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Nederlog


  August
8, 2014
Crisis: Snowden, Chomsky, Spying, 1 Percenters, On me and M.E.
  "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.
 Edward Snowden given permission to stay in Russia for
     three more years

2. "A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel’s Assault
     on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation

3. Leaked Files: German Spy Company Helped Bahrain Hack
     Arab Spring Protesters 

4. 1 Percent ‘Literally Rich Beyond Measure’
5. On me and M.E.
: supplements, boxes, Prozac

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Friday, August 8. It is a crisis log.

There is an earlier Nederlog of today, which continues my autobiography, in Dutch.

The present file has four crisis items of various kinds, and ends with a somewhat longer personal note on my M.E. and the drugs I have taken to help me against this.
 
1.  Edward Snowden given permission to stay in Russia for three more years

The first item is an article by Alec Luhn and Mark Tran on The Guardian:

This starts as follows, and is good news according to me:

Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower, has been given permission to stay in Russia for three more years and will be allowed to travel abroad for three-month stints. His Russian lawyer told reporters that Snowden, whose temporary asylum ran out on 1 August, has received a three-year residence permit.

"The decision on the application has been taken and therefore, starting 1 August 2014, Edward Snowden has received a three-year residential permit," said Anatoly Kucherena.

But the former NSA contractor has not been granted political asylum, which would have allowed him to stay in Russia permanently. However, Kucherena said Snowden would be able to extend his residency permit for a further three years when it runs out and after five years would be eligible to apply for Russian citizenship. He did not know if Snowden intended to do so.

As I said: This is good news (for me, though not the NSA). There is considerably more in the article, but I will only lift two things I did not know.

First, there is this:
The residency permit will allow Snowden to travel out of Russia for the first time, provided he does not stay outside the country for more than three months at a time, Kucherena said. The lawyer said he could not say which country Snowden might visit.
That is a bit nice, though I suppose that Snowden, even if he does take this up, should still avoid countries with strong ties to the U.S., including Europe.

And there is this about Snowden's successors, that is, other members of the NSA who turned whistleblower:
"As far as successors, not just one person, but many have appeared," Kucherena said. "Edward Snowden doesn't have anything to do with this, but the feat he accomplished inspires other young people who follow this and understand that we live in a world of total surveillance in violation of our rights."
2. "A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel’s Assault on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation  

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:

Hideous. Sadistic. Vicious. Murderous. That is how Noam Chomsky describes Israel’s 29-day offensive in Gaza that killed nearly 1,900 people and left almost 10,000 people injured. Chomsky has written extensively about the Israel/Palestine conflict for decades. After Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Chomsky co-authored the book "Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians" with Israeli scholar Ilan Pappé. His other books on the Israel/Palestine conflict include "Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on Justice and Nationhood" and "The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians." Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.

In fact, this is the introduction to a long and interesting interview, that I leave to your perusal, except for quoting one tiny bit, because it is good and quite generally applicable:

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, as always, for all states and all political leaderships, we have to distinguish rhetoric from action. Any political leader can produce lovely rhetoric, even Hitler, Stalin, whoever you want. What we ask is: What are they doing?

Yes! You just cannot trust policians, of whatever kind: you must check whether their words and their deeds are consistent - for which you generally need a free
press (that will inform you that you cannot trust policians, and if you can, as may happen, this is mostly because they are checked by a free press).

3. Leaked Files: German Spy Company Helped Bahrain Hack Arab Spring Protesters

The next item is an article by Cora Currier and Morgan Marquis-Boire on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

A notorious surveillance technology company that helps governments around the world spy on their citizens sold software to Bahrain during that country’s brutal response to the Arab Spring movement, according to leaked internal documents posted this week on the internet.

The documents show that FinFisher, a German surveillance company, helped Bahrain install spyware on 77 computers, including those belonging to human rights lawyers and a now-jailed opposition leader, between 2010 and 2012—a period that includes Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. FinFisher’s software gives remote spies total access to compromised computers. Some of the computers that were spied on appear to have been located in the United States and United Kingdom, according to a report from Bahrain Watch.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link, but I will only quote one bit from it, that explains some:

There’s little regulation preventing companies like FinFisher from selling surveillance software to countries like Bahrain. And the secretive nature of the industry means that companies “have been allowed to operate with impunity, selling intrusive surveillance equipment to states where there is no public scrutiny of surveillance or clear laws regulating its use,” said Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International.

4. 1 Percent ‘Literally Rich Beyond Measure’

The next item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig!:

This starts as follows:
Wealth hidden by tax shelters and non-responses to questionnaires is so undercounted that “correcting for similar lapses in income data almost erases progress made from 1988 to 2008 in narrowing the gap between the world’s rich and poor,” Bloomberg contributor Jeanna Smialek reports a body of research has found.
I say - though this does not amaze me at all, for a reason that follows. First, there is also this: Smialek is quoted to the following effect:

Failure to get a better handle on the actual amount of wealth and income means economists and policy makers don’t have a proper understanding of the degree of disparity, which represents a hurdle in addressing it. For instance, knowing that earnings and assets are more concentrated could spur support for changing the tax structure, Zucman said.

“If you don’t have a good idea of what the world looks like, it’s hard to determine what the effects of policies will be,” said Carter Price, senior mathematician at the Center for Equitable Growth in Washington, which focuses on issues of economic inequality. “Looking retrospectively, it’s hard to assess what the effects of a policy were.”

The richest of America’s rich—the top 0.1 percent with at least $20 million in net wealth—held 23.5 percent of all U.S. wealth in 2012 after adding in estimates of how much was hidden in offshore tax havens, said Zucman, a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. That compares with his previous estimate of 21.5 percent.

I think the "m" in "million" ought to be a "b" (since there were 442 billionaires in the US). Also, there is this:
Smialek quotes 59-year-old Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of cleaning and personal-care products company Seventh Generation Inc. and among “the wealthiest 1 percent in the U.S.,” as saying, “The more money that you have, the easier it becomes to hide that and avoid taxes.” He adds that the very rich have wealth in foundations and companies that compound the difficulty of measuring their fortunes.

Zucman’s paper found that financial wealth held offshore costs the U.S. $36 billion in annual uncollected tax revenue. Smialek writes, “That’s enough to buy lunch for every student in New York City public schools for more than a century. Europe is losing about $75 billion.”

And Hollender formulated the reason why I am not amazed:
“The more money that you have, the easier it becomes to hide that and avoid taxes.”
Quite so. (And what about a death tax of 100% for the mega-rich? Seeing that they tend to claim it is talent that they claim made them rich?)

5.  On me and M.E.: supplements, boxes, Prozac 

This final item is about me and M.E. and has three subjects: the supplements I currently take; something I did achieve, finally, after 8 years; and a consideration of Prozac (fluoxetine). It is a bit longer than is usual, for this kind of subject.

First the supplements I currently take. I mentioned last week that I have kicked out some and experimented some, because I had occasional diarrhea, without feeling ill, which was one reason to change the supplements, and also I became aware that I may have been taking too much of the the B-vitamins, especially B1 and B2.

What I am taking now since a week is this:


metafolin: 1600 mcg:
This is the directly usable form of folate, and part of the protocol. (2 pills.)
vitamin C: 4 grams:
I think - statistics support me - this makes sense for me. (4 pills)
kalium: 800 mg:
This is part of the protocol. I do need at least 400 mg, given the rest. (4 pills)
vitamin mB12: 2000 mcg: This is again the B12 infusion, that is supposed to be the best, and I doubled the dosis. (2 pills)
vitamin aB12: 3000 mcg: Note this adenosinecobalamin. This I
use every third day. (1 pill)

magnesium: 250 mg. This is just magnesium and constitutes a daily dose. (1 pill)
vitamin E: 400 IE. This is because it has seemed to help me quite a few times the last 30 years. (1 pill)


This is the same as I noted on August 2, except that I took less magnesium. I am doing reasonably well on this, and also have no more diarrhea. So this worked out, and I will probably not bother you for a month.

Next, the boxes. This requires some explanations.

I am ill now since 1.1.1979 and have been ill all the time, although it has varied considerably. The variations were due to three reasons, which I will briefly treat.

First, the disease itself varies unaccountably: one may get more or less ill without being able to give any cogent reason. This has always been the case.

Second, the disease may get worse because one has to do too much or because one has too little sleep. This has happened quite a few times, but especially (i) from 1981-1983, because my ex and I lived next door to a madman who terrorized us, and (ii) from 1988-1992, because I lived above a legal-illegal drugs coffeeshop that had been given personal permission by Amsterdam's mayor Van Thijn to deal illegal soft drugs from the house where I lived, not where he lived, and without informing or asking me anything.

Third, the disease may get less because of pills one takes, and I have taken three kinds of pills: orthomolecular supplements since the summer of 1983, in many varying doses, by varying suppliers, and off and on; sleeping pills since 1994; and Prozac (fluoxetine) from 1994 till 2011, also off and on, but none since 2011.

The first collapse, due to terror and lack of sleep during two years, I weathered fairly well as soon as I could sleep again normally, which happened as soon as I got a new house, and also because I had started to take orthomolecular
supplements (aka megavitamins), that I first found out about in 1983 (before the taking of supplements got fashionable). The second collapse, after four years of too little sleep, murder threats and being gassed, lasted from 1992-2012.

I have been consistently worse from 1992-2012 than I was before, because what remained of my health was almost totally destroyed, and the medicines I took also did not have much effect: I started sleeping pills in 1994, simply because I slept only 4-6 hours a night without, and that is too little, and while they did help me sleep, which also improved my health a bit, it did not improve more.

And I also had become very depressed in 1990-1991, which indeed I knew, being a psychologist, and hoped to weather by having a new house from 1993 onwards in which I could sleep well and was not bothered by anyone, but while I got a bit less depressed, I could not get rid of depression.

My G.P., who was very good, recommended that I should take Prozac which she was willing to prescribe, and I took it from 1994 onwards, and indeed it did help me to get out of the deep depression I had lived in for several years, and did so, after an initial 4 weeks of no results, quite suddenly, and moved me out of being depressed to feeling mentally more or less normal - but then this did not change anything about my M.E. which remained quite troublesome. [2]

In fact, also because I did not get any help, and because my very good G.P. ceased to practice in 1999, I could not properly clean my house, and it slowly grew more and more cluttered, even though I tried to fight it.

In 2006 I decided to pay someone to help me, which cost me 450 or 500 euros, but which also resulted in a clean house, which I have kept up reasonably well ever since, but the cleaning up had resulted in having nearly 40 big boxes filled with unsorted papers of all kinds, and also with many other kinds of stuff that I had to sort, that included quite a bit from my mother, who had died in 1996.

These are the boxes, that filled a considerable part of one of my two rooms ever since the summer of 2006, and which I then had decided "to sort as soon as I could". The problem was that I simply could not, and nobody else did anything for me, so there they stood, and stood, and stood.

That is, until this year:

I have now sorted over 20 large boxes of paper down to three boxes containing 1 1/2 meters of papers, and did so between May and August of this year, and I feel very well about this, simply because I wanted to do it very much, could not do this at all until this year, and now managed it rather easily.

I still have to sort 1 1/2 meters of papers by kind and date, and I also still have to sort ten boxes of household stuff, most of which undoubtedly can be thrown away,
but all of this is a lot easier, and will be finished in a month or two, if I keep having my current level of health.

Finally, Prozac (fluoxetine). I have taken Prozac, and started in 1994, when it also got rid of the major depression I had then for four years, and did so within 2 or 3 months at most, which much improved my mood.

Now I want to say some things about taking Prozac (or fluoxetine) and start with the following three items:

First, I had never been depressed before 1990. I had clearly had my ups and downs, but never longer than a few hours or days at most, and in fact had had a fairly constant, stable, non-depressed and quite level mood ever since my middle teens, about which I had no complaints at all, and that also seemed quite a bit more stable and less problematic than what I tended to see around me.

Second, I got a major depression that started to build up in 1990, which belongs to the kind psychiatrists call "reactive" and that I prefer to call "situational":
I had to live in a situation in which I could consistently not sleep enough, and was threatened with murder by dealers in drugs (both hard and soft), which the mayor had put on the bottom floor, and which the police defended much rather than me.

Third, I never have had any chemical sensitivity, not for medicines and not for anything else: normally, such medicines as I take, including orthomolecular supplements, either work normally, or do not work at all, but they normally do not give me specific medicine-related problems.

This also is the case for me with Prozac (as it was called when I started it) aka fluoxetine (as it was called from circa 2002, when it also got a lot cheaper, simply because the patent had ended).

I started with reading about Prozac in 1994, when I read "Listening to Prozac", which in fact was a bit of propaganda, and have read rather a lot about it since 2010, which also changed my attitudes to it, and altogether stopped my taking of it, which I now don't do for three years, and will never do again. Here are my reasons.

While I really was helped by Prozac, which got rid of a major depression in 1994, and I also did not have any of the adverse reactions that seemed to have plagued many more people (including many suicides and quite a few murders) than the pharmaceutical company wished to acknowledge, I kept taking it far too
long, as a matter of course, and "to prevent the recurrence of more depression".

I should have stopped it in 1995, but did not, and indeed taking it for a long time afterwards did not seem to have any major consequences for me. In fact, I did experiment with it, and took it off and on from around 2000, but I do not think that was a wise decision at all:

Now - not being depressed, and not having taken an anti-depressant for at least three years, and in fact not needing one since 1995 - it seems fairly clear to me that my mental situation from 1995-2010 was somehow flattened or levelled:
I did not have any remarkable lows, but I also did not get any remarkable highs.

This is difficult to describe but this is how it struck me: as if I lived in a somewhat artificial world where both the deep lows and the highs, such as falling in love, were "kept in control" and were not felt, because I took fluoxetine.

Since I have taken it for 15 years, and have now not taken it for 3 years, in which I was also not depressed at all, but did saw a return of myself as I was before 1990, I am fairly certain of my conclusions (and I also note, albeit parenthetic-
ally, that the ordinary experiments that allow a medicine to be accepted rarely take more than four to six weeks, while the long term effects simply are not studied at all).

In any case, here are my conclusions about Prozac/fluoxetine:

1. There are serious problems (which may end in suicide or murder) for a group
    of users of Prozac. I did not have them, and it may be that they are somewhat rare, but they definitely exist, and should be known to everyone before he or she
starts taking it.
2. Anti-depressants in general are not well understood, nor have they been well
    researched. They may help in some cases, as they did help me, but they
certainly are prescribed far too much.
3. If you are prescribed an anti-depressant (and the modern ones, developed
   since 1980 or so, tend to be varieties on a theme, that are mostly made
because of the patents, that is, for profit rather than for patients) and it doesn't
work, you should stop taking it after 2 months or so; if it does work, you also
should stop taking it after half a year, at most, after feeling better.
4. I am fairly certain that Prozac (and other anti-depressants) when taken for
    a long time work as levellers and flatteners of one's moods. It turns out that I feel considerably better - "less flat", "more natural" - without than with (and indeed I really have had no depression except for 1990-1994, and that was strongly situational).

Of course, it may be that you have extreme moods anyway, in which case things might be different, but for me, with a fairly level and normally quite tolerable mood that I did have from 1965-1990, also quite unproblematically, it seems quite sensible not to take any mood changers as long as I do not really have to.

And the same holds for most others, it would seem to me: medicines of any kind
are not healthy, and you should avoid taking them without a good and rationally founded reason.

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

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] I know this is contrary to psychiatric wisdom, who insisted at that time that M.E. = depression, but then indeed I believe that psychiatrists by and large are incompetent and unwise, and I am a psychologist - and a philosopher who is quite qualified to judge these matters.


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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