who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
Snowden joins Twitter: 'Can you hear me now?'
2. Labour has a membership
surge. Now it has to build a
3. Donald Trump Proves What’s
Wrong with Bankruptcy
Laws in America
4. Obama’s Self-Deceit
5. Free Speech Gets the Death Penalty
6. 10 of
the Worst Abuses of the Psychiatric and
Psychological Professions in
This is a Nederlog
September 30, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 6 items with with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is there because Edward Snowden is on Twitter, as @Snowden also (but I
will not read his twittered messages unless these are relayed in the
press); item 2 is by Owen Jones and is about what
the British Labour Party now should do, given that it has a new
leader; item 3 is about an article by Robert Reich
that explains how the bankruptcy laws have been deregulated to support the few rich
but not the many poor; item 4 is about
Obama's speech to the UN, which indeed was pretty irrealistic, at least
morally, intellectually and factually; item 5 is
about a fine article about the new and quite sickening and rather
dangerous Pentagon's new "Law of War Manual", that seeks to terminate
all independent war journalism as regards the US; and item
6 is about 10 major abuses by American psychologists and
psychiatrists, with a brief aside by me - a psychologist - on their "sciences" not being real sciences).
1. Edward Snowden joins Twitter: 'Can you
hear me now?'
item today is an article by Ed Pilkington on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Since the first story of the National Security
Agency’s mass surveillance of Verizon
phone records broke in June 2013, the source of the information, former
NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has rarely been out of the public eye
for long. He has been interviewed around the world and spoken via
video link at numerous conferences.
Never though has he had a
direct link with the public. Until now, that is, with Snowden’s thumping
arrival on Twitter.
Within half an hour of
the launch of his verified feed on Tuesday morning from his exile in
Russia, Snowden had attracted more than 70,000 followers and counting.
That effortlessly surpassed the 72,000 followers enjoyed by the only
Twitter feed that Snowden himself is following so far – that of the NSA itself.
I say - and meanwhile, a
day later, Snowden has half a million followers. And yes,
Snowden now has something like "a direct link" to his public, although
is limited to 140 characters at the time. (Also, in case you were to
ask: No, I will not follow Twitter, not for Snowden and not for
Here is some more:
In addition to his
burning passion about the perils of mass surveillance in the digital
age, there is also a mischievous quality to Snowden’s Twitter feed. .
In his profile, his says: “I used to work for the government. Now I
work for the public.”
His first two tweets also
showed that cheeky side of him:
The first is perhaps a
quizzical entry, until you realize that “Can you hear me now?” is a
jingle used frequently by Verizon in its TV adverts.
And Verizon was a great
helper of the NSA. Finally here is the end of the article:
Trevor Timm, executive
director of the foundation [Freedom of the Press Foundation, of whom
Snowden is the director - MM] and a Guardian columnist, said the
Twitter account would “really give him a direct line to the public
where he can talk about issues of the day and reach what looks like
being hundreds of thousands of people instantly”.
True. But I will rely on
The Guardian, Truthdig, Common Dreams, and others to sort them out and
relay the important ones.
2. Labour has a
membership surge. Now it has to build a mass movement
article today is
by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This is from the
the western world is in decline, or so we are told. Party membership
will dwindle, they say; political disengagement is the future. Rampant
individualism means we have become a society of consumers, not voters.
We no longer believe in collective solutions to our problems. As
governments surrender their power to the markets, the realm of policy
is shrinking anyway.
Yes, but we are told so mainly
by the rather corrupt press and the very corrupt public relations
corporations, though I admit that - especially - their advertise-
ments, which are everywhere, have influenced many to become
"individualistic consumers" much rather than real, intellingent,
informed, responsibile citizens.
And indeed, one of my personal
fears is that only the few with high intelligence are capable
of seeing on their own through the propaganda
that misleads the many - and this is a real fear because the
many are "the democratic majority", and may be misled to vote for all
manner of measures that are in fact against their own best
interests, against individual freedoms, against human
rights and indeed in the end also against (real) democracy,
which is not based on the manipulared consent of the misled
many, but on real public debates between iintelligent and informed
proponents and opponents of proposed laws and other measures.
