July 6, 2024

Why didn't Biden watch a replay of the debate? By Hal Brown, MSW

For me the most important and illuminating thing President Biden said in the interview with George Stephanopolous was when he was asked whether he watched the debate at some time afterwards and he said that he hadn't.

This came at the very beginning of the interview. It was the third question. Here's the context:

STEPHANOPOULOS: And — and I know you’ve said that before as well, but you came — and you did have a tough month. But you came home from Europe about 11 or 12 days before the debate, spent six days in Camp David. Why wasn’t that enough rest time, enough recovery time?

BIDEN: Because I was sick. I was feeling terrible. Matter of fact, the docs with me, I asked if they did a Covid test because they’re trying to figure out what was wrong. They did a test to see whether or not I had some infection, you know, a virus. I didn’t. I just had a really bad cold.

        STEPHANOPOULOS: And — did you ever watch the debate afterwards?

        BIDEN: I don’t think I did, no.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what I’m try — what I want to get at is, what were you experiencing as you were going through the debate? Did you know how badly it was going?

BIDEN: Yeah, look. The whole way I prepared, nobody’s fault, mine. Nobody’s fault but mine. I, uh — I prepared what I usually would do, sitting down as I did come back with foreign leaders or National Security Council for explicit detail. And I realized — about partway through that, you know, all — I get quoted, The New York Times had me down at 10 points before the debate, nine now, or whatever the hell it is. The fact of the matter is, what I looked at is that he also lied 28 times. I couldn’t — I mean, the way the debate ran, not — my fault, no one else’s fault, no one else’s fault.

Before Biden answered this question he paused for a split second as if he was searching his memory, but this couldn't be what he was doing. It is crucial to break down his five word response into two parts. First he said "I don't think I did" before he said "no."

How could he not immediately know whether or not he watched a rerun of the debate? How is it he had to say "I don't think I did?" It makes more sense to believe that in this moment he was wondering if this was a gotcha question. In fact, it really was or should have been, but Stephanopolous never followed up on it. Anyone with any self-critical inclination would want to watch a recording of something that was leading to the furor about their cognitive ability that this debate was for Biden. 

Put yourself in his place. If you gave a widely panned perfomance that could hurt your career, one that even those who usually praised you were highly critical of, and had the chance to see a replay of the perfomance, wouldn't you want to see what everyone was talking about? Add to this that your performance was leading friends and foes alike to question whether or not you had lost your usual mental acuity, or worse, had dementia, wouldn't you want to see why they were saying this?

Stephanopolous should have confronted him on this by asking something like "why, Mr. President, wouldn't you want to see the debate to gain insight and self-understanding about yourself?"

Depending on the answer a follow-up could have included asking whether he watched recordings of the shows on friendly networks like MSNBC and more balanced networks where his usual allies were showing clips of the debate and expressing shock at his bad performance and speculations as to what had caused it. 

I think that any self-aware and self critical president would have aides recording all the post debate television coverage. If I was Biden I'd want to see what Rachel Maddow was saying about the debate.

Ckick above to view.

Above: This was discussed after the interview on CNN from 59 seconds 1:45 mins., . and it came up again at 6:20 mins. here. One commentator said... "he said oddly that he hadn't watched the debate and that did not strike me as all that clear..." This struck another commentator as odd.

Someone on Facebook alerted me to this post-debate coverage. It was much more analytical than the coverage on MSNBC which had Ali Velchi without the A team I'd expect.

Stephanopolous pursued the question about what the debate perfomance meant throughout the interview even going as far as to ask whether he'd have a cognitive test and neurological examination:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I know your doctor said he consulted with a neurologist. I — I guess I’m asking — a slightly different question. Have you had the specific cognitive tests, and have you had a neurologist, a specialist, do an examination?

BIDEN: No. No one said I had to. No one said. They said I’m good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Would you be willing to undergo an independent medical evaluation that included neurological and cognit — cognitive tests and release the results to the American people?

BIDEN: Look. I have a cognitive test every single day. Every day I have that test. Everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world. Not — and that’s not hi— sounds like hyperbole, but we are the essential nation of the world.

The answer I highlighted is crucial and if not a lie, it is not true. Many people said Biden wasn't good in this regard. Stephanopolous should have jumped on this response. He should have followed up with asking Biden to name who the "they" who said he was good actually were. After all, there was a chorus of people we assume Biden respects suggesting he have a neurological examination and was not good in this way.

Throughout the interview Biden parried every question about his cognitive ability with examples of all his accomplshments. This was a total deflection from the issue as to whether he might have either a significantly aging brain, or worse, early dementia.

Here's another example of his not answering a question about cognition by trying to be flippant:

Stephanopoulos asked. “Do you dispute that there have been more lapses, especially in the last several months?”

“Can I run the 110? No. But I’m still in good shape,” Biden replied. 

