who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
| "Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
files: Snowden says 'I acted alone' and rubbishes
Russian spy claims
2. Human Rights Watch annual report 2014
3. Jon Stewart: ‘These [NSA] Reforms Are
Weak, but Don’t
Worry, They’ll Never
Snowden: If 'Country Is Helped,' Ending Up in Ditch
Age of Journalism?
6. There Are 85 People Who Are As
Wealthy As Half The
WORLD, Oxfam Reports
Psychiatry Gone Astray
open letter to the APA…
This is yet another crisis issue, though the last two items are about
psychiatry, which also is in crisis, though far fewer know this. Also,
while there are more important items, item 3 is the
funniest - and indeed Jon Stewart, like me, did not find Obama's speech
(I quote, from several journalistic authors) "forceful".
files: Snowden says 'I acted alone' and rubbishes Russian spy claims
To start with, an
article by Reuters in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, I would suppose so
- and the originator of the slur is the intellectually sub-normal Mike
Rogers. There is more there, but this is also treated below.
Former US spy agency
contractor Edward Snowden said he acted alone in leaking US government
secrets and that suggestions by some politicians he might have had help
from Russia were "absurd'', the New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday.
In an interview the
magazine said was conducted by encrypted means from
Moscow, Snowden was quoted as saying: "This 'Russian spy' push is
Snowden said he
"clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no help from anyone, much
less a government".
"It won't stick. ...
Because it's clearly false, and the American people are smarter than
politicians think they are," the New Yorker quoted Snowden as saying.
2. Human Rights Watch annual report 2014
criticises NSA mass
Next, an article by Philip Oltermann in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Further down there is
Surveillance overreach by
the US government could have a disastrous long-term effect on internet freedom and
free speech, Human Rights
Watch warns in its latest report.
The US-based organisation
says in its 24th annual survey that there is a danger some governments
with poor human rights
records, like China or the Gulf states,
will use the NSA scandal as an excuse to
"force user data to stay within their own borders, setting up the
potential for increased internet censorship".
Human Rights Watch's 2014
report is the first in its 36-year history to include a warning about
data protection. Previous reports had focused on internet issues mainly
in relation to China, where the government has censored internet
searches and arrested bloggers who have criticised the government
Yes, I quite agree - but
the bitter point is that the US government surely knows it is lying to
the public, and this lying includes referencing 1979 court cases as if
these were relevant to today's PCs (etc.)
Human Rights Watch
director Kenneth Roth told the Guardian that his organisation had
chosen to concentrate on data protection because "serious missteps by
the US government compelled us to speak up".
"The Snowden revelations
have made clear that there has been an intrusion on our right to
privacy of unprecedented scope, yet the government is dismissing any
complaints about our right to privacy as irrelevant."
Roth said that from a
human rights perspective, one of the biggest missteps the US
administration had committed was to insist that there was a difference
between the content of private communication and "metadata" –
information about where, when and between whom the communication takes
place. This distinction was based on a
1979 court case from the pre-digital era, which Human Rights Watch
described as "troglodyte".
Finally, there is this:
To assume that only the
listening in, not the collection part of surveillance constituted an
intrusion of privacy was "a fallacy", Roth said. "Imagine the
government putting a video camera in your bedroom and saying 'don't
worry, the feed will only go into a government computer, which we won't
look at unless we have reason to believe that wrongdoing is taking
place'. Would you feel your privacy is being respected? Of course not.
But that's exactly what the government is doing."
Yes, quite so - and
besides, you only have "the word" of thoroughly dishonest people to go
Roth also correctly notes
Yes, precisely: the former
professor of constitutional law talked as if he doesn't know the law,
or as if he feels laws do not matter: all that matters is trust in him
(and his successors).
Human Rights Watch had
taken little solace from President Barack Obama's
speech last Friday, Roth said. "Obama said there will be no more spying
on Angela Merkel. Great! But what concerns us is the US government
spying on ordinary people. He didn't say we have a right to privacy. He
just said: we'll tread more carefully. What use is the government
promising to restrain itself if it doesn't give anyone the chance to
challenge that restraint in court?"
3. Jon Stewart: ‘These [NSA] Reforms Are
Weak, but Don’t Worry, They’ll Never Take Effect’
Next, an article by
Natasha Hakimi on Truth Dig,
that starts thus:
“Daily Show” host Jon
Stewart offers a hilariously annotated version of President Obama’s
long-winded, contradictory speech on the surveillance state. Watch as
he takes out his Red Bull and a snack just to get through the tedious
beginning of Obama’s attempt to “address the American people’s very
real concerns about privacy without upsetting the people who apparently
know everything about us.” Spoiler alert: He does neither.
