Friday, July 14, 2017

Crisis: Klein+Corbyn, Health Care, Brazil, Doomsday, Oligarchy, Psychiatry+Medicine

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from July 14, 2017 

    B. On my computer

This is a Nederlog of Friday, July 14, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are six crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from July 14, 2017

The items 1 - 6 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Video: Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn Discuss How to Get the World We Want

This is an article (that I read) + video (that I didn't see) by Naomi Klein on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Naomi Klein: I’m Naomi Klein, reporting for The Intercept, and I’m here in London at the Houses of Parliament with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, three weeks after the Labour Party in an historic election won many, many more seats than anybody predicted – except for some of the people in this room, who saw it coming. And it’s just an enormous pleasure to be here with Jeremy and to talk about the importance of a forward-looking, bold agenda to do battle with the right. Hi, Jeremy.

Jeremy Corbyn: Lovely to see you.

NK: So, Jeremy Corbyn, it’s been extraordinary being in the U.K. this week, and seeing the political space that you have opened up, and the fact that now we’re seeing the Tories try to poach some of your policies and scramble to try to appeal to young people by talking about maybe getting rid of tuition fees.

JC: Well, social justice isn’t copyrighted, but it’s a bigger picture than just the individual issues.

NK: I want to talk about this extraordinary moment in which the project that really began under Thatcher in this country, and Reagan in the U.S. — the whole so-called consensus that never really was a consensus, the war on the collective, on the idea that we can do good things when we get together — is crumbling. But it’s also kind of a dangerous moment, when you have a vacuum of ideology, because dangerous ideas are also surging. So what is the plan to make sure that it is progressive, hopeful ideas that enter into this vacuum that has opened up?

It's a decent interview.

2. Gutting the Health Care Corporate Strike Force

This is by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal. It starts as follows:
Health care corruption is a severe problem in the US, and globally.

For years, we have ranted about the US government's lackadaisical - to use an execessively polite term - approach to wrongdoing by big health care organizations.  The trend really got started back in the day when now Governor Chris Christie (R - NJ), then a federal prosecutor, started making deferred prosecution agreements available to corporations which appeared to have committed white collar crimes.  However, these agreements were originally meant to give young, non-violent first offenders a second chance.

Since then, we have noted the continuing impunity of top health care corporate managers.  Health care corporations have allegedly used kickbacks and fraud to enhance their revenue, but at best such corporations have been able to make legal settlements that result in fines that small relative to their  multibillion revenues without admitting guilt.  Almost never are top corporate managers subject to any negative consequences.
I completely agree that (bolding added) "health care corruption is a severe problem in the US, and globally" - such as in Holland.

In Holland I am ill now for 38 1/2 years, with the serious, debilitating and dangerous disease M.E. (see the link for the evidence that this is a
serious, debilitating and dangerous disease), but of the circa 30 "medical doctors" I have seen, 27 were much more interested in getting rich themselves than in caring for patients.

Also, none of these supposed "medical specialists" knew anything whatsoever about M.E., althougth this was well described since 1965 by Allan Ramsay M.D. and nearly all simply repeated the lies of the psychiatric pseudoscientific frauds that if a medical person doesn't know somehing, the fault lies with the madness of the patient: Blaming the victim and declaring them insane.

I am sorry, but after 38 1/2 years with a real, serious, painful illness without any help whatsoever, except by one excellent G.P., who unfortunately stopped practising in 1999, my position on medical persons in general is as follows:

Medical persons almost always chose medicine because they want to get rich. They don't care for patients, but they do care for their own - excellent - incomes. There are exceptions, but if there are more than 5% exceptions (who do care for their patients) it is extremely strange that I did not meet them in Holland.

Seen from my point of view, most medical people are frauds (they have been to me and my ex, who also has M.E. and who also got an excellent M.A. in psychology and who also is ill since the beginning of January 1979).

I distrust all medical people and my reasons are these:

Their utter indifference to the fates of myself and my ex for nearly forty years now, with some very few exceptions, that show that the rest are frauds, (indeed to anyone with M.E., including some of their fellow medical doctors - and there are some 17 million people with M.E. in the world, and all of them are discriminated); their interest in declaring anybody who does something they don't know as
"psychosoma- tizers"; their being in the medical business for money; and their having far more power than they deserve leave me no other conclusiom than this.