Stephanopolous should have schooled himself thoroughly in the diagnostic critera for early dementia vs the mental slowing down many people experience when they are Biden's age. Whenever Biden touted his cognitive ability by describing his accomplishments as president and the work he was still doing, Stephanopolous should have zeroed in on asking about things like forgetfulness, losing his train of thought, misplacing items, confusing names, and blanking out for brief periods. Instead he allowed Biden to make mini-campaign speeches about how effective a president he was and assuring that he would continue to be able to do this for four more years.

A tough question would have been about the statistics which show that a minority of people, 22%, his age have or will get dementia between the ages of 85 and 89 (reference). Stephanopolous could have asked whether he thought it was fair to the country to take the chance that he would be one of these people.

The fact that the debate was held during the day and not at night is significant. People with dementia often present their symptoms at night. This is called sundowning. The debate was held at 9:00 PM. The interview should have been conducted at the same time. Even if Biden doesn't have dementia why not have an interview at a time of day when he isn't at his best? A president can be called upon at any time day or night to deal with a crisis.

Not to to get into the weeds about this, but people of any age may have problems adjusting to long distance travel across times zones. This is probably more difficult with elders. It makes sense that a younger president is better suited to deal with world leaders at international meetings.

The question as to whether or not Biden has dementia was not answered for me in the interview. While I didn't see indications of cognitive impairment or dementia what I did see was someone who was like many people with or without early dementia who are afraid or unable to look candidly at themselves to see if they might have this dreadful disease. 

Someone can be self-aware and able to look unflinchingly at themselves and their weakness and foibles in many ways but they may have blind spots. Thinking about your own death can be such a blind spot. 

As one enters their senior years some people may resist looking at their mortality. At the age of 80 someone like me, with no life threatening conditions who is in good health, still knows they at the end of their life. I try to live my life to its fullest, but I know I am one medical appointment, one blood test, away from being told I have some terminal disease. 

Not everyone wants to think about this. Looking into the abyss isn't for the faint of heart.

This is a transcript of the entire interview.

Addendum:

Silver calls for Biden to resign after ‘incoherent’ comments in ABC interview, in The Hill

Excerpt:

“This is a pretty incoherent answer including a non-sequitur [complaining] about a New York Times poll, which he incorrectly claims had him down 10 points before the debate,” Silver wrote on X, sharing a clip of the interview. He added that The New York Times survey only had Biden down 3 or 4 points.

He also wrote "During the interview, Biden refused to take a cognitive test. Silver said that this decision was “disqualifying on its own.” The article concludes: “At this point it’s only like their 4th most important problem but the fact that the White House has drunk the Kool-Aid on the poll denialism stuff all cycle long isn’t helping matters.”

This is a transcript of the entire interview

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July 5, 2024

It's not what the GOP platform says about abortion that could lose Trump the election, it's what he says when asked to state his position in the final debate. By Hal Brown, MSW

 

I don't think Evangelicals will vote for whoever the Democratic Party candidate is. The danger for Trump is that they simply decide not to vote.

The title of the RawStory article is 'Coming split within Trump’s coalition': Leaders warn key issue threatens MAGA unity" and anyone following politics can guess what the issue is even without reading further. 

Here's an exerpt from the article summarizing the Washington Post story "Tempers flare as Trump reviews revised abortion plank for Republican platform" (subsciption):

The rift Trump's advisers want to hide from view stems from Evangelical's mounting calls to add antiabortion language to the U. S. Constitution in the lead-up to the Republican National Convention, which begins on July 15, the Post reports. 

"The escalating behind-the-scenes disagreement over the abortion language has become so tense and acrimonious in recent weeks that some social conservative leaders have issued public warnings of a coming split within Trump’s coalition," the Post reports.

The only way a party platform is significant is when the fight to include one thing or another spills over into the national news. In 2020 the GOP didn't even have a platform. They merely voted to adopt the same platform they had in 2016 (read why here).

This election is going to be so close the winner can be determined by just one special interest group or a single issue. The ages of the candidates are the one topic being covered extensively since the debate. There is a growing chorus of voices saying that Biden is too old to run. This comes not only from Democrats who have gone on the record but from independents who are being interviewed by reporters. One of them just reported that he went to a town where no independents he interviewed thought Biden should stay in the race because of his age. What they saw was his cognitive decline.

Abortion is an issue that won't disappear because Trump wishes it so. If Trump actually believed in God and the power of prayer he'd be praying for the issue to go away:

There's no way that the Evangelicals will accept Trump answering direct questions about where he stands on abortion as he has so far, that is, that he wants to leave it to the states. They are very familiar with this map :

When they see this map or others like it they see babies being killed in a large portion of the country. When they look at maps like this one they zero in on the parts of the country where the legality of abortion has been left up to the states. You can bet that they follow articles like this which describe the specific laws in each state.

These evangelicals want a straight-forward promise from Donald Trump that he will assure that there is a nation-wide ban on all abortion at any stage of fetal development. They don't want any quibling on whether life starts at four or six weeks. They want abortion banned at conception. 

The Evangelicals no doubt want Trump to come out against the Supreme Court ruling allowing the use of mifepristone. 