One reason to quote this is
that when I read the initial reactions to Obama's speech I was amazed
to find how many described it as "forceful", whereas in fact it was a "long-winded, contradictory", irrelevant speech that did not address
nearly all of the issues, and also consisted of far too many odd long
Anyway... you'll find two
videos there, both of a little over 4 minutes, that shows Jon
Stewart in excellent form - and in case you doubt: I don't merely think
he is funny, I think he is right.
4. Snowden: If 'Country Is Helped,' Ending
Up in Ditch 'Worth
Next, an article by Jon
Queally on Common Dreams, that also deals with Snowden:
This starts as follows:
says that even if he ends up in "a ditch" some day, if his acts help
his country, then it will all have been worth it.
He also denies the
charges of Mike Rogers, that are also more or less supported by
Feinstein, that he worked for anyone, and cites in support that real
spies are much better treated than he was.
There is considerably more, but I only select this sample, that was
sampled from the interview:
I only comment on the
first point: He is clearly quite right on the media, and that is indeed
also one of the major problems of this day - that there are only a few
handfuls of decent papers and good shows, and that almost all of the
rest is not only "bad shit" (to quote Bill Maher) but also often is
carefully and intentionally very slanted.
On the media
“It’s just amazing that
these massive media institutions don’t have any sort of editorial
position on this. I mean these are pretty serious allegations, you
“The media has a major
role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their
responsibility to hold power to account.”
On leaving Russia
“When we were talking
about possibilities for asylum in Latin America, the United States
forced down the Bolivian President’s plane.” If he could travel without
U.S. interference, “I would of course do so.”
sacrifice versus the greater good
“At least the American
public has a seat at the table now. [...] “It may sound trite, [but if]
I end up disgraced in a ditch somewhere, but it helps the country, it
will still be worth it.”
Golden Age of Journalism?
Next, an article by Tom
Engelhardt from tomdispatch.com on journalism:
Tom Engelhardt is a few years
older than I am, and tells the story of the papers as he knew these
through his life, until many of them started falling apart, mostly
because of the internet and falling incomes due to fewer
advertisements. The story is interesting and well told, but he ends
with a - qualified - paean on the present day, from which I only cite
one brief bit:
I’m in awe.
Despite everything, despite every malign purpose to which the Internet
is being put, I consider it a wonder of our age. Yes, perhaps it
is the age from hell for traditional reporters (and editors) working
double-time, online and off, for newspapers that are crumbling, but for
readers, can there be any doubt that now, not the 1840s or the 1930s or
the 1960s, is the golden age of journalism?
Actually, I think there
can be: Firstly, it all depends on what you wish to understand by
"journalism", and secondly, while I grant there is - on the moment -
more available than there ever was, and cheaper too, the great increase
in quantity was not combined with an increase in quality.
But you can read it yourself - I only say that I am less in awe than
Engelhardt is, and also that there is no more any really good paper
left in Holland.
Are 85 People Who Are As Wealthy As Half The WORLD, Oxfam Reports
Next, a brief
report on the Huffington Post:
Here are two of its
statistic shows you how honest and democratic power and riches are
distributed in this modern enlightened world.
Oxfam's "Working For The
Few" report looked at Credit Suisse's "Global Wealth Report 2013" and Forbes'
list of the world's billionaires from 2013 to conclude that 1
percent of the global population controls half of the world's wealth.
The report also found that
the world's 85 richest people own the same amount as the bottom half
of the entire global population.
Next, an article by Peter Gotzsche on Dr. David Healy's
First note that
Dr Healy is a psychiatrist who lives and works in Wales, and who is one
of the few honest and decent ones (which gave him a lot of trouble),
and Dr Peter Gotzsche is a Danish internist.
This is a really good article, that I review by quoting the myths -
about all of which Dr Gotzsche is right, to the best of my meanwhile
fairly extensive knowledge - but leave it to you to find the text,
except for this introductory part, in which I also have added a link to
Now the myths -
and I quite them as I find them, but without any explanatory text (that
At the Nordic Cochrane
Centre, we have researched antidepressants for several years and I
have long wondered why leading professors of psychiatry base their
practice on a number of erroneous myths. These myths are harmful to
patients. Many psychiatrists are well aware that the myths do not hold
and have told me so, but they don’t dare deviate from the official
positions because of career concerns.
Being a specialist in
internal medicince, I don’t risk ruining my career by incurring the
professors’ wrath and I shall try here to come to the rescue of the
many conscientious but oppressed psychiatrists and patients by listing
the worst myths and explain why they are harmful.
