctor, in principle. Of course when police simply do what they’re told by organised criminals within the system and assist in cover ups of people who breach the laws then why bother even having ‘rules of law’?

            In my State, even as a Community Nurse (a basic community college course of 6 weeks) I can telephone police and have them detain anyone I wish by simply stating (falsely) that the person is my “patient” and completing two fraudulent Forms I can have police kidnap that person for me. Then if they are really lucky to get the proof of what I have done, police will retrieve the evidence of my ‘misconduct’ and we can arrange a little accident in the Emergency Dept before anyone notices our ‘indiscretions’.

            Our Prime Minisister makes me laugh more than Eddie Murphy when he says Australians are a people who value a rule of law. They handed over medicine to the Joker when they passed the Mental Health Act.

            Narrowing the scope of members authority is pointless without a mechanism to resolve complaints other than a ‘hot shot’ in the ED, and the distribution of fraudulent and slanderous documents via ‘friendly’ advocates paid for with State funding.

          • This speculation about people one has not met obviously doesn’t extend to our Minister for Health who considers anyone who makes a complaint about mental health services in need of ‘treatment’. If you don’t agree with us, then your obviously ill. Imagine thinking it is unlawful to ‘spike’ citizens with stupefying andd intoxicating drugs. That’d be in the Criminal Code if it was and ….. woops. Quick lose that and hide the evidence that were doing that.

            His response to my complaint that he is sorry that I am still distressed about my referral and detention (actually kidnapping and torture but i quibble over legal definition. No debate will be entered into as that would expose that the authority to drug me without my knowledge and then detain and interrogate me for 7 hours actually constitutes torture, and that using police resources to give the appearance of lawfullness does not change the fact that I was kidnapped. Planting weapons on people after ‘spiking’ them is conspiring not ‘medical assistance’) requres the services of the people who tortured and kidnapped me.

            Glad I didn’t have complaint about being sexuallly assaulted. Might he suggest I go and get myself raped as a cure?

            By being able to ignore complaints and deny access to legal representation is it any wonder they can be so bold in their slandering and fraud? An Attorney General who can not inform a member of the public what the procedure is for making a complaint regarding the use of torture by public officers who are fully trained in what does and does not constitute torture? (as per the Convention) But can make referral to an authority described by the Prime Minister as a ‘kangaroo court’.

        • I think that is a very fair point. I’d like to pass the “McCrea Rule” that says they can’t diagnose anyone, but not sure that will get too far. The whole discussion seems rooted in the idea that they have this capacity to “diagnose,” which of course I don’t support, but at least if they have to see the person first, they will be limited to applying their social biases to those whom they have at least spoken to.

    • Great points! The President of the United States should probably be the most scrutinized person on the face of the earth. Everyone should be entitled to their opinions, including psychiatrists. And I am definitely in favor of getting alternative views about mental health into the mainstream media.

      • A personal opinion is different from giving someone a national platform based on their professional expertise. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We aren’t all entitled to a national news platform amplifying that opinion. Psychiatry remains a pseudoscience and amplifying the voices of some psychiatrists because it fits in with a particular agenda is still wrong.

        • That may be true of most psychiatrists, but what about activist psychiatrists like Dr. Peter Breggin and Joanna Moncrieff who use their platforms to presents alternative views about mental health and psychiatric treatments? Their credentials and standing in the psychiatric community give them a public voice that otherwise would be drowned out. A publication like the NY Times won’t give voice to minority opinions to anyone, unless it is someone of “importance.” “Mental illness” has been used as a political weapon before, but it has always been against dissidents, never mainstream, powerful political figures. The FBI had diagnosed Malcolm X with “pre-psychotic paranoid schizophrenia.” Why not allow for some psychiatrists who do not believe in the DSM to weigh in on powerful political figures.

          • Because the DSM is not the actual problem, psychiatry itself is the problem, and should not be considered an authoritative voice on anything, certainly not on which people we choose as our leaders. It is fake science and fake medicine and should be give no credence to “authoritatively” comment on anything.

            Breggin’s and Moncrief’s credibility at any given time is a direct function of the degree to which they reject psychiatry en toto. And the Times should not be where people go to look for credible information anyway.

          • I certainly appreciate the efforts of activist psychiatrists fighting the system from within. Whistleblowers should largely be revered. What those doctors are doing – exposing corruption from within – is wholly different from what these psychiatrists are doing, which is using their professional status to influence the electorate.

            However, I still have no respect for any of their (Breggin’s, Moncrief’s) opinions about Donald Trump that are based on their professional expertise. I weigh all information presented based on its merits, not on the professional credentials of the presenters. I am, always have been and always will be an antiauthoritarian. I’m not sure why so many people let their own brains drip out of their ears and bow to the “knowledge” of experts. All I can say is that people give and receive bad advise and ignorant opinions all the time and one must be able to think for oneself – it’s quite possibly the most crucial skill a person can ever develop. You start by asking yourself “What do I believe?” And then you relentlessly pursue the answer to that question to your dying breath.

    • This intra-guild dispute among psychiatrists should be of no more concern to people at MIA than should a factional dispute among the ranks of Scientologists. Taking side throws MIA’s objectivity into question, as this is a tempest in a teapot which should elicit little more than raised eyebrows and chuckles.

      Plus from what I read here no one has been “silenced” in any standard sense; it seems that at most a dissenting voice has been thrown into the mix. The fact that this voice of that of Lieberman, generally an adversary of MIA readers, should be of secondary consequence. It could have been anyone who doesn’t go along with psychiatry being used as a tool to smear and silence someone’s political opponents, in this case Trump.

      Further, Lieberman’s criticisms are on target — no one else here seems to mention the involvement of psychiatry in the Holocaust and as a tool of Stalinism (also McCarthyism). And rather than protest the continuance of such historic uses of psychiatric ideology — smearing a public figure based on what Jan Carol calls “diagnonsense,” rather than on the basis of what they do or believe — MIA takes sides in a internecine conflict between shrinks. In doing so, years of consensus that the “mental health” field has no more ability to predict the “dangerousness” than your average bartender is thrown out the window, and psychiatry is suddenly imbued with such powers — all to get at Trump. Why can’t anti-Trump polemics be pursued based on factually based based arguments, rather than by smearing the president with psychiatric excrement?

      Fighting psychiatry is not a “liberal-conservative” issue; it’s one of totalitarianism vs. free thought, feeling and expression. And more and more the “progressives” are the ones leaning towards totalitarianism.

    • I am glad to join in with those who have been critical of this article. It seems to be a situation in which this article has fit the events cited above into a pre-existing narrative regarding bias within the psychiatry community. Sadly, this seems to be an all too common aspect of modern investigative journalism. I have come to wonder if this contributes to a problematic narrative of so-called “fake news” where the entire enterprise of journalism – which is critical to sustaining democracy – has become suspect.
      While not defending the tactics of Dr. Lieberman, there are valid intellectual reasons for challenging Dr. Lee’s work. In fact, this site has posted many articles that address those issues (specifically the problems of psychiatric diagnosis). One can’t have it both ways.
      I also wonder about the issue of silencing. It seems Dr. Lee’s work has received much attention.

    • Agree to a point Robert.
      Lee should not be silenced, and as far as “guilds”, we have one too many and it’s name is “APA”.
      But thing is, Lee can say her crap about me, and indeed it WILL effect me, even if I never saw her as a client. If she observed me in a public setting and decided to gossip about me, the very fact that there are many bananas out there who give the gossip of psychiatrists weight as something real, makes me much more vulnerable than it makes the high profile politician.
      After all, he can hire one to disagree.

      • Good point you make Sam.

        I note that when the ‘diagnosis’ didn’t suit the insurer, they hired a known ‘hatchet’ (who gives lectures to the insurance industry on how to minimise liability using psychiatry) to do a ‘number’ on me. Then the preferred ‘truth’ becomes the one that gets used to ‘fuking destroy’ you at a time most convenient for the assailants. Forget your right to confidentiality, there are easy ways around that, especially in a State where police can’t find thier copy of the Criminal Code, never mind the Privacy Act.

        Might I just add, Trump doesn’t seem to mind using his position as President to do a bit of slandering himself.

  6. Hey Bob, this isn’t the first time we’ve disagreed about Trump. May not be the last. And we’re probably never going to get beyond an agreement to disagree.

    I think Steve made a very good point in that there is no objective measure (beyond the crimes already discussed) to prove one way or the other, this supposed dangerousness of Trump.

    I do indeed believe that psychiatrists should NOT be allowed to weigh in on anything when they’re using their supposed psychiatric expertise, which many of us commenters have for years rightly called a pseudoscience. The ethics of psychiatry itself are fundamentally flawed. The rigors of the “science” are a joke. This article and indeed, Bandy Lee, have offered little more than conjecture and supposition about why they were silenced. The Goldwater Rule is there for a reason and it’s protection of public figures aside, it also protects the rest of us from armchair psychiatry. Suggesting that it should be altered or stricken is for convenience to remove Trump at the peril of the rest of us.

    We could have a robust debate over the actual dangerous acts by beloved presidents that have severely damaged the United States and its citizenry. We could discuss the enormous social and environmental toll of Bush’s wars. We could discuss Biden’s career-long racist agenda that culminated with the 1994 Crime Bill. Let’s talk about the trauma of the millions of black children whose fathers have been incarcerated over small amounts of drugs or three strikes rules. Let’s talk about the last form of legalized slavery, which keeps the private prison industrial complex so profitable. Let’s talk about the children and families plunged into abject poverty by Clinton’s Welfare Reform. Let’s talk about Wall Street running away with greater and greater shares of the American economy while millions are lined up in bread lines right now. Let’s talk about how people are desperate to reopen the economy because there is no political will to institute a more socialized (and humane) distribution of the American Pie. Let’s talk about the ritualistic dumbing down of the American Public School System. Let’s talk about our faux meritocracy and constant competition between the classes perpetuated by nearly ALL across the political spectrum.

    Frankly, if Trump’s followers are stupid enough to drink/inject bleach after his idiotic press conference, can we but hope they will win a Darwin Award and take themselves out before reproducing?

    I am an unapologetic antipsychiatry activist. I do not recognize the expertise this group of psychiatrists present nor do I care if they get a professional platform on the New York Times – a rag so in bed with the CIA and American Government, and that so strongly suppresses the voices of the actual Left in this country that they shouldn’t be given the time of day. This would be the same NYT that published Judith Miller’s false accounts of Weapons of Mass Destruction that convinced the American public to support the Iraq War – a national crime that every president since has continued and that no one has yet been held accountable for.

    • Kindred Spirit: There have been thousands of opinions expressed about Trump that have no “objective measure.” The New York Times is free not to publish anything written by Lee, and so is the rest of the press. They are free to ignore her. But I don’t think the public is served when the press supports the suppression of opinion by a guild. The guild can criticize Lee if it wants, but you shouldn’t have the press taking its walking orders from the American Psychiatric Association. Why should the press care about what rule a guild makes regarding who can and can not offer opinions about a public figure? It’s okay for Lieberman to write in the New York Times that Trump is a jerk, but not okay for Lee to write that Trump is dangerous?

      Also, I don’t think the Goldwater rule even applies here — they weren’t diagnosing him with a mental illness.

      I find it a bit hard to understand why a community whose voices have so long been unheard, silenced by psychiatry, with people said to be unreliable witnesses to their own lives, would now welcome a guild seeking to silence others for expressing their opinions about Trump. I repeat myself, but I personally am against powerful institutions seeking to curb public debate about such a topic as a president’s fitness. I don’t think the media should be doing the wishes of the American Psychiatric Association in regard to public debate about the president’s fitness.

