24, 2014
Crisis: Drones, Propaganda, Rich Senators, Blair, Internet, Healy
   "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. US Forced to Release Memo on Extrajudicial Drone Killing
     of US Citizen

2. Government reveals scale of online fight against jihadist

3. Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich: Why Are Clinton and
     Biden Playing Down Their Wealth?

4. Tony Blair should be sacked as Middle East envoy, say
     former ambassadors

5. Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet)
6. Sense about Science: Follow the Patient

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of June 24. It is an ordinary crisis log.

Well... most of it is, but the last item is about medicine. Otherwise, it is ordinary.

1.  US Forced to Release Memo on Extrajudicial Drone Killing of US Citizen

The first item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The U.S. government on Monday partially released the formerly-classified Department of Justice "drone memo," dated 2010, in which Obama administration lawyers argue they have the right to extra-judicially kill U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen.

Anwar Al Aulaqi, who had been placed on a "kill list," died by U.S. drone strikes in September 2011, along with Samir Khan, as well as three other people. Just weeks later, another U.S. drone attack on a restaurant in Yemen killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi's son Abdulrahman, also a U.S. citizen, and six other civilians.

In the memo, which is addressed to attorney general Eric Holder, David Barron—then head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel—argues that the targeted killing is legal “where, as here, the target's activities pose a ‘continued and imminent threat of violence or death' to U.S. persons, ‘the highest officers in the Intelligence Community have reviewed the factual basis’ for the lethal operation, and a capture operation would be infeasible.”

I say - and there went your right on being convicted only by a real court and a real judge in a public trial, if you are a US citizen: Some highranking bureaucrats think you (and your 16 year old son) ought to be dead - and so they have you, yourn son, and others murdered by a drone, because they say "a capture operation would be infeasible" (or maybe too expensive, or God knows what else).

This is just utterly despicable - and I haven't even spoken of "
imminent threat" or "the factual basis": It simply is what I said it is: Some highranking bureaucrats think you (and your 16 year old son) ought to be dead - and so they have you and others murdered by a drone, rather as they also hoover up billions of private mails: it can be done, so it is done, and that is power.

Murder now also has been deregulated in the US: High up governmental bureaucrats can take the law in their own hands, and may order that people they disagree with - possibly for good reasons - get murdered.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link.

2. Government reveals scale of online fight against jihadist propaganda 

The next item is an article by Patrick Wintour on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

As many as 15,000 items of "jihadist propaganda" have been taken down from the internet due to government pressure since December 2013, Downing Street said on Monday.

David Cameron said the "extremist poisonous narrative" leading people to fight in Syria could end up with "people dead on our own streets".

His official spokeswoman revealed that the British government was pressing YouTube to take down a video posted three days ago by a Cardiff-born man now in Syria calling for fellow British Muslims to join the war in Syria.

She said the video should not be hosted by YouTube. Parts of the video have also been hosted by a number of news websites including Mail Online and the Telegraph.

I say, again: The government decides which propaganda is - David Cameron's - and which propaganda is not fit for consumption by ordinary people (those who criticize David Cameron).

Here is a bit of David Cameron's propaganda:

"That's why my counter-extremism taskforce is about driving out the extremist, poisonous narrative and getting it out of our schools, getting it out of our universities, getting it out of our campuses, getting it out of our prisons, confronting it wherever it appears, because we know the end part of this extremist narrative can mean people dead on our own streets."

Note that all of this gets justified by Cameron's own propaganda claim that this "can mean people dead on our own streets": So what? Does it mean this? Not yet, in any case.

I do not doubt that I completely disagree with the Muslim propaganda, but why are they forbidden to do it? Why this amount of prime ministerial hysteria? Well... he wants more control, more power, more GCHQ, and he is willing to smear anyone, especially - it seems - if Muslim.

My parents were sincere communists in the 1950ies and 1960ies and 1970ies, but they never were regaled by any of their prime ministers to the above dosage of hysteria, and indeed in the end my father got knighted, although he was one of only two communists who were, even though the communists were very strong in the resistance to the Nazis, and were so right from the start.

