A Manic Politician of History

The ?Manic Political Long Family of Louisiana

From the pen of the human interest, humorous columnist Jim Bradshaw of the St. MaryNow.com website of Lousiana came the following hilarious piece regarding the Governor Earl Long, scion of the even later and more famous Huey Long, of “A Chicken in Every Pot” Depression Era fame: JIM BRADSHAW: WHEN EARL LONG’S MENTAL STATE MADE NEWS. I am always on the lookout for pieces that document the foibles of the famous cultural figures of our time, both for purposes of humor and for instructional examples to use with trainees in medicine and psychiatry in my work. This piece is worth the read. I would commend it to the reader for a pleasant interlude.

I have another purpose as usual. I had in decades past some older ancestors of my father’s family located in Louisian. Early on in my life in childhood and teen years I was exposed to one great aunt in that state on periodic visits to her home there. She was in 80’s by the time I came to hear family stories about the Civil War and other fascinating tales involving my father’s family’s long gone relatives. A few of those stories involved that branch of my father’s ancestors with the infamous Huey Long who ran for President and was one of the reactive voices of common people’s Populism during the Great Depression which my father and his own family lived through.

The tales I heard about “The Kingfish” as Huey Long came to be known, were incredible. I heard of demoagogic speeches that could spell bind huge outdoor audiences, hard drinking, a talent for non stop off the cuff jokes and so much energy that almost no one could keep up with him.

Gov. Huey Long at the Microphone

Then in later years as accounts of Earl Long’s own clearly “manic” spells came out, I began to wonder about the fast paced, non stop life that was Huey Long’s. In my residency and later practice years, I came be exposed to persons who were not fully manic but who clearly were non stop persons as I called them. I came to view as a distinct type, a diagnostic category in my own mind that was not recognized, and may never be, in the bible of psychiatry, the DSM, the Diagnostic Statistic Manual. These were persons who were always “on,” always hypomanic or just below that level of revved-up-ness. I once knew a salesman who could sell out his luxury foreign car dealership in three months and then spent the rest of his work year languishing at his NC beach house until the new model year of luxury cars came in. He would then return and then proceed to sell the stock out, drive out all the other salespersons and make the dealership owner most happy. He finally had a manic episode and confirmed my psychiatric musings about him. I met and knew over the years such figures who all worked inhumanly impossibly long hours, had non stop energy, could drink everyone under the table, were the dominating person in any room they graced, had insatiable sexual appetites, and were enormously successful. They were company heads, surgeons, attorneys and politicians of course. Most of them never evolved into full blown officially symptomatic manics, but many of their progeny did and that is how I came to know them and suspect the truth about them. Their genetic diathesis, posing as this constellation of lifelong energy and such, sometimes emerged in the full evolution of their hidden “bipolar” subclinical makeup.

And that is my take on the Longs, Huey was a closet hypomanic and Earl was a full blown hypomanic-manic person in times when all this was poorly understood and denied.

I have to not tease the reader with all this. I have reprinted Jim Bradshaw’s article on the late Earl Long below for your immediate gratification and your own judgment:

