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Nederlog


  June
30, 2014
Crisis: Japan, Clinton, Spying, Poor People, NSA, Medical "Science"
   "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
Sections
Introduction

1. Japan PM to overturn pacifist defence policy
2. Hillary’s Hardest Choice (and the Democrat’s Dilemma)
3. Stand Against Spying
4. Why Do We Hate the Poor?
5. Top NSA Officials: U.S. Has Turned Into Stasi Germany or
     Soviet Union

6. We are the Ninety Nine Percent

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of June 30. It is an ordinary crisis log.

There are five crisis items, plus a sixth on the ongoing corruption of medicine (that has been taken over by Big Pharma, even as regards the publication of adverse events following the taking of drugs Big Pharma supports).

1. Japan PM to overturn pacifist defence policy

The first item is an article by Justin McCurry on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is to defy public opinion and announce a dramatic shift in the country's defence policy that would make it easier for its troops to fight in overseas conflicts.

Abe's cabinet is expected to adopt a resolution on Tuesday that would end Japan's long-standing ban on exercising collective self-defence, or coming to the aid of an ally under attack even if Japan itself is not threatened.

Japan's postwar constitution prohibits the use of force to settle international disputes – a restriction Abe and his supporters say inhibits the country's ability to protect itself and its allies, despite growing fears over North Korea's nuclear programme and China's aggressive territorial claims in the region.

A poll published on Monday found that half of voters oppose Abe's reinterpretation of the pacifist constitution, which has prevented Japanese forces from fighting overseas since the end of the second world war. The Nikkei business newspaper found that 50% of voters were against overturning the ban on collective self-defence, while 34% supported the change.

I first should say that I tend to have much less information in Nederlog about  countries that have languages that I do not speak at all, and Japan, China and Russia are prominent on that list.

This is also pretty conscious with me, and is related to the fact that I simply cannot follow any of the ordinary press in these countries: everything that I can know has to be translated first, and in fact very little does get translated. (O, and no: Google translate still is much too bad to work decently, and besides I like to avoid Google as much as I can. And yes, I can read most of the European languages: I read Dutch, English, German, French, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish all quite easily.)

But I will comment on important decisions, at least if these fit in with my subject (which is usually the crisis), and this is such a decision:

I think it is thoroughly bad, as it will make it a lot easier for the Japanese to make war on other nations, and I also think it is thoroughly stupid, although indeed this was to be expected, once the Abe-government was in place (in so far as I have followed that, which is a little, but not much, again because I cannot read Japanese at all).

Finally, why it is thoroughly stupid: Mostly because their main neighbor is China, which is a much bigger and therefore much stronger country: Until now, the Japanese were taken to be peaceful; from now on they will not be taken to be peaceful anymore, which simply is a very stupid gamble while one has such a very large, very strong neighbor, that also is not very friendly. (Please note that I am not speaking of who is right: I am speaking about who is stronger, and therefore very probably will win a war.)

2. Hillary’s Hardest Choice (and the Democrat’s Dilemma)

The next item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:

Let me first state that I do not favor Hillary Clinton, basically because I expect her to be another Barack Obama: More or less liberal or progressive talk, that only serves to mask the many anti-liberal, anti-progressive, pro-rich decisions.

And this is not to deny that she probably will be better than her eventual Republican opponent, but it is to say that the choice - if that is what the case will  be - will be a choice between the awful and the bad, and that in any case the rich will profit, though perhaps slightly less under a Democratic president.

It seems Robert Reich thinks a bit differently, which also is the probable reason he selected his subject, for he opens as follows:

What’s the reason for the tempest in the teapot of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s personal finances?

Reich pretends (or maybe: assumes) that this "tempest in the teapot" is somehow rational, which it definitely is not, and discounts attacks on the Clinton's wealth (more than a 100 million dollars, currently, which Reich doesn't mention) and on Hillary Clinton's veracity.

Since I do not think the US media are rational, I am doubtful, but I will pass this, because I agree with where Reich arrives (though not with his arguments):

Then what’s it about?  

The story behind story is that America is in an era of sharply rising inequality, with a few at the top doing fabulously well but most Americans on a downward economic escalator.

I do think that was part of the reason Hillary Clinton was asked about her riches. Also, I agree with Reich on this:

These days, voters want to know which side candidates are on because they believe the game is rigged against them.

According to new Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans now think economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent think too much power is concentrated in too few companies. Even 69 percent of young conservative-leaning voters agree the system favors the powerful.

I even agree with him on the thesis that this will be the real subject of the coming presidential elections, which may be whittled down to one issue: Are you for the powerful rich who ruined the economy, and who keep profiting, or are you for a capitalist US where there is a sizable and well off middle class - which means taxing the rich much more than they are now?

But I do not think Hillary Clinton should run for president, and my main reason is that both she and her husband are clearly and evidently supporters of the powerful and the rich, and they talk very differently to the public from how they decide in the privacy of the oval room (in which Bill signed away the forty years of protection against financial abuse by the big banks, which prepared the way for the crisis we live in).

