Category Archives: Obama’s America

New USDA Rules Eliminate Junk Food in Schools

Apparently Michelle hasn’t ruined the kids’ lunches enough already.

An example of Michelle Obama's mandated school lunches

An example of Michelle Obama’s mandated school lunches

From Yahoo:  Students might notice some changes in the cafeteria when they go back to school in a few weeks.  The USDA will announce rules today that require schools to get rid of unhealthy snacks and eliminate students’ exposure to junk food, ABC News has exclusively learned.

The biggest difference this year will be what students see around the school. If a snack, food item or beverage is not healthy enough for a school to sell or serve, it can’t be advertised either. That means no more pictures of soda on vending machines or in the cafeteria.

Katie Wilson, USDA deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, said many schools requested these changes.  “Education and wellness and advertising to kids about healthier choices [and] that all has to be part of the school environment just like making sure they have pencils and paper and computers,” Wilson said.

One study found that 70 percent of elementary and middle school students see ads for junk food at school and research published earlier this month showed that kids tend to eat more after seeing ads for unhealthy food.

Another lovely school lunch

Another lovely school lunch

Snacks can’t have too many calories or too much sodium, fat or sugar, according to the guidelines for schools. Foods that are “whole grain-rich” or mostly made up of fruits or vegetables are emphasized, and schools are recommended to sell only water, low-fat milk or milk alternatives, or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.

Wilson said 98 percent of schools around the country already meet these standards. Now that the rules are finalized, she said the USDA will continue its efforts to educate parents, communities and school staff about better nutritional food choices.

Healthier food in schools is nothing new. Guidelines about healthy school lunches and snacks have been rolling out for several years and are part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign launched in 2010 to fight childhood obesity.

mooch eating

DCG

Trump’s acceptance speech pivots on America & Americans First

Did you watch Donald Trump’s speech as the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee last night?

What do you think of it?

If you haven’t watched it, here it is:

It was long, because Trump did not rush his words, but clearly and emphatically articulated (and sometimes shouted) important points he wanted to impress on Americans, and because he paused often, to acknowledge the reaction from the Convention delegates. All of which was not the performance of someone just reading from a teleprompter. Instead, this was a speaker who wanted to convey and impress on his listeners the gravity of America’s problems and how he would deal with those problems.

The heart of Trump’s message is a simple one:

America and Americans First

That principle should be self-evident, requiring no defense or justification — for who else but Americans would and should put America and Americans first? Don’t you put your own and your family’s wellbeing first? How is America to help others if America falls apart? And yet, we haven’t heard this overriding principle from other politicians, not even from Trump’s GOP primary rivals. It is also a message that the Left and their MSM accomplices, as well as the GOP elites, distort and malign as something evil — that standing up for and putting America first is “nativist,” “jingoist,” “fascist”…, as if the obligation of America and Americans is to be a doormat for the rest of the world.

From his central principle of “America and Americans First” — of making America rich and strong again — flows these derivative values and principles:

  1. Law and Order: A country that is in chaos cannot thrive economically. A fundamental responsibility of government is to protect and ensure the safety of the governed against criminals, whether criminals here illegally or those gunning down police. To ensure Americans’ safety, Trump is committed to our right to arm ourselves which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It is also on the theme of Law and Order that Trump indicts Hillary Clinton for her lawlessness in having a private email-server while she was secretary of state, and for the Obama FBI’s refusal to indict her for violating U.S. laws and endangering national security with unsecured emails containing classified state secrets and names of CIA agents.
  2. Secure Our Borders, to protect Americans against the flood of illegals, many of whom are criminals, and of Muslim “refugees” who the FBI has admitted cannot be vetted to exclude terrorists. On this, Trump reminds blacks that they are the economic victims of Obama’s and Hillary’s open-border policy, and that LGBTs were the victims of a Muslim gunman in Orlando. In so doing, without explicitly saying it, Trump reminds whites and straights that blacks and LGBTs are Americans, and putting “America First” should also mean putting all “Americans First”.
  3. A strong military, and better treatment for our veterans.
  4. In foreign policy and affairs, the United States will jealously guard our interests, be they financial, trade, or security. Trade treaties and arrangements will be rexamined and renegotiated, in order to restore America’s manufacturing industries and jobs. Our allies will have to pay their “fair share” for military defense (Japan, South Korea, but no mention of Israel) and step up to the plate against terrorism (NATO).
  5. Revive U.S. economy: Via restoring manufacturing jobs, getting allies to pay their fair share of defense costs, and lowering taxes.
  6. Populism: Trump ended his speech by telling America that unlike Hillary, who asks if Democrats are “with her,” his message is that he is “with you, the American people”.