Whether it's Biden or another Democrat in the second debate (assuming there is one) if the moderators don't pin Trump down on his stance on abortion, the Democratic Party candidate should. If he persists in saying this should be left to the states it could cost him the election.

Update:

This was covered in Salon today:

Recommended reading:

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July 4, 2024

Unfiltered fat old man caught ranting on video. At least he doesn't have the nuclear "football" with him..... for the time being. By Hal Brown, MSW

 

The Daily Beast (in a no subscription required article here) published a video of Trump with his blank-face son Barron sitting next to him in a golf cart. In the screen grab above he happens to have his hand in his pants. He's putting a wad of bills he tipped somebody from off camera.

Here's a YouTube of the video.

A shorter clip of it was just played on MSNBC.

This is from The Daily Beast:

“He just quit, you know—he’s quitting the race,” Trump says, sitting in a golf cart. “I got him out of the—and that means we have Kamala.”

Later in the clip, he fawns over Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him “a fierce man, very tough guy” whom Biden may be unable to handle.

It was not immediately clear where or when exactly the footage was covertly filmed.

In the video, the former president asks the person holding the camera what they thought of his own debate performance. As he’s told he did “fantastic” and “amazing,” Trump blusters on flatly, “Look at that old, broken down pile of crap.

“It’s a bad guy,” he says, seemingly referring to Biden. After announcing that the president is quitting and handing the baton to Kamala Harris, Trump continues, “I think she’s gonna be better” as an opponent.

“She’s so bad. She’s so pathetic,” he adds, plucking at his gloves, then appears to say, “She’s so fucking bad.”

Trump then switches back to Biden, asking, “Can you imagine that guy dealing with Putin? And the president of China—who’s a fierce person. He’s a fierce man, very tough guy. And they see him.”

Before driving off, the former president reiterates, “But they just announced he’s probably quitting. Just keep knocking him out, huh?”

Trump has two basic modes of expressing what's going through his mind when he's not reading a teleprompter, unfiltered and more unfiltered. You see the former in his rallies and whenever he knows there's a camera, and we just had a chance to see the later when, presumably, he didn't know there was a camera. 

Consider that there's something missing from the video that would be there if he was president. It's the "football" carried by a miliary aide which would enable him to launch a nuclear attack. If rerelected Trump will have the unfettered ability to wage nuclear war,” said Joseph Cirincione at The Ploughshares Fund, an anti-nuclear organization. “He can launch one weapon or a thousand weapons, and no one can stop him, outside of mutiny by the armed forces.”

Above: Trump with a military aide carrying the nuclear football

This was published on CNN before Trump began his term as president:

Beginning on January 20, President-elect Donald Trump will be accompanied at all times by a military aide carrying the nuclear “football,” enabling him to order a nuclear strike at a moment’s notice.

Just like his predecessors, whether he is at the White House, in a motorcade, aboard Air Force One or on a trip overseas, he will never be more than an arm’s reach away from the aide and his satchel.

“You have to be ready anytime, for any moment,” said Pete Metzger, who often carried the nuclear launch suitcase during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “The time is so short between alert and execution.”

The article went on to say:

“How can you trust him with the nuclear codes?” Obama said at a rally in Durham, North Carolina, earlier this month. “You can’t do it.”

And Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer who supported Hillary Clinton, says his concerns about Trump persist. 

“He has proved himself over and over again to be quick-tempered, defensive, prone to lash out,” he wrote in Politico. If a nuclear crisis arises, “Trump’s erratic and volatile personality makes for low confidence in his ability to reach the right decision.”

A president’s order could only be stopped by mutiny, according to Kingston Reif at the Arms Control Association, and only if more than one person were to disobey the president’s orders.

“The president has supreme authority to decide whether to use America’s nuclear weapons, period,” he said. “Full stop.”

With all the legitimate consternation about how the Supreme Court ruling gives a president the powers of a king let's not forget that a president already has the ability to launch nuclear missiles.

Now let's consider the scenario that those sounding alarm bells are making about the president being able to order SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent in light of this paragraph:

A president’s order could only be stopped by mutiny, according to Kingston Reif at the Arms Control Association, and only if more than one person were to disobey the president’s orders.

What would happen if Trump issued such an order as Commander-in-Chief? It would clearly be both unconstituional and against the Military Code of Justice.

Consider the following from FindLaw:

The question arose recently when U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer resigned from his post after saying that he felt an obligation to disobey an order from his commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump.

The issue involved a Navy SEAL, Eddie Gallagher, whose demotion for posing for a photo with a combatant's corpse was reversed by Trump on Nov. 15.

That action prompted Spencer to send Trump a resignation letter on Nov. 24 in which he stated, "I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."

So, can a person in the military simply refuse to follow an order if they don't like it?

The answer is yes — if they consider the order itself to be illegal or unconstitutional.

