Monday, 30 December 2013

The Goldwater Rule

It's not something discussed on forums or news media discussion tables....but there's a curious piece of American history going back to 1964....which relates to the "Goldwater Rule".

In the heat of the election race in 1964, between Senator Goldwater, and President Johnson.....Fact Magazine comes out with a piece, which asks the question of leadership stability over Senator Goldwater. A large number of mental health professionals were asked about character and mental state of Goldwater.  Some used "normal" as their choice of words.....a fair number of others used narcissistic, schizophrenic, obsessive, and psychotic.

Roughly, one thousand medical degree psychological doctors came to this state of diagnosing a guy running for President....simply by reading newspapers, and watching a few bits and pieces of TV news reporting.

Fact Magazine?  It was a monthly magazine that came out for roughly four years....ending in 1967.  No one really says much over its demise, but you get the impression that they weren't making tons of money toward the end.  The editors had a political slant on things.....mostly liberal, but not the kind of stuff that a regular nine-to-five guy, a union guy, or some truck-driver would read....more so....the stuff that college kids or some intellectual would pick up for an hour of reading.

When you go back and examine the 1964 race....there's a dozen-odd things that went wrong with the Goldwater election chances.  This was one of them.  Some media folks quoted the magazine in their analysis, and regular voters got around to believing that Goldwater was a "nut".

After the election....Goldwater sued the magazine.  He won the case, but cleared only $75,000 for damages to his character.

After the episode....the mental health profession met up and within a year or two....had decided that they couldn't run around and declare folks "nuts", unless they had personally examined the guy or gal (in person).  This was written up into a code of ethics so that medical professionals would not be tempted to break rules easily.

So today, it's ok for some journalist, some new media freak, some politician, or governor from New Jersey to point at someone and say they are crazy.  If you are a mental health professional....you can't really say much, or you have to slant it in a way that it's not about the guy but some behaviors that would need to be examined.

It's the Goldwater Rule.....in purest form.

Winners and Losers of 2013

There would be a lot of winners and losers in 2013, but I'll limit my picks to three each....the best three, so to speak.

First, the losers.

The Affordable Healthcare Act.  For a brief time, up until the budget episode in October....the Obamacare episode was going to sweep in and be at least marginally successful....so we were told.  There were issues, but folks would get ninety days to sign on and get "fixed".  Course, up until that point, there were a thousand things that went wrong.  Old doctors and clinics that we were told we'd keep forever?  Gone.  Higher deductibles of six thousand?  Yep, in place.  Doctors noting how they'd limit new patients at their operation?  Yeah.  Less than ten days after the budget crisis ended, and all the potential blame you could dump on the Republicans.....the flush of the toilet occurred.  The Affordable Heathcare Act is a loser, big-time.  More American have no health insurance.....for the start of 2014, than in the start of 2013.  Reality is taking a toll on American perspectives.

The news media.  Fewer people read the Washington Post, Time, Newsweak, and New York Times.....than a year ago.  Fewer people watch the Today Show.  Fewer people watch CNN.  Less viewers and readers....mean less income.....less benefits.....less opportunity....less movement upward.

Ed Snowden.  Ed pretty much gave up the rest of his productive life and will enjoy the comforts that Moscow offers, unless Germany gets peppy on engaging the US into a treaty on no-spying.  Ed doesn't have much to hope for, and will rely on what little luck he has for the rest of his life.

The winners?

Phil from Duck Dynasty.  Basically, Phil did a simple interview, quoted scripture from the Bible....got a couple hundred thousand folks upset, and got suspended for a couple of weeks.  Several million folks voiced strong opinion that they weren't deceived by Phil, the news media, Hollywood types, or fake wannabe status seekers.  Dopers, drunks, adulterers, gays, and swindlers?  They all got lumped into one group oddly enough, and there's no revision of the Bible possible to change that.

Auburn NCAA Football.  Well....Auburn kinda surprised folks, a lot.  To creep into the top ten, then sweep Alabama?  Yeah, they were a big winner in 2014.

Finally, there's Chancellor Merkel of Germany....winner of the election, and still Chancellor.  She had an interesting ten-minute chat with President Obama over listening into her phonecalls.  At the conclusion of the call.....she probably was grinning and knew she just got the best moment of relief that anyone could ever ask for.