The Equally Spellbinding Gov. Earl Long

“Sixty years ago Louisiana and the nation watched with a combination of awe, incredulity, and amusement, a political episode that was bizarre even by the standards of Long-era Louisiana.
During the summer of 1959 newspaper front pages were filled daily with the tirades, tantrums, and shenanigans of Gov. Earl Long that caused him to twice be confined in mental institutions, and to briefly act as governor while he was an inmate in one of them.
The manic episodes, family members said, were the result of Long’s return to heavy drinking and taking an assortment of pills either to help him sleep or keep him awake. Long said that was humbug (in much saltier words).
He was always volatile and hot-headed, but reporters began to publicly hint at the governor’s overuse of alcohol as early as April, when the Associated Press reported the governor’s hijacking of a legislative budget hearing “with his bottle of Tichenor’s antiseptic on the table before him.”
But things really began to unravel in late May, when Long railed for more than an hour and a half and, the AP said, “poured out scathing criticism” on legislators and political enemies … “as he screamed into the House microphone in a stinging, stump-speaking style.” They noted that he drank from a glass filled with “what appeared to be grape juice” during the tirade.
Two days later, the governor’s wife, Blanche, announced that Long had been ordered to bed “for several days” and that he was suffering from exhaustion. One of the people helping to make that decision was Jesse Bankston, Louisiana’s director of hospitals, who thought Earl needed more than bed rest at the governor’s mansion.
He thought Long needed to be confined for psychiatric evaluation and that the confinement needed to be outside Louisiana, so that he could not use his powers as governor.
On Saturday, May 30, Earl was strapped to a gurney, put aboard an Air National Guard airplane, and flown to the John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. The doctors were told that Earl had agreed to be admitted. They soon found out differently. The AP reported that Long “refused to cooperate with hospital authorities.” The Galveston Daily News said his refusal included “a couple of violent episodes.”
He threatened his wife with federal kidnaping charges, and court-appointed lawyers in Texas filed papers claiming he was taken to Texas against his will. Long himself signed the legal papers, “Earl K. Long, gov. in exile by force and kidnaping.”
The hearing June 16 on his petition for release, according to United Press International, was punctuated by Long’s outbursts against, among others, “the horse doctors” who were overseeing his treatment. When the judge tried to quiet him, Long said he was just trying to help his lawyers prove he was sane.
Before the ruling came down in Texas, however, Long made a deal with Blanche and with his nephew Sen. Russell Long that he would consent to being moved to the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans.
He was there one day before he reneged on his promise. He told Blanche he’d said he would go to Ochsner, but that he didn’t say how long he would stay. There was also a rumor, reported in the Alexandria Town Talk, that once the airplane was over Louisiana, Long planned to order the Louisiana National Guard pilot to take him to his farm in Winnfield, rather than New Orleans. It didn’t happen, but it sounds plausible.
When Earl reneged, Blanche had a friendly judge sign orders committing the governor to the Southeast State Mental Hospital in Mandeville. Once again, “a screaming, cursing Gov. Earl K. Long was hauled to a mental hospital.”
But this one was a state institution in Louisiana. While an inmate at Mandeville, Long called a meeting of the State Hospital Board and had its hand-picked members fire Bankston as state hospital director and appoint a new one, who, in turn, fired Dr. Charles Belcher, the superintendent of the hospital.
Belcher’s replacement saw no reason to continue to hold Long, nor did a friendly judge when the family tried to keep him confined.
The AP reported on June 26, “Gov. Earl K. Long swept out of a jammed courtroom a free man today — a complete victor over his family and state officials who committed him to a state mental hospital.
“Gov. Long immediately set up a temporary statehouse at the Great Southern Hotel … near Lake Pontchartrain. From room 221 in the hostelry, the governor is expected to drop the axe on political enemies.”
Which he did.
A collection of Jim Bradshaw’s columns, “Cajuns and Other Characters,” is now available from Pelican Publishing. You can contact him at jimbradshaw4321@gmail.com or P.O. Box 1121, Washington LA 70589.”

Book Review: The First Detective Postal Inspector

Great read for history !https://amzn.to/2RbYs9M

To my readers: it is time for another book review which I hope to do on a regular basis every month or two. I will let the readers know that my selections of books are dictated strictly by my own reading interests and I hope they will be varied enough to interest at least a portion of my readers.

The book I have selected for this post, Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society: America’s Original Gangsters and the U.S. Postal Detective who Brought Them to Justice highlighted above in the image of its book cover is one that I stumbled upon accidentally while searching in another subject area entirely this caught my eye and I knew I had to have it in hard copy form since I found that this was a volume I wish to keep in its physical form and not as an electronic, virtual book. Although the central character in this book, is named Mr. J. Frank Oldfield, he was not related to the famous racecar driver at the turn of the 20th century Mr. Barney Oldfield. This gentleman came from fairly humble roots and interestingly enough came to his profession and occupation as one of the country’s first investigative postal inspectors through the political patronage system where he grew up in the state of Pennsylvania and through his biological father who was somewhat of a political power in the area they grew up in. It makes for interesting reading as to how this process tended to work decades ago. Nowadays we would probably look on the influence peddling and political wrangling that help this gentleman come to into his appointment as a political inspector, as outright nepotism. What further makes the story engaging is that this gentleman aspired in a properly motivated professional manner to become a true postal inspector devoted to the service of protection of the public.