But enough about me, and onto the British Labour Party:
The Labour party
conference reveals a party in transition, from a technocratic
organisation into something else: what, exactly, is still unclear.
That is true, but then
again it is - properly considered - very briefly after Jeremy
Corbyn, very surprisingly for almost everyone, won the leadership of
the Labour Party. Also, there is this new trend in that party:
In an insightful
piece last month, Michael Harris, a Blairite former Labour councillor, wrote that there was a new leftwing political
party in Britain which was, “for now”, called the Labour party. When he
was selected as a Labour candidate in Lewisham, his “local party had 80
(mostly quite old) members”. That number had surged to 250. The new
members were “young” and “diverse”, he noted. The party was becoming
something else, organically, from the bottom up.
That is all true, but
the problem is whether the enthusiasm and the many young members will
Here is Owen Jones:
I think both points are
true. As to the second point:
Labour faces months of
being bloodied by virtually the entire media, and it would be easy to
end up feeling impotent in the face of such an onslaught. If Labour has
a chance of surviving the merciless attacks that are headed its way, it
needs a sophisticated media strategy.
But survival also depends on
the grassroots movement that gave Corbyn the greatest democratic
mandate of any British party leader in history.
Labour has a
similar kind of army – engaged people who are brimming with enthusiasm,
rather than simply grumpily opposed to the Tories – and it needs to use
them to build a genuine social movement.
I suppose so, and Owen Jones
comes with several proposals. You can read them by clicking the last
And I bow out for two reasons: First, the last time I was in England
was in 1983, which is 32 years ago (and since then I did not have the
health), and second, I know I am not one for "mass
movements", even if and when I agree to their desirability.
But Owen Jones is right that the Labour Party must change, and quite
if it is to live up to the promises that Corbyn's new
leadership evoked, and indeed the chances this created for a really
3. Donald Trump Proves What’s Wrong with
Bankruptcy Laws in
next article today is
by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
On the opening day of
Trump Plaza in Atlantic City
in 1984, Donald Trump stood in a dark topcoat on the casino floor
his new investment as the “finest
in the city and possibly the nation.”
Thirty years later, the
Plaza folded, leaving some 1,000 employees without jobs. Trump,
on Twitter claiming he had “nothing to do with Atlantic City,” and
himself for his “great timing” in getting out of the investment.
As I show in my new book,
“Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few,” people with lots
of money can easily
avoid the consequences of bad bets and big losses by cashing out at the
of trouble. Bankruptcy laws protect them. But workers who move to a
Atlantic City for a job, invest in a home there, and build their skills
such protection. Jobs vanish, skills are suddenly irrelevant and home
plummet. They’re stuck with the mess.
Yes, indeed. And in
fact the current article is taken from Reich's latest book: “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the
Few” - which has an interesting title.
This is interesting
because Reich does not advocate socialism
(in some sense, and there are quite a few) but seems to advocate
something like social democracy, that distinguishes - in my terms -
kinds of capitalism:
which also might be called Keynesian
capitalism, where the many also
share in the profits the rich make through progressive taxations, and capitalism-without-a-human-face,
where this is not the case.
And what we have seen in
the last 70 years were first 35 years of the former, from 1945
till 1980, followed by 35 years of the latter, also much helped
lies and deceptions, for
in a (nominal) democracy
you can only sell capitalism-without-a-human-face
to the many, whose real interests are quite incompatible with
it, by extensive lying, deceiving and misleading.
Indeed here is one such
major fruit of lies and deceptions:
One of the most basic of
all economic issues is
what to do when someone can’t pay what they owe. The U.S. Constitution
I, Section 8, Clause 4) authorizes Congress to enact “uniform Laws on
subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States,” and Congress has
In the last few decades,
these changes have
reflected the dema"unprivileged
belligerents,"nds of giant
corporations, Wall Street banks, big developers
and major credit card companies who wanted to make it harder for
to declare bankruptcy but easier for themselves to do the same.
The granddaddy of all
failures to repay what was
owed occurred in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers went into the
bankruptcy in history, with more than $691 billion of assets and far
In brief, they
succeeded - and (as an aside) here is a
reference to a review
I wrote about Dick
Fuld in 2012, who still owes around a thousand part of the '$691 billion of assets', namely 500 million dollars (maybe a bit less
now). The video in the link is
brief, still working and well worth seeing: These are the few
who profit from the many, and who are proud of it.
And here is part of
the story behind the banks' gigantic failures: The losses were shifted
to the many, through the taxes and the deregulated
The real burden of Wall
Street’s near meltdown fell
on homeowners. As home prices plummeted, many found themselves owing
their mortgages than their homes were worth, and unable to refinance.
chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code (whose drafting was largely the work
financial industry) prevents homeowners from declaring bankruptcy on
loans for their primary residence.
And there you are,
with the following - easily foreseeable - result:
Here is Robert Reich's lesson:
result, distressed homeowners had no bargaining power. Subsequently,
5 million lost their homes.
I agree - but the rich and
their public relations propagandists have had 35 years,
The prevailing myth that
America has a “free
market” existing outside and apart from government prevents us from
understanding that the very rules by which the market runs—from the
bankruptcy code to state usury laws to local tax abatements—are made by
And the real issue is
whose interests those
lawmakers are pursuing. Are they working for the vast majority of
who are getting nowhere economically and whose political voices are
heard these days? Or are they beholden to those at the top—CEOs of the
corporations and Wall Street banks, hedge-fund and private-equity
billionaires—who now own more of the nation’s wealth than the robber
the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, and are using some of that
further rig the rules to their benefit?
and they have largely won. Through lies, deceptions, advertisements
but they convinced many poor wage-slaves that they are
"individual consumers" who all stand on the brink of being mega-rich
themselves - which is wholly impossible, but try to explain that to the
many deceived none-too-brights.
And further see my personal fear above.
The next article is
by Joe Lauria on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There was stunned silence
in the General Assembly Hall on Monday as U.S. President Barack Obama
warned leaders against falling back to pre-United Nations days, in
which strong nations imposed their will by force against the weak.
There was apparent disbelief as he said it was Russia and China
that wanted a “return to the rules that applied for most of human
history and that pre-date this institution.”
These ancient rules
included the “belief that power is a zero-sum game; that might makes
right; that strong states must impose their will on weaker ones; that
the rights of individuals don’t matter; and that in a time of rapid
change, order must be imposed by force.”
The silence in the
chamber came because everything Obama ascribed to others perfectly
describes U.S. behavior from the end of the Second World War until
Yes, indeed. But then
to know that well requires being quite well informed about the history
of the last 70 years, and many are not.
As to the present
conflict around the Ukraine, there is this:
Obama said Ukrainians
favor the West. That may be true of most western Ukrainians but not the
whole country. Then, he said the U.S. has “few economic interests” in
Ukraine. That’s woefully ignorant or a blatant lie. Monsanto has a big
interest. Then there’s Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and a John Kerry
family friend joining the board of
Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, just after
And the country’s finance
minister is an American, Natalie Jaresko, who was given Ukrainian
citizenship on the day she began the job. Why put an American
government official in charge of the treasury of a foreign country?
In brief, vice
president Biden's son, minister Kerry's family friend, and Ukraine's
American minister of finance all are involved in the Ukraine because it
will be very profitable (they think) for those who support the
Here is some more vintage Obama:
Perhaps. But the face he
will see is the face of someone who very soon will be a millionaire, so
he knows he will be very well rewarded.
Though Obama told the
U.N. that he could essentially blow up the whole world if he wanted to,
he’s decided to be a nice guy and seek diplomacy over confrontation
with Russia and China. “I lead the strongest military that the world
has ever known,” he boasted to the quiet hall, “and I will never
hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force
“I stand before you today
believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return
to the old ways of conflict and coercion,” Obama said. “We cannot
look backwards.” Obama might try looking into a mirror instead.