It's generally called a "duty to disobey," and is empowered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ is more concerned about the need to obey orders, but specifies the conditions when military personnel may feel justified in not following them:

  • If the order is "contrary to the constitution" or "the laws of the United States."
  • If the order is "patently illegal, ... such as one that directs the commission of a crime."

Back to the SEAL Team 6 question: it is not only possible the order to commit an illegal act would be disobeyed but that once the fact that Trump issued this order made it's way up to the top of the command structure the generals and admirals could decide they had a renegade and dangerous president and commander-in-chief and decide to mount a coup and install a temporary military officer to run the country who would order Trump's arrest and a new election.

What about Biden and the briefcase?

It is only fair to consider how President Biden would handle the power to launch a nuclear attack. For one thing, we know Biden isn't an impulsive malignant narcissist. He may, however, be congitively diminished during certain parts of the day or night. If there was a crisis where a nuclear response was an option when he wasn't at his best he'd be either among top civilian and military aides either in the White House Situation Room, on Air Force One, or have them nearby. 

He could be trusted not to act precipitously. He'd listen to the advice and recommendations of the experts. He wouldn't have surrounded himself with advisors selected because of their loyalty to him rather than for their competence.

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July 3, 2024

If Trump wins in four years his MAGA Party could be the only political party and only members might have full citizenship. His gestapo would be the enforcers. By Hal Brown, MSW

 The RawStory article "A dark world': Ivanka Trump spills on why she dropped out of politics" got me to thinking about how Trump, if he wins, could declare himself president for life and how since his most intelligent adult kid may not want to take his place when he dies or is too old to rule we'd probably end up with Donald Jr. as the next dictator. Donald Jr. is the man who gets a thrill out of shooting exotic animals with a high powered rife and posing along with his dumber brother with their lifeless bodies. For the MAGA masses he's a perfect choice to inherit the MAGA throne.

By the time Donald Jr. took over the country would have become full-on NAZI, only it would be MAGA. Instead of the NAZI Party we'd have the MAGA Party. If one was a card carrying member they would not only be the privileged class, they would be the only citizens will full rights. 

By the end of four years of Trump rule there won't be much, if any, independent media left because, like Putin and, before him Hitler and Mao, the goverment will totally control the dissemination of information. RawStory which published this article will be gone and it's staff sent to reeducation camps, or worse. Those of us who, like me, post comments on websites like RawStory, The New York Times, and The Washinton Post would be on the MAGA gestapo hit list too. Those who like me subscribe to proessive websites will be at risk. In fact, anyone with an online presence from Facebook or having a blog like mine could easily be checked out to see if they are should be added to the MAGA gestapo hit list. Hitler did this without the internet. 

Once you were identified as being against MAGA not only would your freedom be at risk, but you could have all of your rights as a citizen taken away. If you have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or food stamps these benefits could be cut. 

MAGA Party members would have ID cards but others would be at the mercy of the overlords. If you're reading this, that's you

MAGA will control almost every aspect of the lives of those living in the United States. I have to phrase it this way because the word "citizen" won't apply anymore. Only MAGAs will have full citizenship. 

The Second Amendment, so precious to the Right, would apply only to MAGA Party members. Not only would they be the only ones to be able to purchase firearms but ownship of firearms by non-MAGAs would probably be made a capital crime. 

If you think prohibiting abortion is abhorrent consider how MAGA could veer into Handmaid's Tale territory. They could make it difficult for non-MAGAs to have children by denying prenatal care and in hosptial delivery. The children non-MAGAs did have could be taken away at birth to be raised by MAGAs. Also, there would be no child income tax deduction for non-MAGAs.

Non-MAGAs might need vouchers or special currency to buy all the necessities of living. 

Let's not forget that the education of children would be controlled starting with kindergarten which might well be renamed MAGAgarten. 

Anything which now is called woke would be illegal. Working with the Department of Justice (they would keep that name but it would be the MAGA gestapo) would be the Department of Compliance. These MAGAs would spend their time scouring the internet for anyone who goes against the regime and are identified as enemies of the state. This would include anyone identified as what comes under the rubrik of woke. Facebook and Instagram would be a treasure trove for them as millions of people share information about their personal lives there.

Millions of ordinary Americans would have a tremendious incentive to go along to get along and would join the MAGA Party. Some would turn in "deviant" neighbors to incur favor with the leaders, and perhaps be rewarded in various ways. 

Only certain non-MAGAs would be required to wear something like this that identified them as deviants or undesirables. The ordinary non-MAGA could be identified because Party members would be issued official pins like these so they could easily be identified. A non-MAGA wearing one of these pins would risk being asked to for their "papers" (today it would be a holographic photo ID like a drivers license) and if they were trying to "pass" they'd be arrested.

The horror is that there are tens of millions of Americans who are not just fine with the country I have described here, they want this to to be "their" country. There are others who think those who make NAZI comparisons are engaing in hand-wringing hyperbole. Among the later group are many politicians and possibly the Supreme Court justices who just ruled on presidential immunity.