Trump also graciously thanked Christians and Evangelicals for their support, saying he’s not sure he deserves it, which is uncharacteristically humble for him.

So how was Trump’s speech received by GOP elites?

If the editor of a supposedly conservative publication is an indication, it’s bad news for anyone hoping for Republican party unity to defeat Hillary, who will complete the destruction of America. Below is the shockingly vicious “The Demagogue Rises,” by Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon:

Donald Trump delivered the longest, loudest convention speech in recent memory when he accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday evening. He made no attempt to “pivot to the general election,” moderate his agenda, smooth over rough rhetoric. Gone was Mitt Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch, tossed into a dustbin with George W. Bush’s Freedom Agenda, George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light, Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America. Trump was his usual self: brash, boisterous, overbearing, defiant, inimitable, roiling with anger over the state of the country and the corruption, ineffectiveness, and arrogance of the nation’s elite. Trump won’t change, won’t learn, won’t listen, won’t apologize, won’t cavil, won’t conform to the traditions of presidential politics or adhere to the norms of political discourse. He doesn’t care about facts, he wants to overturn the postwar international order, he champions the will to power, he mercilessly attacks opponents. He’s a demagogue in dark suits, electric ties. I can only imagine what he’d be capable of if he were competent.

Because he’s not competent. He is actually truly, magnificently inept. The convention was a mess, haphazard, disorganized, weird. The botched roll call vote, Melania’s plagiarism, Ted Cruz’s hand grenade, the leaked speech draft—all of these gaffes and scandals occurred against the backdrop of dismal attendance, chants to put Hillary in prison, bizarre speakers, rambling addresses, early departures, and testimonies to Trump’s greatness. His campaign has practically no money, no advertising, no infrastructure, no grassroots operation. The other day, when he expressed uncertainty about whether the United States would lead NATO in defense of the Baltic States if they were attacked by Russia, Trump made history by provoking an international incident without even being president. Many GOP officials wouldn’t come near the convention, including Ohio’s popular governor. There are two Republican parties for the moment: the party led by Trump and the Republican Party in exile, the party of Kasich and Larry Hogan and Nikki Haley and Charlie Baker and Brian Sandoval and Mark Kirk and Ted Cruz. Election Day won’t just determine who will succeed President Obama. It will also determine the fate of Donald J. Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP.

Continetti all but calls Trump a Hitler, and Americans who support Trump mindless Nazis.

Note that Continetti’s criticisms of Trump are all about style, not substantive issues — that Trump was “brash,” “boisterous,” and “mercilessly attacks opponents,” and that he did not pay obeisance to GOP old guard elites, who to the end strove to undermine Trump and boycotted the Republican National Convention. As for the “opponents” whom Trump “mercilessly attacked,” since the only “opponents” Trump attacked were Hillary Clinton and big business fat-cats (with apologies to cats) who hollowed out the U.S. economy with their outsourcing of jobs, that should tell us whose side Continetti is on.

If Hillary wins, it will be because of Republicans like Matthew Continetti who reserve their most vicious venom not for Democrats, but for a fellow Republican and patriot who simply wants to put America and Americans first. Should Hillary become president, the victory of Continetti, Bill Kristol, the Bushes, et al., against Trump will be pyrrhic because all that will be left of their Republican Party is an empty shell, devoid of rank-and-file members.

So what do you think of Trump’s speech? Take our simple short poll!

~Eowyn

 

Federal immigration court backlog tops 500,000 pending cases

Build the wall.

illegals

From the Seattle Times: The backlog in the federal immigration court system has eclipsed half a million pending cases, The Associated Press has learned. The Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review said Wednesday there are now 500,051 pending immigration cases in the agency’s courts.

The backlog has been steadily rising in recent years as the number of unaccompanied children and people traveling as families have been caught crossing the Mexican border illegally. Since 2011 more than 200,000 cases have been added to the court’s docket and backlog is likely to continue growing.

More than 51,000 people traveling as families and more than 43,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala, have been caught crossing the border illegally since the start of the budget year in October.

Cases of newly arrived immigrants illegals facing deportation have been made a priority, but the backlog still means that many immigrants are likely to face years long delays before a judge makes a final decision on their cases. And while people are waiting to go before a judge, their case could dramatically change, for good or bad.