5. Free Speech Gets the Death Penalty
The next article is
by Dahr Jamail on Truthout:
This starts as follows:
In brief, according to
the latest "Law of War Manual" of the Pentagon, every
journalists who dares to report on wars the USA is engaged in who does not
In June, the US
Department of Defense released its "Law of War Manual," within which the Pentagon
states clearly that journalists may be "unprivileged belligerents,"
which leaves those reporting on the military in any capacity open to be
treated the same as spies - or even terrorists.
belligerent" is a legal term that can be applied to combatants (people
who are not soldiers in a state-sanctioned military) in a conflict, who
are given even fewer protections than combatants openly participating
Simply by reporting on
the US military in a way the Pentagon interprets as "dangerous,"
journalists could be left open to censorship, incarceration or even the
The manual says
journalists can be captured and held by the military for "engaging in
hostilities," "spying" or "sabotage and similar acts behind enemy
"Reporting on military
operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even
spying," the Pentagon's manual states. Thus, by its newly crafted
logic, the Pentagon is officially requesting that journalists "act
openly and with the permission of relevant authorities."
The manual adds, "A
journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and
punished if captured." It is unclear what differentiates "spying" from
tell the official story of the US government and the Pentagon seriously
being arrested, abused, or simply droned by the US military.
And there is no special status for journalists anymore, as
given by the First
Amendment(<- Wikipedia): Only collaborating journalists
are permitted, all of the rest are "unprivileged belligerents".
This is a good article that merits full reading (though it will not
make you happy, unless you are in the Pentagon).
6. 10 of the Worst Abuses of the
Psychological Professions in American History
item today is by Bruce E. Levine (who is a clinical psychologist) on
This starts as follows:
Incidentally, those who read
my site longer know that I have an excellent M.A. in psychology, from
which I never earned a single cent, and that also moved me to
psychologists have been used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to
facilitate mind control and torture in Project MKUltra and in
the American Psychological Association-bolstered CIA
torture program. Psychiatric political abuses in nations that
are U.S. enemies have been routinely denounced by U.S.
establishment psychiatry and the U.S.
government, especially during the Cold War within the Soviet
Union (where political dissidents were diagnosed with “sluggish
schizophrenia” and psychiatrically hospitalized and drugged). However,
the abuse of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment to subvert human
rights has occurred not only in totalitarian U.S. enemies but in the
United States as well.
While the following list of
political abuses of U.S. psychiatry and psychology begins with the
infamous Project MKUltra and recent American Psychological Association
torture scandal, this should not be taken to imply that these more
sensational abuses are the most important ones.
explain why psychology is not a real science in my
opinion, apart from a few branches like statistics and methodology (if
these are or rather: were given properly).
These arguments of mine are mostly independent of the abuses listed in
this article, though it is probably also true that if psychology and
psychiatry had been conducted in a more scientific fashion (which they
were not), then some of them might not have occured.
Bruce Levine lists ten abuses of psychology and psychiatry (which to
this day cannot tell you what a mind is, what consciousness
is and why we have it, how the brain transforms inputs to experiences,
or how madness
should be properly defined, etc.) which I list below, but without
text, that you can get by clicking on the last dotted link:
This is a decent article
(though Devine probably thinks rather differently about the scientific
status of psychology and psychiatry than I do, but then his chances of
American Psychological Association Assistance in
Pathologizing Homosexuality and Disempowering Gay
Enabling Genocide of Indigenous Americans
Enabling Racism and Subjugation of African American
Subverting U.S. Soldiers’ Resistance to the
Enabling Authoritarian Standard Schooling
Depoliticizing Normal Reactions to Dehumanizing
Medicating Noncompliance and Marginalizing
Controlling Uncared about and Discarded Populations
getting real medical help with a serious disease have not been
by lying psychiatrists since 1988 either).