But my father was never told by a prime minister that his manner of thinking was an "extremist, poisonous narrative" which was worthy of "getting it out of our schools, getting it out of our universities, getting it out of our campuses, getting it out of our prisons".

3. Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich: Why Are Clinton and Biden Playing Down Their Wealth?

The next item is an article by Joan Walsh on AlterNet (originally on Salon):

I am only concerned with only one bit of this:

To be fair, Joe Biden is close to telling the truth: As BuzzFeed notes, he was the “poorest” senator when he joined the Obama ticket in 2008, and he lists assets valued at between $276,000 and $940,000, including a rental property. By contrast, President Obama’s assets were listed as valued between $2 million and $7 million. Clinton’s personal wealth is reported to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

But in a country where the U.S. Census Bureau says median net worth (including home value) is only $68,000, even Biden is a wealthy man.

The reason I am concerned is that it seems most senators are millionaires, which means that they are less likely to take the problems of the poor seriously. This is also why they will tend to pretend they are not rich: most of those electing them have very much less to spend than a senator has.

But OK - this is true for most senators, it seems, and is independent of their politics.

4. Tony Blair should be sacked as Middle East envoy, say former ambassadors

The next item is an article by Nicholas Watt on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

A group of former British ambassadors have joined a campaign calling for Tony Blair to be removed from his role as Middle East envoy after his recent attempt to "absolve himself" of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq.

The letter, organised by the makers of George Galloway's film The Killing of Tony Blair, says the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to blame for the rise of "fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously".

The signatories, led by Blair's former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, describe the former prime minister's achievements as Middle East envoy as "negligible".

That is nice - and there are, as the rest of the article shows, quite a lot of signatures, by prominent people also.

There also is "a spokesperson for Tony Blair":

A spokesperson for Blair dismissed the letter on the grounds that it had been drawn up by an "alliance of hard-right and hard-left" whose members are "viscerally opposed" to the former prime minister.

Of course. But why should one not be "viscerally opposed" to someone who looks like a lying cheat and behaved like a lying cheat and who helped kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people with lies?

5. Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet)

The next item is an article by Deji Bryce Olukotun on AlterNet:

I select three bits from this. First - and this is from the review of a book by Mica Sufry - there is this:

But what about the fundamental structures that affect your well being, such as improving your work-life balance, bettering your child’s school, or choosing a more effective elected representative? Would you still say yes?

In Micah Sifry’s new book, The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet), the answer is a resounding no. The internet has not empowered you to make decisions about own your life, and it may have made it worse by filling our minds with gobbledygook:

“The Internet has made it easier to find the others, but it is also making it harder to bind with each other with common focus. We collectively send out far more noise than signal, and we listen far less than we talk. We may not like to admit it, but our digital tools are shaping us far more than we are using them to reshape the world.”

I tend to agree with this. I like the internet - lots of information, and I can make my sites which have been read by millions, literally - but I also know that (1) it merely is a lot of computers that are connected (when on line) (2) the people using the computers have not grown more intelligent using them, though they may have learned some they would not have learned otherwise, and also (3) by far the most that I see "from my fellow human beings" is totally anonymised: I very rarely know the gender, the age, the education, the degrees or indeed anything else about those whose - usually thoroughly uninteresting, quite often quite offensive - prose I wrestle through, which is also quite different from any other meeting with people I do: I know their names and their approximate ages and I can ask about their education, for example, and (4) I find that, in my case at least, this makes them seem far less serious or noteworthy: if you keep everything secret about yourself, except for "your ideas", chances are that you are a nobody, who never did or thought or wrote anything interesting, and indeed that is what I found, and also why I only very rarely read comments of any kind: I know much better much more interesting writers, and they are for a good part in my bookcases.

Then there is this:

Meanwhile, no one reads those automated emails you send, as Sifry notes: “Most members of Congress and their staffs say they ignore emails or other social media messages from non-constituents, and pay little attention to all electronic communications they receive, whether from constituents or not. Letters, phone calls, and office visits matter much more.”

Right - which is what I suspected, and why I only wrote 3 emails, in 18 years of being on line, to convince people I did not know and were not of my country (all about M.E. and indeed none was answered in any way).