The president of the union representing immigration judges, Judge Dana Leigh Marks, said multi-year delays are frustrating to immigrants fighting for permission to stay in the United States and the judges hearing those cases.

“As a judge, it’s very frustrating because we have to go back to the beginning,” said Marks, who is a judge in San Francisco. “It’s a more time consuming job, more difficult. It’s very different when you (hear a case) within a year, as compared to seven or eight years.

Marks said the judges’ union has long seen this backlog coming and has pressed for more resources. A spokeswoman for the court system, Kathryn Mattingly, told AP that 18 judges have been added since the beginning of the year and there are now 277 judges hearing cases. She said approximately 100 other judge candidates are in the process of being hired.

“We’ve been undergoing a robust hiring initiative,” Mattingly said. She added that a pending budget proposal would allow the court to have as many as 399 judges on staff.

DCG

President Trump would purge federal government of Obama appointees

Conservatives have been saying for years that after (and if) Obama finally leaves office, the White House needs fumigation, along with the entire federal government.

Indeed, to correct the direction of this country — a direction that is wrong, according to a whopping 72% of Americans in the latest Rasmussen poll — it’s not just elected politicians that must go, the thousands of unelected bureaucrats in the many federal government institutions of the administrative state, e.g., DHS, HUD, HHS, EPA, who form America’s very powerful permanent government — must also be removed.

The Administrative State1

And according to NJ governor Chris Christie, who was among a few considered for Trump’s VP slot, if elected, President Donald Trump would do just that.

Emily Flitter reports for Reuters that on July 20, 2016, Trump ally Chris Christie said that “If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers.”

Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump’s White House transition team, said the Trump campaign already is drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people,” Christie told a closed-door meeting with dozens of donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters and two participants in the meeting.

Christie was referring to Trump’s starring role in the long-running television show The Apprentice, where his catch-phrase was “You’re fired!”

Trump’s transition advisers fear that Obama may convert these appointees to civil servants, who have more job security than officials who have been politically appointed, thereby enabling Obama appointees to keep their jobs in a Republican, administration. Christie explains:

“It’s called burrowing. You take them from the political appointee side into the civil service side, in order to try to set up … roadblocks for your successor, kind of like when all the Clinton people took all the Ws off the keyboard when George Bush was coming into the White House.”

Christie was referring to pranks committed during the presidential transition from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush in 2001. During that period, some White House staffers removed the W key on computer keyboards and left derogatory signs and stickers in offices, according to a report by the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress. That’s Democrats for ya — childish, petty, malevolent.

Christie said firing civil servants is “cumbersome” and “time-consuming,” and so “One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people.”

Christie said that a top priority for Trump is changing the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to roll back some of the most ambitious federal environmental policies, so as to revive the U.S. oil and coal industries and bolster national security.

Christie also said that Trump wants to let businesspeople serve in government part time without having to give up their jobs in the private sector.

In response, Obama’s White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that allowing appointees to apply for career civil service positions is “a longstanding precedent.”

Mouth of Sauron Joshua Earnest

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the largest federal employee union in the United States, said while it was concerned about the practice of “burrowing,” current law protected most federal employees from at will firing. AFGE policy director Jacqueline Simon said, “The federal government is a serious undertaking. It’s not a reality TV show, with ‘You’re fired!’ Just as we don’t want to hire anybody for political reasons, we don’t want anybody to be fired for political reasons.”

AFGE policy director Jacqueline Simon

“We don’t want to hire anybody for political reasons”?

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. Are you serious, Simon?

Here’s the extent of the problem:

As of March 2016, there were a total of 3,164 political appointees, 852 of whom were presidential appointees. In its most recent report on the topic, the Government Accountability Office said that in 2010, 143 former political appointees and congressional employees converted to career positions between May 1, 2005, and May 30, 2009.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating the practice of burrowing, and has sent letters to 23 federal departments and agencies, asking them to document all cases of burrowing that have occurred since Sept. 1, 2015.

See also “Six Steps to Reining in the Administrative State“.

~Eowyn

Taco Bell fires server who told two police deputies ‘they don’t serve cops anymore’

Adios imbécil.

blue lives matter

From Daily Mail: A Taco Bell employee in Alabama has been fired after two police deputies were denied service.

The uniformed deputies were told by the cashier on Saturday night in Phenix City that they wouldn’t be served and they needed to leave, according to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, who said he confirmed the account with multiple sources, according to WTVM.

Taco Bell spokeswoman Laura Nedbal said in a statement to news outlets that the restaurant’s franchise owner has since fired the unidentified employee.

On Saturday, Tammy Bush Mayo of Auburn posted on Facebook that her husband, who is a deputy, recounted a story about another deputy who went to the Taco Bell in the town and apparently was told they ‘don’t serve cops’. She claimed that additionally another woman in the establishment ‘spoke up to say that she was about to ask for a refund because she didn’t want to eat somewhere with a cop’.

Mayo went on to say: ‘This really disturbs me that people have started treating law enforcement professionals in this manner when these same law enforcement professionals put their lives on the line every day to protect all people, including this woman with a very bad attitude at Taco Bell.’

She later clarified her post that the incident happened to two deputies on her husband’s shift.

taco bell

Friends on her wall were outraged, with one writing: ‘I can’t even coherently comment on this. What a B**CH! If I had been there, she would have gotten an earful and I would have bought lunch for the officer,’ commented one poster.

Lee said the deputies asked if the cashier was kidding and the cashier allegedly responded: ‘No, I’m not serving you.’ A customer in store also commented, allegedly saying she was glad the cashier wasn’t serving them because she would not eat there if they had been served.

Nedbal says Taco Bell does not endorse the employee’s sentiment. She says the franchise owner has apologized to the sheriff’s office. 

Hours after the deputies were denied service, two police officers and a sheriff deputy were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after weeks of protest against police in that city. The protests began after two police officers shot dead Alton Sterling.

Nine days earlier, five police officers were gunned down in Dallas while guarding protesters involved in a Black Lives Matter rally.

According to WTVM, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones released a statement saying, ‘I’m very disappointed that simply because they were uniformed law enforcement officers that our deputies were treated in such negative fashion. We pride ourselves in giving people basic respect and only ask the same in return.’

‘I am inclined to believe that this was the attitude of one employee and not the policy of the management. The fair thing is to give them an opportunity to respond. We won’t base our opinion of Taco Bell on one employee’s negative action any more than the general public should base their opinion of law enforcement on the negative action of one officer.’

Jones says the sheriff’s office appreciates the restaurant’s response to the incident, which comes amid rising tension nationwide over fatal police shootings involving blacks and the shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge.

Taco Bell said that following an investigation an employee was fired and the restaurant chain issued an apology to the Alabama deputies. “We are deeply appreciative of the men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect our communities,” the company said in a statement.

DCG

Dr. Death opens shop in Berkeley

Last month, California became the 5th and most populous state to adopt a law legalizing physician-assisted suicide after Governor Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act last year. The new law went into effect on June 9.

And in Berkeley, the belly of the liberal beast, the new law drew an emergency-room physician out of retirement to open a one-stop-shop for killing people, at a price of $2,000 per pop.

Dr. Death, Lonny Shavelson

His name is Lonny Shavelson, age mid-60s, and he’s opened California’s first End of Life Options clinic in the Bay Area — apparently a cottage office in his backyard in Berkeley (his clinic’s mailing address is a mailbox in a UPS Store) — where he will consult with and provide lethal prescriptions for patients who request them, refused by other doctors who actually hold true to their professional Hippocratic oath of “First do no harm” and “Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.”

Lisa Aliferis of KQED reports that Shavelson’s website, Bay Area End of Life Options, went up in April, and he’s outlined the law at “grand rounds” at several Bay Area hospitals this spring. His practice will be focused on consulting not only with physicians whose patients request aid-in-dying, but also with patients themselves, including offering care to patients who choose him as their “attending end-of-life physician.”

, a reader of the KQED article with a visceral hatred of traditional, i.e., orthodox Christians, is ecstatic over Berkeley hosting Doctor Death:

“This is huge progress in every sense of the word. At a time when basic human rights like abortion are under attack from the WhiteSIS YallQaeda American-Taliban religious subset of our population, it’s truly inspiring to see California steadily marching forward toward real human progress.

We certainly need to fumigate out and eradicate the corrosive, backward and destructive infestation of religion in our government throughout America (we do have this thing called separation of church and state). It is unthinkable and immoral that for so many decades those deranged mentally-ill elements of our population have been directly responsible for extraordinary levels of suffering because of their dark-age and backward religious beliefs.

Things like this are what I love about Berkeley….”

