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."
1. Insecure Britain: poll
shines light on nation's economic
2. Saving the world should
be based on promise, not fear
3. Nuclear powers modernising arsenals, says
4. The Most Destructive
Presidencies in U.S. History: George
W. Bush and Barack H. Obama
for evidence based medicine…
This is the Nederlog of June
17. It is an ordinary crisis log.
The exception is the last item, which is about medicine, that seems too
difficult for modern medical people (I am only joking in part),
especially if one thinks seriously and based on relevant
knowledge about "evidence based medicine", which indeed really stinks.
But it is not strongly related to the crisis.
Insecure Britain: poll shines light on
item is an article by Tom Clark and Matthew Taylor on The Guardian:
Let me start with
quoting the subtitle:
by 56% voters but fewer than one in five say their family is
benefiting, with 46% citing immigration concerns
For me this shows mainly
that "the British public" has been quite successfully brainwashed (propagandized/"public
relationed") and this follows from the above:
First, if 56% "accepted" (strange word) there is a recovery, but only
20% saw any benefits, I'd say this is strong evidence the recovery for
the most part only holds for the rich and the semi-rich,
and not for the poor.
Second, if 46% cites "immigration
concerns" they are ignorant
and brainwashed: It's not immigrants that keeps them poor, it
is their government, that taxes the poor far more than the
rich, as I explained yesterday. (But
it is for A Good Cause: To make The Jobcreators richer.)
Here is some from the article itself, that starts as follows:
I've dealt with this
already, so I only remark, again, that "grasped" also is a strange
term: Both "accepts" and "grasped" suggest the writers do not look upon
those they polled as full citizens - or so it seems to me. Even if I am
mistaken, this is not the way to write objectively: To write it
down objectively is simply to write "believes", and not "accepts" or "grasped".
Voters in Britain have
grasped that an economic recovery
is under way, but precious few are feeling the benefit, according to a
Guardian/ICM poll that shines a spotlight on the anxiety of a nation.
A majority of the public
(56%) accept that the economic recovery is real, but fewer than one in
five voters, just 18%, say their families are benefiting.
However, if the initial
findings appear to validate Ed Miliband's focus on the cost of living,
when asked what underlies their economic uncertainty, voters point the
finger at immigrants undercutting employment terms and conditions more
than anything else.
There is rather a lot more, including graphics, but I shall only quote
a few bits:
A majority (57%)
say "wages that lag behind living costs" are among the greatest worries
about their own job, or those of friends and family.
OK. That seems fair
enough, and indeed also is something those polled can judge fairly
well. Actually, it is a major shame, for it shows that in a rich nation
like Great Britain there are very many poor, all of whom pay a larger
part of their incomes in tax than do the rich, but perhaps I am
demeaning these folks by calling them "poor", though they are.
Here is some evidence for the major hold of propaganda
on the mind of Britons (as they seem to like to be called):
The salience of
immigration is reinforced by a separate question in which "curbing
immigration" comes top of varied populist policies as the "single
action politicians could take to bolster your faith in politics", with
26% picking that priority, as against 19% who prefer tax cuts and 15%
who prioritise a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Leftish
proposals for winning back trust command less support – more NHS
funding being chosen by 13% and a higher minimum wage by 12%.
There is a considerable
amount more under the last dotted link.
the world should be based on
promise, not fear
item is an article by George Monbiot on The Guardian:
He seems to have made
a major discovery about himself, or at least that is what his subtitle
For 30 years I banged on
about threats. But research shows we must to be true to ourselves – and
to the wonder in nature
I say: "research" (?!) "shows we must to be true to
ourselves" (really now?!) "– and to the" (?!) "wonder in nature". Oh
Lord! But OK, let's see.
It starts as follows:
If we had set out to
alienate and antagonise the people we've been trying to reach, we could
scarcely have done it better. This is how I feel, looking back on the
past few decades of environmental campaigning, including my own.
I say, again. The least it
did deliver for Monbiot was an annual income of pounds 74,400 (about
ten times my income); two honorary doctorates; one honorary fellowship;
and a weekly column on The Guardian, so I must conclude that personally
he did a whole lot better from his thirty years of attempting "to alienate and antagonise" people than I did, though indeed he also
was healthy, and I was not.
