15, 2014
Crisis: It's crisis, U.S. police, Orwell abused, medicine * 2
  "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

Eurozone growth splutters to a halt as crisis enters new

2. The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the
     Light by the Horrors of Ferguson

3. Orwell estate hits back at Amazon's corporate

4. under some of the rocks…
Cancer patients dying early because of postcode lottery

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Friday, August 15. It is a crisis log.

I did not find too much about the crisis, although the first article insists Europe still is in crisis and may enter the third dip, after the double dip.

Also, at least the article about Orwell I review is not immediately crisis related, but it is here because I like Orwell a lot, and because his texts were sorely abused and falsified by Amazon.

And the present NL is uploaded a bit earlier than usual because I need to do some other things.

1. Eurozone growth splutters to a halt as crisis enters new phase

The first item is an article by Larry Elliott, the economics editor of The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

France piled pressure on the European Central Bank to do more to boost growth on Thursday after news that economic activity across the 18-nation single currency area came to a halt in the second quarter.

With France registering zero growth for a second successive quarter, Michel Sapin, the country's finance minister, halved his growth forecast for this year, abandoned the deficit reduction target and said it was up to the Frankfurt-based ECB to respond to an "exceptional situation of weak growth and weak inflation across the eurozone".

Sapin's demand came as the latest figures from Eurostat, the European Union's statistical agency, showed that problems in the single currency's Big Three economies – Germany, France and Italy – resulted in no increase in eurozone gross domestic product in the three months to June. That compares with an increase of 0.2% in the first quarter.

I say! Well... not really, as I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008, and this is the 587th in the series since 2008 (or the 597th, if I count the ones I assembled under 226, because of a faulty numbering).

And indeed: What can on expect when, both in the U.S. and Europe, none of the bankmanagers who caused the crisis are punished in any way?
What can on expect when, both in the U.S. and Europe, the bank managers still are paid millionaire's incomes for continuing fraudulent practices? What can you expect when your bank, like mine, does not pay any interest, while paying its manager half a million euros a year? And what can one expect if you cannot trust the ordinary economical statistics anymore, where "new jobs" are counted as "1" even if they are ten hours a week or do not pay anything?

What you reasonably can expect is a continuation of the crisis, which we have now for six years. And no, I am not happy about its continuation, but I expect it to continue until either the banks are tamed, and brough back to where they were in the 1970ies, or else the banks are collapsed, which will happen in the next major crisis, after which perhaps they can be tamed (but I do not know: this is the happy variant, that assumes not too much disorder).

Here is some more by Larry Elliott:

The interest rate – or yield – on 10-year German bonds briefly fell below 1% for the first time as dealers anticipated a protracted period of low growth, low inflation and low interest rates. Markets already knew that Italian output had contracted by 0.2% in the second quarter but were surprised by a similar-sized fall in Germany, which was hurt by a more challenging climate for its key export sector.

And some more, after skipping rather a lot, but this is about the triple dip:
Markets had been expecting growth in the second quarter to be 0.1% or 0.2%, but said the fresh setback to the eurozone raised the prospect of a triple-dip recession. The eurozone suffered a sharp contraction in 2008-09 and then had a second, milder downturn from which it only finally emerged during 2013.
It seems to me that "finally emerged" is a bit too strong (I and most other non-rich did not notice anything, for example), but OK: It seems like a triple dip.
And the crisis moves on, and is in its seventh year in seventeen days, if I count from September 1, 2008.

The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson

The next item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

The intensive militarization of America’s police forces is a serious menace about which a small number of people have been loudly warning for years, with little attention or traction. In a 2007 paper on “the blurring distinctions between the police and military institutions and between war and law enforcement,” the criminal justice professor Peter Kraska defined “police militarization” as “the process whereby civilian police increasingly draw from, and pattern themselves around, the tenets of militarism and the military model.”

The harrowing events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri – the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Mike Brown, and the blatantly excessive and thuggish response to ensuing community protests from a police force that resembles an occupying army – have shocked the U.S. media class and millions of Americans. But none of this is aberrational.