Finally: this is quite different with persons like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, although indeed I agree that it is more doubtful they may win the elections. But at least they are credible candidates - if indeed they want to be, which I do not know.

3. Stand Against Spying 

The next item is an article by Anonymous on Stand Against Spying:

I owe this reference to an article on Common Dreams. The Stand Against Spying organization consist of many groups, and says about themselves:

We are a coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum joining forces to fight mass surveillance by the National Security Agency.

We have different missions, different goals, different communities that we represent. However, we all agree that mass surveillance is contrary to freedom and democracy. It must be stopped.

Surveillance that sweeps up the communications of millions of people violates the US Constitution and international law. And collecting records of our communications--whether telephone or Internet communications--paints an intimate portrait of our lives. These types of surveillance trample privacy and chill freedom of speech.

We stand for civil liberties and government transparency, and we're committed to ending mass spying.

I agree. They also say:

We believe that democracy and freedom thrive when Constitutional values and human rights are upheld. We believe all people, regardless of nationality, have a basic right to privacy and freedom of association.

While governments can and do engage in surveillance of specific targets, technological advances have enabled the mass surveillance of everyone using communications technology. But just because it is technically possible does not mean it should be done. Strong laws and policies must put clear limits on the NSA’s surveillance powers to bring it into alignment with both the US Constitution and international law.

We are calling on the United States government to:

  • Pass strong legislative reform to outlaw mass surveillance, including phone record surveillance and Internet surveillance. This must include a recognition of the privacy rights of non-US citizens.

  • Reform the FISA court, the secret court that signs off on the NSA’s secret surveillance. FISA court reform includes transparency into any significant or new legal interpretations made by court and ensuring a well-resourced public advocate is in place to argue for privacy rights within the court and seek further review.

  • Prohibit the NSA from undermining international encryption technologies and standards and hacking into technology companies.

  • Promote transparency, publish transparency reports, and also give companies rights to publish granular accounts about how companies cooperate with bulk surveillance efforts and the number of user accounts that are affected.

Again, I agree. Since I am not an American and am ill, all I can do is list it here, and hope something good will come from the organization.

4. Why Do We Hate the Poor?

The next item is an article by Kim Redigan on Common Dreams:

First a grammatical point: I like the article, and I am poor, and have been so poor all my life that I never even earned a minimum income in any year of my life. (I am ill since 36 years.) But I do not hate myself nor do I hate or discriminate poor people, and I dislike the term "we" in contexts like this, mostly because I also am an M.A. in psychology and a B.A. in philosophy, which taught me a lot about logic, and this choice of terms seems the wrong way of generalizing.

But here are the beginning of this article, which I do like, that is, apart from my grammatical remark:
Today, families in Detroit, living under an emergency manager imposed by a governor committed to privatizing every inch of the state, are having their water shut off.  A few days ago, the United Nations, at the behest of local activists, issued a statement on the shutoffs.

This is what it’s come to  –  appealing to an international body to uphold the basic human right to water.

And this is the end:

Today, those with money gather before fountains that splay bursts of blue water against the skyline of a city that is turning off the water of its citizens. When asked about the shutoffs, they stir their iced drinks and use words like “responsibility” and “laziness” and recite racist tropes about Bridge cards and steaks.

Their words are parroted by those hanging on to their own jobs, homes, and water by a tenuous thread.  By those who deny their own precariousness by projecting hatred onto those who languish only a deck below on this sinking ship.

Today, we’ve reached the point where a child with an empty cup is an object of contempt.

Why do we hate the poor? 

Perhaps we hate the poor because they are the prophets of a future that awaits us all. A future of water shutoffs for the many and splaying fountains for the few.
No, "we" do not hate the poor for that reason. The reason "we" hate the poor consists of two parts: (1) "we" - who hate the poor, even though "we" ourselves have no degrees, and are hardly richer than the poor, for the most part - are often quite stupid, often quite immoral, and therefore often quite unfair, both to those worse of than "ourselves" (whom "we" despise and discriminate) and to those better of than "ourselves" (whom "we" flatter, envy and look up to), and "we" are quite unfair because (2) "we" - who hate the poor, even though "we" ourselves have no degrees, and are hardly richer than the poor, for the most part - have swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the sickening propaganda of the rich, mostly because "we" want what the rich have, and "we" submit because "we" believe the lies that "we" all can get rich (even though that is logically impossible, and very few of "our" kind will ever get to be much better).

I think that is the explanation:

In part it is due to propaganda/"public relations", which is massive and enormous and is absolutely everywhere [2], and in part is due to the fact that this
propaganda mostly succeeded, which it did because at least half of the people it is addressed to have IQs of 100 or lower, and are not only stupid but have been propagandized into thinking and behaving as immoral and egoistic twerps.

5. Top NSA Officials: U.S. Has Turned Into Stasi Germany or Soviet Union

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as follows (coloring and links in the original):

What the Heck Happened to America?

Senior NSA executive Thomas Drake is an expert on spying in Stasi Germany … having studied it for years.

Drake told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has adopted the Stasi model:

“Collect it all, know it all” [the NSA's model] is actually the Stasi model. It’s not just know everything; we have to be able to keep everything that we want to know, even if we don’t know it yet.

It’s a collect it all first mentality … and then we’ll get to know it all. I call it “feeding the beast”.

I keep shuddering because I’m intimately familiar with the East German surveillance state mentality.

Quite so - and "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" as Lord Acton said, and now the NSA collects all and knows all.

There also is this:

Senior NSA official Bill Binney – the senior technical director within the agency who headed NSA’s global digital data gathering program and managed thousands of NSA employees – is an expert on Soviet spying.

Binney spent decades studying – and trying to counter – the repressive Soviet program of mass surveillance.

Binney says that – after 9/11 – America implemented the same type of system used by the Soviets and other authoritarian regimes:

You’ve got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens – that’s what the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did.

And it ends like this:

Under Obama, whistleblowers and dissidents are treated as ruthlessly as in the Soviet Union.

When bad government policy leads to bad results, the U.S. government does what the Soviets did:  manipulate the data.

The Soviets had Pravda … similarly, propaganda is now being used within the U.S.  The U.S. government pumps out massive amounts of propaganda through the mainstream and “gatekeeper” alternative media, movies, video games, and other venues.

And the American economy has gone from capitalism to socialism … at least for the fatcats.

What the heck happened to American ideals?

Answer: The ideals have been thrown out of the window and have been replaced by propaganda, from and for the rich and the powerful, who have mostly succeeded in convincing the lower half of the intelligence spectrum of the utter impossibility that they too can be rich, namely by adopting the talking points and attitudes of the rich.

I do not think that is all of the answer, but it certainly is a considerable part of the answer - and indeed there is an enormous amount of
propaganda [2], that almost nobody seems to see, and almost nobody protests against, but that has
thoroughly poisoned, falsified and upset nearly all good will, benevolence, solidarity and personal decency, and which succeeded simply by repeating and repeating the stupid lie that everyone is a consumer out on his own, for his own private benefit, and needs not waste any feeling or money on the poor.

6. We are the Ninety Nine Percent

The final item is an article by Dr. David Healy on his site, and is a follow up to a series of four articles, some of which have been referred to in Nederlog, mostly because I know a fair amount about modern medicine (which I no longer can take serious) while David Healy knows a whole lot about it, and it has definitely gone wrong, and also has been going wrong for at least 35 years now:
This is - one of - Dr. Healy's reflection(s) on his RxISK project, that seeks to find real and realistic information from both doctors and patients about the risks that are associated with taking medical drugs (which tend to be denied by the pharmaceutical companies, for utterly false reasons).

I like the idea, but it is also true that I am a psychologist and a philosopher who has now for 36 years tried to find help because I am genuinely ill, but could not find it since 1993 - apart from some rare and good GPs - because the bureaucrats in my country rather follow the psychiatrists, who say M.E. is a form of insanity ("mental disorder"), all without any real evidence, but which indeed is a whole lot cheaper for the state, that tends to be very willing to not help genuinely ill people, simply to have more money for other ends, such as increasing the incomes or pensions of top bureaucrats, whose interests are very close to the hearts of Dutch politicians, rather than the real disease that real doctors and the World Health Organization insist M.E. is, for they identify my disease as both serious and dangerous, and are quite right. [3]

You can estimate how good I think medicine is in my country, when you realize that I have now for 35 years protested against my maltreatment, in many very well written and very informed letters and mails, and hardly ever got as much as a reply - and yes, I also have had several good GPs, to whom I owe a lot, but they too are seriously limited in what they can do, given that the bureaucrats + psychiatrists sold out to the rich and powerful, which is in Holland the state and the politicians.

---------------------------------

Note
[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] Very probably most of my readers do not properly see that elephant in their rooms, but every advertisement is an act of propaganda that consists of willful lies and deceptions, and advertisements are everywhere: in the streets, in the papers, and on the media, and it is quite likely that the less intelligent read more advertisement propaganda than anything else. And here I have not even mentioned that most of the news, both in the media and in the written press, also consists of selective propaganda, that is presented so as to convince, and generally also consists of lies, deceptions, ommissions, and/or warped facts.

[3] The only "argument" psychiatrists have is that M.E. is not understood medically, that is: while it is agreed there are lots of things medically wrong with genuine patients, there is no good explanation for it. After that, the psychiatrists move in, who - quite literally! - assure everyone that (1) "psychiatry can explain what is medically not explained" (?!?!), namely by (2) "everyone who has a disease that is not medically explained, in fact has a mental disorder" (?!?!). The quotes are literal, and it should also be said that this completely stops the growth of medicine (fixing it at its present level of ignorance) while it gives psychiatrists enormous powers, that they consistently abuse.


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



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