I think it is very possible that decades from now historians in countries where they are allowed to write about it will look at the Project 2025 manifesto as the 21st century Mein Kampf.

Footnote: 

Project 2025 includes a 920-page plan devised to entirely remake the U.S. government and turn America into a Christian nationalist, authoritarian, and some say fascist nation run by an all-powerful president. Critics say it would obliterate separation of church and state, the rule of law, the social safety net, and civil rights advances including reproductive rights and rights for LGBTQ Americans secured over the past sixty years.

"The plan calls for a nationwide system of school vouchers, severe restrictions on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights, and maintains that the federal government should 'maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family,' which it refers to as 'heterosexual, intact marriage,'" Church & State magazine reports. Reference.


Update:

This is from Axios: As far as I'm concerned 1, 2, and 3 far outweigh 4, 5, and 6. 

What to watch: To hear Trump and his allies tell it, this is how early 2025 would unfold if he wins: 

1. A re-elected Trump would quickly set up vast camps and deport millions of people in the U.S. illegally. He could invoke the Insurrection Act and use troops to lock down the southern border. 

2. In Washington, Trump would move to fire potentially tens of thousands of civil servants using a controversial interpretation of law and procedure. He'd replace many of them with pre-vetted loyalists. 

3. He'd centralize power over the Justice Department, historically an independent check on presidential power. He plans to nominate a trusted loyalist for attorney general, and has threatened to target and even imprison critics. He could demand the federal cases against him cease immediately. 

4. Many of the Jan. 6 convicts could be pardoned — a promise Trump has made at campaign rallies, where he hails them as patriots, not criminals. Investigations of the Bidens would begin. 

5. Trump says he'd slap 10% tariffs on most imported goods, igniting a possible trade war and risking short-term inflation. He argues this would give him leverage to create better trade terms to benefit consumers. 

6. Conversation would intensify about when Justices Clarence Thomas, 76, and Sam Alito, 74, would retire.

Reommended reading:

Republican glee over "immunity" decision shows they don't fear Donald Trump — they desire a dictator

Trump has threatened to have people killed and GOP politicians aren't bothered in the slightest By AMANDA MARCOTTE

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July 2, 2024

Supreme Court immunity ruling means the next election will coronate a benevolent king or ruthless dictator. Is there a Marvel Universe type Democrat who can replace Biden and beat Trump like Thor beat his villians? By Hal Brown, MSW

 



As I do every morning I look first at HUFFPOST to see which stories are on the top of their main page. Above is what I saw at 5:30 AM.

This is the main page at 9:30 here in Oregon:

It is impossible for a thinking person with any knowledge of history not to think about how Hitler rose to power and how he used the German court system to help him achieve this end. Consider:

Hitler determined to increase the political reliability of the courts. In 1933 he established special courts throughout Germany to try politically sensitive cases. Dissatisfied with the 'not guilty' verdicts rendered by the Supreme Court (Reichsgericht) in the Reichstag Fire Trial, Hitler ordered the creation of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin in 1934 to try treason and other important "political cases." Under Roland Freisler, the People's Court became part of the Nazi system of terror, condemning tens of thousands of people as "Volk Vermin" and thousands more to death for "Volk Treason." The trial and sentencing of those accused of complicity in the July Plot, the attempt to kill Hitler in July 1944, was especially unjust. From: Law and Justice in the Third Reich, in The Holocaust Encylopedia.

It is possible that if Trump wins American courts will look like this:

Could it happen here? It may have just started to happen in France. As far fetched as it may seem to think that a few years from now under Herr Trump America could have its own Gestapo and SS, have pulled out of NATO and have aligned itself with Putin, have taken over the media, and developed a Hitlerian civilian corp of people who would be turning in their neighbors for the crime of questioning the administration.

Just take a look last night's Truth Social post:

It would hardly matter which party controlled Congress. If Congress passed laws undermining his polcies he'd just ignore the laws or when his power was solidified he might just disolve Congress. Why stop there? He could declare himself president for life and make sure that one of his children was his successor.

This horror makes it all the more important that a Democrat wins the election. The polls don't look good for Biden. The the future of Democracy rests on the answer to the following question:

Is Biden the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump?

Even if we didn't have questions about his mental acuity and whether his debate performance was related to early dementia he is 81 and when he says loudly "I know I'm not a young man but I know how to do this job" his voice sounds to this listener as weak. It doesn't resonate with power and confidence. This is made much worse when you look at him and his face looks pale and, I hate to say this, as old as my 80 year old face does.

This election won't be decided by reasonable and well-informed voters. It will be decided by people casting their votes based on optics. 

It occurred to me that America is a Marvel superhero country. Swing voters could embrace a Democrat whose superpowers were unexpectedly revealed. Since I don't follow the Marvel universe I decided to look online to see if any particular character could be used as an illustration in this blog. 

I found a half hour video, Who is the Most Powerful Hero in the MCU? (Ranking All 30 Heroes In The MCU here).Whether it was an algorythm or the Internet gods (perhaps they are the same) this ad for Biden/Harris that first came up before you could skip to watch the video:

The video went on to profile the 30 top superheroes. 

I fast forwarded to the end to see who was considered the most powerful. Dr. Strange was number two:

Number one was Thor. He evolved as a weaker character in the first movies but in the more recent films his power increased (and his hammer changed to be even more deadly) to the point he justified the rank of most powerful:

The question I ask in my title is whether there is a Democrat who can emerge and in the time prior to the election convince enough undecided voters that he or she is a Thor who can and should lead America. 

I believe this is possible because there are enough Americans who are infuenced by optics. Aside from the sadists who admire the villians, they love thier superheroes. They are thrilled when a superhero like Thor vanquishes his enemies:

Consider how Trump's electronic cards depict him as a muscle bound costumed superhero. His cult actually sees him that way.

With the right advertising and promotion a Democratic Party Thor can be sold to enough voters so they win the election. But before that happens Biden needs to step down and leave it to the wisdom of the power brokers leading up to and during the convention to decide that is best suited to wield Thor's hammer whether it's the new one or the original one (below).

Whether it's Kamala Harris as Superwoman (I've had the 14 x 19 poster below for years) or someone else, I think there's time for a Demorcat with the capabilities to be president to don a superhero outfit and kick Trump into the garbage bin of history.


Addendum:

I urge everyone to read "‘We’ve all enabled the situation’: Dems turn on Biden’s inner sanctum post debate" in Politico.Note the following, especially the last sentence:

Over the course of his presidency, Joe Biden’s small clutch of advisers have built an increasingly protective circle around him, limiting his exposure to the media and outside advice — an effort to manage public perceptions of the oldest person to ever hold the office and tightly control his political operation.

But inside the White House, Biden’s growing limitations were becoming apparent long before his meltdown in last week’s debate, with the senior team’s management of the president growing more strictly controlled as his term has gone on. During meetings with aides who are putting together formal briefings they’ll deliver to Biden, some senior officials have at times gone to great lengths to curate the information being presented in an effort to avoid provoking a negative reaction.

“It’s like, ‘You can’t include that, that will set him off,’ or ‘Put that in, he likes that,’” said one senior administration official. “It’s a Rorschach test, not a briefing. Because he is not a pleasant person to be around when he’s being briefed. It’s very difficult, and people are scared shitless of him.”

It must be understood that some people whose dementia is getting worse either keep thier previous personality, become more subdued than they were before, or become more hostile.


  • You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

    Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

    or….

    Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

    July 1, 2024

    On Biden's cognitive fitnesss, either we trust Jill or we don't. She sees him at his best, his worst, and everything in between. By Hal Brown, MSW

     

    For me the crucial story on HUFFPOST (above) is Family Urges Biden in, debate be damned. As important as the article about the poll is and the all the other news about editorial boards, opinion writers, fellow Democrats, and others about his dropping out the president won't drop out unless he sees how this is the best course of action and the most persuasive person to help him decide this is Jill. She knows him better than anybody else. In some ways she may know him better than he knows himself.

    Jill sees Joe at his best, his worst, and every way in between. More than anyone else, even more than her husband, she is in a position to evaluate his behavior for indications he is in the earliest stage of dementia. People in that stage are often in denial about what they blow off as irelevant memory lapses. This is why any full assessment for dementia includes both an interview, possibly with some testing, of the patient and also with one or more family members. 

    While there is the major issue of public perception of Biden's cognitive ability when it comes to the election if he decides not to drop out I doubt this issue will change a significant number of votes. My position is that if he does have dementia I have faith in him to recognize that he may be slipping and will discuss it with Jill and others he trusts to see if they see the same thing. One doesn't need an expert assessment to recognize and accept that they are succumbing to dementia. If they have self-awareness, as I am sure Joe Biden does, they will see it in themselves and ask those who they trust the most if they observe the same things. 

    I have no doubt that the Bidens are well aware of what happened with Ronald Reagan who revealed his Alzheimer's diagnosis five years after he left office (read article in Snopes).

    If Biden is reelected and symptoms are interfering with his ability to govern I believe he will step down. This obviously would make Kamala Harris president. I have the utmost confidence in her. She could prove herself to the country and run successfully on her own in 2028.

    If Biden doesn't have dementia

    There is a good chance Biden doesn't have dementia. In fact the statistics suggest it is unlikely:

    RISK

    Women, People Ages 85 and Older, and Racial and Ethnic Minorities Face Greater Dementia Risk

    Dementia is more prevalent at older ages. About 3% of adults ages 70 to 74 had dementia in 2019, compared with 22% of adults ages 85 to 89 and 33% of adults ages 90 and older.6

    Women are slightly more likely to have dementia than men. Among adults ages 70 and older, 11% of women and 8% of men had dementia in 2019.7

    Non-Hispanic white adults are less likely to develop dementia than most other racial and ethnic groups. Among those ages 70 and older, an estimated 8.5% of non-Hispanic white adults were living with dementia in 2019, compared with 16.1% of non-Hispanic Black adults and 16.4% of Hispanic adults.8

    As they age, married older people may have a lower risk of dementia than their unmarried counterparts.9  Read more here.