Overall the book traces his development into a supremely dogged, determined and very talented self-taught investigator who truly rivaled in his own way the sharpest investigative techniques of the day. As I’ve hinted in the sentence above, he was a remarkable individual because he really had no formal training in law enforcement, investigative techniques etc. He was truly self-taught. He also existed in an age in which there was no other national police force. He worked toward the end of the 1800s and early end to the 1900s which meant that the Federal Bureau of investigation or FBI, did not exist. Inspector Oldfield also operated before the era of prohibition and famous law enforcers such as Eliot Ness and others. The postal service was the largest national organization in the country outside of the national military organizations such as the US Army. This book also in its early chapters, gives a fascinating history and exposition of the development of the U.S. Postal Service from the eras of the Revolutionary war onward. This piece of history is no idle intellectual exercise as some of its most important early organizational features lent themselves to the ability of the U.S. Postal Service to be turned into a true investigative law enforcement mechanism as implemented by the central figure in this book inspector J Frank Oldfield.

Another fascinating piece of historical circumstance is that this Iinspector Oldfield was stationed in the Midwest out of the way of major crime centers, in central Ohio. It turns out that inspector Oldfield stumbled upon the phenomenon of criminal families in different locales, specifically and importantly located in different states. The historical account of how Inspector Oldfield discovered the existence of ties between criminal families in different states is nothing short of fascinating. This was not an over night discovery but a process that took many months and incredibly persistent mundane effort to sketch outI the existence of cooperation among criminal familiesI that had never been realized in this country before. The reader begins to discover that figures like Inspector Oldfield, and the US postal services inspector capabilities were the only law enforcement body capable of mounting investigations that crossed state lines.

Inspector Oldfield discovered odd use of the Postal Service in a small town outside Cincinnati Ohio. He was astute enough to focus his attention on this criminally appearing anomaly in which a family of Italian fruit vendors and distributors sent money overseas to Italian relatives and also so to other Italian families in other states notably Pennsylvania.

This led to his fateful discovery of the then unknown Black Hand Society, the forerunner in Italian – Sicilian organized crime that evolved in decades to come, especially during and after the Prohibition era to the Mafia, or La Cosa Nostra. As a bit of a spoiler I will reveal one of the fascinating elements of this story which was that at the time Inspector Oldfield discovered and mapped out the existence and structure of this new organized criminal organization, no national state or regional law enforcement body believed even in the concept of organized crime. It was felt that all crime was local and that criminals did not coordinate their efforts across state lines at all. So Inspector Oldfield was fighting against the prevailing notions in law enforcement about the magnitude of criminal activity that was evolving in young modern America.

The authors of this book did a masterful job of constructing the narrative. It reads like the best mystery novel as the plot line unfolds and one witnesses every step along the way of the incredible investigation. It is also extremely interesting as one realizes that the efforts of one man, tucked away in middle Ohio, discovers the existence of ethnic organized crime that served to form the institutions on a national level of law enforcement investigation, namely the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the redoubtable J Edgar Hoover. The authors also researched this book incredibly well. Their references and citations also furnish incredible material for the curious. The narrative of this book is completely supported by the research efforts of the authors. A telling example is that the authors even located a turn-of-the-century photograph of one of the original black hand Society criminal families who look incredibly ordinary like new immigrant workers.

All in all this is a diamond in the rough, a gym of a book regarding little-known history of the U.S. Postal Service, the evolution of its core of postal inspectors into top-flight investigators who paved the way for the decades long war against the Mafia by the U.S. Congress and the Federal Bureau of investigation in modern times.

Trump Is Not Hitler

Once again the Liberal press is echoing the sentiment that President Trump is our version of Adolf Hitler, ready to take over the Republic in all manner of malevolent ways and totally destroy our democratic experiment in the USA. [Disclaimer: I am a centrist Liberal to be sure. My sentiments and beliefs are mostly on the Liberal side. As a physician, I have long favored, for instance, a single-payer healthcare system. But I am pro-military, and come from a largely a military family. I believe in civil rights, women’s rights and personal responsibility, accountability and not graft etc. I could go on but I am sort of political melange based on fairness and education among other values.]

The name of Hitler could very well be a flashpoint type stimulus for me. I am a Jewish convert which is a long story but arises from my experiences as a youth in Israel due to my father’s work which took our family there for several years. I also inherited the anti-nazi view of a family who served in World War II through multiple past relatives of my parents’ generation including female members, and which sustained losses in WWII.

As a psychiatrist, I ruefully witness the hair on fire reactions that I still consider and hope are overreactions on the part of the very Liberal media for instance, to President Trump and which continue to decry many of his misplaced, goofy and erratic social and political actions in the light of an evil dictator such as Hitler. We have had a few published efforts by psychiatric authors to publicly demonstrate by diagnostic exercises in print that President Trump is our own Hitler. The most notable book that has established this pattern and line of thought is the collected essay book by Bandy Lee MD a lady psychiatrist at Yale, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

dangerous Case of Donald Trump

 This volume became a very good seller and has been quoted and referred to by many commentators since it came out over a year ago. The primary author and editor of the multi-author book has continued to pronounce Trump in the media and meetings as an extreme threat by virtue of her now very well publicized view of him as an extremely disturbed person unfit for the Presidency. And this has had the predictable effect of giving the truly anti-Trump crowd,  intellectual justification for labeling him as now fully diagnosed as mentally dangerous to the country.

The controversy in the mental health professions, especially psychiatry, has spawned almost a new cottage industry of psychologizing and diagnosing by anyone who has enough nerve and/or a widely enough recognized name in popular American culture. This is my mind is the greatest danger that the “Goldwater Rule” of the American Psychiatric Association spoke to in making diagnosing public figures a forbidden ethical transgression for the psychiatrist.

Trump Dr Decker book

We now have a few books that take on this seductive and publicity garnering foray under the authorship of anonymous writers. The first book I came across in this genre is Another intriguing book has been the small almost pamphlet-sized book by an anonymous “Dr. Decker:” Trump’s Brain (Paperback): An FBI Profile of Donald Trump: Predicting Trump’s Actions and Presidency.

I am old enough to have lived through the late 1960’s and 1970’s as a young student. I saw all the civil unrest of those times. The Liberal segment of the nation and the more publicized ultra-radical Left saw President Nixon and his administration and political as the intellectual and political AntiChrist. Their reactions to him and vilifications of him were extreme, to say the least. Nixon was portrayed as a fascist, and dictator in the making. It turned out that Nixon did have at least some antisemitic views which were not well known at the time. But Nixon did not make the degree and depth of threats to American institutions such as the press and the Courts that President Trump has carried out so far in his Presidency. But it is history now well established that Nixon started many of the right-wing tactics such as the Southern Strategy, coded [hidden linguistically] racism intentions and ways of speaking politically, dirty tricks of campaigning, attempts at intimidating the press, etc. Back then in the Nixon era, the Left screamed constantly that the end of the Republic was at hand and it did not turn out that way. Even in my youth, I was buttressed with an international view of despots and knew that Nixon was not such. I had lived in a few such countries overseas and had my father’s wise WWII based perspective on what a dictator was. Somehow I knew that the Nixon crowd would totally self-destruct. It helped on a personal note that my father was an Eisenhower Republican and had a dim view of Nixon and had him ‘pegged’ all along.

In those days watching Nixon and the Watergate hearings the last year of his Presidency, I had the view that such character disorders, caused their own destruction. I saw the seeds of Nixon’s political demise and was relatively untouched by the near political hysteria that engulfed me at that time. I lived in one of the most Liberal areas of the country and most of my friends were far more liberal than I was. Now I live and have basically since I left that area in 1974, in a thoroughly and historically very conservative area, locally and regionally. Liberals are few and far between hereabouts. I do not see conservatives as the personification of the Devil. I was exposed to the conservative working class all my youth in different parts of the country due to my father’s migratory profession that did not take us to bastions of Liberalism…

Now to the diagnoses that have been popularly [n both senses of the word I might add somewhat tongue in cheek] assigned to President Trump:

malignant narcissistic personality disorder

antisocial personality disorder

sociopath [the nonscientific term for the above term]

sexual predatory [not really a diagnostic term]

megalomaniac [also not a real term but a literary, descriptive one]

borderline personality disorder

attention deficit disordered

And of course, all the words denoting a dictator: despot, tyrant, etc.

I shall offer a generic list of the popularly ascribed traits of the sociopathic personality disorder since that confluence of personality entities seems to be the leading ‘consensus’ of all the recent Trumpian pseudo psychiatric ascriptions:

  • Ignoring social norms
  • criminal behavior and problems with the law
  • arrogance
  • deceitfulness such as repeated lying or using aliases
  • conning others for personal profit and pleasure
  • impulsivity and failure to plan ahead
  • irritability hostility agitation
  • aggressiveness such as repeated physical fights
  • abusive relationships
  • inability to learn from negative consequences and past experience
  • reckless disregard for the safety of self and/or others
  • failure to hold down a job or honor financial obligations
  • lack of remorse
  • lack of empathy
  • exploitative relationships

All I can say at this point in this post is that for those who accept and believe Trump, he is none of these things, while for those who do not endorse or accept him as he is, he comes close to conforming to many of the above kinds of behaviors and is supremely dangerous to the Nation. But to me, the task is to keep my head from being overwhelmed with the emotion that swamps critical thinking around the figure of Trump, and state the kernel of this post: However Trump’s personality traits define him, he is not Hitler.

Let me offer an off the top of my head list of what I think of when I consider the person and political career of Adolf Hitler and compare the history of Hitler to the political career of Trump so far.

  • Hitler formulated one of the world’s most murderous social theories of race and ethnicity resulting in true mass murder and organized ethnic cleansing. Trump has done nothing that even hints at this.
  • Hitler rose to power through sustained and calculated political assassinations of political opponents, and early on even in his own early Brown Shirt movement. Trump has not done so.
  • Hitler had a large band of ruthless killers as an independent political and private military force at his command long before he assumed political office. To replicate that, Trump would have had to have organized, say, extremist militias nationwide into a force that intimidated the country in all its regions [states].
  • Hitler took over the military especially early in his rise to power, replacing his country’s top military leaders with his own henchmen. It would be as if Trump would have replaced the Joint Chiefs with extremist political hacks loyal to him after being elected.
  • Hitler systematically suppressed and took over the free press in Germany. Trump’s fight with the press and media who have opposed him has given testimony to how hard this would be even if Trump wished to do so.
  • Hitler took over the entire educational system in Germany from kindergarten to the universities to carry out his mission to brainwash and subjugate the nation’s entire population. This has not happened in the US.
  • Hitler abolished civilian control of Germany’s military.
  • Hitler assumed both the primary leadership offices of Germany unto himself. He was both Prime Minister and Chancellor. His political party took over the entire legislative body, the Bundestag.
  • Hitler abolished the popular voting electoral process in Germany. Hitler instituted a racist pseudo-genetic phenotype of the “true German” in the myth of the purse Aryan to divide the population into genetic have’s and have not’s. This was part and parcel of the basis for the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies [the Roman people’s, persons with birth defects, disabilities, etc.].

I know, and can hear through the WiFi ‘wires’ the protests of the readers who think Trump has already started these kinds of heinous anti-democratic and ‘diabolical’ maneuvers, but I think our extremely well established political and social institutions in this country are already pushing back in their stolidly resistant to change properties to oppose such. I feel confident that the military’s leaders have been quietly channeling Trump’s hairbrained ideas away from all-out calamitous consequences all along. This is not to say Trump has not goofed already in such circles. My point is that I do not think Trump is Hitler, nor will he be able to destroy our country and its institutions the ways my hair on fire very Liberal friends do.

I could be wrong but I do not think so.

 

 

Possible New Class of Antidepressants?

To give the reader some context in order to grasp the significance of the issue of a possible new class of antidepressant medications, I would offer the following points of information.

First, in spite of 30 years of hype and advertising by the pharmaceutical industry and especially the companies who have one by one introduced and advertised the so-called modern, or serotonin-based antidepressants, not much progress has been made in the actual efficacy of treating major depressive disorders with these medications. When the serotonin-based antidepressant medications started to emerge in the marketplace, the armamentarium of the psychiatrist and family physician, in the realm of novel pharmaceutical based advertising on Western television, the mode of action on a supposedly new neurotransmitter system was greatly hailed as a modern breakthrough. Serotonin actually is been known since the 1950s and the neuroscience circles in general.

Second, the only advance that was basically made was a reduction in the anticholinergic side effects of the previous generation of antidepressant medications. These the side effects are largely antihistamine. This means that they make nearly all mucous membranes and dry. This accounts for their marketed value in treating and controlling the symptoms of runny noses and watery eyes of viral colds and pollen allergies. These side effects present in the antihistamine medications and “try cyclic” antidepressant medications also cause decreased propulsion in the gastrointestinal tract, meaning the longer transit time for food and waste material through the small and large intestines. The longer that the foodstuffs and wastes stay especially in the large intestine, the more time there is for reabsorption of water from the stool. This makes for hard stool and consequently the long known constipation with all these medications. These same anticholinergic side effects can also affect heart rate and decrease blood pressure. The latter side effect is very problematic in the elderly and can cause lowered blood pressure upon standing and consequently falls in the elderly with alarming frequency and subsequent injuries such as hip fractures.

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Diagnosing Us Via Our Emails?!

In a very well written, succinct article Dr. Alan Hofmann, an internist of Preventia Clinics in Saint Jerome, Canada, wrote relatively of recent but little-known efforts to use AI [Artificial Intelligence] to key in on mental illness flags in emails. As alarming as this might sound initially, the article surprises the reader by quickly informing that there have been well-intentioned efforts to help crisis clinics and services to identify potential high-risk contacts who might need urgent services.

I have to quote Dr. Hofmann’s definition of this phenomenon as he conveys the notion far better than I can: “A series of emojis, words, actions or even inactions can communicate how you feel at a given moment and when collected over time, comprise your “socionome” — a digital catalogue of your mental health that is similar to how your genome can provide a picture of your physical health.”

His article, “What happens when an algorithm labels you as mentally ill?,” appearing in this week’s WorldPost publication, a service of the Washington Post, discussed somewhat playfully [in my interpretation to be clear] extending this effort into the area of diagnosing anyone psychiatrically by running emails through an AI app or program that would flag designated codewords that could be associated with depression, suicide risk etc. Dr. Hofmann wrote that, lo and behold, this HAS been done on a larger scale than any of us would have thought…Microsoft Research and some crisis clinics have done some preliminary work trying to craft programs or apps to facilitate real-time identification of callers in distress.

The latter half of the article went on to discuss that the level of accuracy was only around 70% in associating certain words with depression. Interestingly, it emerged that even innocent words such as “ibuprofen”  could be linked with suicide or overdose risk on mental health hotlines. Seventy percent concordance sounds pretty impressive but the author helps the reader to learn that in the world of mental health, psychology and all, this does not constitute very good predictability at all, and is barely above “a coin toss.”

But I got to thinking about all this as my sneaky, weasel-like, conniving mind started inevitably whirling around the possibilities. In my personal deranged computing life, I suddenly remembered that my voice dictation software is always asking me to permit analysis of all my documents and emails! Egads! If I consented would it diagnose me? Likely not, but it certainly might gang up with my handy-dandy super trustworthy grammar correcting program and send me back to a freshman English composition course.

But this personal, in-my-computing-space reminder got me to thinking even more so about the implications.

We all take for granted that the NSA and all the mind-boggling spy networks analyze our phone calls and emails for “bad words” that have to do with the War on Terror. These words I imagine are things like bomb, blow up, kill the Infidel, and so on. When I was a kid during the Cold War, words/phrases like dirty Capitalist pig, Molotov cocktail, bourgeois and such would have brought the attention of the FBI and CIA to “Commies” and student radicals in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Closer to home for those who are on Facebook™ [I no longer am for many reasons which I will rant about here] ‘consent’ to having posts analyzed for use by advertisers for targeting ads constantly to one’s views of posts, photos etc.

Twitter may do much the same thing, I am not sure. Tweets seem to me, in general, to be more unrestrained and loose-lipped with more gutter language and “F-bombs” than anywhere I go on the Internet. What if the ‘mental health diagnosing’ apps were set loose on twitter by enterprising wags, or hackers, or smear artists, “trolls” in today’s lingo for blackmail purposes. Or by ill-tempered political types in an effort to smear tweeters with whom they disagreed politically?

Granted this kind of idea seems ludicrous to me and bourne of ‘hair on fire’ kind of media exaggeration/hysteria that could emerge from any Right or Leftist fringe territory. Then again I thought this could be a “good thing” if we could have our own personal mental health screener app. One would purchase and install it in your browser. You could then program it yourself to screen for words or code phrases that you found distasteful or not in line with your political or social-cultural views and tag those tweets for exclusion.

But then one would further aggravate the silo’ing that we face in only reading and contemplating views consistent with our own preferences. And that is NOT a good thing in my view. It only reinforces echo chamber based discourse, further dividing us politically and “every which-a-way” from engaging and ‘building bridges’ of understanding, if that is still possible.

Or given the mudslinging, insult-driven tenor of our times, one could use such “linguistic” grading of tweets to label the posted sentiments of others as “unbalanced,” or “mentally ill” according to one’s own prejudicial scoring system. I can see it now, a genre of tweet replies along the lines of “well my app shows you score 84% on the skreptomaniac scale!”

And the cycle of anger, flame wars as they were called in the early days of “Bulletin Boards” would continue and do our national no good whatsoever.

And lastly, I am sure that opponents of our President would run their mental health scoring apps on Trump’s all too over the top tweets and move armchair, unethical, misplaced psychiatric diagnosing into new stratospheric levels of absurdity worthy of publication in my long-time favorite past journal of satire, The Wormrunner’s Digest from Dr. James V. McConnell of the University of Michigan in the days of Mort Sahl and the Golden Age of Satire.