10, 2014
Crisis: Russia/USSR, "medical science", tech companies, US democrats, personal
   "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

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Back in the USSR: Belarusian leader who helped bury
     Soviet Union says it is making a comeback

2. Sense about Science: First Admit no Harm
3. Tech Companies Boost Their Efforts to Stave Off Spy

4. Democrats Approved Mass Surveillance and Torture
5.  Personal  

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of June 10. It is an ordinary crisis log, except for one difference:

The last section contains a bit of personal reflection on my year of Snowden's revelations, because for me that started on June 10, 2013, for then - or the day previous to it: I forgot, for I still had serious eye-trouble then and slept far too little - I learned the identity of Edward Snowden, although I had picked up the first publication of Glenn Greenwald in the context of Edward Snowden, namely on June 7, 2013, in my Crisis: No more Fourth Amendment.

Anyway - first today's
crisis related news.

1. Back in the USSR: Belarusian leader who helped bury Soviet Union says it is making a comeback

The first item is an article by Mark Rice-Oxley on The Guardian:
This starts with a large photograph of a demonstration of 2011 of what are described as "Communist party supporters" in Donetsk, and who sport many red flags with a hammer and sickle, and a flag with a portrait of Stalin's face under an extremely high military hat.

It opens as follows:

The man who convened the meeting that buried the Soviet Union in 1991 has warned that it is being restored in his native Belarus and across the post-Soviet space.

Stanislav Shushkevich – the politician who hosted the 1991 summit at which Belarus, Ukraine and Russia signed the USSR into obsolescence and paved the way for independence – said a mixture of despotic leaders, KGB-revivalism and Putin’s Ukraine interference all remind him of the worst of the Soviet Union.

“What we see now is the restoration of Soviet order, in Belarus most of all,” Shushkevich said in his study in the modest central Minsk apartment.

“Look what happened in Ukraine. It was just the same as in Soviet times in 1990 when they tried to restore control over the Baltic republics with special services. It’s all a play by Russian special services. And in Belarus it’s just like Soviet order, collective farms, it all works like a Soviet regime.”
This is basically an interview with Stanislav Shushkevich, who is 79 and a former professor of physics. You can read the rest of the interview under the last dotted link, in which he also says
Now it’s the KGB who control the electoral process. There are no elections, just a re-appointment
I think he may be right that Russia is growing "socialistic" again, but indeed nobody knows. Four relevant considerations are:
  • The winners of the Yeltsin-revolution, that terminated the Soviet-Union, are Putin's KGB (since renamed, but that is mere propaganda) and some handfulls of extremely rich schemers, who are - it seems - mostly controlled by the (former) KGB.
  • Russia and China are getting closer together (again), and China is still, at least in name and in government, a communist - totalitarian, authoritarian - state.
  • Most of the Russian population are neither happier, nor richer, nor more than nominally more free than they were in the last stages of Soviet communism.
  • It would be handy to have a widely accepted - authoritarian, totalitarian - ideology that motivates the masses, and communism still "works" for quite a few Russians.
But I do not know and indeed nobody does. Also, in case I may be misunderstood: This is mostly about what manner of propaganda would be  most palatable for the Russians or least disliked by them: it is not about real communism, real socialism, or real anything.

Sense about Science: First Admit no Harm

The next item is an article by Dr. David Healy on his site:

This is in fact the second of a four part series, and it is about the enormous corruption of the Western medical health system.

Here are three quotes from the beginning. To start with:

Anyone interested in Pharma will know about its ability to Astroturf – to create patient organizations whose role is to promote an illness or subvert an existing one.  Creating awareness of conditions sells drugs.

First I note that Dr. Healy is a psychiatrist who has been defending patients' rights for over 20 years now, as one of the very few psychiatrists and few medical doctors who does do so - even though I would say and indeed have thought that is the duty of every medical doctor. (I still think so, but I do not think most medical doctors these days are up to it, even though there still are some.)

Also, I think I have seen some of that on Phoenix Rising, which is nominally, but not really, a site owned by real patients with the real disease Myalgic Encephalo- myelitis, but in fact is a very secretive organization where anybody with real knowledge and real brains gets attacked by scores of anonymous ass-holes posing as patients. (I did it and failed, and withdrew. Others did it and failed, and where hunted away. But the site thrives fueled by anonymous idiots writing utter bullshit. I really do not know how one can trust anyone about whom one knows that one does NOT know ANYTHING whatsoever except an alias, but then I do have a really high IQ.)