For more, see item 6 below, which has excellent evidence (in an article by a very fine medical doctor).

3. A Further Blow to Democracy in Brazil? Glenn Greenwald on Conviction of Lula Ahead of 2018 Election

This article is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikk on Democracy Now!. It starts with the following introduction:
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison. Lula, widely considered one of Brazil’s most popular political figures, is the front-runner in the 2018 elections. We look at how this development could impact his presidential bid, and we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept.
This is from the interview:
GLENN GREENWALD:  (..) Lula has been the singular dominant figure in Brazilian politics for more than 15 years. He is identified internationally as being the brand of the country. He was president for eight years, from 2002 until 2010, and oversaw extraordinary economic growth, left office with an 86 percent approval rating, and is currently leading, as you said in the introduction, in all public opinion polls for the 2018 election. He’s a polarizing figure now, to be certain. There’s a large segment of the population that despises him and that doesn’t want to see him return to power, but there’s a large segment of the population that wants to see him be president again. Certainly, he has more support than any of the other prospective 2018 candidates. And so, to take somebody who is this dominant on the Brazilian political landscape, not just in terms of its recent past, but also its short-term future, the person overwhelmingly likely to become the country’s next president through the ballot box, and convict him on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering, and sentence him to a decade in prison, just a little under a decade in prison, you really can’t get much more consequential than this.
There is quite a bit more, and I found it quite interesting. Recommend.

4. Preparing for Doomsday: A Shelter-in-Place Mentality Is the New American Normal

This is by William Astore on Truthdig, and originally on TomDispatch. This is from near the beginning:

When it comes to nuclear weapons and what once was called “thinking about the unthinkable,” no other nation has as varied, accurate, powerful, deadly, or (again a word from the past) “survivable” an arsenal as the United States. Put bluntly, the nation that is most capable of inflicting a genuine doomsday scenario on the world is also the one best prepared to ride out such an event (whatever that may turn out to mean).  In this sense, America truly is the exceptional nation on planet Earth.  It’s exceptional in the combination of its triad of nuclear weapons, its holy trinity of sorts—nuclear missile-carrying Trident submarines, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers still flown by pilots—in the thoroughness of its Armageddon plans, and especially in the propagation of a lockdown, shelter-in-place mentality that fits such thinking to a T.

There is considerably more, and the article also has the merit of mentioning my favorite film director, Stanley Kubrick, and my favorite film, Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (full title). 

5. The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told: America Is an Oligarchy

This is John Atcheson on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:

OK.  Enough.  It’s time to quit being “balanced” or “non-partisan” or whatever other euphemism the elite establishment media uses to justify ignoring the two biggest elephants in our national living room.

After Trump was elected there was a lot of concern about allowing his idiocy to become the “new normal.” But in truth, we’ve been accepting an unacceptable level of insanity in our national body politic for decades now.

Elephant number one—and it’s a huge honking beast squatting squarely on our ottoman—is the fact that the Republican Party has come unhinged and it’s dragging us back to the Dark Ages.  Literally.  To be a Republican today you have to have complete disdain for facts, reality, empiricism, the scientific method, or any of the other underpinnings of the Enlightenment. This isn’t merely a difference between two legitimate philosophies as the press insists on portraying it—rather, it is a self-limiting time bomb which is destroying any hope of a prosperous economy or a functioning society, not to mention our country’s standing in the world and the habitability of our planet.

I basically agree. There is also this:

Which brings us to Elephant number Two – the Democrat’s embrace of the raw deal over the New Deal. The idea that there is a Party representing the left (or the people, for that matter) in the US is ludicrous.  We have a right-wing Party representing the Oligarchy—the Democrats—and an insanely right-wing Party—the Republicans—who represent an extremist fringe of the rich

And again I agree. There is more in this article that also is recommended.

6. Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption

This is by Marcia Angell (<-Wikipedia: recommended) and is from The New York Review of Books. In fact, this was first published in 2009, but it is very well worth reading.
No one knows the total amount provided by drug companies to physicians, but I estimate from the annual reports of the top nine US drug companies that it comes to tens of billions of dollars a year. By such means, the pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous control over how doctors evaluate and use its own products. Its extensive ties to physicians, particularly senior faculty at prestigious medical schools, affect the results of research, the way medicine is practiced, and even the definition of what constitutes a disease.
Yes indeed. As I started saying, this was originally published in 2009. It was republished now. I do not know the reason, but my guess is that it is as was in 2009, except that it is considerably worse.

Here is one more quote, on the DSM (this is still about the DSM-IV, that since has been followed by the totally pseudoscientific DSM-5):

Given its importance, you might think that the DSM represents the authoritative distillation of a large body of scientific evidence. But Lane, using unpublished records from the archives of the American Psychiatric Association and interviews with the principals, shows that it is instead the product of a complex of academic politics, personal ambition, ideology, and, perhaps most important, the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. What the DSM lacks is evidence. Lane quotes one contributor to the DSM-III task force:

There was very little systematic research, and much of the research that existed was really a hodgepodge —scattered, inconsistent, and ambiguous. I think the majority of us recognized that the amount of good, solid science upon which we were making our decisions was pretty modest.

Lane uses shyness as his case study of disease-mongering in psychiatry. Shyness as a psychiatric illness made its debut as “social phobia” in DSM-III in 1980, but was said to be rare. By 1994, when DSM-IV was published, it had become “social anxiety disorder,” now said to be extremely common. According to Lane, GlaxoSmithKline, hoping to boost sales for its antidepressant, Paxil, decided to promote social anxiety disorder as “a severe medical condition.” In 1999, the company received FDA approval to market the drug for social anxiety disorder. It launched an extensive media campaign to do it, including posters in bus shelters across the country showing forlorn individuals and the words “Imagine being allergic to people…,” and sales soared.
And that is what the DSMs all are: Fraudulent pseudoscience intended to make psychiatrists rich and powerful, and based on no real evidence whatsoever. And please note that until the DSM-III was published (in 1980) there were between 40 and 50 so-called "mental diseases" [1]; since the DSM-5 there are over 400.

This is a strongly recommended article.
B. On my computer

I commented yesterday on my eyes and my health, and what I said there is unchanged. What did change yesterday is the behavior of my computer: It works again as it should.

The reason for the temporal blacking of the files I loaded with Firefox - that bothered me for a week: it is quite irritating having to wait 5 to 10 seconds until any file that I downloaded from the internet worked again as it should - was Ghostery, as I established yesterday, after which I stopped it (it is an Add On on Firefox) and replaced it by uBlock (<-Wikipedia), that also has the - great - benefit of being open source.

Since that replacement the computer works as it should (which is a relief).

[1] First, here is a collection of - no less - than 131 articles on the DSM 5: DSM-5: 100 Nederlogs  about and around the APA and the DSM-5 (It did not make any difference: Money-for-themselves is much more important to psychiatrists than patients. And yes, I do have an excellent M.A. in psychology.)

Second, as to
"mental diseases": This term basically is bullshit. If you want to know why, see this article that I wrote in 2012: DSM-5: Thomas Szasz's ideas about psychiatry.

I mostly agree with Thomas Szasz, who since has died, but I think he was mistaken about madness: Some people do get mad (and such people do need help). This is from the introduction on the Wikipedia article about him (without a note number):
Szasz argued throughout his career that mental illness is a metaphor for human problems in living, and that mental illnesses are not real in the sense that cancers are real. Except for a few identifiable brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, there are "neither biological or chemical tests nor biopsy or necropsy findings for verifying or falsifying DSM
diagnoses", i.e., there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or absence of mental illness. Szasz maintained throughout his career that he was not anti-psychiatry but was rather anti-coercive psychiatry. He was a staunch opponent of civil commitment and involuntary psychiatric treatment but believed in, and practiced, psychiatry and psychotherapy between consenting adults.
I agree with this quote.

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