11, 2014
Crisis: Sick British Police, Water, Obama, Fraud, Illusions of Evidence
  "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

Police want right to see medical records without consent
2. The Enron-ization of Water: Wall Street’s Pending
     Resource Grab

3. Obama Isn't Half the Man of Richard Nixon
4. How Professional Democrats and Professional
     Republicans Ran America Into the Ground


About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Monday, August 11. It is a crisis log. There are five items, with seven dotted links - and yes, I know the crisis index needs updating.
1. Police want right to see medical records without consent

The first item is an article by Vikram Dodd on The Guardian:

Yes, you read that well: Your medical records, including all the secrets you have told your doctor the last decades, now ought to be seen by the British police, because - wait for it! - that would make its job easier.

Here is the start of the article, which covers a very sick plan - and I do not refer to the journalist or the paper:

Police want new and expanded rights to access medical records and other confidential data without an individual's consent, a senior police chief has told the Guardian.

Sir Peter Fahy, the Greater Manchester chief constable, said the extra access to sensitive data was needed to help police cope with growing numbers of vulnerable people.

Note the bullshit reason: They want to see your medical records including the things you said to your doctor on the firm supposition this would be kept secret - in order "to help police cope with growing numbers of vulnerable people".

This is simply sick, very sick. Fahy also said:

He said demands had changed over the past two decades, with vulnerable groups now accounting for around 70% of police work. "We need to have easier access to information," he said.

It's utter bullshit. The police simply is not there to help "vulnerable people". That is just not its job; that is the job of social or medical workers, not the police. The police is there to maintain law and order, not to help "vulnerable people". To pretend it is, as a policeman, is to grossly lie and distort - but OK: I suppose he is sick.

He also lied about this:

Fahy accepted the public may be sceptical about his calls for greater powers but said privacy concerns which either deny officers access to information or slow the process down cost police money and time.

I mean: he "accepted" is plain nonsense - he acts like a fraud or a madman who 'accepted' that although you may think 2+2=4, he 'knows' it equals 22, in his higher wisdom. His reason is despicable: He wants to sacrifice your medical privacy, if you are British, to the convenience of the police, so as to prevent that ignorance of your medical privacy will "cost police money and time".

Why not propose from now on that the British police ought to be given the right to torture - sorry: "interrogate with enhancements", like electricity and thumb screws - people they suspect, because that would save "police money and time"?

It is precisely the same line of argument. Then he has this bullshit, making out as if the police is something like a medical staff:

"We could do a better job if we have greater access to information, which it is currently hard for us to get," he said. "It would give us a deeper understanding of those we are expected to help and their problems. The actions we take would be much improved if we had a better understanding of that history at the time we are called."

Happily there is a voice of sanity:

Dr Tony Calland, of the British Medical Association, said: "The essential principle that runs throughout the recording of medical information is that of confidentiality and trust. This principle has stood the test of time for millennia and still holds good today.

​ "​At present the checks and balances in the current legal position are satisfactory and whilst the current law may cause some difficulty for the police the case has not been made to recommend a substantial change in the law ​."​

I agree - but if the maintenance of "confidentiality and trust" is dependent on such persons as are at present the majority of parliamentarians or members of government, it will be soon lost.

Here are his final lies:

He accepted that trust in state power had been damaged after the revelations from the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the extent of state surveillance: "The danger is [revelations] from Snowden create an atmosphere of suspicion of why public services want to access the information."

But he said: "If you want a good public service it is crucial that there is increased information sharing, properly overseen and regulated."

Again he "accepted" things, this time that Snowden - not he, not Cameron, not the GCHQ - created "an atmosphere of suspicion of why public services want to access the information". Snowden did it!

That is utter bullshit - and of course you need to be suspicuous of the government's supposed "public services"! The government is the greatest power in the country; it is run by bureaucrats; while the government and the parliament are mostly professional careerists, who nearly all want power and riches much more than they want to serve the public. So clearly any rational person should suspect what the government or its bureaucracies are up to.

And no: A "good public service" does not start with "increased information sharing", especially not with the police, who serve the executive (government) or the judiciary departments (law), much rather than "the public": The police is there to maintain law and order, much rather than "help vulnerable people".

In fact, the Dutch police never helped me in 64 years: They did for three years nothing to reign in a sadistic madman, who attacked me, threatened to murder me, and kept me for three years from sleeping, and then did for four years nothing against illegal drugsdealers in hard and in soft drugs, because the mayor had given these illegal dealers "permission" to deal from the house where I lived, and in both cases the police knowingly broke the law. Otherwise the police did absolutely nothing for me in my whole life.

