20, 2013
Crisis: Jenkins, Gnaulati, Washington's Blog
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Edward Snowden has started a global debate. So why the silence in Britain?
2. A Toddler on 3 Different Psychiatric Meds? How Drugging Kids Became Big Business
You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By Lightning than by a Terrorist
About ME/CFS


And again there is not much crisis news, today.

Part of the reason for that is discussed by Simon Jenkins, in item 1: The eagerly willing collaborators who run most of "journalism" these days think you should not know what is happening, for if you would know, their masters, and even they themselves, might be endangered. (Namely: Voted out, and quite possibly legally prosecuted.)

At least, that is what I make of the nearly total media silence in Britain on some of the major news stories and on the most major political event of this year: Edward Snowden's revelations that everybody is spied upon on a largescale, if not by their own governments then at least by the NSA.

But then there's also that most reliable, that most honest, conservative MP who "chairs" the parliamentary intelligence and security committee...

1. Edward Snowden has started a global debate. So why the silence in Britain? 

The first item today is an article by Simon Jenkins that I liked, but that Malcolm Rifkind - British conservative MP who "chairs" the British parliament's intelligence and security committee - found "rubbish".

I start with Jenkins' article:

This starts as follows:

The Brazilian president cancels a state visit to Washington. The German justice minister talks of "a Hollywood nightmare". His chancellor, Angela Merkel, ponders offering Edward Snowden asylum. The EU may even end the "safe harbour" directive which would force US-based computer servers to relocate to European regulation. Russians and Chinese, so often accused of cyber-espionage, hop with glee.

In response, an embarrassed Barack Obama pleads for debate and a review of the Patriot Acts. Al Gore refers to the Snowden revelations as "obscenely outrageous". The rightwing John McCain declares a review "entirely appropriate". The Senate holds public hearings and summons security chiefs, who squirm like mafia bosses on the run. America's once dominant internet giants, with 80% of the globe under their sway, now face "Balkanised" regulation round the world as nation states seek to repatriate digital sovereignty.

And in Britain? Nothing.

Quite so. The main question is: Why is that so? Here are some points by Jenkins:

(..) the fourth amendment lurks deep in its culture, protecting privacy from the state without due process and "probable cause". Britain has no such amendment.

Also, there is:
(...) the lying to Congress. Snowden, a Republican former soldier, was simply shocked at the clear collapse of congressional and judicial oversight.
Both are fair points, that do hold for the U.S. and for Snowden. Next, as to the British:
While the NSA is supposedly overseen by a foreign intelligence surveillance court – now exposed as ineffective through being secret – GCHQ professes "a light oversight regime compared with the US". Its overseers are patsies.

Yes indeed. And while there is this consideration:

The UK reaction to Snowden may in part be an awareness of cant and hypocrisy.

True - but then that is based on solid ignorance. And here is most of Jenkins' conclusion:

The need for the state to acquire and guard some secrets is not in question. But such a claim has been blown out of all proportion. We have created a monster that has overwhelmed the defences put in place to regulate it. I suspect neither Hague nor Rifkind had any clue of the Prism and Tempora programmes. They are the useful idiots of the security classes.

To me that all seemed quite fair, but I am not amazed Malcolm Rifkind - categorized, for all I know: fairly, in the class of "useful idiots" (in fact a phrase of Lenin) - meanwhile has reacted:

The problem with the title is that it makes a claim that (1) hardly anyone can verify or falsify, while (2) almost everyone's private and personal data are involved, and while (3) there also is absolutely nothing that guarantees British laws are correct, either. In fact, (4) in the most improbable case Rifkind is right, there is a lot that is amiss with the British laws, and (5) there still is a lot to explain to the people whose personal data are dealt with as if these are public property, all without asking any of them any consent, and also not with any judge being involved, at least that I know of.

Does Rifkind answer any of these points?

Well, judge for yourself. My own judgment is: Hardly - and the one point he does meet, more or less, all depends on his word, that is hardly reliable or credible, without any independent evidence.

Here is the ending of Rifkind's piece:

Our system is not perfect. There are occasions when the intelligence obtained may be of such little value as not to justify the diminution in privacy associated with obtaining it.

But I have yet to hear of any other country, either democratic or authoritarian, that has both significant intelligence agencies and a more effective and extensive system of independent oversight than the UK and the US. If you know any, Sir Simon, tell us who they are.

First, no human system is perfect. The first statement is a non-statement. That is, it is blather, as is most of the article.

Second, the second statement is weaseling: It does not at all, in any way, meet my criticism (2), viz. that Malcolm Rifkind is an MP who sees no problem whatsoever in the total British population's personal data being completely open to the governmental secret spies, with hardly any control.

Third, the third statement is bluffing. The point is not whether or not there are better systems: the point is whether the British (and the US) populations' private data may be appropriated and searched by a few hunderdthousands of supermen and superwomen, with private contracts with Booz Allen and such (or whatever may be the case in England), and that all of these few supermen and superwomen do, and read, and know, must happen in utter secrecy, and must be taken on trust by the population whose personal data are being plundered.

