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Nederlog


  March
14, 2014
Crisis: Metadata=You * 2, Stewart, Reich, erasing history
   "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.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton
















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Sections
Introduction

1. Researchers Confirm: When NSA Watches Your Metadata,
     It Is Watching You

2. Phone call metadata does betray sensitive details about
     your life – study

3. 
We Wouldn't Do That (LOL)
4. The “Paid-What-You’re-Worth” Myth
5. 
erasing history… 
About ME/CFS

Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of March 14.

It is about the
crisis, and this time clarifies that metadata = you, that is: no one else, and in much more detail than you yourself remember; it has a nice bit by Jon Stewart on what the US leaders wouldn't do (they say); a bit by Robert Reich about the total myth that pay is fair; and a bit by 1 boring old man on psychiatry.

Also, the last two bits stimulated me to give a little of my own opinions on the University of Amsterdam, where there were very many complete parasites in the seventies and eighties, and about psychiatry. (The last one, or both, may be a litle long and you can skip them. I liked writing them, though.)

Also, I should have said yesterday
that I have uploaded a new frontpage (or two: an English and a Dutch one) that says, correctly, the site is > 500 MB now, but otherwise is the same; I have re-uploaded parts of the Hazlitt-section (more today, probably); and also have uploaded all of the Nederlogs of March, to remove an empty line.

And I should say that I saved some from The Intercept -  that now has really started going - for tomorrow.

1. Researchers Confirm: When NSA Watches Your Metadata, It Is Watching You

The first article is by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows - and mind that this concerns the true status of metadata, about which the NSA and Obama assured the public there is nothing to worry about:
Stanford University researchers have confirmed what civil liberties advocates have warned since the NSA scandal broke: metadata surveillance is a window to highly sensitive personal information, including medical issues, financial history, and even marijuana cultivation.

Two Stanford graduate students proved this by doing the snooping themselves. Since November, they have surveyed the phone records of 546 volunteers and consulted Yelp and Google Places directories to determine how much sensitive personal information metadata can reveal. Participants installed a “MetaPhone” app on their Android phones to enable the surveillance.

"The degree of sensitivity among contacts took us aback," wrote researchers Jonathan Mayer and Patrick Mutchler in an announcement of their findings published Wednesday. "We found that phone metadata is unambiguously sensitive, even in a small population and over a short time window."

I am not amazed, but I can program in five languages. Anyway, as to my initial statement under the dotted link:
As the researchers point out, this study directly contradicts the repeated assurance by President Obama that the NSA "is not looking at people's names, and they're not looking at content."
2.  Phone call metadata does betray sensitive details about your life – study

The next article is about the same subject, and is by Alex Hern in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Warnings that phone call “metadata” can betray detailed information about your life has been confirmed by research at Stanford University. Researchers there successfully identified a cannabis cultivator, multiple sclerosis sufferer and a visitor to an abortion clinic using nothing more than the timing and destination of their phone calls.

Note also that they did this on the basis of FAR smaller amounts of metadata than the NSA has, on everyone. This continues:

Jonathan Mayer and Patrick Mutchler, the researchers behind the finding, used data gleaned from 546 volunteers to assess the extent to which information about who they had called and when revealed personally sensitive information.

The research aimed to answer questions raised by the NSA wiretapping revelations, where it was revealed that the US intelligence agency collects metadata - but not content - of millions of phone calls on mobile networks.

There is also this by the researchers:

“Participants had calls with Alcoholics Anonymous, gun stores, NARAL Pro-Choice, labor unions, divorce lawyers, sexually transmitted disease clinics, a Canadian import pharmacy, strip clubs, and much more,” the researchers write. “This was not a hypothetical parade of horribles. These were simple inferences, about real phone users, that could trivially be made on a large scale.”

Which is to say: Everything Obama and the NSA said about metadata were conscious intentional lies.

3.  We Wouldn't Do That (LOL) 

Next, an article by Abby Zimet on Common Dreams:

In fact, this is a brief introduction to a video by Jon Stewart who, as Zimet notes has "a lovely nod to George Carlin":

  

4.  The “Paid-What-You’re-Worth” Myth 

Next, an article by Robert Reich on his site:
I think I should start by saying that you must be an enormous fool to believe that wages have anything to do with fairness.

Then again, lots of people are - ahum - not very clever, and certainly did not have my (communist) education, which taught me that the heaviest and most back-braking work is generally done by those who get the lowliest pay, and the easiest and least demanding work is done by those who make the most - which certainly does much better fit the economical facts of life than the utter lie that everyone gets paid as he or she deserves.

Also, I did study at the University of Amsterdam
(and finished that with a brilliant M.A. in psychology, in spite of my illness, after having been removed as the one student since WW II "because of your outspoken opinions" briefly before my M.A. in philosophy), where I met the most amazing parasites, liars, sadists, fools, idiots, ass-holes and in general: completely inferior degenerate people, who lived as parasites - but who were all members of the academic staff.

Philosophy was taught by idiots, insane folks, and sadists (yes, and I am not exaggerating, and you cannot name any of them, because they were all complete non-entities in philosophy and elsewhere, though their salaries were enormous while their duties were virtually non-existent); in psychology it was for the most part likewise: the sane people were removed, because the majority was either insane or else incompetent; and in Scandinavian Studies Danish was given for Norwegian, which is like teaching German as if it is Dutch: No one knew how to speak Norwegian. (I did, because I had lived there for nearly 3 years.)

Also, almost to a man - and I am talking now of most of those who were very gainfully academically employed in the seventies and eighties in Dutch universities - they never published, and "worked" two to eight hours a week, and did most of that sitting in on what they called "work groups", while almost all staff-members lied and lied and lied about their political allegiance, because the universities were in fact in the hands of marxist students (later: postmodernists) from 1971-1995 in Holland, and who had the softest, easiest, best paid and best pensioned jobs there were in Holland, barring none.

I should also say - and see my columns on the University of Amsterdam - it may be at present a tiny little bit less bad, but the climate and the staff are still almost completely worthless to the best of my knowledge, albeit with a few exceptions in mathematics and physics, mostly because one needs a real intellectual talent to excel in these fields, which is definitely not the case in most other fields, that only require bureaucratic talents, an IQ of 115 or slightly higher, and the ability to posture, at least in Holland, and in my experience of the last 45 years.

Then again, Robert Reich is also worth reading, and he does not talk about Dutch institutions, but about American ones. Here is the ending of his piece:

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, the $26.7 billion of bonuses Wall Street banks paid out last year would be enough to more than double the pay of every one of America’s 1,085,000 full-time minimum wage workers. 

The remainder of the $83 billion of hidden subsidy going to those same banks would almost be enough to double what the government now provides low-wage workers in the form of wage subsidies under the Earned Income Tax Credit.

But I don’t expect Congress to make these sorts of adjustments any time soon. 

The “paid-what-your-worth” argument is fundamentally misleading because it ignores power, overlooks institutions, and disregards politics. As such, it lures the unsuspecting into thinking nothing whatever should be done to change what people are paid, because nothing can be done. 

Don’t buy it.

Quite so.

5. erasing history…

Finally, an article by 1 boring old man, who is an American (mostly) pensioned psychiatrist: 

Let me first explain why I regularly review articles by 1 boring old man.

I have read a fair amount of psychiatry the last 45+ years because I have very wide interests and am a very fast reader, who also never had a TV, but I never read any psychiatrist I could mostly agree with, although I have read several who contributed a little to my understanding.

Silvano Arieti, Eugen Kretscher, and Ronald Laing come to mind (but in the last case: the one of Interpersonal Perception very much rather than his other work - and I never met anyone who also read the work I mentioned, that is also by Phillipson and Lee [2]), and are probably the most important. Their "contributions to my understanding" are indeed that: they said something sensible about things I had been thinking about myself quite independently, and usually not properly psychiatric, rather than that they convinced me of their visions or their greatness.

Also, I was never much interested in therapies, healing, analysis, or psychotropic drugs, because I had no need for them, because I thought almost all that I saw of these at least a little and often very silly, and because all I had read from psychiatists had convinced me that they mostly either believed what I simply could not believe or else they were plainly dishonest men - and this started when I was 17, after I read Oedipus: Myth and Complex by Mullahy, at that time out of sheer curiosity, but with the immediate effect that I was cured from any illusion that these psychiatrists were real scientists - and "these psychiatrists" were the big names of psychiatry from 1900-1960, while the book was a competent survey.

I thought they were not real scientists because it was very obvious to me they contradicted each other in vey many ways about nearly everything; because much of what they said were mere guesses without much empirical foundations; and also, and more generally, because I could not possibly believe that a handful of certainly not very clever medical men could do what 2000 years of philosophy and science had mostly failed to do, except by bits and pieces, that were often partial and fragmented: Rationally explain men and their behavior, in a full, credible and empirically well-founded way.

Then again, I was not an anti-psychiatrist, for one thing because I never was a pro-psychiatrist, and for another thing because I did accept that people got mad (in the ordinary sense: lost their contact with common sense reality, and might be dangerous to others or themselves), and I did think such people merited help, whether or not the helpers were capable of answering most questions about how the human mind works (which I knew anyway they could not do, whatever their pretenses).

In fact, until 2010 I was not much interested in psychiatry: it seemed to me mostly a subject of interest to people who were mad or who wanted to cure the mad, and I belonged to neither group.

But in 2010, also about 6 months after getting fast internet, I learned I was mistaken: According to the British psychiatrist Simon Wessely and his cronies, that included an American bureaucratic big wig dr. Reed, he and they had proved that I was not ill with M.E., which I was since 1.1.1979, and even had medical diagnoses of: I was mad, insane, bonkers, a raving lunatic, an idiot wo believed he was "chronically fatigued" - except that they generally phrased it a little more politely, but that was their message, and also what they really thought.

Their "proof" essentially consisted in this piece of argument: Ailments that the present-day medical science cannot explain, of which M.E. is one, in fact can be explained by psychiatry: those who have them are neurasthenics, except that Wessely and his cronies often liked other terms (while still often explaining that neurasthenia - imaginary illness, profiting, living like a God on the dole, etc. - was what they meant, for the most part).

Also, it turned out by 2010 that Simon Wessely and his mates had by and large convinced the British and other authorities of their visions, that comprised much more than M.E., indeed not for any intellectual and moral reasons, but for soundly practical reasons:

The British governments since Thatcher were quite willing to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on quite a lot of persons who merited this, but those who merited this had to be persons the governors knew or liked, such as bank managers, themselves, their political cronies, or persons who thought like them - but they did not want to spend such amounts of money, or indeed less money, on people they did not know, and who were ill and unknown and poor: such people are mere trash, and by and large anything is allowed against them (or so it would seem from their actions, and indeed also from their theories, that are generally Ayn Rand-like: the unfit are better of dead).

For these political masters, a psychiatrist like Simon Wessely appeared like a God-given genius, and indeed they soon made him a Sir and also asked him to help make better torture schemes for the British military, or whatever else he does there (I have no idea), except denying that any former soldier can conceivably be ill, for that is one of his other "specialisms".

So then I got interested in psychiatry, and I soon found that it is a mass of falsehood, deceptions, lies, propaganda and make-belief, that is also much worse morally than the psychiatry I had known and read, often 30 or 40 years earlier; that it is very much more dishonest intellectually, for much of the research consists of lies, falsehoods and deceptions, while much of the Scientific Publication of Key Opinion Leaders is signed by them, but is in fact written by special propagandists of the pharmaceutical companies, to further the sales of their latest very expensive patented drugs; and that also is much more profitable than was earlier psychiatry, because there was from 1980-2015 an unholy alliance of psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical corporations, mostly based on deregulations, that was much in favor of selling as much as possible of any patented psychotropic drug, it often seemed for any reason whatsoever, as long as it was profitable. And it sure was profitable! Many billions were made!

Finally, to 1 boring old man. He is an American psychiatrist who started out not as a psychiatrist but as an internist (which means that he has a good mind: only the best minds in medicine do internal medicine), who turned to psychiatry because it seemed to him he could help more people that way, but who very soon wound up in opposition to some characters who were going to make millions from the DSM-III, and then moved out of the academic world and into a private practice, in which he generally has not prescribed many drugs.

Such a person is at least a bit more interesting than ordinary psychiatrists (who seem to me often to have become psychiatrists because they failed, or knew they would fail, as medical doctors), and he also writes a regular almost daily column, which is how I know about him.

I like him: he seems sensible, means well, knows statistics (something many psychiatrists do not really know), and he is no fool. I certainly do not always agree with him, but he has a good mind and often has good ideas, and he also is honest, which is something I found few academics are. [3]

And since I set out to explain "
why I regularly review articles by 1 boring old man": I quite often agree with him, more than not, at least (which is quite uncommon in my readings of psychiatrists), and he has some good ideas and has decent values, that he is not afraid to write about. Also, he is one of the few in psychiatry-land about whom I can say so.

Anyway, here is a quotation from the last dotted article:
Right now, psychiatry seems to be attempting to erase a piece of its own history – a recent piece at that. We’ve had a couple of decades where many academic psychiatrists have been in an unholy alliance with the pharmaceutical industry, one that allowed industry to control our scientific literature, our continuing medical education, and, indeed, the whole direction of our specialty. The profits from that alliance have become the stuff of Wall Street legend – blockbusters! The ramifications of those years are everywhere around us – in our diagnostic manual, our relationships with patients and other mental health specialties, our place in the third party payment hierarchy, in the eyes of the public. As those years are finally drawing to a close, they seem to be becoming the elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about.
Yes, indeed. Next, there are a number of examples that you can check out for yourself by using the last dotted link, and then there is this:
We did this already in 1980 – abandoned our history, whether by intent or not. One would’ve thought that the only historical figure that ever mattered was Emil Kraepelin. The psychoanalysts, Adolf Meyers, Harry Stack Sullivan, Karl Jaspers, social psychiatrists, family theorists, psychotherapists [other that CBTers] – the pantheon of psychiatrists who had contributed to our understanding of mental illness were largely forgotten and rarely mentioned in any positive way. And of interest, since the 1980s we haven’t produced any "greats" – only KOLs with a limited shelf-life.
Indeed (and 1980 was the year the DSM-III was published) - and although I will never be an admirer of psychiatrists [4] they had something to say that all the KOLs since 1980 did not say, in part because they had no ideas, beyond supporting the pharmacological corporations, and in part because they could have none: Psychiatry does it without theories, Bob Spitzer had claimed, and pins its faith on the coming brain science - which is about as unscientific as anyone can get (no theories + faith in what there is not), and indeed also totally failed to pan out.

Anyway... this was a bit longish piece about psychiatry, but I think it is quite clear, and I needed a break from all the crisis materials.

---------------------------------
Notes
[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.)

[2] Actually, the reason I am much more interested in this book than in Laing's other books is that is - in part, and not very precisely - about the logic of propositional attitudes. And I am much more of a logician than of a psychiatrist.

[3] I do not mean that academics are lying all the time, or are as a rule more dishonest than the average is; I do mean that almost all I know vastly exaggerate their own science and their own importance, in ways I have not seen outside academia, except perhaps in the arts. I do not like this.

[4] Basically, especially because they pretend to be scientists while they are not, and also know remarkably little about real science (by which I normally mean: physics, chemistry and mathematics, and again I know more of these fields than of psychiatry, and like them a lot better). In fact, roughly the same holds for psychologists, although that is somewhat more scientific (in some of its branches), and is generally less pseudo-scientific, in part also because there is no unholy alliance between (clinical) psychologists and the pharmacological corporations, since psychologists may not prescribe medicines.

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)

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[2]
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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