It is the destructive by-product of several decades of deliberate militarization of American policing, a trend that received a sustained (and ongoing) steroid injection in the form of a still-flowing, post-9/11 federal funding bonanza, all justified in the name of “homeland security.” This has resulted in a domestic police force that looks, thinks, and acts more like an invading and occupying military than a community-based force to protect the public.

Yes - and the justification that it is for "homeland security" is utter baloney, as also emerged from Ferguson, at least if "homeland security" is the security of ordinary people not to get shot or grossly mistreated by "their" police (that is supposed to be there "to serve and protect") as a matter of course.

There is a lot more that I leave to your interest, but here is the - underlying - reason Glenn Greenwald sees for the militarization of the U.S. police:

The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.

Most of this militarization has been justified by invoking Scary Foreign Threats — primarily the Terrorist — but its prime purpose is domestic.

Yes. This is also the reason it will not stop, that is, not until a radical change in American politics (which I do not see coming soon nor easily).

3. Orwell estate hits back at Amazon's corporate 'doublespeak'

The next item is an article by Alison Flood on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Representatives of George Orwell have described Amazon's selective quoting of the Nineteen Eighty-Four author as "dystopian and shameless" and "as close as one can get to the Ministry of Truth and its doublespeak".

Amazon turned to Orwell for support in its long-running and public clash over ebook terms with the publisher Hachette at the weekend, comparing their battle over ebook pricing ("We want lower ebook prices. Hachette does not") to the fight Penguin had when it introduced cheap paperbacks in the 1930s.

"The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if 'publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them'," wrote Amazon in a letter to readers. "Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion."

But the full quote from Orwell runs: "The Penguin books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them." The discrepancy has been pointed out by a host of websites. "It's clear that Orwell is praising the paperback, not arguing for its abolition," wrote TechCrunch. "Only a fool or a businessman would twist that quote so completely. But that's exactly what Amazon did and that's horrible."

Yes, indeed. There is a considerable amount more, and the ending is this:

Amazon have declined the Guardian's request for comment.

Well... you could stop buying via Amazon. I never did and never will, for I rather pay a little more at a local bookshop. And no, it will not help much, but it certainly does not contribute to Amazon or its mega-rich owner.

4. under some of the rocks…

The next item is an article by 1 boring old man:

This starts as follows:

I started writing about these topics a few years ago because I was stunned by the deceptive presentation methods in clinical trial reporting. And then I discovered that if a trial didn’t come out like they wanted and couldn’t be doctored, they just didn’t publish it. The more I looked, the worse things got. The more I looked, the worse things got. I kept running across the term CRO, one that I’d never heard before, and asked a more knowledgeable colleague what it meant. Looking into that arena lead me to a whole new level of deception. It has been a disillusioning journey, I must admit.

I take it (from Wikipedia) that "CRO" = "Contract Research Organization". Apart from that:

One of the things 1 boring old man does not say, although he mentions a number of persons who think like he does, is how disappointing it must be to discover that in fact few medical doctors or psychiatrists seem to care, especially since 1 boring man is quite right that the evidence for gigantic profit-oriented fraudulence is very massive.

1 boring old man also says, still in a reflective mood:

I came back Monday from a vacation trip with friends where I spent little time thinking about contemporary matters medical. When I got back Monday night, I was out of the rhythm of keeping up with the things I usually follow. What I always find when I’ve taken a break is that I feel anew the same kind of outrage I felt five or six years ago when I first began to understand how the pharmaceutical-academic psychiatry alliance had become so widely corrupting. Obviously it’s a much bigger problem than simply psychiatry, but it appears my specialty was especially vulnerable [and had some people in high places who dove in head first]. It always takes me a few days to recover my composure and get back into the state of play, rather than this just rant on and on about the myriad of absurdities like those mentioned above.