2. A Toddler on 3 Different Psychiatric Meds? How Drugging Kids Became Big Business

Next, another topic, namely medical corruption, that is enormous in the United States: tens of billions dollars. In profits. Of which a small percentage is paid to buy off judicial prosecutions.

This is on AlterNet, and in fact is a publication from a book by Enrico Gnaulati:
This starts as follows:
On December 13, 2006, paramedics arrived at the Plymouth County, Massachusetts, home of four-year-old Rebecca Riley only to find her slumped over on her parents’ bed, dead. The medical examiner on hand identified the cause of death as heart and lung failure brought about by the medications she was on. Rebecca was being prescribed Depakote, Seroquel, and Clonidine by Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, a Tufts–New England Medical Center child psychiatrist. She had diagnosed Rebecca with ADHD and bipolar disorder when she was two years old. Rebecca’s death provoked a national debate on how a child as young as two could ever be diagnosed with major mental illnesses and be put on powerful tranquilizers. Katie Couric eventually covered the story in a CBS 60 Minutes segment.
Note the following points: (1) "She had diagnosed Rebecca with ADHD and bipolar disorder when she was two years old"; (2) she was "prescribed Depakote, Seroquel, and Clonidine", none of which is for children, but all of which cost a lot of money. Also, (3) the child psychiatrist who "diagnosed" her, almost certainly used the DSM-IV, which is an artful and hardly sane work, that exists mostly to sell more drugs. (The DSM 5 is even less sane. And in case you doubt my judgments, consider the 100+ articles I wrote the last 3 years about the DSM, as a psychologist and as a philosopher of science. I may be biased, but I am definitely not ignorant.)

The above quote continues with the following flabbergasting nonsense:
Ultimately, Rebecca’s parents were tried for and convicted of murder due to allegedly overdosing her.
I find that very astonishing: They did not make the diagnosis. All they very probably (mis)did was to believe (the vastly incompent) doctor Kifuji. Indeed, that the doctor is or was vastly incompetent follows from the following statements, that immediately follow:
But this harrowing outcome didn’t take the national spotlight off the shocking revelation that a toddler could be diagnosed with mental illness and put on not just one but three powerful tranquilizers. None of the drugs Rebecca was prescribed was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use with kids her age—not then and not now. There was absolutely no robust scientific justification for Dr. Kifuji making the medication choices that she made.
Quite so. So why convict the parents? Of murder?! Why should they suffer rather than "the expert" whose advice they followed?! This article does not answer these questions, but it does provide an answer about the motives of doctor Kifuji:
The main answer lies with the spectacular success of twenty-first-century pharmaceutical marketing of psychiatric drugs.
In 2008, psychiatric drugs sold in the United States netted their makers $40.3 billion. A good portion of that amount involved drugs commonly prescribed to kids. A Wall Street Journal report indicates that between 2002 and 2007, prescriptions for psychiatric drugs for kids rose by nearly 45 percent. The most recent estimates suggest that up to eight million American kids are on one or more psychiatric medications. Meds for kids are big business and highly profitable.
Prices of ADHD meds at the middle dose for ninety pills on in 2011 were Concerta, $540; Vyvanse, $532; Intuniv, $500; Adderall, $278; and Ritalin, $191. The price of the most common antidepressants, like Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Cymbalta, and Wellbutrin, for ninety pills, was around $380. Two of the drugs prescribed to Rebecca Riley by Dr. Kifuji happen to be quite pricey. rates in 2011 for 180 500 mg tablets of Seroquel were $1,048 and for Depakote, $708.
And this was just the beginning of a good article, that I recommend you to read, especially if you know someone who goes to a psychiatrist: Either that person must be quite hopelessly insane, or else the person should stop doing it, in my opinion.

Also, in case one needs therapy, one is very probably at the wrong address anyway, and certainly in the U.S.: Psychiatrists only prescribe these days; psychologists, who have no right to prescribe, still do therapies. And one's GP can far better prescribe mind-altering drugs than some mostly unknown psychiatrist, in case one really need them. Which one very probably does not.

Finally, since I am shortcutting this: If you want to know more, especially about the side-effects of psychiatric drugs your doctors rarely mention, try this:
He is a psychiatrist, but he does know a lot about side-effects, and has been complaining about them for some thirty years now. (There is a lot of material there, and the second is to a selection of Healy's articles.)

3. You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By Lightning than by a Terrorist

The last of the regular items (in the crisis series) for today is by Washington's Blog, and has this title:

I should start this with saying that I still have not translated all of my "On Terrorism", but I have made a beginning. In any case, the above is the status of "terrorism" in the U.S. and indeed in the rest of the Western world, and this has been the case now for 12 years.

That is: the actual statistics are that, if you are an American, you are 68 times more likely to be killed by lightning than by a terrorist. For all of the last twelve years.

But where are all the governmental anti-lightning measures?! To Save - Even More! - Lives?! (I know. I am being ironical.)

Since this has been so for twelve years now, I take my case is proved, if not logically then at least empirically: "Terrorism" is and always has been a pretext, and it is a pretext for wars, for NSA spying, for even more banking power, for a further decline of the middle class, for more poverty of many, and for much more that is bad for almost everyone, except for the few who profit or govern.

In case you doubt this, you can look at the above article, that has many more details.

[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

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 Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail