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Nederlog

December 20, 2012

Crisis: 1 million hits, Stapel and welfare state only for the rich


Sections
Introduction   
1. One million hits
2. Stapel meshugganah: SESP reconsiders
3. Welfare state works only for the rich
About ME/CFS


Introduction:

Again a fairly brief Nederlog, as I am not feeling well, and am recuperating from writing about Bob Dylan, the exemplary French philosophers Sartre and De Beauvoir, and about Nietzsche.

Today it's about the site, that got its 1 millionth hit yesterday; about a news flash from the European Social Psychologists that looks much like a retraction or recantation, except that they avoid saying so; and about the collapse of the welfare state as the surveillance state has grown: The poor and the ill are expendable, and their children may be condemned to starve, in Great Britain, and elsewhere in what were once The Free Welfare States of the West, displaying  capitalism with a human face.

1. One million hits

Late yesterday evening my site in Denmark passed 1 million hits, all in the year 2012. This is the first time this happened on my Danish site.

My site in Holland - a mirror - must get considerably more visitors, because I have been persecuted for some five years now, at least, by scores of "personalized" e-mails by PR-firms who lie to me that they are impressed with my site - I am confident they lie, and what I receive is in fact mechanical phishing: had any PR person who is not a hopeless moron seen my site, such a one would not have mailed me - and that they "want to help you" - that is: me -
"to make your site even better", no doubt by plastering it full with ads, and making it a vehicle for their craft of lying and deceiving.

Likewise, there also is a class of impertinent PR-ass-holes who mail me that I "must" link to their bullshit because they claim to have linked to my site: Go fuck yourselves, whoever you are, if you are part of any PR-firm!

None of this ever reached me about the Danish one, which is my main site, because it is much better taken care of by its provider than Dutch site is by my Dutch providers "xs4all", in fact Dutch Telecom since 2002, and impolite, rude and incompetent ever since, in my experience with them. (But I am willing to grant that their local competitors are not likely to be any better, and that "Dutch civilization" is an oxymoron, as is "Dutch politeness" - and see The UnDutchables, in case you want to know some informed - and in part bitterly funny - criticisms of Dutch "civilization" of the past 30 years.)

In any case: I reached that number of hits this year on my Danish site, and can add that the hits are mostly on Nederlogs, of all years, as it happens, and that otherwise I don't really know what to make of it, except that I am pleased that a site like mine, which is not about popular topics, and which does not flatter its visitors, and which is mostly about difficult or controversial subjects, does get read - for the most interesting number I know about the Danish site is not the number of hits, this year over 1 million, but the fact that all of this year I have been read for at least 48 hours each 24 hours (calculated from the number of visitors and the average time of reading they do).

For someone who has never courted the public, nor sought fame, nor sent stuff to daily or weekly papers or other media, this is at least a little amazing. [Note 1]

But I don't really know how to interpret it beyond the obvious conclusions I just drew, because I do not know how to compare the hits on my site with other sites, since I do not know of any site that is even remotely like mine, and I also do not know the numbers of hits or of visitors of sites with topics like mine (philosophy, logic, computing, ME/CFS).

Anyway... I am being read, and that pleases me.

2. Stapel meshugganah: SESP reconsiders

Since I wrote about Diederik Stapel in the end of November and the beginning of December not a peep or a reaction or a comment or a publication reached me: This lack of response does not amaze me: The Dutch attitude to me, ever since I started a small group of students that protested the level and political content of the education provided by the universities, is to stonewall me, and/or to pretend that I do not exist, and that has in fact been so ever since I remigrated to Holland, and it turned out that I was not impressed with "Dutch civilization" and also am not easily defeated in spoken or written arguments - but then I do have a degree from the same faculty and university as promoted Diederik Stapel, while I seriously doubt there is any Dutch psychologist who knows more about phillosophy of science than I do.

In any case, I will write what I think, if I can do so without risking arrest and torture (the probability of which gets lower every day, as the Dutch Surveillance State grows more and more authoritararian, and its ruling élite more impertinent as it grows more powerful, and believes itself to be beyond correction, punishment or reprisal), and indeed it so happens that what I write also will be read.

Also, readers who are not Dutch should realize that I have no faith whatsoever that the Dutch universities will grow less corrupt or less incompetent than they are and have been for decades now: That will need a major social revolution or a major social collapse, and while I may live to see the revolution or the social  collapse, I will not see a Dutch university that is not corrupt and not incompetent, in most of its faculties, in what remains of my life (apart from miracles, and a very long life).