This review ends like this:

The truly frightening message in this book is that the promise of the internet to expand the pie and enable more people to significantly improve their lives has not yet been fulfilled. Rather, at its worst the internet is just one more tool you have to use in order to avoid being left behind and made redundant. While some start-ups have rushed ahead, and coders have received the respect that they probably deserved, fundamental power dynamics have not changed. The Big Disconnect is a sobering critique of activism and change in the digital age, and reminds us that having unbridled faith in technology to resolve our greatest challenges is dangerous indeed.

But why is that "truly frightening"? I see no reason whatsoever. All I see is that I can both get and handle more information with my computer, which I use daily for 27 years now.

6. Sense about Science: Follow the Patient

The next and last item is an article by David Healy on his site:

This is about medicine, drugs, and corruption, and is the fourth paper in a series of four. Dr. David Healy (<- Wikipedia) is one of the few psychiatrists and medical doctors I can take seriously: most psychiatrists and many real medical doctors seem to have sold out to where the big money is, which are the pharmaceutical corporations, that also tend to be quite willing to buy them.

Here are three consecutive paragraphs from the beginning, followed by my comments:

In addition to labeling “critics” as anti-vaccinationists or Andrew Wakefield clones, another criticism aired recently is that “critics” are anti-capitalism.  In a recent Send in the Clowns Act, typical of the genre, Dave Nutt, Guy Goodwin and Dinesh Bhugra attempting to rally psychiatrists behind the pharmaceutical industry flung this jibe at Peter Gotzsche who has done more for real data access than anyone else linked to AllTrials.

The irony is the pharmaceutical market is far from the free market as envisaged by Adam Smith or the Chicago School.  This is the least free market on earth.  Pharma’s control of information is even greater than was the control of information in totalitarian states like Stalin’s Russia.  Corporations have traditionally seen the market as something to control rather than abide by. Pharma is Living Marxism’s dream – complete control.  (Determining paternity can be difficult but Living Marxism appears to be one of the progenitors of Sense about Science).

Second like Athenian or early American democracy, this “democracy” has apparent citizen voters and non-voting slaves. In this “democracy”, doctors are the citizens (for now) and patients, usually called consumers although more accurately seen as helots, are the slaves with no say in their own condition and only able to access the goods through their owner (doctor).

First paragraph: I like what I have read from Peter Gotzsche, and I am neither a psychiatrist nor a medical man (but I am a psychologist, who doesn't take most psychiatrists seriously: I think most of them are frauds). I read the Send in the Clowns Act, which is ugly propaganda - but I do not understand the "anti-capitalism" criticism: What's wrong with being anti-capitalistic?! [2] It also is completely irrelevant, for I really do not see what this has to do with medicine or psychiatry, indeed.

Second paragraph: Yes indeed: "Corporations have traditionally seen the market as something to control rather than abide by." That is capitalism: screaming for "liberty", "freedom", and "free markets" because you want to control them yourself, instead of having them controlled by rules and regulations that try to be fair to all. Also, David Healy is right about "Sense about Science": The founders of that also were among the founders of Living Marxism, at least according to my information, from 2010. (I do not say, nor did Healy say, that they are still marxists, or indeed ever were real marxists: most marxists I have met were pseudos.)

Third paragraph: Indeed. That is a fair description of how I see myself as "a patient": I am in the position of a helot, who has 5 or 10 minutes to make his point with his medical masters, who seem to control everything, though they as a rule seem comtrolled by Big Pharma, that they help selling pills, although they almost never clarify anything (always with a few counter-examples: I have had several good doctors, but that took a lot of trouble).

Anyway - I don't think most of my readers without medical backgrounds will take medicine seriously until they find they depend on it, but I have been badly hurt by medicine, simply because it has for 36 years either misdiagnosed me or refused to take my complaints seriously, and no medical man or woman ever took the trouble, in 36 years, to see how I lived, but most pretended to "know" things I know they did not, and not at all.

[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] I do not mean to say all or most anti-capitalism is right, but the same holds for most pro-capitalism: It is nearly all ideology or propaganda, both pro and anti.

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)

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