      • With all due respect, Bob, I think you erroneously conflate public debate with a group of professionals attempting to use their professional position to influence the electorate.

        The public debate has raged on in social media platforms and living rooms and debate halls and college classrooms ever since Trump threw his hat in the ring for President. The public has not been silenced. What is being silenced, rightly in my opinion, is a group of professionals with a political agenda who’ve been told they can’t use their professional positions to influence politics. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I am sorry that it seems that I support the tactics of Lieberman, et al. But in this case, I believe that it is the right thing to suppress a group of individuals from being given a national platform to promote an opinion of Trump’s fitness for office, or lack thereof, using again, their professional positions to create an air of legitimacy regarding those personal opinions.

        As has been noted in the article, Lee has not been silenced in using Twitter to promote her personal opinion of the president. But the news media, as the unfortunately woefully uneducated public believes, is supposed to disseminate unbiased facts to educate the public. Unfortunately, there is already WAY too much in the way of opinion pieces treated as factual news.

        As I said privately to a friend, you don’t side with one set of tyrants over another and call it justice. Bandy Lee has not been suppressed from disseminating her personal opinion. She has now published two books on the topic and has a large Twitter following. The public debate rages on. Her professional opinion is irrelevant and the Times is correct to not give her a platform to promote what amounts to libelous opinion about Trump’s mental fitness. How about instead of demanding she be given equal time, we instead simply criticize the Times for publishing Leiberman’s opinion that Trump is a jerk? This is also not news.

          • There’s always the saying that a stopped watch is right twice a day. One could even apply that logic to the times when Trump says the right thing for the wrong reasons.

          • If he pointed out the tainted history of psychiatry as a tool of social and political control he has done something admirable no matter what the motivation. This may be a case of the broken clock being correct twice a day — but there it is!

          • Not necessarily. The hosts were unprepared for the white coat antics, so they couldn’t game the gamester by having Dr. L walk into a room where everyone was wearing a white coat. Perhaps the “house” coats should have had a certain emblem on them, so that the hosts could insist that L’s coat had the emblem, too, which would give the sponsors the ability to loan him one of their coats- preferably one that was too big, to give the observer the sensation that the Doc was trying to grow into it (though a too small coat, if the Doc was big, would give him the impression of being a restaurant chef or a barber). Gamesmanship is more fun when everybody’s playing.

          • Maybe they should just get the drug companies to buy them coats, and they can wear the “colors” of their sponsors, kind of like race car drivers. “And now, in the southeast corner, in the bright red coat, representing Eli Lilly, Dr. JO-seph… LIEEEEBERMAAAAAN!”

          • Maybe they could enter the stage wearing ‘mascot suits’ that make them look like the pills they are pushing? Subtle but effective lol “Prozac Pete” in his Creame and Green. Ronald ‘Ritalin’ Pies lmao

        • “How about instead of demanding she be given equal time, we instead simply criticize the Times for publishing Leiberman’s opinion that Trump is a jerk? This is also not news.”

          I would like to think that what powerful or “important” people think is certainly news. It’s something people should want to know. Fox News, etc, frequently reach out to this guy, that guy, expert or radio host, to weigh in with his/her take or opinion. It should be a very small part of the news, but it is news.

      • I’m not sure anyone is arguing in favor of the APA setting standards for anyone. I certainly am not. And I also agree that the APA should not be weighing in on such things, nor do I think the media should be giving it any kind of weight in their coverage. But these are the times we live in.

        • I dont have much time (bar a few innovators) for Psychiatrists anyway, because of my own experience within the MH system, and my recovery outside of the system.

          I dont know much about Donald Trump other than what I see in the media, but I’d be interested to see how much support he gets in the coming election.

        • Steve. The lab coats bearing the manufacturers’ “colors” or trademarks are an impressive idea. That way, we’d easily know the point of the studies or lectures, although it would be a much more impressive spectacle if there were cheerleaders, as well.

      • It’s okay for Lieberman to write in the New York Times that Trump is a jerk, but not okay for Lee to write that Trump is dangerous?

        Yes, because “jerk” is not a “diagnosis.” When “dangerousness” is presented as a conclusion based on psychiatric expertise it leaves the realm of “opinion” and assumes the status of (alleged) “scientific fact.” If it were merely a personal opinion Lee’s “professional” status would be irrelevant and not worthy of mention.

        I don’t think the Goldwater rule even applies here — they weren’t diagnosing him with a mental illness.

        Maybe not technically, but the implication is clear. The fact remains that these individuals’ personal opinions and beliefs are couched in the language of science and medicine, just like all psychiatric ideology. The “Goldwater Rule” is immaterial, it’s simply a rule of thumb for those in the “mental health” industry. And again, no one has been “silenced by psychiatry” here; everyone involved is a psychiatrist or “professor of psychiatry.” Did any of them try to refute Lieberman? And, if so, on what basis?

      • Re: they were not diagnosis him with a mental illness.
        They were speaking from the perspective of their expert opinion as they would if they were asked to opine on a forensic case. that seems like the major issue many of us have with their work. To make a distinction between whether or not it is called a “mental illness” seems like quibbling.

  7. Thank you for this behind the scenes account which explains a great deal. As one of the early members of John D. Gartner’s Duty to Warn group I am surprised it is the first that I learned of it. (A video of a Gartner speech was also presented as part of the Yale conference – you can read it here: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/4/23/1655450/-Exclusive-Dr-John-Gartner-s-speech-to-Yale-Duty-to-Warn-Conference-on-Trump-s-mental-unfitness

    Both the APA and Dr. Allen Frances did a lot of harm. The later is the psychiatrist who says that because he wrote the DSM criteria for narcissistic personality disorder he is the only one qualified to say Trump doesn’t fit the definition because he doesn’t suffer or perceive any ill effects. (see https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/2/16239892/allen-frances-twilight-american-sanity-goldwater-rule-trump-personality-disorder ).

    Since 2016 as much as eminent mental health professionals like Bandy Lee, James Gilligan, Lance Dodes, John Gartner, Justin Frank, Robert Jay Lifton, Phillip Zimbardo, David Reiss, Steven Buser and others including not so eminent ones like myself, tried to warn about Trump’s dangerous psychopathology our reasoning was relegated to progressive venues and media outlets like Salon, The Atlantic, MSNBC , and Daily Kos where I post my stories. In fact, only John Gartner as far as I can tell made it into the mainstream media with articles published in USA Today.

    We all could have health with the argument put for by Allen Francis because it is a ludicrous one (people with NPD like those with anti-social personality, don’t usually suffer, they make other people suffer). The leaders of the American Psychiatric Associate and their adherence to the Goldwater rule as if it was superglued to the Hippocratic Oath really kept the responsible mental health community from getting the message out that Trump was dangerous not only because he was an autocratic and but also because he was a malignant narcissist with no conscience or empathy and is an exemplar for The Dark Triad, the deadly combination of extreme narcissism, sociopathy, and megalomania.

    • The problem I have with your commentary here is that “malignant narcissist” isn’t an objective medical decision, but a moral/philosophical one. I think rather than “diagnosing” Trump, what is needed is a coordinated effort to honestly evaluate his behavior in terms of whether he’s doing his job and adhering to his oath of office. It is more akin to a boss firing his/her subordinate than a psych evaluation. People are hired and fired every day without the assistance of the psychiatric profession. We have a means for removing incompetent or corrupt presidents from office. The unfortunate reality is that at this point, those responsible for making that decision are too corrupt to execute their duties of office as well. But corruption and meanness are not “mental disorders.” They are corruption and meanness. If Congress doesn’t act to remove him, the voters have a responsibility to do so. If they do not, well, as they say, people get the government they deserve.

      • Steve, I think a crucial piece of all this is that it’s not just a regular, everyday job. Rather, the president has responsibility for things like pandemic response and, just to take one other example, a nuclear arsenal that could blow the planet up several times over. He also has the ability to bring about the corruption you mention, and by doing that he has, over time, pretty much made impossible some of the means of removing a president (so, the 25th amendment is pretty much a dead letter at this point). The system was plenty corrupt before, of course, but we really are now approaching a failed state and there’s very good reason to fear for what may happen in the upcoming election. I think there’s a reason why many positions of great sensitivity and consequence require psych evaluations; if people screw up or are simply malign, removing them may happen too late. (Don’t take that as an endoresment of how psych evaluations are done, but of the reasonableness of considering the question of fitness for some positions.)

        I take Lee and Gilligan’s work as a reasonable contribution to a necessary public dialogue on all this. I suppose I’m also influenced by having read some of the prior work of a few these people, especially Gilligan and Judith Herman–not by their credentials, but by the fact that they are very thoughtful people who’ve done a lot to move forward our understanding of trauma (Herman) and how it tends to be tied to violence (Gilligan), and their implicit and very eloquent resistance to biological reductionism in their profession. I trust these people and want to hear what they have to say; if the psychiatric establishment and the Times are knee-capping them, I think we’re all the poorer for it.

        Ok, them’s my two cents–thanks to everyone for this rich discussion of such an important topic.

        • I appreciate both your viewpoint and the civil tone of the discussion. I think the challenge that professionals (and I qualify as one) face here is that concern for safety of the nation can be very legitimate without invoking any kind of “mental illness” as a causal factor. There are plenty of people who are willing to kill other people who have no “mental illness” at all, even by DSM standards. They just think killing people is a good way to solve certain problems. They may even have their own internal “ethics” of when it is and isn’t OK to kill. In some cultures, it may even be required to kill someone if one’s honor is sufficiently undermined.

          It is in my view utterly impossible to disentangle “personality disorders” from problems of ethics, morality, and social values. Until and unless there is an objective way to “diagnose” someone with a verifiable “mental illness,” we’re building castles in the air. I’d rather go back to philosophy and ethics to handle this kind of situation. Bringing in “mental illnesses” just adds confusion and controversy.

      • Steve, I see you live in Portland too, but this is besides the point since what with Covid-19 it may be 1-2 years before we can even consider discussing our different opinions. in person.

        That being said I think whether done from a distance or not diagnosis has never been precise. When I started working the DSM was nothing more than a little booklet with pages held together by plastic clasps. The the pressure of insurance companies led to the requirement we diagnose. My psychoanalyst friends find making a diagnosis irrelevant for most of their patients when push comes to shove would probably just say they were neurotic or for those who species in the most difficult clients perhaps borderline and if they needed a diagnosis would use the code we used in community mental health for years, 309.28.

        I think the conceptualization of Trump as a malignant narcissist which was first offered by John Gartner is very useful. As I’m sure everyone reading this knows the personality type never made it into a DSM after it was described by Erich Fromm as a combination of NPD, sociopathic disorder, aggression, and sadism. He described it as a “severe mental sickness” representing “the quintessence of evil”. He characterized the condition as “the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity” (Wikipedia)

        No less than the distinguished psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg built on Fromm’s conceptualization. Again from Wikipedia, he noted that “malignant narcissism includes a sadistic element creating, in essence, a sadistic psychopath. In his article, “malignant narcissism” and psychopathy are employed interchangeably. Kernberg first proposed malignant narcissism as a psychiatric diagnosis in 1984.”

        Of course it never became a diagnostic category, but this doesn’t mean the combination of other disorders can’t exist in one person. Add to that the third element of what is called the Dark Triad along with sociopathy and extreme narcissism, megalomania, and the power of the president, and you have an incredibly dangerous psychopathology.

        Who better to explain this to the public, and to members of Congress as Bandy Lee has to Democratic members, than mental health experts? Those who understand this have a moral and ethical responsibility to sound the alarm as Bandy Lee who doesn’t diagnose outright diagnose but still makes the case for Trump having a psychiatric assessment, and others like those in my first comment have been doing. Should we leave it up to lawyers like George Conway who wrote GEORGE CONWAY SAYS TRUMP IS A ‘MALIGNANT NARCISSIST’: HE’S ‘BOTH MENTALLY DISORDERED AND EVIL’ in Newsweek?

        I don’t think so. If you had a client who told you their spouse or partner was abusing a child or threatening to harm someone it would be very clear that even without the legal backing of Tarasoff you would also have a duty to warn – a moral and ethical obligation to use what you know as a psychotherapist to protect someone in danger.

        As the book title says, in the dangerous case of Donald Trump because of our being experts in assessing psychopathology in person and , when we have an incredible amount of data from observations, from afar we are the only people with the training and expertise to warn about the most dangerous person in America.

        • I guess we’ll have to disagree on this point. Saying he is a “malignant narcissist” or combines “traits of three or more personality disorders” is to me simply a rarified way of saying he lacks ethics and empathy and is willing to hurt others to get what he wants. I’d rather call him “A person who lacks ethics and empathy and is willing to hurt others to get what he wants.” It describes him in more precise terms that are understood by most laymen and doesn’t assume any special knowledge due to my advanced degree (yes, I do have one) or my position in society. I’m actually more comfortable with “evil” than “malignant narcissist.” For one thing, the latter seems to imply that he is suffering from some sort of “health problem” when what he is really suffering from is a moral/ethical problem. There is no evidence that can identify a “personality disorder” besides a set of descriptions. Why not just be honest and give the descriptions instead of pretending we’re dealing with a medical problem? It doesn’t require any special knowledge to observe and conclude his lack of integrity. It only requires an honest and sufficiently mature person observing his dishonesty and corrupt behavior.

          One of the major confusions introduced into our society by the DSM III and psychiatry’s marketing of the “chemical imbalance” concept is a confusion regarding what are medical issues vs. what are social/ethical issues. There is no scientific way to determine if someone is maintaining their oath, is dealing honestly with those whom he encounters, is playing by the rules, or any of the things that come into assessing a “personality disorder.” All these things are matters of opinion and of social expectation. The likelihood is that he is NOT suffering from any “disorder,” he is simply acting out HIS morality in a world where the majority find that morality unacceptable. Again, this is a matter for social judgment, not quasi-medical analysis or treatment.

          • I’m puzzled by your claim that “‘malignant narcissist’ … seems to imply that he is suffering from some sort of ‘health problem’ when what he is really suffering from is a moral/ethical problem.” It suggests that the two sets — health problems and moral/ethical problems — are disjoint sets rather than intersecting sets. I see them as intersecting sets and believe that Trump’s behavior and statements put him in the intersection. If I’ve understood your statement correctly, why do you see them as disjoint sets? Also, we do indeed have scientific ways of determining some of the things in your list. For example, there’s a tremendous amount of evidence that he doesn’t “deal[] honestly with those whom he encounters.” I count social scientific evidence (e.g., his public statements) as scientific evidence. Don’t you?

          • I am trying to distinguish between scientific answers, which need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt with actual facts, and social answers, which are massively influenced by culture and social conditions in ways that transcend scientific analysis. For instance, I wrote a book called “Jerk Radar” that characterizes certain behavior as “Jerky,” and even ends with a quasi-mathematical “quiz” to see how your date measures up to the principles introduced in the text. These principles are not in the least scientific – they are based first off on certain social agreements on morality, such as that it’s not OK to promise you love someone and want to marry them when all you really want to do is get them to sleep with you. There is no scientific reason that a person should not do that – in fact, from a pure “evolutionary” (scientific) standpoint, one might say that the man (in most cases) is ensuring that his seed will be spread more widely and thus increasing his chances of his DNA’s survival to the next generation. But from a social/moral standpoint, this kind of behavior is condemned as dishonest, manipulative, and self-serving. There is no scientific test for selfishness or dishonesty – it is entirely a social judgment. It is not possible to objectively measure who is and is not a “jerk,” though it is possible to define a certain behavioral spectrum and to look for behavior that tends toward one end of that spectrum as something to avoid. But what you or I or a different person would view as “jerky” behavior is totally a matter of our personal opinions, values, and priorities. It’s not scientific.

            By contrast, someone who has cancer has a very specific growth that can be identified on an x-ray or MRI, can be biopsied to test the cells for certain tendencies, can be viewed under a microscope, etc. This is science, this is medicine – the identification and treatment of observable conditions of the body. There is no moral argument about cancer – you have it or you don’t. Yes, there are boundary conditions, pre-cancerous cells, but there are still observable conditions being discussed.

            As far as Trump is concerned, there is nothing in his behavior that suggests he is “ill” in the sense of having a physiological problem that could be observed, diagnosed or treated. The definition of “personality disorders,” as Lieberman himself proclaims in the article, is vague and subjective and “lacks validity,” meaning that it has no concrete meaning or value as a scientific/medical concept. It is a list of behaviors that most people don’t like very much. To say someone “has a personality disorder” is about as meaningful as saying, “He’s rude” or “He’s got a temper” or “I don’t like his attitude” or “He’s such a jerk!” It puts a pseudoscientific sound on something that is very much a moral judgment, and in this case, there really is no overlap with medical conditions at all. Unless you can show me how to distinguish “personality disordered” people from the “normal” population by some reliable, objective means, it remains a moral judgment, and in essence, a slam or put down in most cases.

            I want to be clear I am not arguing against making moral judgments – I hope it is clear from my comments that I do believe in people being held to minimum moral/ethical standards by their social group, and that there ought to be significant consequences for failing to fulfill one’s social agreements, including possibly removal from one’s job. This applies even more to a President than other people, because the sweep of his responsibilities is so large. But those judgments have NOTHING to do with medicine, unless a doctor is able to come in and say, “Yes, he has a brain tumor,” or “Yes, his heart attack has left him unable to engage in the stressful duties of being President, and resuming his office will probably lead to his death,” the medical profession has no business poking their noses in and pretending to be able to evaluate his “fitness for office” based on some vague and subjective label that they are applying to a person they have not even met. It gives a veneer of ‘scientific authority’ while lacking any of the necessary conditions for any kind of scientific conclusion to be drawn.

            I hope that clarifies my point.

          • Thanks for elaborating. I think I understand the distinction that you’re trying to draw between “scientific answers” and “social answers,” but am not comfortable using those phrases for the distinction. Both the natural sciences and the social sciences are sciences, in that a central feature of science is the nature of the research: developing a hypothesis, gathering relevant data, analyzing the data for both confirming and disconfirming evidence of the hypothesis, revising or perhaps abandoning the hypothesis in light of both, … Contrasting “scientific” vs. “social” seems to reject that social sciences are sciences. I think that the distinction you’re trying to make is better captured by a contrast between beliefs that have a truth-value (true, false, or yet to be determined, where a proper subset of these beliefs are “knowledge”: true and warranted belief) and those that don’t (opinions/values/… that are shared or not shared, rather than T/F). Your claim that “There is no scientific test for selfishness or dishonesty – it is entirely a social judgment” is an oversimplification. How best to define “selfishness” and “dishonesty” is a matter of shared/not shared beliefs, but we can draw on evidence to argue for or against specific definitions, and having chosen a definition, we can gather data to assess whether a given person acts in selfish or dishonest ways according to that definition. Sometimes evolutionary evidence is relevant to choosing the definition. You note that selfishness and dishonesty might increase passing along one’s DNA to the next generation (especially for men), but they can also undermine survival of offspring, and if we’re trying to analyze with respect to evolution, we need to consider both. I don’t think it’s just happenstance that there are “behaviors that most people don’t like very much.” Arguably, the set of behaviors that *most* people dislike derives from our being a social species where certain behaviors undermine social well-being.

            When it comes to personality disorders, saying that someone is a malignant narcissist is somewhat different from saying that he’s a jerk, in that “malignant narcissism” has a more precise definition specifying a constellation of traits, and we can use data (from his talk and actions) to test whether that person demonstrates this constellation of traits. That doesn’t imply that “malignant narcissist” is a medical term, but not being medical doesn’t imply that it can’t be explored scientifically, as a psychological (not psychiatric) matter. Social scientists develop discipline-specific vocabulary just as natural scientists do.

            I have no psychiatric expertise, and if you want to limit “medical” and “ill” to physiological maladies, OK. I’m not inclined to limit “ill” that way. Many words have multiple meanings, and I find the phrases “mental health” and “mental illness” useful in talking about non-medical psychological problems.

          • I don’t disagree with your last statement entirely. The problem is that psychiatry has coopted such definitions of “illness” and tried to intentionally warp them into the realm of physiological disease states, with little to no scientific evidence that this framing is in any way legitimate.

            I don’t dispute that social sciences can be approached in a scientific manner, but I don’t see much point in trying to define a “personality disorder” as some kind of entity that can be identified, because scientifically speaking, it isn’t really possible to do that. We could theoretically choose a particular kind of behavior, like selfishness, and attempt to measure aspects of this behavior in a reliable fashion. But there is absolutely no reason to assume that the constellation of behavior that psychiatric leaders have agreed upon by committee consensus have any kind of legitimate standing as a viable object for study. A study group needs to have sufficient homogeneousness in a particular aspect in order to yield any relevant data. I’d argue that “personality disorders” do, in fact, describe behavior that people find annoying and clumps them together in a somewhat random fashion. I’ll note, for instance, that selfishness is an aspect of “narcissistic,” “Borderline,” and “sociopathic” personality disorders at a minimum. The overlap between these pseudo-entities is so great that they are essentially useless for any kind of social science research.

            Hence, it really is no different than calling someone a “jerk” in my mind. And btw, I do define “jerk” in my book, but I would make no claim (and in fact, I clearly state the contrary) that there are “jerks” and “non-jerks” that can be clearly distinguished from each other. It is a spectrum of behavior which, at one end, people find offensive and unacceptable. That this distaste is related to social evolution seems likely, yet the idea that such disapproval of behavioral traits can be considered a scientific definition is belied by the wide range of what is considered acceptable behavior depending on the culture one grows up in. We are most definitely in the area of sociology and anthropology rather than psychology at this point, and certainly a long, long way from the pretense of medical precision that the psychiatric community would like us to adopt.

          • Thanks, I think that I understand your views much better now, and I appreciate your having taken the time for the exchange.

            Going back to Trump, I have no problem saying that he’s “A person who lacks ethics and empathy and is willing to hurt others to get what he wants.” I’d probably add some other descriptors to that list or elaborate on some of the ethical problems (e.g., that he’s extremely narcissistic in the everyday sense of the word, extremely dishonest, greedy). Re: “he is simply acting out HIS morality in a world where the majority find that morality unacceptable,” I think of him as “ill” partly because I see his morality as sick and partly because I believe that he is incapable of change (e.g., incapable of reconsidering his moral views, incapable of acknowledging and correcting his false claims). I sometimes find myself wondering whether he’s knowingly making false claims (i.e., lying) or is instead deluded, so that he believes his false claims to be true regardless of evidence to the contrary.

        • “If you had a client who told you their spouse or partner was abusing a child or threatening to harm someone it would be very clear that even without the legal backing of Tarasoff you would also have a duty to warn – a moral and ethical obligation to use what you know as a psychotherapist to protect someone in danger.”

          Acting on hearsay evidence seems a bit flimsy? Such and such told me the Prime Minister is going to send troops to Syria to harm people……..This combined with ‘armchair psychiatry’ just gives me the impression of being about oneupmanship, and stepping into areas that should be off limits.