This does not mean one should let pass evident corruption and incompetence, and it also does not mean that nothing can be done about incompetent peer reviewing nor about supposedly "scientific studies" that have been "peer reviewed" by reviewers who had no access to the raw data the supposedly scientific studies were based on - and yes, that happens  and has happened in social psychology, and in medicine, and also in other sciences.

In any case, the last item on the above list
is about the prose that emanated from the "Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Psychology", in which the world was told that the work that the Levelt committee did, that investigated the many frauds of Diederik Stapel, and their possible causes, was - and I quote these undoubtedly highly paid worthies of that Executive Committee who pretend to speak in the name of science: "unscientific", "utterly insulting", "defamatory, unfounded, and false".

It seems now as if some in the august realm of leading tenured academic worthies of European Social Psychologists have reconsidered some, for the following brief note reached me today, in pdf-format - and I reproduce all of it:
Statement Levelt Report

The Levelt committee report does an extraordinary service to science in helping us to understand
the fraudulent behavior of Diederik Stapel and in identifying potential vulnerabilities in the
practices of social psychology that warrant our serious consideration. However, it is illogical and potentially misleading to conclude, as the report did, that what is learned about an historic
case of scientific fraud tells us anything about typical social psychologists and their practices. Also, as data from the U.S. government regularly document, instances of fraud and sloppiness
are not unique to social psychology; they occur in all areas of science. Nonetheless, the Stapel fraud together with the Sanna and Smeesters paper retractions remind us why social psychology
must continuously reflect upon research and publication practices, and, where needed, strengthen guidelines and standards. Indeed, the seriousness with which the field is undertaking this task of
reflection is evident in the robust participation of many social psychologists in symposia, articles, blogs and reports that discuss research and publication practices, as well as in considering or implementing new initiatives in our journals. As announced at the last conference, the SESP program committee is organizing an invited symposium on ethics and academic practices at the 2013 conference in Berkeley. If members of SESP have additional
suggestions for organized activities, please let us know.

The SESP Executive Committee

I suppose one may consider this a retraction or recantation of the text I have discussed, and I also suppose a lot of e-mails and telephonic conversations were needed to produce it, and probably also some "legal advice" - for whatever happened to all the supposedly "unscientific", "utterly insulting", "defamatory, unfounded, and false" claims in the Levelt committee report?! According to the mighty minds of the "Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Psychology"?!

Anyway... this was just an update, though I would not be amazed if the rest will turn out to be silence, at least on the part of the executive committees of social psychologists and perhaps also on the part of Dutch psychologists.

That is, if they are not me:

I do intend to return to the topic, precisely because I think things can be done to improve
peer reviewing, both in social psychology and in other (supposed) sciences, and the least that is necessary is that reviewers get full and unqualified access to the raw data the studies are said to be based upon.

3. Welfare state works only for the rich

To support and clarify my title, I quote from an article in The Guardian, by Suzanne Moore, "2012 has been the year of the food bank":
With an estimated 13 million people now living below the poverty line, there are new food bank projects growing every three days.

In the roundups of a great year for Britain, this seems forgotten as we relive the Olympic joy. In fact, this has been the year of the soup kitchen. The switch from "soup kitchen", which smacks of Victorian desperation, to the more neutral "food bank" is a semantic coup d'état. An economic crisis initiated by the immorality of the banks ends up with nice "banks" that offer food for free.

The charities that run these food banks are anxious not to be seen as part of the state. They are, however, precisely what happens when the safety net tears, when the holes ripped open are so big that all sorts of unlikely people fall through them. By this I mean many of those turning up at food banks have a member of their household in work but cannot afford food because bills have risen and wages are low.
Which just is morally obscene, having also seen that directors of the BBC, and British ministers and high ranking officials may rake in hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.

But it gets worse:

We heard this week that when teachers in London were surveyed by the London Assembly, they said that on average five children in their class have had no food and cannot concentrate. Most of the teachers said that they had forked out from their own pockets to buy food for these kids.

(...)

David Cameron, like Margaret Thatcher, insists that under-25s can live at home and are not due benefits or help. Entitlement is not based on need but age.
Because those under-25s are not of the rarefied class of the Camerons and the Thatchers, one must infer: Supermen and superwomen who starve English children and English young adults so as to allow their own superior kind to survive the crisis, that was created by their own superior kind, and to do so in great luxury and with incomes of hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, that is, apart from bonuses, perks and shares.