    I write this as an 80 year old former psychotherapist whose partner is 79, and who lives in a continuing care retirement community where I know dozens of elders. Neither of us shows signs of dementia. I have close friends in their early nineties who may need a walker to get around but who are almost as mentally sharp as they were 10 years ago when I first met them. 

    About me: For going on 10 years I have seen people in all the stages of dementia. I wouldn't call myself an expert on dementia. I never had a course on it or went to a workshop on the subject. My knowledge comes from reading and observation.

    These are my previous blogs related to this issue. Yesterday I wrote:

    The Democrats saying (and they are saying it now as I write this on MSNBC) that Biden "merely" had a bad night and lauding his accomplishment as presdient are not addressing the possiblity that his "bad night" might have been a result of, in the worst case, actual dementia the symptoms of which are only evident in the evening, or in the best case the "aging brain" which is sharper during the day than at night. 

    Democrats and people who care about democracy are voting for a brain. They deserve to know whether that the brain, like a car, is firing on all cylinders, or if running on batteries was fully chargred all day and after a good night's recharging, was ready to handle the duties of the presdiency the next morning. 

    Update, an excerpt from The Wall Street journal article summarized in RawStory here:

    The signs of Biden’s decline have been obvious long before his stumbling performance against Trump Thursday, the Journal's editorial board wrote.

    “The Democratic press barely questioned Mr. Biden’s limited workday, his reliance on a teleprompter, and his rare unscripted media interviews,"

    What they don't mention is Trump's typical workday as president and how often he spent time at his various homes frequently playing golf and Trump also using a teleprompter and how when he speaks extemporaneously it is often unhinged lunacy.

    You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

    Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

    or….

    Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

    June 30, 2024

    It wasn't just one bad debate for Biden, it was a horrible debate, and we need to know why. By Hal Brown, MSW

     

    Below, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on MSNBC this morning defending Presdient Biden's debate performance as a merely a bad night.

    This is what I saw when I looked at HUFFPOST to see what their top stories were. They had three.

    NBC News: Biden Expected To Discuss Future Of Campaign With Family On Sunday

    NBC News reports that President Joe Biden will travel to Camp David Sunday where he and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to join their children and grandchildren. 

    The trip had been planned before Thursday's debate, in which Biden gave a disastrous performance that has left Democrats on edge.

    According to NBC News sources, "there is an understanding among top Democrats that Biden should be given space to determine next steps." 

    Insiders reportedly "believe only the president, in consultation with his family, can decide whether to move forward or to end his campaign early."

    New Axios Report Suggests Reason Biden Appeared Sluggish At Debate

    Biden is typically at his sharpest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to Axios, which cited discussions with eight current and former Biden aides.

    Thursday night’s debate was five hours after that window. Quite simply, it might have been too late in the day for him to present his best self.

    Axios reported that the staffers have seen “flashes of an absent-minded Biden” akin to the version who took long pauses and delivered meandering sentences in a low, hoarse voice onstage this week. But they reportedly dismiss these moments because he is alert and engaged at other times.

    International travel is also particularly tiring for the president, the outlet said.

    New Yorker editor David Remnick Calls For Biden To Drop Out Of Presidential Race

    New Yorker Editor David Remnick called for Biden to drop out of the presidential race following his disastrous debate performance on Thursday.

    In a scathing editorial, Remnick said Biden’s age can no longer be ignored, and that watching him fumble during the debate was an “agonizing experience.”

    “You watched it, and, on the most basic human level, you could only feel pity for the man and, more, fear for the country,” Remnick wrote.

    While Remnick acknowledged that finding a new nominee would be an “admittedly complicated process,” he argued that it would still be the more “rational course.”

    “To stay in the race would be pure vanity, uncharacteristic of someone whom most have come to view as decent and devoted to public service,” Remnick added.

    Read the full editorial at The New Yorker (subscription).

    I addressed this issue in yesterday's blog.

    We cannot treat what we saw with Biden during the debate as a one-off. If someone persistently had certain physical conditions that occurred at a consistent time of day if they had any sense they would see their doctor. Cognitive conditions tend to be treated differently. They are easier to dismiss.

    I am 80 years old. I know I am more alert and articulate at certain times of the day than I am at others. I usually am up at 5 and working on my blog and I stay energized until 2 PM when I get sleepy and if at all possible I take a nap for an hour. Most of the time when I wake up I feel refreshed and alert, although sometimes I have trouble shaking the cobwebs out of my head. Then I am alert until about 7 PM when I start to get sleepy. I go to bed and watch MSNBC or listen to NPR for about two hours before I sleep, sometimes with the TV or radio on. 

    When I wake up at around 11 to go to the bathroom I am fairly wide awake and often stay in bed thinking of a blog topic for the morning. I know I could get up and start to write it but instead of throwing my sleep pattern off I compose a a general outline in my mind and thankfully fall asleep and wake up remembering what I planned to write.

    I consider what would happen if I had to help someone in crisis at that hour and I think I'd be able to rouse myself enough to assist them, even to (as has happened) drive them to the emergency room. If I was president or a member of the team that was called to the White House Situation Room in the wee hours of the morning I might not be at 100% right away but with a cup of high octane coffee I think I could fire up all cylinders. We have to know that Biden could do the same thing.

    President Biden, as I have wirtten in the previous blogs, showed signs of sundowning in the debate which could be part of early dementia. "Could" doesn't mean is. He could just have what, for want of a more clinical term, an aging brain. If this is the case he could still continue as the excellent president he's been as long as this doesn't change significantly for the worse. That is of serious concern. The Biden we see today may not be the Biden of one or two years from now. 

    Any elder with any self awareness knows this about themselves. My senior friends and I certainly do. We try to take advantage of the years we have left. I have a good friend who, when he turned 90 and was able to get around using just a cane, went with his entire family on a European tour. Now, 93, while mentally as sharp as he was at 90, he needs an electric wheelchair.

    As for Biden, there are certainly work-arounds for cyclical daily cognitive changes. Scheduling meetings when you're at your best makes sense. Naps can be crucial. Consider the following from the website Somnology

    1. “A night owl with a bedtime”

    President Obama reportedly slept around 5 hours a night, preferring to hit the sack well past midnight and wake at 7 A.M. Sleep patterns like this are mostly dictated by our circadian rhythms, but these rhythms can be flexible depending on our personal schedules. Being a night owl (or an early bird), then, can sometimes be a blend of nature and nurture.  

    2. “Napping across party lines”

    Ronald Reagan, JFK, and Bill Clinton napped daily; Reagan even made a schedule for his naps and took them at the same time each day. While there are pros and cons to napping, research indicates that a properly executed nap increases alertness, performance, and memory. All great benefits to have if you’re the leader of the free world.

    The questions about Biden's cognitive fitness to serve has caused a schism among his supporters with editorial boards and highly regarded opinion columnists call for him to step down and pundits minimizing the debate as just one bad night. 

    This is by Charlie Dent, former representative for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district.

    He wrote:

    It's time to say the quiet part out loud: Democrats must replace President Joe Biden as their party's nominee for president. If Democrats truly believe Trump is a threat to the constitutional orderand the rights of Americans, then they will need a better candidate to make the argument. At Thursday night’s debate, Biden looked and acted old, tired and feeble. He struggled to cite facts and statistics to bolster his arguments. Some of his responses were incoherent and rambling, like one early in the debate that elicited a rare truthful and accurate statement from Trump: “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.”

    Ali Velchi on his MSNBC show just said that Biden's team has to convince voters not to let 90 minutes define a presidency. He talked about this Politico article.

    I have to disagree with the notion that we can't let 90 minutes define a presidency. If those 90 minutes were disgnostic of either dementia or "an aging brain" we have to take the possiblity seriously. If this performance was caused by a cold medication (as I wrote yesterday) we need to know. 

    It is quite possible that Biden is what scientists call a super-ager. Consider:

    Excerpt:

    When it comes to aging, we tend to assume that cognition gets worse as we get older. Our thoughts may slow down or become confused, or we may start to forget things, like the name of our high school English teacher or what we meant to buy at the grocery store.

    But that’s not the case for everyone.

    For a little over a decade, scientists have been studying a subset of people they call “super-agers.” These individuals are age 80 and up, but they have the memory ability of a person 20 to 30 years younger.

    Most research on aging and memory focuses on the other side of the equation — people who develop dementia in their later years. But, “if we’re constantly talking about what’s going wrong in aging, it’s not capturing the full spectrum of what’s happening in the older adult population,” said Emily Rogalski, a professor of neurology at the University of Chicago, who published one of the first studies on super-agers in 2012.

    A paper published Monday in the Journal of Neuroscience helps shed light on what’s so special about the brains of super-agers. The biggest takeaway, in combination with a companion study that came out last year on the same group of individuals, is that their brains have less atrophy than their peers’ do.

    There has been speculation as to whether there will be a second debate. If Biden choses not to drop out I think there should be. I expect Trump wants to have a second go at Biden having seen how poorly he performed the first time, perhaps with new debate rules. For Biden's part I think he owes it to the nation to demonstrate that when necessary he can be the 10 AM to 4 PM Joe Biden between 9:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

    This is a problem that won't go away. Even as I finish this bog it is being discussed again on MSNBC in referenceto this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

    Jamie Raskin just said that Barack Obama had one bad night, referring to his first debate with Mitt Romney. Other's have also made this comparison. Nobody at the time suggested that Obama's bad debate performance might have been caused by dementia or an aging brian.

    Update:

    This is the current HUFFPOST main page:

    The brain in the White House matters:

    You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

    Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

    or….

    Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

    Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

      I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...