Next, there is this:

Less well known is what happens at a higher Astral level.  You can’t sell a product that gets a bad reputation or is removed from the market.  The marketing mission at this meta-level is to risk manage by influencing the debate on Risk.

You do this by setting up think tanks, hiring ex-regulators, academics and others, capturing the regulatory system, and working with a body with a name like Sense about Science.

The regulators advise you on how to get an indication for a drug even though it doesn’t work for that.  The academics advise on how to do trials that use a problem your drug causes to hide a problem your drug causes.  The lawyers advise on the trials or studies that need doing in order for you to be able to defend the product in academic and legal settings.

Yes, quite so - and please note that everybody involved gets very well paid. They get very well paid for screwing the interests of the real patients but then real patients rarely know science or the law, and are far more trustful of the medical and legal folks who screw them for money, always with a smile and a kind word, and if medical always clad in a stethoscope. (But: it really is about their enormous incomes, and the vast majority is screwing patients' rights for their incomes.)

Finally, there is this:

But the key thing is to have groups help change the wider climate of debate – their efforts will make you seem mainstream. These are not the right hand (dextrous) experts you engage to take the known problems and hide them but the left hand (sinister) experts that take it as read you have been acting in good faith and don’t want to see you irrationally victimized.

Your, and accordingly their, mission is to transform poisons into fertilizers or even into vaccines.  To transform inevitably risky chemicals into something where the greatest risks lie in non-use.

The climate changing operations of Pharma and its Sinisters have been so successful that two hundred years after Pinel’s famous medical dictum:

“The art of medicine lies in treating when possible but it is an even greater art to know when not to treat”,

medicine has been turned inside out and the essence of medical wisdom has become:

“The art of medicine lies in getting people on as many drugs as possible even though most of these will not help them; non-treatment is not acceptable in this day and age”.

And the Hippocratic Oath has become:

“First Admit no Harm”.

One of the few things I have learned from three years reading about psychiatry and medicine are, first, the enormous corruption of psychiatry since 1980 (which has some 20 times more "disorders" now than can be established, and indeed calls them "disorders" because they have no legitimate evidence of any illness) and, second, the enormous corruption of medicine, mostly by pharmaceutical corporations, which now has reduced much of the "medical testing" of any medical drugs (and especially of recently patented expensive drugs with large markets) to marketing campaigns done in fact by the very same pharmaceutical corporations that developed the drugs.

Indeed, I do not know what to do about this - except by staying as far away of psychiatry and medicine as I rationally can: These have been turned into corrupt, lying, degenerate profit-oriented activities these days, even if there still are a minority of practitioners one can mostly trust. (But not about the qualities of well-paying drugs that were recently developed, simply because the relevant research was done and is owned by the pharmaceutical corporations, rather than by independent doctors or patients.)

3. Tech Companies Boost Their Efforts to Stave Off Spy Agencies

The next item is an article by Donald Kaufman on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

Tech companies are in a new race to make it harder for spy agencies around the world, such as the NSA in the U.S., to access their customers’ data.

Google, which had been more cooperative with the government before former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed the agency’s snooping tactics, is now taking steps like laying its own fiber optic cable under the world’s oceans to thwart the NSA and other clandestine operations. According to The New York Times, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo are also ramping up their encryption efforts, which might not guarantee total insulation against unwelcome interference but will make break-ins more difficult and time consuming.

The Snowden leaks, which exposed massive surveillance from the U.S. government and other state agencies, have not only hurt these tech companies’ bottom lines and reputations domestically but are also forcing them to take new precautions if they want to preserve business relations with countries such as Brazil and Germany, both of which have threatened to entrust their data solely to local providers.

Well... I have to say I much doubt it.

I do not deny that the "tech companies" have been hurt by Snowden's revelations, but this is against the background of all of them collaborating as if they were mad (or rather: moved only by profit, and not by legal or moral considerations) with the U.S. government's secret services, as long as they could suppose the services they so willingly rendered were secret.

I also do not deny that some of the things that some of the "tech companies" have said (after Snowden's revelations, to be sure) were sensible.

But it seems fairly self-evident to me that (1) the "tech companies" have collaborated for many years with the NSA, it seems regularly also doing more than they were asked; (2) the "tech companies" only publicly registered some dissent after Snowden's revelations; (3) which indeed hurt their profit margins, so that (4) it is quite evident they had to do something - which seems mostly (5) to start yet another public relations campaign to assure the public that "they are not to blame" and "do everything to solve the problem".

Indeed, I would have done the same, were I the - totally corrupt, or merely partially corrupt - CEO of a US tech company, who is much concerned to keep the profit margins as high as possible.

But I do not believe them until they are encrypting all the data that goes through them (which they can do at a fairly small cost, so far as I know) - and even then I would not know whether the NSA, by hook or by crook or by prior infiltration, also possesses the encryption keys and algorithms.

However, if they start encrypting their data, I would be much more sympathetic to them.

4. Democrats Approved Mass Surveillance and Torture

The next item is by Washington's Blog on his site:

This is mostly, though not solely, about Nancy Pelosi, who is the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. I know a little more about her than about most U.S. politicians, because she has a Dutch son in law who contributed regularly to Dutch radio, but not much.

Here is the beginning of the item (colors as in the original):

Pelosi Was Briefed On – and Covered Up – NSA Spying On Americans

When a teen asked Nancy Pelosi last week why she supports unconstitutional NSA spying, Pelosi responded that the NSA lied to Congress about what they were doing, and she didn’t know:

But Pelosi was actually briefed on – and approved – illegal mass surveillance by the NSA.

Last November, high-level NSA whistleblower Bill Binney confirmed to Washington’s Blog that Pelosi was briefed on NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans:

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Is CBS right that you tried to warn Congress 10 years ago?

BILL BINNEY: Yes, first to Diane Roark (House senior staff assigned to monitor NSA) in late 2001, then, to a House Intel Committee member. Diane also talked to Porter Goss [then-chair of the House Intelligence Committee] and Nancy Pelosi [ranking member on the Intelligence Committee at the time] about it in the same time frame. This to me was the obvious reason Nancy said (when she was speaker) that impeaching George W was off the table. Cause she was part of it from the beginning.

There is more there on the subject, and next there is this:

Pelosi Also Complicit In Torture

Pelosi was also complicit in torture. And yet she lied about that, also.

Nancy Pelosi claimed in 2009:

The Bush administration did not inform Congress that it had waterboarded detainees in classified briefings, after the agency had already done so…

Pelosi told reporters that the administration officials only told her and those in a classified briefing in the fall of 2002 that they believed they had the legal authority to do so, based on Office of Legal Counsel memos which have recently been released by the Obama administration.

“In that or any other briefing… we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used,” said Pelosi. “What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel… opinions that they could be used, but not that they would.”

However, that is likely untrue.

As noted by the above-linked article at Huffington Post:

Her assertion contradicts a recently released Senate committee report that cited CIA records to claim that senior members of Congress in both parties were briefed on the waterboarding, which had already been done to detainee Abu Zubaydah.

Moreover, the Washington Post wrote in 2007:

Four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk. Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

Again there is considerably more there. But I think the above is sufficient. (Well... it may help to know that the estimated worth of the Democratic Mrs. Pelosi is $58 milion, according to Wikipedia.)

5. Personal

Finally, as I said in the introduction: Today is the first anniversary that I heard about Edward Snowden and his revelations, for then I wrote
In fact, I may have known a day earlier, but I forgot, mostly because my eyes were considerably worse then than they are now, and I did not sleep enough and had not slept enough for a year. (This is better now.)

In any case: I am glad that I did, and glad about what I wrote that day, which I strongly recommend you (re-)read, if only because I think it all was quite correct, as indeed also holds for this item, from June 7, 2013 (before knowing of Snowden):
Another file that may bear (re-)reading is from January 16, 2013, because it does give a good idea of what I think the crisis is (which is considerably more extensive than most realize, and also goes back much longer than to 2008, when indeed capitalism crashed):
To end this note, I want to insist again - as I did a year ago - that Edward Snowden is not an ordinary man, and also not an "extra-ordinarily ordinary" man, and indeed that is just the basic human problem:

That there are only very few who are as intelligent and as brave as he is, while the vast democratic majority, with an average IQ of 100, and absolutely nothing they have ever done that distinguishes them in any way, keeps insisting that "everybody is equal" (at least in Holland, and also on international patients' sites).

everybody were equal to Snowden, as regards intelligence and braveness, there would be no NSA-as-is; no surveilling of everyone; and not much else that is bad.
[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