Under the California law, two doctors must agree that a mentally competent patient has six months or fewer to live. The patient then agrees in writing to administer the lethal prescription themselves. Currently, the law does not mandate doctors to provide lethal prescriptions if they choose not to do so.

Dr. Burton PresbergDr. Burton Presberg, an Oakland psychiatrist who works specifically with cancer patients and their families, said he’s concerned that patients suffering from clinical depression at the end of life, sometimes feel they are a burden to family members who could “really push for the end of life to happen a little sooner than the patient themselves.” Expressing concerns that physicians may not be aware of patients’ depression, Presberg nevertheless enthuses that “it’s really good that this [euthanasia] is an option.”

Shavelson, Davidzon, Presberg — all Jewish surnames. It is curious how enthralled some (fake) Jews are with death, given the Holocaust.

“…those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars….” –Revelation 3:9

~Eowyn

Psychiatrist says demonic possession is real

crucifix repels vampire

Richard Gallagher, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist and a professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College.

In an article for The Washington Post on July 1, 2016,  Dr. Gallagher describes some of his experiences. Below is his essay in its entirety.

As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession

By Richard Gallagher, M.D. and Professor

In the late 1980s, I was introduced to a self-styled Satanic high priestess. She called herself a witch and dressed the part, with flowing dark clothes and black eye shadow around to her temples. In our many discussions, she acknowledged worshipping Satan as his “queen.”

I’m a man of science and a lover of history; after studying the classics at Princeton, I trained in psychiatry at Yale and in psychoanalysis at Columbia. That background is why a Catholic priest had asked my professional opinion, which I offered pro bono, about whether this woman was suffering from a mental disorder. This was at the height of the national panic about Satanism. (In a case that helped induce the hysteria, Virginia McMartin and others had recently been charged with alleged Satanic ritual abuse at a Los Angeles preschool; the charges were later dropped.) So I was inclined to skepticism. But my subject’s behavior exceeded what I could explain with my training. She could tell some people their secret weaknesses, such as undue pride. She knew how individuals she’d never known had died, including my mother and her fatal case of ovarian cancer. Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances. This was not psychosis; it was what I can only describe as paranormal ability. I concluded that she was possessed. Much later, she permitted me to tell her story.

The priest who had asked for my opinion of this bizarre case was the most experienced exorcist in the country at the time, an erudite and sensible man. I had told him that, even as a practicing Catholic, I wasn’t likely to go in for a lot of hocus-pocus. “Well,” he replied, “unless we thought you were not easily fooled, we would hardly have wanted you to assist us.”

So began an unlikely partnership. For the past two-and-a-half decades and over several hundred consultations, I’ve helped clergy from multiple denominations and faiths to filter episodes of mental illness — which represent the overwhelming majority of cases — from, literally, the devil’s work. It’s an unlikely role for an academic physician, but I don’t see these two aspects of my career in conflict. The same habits that shape what I do as a professor and psychiatrist — open-mindedness, respect for evidence and compassion for suffering people — led me to aid in the work of discerning attacks by what I believe are evil spirits and, just as critically, differentiating these extremely rare events from medical conditions.

Is it possible to be a sophisticated psychiatrist and believe that evil spirits are, however seldom, assailing humans? Most of my scientific colleagues and friends say no, because of their frequent contact with patients who are deluded about demons, their general skepticism of the supernatural, and their commitment to employ only standard, peer-reviewed treatments that do not potentially mislead (a definite risk) or harm vulnerable patients. But careful observation of the evidence presented to me in my career has led me to believe that certain extremely uncommon cases can be explained in no other way.

*          *          *

The Vatican does not track global or countrywide exorcism, but in my experience and according to the priests I meet, demand is rising. The United States is home to about 50 “stable” exorcists — those who have been designated by bishops to combat demonic activity on a semi-regular basis — up from just 12 a decade ago, according to the Rev. Vincent Lampert, an Indianapolis-based priest-exorcist who is active in the International Association of Exorcists [IAE]. (He receives about 20 inquiries per week, double the number from when his bishop appointed him in 2005.) The Catholic Church has responded by offering greater resources for clergy members who wish to address the problem. In 2010, for instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops organized a meeting in Baltimore for interested clergy. In 2014, Pope Francis formally recognized the IAE, 400 of whom are to convene in Rome this October. Members believe in such strange cases because they are constantly called upon to help. (I served for a time as a scientific adviser on the group’s governing board.)

Unfortunately, not all clergy involved in this complex field are as cautious as the priest who first approached me. In some circles there is a tendency to become overly preoccupied with putative demonic explanations and to see the devil everywhere. Fundamentalist misdiagnoses and absurd or even dangerous “treatments,” such as beating victims, have sometimes occurred, especially in developing countries. This is perhaps why exorcism has a negative connotation in some quarters. People with psychological problems should receive psychological treatment.

But I believe I’ve seen the real thing. Assaults upon individuals are classified either as “demonic possessions” or as the slightly more common but less intense attacks usually called “oppressions.” A possessed individual may suddenly, in a type of trance, voice statements of astonishing venom and contempt for religion, while understanding and speaking various foreign languages previously unknown to them. The subject might also exhibit enormous strength or even the extraordinarily rare phenomenon of levitation. (I have not witnessed a levitation myself, but half a dozen people I work with vow that they’ve seen it in the course of their exorcisms.) He or she might demonstrate “hidden knowledge” of all sorts of things — like how a stranger’s loved ones died, what secret sins she has committed, even where people are at a given moment. These are skills that cannot be explained except by special psychic or preternatural ability.

I have personally encountered these rationally inexplicable features, along with other paranormal phenomena. My vantage is unusual: As a consulting doctor, I think I have seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

Most of the people I evaluate in this role suffer from the more prosaic problems of a medical disorder. Anyone even faintly familiar with mental illnesses knows that individuals who think they are being attacked by malign spirits are generally experiencing nothing of the sort. Practitioners see psychotic patients all the time who claim to see or hear demons; histrionic or highly suggestible individuals, such as those suffering from dissociative identity syndromes; and patients with personality disorders who are prone to misinterpret destructive feelings, in what exorcists sometimes call a “pseudo-possession,” via the defense mechanism of an externalizing projection. But what am I supposed to make of patients who unexpectedly start speaking perfect Latin?

I approach each situation with an initial skepticism. I technically do not make my own “diagnosis” of possession but inform the clergy that the symptoms in question have no conceivable medical cause.

I am aware of the way many psychiatrists view this sort of work. While the American Psychiatric Association has no official opinion on these affairs, the field (like society at large) is full of unpersuadable skeptics and occasionally doctrinaire materialists who are often oddly vitriolic in their opposition to all things spiritual. My job is to assist people seeking help, not to convince doctors who are not subject to suasion. Yet I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners nowadays who are open to entertaining such hypotheses. Many believe exactly what I do, though they may be reluctant to speak out.

*          *          *

As a man of reason, I’ve had to rationalize the seemingly irrational. Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe “such outdated and unscientific nonsense,” as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence. I have been told simplistically that levitation defies the laws of gravity, and, well, of course it does! We are not dealing here with purely material reality but with the spiritual realm. One cannot force these creatures to undergo lab studies or submit to scientific manipulation; they will also hardly allow themselves to be easily recorded by video equipment, as skeptics sometimes demand. (The official Catholic Catechism holds that demons are sentient and possess their own wills; as they are fallen angels, they are also craftier than humans. That’s how they sow confusion and seed doubt, after all.) Nor does the church wish to compromise a sufferer’s privacy any more than doctors want to compromise a patient’s confidentiality.

Ignorance and superstition have often surrounded stories of demonic possession in various cultures, and surely many alleged episodes can be explained by fraud, chicanery or mental pathology. But anthropologists agree that nearly all cultures have believed in spirits, and the vast majority of societies (including our own) have recorded dramatic stories of spirit possession. Despite varying interpretations, multiple depictions of the same phenomena in astonishingly consistent ways offer cumulative evidence of their credibility.

As a psychoanalyst, a blanket rejection of the possibility of demonic attacks seems less logical, and often wishful in nature, than a careful appraisal of the facts. As I see it, the evidence for possession is like the evidence for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. In both cases, written historical accounts with numerous sound witnesses testify to their accuracy.

In the end, however, it was not an academic or dogmatic view that propelled me into this line of work. I was asked to consult about people in pain. I have always thought that, if requested to help a tortured person, a physician should not arbitrarily refuse to get involved. Those who dismiss these cases unwittingly prevent patients from receiving the help they desperately require, either by failing to recommend them for psychiatric treatment (which most clearly need) or by not informing their spiritual ministers that something beyond a mental or other illness seems to be the issue. For any person of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.

[End of Dr. Gallagher’s essay]

~Eowyn