1: Your disease is caused by a chemical
All I should add
here is that the full text is under the link; that I never used any
antipsychotic; that "happy pills" are anti-depressives that I have
used, though far too long, which did undo a major depression I couldn't
talk or reason myself out of; and that my own psychologist's view of
psychiatry is that it is - still, as always - a pseudoscience:
if you need psychological help, go to a psychologist (though do not
expect any miracles: they also do not know what psychiatrists do
not know, but they very probably will listen to you a lot better, while
any medicine can just as well, and a lot cheaper, be gotten through
imbalance in the brain
Myth 2: It’s no problem to stop treatment
Myth 3: Psychotropic Drugs for Mental
like Insulin for Diabetes
Myth 4: Psychotropic drugs reduce the
chronically ill patients
Myth 5: Happy pills do not cause suicide in
children and adolescents
Myth 6: Happy pills have no side effects
Happy pills are not addictive
Myth 8: The
prevalence of depression has
increased a lot
Myth 9: The main problem is not
Antipsychotics prevent brain damage
Incidentally, having just linked the Wikipedia on pseudoscience, here
is its first paragraph, that is also useful for the next item (minus
one note reference):
I am a
psychologist and a philosopher (and as such a scientific
realist), who graduated in both with only A's, and also has an M.A.
with only A's, and I say that the above fits psychiatry as if it were
written for it. Indeed, modern psychiatry since the DSM-III insists
it does not do theories at all :
it only diagnoses
- currently 400+ "disorders" (socalled because they are not
diseases, and nobody knows what causes nearly all of them) -
and these "diagnoses" are put together in secret processes by
members of the American Psychiatric Association, who also are the first
to profit from them.
Pseudoscience is a
claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific,
but does not adhere to a valid
scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise
lacks scientific status.
Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague,
contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of
openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of
systematic processes to rationally develop theories.
A field, practice, or body
of knowledge can reasonably be called pseudoscientific when it is
presented as consistent with the norms of scientific
research, but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms.
Well... that is not medicine: that is pseudoscience.
But it does have a good cause: it serves the happiness, the status and
the great incomes of members of the APA quite well indeed, albeit
letter to the APA…
Finally, an article by one of
the very few other psychiatrists who is not a liar and who can and does
think clearly (unlike most of his psychiatric colleagues), namely by 1
boring old man, on his site:
This starts as follows, and is
dated January 21, 2014:
It has been a dark
time for psychiatry. Since the investigations of Senator Grassley
exposed significant corruption and unseated three chairs of Psychiatry
in 2008, there has been a series of disturbing exposures involving
widespread ghost writing, guest authoring, and questionable clinical
trial reporting; escalating widely publicized settlements by
pharmaceutical companies involving psychoactive drugs and implicating
prominent psychiatrists; charges of overmedication and
entrepreneurialism; the drying up of the pharmaceutical pipeline;
recurrent charges of ubiquitous Conflicts of Interest in high places;
and an ongoing and divisive process that spanned the DSM-5 Revision
process. Besides the gravity and frequency of the problems, their
handling by the administrative levels in our specialty have played
poorly in the eyes of the public and our currency is at an all time low.
Yes, indeed. I add that
the reputation of psychiatry is deservedly low; that it should
be a lot lower than it is; and that I do not myself see any
reason to keep psychiatry as a science, because it never
was one, and still it isn't one: it only is an excuse for
prescribing expensive pills and locking up people, all without any
decent knowledge of how the human mind produces its many miracles and
distortions, and also without any decent knowledge about what their
However, I am willing to grant that this last paragraph probably does
not agree with 1 boring old man, which is indeed also why he wrote his
Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, thay 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
It is more proper
that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same
principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some
particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and
the servant of laws.
note the whole file I
quote from is quite pertinent.)
 In fact, this is sufficient to remove psychiatry
from the real sciences: Any real science, faulty, partially faulty, or
mostly correct, is so only because it does have theories. Then
again, the claim that psychiatry doesn't do theories is - like most
psychiatric claims - partially nonsensical: There are theories, but
these are almost all without any secure or credible foundations. In
fact, leading psychiatrists tend to feel, and have felt, since the
1980ies, very warmly for "the future of scientific medicine"
which they predicted, falsely as always, would support their
theories, guesses, constructs or diagnoses. That is, psychiatrists are
confident science fictionists, and indeed their "science" is no
science because it lacks the knowledge on which it could be rationally
founded. That is no shame, but it is a great shame to pretend to be a
scientist while one isn't doing science.
(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: