Memo to the President: Ignore Congress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that he and his Radical Republican minions will not vote to raise the nation's debt limit, threatening, perhaps, a credit default by the U.S. government.

This particular bit of Congressional kabuki has been a partisan shuttlecock in Congress for many years now, with Republicans posturing up to the last minute before the hapless Democrats cave and give the insurrectionists what they want—whatever it takes to keep the "full faith and credit" of the United States worth something.

The last time the Republicans tried this—during the Obama administration—the credit rating of the United States was cut a notch, for the first time ever.

The House of Representatives has passed a debt ceiling raise, and now it's up to the feckless Senate—hampered by the My-Donors-Love-the-Filibuster Democrats Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to do nothing.

As Augustus might have said, 'Congress must govern! I'll gladly give up this power when Congress proves it is capable of performing its duties. Until then, however…'

Well, here's a plan for President Joe Biden: Ignore Congress.

A forceful, assertive president could use a showdown with the combative Senate to assume the kind of strong executive power over government spending that previous administrations have taken on in other areas—most notably in war-making. Indeed, a recurrent theme throughout the entire history of the U.S. government has been the usurpation of legislative power by the executive–from Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, to Lincoln's conduct of the Civil War, to Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, all the way down to Donald J. Trump, who, of course, raised executive disregard for Congress to a new level altogether.

A president operating in that tradition could easily force Congress into the kind of secondary role that presidents have long envisioned.

Since Congress is deadlocked and unable to do anything, Biden could simply choose to ignore them and instruct the government to carry on business as usual. The Treasury will go on selling bonds and writing checks. Evoking emergency powers–remember this is still war-time because we have been living under war-time presidential authority for 70 years—Biden could assert that Congress has stopped functioning and he alone is left to operate the government.

As Augustus might have said, "Congress must govern! I'll gladly give up this power when Congress proves it is capable of performing its duties. Until then, however …."

The president would have to make the case to the country: Congress has refused to do its duty and that without his action, the soldiers would have no bullets, retirees no money and travelers no air traffic controllers.

Congress would have two choices: remove this president from office or acquiescence. While the Radical Republicans in the House might clamor for impeachment, there's no chance any vote would even take place. And as we know now, whatever the House does, the Senate would never convict.

While I recognize that this scenario is a progressive's nightmare and that this president hasn't the fortitude for such action, it is clearly a tough, assertive way to put the blowhard, antigovernment Republicans in their proper place. It's certainly just the kind of thing that a Lincoln, Truman, Nixon, even a Reagan would consider. And any of them would do.

Former Yale psychiatrist sues university -- saying she was fired over her efforts to expose Trump's mental illness

As Dr. Bandy X. Lee's frequent publisher, we, the editors of DC believe she has made vital contributions to our understanding of public mental health and the damaging effects of a deeply mentally ill individual, Donald Trump, holding the most powerful position in the world.

Trump's delusions, which are well-documented and go back decades, have resulted in the spread of baseless conspiracy theories, numerous acts of deadly violence and the failed attempt to overthrow our government on Jan 6. These assaults continue although there are indications that some Trump followers who embraced his delusions appear to be recovering from their own temporary loss of rationality and mental well-being.

Yale University fired Dr. Lee, an established professor on its medical school faculty, citing the misnamed "Goldwater Rule." That policy directs mental health professionals to hold their tongue about the mental well-being of officials, something American citizens do every day around their kitchen tables, in public forums and on national television. To deny the citizenry the insights of educated mental health professionals is more than absurd, it is an attack on the very principle of American democratic self-governance.

We believe every one of her opinion columns and interviews falls well within the boundaries of the highest standards of responsible journalism.

The "rule" is itself of dubious provenance, relevance and is outdated. And yet one of America's leading universities clings to this orthodoxy in firing Dr. Lee, after 17 years on its medical school faculty, for using her knowledge to advance and widen human understanding of public mental health and the deleterious effects of having a popular leader who suffers from delusions that are well documented.

All Americans should be deeply disturbed at Yale's implicit attack on robust public debate by punishing Dr. Lee and seeking to intimidate other well-informed mental health scholars about our elected leaders and their fitness to hold office. This is especially so for any president because his finger is on the nuclear button.

We have published more than 40 articles by Dr. Lee and expect to carry more of her work. We believe every one of her opinion columns and interviews falls well within the boundaries of the highest standards of responsible journalism. Her writing also advances our mission, which is to cover what politicians do, not what they say, and to encourage citizens to act like the owners of our government.

Lawsuit Filed

On Monday, Dr. Lee filed a lawsuit against Yale for wrongful termination, as the student-run Yale Daily News reported today, March 23.

Her complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, asserts that "Yale violated its contractual obligations to Dr. Lee and violated the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Yale further committed the tort of negligent misrepresentation by not adhering to its policies on academic freedom, upon which Dr. Lee had relied."

We hope that the trustees and academic leaders at Yale University cease their attack and acknowledge their error and that they embrace the fundamental principle of American democracy which depends on rational and reasoned debate, not dogma like the misnamed "Goldwater Rule."

Her lawsuit notes that the American Psychiatric Association reinterpreted its "Goldwater Rule" shortly after Trump became president.

'Gag Order'

"The reinterpreted Goldwater Rule created a gag order, recommending that its members not comment on public figures… even where there is a responsibility to society to protect public health," unless these politicians have submitted to psychiatric evaluation, her complaint states, noting that the APA is a voluntary professional organization of psychiatrists, not a regulatory body with government powers. She was last a member of that organization in 2007.

Dr. Lee says, and we agree, that the APA's new interpretation of the rule is "in conflict with [the] duties, responsibilities, and role in the interest of public health in light of her belief that Donald Trump posed a dangerous threat to this country and the world. For this reason, she held an ethics conference at Yale in April 2017 with some of the most respected members of her profession. This conference initially had approximately two dozen attendees and then drew national attention and led to the public-service book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President."

That book became a New York Times bestseller.

While Yale did not sponsor the conference, Dr. Lee discussed the conference in advance with Yale, and Yale provided an auditorium without charge, making her firing all the more incoherent and indefensible academically, politically and morally.

Dr. Lee's more than 40 opinion pieces and interviews, some of them co-authored by other eminent authorities in mental health, can be read by clicking on this link.

DCReport is a reader-supported nonprofit and advertising-free public service journalism organization led by former senior and widely respected journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and other serious news organizations.

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