          This was one of the reasons put forward to incarcerate me, that I had been threatened by a gang of meth users with a history of home invasion, and my response to ensure my safety in my own home was considered an ‘illness’ that required ‘treatment’ (my story too long to be rewriting here, but my “potential for violence with no history or clear intent” considered a ‘symptom’ rather than a paranoid .elusion of the doctor. Without a history what has he got other than his unreasoned suspicion?). If someone threatens to harm me, it is not an illness to prepare to defend oneself. Ask Barak Obama regarding the extra judicial killing of Anwar al Awlaki. What sort of diagnosis should that incur?

          I’ll check up on this Tarasoff. But if it’s what I think, then the idea of snatching people from their beds to protect an aggressor from someone prepared to defend themselves then its moot.

          • “If you had a client who told you their spouse or partner was abusing a child or threatening to harm someone it would be very clear that even without the legal backing of Tarasoff you would also have a duty to warn – a moral and ethical obligation to use what you know as a psychotherapist to protect someone in danger.”

            I’m going to requote this.

            So when my wife got together with a psychologist and they came up with a plan to ‘spike’ me with benzos, and plant a knife on me for police to find and hopefully not shoot me in the process of obtaining a referral, did this psychologist not have a duty to warn me? My wife on her way to assault me and plant evidence for police to assist in the commission of serious offences?

            Or should she take the $200 for providing the advice of how to obtain a police referral and have me locked in a mental institution against my will and cross her fingers that I don’t come out a dribbling mess like many of their ‘clients’?

            Did this psychologist know my wife was going to ‘spike’ me, certainly. How do I know that. Because they both explained to me that they were concerned about the police shooting me as a result of the plan to plant a knife and some cannabis on me when I collapsed. Whose idea was the ‘spiking’? My wifes. And the knife and cannabis for police? The psychologists. Need a referral, get the sucker cops to do it for you, along with the kidnap.

            Good to see that a private clinic takes their ethical concerns seriously. One more life destroyed and on to the next one. Just keep stepping over the bodies folk. Best $200 of my money my wife ever spent, I don’t even have a photograph of my own mother never mind my passport or birth certificate, and 9 years later I still can’t have a legal rep because they would know I was tortured and kidnapped and certain people don’t like that truth.

            I was all good with divorce proceedings until they found out I still had the documents, and then found out about the fraudulent set at the Mental Health Law Centre. Houston we now have a problem. And I get to suffer for their misconduct. Give me back my stuff and let me leave you vile human rights abusers. How ugly that you would threaten my grand children, and wife, how disc]graceful that you are killing people in the ED to cover up your misconduct. How unbelievable that your distributing fraudulent documents to conceal torture, and having police retrieve the evidence of your crimes.

            Ethical? Morals of Sewer Rats.

      • If Congress doesn’t act to remove him, the voters have a responsibility to do so.

        Funny, I never heard you say that about Obama, despite a litany of war crimes and wedding party massacres. Is this because he remained polite rather than being “mean” about it?

          • Steve

            I strongly agree with Oldhead here.

            Steve you said above:
            “I think rather than “diagnosing” Trump, what is needed is a coordinated effort to honestly evaluate his behavior in terms of whether he’s doing his job and adhering to his oath of office.”

            Trump IS doing his “job” quite well representing one particular (more openly fascistic) faction in the U.S. capitalist ruling class.

            And as far as “adhering to his oath of office,” this particular faction Trump represents believes their current agenda is absolutely necessary to protect and extend the economic and political interests of the U.S. Imperialist empire at this time. And why should WE ever want to quibble with their Imperialist based strategic perspectives???

            And Steve, why would you want to give ANY credibility to a Presidential “oath of office,’ when the very nature of that office is to oversee and continue the oppression of millions of people around the world? The Covid 19 pandemic has exposed (for those who could not already see) the incredible levels of inequality and oppression in a class based capitalist system, and also why this system must be removed for humanity to have any chance of future survival.

            Steve then you said above:
            “We have a means for removing incompetent or corrupt presidents from office. If Congress doesn’t act to remove him, the voters have a responsibility to do so. If they do not, well, as they say, people get the government they deserve.”

            Who is the “we” in this paradigm? Here you are completely confining the chances for future political change totally in the realm of “voting” in an organized capitalist class based electoral process. This has proven historically to be an utter failure in bringing about necessary systemic change in the world. And the same will be so in the future.

            And finally Steve, when you say “…people get the government they deserve” (in the above context)

            This is the essence of a “blame the victim” type statement. This completely ignores ALL the brutally oppressive instruments of power and control (including psychiatry and all forms of social media) used by the “powers that be” to maintain their class based rule.

            Steve, I appreciate many of your above comments, but these particular comments must be critically analyzed for remaining totally within ruling class type logic and overall framework of thinking.

            Richard

          • I think you are assuming a context for my comments that was not in evidence. I’m not talking about political revolution, I’m talking about whether or not someone should use his/her “professional expertise” to decide if a particular president is doing his/her job. The efforts to “diagnose” Trump do, in fact, contribute to the idea that if somehow he were removed, things would be “back to normal.” Aside from the very relevant question of whether “back to normal” is a legitimate or sane goal, focusing on Trump as the problem avoids the more salient question of how our system created a situation where such a person could even be considered as our “elected leader.” I think your analysis is a lot more relevant when we get to that more nuanced point, but it is certainly obvious that our populace is so far away from even asking that question that, in order to meet people where they are at, we have to answer less overarching questions and start with ones like, “Who gives these people the right to decide whether a particular president is fit too serve?” My bet would be that the majority of people would have a great deal of difficulty coming up with a rational answer to THAT question, let alone have the capacity to even think about the larger issue of what to do about a system that produces “column A/column B” type choices where both options lead to continued deterioration in the average person’s ability to survive with some measure of dignity.

          • Steve

            Thanks for the response.

            You just said:
            “… it is certainly obvious that our populace is so far away from even asking that question that, in order to meet people where they are at, we have to answer less overarching questions…”

            I believe this type of approach (of lowering political expectations and dumbing down our analysis) is EXACTLY what leads people into all kinds of reformism and failed “piece meal” approaches to political change.

            If ANYTHING (over the last several decades) has opened up people’s minds to ask very fundamental questions about the viability of a profit based capitalist system, it is the Covid 19 pandemic.

            OMG. Steve, even the current ruling has been forced to discuss (and in some cases implement) some policies that would have been clearly labeled as “communist inspired” prior to this pandemic crisis.

            Every (and all) the weaknesses, inequalities, vulnerabilities, and overall immorality of the capitalist system has been laid bare for all to see.

            There is no better time than right NOW to raise all the BIG questions about the need for major systemic change in the world. Seize the time! Humanity can’t wait much longer for these type of revolutionary changes to occur.

            Richard

          • I don’t disagree with your analysis. I just don’t see the path forward. Perhaps I’m just more cynical about humans changing how they are trained to behave. It does appear that our economic situation is going to be in the toilet for months at least, maybe longer, so people’s tolerance of the “status quo” may indeed reach a breaking point. It is also true that the need for socialist-oriented interventions has never been clearer. But I’ve already heard people in positions of power saying in effect that socialism is OK in a crisis but not for day to day living.

            I’m ready to act, but I still don’t see the path!

          • Your move, Richard.

            Just a note — nothing done to bolster a capitalist economy is truly socialist; remember that even the ultra-reactionary Clintons are labeled “socialist” by Limbaugh et al.

      • “If Congress doesn’t act to remove him, the voters have a responsibility to do so.”

        Congress did act to remove him, they impeached him. But the Senate acquitted him, which was the next step.

        As to, “people get the government they deserve.” I don’t agree with this, since our country was taken over by an unconstitutional, private Federal Reserve system, and a small group of unelected globalist banksters, who utilize their money – created out of nothing – to choose our candidates. The system is rigged.

        We need a return to the rule of law, which is the Constitution in the United States. And the Constitution says that money creation is the right of Congress, not the right of a private group of bankers.

        We need to get rid of the unconstitutional Federal Reserve system, which is the root cause of all these problems. Since “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Although I will say, the love of power may be even more evil than the love of money, especially now that ours is worthless.

        But the love of money and power do tend to be problems, from which both the so called “mental health professionals,” and the globalist bankers who have fiscally irresponsibly created the money they worship – out of nothing – suffer.

    • Hal Brown,

      From the daughter of a narcissist, and a close family member of a 2nd, but infinitely more abnormal and dangerous malignant narcissist, thank you for speaking out and thank you for this very sensible comment.

      Those of us from around the world, as well as in the US, who have survived a malignant narcissist up close for years recognised Trump very quickly. Malignant narcissists can “ never be wrong” are hyper vigilant in their application of their psychopathy/sociopathy, devoid of empathy or conscience, delighting in sadistic pleasure, and absolutely are not just abusive, but dangerous, homicidally dangerous, deliberately dangerous.

      To leave someone we recognise as an extreme for this condition in a position of national, international, and most importantly, nuclear power is unconscionable.

      To leave them in that position of power when they could be curbed or replaced with a person of the same political party is a dereliction.

      To deliberately, consistently, attempt to stop people most qualified to speak on this type of person is unconscionable.

      To go further to stop the media from talking about it is staggering and blatantly self-serving in some respect, whether in terms of power, political, or financially.

      In years to come, IMHO, there will be a reckoning in the US, and many millions saying “why weren’t we told”.

      • Gracie,

        I am sorry you had these experiences and learned the hard way how toxic these people are.

        In my 40 years of practice I saw many people, mostly women, who felt trapped in close relationships with extreme or malignant narcissists. If you do a web search for surviving living with a narcissism you will find numerous articles… https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+to+survive+living+with+a+narcissist&t=h_&ia=web

        If you search Amazon there are dozens of books with title like “Emotional and Narcissistic Abuse: The Complete Survival Guide to Understanding Narcissism, Escaping the Narcissist in a Toxic Relationship Forever, and Your Road to Recovery”

        https://www.amazon.com/s?k=surviving+living+with+a+narcissist&ref=nb_sb_noss

        Here’s a very brief therapy primer for treating victims of abusive relationship:

        Once a trusting relationship is built, successful therapy with such people has several primary aspects. As therapists we help our clients build their self-esteem and gain insight as to what in their own personality keeps them in such a toxic relationship. But we also educate them as to why their abuser will never change no matter how many times they promise to do so. We essentially diagnose them from A DISTANCE as extreme narcissist, sometimes combined with sociopaths, who are often master emotional manipulators. We sometimes recommend they read books on the subject.

        Americans are married to Trump. Some married him the way women marry abusive men, falling in love with someone who manipulated them. Impeachment should have been a divorce. It didn’t work.

  8. I also feel obliged to point out the elephant in the room and that is that any reasoned discussion of ethics – which is the domain of philosophy, not psychiatry – would immediately dismiss the appeal to expertise (authority) on the grounds that it is a logical fallacy. The arguments need to be made on the basis of their merit and not because a set of “experts” told you so.

  9. It’s very disturbing that MIA would post an article that advocates giving psychiatry the power to decide who is fit to be president and who isn’t. While I have been a regular reader this site for a while, it’s because of things like this and the article that claimed all religious people are delusional that I generally don’t feel comfortable commenting (let alone donating).

    Science has shown that psychiatrists have no more accuracy in predicting dangerousness than the general population. Yet these psychiatrists are trying to claim that their nonexistent “medical expertise” should give them veto power over election results, or at the very least give their political opinions greater weight than those of other citizens. If they succeeded it would be the end of democracy. It is no exaggeration to say they are more dangerous than Trump

    I can only be thankful that the psychiatric establishment chose protecting their current income over trying to seize more power, but I guess they realize that trying to apply the scarlet letter to too many people would create backlash. After all, if Trump is dangerous, then what about Trump voters? If they voted to put someone dangerous in a position where he could cause harm, then they are by definition also dangerous, no?

