Questioning the President’s Cognition

 

“..we have a commitment … to come to Taiwan’s defense if attacked by Communist China.”

So speaks the title of a recent piece by my long-time and dear friend, Phillip McMath, along with co-author Dr. Pham Liem, retired Professor of Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, which appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently. In this discussion, the authors very carefully set up the historical background illustrating the critical importance of each and every word uttered by heads of State, especially the Leader of the Free World, or those who are believed to speak for him. They start by recounting how a few stray words from the then-Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, led to the beginning of the Korean Conflict:

On Jan. 12, 1950, Dean Acheson, Secretary of State in the administration of President Truman, gave a speech to the National Press Club. In it he outlined the “defensive perimeter” of the United States and her Asian allies as running through Japan, the Philippines, and the Ryukyu Islands.

This excluded the Republic of South Korea, where the reaction was one of shock and panic. Six months later, marching through Acheson’s “green light,” Communist North Korea crossed the 38th parallel and attacked the South.

When in October Communist China, supported by the Soviet Union, entered the war, the world barely averted a nuclear catastrophe. In July 1953 the conflict staggered to a stalemate, but nearly 40,000 Americans died, while over a million Korean and Chinese soldiers perished along with at least two million civilians.

As expected, Acheson and his defenders insisted he was misunderstood. Perhaps so, but that misunderstanding had grave consequences.

They then bring the discussion to our current situation, with an obviously and dangerously cognitively impaired person, to this non-medical layman, at least, and apparently to millions of my fellow citizens, occupying the Presidency of the United States. They illustrate, acutely and painfully in my view, how the person who was once jocularly referred to as Good Old Joe, known for gaffes, plagiarism, corruption, and sniffing children’s hair, among other things, is now making statements which are seen as pronouncements of policy, such as those he made about Taiwan on CNN recently:

On Oct. 21, 2021, at a CNN-sponsored town hall, President Biden was asked by Anderson Cooper whether the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense if attacked by Communist China. He responded, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

That was not–nor ever has been–American policy. Had Biden just announced a more forceful commitment to defend Taiwan? An alarmed White House immediately executed a walk-back. What was meant, you understand, is that while the Taiwan Relations Act (enacted in 1979) obligates the U.S. to assist Taiwan in case of an attack, it does not mandate a NATO-type commitment to go to war with China.

Instead, our long-standing policy has been and remains one of “strategic ambiguity.” But ambiguities are treacherous and can become more so when one tampers with their vagueness. So the hurried walk-back inadvertently created even greater uncertainty by implying that the U.S. might not defend Taiwan at all. Thus, with a few careless words, the Biden fumble had morphed our Taiwan/China policy into a dangerous muddle.

Equally alarming was the obvious fact that on such a critical point of peace and war the U.S. president did not know his country’s defense policy. Had he not mastered an understanding of the Taiwan Relations Act during his eight years as vice president?

Biden has had a four-decade involvement with China. He has traveled there multiple times. He has known President Xi for over a decade and met with him on several occasions. Did he not grasp how the U.S. defense posture regarding Taiwan was distinguishable from the NATO assurance that an attack on thee is an attack on me? Had he not been refreshed about this distinction as our new president? Was it not anticipated that he would have to articulate this sensitive matter clearly and cogently while the world hung upon his every word?

Wasn’t foreign policy advertised as one of his strong points and his primary responsibility as commander-in-chief of America and leader of the free world?

Everyone agrees that the China threat requires a new and sophisticated strategy. The pressing question: Can this strategy be constructed successfully with this president conjoined as he is with a defense establishment that engineered the Afghanistan disaster?

There follow more details about one of the worst stains on the honor of America, if not the very worst, the Afghanistan disgrace, and a brief summary of his “misstatements” over the last few months, with the authors summing up with one of the best descriptions I have seen of the embarrassments inflicted upon us, some fraught with peril and not at all humorous, by this President:

Churchillian this is not.

This is a most enlightening, if not, to put it mildly, troubling essay about the potential horror which this apparently very ill, very unfit (his medical evaluation of yesterday omitted any mention of any cognitive tests, so we are still without that most important information), very unstable person in the office of the President of the United States can have visited upon us by the loose talk of his addled mind. I cannot recommend it too highly as it is, in my judgment, a very important piece of commentary for our time.

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  1. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Eisenhower refused to expressly state how or whether the US would use nukes. That uncertainty was  more powerful deterrent than some stated policy that may have to be modified, explained or walked back. He was highly credible as a potential tough enemy based on his experience and character.

    We have the opposite in Biden-Harris. Their declarations have a half-life of ten minutes once staff issues corrections, retractions or modifications and nobody fears or respects them.

    • #1
  2. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    nobody fears or respects them.

    I understand the sense in which this statement was made, but would just note that I fear the h___ out of both of them and would be hard pressed to pick which one of the two is the more potentially dangerous. 

    • #2
  3. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    nobody fears or respects them.

    I understand the sense in which this statement was made, but would just note that I fear the h___ out of both of them and would be hard pressed to pick which one of the two is the more potentially dangerous.

    We should be afraid precisely because our enemies are not. The well-being of the free world in the hands of a senile buffoon and Wille Brown’s airhead former mistress…

    • #3
  4. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    But don’t they make a good-looking couple?  (You know, they trained Kamala as a nurse.  Shh.)

    But seriously, is either one of them a strategic geopolitical thinker?  I doubt anyone can remember the individual dos and don’ts by rote.

    • #4
  5. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Willie Brown’s airhead former mistress…

    With respect, and admiration for y0ur gentlemanliness, you are far too kind; I personally have struggled with the best manner in which to accurately express what I really think of her, but the old C of C keeps getting in the way! 

     

    • #5
  6. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Let’s Go Brandon!

    • #6
  7. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Except for the specific examples, there is nothing in the cited piece that adds to what several Ricochetti, including the venerable Kozak and I (both physicians, mind you) have been pointing out for years.  Biden’s demented.  To deny this is to deny reality.

    • #7
  8. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    nobody fears or respects them.

    I understand the sense in which this statement was made, but would just note that I fear the h___ out of both of them and would be hard pressed to pick which one of the two is the more potentially dangerous.

    We should be afraid precisely because our enemies are not. The well-being of the free world in the hands of a senile buffoon and Wille Brown’s airhead former mistress…

    Well put!

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Except for the specific examples, there is nothing in the cited piece that adds to what several Ricochetti, including the venerable Kozak and I (both physicians, mind you) have been pointing out for years. Biden’s demented. To deny this is to deny reality.

    Is there something they can give him that helps him function at townhalls and such? I’m just wondering if they use a stimulant or something. What do you think? I mean, as bad as he is, I think without pharmaceutical support, he’d be much worse!

    Interesting bit about the Korean War. Mr. C’s dad was an Airborne Ranger there — a medic. He survived (with a Purple Heart or two), but he saw a bunch of guys die. So tragic and unnecessary.

    Yeah, it’s exceedingly dangerous that our enemies mock and disrespect our president. They’re not afraid of him. They see his administration as an opportunity to act as aggressively as they please. 

    And, btw, being tangentially involved in the microchip business, if Taiwan falls, you can’t even imagine the economic devastation the world will suffer. It’s already a problem in the automotive industry. We should be “offshoring” Taiwan’s chip manufacturing back here as of yesterday. 

    • #9
  10. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    We need a mechanism to remove Presidents whose cognitive decline indicate that they can’t do the job.  The 25th Amendment has that mechanism.  https://ricochet.com/1030568/the-25th-amendment/

    In that post, I pointed out that there are two groups who can temporarily remove the President, (A) The Vice President and the Cabinet, and (B) a group appointed by Congress.  Section 4 of the 25th Amendment states:

    Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
         
    Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.  (Emphasis Added)

    Back in 2017 Representative Jamie Raskin introduced legislation to address the alternative.  Raskin’s press announcement states:

    “The Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader each select four physicians and four psychiatrists to serve on the Commission. Additionally, the Democratic and Republican leaders of each chamber will select, by party, four retired statespersons (e.g., former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Attorneys and Surgeons General, Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury) to serve. The 16 appointed members then select a 17th member, who acts as the Chair of the Commission. In order to avoid conflicts of interest and both civilian and military chain of command issues, none of the members can be current elected officials, federal employees, or members of the active or reserve military.”

    Now here’s the irony.  We don’t want people willy nilly removing presidents for being flaming narcissists.  We want them removed if they are showing the symptoms of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  I will defer to the physicians of Ricochet as to whether there are markers that can be objectively ascertained as to the above conditions upon a blood draw and so forth.  However, there is a quick and easy 30 question mental status exam that a psychologist can easily perform.  A Neurologist suggested to me that Biden could miss well over the number of questions which would indicate senility.  

    Now let’s talk politics.  Raskin’s bill was introduced by him this session while removal of Trump was still on the table.  My suggestion is that Republicans join his bill and seek to have it heard.  

    If Biden cannot pass a simple Mental Status Exam, he should not be president.  Use the vehicle that Jamie Raskin has provided us to that possible end.  This would be an ongoing commission appointed by both parties.  

    • #10
  11. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    We need a mechanism to remove Presidents whose cognitive decline indicate that they can’t do the job. The 25th Amendment has that mechanism. https://ricochet.com/1030568/the-25th-amendment/

    In that post, I pointed out that there are two groups who can temporarily remove the President, (A) The Vice President and the Cabinet, and (B) a group appointed by Congress. Section 4 of the 25th Amendment states:

    Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

    Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office. (Emphasis Added)

    Back in 2017 Representative Jamie Raskin introduced legislation to address the alternative. Raskin’s press announcement states:

    “The Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader each select four physicians and four psychiatrists to serve on the Commission. Additionally, the Democratic and Republican leaders of each chamber will select, by party, four retired statespersons (e.g., former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Attorneys and Surgeons General, Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury) to serve. The 16 appointed members then select a 17th member, who acts as the Chair of the Commission. In order to avoid conflicts of interest and both civilian and military chain of command issues, none of the members can be current elected officials, federal employees, or members of the active or reserve military.”

    Now here’s the irony. We don’t want people willy nilly removing presidents for being flaming narcissists. We want them removed if they are showing the symptoms of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. I will defer to the physicians of Ricochet as to whether there are markers that can be objectively ascertained as to the above conditions upon a blood draw and so forth. However, there is a quick and easy 30 question mental status exam that a psychologist can easily perform. A Neurologist suggested to me that Biden could miss well over the number of questions which would indicate senility.

    Now let’s talk politics. Raskin’s bill was introduced by him this session while removal of Trump was still on the table. My suggestion is that Republicans join his bill and seek to have it heard.

    If Biden cannot pass a simple Mental Status Exam, he should not be president. Use the vehicle that Jamie Raskin has provided us to that possible end. This would be an ongoing commission appointed by both parties.

    But installing Harris is not really a cognitive step up.

    • #11
  12. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Maybe I’m being especially cynical. It is in everyone’s interest to play this out for the next 3 years. Can you imagine some future Howard Baker, during a hearing in a Republican majority House or Senate asking the question, “What did the President not know? And when did he not know it?”

     

     

     

    • #12
  13. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    And by anyone, I mean anyone associated with the administration, the Democratic Party and the media. BIRM

    • #13
  14. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Except for the specific examples, there is nothing in the cited piece that adds to what several Ricochetti, including the venerable Kozak and I (both physicians, mind you) have been pointing out for years. Biden’s demented. To deny this is to deny reality.

    Thank you, Sir. A much  appreciated note of logic and clarity, not to mention expertise. I tried to carefully hedge my comments so as to keep them within the bounds of good faith, as I am not in any sense of the word medically trained or experienced, but this is the kind of clear statement I, and, I believe, so many others, value and seek in these times of sheer madness and divorce from reality. 

    On another note, when is your next Concert, and what are you hearing? I would be interested to know. 

    Sincerely, Jim

    • #14
  15. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Yes!  How about me?  Biden served his purpose.  I don’t think that Harris can win in 2024 (unless we nominate Trump).  Ironically, the strongest candidate against Harris would likely be Liz Cheney.    

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Except for the specific examples, there is nothing in the cited piece that adds to what several Ricochetti, including the venerable Kozak and I (both physicians, mind you) have been pointing out for years. Biden’s demented. To deny this is to deny reality.

    Thank you, Sir. A much appreciated note of logic and clarity, not to mention expertise. I tried to carefully hedge my comments so as to keep them within the bounds of good faith, as I am not in any sense of the word medically trained or experienced, but this is the kind of clear statement I, and, I believe, so many others, value and seek in these times of sheer madness and divorce from reality.

    On another note, when is your next Concert, and what are you hearing? I would be interested to know.

    Sincerely, Jim

    Thanks Jim

    New York Philharmonic, upcoming Saturday, Joshua Bell doing the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Stravinsky Pulcinella suite, Chen Yi Duo Ye for small orchestra.  My first NYP concert at Alice Tully hall, which is built for stage not symphony performances and so should have very nice acoustics for the small orchestras called for in this program.  Haven’t heard the Phil in maybe 3 years, it will be good to make their re-acquaintance.  The Phil was supposed to open the May 2020 Amsterdam Mahler festival, but you know what happened to that.

    • #16
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Yes!  How about me?  Biden served his purpose.

    Everything Moves Towards Communism All Of The Time™

    • #17
  18. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Gary’s opinion was that Trump was in mental decline,

    • #18
  19. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    At least Biden didn’t say he would not come to Taiwan’s defense in case of an attack. There are so many people in this administration who, if not hobbled by dementia of the mind, are certainly crazed by the idiocy of their thoughts, such that stupid and dangerous statements are normalized as expectations sink into the abyss. There must have been some administration in the past that was as bad. I just am at a loss to name it.

    • #19
  20. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Yes! How about me? Biden served his purpose. I don’t think that Harris can win in 2024 (unless we nominate Trump). Ironically, the strongest candidate against Harris would likely be Liz Cheney.

    Seriously, Gary, what has Cheney done in her legislative career other than oppose Trump? Does that qualify her for the Presidency. Admittedly, though, the bar has been lowered considerably lately, hasn’t it?

    • #20
  21. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Yes! How about me? Biden served his purpose.

    Everything Moves Towards Communism All Of The Time™

    And Biden is still serving his purpose.  Some just don’t see it.

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Yes! How about me? Biden served his purpose. I don’t think that Harris can win in 2024 (unless we nominate Trump). Ironically, the strongest candidate against Harris would likely be Liz Cheney.

    Seriously, Gary, what has Cheney done in her legislative career other than oppose Trump? Does that qualify her for the Presidency. Admittedly, though, the bar has been lowered considerably lately, hasn’t it?

    I thought Cheney, like Hillary, familied into politics and a Senate seat.

    • #22
  23. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

     Biden is a front and we don’t even know for whom.  The VP is being trashed because the “whom” want Biden there until he can’t even be produced to read a brief statement.  The only meaningful question is whether we’ll have an honest election.  If so, and if the Chinese haven’t taken away options, we’ll have chance to fix matters if we’re willing to.  They know that, who ever “they” are so the fundamental question is whether we’ll have an honest election.

    • #23
  24. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Does anyone really believe the people who brought you the Biden Administration are going to admit the guy is demented?

    Yes! How about me? Biden served his purpose. I don’t think that Harris can win in 2024 (unless we nominate Trump). Ironically, the strongest candidate against Harris would likely be Liz Cheney.

    Seriously, Gary, what has Cheney done in her legislative career other than oppose Trump? Does that qualify her for the Presidency. Admittedly, though, the bar has been lowered considerably lately, hasn’t it?

    Jim, with respect, and this is from one who has made a serious and, I hope, respectful attempt to engage this person in serious, substantive debate. While you certainly may have more success than I did, the lesson I learned is that it is a colossal waste of time. Moreover, while no one doubts every American citizen’s right to voice their opinion, it is my personal belief that anyone who makes this kind of statement about Liz Cheney, of all people, in this context, on a right-center venue, is just not to be taken seriously. Reasonable minds may differ, as the saying goes in the Law, but to me this kind of statement is so off-the-rails it is, quite simply, laughable. I guess I should add the caveat that the only saving grace, for me at least, would be if the speaker was suggesting that Liz Cheney would make a strong candidate for Vice-President on the Democrat Party ticket; maybe that’s what she is aiming for as she has shown she is much closer to [             ]s like Pelosi than anyone in the Republican party, the sole exception being that [                ], Adam Kitzinger.  But, that’s just me. Sincerely, Jim

    • #24