Well, I have been following 1 boring old man daily for some 3 years now, and I have not been disappointed (though I don't agree with all he wrote).

My own problem is - again - that there are relatively few medical doctors who protest the corruption of their own science, for indeed 1 boring old man is quite correct that, while the corruption is most prominent in psychiatry, in part because it is the least scientific of all branches of medicine, it extends to much of medicine in general, which is more and more transforming itself into being an adjunct to the pharmaceutical corporations, that now conducts most of their researches, may write the stuff the doctors sign, and simply does not publish whatever threatens their profits. 

What can be done about this? Medicine and psychiatry should be regulated (again, in the interests of the patients, the doctors, and real science, and against Big Pharma), and experiments and data should become objective and scientific again, and not the property of the pharmaceutical corporations.

In fact, this is far less difficult than regulating the economy and the big banks, but it probably will not happen for the same reason as the big banks are not regulated:

The pharmaceutical corporations have enormous amounts of money, and can corrupt most players, though indeed not all, and - alas! - many medical doctors and psychiatrists have their eyes on the money they can get, much rather than on the patients or their interests.

5. Cancer patients dying early because of postcode lottery 

The last item of today is an article by Denis Campbell on The Guardian:

This is again about the British health care system, and it is here because I wrote yesterday about the British psychiatrist Simon Wessely, who had the gall to state this argument - and I quote from The Guardian:
Wessely said there would be a public outcry if those who went without treatment were cancer patients rather than people with mental health problems. Imagine, he told the Guardian, the reaction if he gave a talk that began: "'So, we have a problem in cancer service at the moment. Only 30% of people with cancer are getting treatment, so 70% of them don't get any treatment for their cancer at all and it's not even recognised."
As I pointed out yesterday, Wessely falsifies matters in pretending that cancer and psychological problems are on a par. They are not, and not at all, because cancer is a real disease, with real tests, and real treatments, whereas psychiatry is a fraudulent pseudoscience, the leaders of which agree that they cannot even define madness, and that does not treat diseases but what they are pleased to call "disorders", which they cannot even rationally define (for the DSM is bullshit, if properly and rationally considered, that seems to serve mostly as an excuse to make patients swallow expensive drugs, of doubtful efficacy, and undeclared side effects).

That was yesterday. Today there is another article in the Guardian, this time about cancer, that starts as follows:

Thousands of people are dying early of cancer every year because of an "inexcusable postcode lottery" in how quickly the NHS diagnoses and treats the disease, a leading charity warns.

Delays mean that cancer patients in some areas of England have up to a 61% higher risk of dying within a year of their diagnosis than those in other places, simply because of where they live.

While one in four (24%) of newly diagnosed cancer sufferers in north-east Hampshire and Farnham in Surrey die within a year, 38% of those in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham do so, according to a new Macmillan analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics.

This is a great shame, especially because of the following:

About 6,000 more people a year would still be alive 12 months after being diagnosed if average survival across England could be made as good as that already achieved by the top 10% of England's 211 local CCGs, the charity says.

"This analysis shows an inexcusable postcode lottery, which is responsible for 6,000 patients dying needlessly every year within 12 months of being diagnosed with cancer," said Juliet Bouverie of Macmillan.

"It's a no-brainer. When patients have to wait longer for diagnosis and treatment, their chances of surviving are significantly reduced."

May I suggest something, since this too seems to be a matter of money? As a psychologist and philosopher?

Since cancer is a real disease, and psychiatry does not deal with diseases but with "disorders", and is an evident pseudoscience, quite a lot of lives could be saved or lengthened if British psychiatrists would get less money, all of which should be given to real medicine instead.

Professor Wessely ought to agree, seeing his above quoted argument about cancer, and in case he doesn't: His sort of work can be done as well or better by psychologists, who also cannot sell expensive drugs to their patients, as psychiatrists can, which means one source of major corruption less.

It will not solve all problems, but this is what I would do were I the chief executive of the NHS: Invest the money I have in real science and real scientists.

[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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