    Realistically, this has nothing to do with science or medicine. It’s a moral judgment, which everyone is free to make, yet I can think of no group that has so little right to pass judgment on anyone as psychiatrists, who abuse, imprison, torture, kill, disable, and dehumanize people every day. Any psychiatrist who thinks s/he has the moral high ground over Trump is delusional. Maybe they should try taking the plank out of their own eye before labeling others as dangerous on account of the splinters in theirs.

    Imagine what this group could have accomplished if, instead of attempting a political coup for their own benefit, they dedicated their effort to fighting for the human rights of their victims.

    (disclaimer: never been a member of any political party, did not vote in 2016, likely to do the same in 2020)

    • After all, if Trump is dangerous, then what about Trump voters? If they voted to put someone dangerous in a position where he could cause harm, then they are by definition also dangerous, no?

      Don’t break the code please. 🙂

      What about Democrats who roll over for war criminals and perpetuate a racist “justice” system, making the hypocrisy too much to bear for those who vote for the likes of Trump out of exasperation and disgust? Aren’t they equally dangerous?

      • What code?

        It seems I didn’t express myself clearly. I don’t personally think Trump voters are more dangerous than any other political group, but that is where Lee’s argument leads if taken to its logical end. Lieberman and co. probably opposed her because they realized that trying to diagnose the entire Republican party as dangerously unstable would backfire spectacularly.

        • I was joking, never mind. I know you were just following things to their logical conclusion.

          I’m not sure what his motivation may have been, maybe some personal grudge; can’t argue with the content though. Anyone know whether Lieberman is a Republican?

    • “While I have been a regular reader this site for a while, it’s because of things like this and the article that claimed all religious people are delusional that I generally don’t feel comfortable commenting (let alone donating).”

      MIA, nor it’s authors, ever claimed any expertise or authority. This is a place for discussion, which includes virtually everyone, and virtually all views. It’s especially a place for publishing articles that an author is serious about, but would never be posted elsewhere due to social, political or professional concern. Don’t get personally attached to MIA. It is a place where people who feel silenced and/or otherwise abused by psychiatry/mental health systems, etc, can get published.

      That should remain regardless of whatever else may get caught in the grinder; politics, religion.

    • Namewithoutmeaning,
      I think you should post more often. 🙂
      I am Canadian so I’m not that political lol, mostly because I vote for people I like for their “personality” and try to see through the gobblygook.

      When it comes to “personality”, to “disorders” of people, I have noticed that it is always someone else that is the “disordered” one.
      After all, we have “science” now. And if not “chemical science”, we now depend on a “social science” to namecall. Namecalling, gossip, it’s all good as long as it does not affect us. As long as it affects the next guy.
      Judging by our society, by our discontent, our hierarchy, the authorities who control willy nilly, most the poor, what actually is a “disorder”? How can we possibly point the finger?

      Now of course, if someone with power, is a creep, it is up to joe public to decide, but that is complicated because the creep might benefit some, mainly the rich and powerful.

      I guess it could be worse, our leaders could be shrinks who can never be voted out.
      Trump has called many people “dangerous”, implicating countries and nationalities. And it does carry meaning, it causes discrimination, divisiveness.

      Perhaps Lee also wanted public attention? No clue. They are all “dangerous” in their own way. I’m not sure any shrink should use that word for others before checking their own practices/”treatment” of the people they “represent”.
      How dare she. And how dare Lieberman.
      As far as disfunction and dangerous and disordered, they should all share the same “pen” and I’m not talking about writing ability.

      • That is a good point Sam!
        Psychiatry wanting to warn people of the “dangerousness” of others when in fact everything about psychiatry is so dangerous itself.
        As Dr. Breggin put it so well – seeing a psychiatrist may be one of the most dangerous things you can do.
        Yes, talk about the pot calling the kettle black!! Pure hypocrisy.

  10. I will leave a tentative comment at first gasp and make some more considered points when I can, as I don’t think this thread will be going anywhere soon.

    If the emotionalism which is already being exploited in the current situation is allowed to rationalize an argument that it is appropriate for “mental health” proponents to discredit any political leader or movement based on “mental instability,” rather than objective actions, it is a clear step on the road to fascism — whether you’re talking about Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders (or Ezra Pound or Wilhelm Reich for that matter). If we can neutralize well-known and/or powerful people based on psychiatric slander it can be done more easily to everyone else, as the precedent has been accepted. And MIA should not be contributing to such a mentality.

    At first glance my impression is that Lieberman may be on the right side here. I wasn’t expecting this on a Sunday so it will take some time to digest. Looking forward meanwhile to MIA readers’ comments.

    • Oldhead

      You said:
      “At first glance my impression is that Lieberman may be on the right {sic} side here”

      I think you might want to consider taking back the above comment for it it totally contradicts the very consistent and correct logic you have applied in all your above comments.

      Lieberman is only taking his position against Lee and others because he believes it might potentially threaten the political and “scientific” credibility of psychiatry as a professional enterprise.

      Oldhead, I would stick with your later comment which says:

      “Simply put, we should not be getting involved in psychiatry’s internal disputes. A pox on all their houses!”

      Richard

      • I didn’t mean to imply he was well-motivated, as hopefully I have clarified in my more recent comments; I would still say that opposing such political “diagnoses” is the “right” side of the controversy, however cynical it may be in this case.

        But yes, supporting one vs. the other “side” of this is a slippery slope for sure, and should be avoided.

  11. For some reason, Lieberman sadly reminds me of Rudy Guiliani – longing for a return to the spotlight even though he and his dated expertise have been more harmful than helpful. Conversely and in retrospect, the authors of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” offered the most comprehensive evidence of the coming storm, while others; Lieberman, the APA, NYT, MSM etc, simply failed to fully acknowledge the ‘nature of the beast’ and thus ‘failed’ the nation and the nation’s allies.

    Most people generally recognize those who pose a danger to them without having to consult a mental health professional. They are less concerned with the “why” (APA / DSM methodology) and more focused on the actual harm this person’s behaviour will or may cause them (Dr. Lee). In personal relationships the remedy is distance. However, when the obvious danger is coming from a duly elected leader, the consequences are more difficult to avoid (especially when said leader has favourable propaganda media outlets at his disposal and a corrupt/compliant adm).

    To put the whole “dangerous” label in simple perspective, let’s say trump (by lying) assumed a leadership role in a so-called ‘primitive’ society whereby the overall well being of the group was dependant on civility, cooperation and the sharing of provisions. Suppose trump started hoarding all the coconuts because, as leader, he could. Suppose he started bribing clan members to do his bidding with these ill gotten gains. Suppose he started intimidating opponents by selectively dispensing or withholding the coconuts that they now needed to stay alive. Suppose he then started a bidding war by selling those precious coconuts to the enemy clan on another island then doubling and tripling the price for his own people. Suppose as a result these failures, people were actually dying (and to add insult to injury, while the others were out hunting / gathering, he was busy molesting and grabbing the young women on the island by their private parts).

    How long would he last as their leader? Probably not long before they set him afloat in the ocean on an flimsy raft with no food or water. No, complicated laws need be invoked. They would quickly find a way to get rid of him before his “dangerous” proclivities had a disastrous affect on ALL of them.

    Do you think these folks would refuse to take any action because they didn’t have an “in person” clinical assessment of trump’s psychiatric disorders? Do you think their course of action would depend on an analysis of his relationship with his mother, or whether his father was cruel to him, or whether he was properly nurtured as an infant. What would have been useful to know however, was that in his youth he threw rocks at much younger, helpless children – for the fun of it. Had they know that?

    Your esteemed “DANGEROUS” leader: Homicidal tendencies, unbridled anger, revenge, cruelty – it’s all there:
    – “Struck with a broomstick during a fight, he tried to push a fellow cadet out a second-floor window, only to be thwarted when two other students intervened.”
    – “Trump could erupt in anger, pummeling another boy or smashing a baseball bat if he made an out, two childhood neighbors said. In school, he misbehaved so often that his initials became his friends’ shorthand for detention.”
    – “Once when she left Dennis in a playpen in a back yard adjoining the Trumps’ property, Martha Burnham returned to find Donald throwing rocks at her son. “She saw Donald standing at the fence,” Dennis Burnham said, “using the playpen for target practice.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/young-donald-trump-military-school/2016/06/22/f0b3b164-317c-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html

    • I like your analysis. I had not seen those last few stories from his childhood, but they don’t surprise me. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Most people don’t change unless they are forced to by external circumstances. Someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth has very little external motivation to change anything. If Donald solved problems as a kid by throwing rocks or hitting kids with a bat or pushing people out of windows, there is no reason to think he’d be much different today, other than finding different means to bully people whom he finds threatening.

    • Yeah yeah, there was also a book by a psychoanalyst called “Bush On The Couch.” GWB used to stick firecrackers in frogs’ assholes & blow them up. Repeating this kind of shit doesn’t amount to “professional expertise” either, just more “fun facts.” Who wants to go first talking about the crazy shit they did as a kid?

        • Wrectum? Sure did lol.

          See a ‘sport’ here called Cane Toad Golf. Fine with the Driver, it’s the putts that blow your handicap out. Funny but this reminds me of a lecture I once heard on the “scope of justice” and how we include and exclude certain species of the right to justice (no problems killing a Cane Toad, but do it to a Dolphin and you’ll make National News). A bit like we exclude “mental patients” from any human and civil rights and don’t feel bad for doing so. And the people who are doing this want to point fingers at the President and call him a narcissist? Meh, if your going to throw him out, we’ll have him. He can sit at the table with us smoking and waiting for Nurse Ratchett to announce “medication time”.

          • Fois gras, gestation crates, debeaking.

            Cows are stunned with a bolt between their eyes before being hung and having their throats cut. Thankfully, you don’t have to think about how your food was raised and killed, you can just buy ground beef at the grocery store in a convenient package for dinner.

            Humans possess a remarkable amount of cognitive dissonance. That we behave in these ways toward other humans as a matter of routine course is nothing new. If human (and civil) rights were obvious to everyone, we’d all have them.

      • Sounds like how many young boys try out the scientific method…

        GWB was at least smart enough to not stick fireworks up his own bum. But for a good time, there are videos on Youtube as well as a What Could Go Wrong? subReddit for the folks that were not smart enough to blow up frogs. Some did indeed blow up their own derrière.

  12. With over 50,000 Americans already dead from the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are terrified that their increasingly erratic president poses a serious threat to the public health of the nation.

    And how many Americans are dead because of psychiatric “treatment”? The article conveniently leaves this part out.

    Not only due psychiatric “treatments” themselves disable and kill, according to the Rxisk.org site, many psych drugs are leaving people susceptible to complications with pneumonia, making them much more likely to die due to COVID-19:

    Medications compromising COVID Infections

    https://rxisk.org/medications-compromising-covid-infections/

    I find it a bit hard to understand why a community whose voices have so long been unheard, silenced by psychiatry, with people said to be unreliable witnesses to their own lives, would now welcome a guild seeking to silence others for expressing their opinions about Trump.

    Bob, I agree with you that we should not welcome a guild seeking to silence others for expressing their opinions, but this article is complicit in presenting psychiatry as a legitimate field of medicine.

    This further silences survivors, especially within the context of a medical crisis in which the public is being instructed to listen to the experts. Most of the general public isn’t educated in the fact that psychiatry isn’t a legitimate field of medicine.

    And they never will be with articles like this that leave out this context.

    Since psychiatry has killed and disabled far more people than COVID-19, this fact needs to be messaged in the reporting. But it’s left out.

    You can speak facts without telling truth. I think that’s part of the problem here.

    • This further silences survivors, especially within the context of a medical crisis in which the public is being instructed to listen to the experts. Most of the general public isn’t educated in the fact that psychiatry isn’t a legitimate field of medicine.

      Absolutely!!!

    • As Whitaker explained above this article was not to validate psychiatry but to prove how it is political rather than medicinal. It also shows how large quantities of money are recycled through Big Pharma/APA/Washington.

      But Anomie makes a great point about the APA calling the kettle black. And why do we need Lee and her colleagues to make decisions about how to vote?

      They were slowly killing me for years with their “treatments” and my immune system that they damaged renders me more apt to die from Covid 19 even though I’m under fifty. My heart beats have finally stabilized thanks to defying Standard Treatment.

      How dare these pearl clutching hypocrites use people like us–already damaged by THEIR profession–for virtue signalling to further their own careers?

      It also shows how stupid our society is. It’s no longer enough to look at a person’s behavior and say, “He’s an abuser because he beats his wife and kids. She’s an arrogant, self-centered woman because she lies all the time to gain attention. He is a cruel sadist because he tortures small animals.”

      Nope. That’s not good enough. Now we have to label the abuser as having “bipolar with intermittent explosive disorder” the liar as “narcissistic” and the guy who tortures animals is a “sociopath.”

      Dr. Obvious to the rescue. Sad how some kind hearted abuse victims will stay with the abuser because the shrink says he’s sick instead of calling him out on his bad behaviors.

      I remember urging this woman to leave her abusive husband. “But the poor dear has bipolar. I can’t leave him.” Another woman and I both urged her to leave since this did not give him the right to harm her. (Ironically we both were labelled “bipolar” yet shrinks say we’re all alike.)

      Why judge people on the content of their characters? We have shrinks to brand them with pseudo scientific “diagnoses” instead.

      And Heaven help you if you ever have a bad reaction to one of their drugs or run afoul of a psychiatrist. They’ll turn your nearest and dearest against you so you wind up leading the life of Richard Kimball.

      By calling guilty people “sick” shrinks gain the right to punish the innocent for crimes they never have or will commit–by calling them “sick” too.

      And only THEY have the power to do so. With no objective standards for anyone to hold them to.

      I wish they would “diagnose” the most powerful man in the free world. Know why? It would show everyone how much undisputed power the APA has and how potentially dangerous they really are.

      As well as the slush fund from the White House I wonder how much this fear of people wising up played a role in Lieberman’s behavior. Last time I checked he was not a Republican.

  13. I am much more interested in the presentation that person’s of opinion are actually presented as “doctors”. And interested that they disagree with each other.
    “armchair diagnosis” is exactly what these “doctors” DO for a living. Each client sits in one chair and the “expert” in another.

    Some years back, not so long ago, “treason” was a good reason to get your head chopped off, and you did not need evidence, it was simply enough to have a voice of authority and nothing has changed.

  14. I am baffled by numerous comments above saying that we don’t need Lee et al. to tell us how to vote, or that so-called experts should not be in a position to discredit the president. The reason I’m baffled is that it seems profoundly obvious to me that they are not in a position to do such things at all, and I very much doubt that they see themselves in this way. To suggest that they have this sort of ability seems to me to suggest that some people commenting here are, if you’ll forgive me for such a bold statement, lacking a sense of either their own agency or more generally our collective agency as a society. No one can tell us how to vote, and in fact no one can discredit the president. They can only give us their opinions, based on their experience and analysis. Then it’s up to us to decide how we vote or whether we find the president credible.

    The selection of a president and whether or not he is discredited are collective decisions in which we all have a part. These authors are offering us their take on the situation. They’ve considered the sort of issues at hand deeply over the course of their carers. As others have suggested, their case should be taken on it’s merit, not on their credentials. Of course. Notice that they did not say in a press release “Trump is nuts, we’re experts and know about this, so remove him from office now!” They wrote a….book. Like, a careful, written argument for people to, you know…read? And judge on it’s merits. This, people, is exactly why we have books. No?

    • I find this comment disingenuous. The American public are swayed by the news they absorb. They are swayed by the advertisements they see. If these avenues did not have an effect onthe vote, politicians (and companies) wouldn’t spend so much time trying to get press and publicity.

      Companies like Nielsen exist for the sole purpose of measuring what consumers have been exposed to, with algorithms developed to correlate consumer spending or other habits with such exposure. A great deal of effort is spent – billions and billions of dollars and much labor, in the attempt to predict and capitalize upon influencing consumer behavior, including their votes.

      To suggest that Bandy Lee, et al were not attempting to capitalize upon their credentials to influence the electorate is at best deliberately obtuse and at worst wholly ignorant. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if her book had been titled “27 Plumbers and Sanitation Experts Assess the President”.

      The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Asses the President is a book of slander intended to spread fear among the electorate because fear is a very powerful way of causing people to act – it’s the manipulators main weapon. It’s shameful and the basest form of political theatre. The authors should be facing inquiries from their state licensing boards, not whining that they’ve been prevented from writing in The Times. Maybe Barnes and Noble will have them for a book reading…

      • Maybe there’s something that smacks of insincerity or manipulativeness about my post above, but I sure can’t see it.

        Sure people are swayed by what they read or watch. But I like to think they still have some agency in making their own decisions, and, while I haven’t read it yet, my bet, knowing the work of some of the authors, is that this book helps them make an informed decision much better than the popular media you mention. You and I, of course, differ on that–which is why, on my end, I think a free flow of information, i.e. unmuzzled by large and corrupt institutional interests like the Times and the APA, is a good thing. That way, if we decided to pursue this question (not the particular book, the larger question) further, we’d have more to work with, not less. But that’s just me. I know you disagree, but I sure do wish we could have the discussion without trying to get into each others heads, especially when we have so little to go on.

        As for whether the authors were trying to capitalize on their credentials, I couldn’t say what their intentions or thought process were. I’m much more interested in looking at the merits of their argument. And, again, I’m glad to have more, not less, access to what they have to say.

        • You keep referring to the book when we are discussing their lack of ability to promote their book in The Times. The book was a bestseller on pre-order before it was even published. It has not been banned. Folks who are inclined to read it will, I’m sure. So I think to continue to refer to the book as if it were the main topic of this discussion is, again, disingenuous.

          What is being objected to is the use of a national news platform to promote their basic premise that Trump is dangerous – and using their positions as psychiatrists and self-described mental health ‘experts’ to do so. It is the appeal to their authority that they have been stopped from promoting, and rightly so.

          As for whether individuals have or are lacking personal agency, I would simply like to refer you to the massive increase in calls to poison control lines, and the number of deaths that have occurred from Trump’s suggestion that doctors try injecting disinfectants in patients to “see what happens”. The term ‘low information voter’ exists for a reason. 80% of news readers read the headline only. Those of us here having a robust debate about this are not the majority of the electorate.

          I don’t even read NYT – we can agree that it’s a corrupt institution. Most folks my age and under get their news from alternative sources already as we are aware of the wide scale corruption of the mainstream news media. Trump’s cries of “fake news” wouldn’t be nearly as effective if there weren’t a large degree of truth behind it. Trump exploits the systemic issues that were already there. He didn’t create them. Focusing on him as some clear and present danger is a large part of why we haven’t and seemingly can’t make any progress on the underlying and massive systemic oppression taking America down. The world was still burning under No Drama Obama. So, no, I’m not going to be sidetracked by fearmongering about Trump.

  15. “Toxic psychiatry” and “toxic patriarchy” would seem to be just about the same thing. Sound leadership would be nice, where the greater good is considered over greed, which I define as one person’s ego being satisfied at the sacrifice of others–the essence of injustice, a dysfunctional system, and it leads to oppression and needless suffering. Even with good intentions, it’s hard to strike a social balance–if it is at all possible–when we choose to put issues of money and vanity over and above the quality of human life for absolutely everyone in that community, no exclusion, no exceptions.

  16. TO ALL THAT COMMENTED ABOVE:

    I wish to extend my most heartfelt and sincere gratitude to every one of you for giving me the first ever and never thought possible experience of the collective human decency, civility, and unanimous personal high standard of conduct as witnessed above.

    I admittedly type with tear-filled eyes and the overwhelming sensation of joyful delight rendering my complete and total feeling of peace. This conversation has immensely restored my previously sad and regrettable loss of faith in wo/mankind. I am eternally grateful for this and to each one of you for your part in nothing less than an exhilarating, perplexing, enlightening, thought-provoking, informative, educational, logical, methodical, and earnestly written points across the spectrum that are well supported and occassionally referenced. Brilliant!

    As I’ll assume, we all know too well, the world we currently live in is unforgiving, harsh, fast, and in continual moral and ethical decline of fellow humans. No better example than the comments posted throughout the internet and social media.

    Being an empath/lightworker, I am sensitive to the unfiltered, vicious, hateful assaults that are rampant online. Hence, I am very strict about my exposure to such by limiting my time and access. It is within my personal experience and the unhealthy toll it takes that compels me now to express my appreciation for having observed what I have always longed for in my vision of an ideal world.

    In closing, I wish everyone good health, unconditional love, and a life lived with pride and purpose.

    Again, thank you for giving me this incredible experience and a positive leap toward believing it’s all gonna be okay!

    Humbly and respectfully,
    XOXO-Frances

  17. In my opinion, a figurative pox on both Jeffrey Lieberman and Bandy Lee! Both believe their “expertise” in the pseudoscience of psychiatry entitles them to exert a disproportionate influence on politics and public discourse.

    Should the APA be able to muzzle the group of psychiatrists who want to argue from authority that Donald Trump is dangerous? No. But Trump should not be removed because psychiatry says so, but because anyone with common sense can see that he’s incompetent, vicious, and a host of other adjectives unsuited to a president.

    • Great comment Miranda. I am against censorship and the APA muzzling anyone (even a group from their own guild) is just more proof of the sickening power and control psychiatry wields. While it is desirable for people to understand that a president who acts bombastic, impulsively, etc, does pose a great deal of danger to the country, I can’t get onboard with the opinion of psychiatrists (who obviously believe in DSM labels for anyone they deem is exhibiting inappropriate behaviour) being given any credibility to put the message out.

    • But the forced commitment laws state that if Trump, or anyone, is considered “dangerous,” by a psychiatrist, then he/she should be force committed. Should any psychiatrist, who’s never met Trump, or some new client, be able to do that?

      Or maybe we should ask, should any psychiatrist, who doesn’t know a client, be able to force treat any client for profit? As an ethical, fiscally responsible person, who was unjustly force treated by a doctor whose now been convicted by the FBI, my opinion is no.

      https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/oak-brook-doctor-convicted-kickback-scheme-sacred-heart-hospital

      The psychiatrists shouldn’t be given the right to defame people they’ve never met, as “dangerous.” And they shouldn’t have the right to force drug non- dangerous people, whom they do not know, for profit.

      But that is who today’s psychiatrists are.

    • I don’t understand why people insist on calling psychiatry a “pseudoscience”. It’s the first thing that puts a stopper in any kind of a criticism towards it.

      Psychiatry isn’t a pseudoscience. It’s scientific status is a pseudo-problem.

      That whole debate is a completely irrelevant diversion.

      Having a journal paper industry, journal publishing shrinks, books, organised departments and curricula doesn’t mean what it does is not harmful.

      You could make up an entire field full of those things on all manner of subjects, even those which most of us would consider barbaric. So what?

          • It is a means of establishing facts. It doesn’t deal with ethics. Ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? It totally handles that exact question with eclat!

          • There’s plenty of social science research about ethics.

            You seem to be conflating “science” with “natural sciences” again.

            The claim “X is ethical” is a matter of opinion; however, that doesn’t imply that there are no factual claims that can be made about ethics. For example, if many people believe that X is ethical, but others disagree, then “many people believe that X is ethical, but others disagree” is a factual (true) claim. If Person A reasons that X is unethical because of DEF, then “Person A reasons that X is unethical because of DEF” is a factual (true) claim. If institutional review boards were created to help protect against certain research deemed to be unethical, then the claim “institutional review boards were created to help protect against certain research deemed to be unethical” is a factual (true) claim. There are all sorts of scientific claims that can be made about ethics, ethical reasoning, structures that people create to try to combat acts viewed as unethical, … If you’d like to read some of the research on ethics, https://scholar.google.com is one place to search.

          • Ethics is a branch of philosophy. Philosophy is senior to science. Science depends upon a certain philosophy of what is true vs. not true. Ethics has to do with what is GOOD or NOT GOOD. Science can’t answer those questions, except in a mechanical way of measuring X outcome when ethic Y is agreed upon by a society. The decision of what is good or bad is both an individual and a social one and is not really subject to scientific analysis, as it does not provide measurable inputs or outcomes.

            Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for an incredible exploration of this very subject. It is one of my favorite books of all time.

          • I’m well aware that ethics is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the concepts of right and wrong behavior. I didn’t claim that science can tell us what conduct is right or wrong. But that doesn’t imply that no scientific claims can be made about ethics, ethical reasoning, the structures that people create to try to combat acts viewed as unethical, …, and I gave you examples of why the former doesn’t imply the latter. Do you dispute that if many people believe that X is ethical, but others disagree, then “many people believe that X is ethical, but others disagree” is a factual (true) claim?

            Even though we cannot answer questions of right and wrong with science, we can still study many aspects of people’s ethical beliefs and behaviors scientifically. Science is not limited to what can be measured. Qualitative research can be carried out scientifically. As I noted earlier, a central feature of science is *the nature of the research*: developing a hypothesis, gathering relevant data, analyzing the data for both confirming and disconfirming evidence of the hypothesis, revising or perhaps abandoning the hypothesis in light of both, … One can carry out this kind of research with qualitative questions/data, including research on aspects of people’s ethical beliefs and behavior.

            I read Pirsig’s book long ago in college, but haven’t reread it since. I’ll think about rereading it.

          • No, I don’t disagree that we can make factual observations about what people believe. My only point is that science can’t determine “what is right” by the scientific method, and it appears we agree on that point. Sorry if my post sounded dismissive – I was kind of in a hurry last night! And I do think qualitative research is a valid means of studying ethics, though it gets more into sociology/anthropology and is a far distance from medicine. I guess that’s what I’m really getting at here – we can study history and use scientific means to determine certain things about history, but using those methods to make claims about medical treatment of one’s body would be ludicrous. Medicine can be studied from an anthropological/sociological viewpoint, and it has been (“Medicine and Culture” was a great read, comparing medical practices in France, England, Germany and the USA and demonstrating how much of even non-psychiatric medical decisions are made based on cultural beliefs), but this is not a way to determine what is actually wrong with someone or what kind of treatments are effective. Psychiatry would be FAR better off if it viewed itself as a sociological/anthropological soft science and proceeded accordingly, but there’s a lot less drug company money in such an approach.

          • I interpret “[science] doesn’t deal with ethics” as much more sweeping than “science can’t determine ‘what is [ethically] right’ by the scientific method.” I agree with the latter.

            When you say “Psychiatry would be FAR better off if it viewed itself as a sociological/anthropological soft science and proceeded accordingly,” what are examples of some of the research you wish psychiatrists were carrying out?

          • For example, looking at indigenous healing practices and indigenous cultures and seeing what they do for “mental health problems.”
            -Looking into why people diagnosed who hear voices have more positive content in countries where culture supports voice healing as a normative experience, and exploring how altering our cultural attitude toward voices might help those suffering right now.
            – Looking at different classroom settings and observing that “ADHD”-diagnosed children do so much better in “open classrooms” than those who are in standard classrooms that they are indistinguishable from “normal” children, and then advocating for revisions in classroom settings instead of drugging the kids who don’t “fit in.”
            – Looking at why it is that certain cultures have almost ZERO incidence of “postpartum depression” while in our culture, it is almost epidemic. Helping move our culture in a direction that emulates those who support new moms in a way that they don’t suffer, based on the evidence of the absence of this suffering in their culture.
            – Studying the interesting phenomenon whereby immigrants develop Western maladies, both “mental” and “physical,” by three generations living in a Western culture. See what it is about Western culture that makes them ill and see if we can stop it.
            – Look at the impact of racism on group experience in terms of emotional experience and behavior.
            – Examine the connection of job satisfaction/”stuckness” to other life indicators, such as mood, marriage success, etc.

            The list is endless. These are things that could be studied using social science methods and might lead to improvements in our social welfare. None of them require labeling anyone as “ill” or “bad” for diverging from what the society considers “normal.” In fact, a real “doctor of the spirit” would dbe working to redefine “normal” toward what works for people instead of what works for the institutions of society. Psychiatry appears to be doing the opposite. If you don’t “fit in,” you’re abnormal and need to be “fixed.” Those who don’t create any problems for the status quo are “normal” and don’t need fixing. “Fixed” is defined as being happy with the status quo (but not TOO happy – then you’d be manic!) It is not working in the interests of improving people’s lives, unless you count the people who are making big bucks out of the enterprise. Sure, there are a number of people who feel better taking their drugs. But people also feel better smoking dope or drinking beer every day. Drinking beer to feel better can be helpful for some, but it’s not a medical treatment.

            So there’s lots to do, but drugging people unhappy with their lives is not particularly productive, IMHO. Especially if you label them as “abnormal” for feeling, thinking or behaving the way they do.

          • “Psychiatry would be FAR better off if it viewed itself as a sociological/anthropological soft science and proceeded accordingly” ?

            @Steve — Psychiatry would be better off nonexistent. Psychiatry is by its own definition the “treatment” of “mental illness,” hence none of the above suggestions for “improvement” apply. All of what you mention is based on an unfounded assumption that psychiatry would care about any of it, other than as part of a strategy for achieving social control in the name of medicine.

          • Well, of course. I was responding with the idea of “psychiatry” as “carers for the spirit,” psychiatry as it COULD be if they started off by actually believing that such a thing as a human spirit exists.

            Psychiatry is worse than nonsense, or it would already be interested in all the above things I mentioned. The “ADHD” example alone proves that they will bury useful evidence that would reduce the number of diagnosed/drugged kids and promote things that will sell more stimulants. They are a bankrupt profession.

        • I’m offered a “scientific” pill, called an “antidepressant”, yet for non “depression”. Yet I am not offered anything but a verbal test for the illness that warrants the chemical?

          That chemical was developed by pharma, who also might use the word “scientist”.
          Mixing up chemicals that suppress brain activity or even fry the brain is not so difficult to do.

        • “Did someone say Kentucky Fried Chicken?”

          Not sure if this is an international advertising campaign but ….. I found it funny, especially when you think of the reasons they changed fro Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC. ‘Medication’ anyone? lol The diversion from everyday bad events to a bucket of KFC such an easy transition on televison.

  18. I’ll put this here where the ‘professionals’ are stepping over us.

    “In times of war or public panic, thoughtless repetition of gossip is rightly restrained by all effective States. If false, such news may cause needless alarm; if true, it may frighten the timid and cause some misgiving even to the bravest, because the counterpart of it – the preparations made to meet the danger – is not known. Thoughtless news, true or false, may also encourage the enemy. The proper course is quietly to hand all news direct to those who are in a position to investigate it. They can then sift it and take suitable measures to checkmate the enemy. Not to do so, but to deal with news either thoughtlessly or maliciously, is to fall directly into the snares of Evil” Abdullah Yusef Ali.

    Is it gossip? And has the path of quietly handed off to those in a position to investigate been taken? Or is this being done as a means to profit from the sales of books from controversy?

    I can’t give an opinion based on the information I have. But I can give an opinion on the methods used in the area of mental health regarding the use of ‘diagnosis’ as slander. Which I have done above.

    • Of course my role in ‘falling into the snares of Evil” is not lost on me. I have made a lot of noise regarding my State sanctioning torture and killing and disguising it as ‘medicine’. Should I not have gone about this quietly? I did. And then found myself being victimised by those in authority who had a duty to act, and instead found it easier to fuking destroy me. Still i’m sure they are much more caring with your loved ones, at least to your face.

      Let me quote directly from my Book, and then the interpretation by Ali.

      “Allah loveth not that evil should be noised abroad* in public speech, except where an injustice has been done, for Allah is He who heareth and knoweth all things” (4:148)

      Note the exception? I consider the acts of threatening my family, and the distribution of fraud and slanderous documents regarding my ‘detention’ and ‘referral’ to be an injustice. The footnote;

      * “We can make a public scandal of evil in many ways (1) it may be idle sensation-mongering; it often leads to more evil by imitation, as where criminal deeds are glorified in the cinema, or talked about shamelessly in a novel or drama. (2) it may be malicious gossip of a foolish personal kind. It does no good, but it hurts peoples feelings (3) It may be malevolent slander or libel; it is intended deliberately to cause harm to peoples reputation or injure them in other ways, and is rightly punishable under all laws. (4) it may be a public rebuke or correction or remonstrance, without malice. (1) (2) and (3) are absolutely forbidden. (4) may be by a person in authority, in which case the exception apply, for all wrong and injustice MUST be corrected openly, to prevent it’s recurrence. Or (4) may be by a person not vested with authority , but acting either from motives of public spirit, or in order to help someone who has been wronged; here again the exception will apply. But if the motive is different, the exception does not apply. (4) would also include a public complaint by a person who has suffered a wrong, he has every right to seek public redress.”

      So the actions of the hospital are strictly forbidden, and I have every right to seek redress from those who have done me wrong. Though of course my government has doubled down and attempted to kill me to conceal their wrongdoing. I make noise “abroad” but there is no one prepared to stand up and hold these criminals to account, which as stated needs to be done “openly”. The attempt by the State to conceal their slander under the exceptions of (4) clear for anyone to see should they choose to look. Start with the fraudulent documents sent to the Mental Health Law Centre and their actions as a result of that fraud.

      Good news is I’m not going to be held accountable for their evil deeds. And those who have stood by and neglected their duty have more than their own shame to be concerned about. Those who continue to obstruct justice over these matters and continue with the fraud and slander? I have a duty to warn and nothing more.

      So does the work by Bandy et al fit into (1) (2) (3) or (4)? Not an easy assessment to make huh?

      It was in my instance though, I was tortured and kidnapped. And when they found out that I was speaking the truth, they went to town on me and my family. Slander, fraud, and an attempt to kill me, and police who claim their hands are tied, because with the status of “patient” anything can be done to you and called ‘medicine’. (see the different ways ‘nutjobs’ are treated by police to confirm they are fully aware of this status difference) And I paid taxes for some slag criminal hospital administrator who is corrupting our entire system like a cancerous growth being covered over with a band aid.

  19. It’s fascinating to see the eminent Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, acting as de facto spokesperson for the APA, claim that the personality disorders invented by the APA and published in its DSM are not valid.

    From the article: “…(Lieberman) dismissed the possibility of a personality disorder because he claimed that character structure is not something that psychiatrists should ever even consider. “A diagnosis of Personality Disorder (narcissistic or otherwise), while plausible,” wrote Lieberman, “is of limited significance, as they lack well-established scientific validity.”

    This claim, by itself, is worthy of a front-page news story. A high-profile psychiatrist and former APA president has publicly claimed that psychiatrists should not diagnose personality disorders because they are not valid. The implications and questions surrounding this claim are profound!

    Why would the APA, in its DSM, include diagnoses that experts acknowledge as invalid? Why hasn’t the APA removed personality disorder diagnoses from the DSM, or come clean to society that these diagnoses are invalid? There are entire therapeutic industries geared toward diagnosing and treating personality disorders. What are we to think about such industries if the problems they target do not exist? School children around the world are taught in “mental health literacy” programs that personality disorders are valid illness. The university education of every mental health professional includes learning about DSM diagnoses, including personality disorders, based on the understanding they are valid. But, as Lieberman admitted, they are not.

    This is not a small problem.

    • Wow, Brett, I missed that point entirely! This should be copied and reprinted over and over and brought before judges and legislators all over the world. I find it a bit awkward to be in agreement with Lieberman, but I guess it goes to prove that these guys are pretty much all aware of the lack of scientific credibility in their “treatment model,” but chose to “forget” these inconvenient facts as long as they are being sufficiently reimbursed for their troubles.

    • This claim, by itself, is worthy of a front-page news story. A high-profile psychiatrist and former APA president has publicly claimed that psychiatrists should not diagnose personality disorders because they are not valid. The implications and questions surrounding this claim are profound!

      Brett, I’m not so sure about this. Dr. Thomas Szasz wrote that psychiatry’s sacred symbol is “schizophrenia” because it’s a justification for locking people up and taking away their civil rights.

      I think there’s a lot of truth to this. If Lieberman were to denounce “schizophrenia” as invalid, THAT would be front-page news.

      In fact, it would destroy psychiatry at its core.

    • So we now have top psychiatric experts conceding that “personality disorders” are essentially bogus (Lieberman) and that the concept of “biochemical imbalances” is a “white lie” (Pies). Can we get one to finally give up the whole enchilada and acknowledge that “mental illness” itself is a myth?

    • I agree Dr. Deacon and Steve! This is HUGE!

      “that character structure is not something that psychiatrists should ever even consider.”

      A derogatory DSM label – that is in fact ‘character’ defamation – and has caused immense discrimination and suffering for so many is deemed not valid by a high profile psychiatrist who was President of the APA. Wow! The arrogance, manipulation of information and hypocrisy of this morally bankrupt guild is astounding.

      This does need some major coverage! It would help show people how corrupt and self-serving psychiatry is and that if a label of “personality disorder” is not valid what does that say about the validity of all the other DSM labels.

  20. From the article: “…(Lieberman) dismissed the possibility of a personality disorder because he claimed that character structure is not something that psychiatrists should ever even consider. “A diagnosis of Personality Disorder (narcissistic or otherwise), while plausible,” wrote Lieberman, “is of limited significance, as they lack well-established scientific validity.”

    ” lack well-established”. Is that like “not-established”? “partially “scientific”? If so, which part is scientific?
    “limited significance”?

    His choice of words are just so typical of defenders of lies.

  21. “When it comes to personality disorders, saying that someone is a malignant narcissist is somewhat different from saying that he’s a jerk, in that “malignant narcissism” has a more precise definition specifying a constellation of traits, and we can use data (from his talk and actions) to test whether that person demonstrates this constellation of traits. That doesn’t imply that “malignant narcissist” is a medical term, but not being medical doesn’t imply that it can’t be explored scientifically, as a psychological (not psychiatric) matter. Social scientists develop discipline-specific vocabulary just as natural scientists do.
    I have no psychiatric expertise, and if you want to limit “medical” and “ill” to physiological maladies, OK. I’m not inclined to limit “ill” that way. Many words have multiple meanings, and I find the phrases “mental health” and “mental illness” useful in talking about non-medical psychological problems.”

    What is a malignant narcissist?
    Who scientifically discovered these “illnesses”?

    • You have made more ‘practical’ sense than many commenting here. After having gone through all the thoughtful professional opinions, I feel like I’ve just learned that the field of psychiatry is actually a whole lot about “nothing” (like the Seinfeld show). Actually, watching Seinfeld one probably gets a clearer understanding of human nature than delving into the field of psychiatry which seems to be about formulating opinions on a premise that is not scientifically ascertainable (and then arguing about it ad naseum).

      But, it would seem to me that an obvious function of the field would be “observation” and the pursuant obligation to “warn” us of dangers that foreshadow extreme acts of cruelty or destruction, acts that place individuals or entire societies in peril. Who, if not mental health professionals, to help identify traits/markers so as to protect society from individuals who manifest harmful or dangerous proclivities, to themselves and others. What about the guy who pulls up to the outdoor rock concert with a truck full of AK47’s and plenty of ammo. Is that a red flag? He hasn’t done anything, nor received a diagnosis from an in-person consult. So does he now get to go about his business of shooting people? No. Often when people start doing things it’s too late. His wife could of told you but he killed beforehand.

      As for the malignant narcissist – this is not just about ‘bad behaviour” as some have postulated. This is about individuals whose identifiable traits are abhorrent, particularly alarming in a leader or those in powerful positions. These are not simply the offences of a selfish “a_ _hole”. Calling Hitler a “jerk” seems an overwhelming understatement. Stalin, Kim, Putin, Hitler: idiots, morons, nincompoops, slim balls, does not begin to cover the situation. Who and what they are is more closely aligned to a societys’ (universal) notion of evil – monsters devoid of humanity, conscience and empathy who have acted out in “measurably” harmful ways. They can’t and should not be ignored. And, who will sound the alarm bells? Thank you Dr. Bandy X Lee – at least you tried.

  22. Jeffrey Lieberman is one of the nation’s leading proponents of outpatient commitment and forced “treatment” laws. He was a major booster of the draconian Murphy bill. In testimony before Congress and in interviews, speeches and presentations to psychiatrists and to the public, Lieberman has impugned critics of psychiatry, often connecting them with the Church of Scientology.

    I want to be informed about how powerful institutions like the APA and bullies like Lieberman (recipients of vast sums from Pharma) throw their weight around and successfully wield their influence with the New York Times and other media. (Given that drug ads are a top revenue driver for the media, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised about the ease with which Lieberman gets it to do his bidding.)
    Thank you for the article.

    • Psychiatry and it’s cohorts, politicians and pharma, all work by the same rule. Power. Lee wants to use her power of “persuasion”, to be seen as someone that has expertise in something credible. Lieberman wants to use his “expertise” to put her in her place.

      Both LEE and LIEBERMAN would suggest I have “paranoia”, if I told them that I think someone in politics is dangerous. In fact, I could be sectioned.

      I suggest we all become shrinks, get our kids degrees in Psych, and that results in equality of sanity.

  23. If a president is intelligent, connects well with people, and is capable of formulating and executing policy, but works only towards his own personal gain and power, and will happily see his citizens victimized to achieve his own ends, he is a bad president.
    If a president believes that every night he is transported by fairies to an alien spaceship to receive a brain transfusion, but every day cares about his citizens, and makes sound policy decisions with their best interests at heart, he is a good president.
    Maybe a Canadian example of this (I’m Canadian) was William Lyon Mackenzie King. He was Canada’s Prime Minister (equivalent to President) for 22 years over 3 terms in the 20’s through 40’s, including WWII. He is still our longest serving Prime Minister. He regularly consulted (via mediums) his dead mother (and other relatives) and had a shrine to his mother in his house. A lifelong bachelor, he regarded his dogs as human, and spoke with them, both alive and dead, and valued their council. He also believed signs and omens that he read in tea leaves and in his morning shaving cream. Having said all that, he is generally well respected and regarded as a good Prime Minister.

      • I find that in Canada, we lack historical awareness of ourselves, which I find a bit annoying sometimes, YET, perhaps it is because there has not been “embellishments” or “sensationalism” around characters, or person’s of note. (so perhaps the lack of being known can be a good thing?)
        So even many Canadians know more about, say Kennedy, or Bush, Nixon and Reagan than they do about a fascinating Mckenzie.

        I believe his personality, his beliefs, were somewhat known while in service, but people that did not know, were certainly fascinated to learn it AFTER he was gone.

  24. No, psychiatry is not in any way “science”.
    They failed science early on.
    If any studies psychiatry should proceed in is study of their own paradigm, their own peers, their obsessions of others, of “other’s personalities”.
    THAT is where study, social study should be concentrated. What gene is it that constantly looks at others and wants to define it, place it into a category of “lowly peasant” or “mentally ill”.

    For those that in some way think there is a defense of a system that is based on hierarchy, a system that leads to stupefying people with not only drugs, but basically cult-like beliefs, that other subjects of earth to receive less than, less credibility, less medical or legal care, then they themselves are obviously much too privileged, which of course can change at any minute.

  25. I am Susan C. Vaughan, MD, the Director of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. We were the organization sponsoring the panel described in this article through our Public Outreach Programming. I just wanted to make clear that Dr Jeffrey Lieberman was invited BY ME to participate in this first program during my tenure. I apologize if this was not reported to my colleague Brenda Berger in a timely way or there was misunderstanding here and did not realize how badly Bandy Lee and James Gilligan felt about the panel until reading this piece. But I do think it mischaracterizes things to say that Dr. Lieberman pushed his way and took over the evening when I had invited him and also invited him to speak briefly as part of including him.

    • I do not understand how Dr. Vaughan within the Columbia University’s Culture would not have perceived the impacts better for this meeting. In my stint of being involved in our organizing efforts in Kentucky to realize a viable 501.c3 required a lot of meetings. I would hear W. Edwards Deming in St. Louis speak about continuous improvement and he would respond to my letters offering to be of assistance. This man would write Out of the Crisis and applied stats to continuous improvement. He would teach within Columbia University’s Business School. He also realized some research with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The strangeness in interaction though with the prevailing belief systems held by the state and community level was one of politics/power. For it was strange to come to know the individual who was the first woman adjunct General who also received the Deming training. I would want to know who is setting the tone for healing, recovery, innovation where the customer is really heard? To be attacking and not focusing on the ideas and how to improve the systems can waste people’s talents. Where does finance that meets the customer, where our ability to create value, manage debt and money and ability to be better humans are honored?

  26. Mr. Kendall:
    You didn’t go into how the social contract failed, when Lieberman violated the sovereign nature of the individual space? This idea would shift power from a king, to that of a people. And if one is talking about public figures, what citizen is not a public figure? In learning of of Lee and Dershowitz appearing before the Hearings, I would write a letter to Dr. Lee with copy to the student newspaper. The letter to Lee was returned not opened, for the address was not routed to the School of Psychiatry but the medical school. I would locate her address and sent my note along with some other information. I had written to Dershowitz after reading Chutzpah trying to realize an attorney who would assist with my unusual encounter with the elected and business community in Louisville, Ky. Perhaps we do not have enough Chutzpah? But someone sure is lying about health care, particularly mental health when we experience social distancing at the hands people like Lieberman.

  27. https://www.firstpeoplesofcanada.com/fp_groups/fp_groups_conflict.html

    I find it interesting that “white men” borrowed from the “forefathers” of these lands and applied the laws of the indigenous at least where it suited them.
    However, the indigenous “maternal voices” were loud and proud, whereas in white law, until recently you could beat women with a rod no thicker than your thumb.

    I watched a series on Canadian history and it was disgusting to see a few voices talk about how “accepting” we are. Of course the taking of the lands and some suffering was also mentioned, but again and again it always comes back to how hard “we” fought to build this great country.

    I understand the hardships and vulnerability of both. My issue is with how the narrative changes. The true narrative that the need to oppress in order to get ahead is not touched. There is just too much ugliness within, which continues.
    Our forefathers did a horrible job of trying to mimic any kind of aboriginal laws, and the efforts of tribes to create peace was completely pooped on.

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