That is the police I know. I have no reason to believe the British police is any better - though I grant they have not for 30 years protected dealers in illegal drugs, if these had a "permission" by the mayor to deal in illegal drugs: that is a typically Dutch way of making loads of money.

2. The Enron-ization of Water: Wall Street’s Pending Resource Grab 

The next item is an article by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:

This is from the start:

The problem of water scarcity is growing at an alarming rate. By 2050, experts forecast a 55% increase in the amount of water required to meet demand from rising populations, food production and industry. Failure to meet that demand will have devastating consequences: water shortages will become chronic, leading to the proliferation of water riots and water wars. According to UN estimates, $1.8 trillion in new investments will be needed over the next 20 years to avoid such a calamity. The question is:

Whence Will That Money Come?

According to the wise masters of big capital and finance, there can only be one source: the ever-knowing, ever-perfect financial markets.

Yes, of course. Also, this will be extremely profitable to them. This is continued thus:

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Andrew Critchlow argued the case for financializing water:

Markets can play an important role in providing future water security (DQ: Note the use of the term “water security,” not “water independence” or “water sustainability”). The City can help to fund vital water infrastructure and the creation of a futures market to trade water would help to create a baseline pricing mechanism against which regional water tariffs could be fairly set…

“Water will become something that is traded, there will be a market for it and this could happen in the next decade,” said Usha Rao-Monari, chief executive officer of Global Water Development Partners – an affiliate of New York-based investment giant Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm with a reported $280bn under management.

The reasoning is clear: in order to create more efficient distribution of the world’s most vital resource, we need to create myriad new layers of middlemen and financiers and have them trading billions (if not trillions) of dollars in derivatives of that scarce resource on global commodity exchanges. It will be the Enron-ization of water, as the exact same people who almost destroyed the global economy with mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps and who have corrupted the basic pricing mechanism of just about every commodity market on the planet will be entrusted to determine the price of the water we consume.

That is the basis to support the title. There is a lot more in the article - and yes, I do know it is speculative at the moment, but it is fair speculation: Whatever can be made a profit from, will be made a profit from, if it is up to the marketeers, and the bigger profit the better, regardless of the costs to others.

3. Obama Isn't Half the Man of Richard Nixon

The next item is an article by Ted Rall on Common Dreams:

Here is an outline of Rall's case:

By today's standards, however, Nixon's efforts to protect his henchmen, including his screwing around with the FBI investigation that led to an article of impeachment for obstruction of justice, look positively penny-ante, more worthy of a traffic ticket than a high crime or misdemeanor. Obstruction of justice, scandalous and impeachable just 40 years ago, has become routine.

Case study: Obama's cover-up of torture.

Much bigger crime.

Much longer cover-up.

Much less of a problem.

Five and a half years after taking office, President Obama finally admitted what informed citizens have known since 2002: the United States tortures

There is more, some of which I will quote below, but in fact Nixon's crimes are a lot more serious than "screwing around with the FBI investigation".

The main reason Nixon did screw around with that investigation is that he wanted to know - as outlined yesterday - what Lyndon Johnson knew about Nixon's treason, which led to four more years of war in Vietnam, and led to over a million more deaths, including 20.000 American soldiers, and also made Nixon president of the United States.

There is this on Obama - and I quote a lot less than there is in the article, but this is the main point:
Normally, when one crosses a line – is there a more clearly disgusting line than torture? – one faces consequences. Thanks to Obama, however, no one from the CIA, US military or other American government employee has ever suffered so much as a 1% pay cut as the result of drowning detainees, many of whom were released because they never committed any crime whatsoever, sodomizing kidnap victims with flashlights and other objects, subjecting people to extremes of heat, cold and sleep deprivation – not even for murdering detainees or driving them to suicide at American-run torture centers like Guantánamo concentration camp.
I agree all of this is very bad and is completely against Obama's promises, and I also agree that Obama's main reason (in public) is totally ridiculous: We must "look forward as opposed to looking backwards". That is just a slickly phrased and totally false complete refusal to do any justice. 

But much as I dislike Obama, I don't think he is a greater crook than Nixon: He did not win the elections by a treasonous schema that made the Vietnam war (or any other war) continue for four more years, in which, as a result, over a million more men, women and children were killed.

Also, Nixon did not do "the right thing" by resigning: He resigned because he had no other way to keep his treason secret - and by resigning, he mostly succeeded in doing that.

4. How Professional Democrats and Professional Republicans Ran America Into the Ground

The next item is an article by Matt Stoller, that was in fact written in 2012, and is recycled by Lambert Strether on Naked Capitalism: 

In fact, this is about a book Jeff Connaughton wrote about the decline of democracy and the rise of big money in the U.S., called "The Payoff: Why Wallstreet Always Wins".

I found this on Wikipedia in an article on another book. for there is no lemma on Connaughton himself on Wikipedia:
(..) Kaufman and Connaughton worked on reform of the financial services industry in the wake of the Great Recession. They encouraged criminal prosecution of financial fraud cases as well as limits to the size of banks, but met with limited success. Connaughton found that the lobbyists he used to work with had better information and more input on financial reform regulation than he had as a Senate aide. Connaughton believed that the advocates for consumers, such as the group Americans for Financial Reform were being overwhelmed by industry lobbyists. After Kaufman's term ended, Connaughton, disillusioned with Washington, moved to Savannah, Georgia and published a memoir of his experiences, The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins.
That last book was reviewed by Matt Stoller, and from his review I quote the following:
Connaughton (..)  has no illusions about the power of Wall Street and the political system. It isn’t fixable within the current model. Nonprofits are outgunned, political money is too powerful, and the careerist allure Professional Democrats and Professional Republicans is overwhelming. He has no solutions, just his own witnessing of how the people who rule us think and act when we’re not in the room.

Connaughton is going to pay a heavy price for this book, and for his reform-minded behavior in the last three years. He told stories that you aren’t supposed to tell, gives away open secrets that should remain circulating only among insiders. He blew up his connections in the world of politics, burned all his insider bridges. I don’t quite know why he wrote this book – though the book itself is deeply pessimistic, the act of writing is in and of itself an act laden with hope.
There is a lot more in the review, which is interesting, but I quoted it mainly because of the first paragraph above, because I agree with it, and because Connaughton really seems to have tried, and seems to be telling the truth, at last.

5.  beyond…

The next and last item is an article by 1 boring old man (in fact, a mostly pensioned psychiatrist with a good mind) on his site:

This starts as follows:

In my last post [the illusion of evidence…], I was playing with the phrases evidence of illusion [looking for signs that a scientific paper has used the the techniques of presentation to obscure rather than clarify data] and the illusion of evidence [valuing the mathematical/statistical results of Randomized Clinical Trials over all other sources of information].

After which it continues (with a brief bit I don't quote in between) as follows:

The thing that got lost, the thing I started off wanting to say, probably deserves its own separate post anyway. In a recent article [unfortunately behind a pay-wall], David Healy makes the point explicitly,

    Today, many argue that the growing crisis in health care stems from conflicts of interest and lack of access to clinical trial data. Our view is that small-print disclosure in academic footnotes and open access to trial data, important though these are, will not solve problems that stem from the notion that clinical trials provide a higher form of knowledge than knowledge borne in a clinical encounter – the realm of the experiential and the singular…

Actually, as I pointed out last year, the illusion of evidence is even a lot larger: The statistical model that is used by psychiatrists, psychologists and pharma- cologists is mistaken.

The Randomized Clinical Trials are all based on a deep statistical fallacy, that was found by the mathematical statistician and cognitive psychologist prof.dr. Peter Molenaar.  It was reviewed by me in 2013:
From this review, I first quote Molenaar:
As will be explained shortly, the assumption about the equivalence of a structure of inter-individual variation at the population level and the analogous structure of intra-individual variation at the individual level is referred to as the ergodic assumption. It is reiterated that the ergodic assumption underlies all standard statistical analyses techniques in psychology. These techniques only use information provided by inter-individual variation. As soon as results thus obtained are generalized to the level of individual subjects (e.g., in individual assessment or prediction), it is assumed that the ergodic assumption holds. Almost always the ergodic assumption is not stated or tested explicitly, but that does not mean that it is not required to make generalizations from states of affairs obtaining at the population level to the level of single subjects.

The denotation “ergodic” is inspired by the so-called classical ergodic theorems (cf. Krengel, 1985). These theorems, in particular Birkhoff’s individual ergodic theorem (Birkhoff, 1931), imply general mathematical conditions that have to be met by any measurable dynamic process in order to guarantee that the population structure of inter-individual variation can be validly generalized to the level of intra-individual variation, and vice versa.
Next I quote myself from last year, explaining the above:
And the problem is that it does not hold, for inter-individual processes, although it does hold - if and when everything is done correctly - for intra-individual processes.

Put otherwise and simpler but quite adequately:

Most - 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 ergodic.

You just cannot validly generalize about persons as has been done in psychology, psychiatry and pharmacology.
As I said at the time, I am a bit skeptical that most medical or psychological people will pick it up soon, because it is mathematical statistics. Those who want to try can find a (mostly) accessible treatment here (in a pdf):
In brief: What you get from averaging the results of several individuals is not a result that validly applies to any individual, not in the group and not outside the group. It is all an illusion of evidence, much rather than real evidence.


[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)

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