In Holland, it is the under-27s that are treated as if they are not yet fully human, or at least must be able to live on air, so as to thankfully help pay the bankmanagers' yearly hundreds of thousands of euros in salaries, or sometimes many millions, next to their enormous yearly bonuses, and their annually awarded shares: Those few already extremely rich folks are "entitled" to all they can grab and appropriate; the poor are "entitled" to starve or to perish for the benefit of the rest, and will be repressed and locked up if they protest.

Is this because meanwhile there are surveillance cameras everywhere, and because all phones and all computers are tapped, all e-mails read, by some anonymous freak working for some governmental institution?

Is this because the moral degenerates who are in power and who are not above starving children, now believe they can control or repress anyone who might endanger their dictatorial surveillance state?

This is of a freakish degeneracy that I have not seen yet in my life of 62 years, not in Western Europe, and indeed not until the surveillance state was introduced from 2001 onwards, at high speed, and with many lies and much propaganda: Until this new millenium this manner of governmental abuse of the poor would not have been possible in western European states,
without widespread social protests, and indeed it did not happen since WW II ended, until this millenium.

Ms Moore sums up, in part, as follows, and quite rightly so, at least by my moral standards:
We have a government of extremely rich men who seek to humiliate those whom they deem to be undeserving poor. One area of growth, as a result, appears to be malnourished children.
Indeed, that - "who seek to humiliate" - is my kind of diagnosis of the cause of this degeneracy, just as it is my diagnosis for the existence of concentration camps, that I would not at all be amazed to see reinstituted real soon now, and then of course "to fight the war against terrorism", for that is also how the institution of postmodern state terrorism has been justified verbally now for 11 years: It is driven by sadism, by stupidity, by cruelty and by the belief that those indulging in this, can escape punishment and sanction; it is not driven by any real need, or by good will, for governments don't starve children unless governors think they can get away with it. [Note 2]

And from another article in The Guardian - Patient care at risk as GPs are asked to cut services - it  is the same with health services:
GPs are being asked to reduce or axe activities including childhood immunisation campaigns, out-of-hours care and minor surgery in emerging evidence that £20bn of NHS "efficiency savings" are leading to cuts in patient care.

Evidence of the cuts has appeared in the form of a letter to GPs in south London, in which health managers say they have to make £2.32m savings in 2011-13, and list services that should be reduced or abolished this financial year.

Again, it's the same pattern as in Holland, no doubt driven by the same morality, that I have been taught, in practice, by the worthies of Dutch Labour:

In practical effect, it is I who is treated as if I am a sub-human - relative to the supermen with super incomes that run Dutch Labour and indeed relative to any of  the supremos of other Dutch political parties:

The likes of me - poor, ill, honest, intelligent - may be threatened with murder by civil servants; the likes of me may be denied all effective  medical help for decades; and the likes of me do not merit any answer to any complaint, however politely or however well formulated; and the likes of me do not merit the right of the practical exercise of their human rights; while the likes of me must count with being met by the sickest of sadists that are employed as lawyers by the sick degenerates who rule the country by manipulating the stupefied and intentionally ill-educated masses, all to defend the financial interests of the most degenerate of the Dutch ruling families.

Well... it is in England as it is in Holland, and whereas in my case it was because I was ill and an obvious dissident with irrepressable very uncommon opinions and ideas about many things, the policy a few deviants like me have been subjected to for decades, now got extended to the millions of the poor, and the ill of all kinds: As far as your governors are concerned you are expendable, and you are better of dead, for that is much cheaper, and also will help pay a few percent of yet another enormous bonus for their own family or friends.

And no, they will not say so, and what they say will be spread by highly paid professional liars of PR-firms, but if one judges one's governors by their acts and choices rather than by their devious propaganda, that is the only thing one can fairly conclude: If you are rich, or if you are a collaborating government servant, the welfare state works for you; if you are poor or ill, you are an expendable nuisance fit to be starved.

----
[1] The reasons that I do not court Dutch papers or media are that I really am ill, and have been ill without help for 34 years now, and can't do more than I do now, which is difficult enough, and that I know how the Dutch papers and media work: Not for my interests, but in the interests of the existing Dutch political parties, or to make money as an adjunct to advertising. The press may be nominally free in Holland, but it certainly is corrupt.

[2] And the population is not armed, and is surveilled on all sides, and anyway on average ill educated and much propagandized.

Dec 21, 2012: Added a few links and corrected a few typos.


About ME/CFS
(that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komarof

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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