And no, I do not envy him
or his income: I merely noticed that, as indeed for nearly all of the
left and the environmentalists who got something like a name, this does
work for them, personally, and apart from any possible
misgivings they may have or pretend to have.
Then the research. I saw on
Wikipedia that he has a degree in zoology. I have degrees in psychology
and philosophy, and as I said last week, when I also discussed a column
of Monbiot's prose, I certainly do not take the research (in my field)
as serious as does Monbiot.
But here is what he says he
I've been engaged in
contradiction and futility. For about 30 years. The threats, of course,
are of a different nature: climate breakdown, mass extinction,
pollution and the rest. And they are real. But there's no obvious
reason why the results should be different. Terrify the living
daylights out of people, and they will protect themselves at the expense of others and of the living
I keep saying "I
say", but what else can I say? He says (and I agree) that he dealt with
"climate breakdown, mass
extinction, pollution and the rest. And they are real" - but he also says he should not
have represented them - for 30 years! with substantial personal
benefits! - as threats. I suppose that what he should have been saying
all those years was: 'Well, the climate is breaking down, and there is
mass extinction and incredible pollution, and millions or billions risk
being killed - but don't you worry, o my fellow Britons! You
will survive! I promise! Trust me! It's a wonder of nature!'
For that is what he
has learned - somehow: I have no idea - from "psychological research".
And what he has learned, he puts in somewhat more detail as follows:
None of this is to
suggest that we should not discuss the threats or pretend that the
crises faced by this magnificent planet are not happening. Or that we
should cease to employ rigorous research and statistics. What it means
is that we should embed both the awareness of these threats and their
scientific description in a different framework: one that emphasises
the joy and awe to be found in the marvels at risk; one that proposes a
better world (...)
I am sorry. What he
is doing is merely restyling the wrapper, so that the real
threats will not look like real threats, and can be replaced by
THE article the propaganda/"public
relations" departments specialize in: Promises, promises, promises.
O lord - but sure: ordinary people
like it better not to hear a word of criticism.
powers modernising arsenals, says study
item is an article by Richard Norton-Taylor on The Guardian:
This starts as
follows - and indeed this is serious:
All five legally
recognised nuclear-weapons states – China, France, Russia, Britain and
the US – are deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have
announced programmes to do so, according to an authoritative study.
India and Pakistan are
also developing new systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons
and are expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for
military purposes. And there is an emerging consensus in the expert
community that North Korea has produced a small number of nuclear
weapons, as distinct from rudimentary nuclear explosive devices.
These are the conclusions of
the latest annual survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute (Sipri), which says nine states – the US, Russia, the UK,
France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – possess a
total of approximately 4,000 operational nuclear weapons.
I am not quite sure
about the status or relevance of "legally recognised", but that is a
minor problem. Here is the reason why this is serious:
"Once again this year,
the nuclear weapon-possessing states took little action to indicate a
genuine willingness to work toward complete dismantlement of their
nuclear arsenals. The long-term modernisation programmes under way in
these states suggest their views that nuclear weapons will remain
deeply embedded elements of their strategic calculus," said the Sipri
researchers, Shannon Kile and Phillip Patton Schell.
Yes, indeed. In case this
does not worry you (and provided you like to know the truth rather than
sing songs full of praise for chances to learn about the wonders of
physics and nature, on the Monbiot line), you might
take a peep at Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, which was in fact
made when there were far fewer nuclear missiles, and the fear about
them was larger.
And for those who do not
worry, here is Bertrand Russell's ”History of the World (for use in
Martian schools)" from 1960:
Since Adam and Eve
at the apple,
man has never refrained from any folly,
Of which he was capable.
Destructive Presidencies in U.S. History: George W. Bush and Barack H.
item is an article by Charles Hugh Smith on Washington's Blog:
This starts as
follows - and I am sorry that Charles Hugh Smith has the habit of
writing the first sentences of his short paragraphs in bold: I merely
Powers once granted are almost
impossible to take back.
After 13.5 years, there is more
than enough evidence for reasonable people to conclude that the
presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are easily the most
destructive in U.S. history.
When historians speak of failed
presidencies or weak presidencies, they are typically referring to
presidencies characterized by uneven leadership, petty corruption by
self-serving cronies or in extreme cases such as the Nixon presidency,
abuses of executive power.
But weak or failed presidencies
are not destructive to the rule of law and the foundations of the
nation. The failed president leaves office and the basic
structure of the nation continues: the rule of law, the balance of
powers and a free-market economy.
A destructive president weakens
or corrupts these core structures in favor of executive-branch powers,
and passes these unconstitutional powers to the next executive for
The Bush and Obama presidencies
have effectively dismantled the rule of law and the Constitution by
invoking essentially unlimited executive powers in the name of
“national security:” we the citizens of the U.S. can now be accused of
violating secret laws, be indicted in secret, tried in secret and
sentenced to life in prison based on evidence fabricated in secret,
i.e. declaring unclassified documents classified after the fact to
incriminate and imprison whistleblowers.
How is this any different from
totalitarian fascist regimes?
Well... let's see.
Here are some points:
- First, it should
be emphasized that the extensions of the power of the executives has
been motivated by 9/11/2001 and has been legitimated, in part at least, by the - quite
conservative - US Supreme Court.
I consider all of that mistaken (and if 9/11 was a false flag
operation: deeply criminal) but this should at least have been
- Actually, I do not
know for sure about "most destructive": I agree both Bush and Obama
were bad presidents (for the people: they were very good to the rich),
but I do not, myself, know enough about all other U.S. presidents - and
my guess is most do not know more than I do.
- As to "How is
this any different from totalitarian fascist regimes?":
1. It is not - yet, at least - totalitarian:
Criticism is still possible, and is not forbidden, even though it is
true not much criticism reaches the dominant media, and indeed all
critics must count with being tracked,
traced and surveilled these days, all in secret, by the NSA or one of
the other secret Five Eyes.
2. As to "fascism": This much depends on (i) the definition
of "fascism" one presumes, (ii) on the topics one addresses and
on the audience one addresses.
I think myself that the species of authoritarianism Bush and Obama
furthered may indeed be a preparation of - an American kind of -
fascism, in case this is defined as follows (see: "Crisis: Hypotheses about the causes of the crisis"):
principle, corporate fascism
- defined as: the state is de facto
owned and run by and for the
major international corporations, that are
and beyond state or judicial control [Note 1] -
combination with the surveillance
state - defined as: the state's
surveillance and recording
of the activities, interests, concerns, ideas,
values, of its
- means effective absolute power for small
plus their executives, and effective slavery for the
But there are other definitions of
"fascism" which make the term a lot less applicable, and also it
depends - currently - much on the topics one discusses: yes, in case it
is about de facto control of the government by the big corporations,
and yes, in case it is about surveillance of everybody, but no in other
case, such as freedom of expression.
Besides, most audiences do not like to hear about "fascism" and
certainly do not like to be called "fascists" or likened to them.
Anyway... there is
rather a lot more (with almost all beginnings of paragraphs bolded),
but for me it is mostly a bit too sensationalistic, too much dependent
on unstated definitions, and too journalistic, although I vaguely
agree (more than not, though not with bolding most of one's initial
sentences of paragraphs).
5. requiem for evidence based medicine…
The last item is again about medicine, and is here mostly because I
have been thinking (occasionally, to be sure) about "evidence based
medicine" since I first heard the term, simply because it sounds
like a thorough fraud, that also hides most things that
are very relevant (such as the almost total lack of deep understanding
of mathematical statistics or philosophy of science among medical
So this is less about the crisis than about a basic unclarity
in the practice of medicine, and it is here mostly because I am ill
since 1.1.1979 but cannot get that accepted since the start of
"evidence based medicine".
The article is by 1 boring old man, on his site:
To start with, if X is
any real science, such as physics, to say or write "evidence
based X" is a complete tautology with a marked
propagandistic sound: it is as if prior to X being styled as "evidence based X", no practitioner of
X was basing his science on evidence, which is just utter bullshit.
The supposed scientists may have been mistaken - indeed most
of science will eventually be seen as mistaken or as quite partial and
incomplete, in time - but the marks of science are that it is
based on evidence,
rather than on fashions,
mere opinions, or wishful
thinking, and so to insist that science X is "evidence based" strongly
rather than science.
Here is an initial quoted paragraph of propounders of "evidence based
medicine", from a recent article in the BMJ:
It is more than 20
years since the evidence based medicine working group announced a “new
paradigm” for teaching and practising clinical medicine. Tradition,
anecdote, and theoretical reasoning from basic sciences would be
replaced by evidence from high quality randomised controlled trials and
observational studies, in combination with clinical expertise and the
needs and wishes of patients.
If that is what
it is, it was propagandistic
from the start: almost thirty years before that, I was working for
Excerpta Medica, and surely the extremely many medical
journals I had to deal with all presented medicine as involving evidence as the
crucial criterion to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Here are some other pointers:
"new paradigm": From Kuhn, and utterly confused
grandiose nonsense (Masterman distinguished 28 meanings of the
term in Kuhn's writings alone!); "clinical medicine": a very vague
anecdote, and theoretical reasoning" were not the basis of any real
science since the 19th Century; there were no "high quality randomised controlled trials": at best there were "randomised controlled trials" with very
few participants, and also based on a fundamental statistical
confusion (see: DSM-5: Why
the DSM-5 is TOTALLY DEAD (yes, it IS - but alas this is real and fundamental
statistics, which seems much too difficult for most medical people); a
phrase like "clinical expertise" is itself exaggerated (in the end it means
no more than: a doctor in a clinic thought...); and "the needs and wishes of patients" were, in so far as I could see (and
I saw a lot) systematically ignored, denied, disregarded or
falsified, and especially if the "patients" had any criticism or
And here is 1 boring old man (in fact, a mostly pensioned psychiatrist
with a good mind):
Some reasons I
don’t like Evidence·Based·Medicine are:
1. The idea generalizes a small, short-term
experiment on carefully selected subjects as a paradigm for large,
heterogeneous group who may take the medication for years [as if such a
transformation is scientifically justified - which it rarely is].
2. It is built on the
phantasy that is similar to the notion that building a model airplane
that flies is the last step before going into production for jumbo jets.
3. It opens a portal for
companies with only conflicts of interest to easily insert
their products into mainstream medicine effortlessly
4. following from number
2., it virtually guarantees corruption [as has been shown repeatedly in
a variety of venues].
5. While one motive of Evidence·Based·Medicine
is to discourage sloppy "shooting from the hip," it replaces that with
an even more dangerous sloppy dependence on rote and thoughtless
6. It has been regularly used to withhold
services and treatment, denigrate anything subjective in medicine, and
justify practices that are supported by trivial statistics rather than
7. It discourages the time
honored method of evaluating medications by their performance in wide
8. The people setting the
guidelines have been not only often compromised, but also largely
9. It was itself an
idealistic and naive experiment that failed its own clinical trial.
Also, the first point is rather close to the falsification of
statistics that was found by Peter Molenaar, a professor of statistics,
and that may be summarized thus:
nearly all - of the data on which psychiatry and pharmacology
and psychology have been based do NOT allow the interpretaton
psychiatrists, pharmacologists or psychologists have given to them:
The data have been assumed
to be ergodic, but they are NOT
You just cannot
validly generalize about persons
as has been done in psychology, psychiatry and pharmacology.
Whereas conventional statistics confuses the intra-individual
differences with the inter-individual differences, that simply
is based on a fundamental falsehood - you cannot pool diverse
outcomes of diverse persons and then pretend the overall outcome
applies to any one person: it does not and it misrepresents
Yet this is precisely what "the statistics" of medical,
psychological and pharmaceutical applications have assumed and
still do assume: That their averages do represent real persons, while
they do not.
But OK - I take it this will need another generation or two to arrive
in medical land. Statistics - real, rather than cookbook statistics, as
are used in nearly all "medical experiments" is difficult, as is real
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
(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: