February 9, 2016

Crisis: Blankfein, Trump & Torture, Clinton, Free Speech, Pharmaceutical Rape
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Why Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Called Bernie
     Sanders “Dangerous”

2. "I'd Bring Back a Hell of a Lot Worse Than

Key Members of Hillary Clinton Team Lobbied Against
     Bills She Now Touts as National Accomplishments

4. Dangerous Speech: Would the Founders Be Considered
     Domestic Extremists Today?

Pharmaceutical Rape: Doctors still know best

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is Goldman Sach's Lloyd Blankfein vs Bernie Sanders; item 2 is about Trump on waterboarding; item 3 is about the great differences between Hillary Clinton's words and the deeds of her and her supporters; item 4 is about "dangerous speech" and the US governments politically very correct ways of undermining the First Amendment; and item 5 is not a crisis item, but is about psychiatry and medical doctors.

Also, the present Nederlog is a lot briefer than the previous one, in part because I think I've earned it, and especially because I need to do some other things today. This is also why it appears a bit earlier in the day than is normal for me.

1.  Why Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Called Bernie Sanders “Dangerous”

The first article is by
Jim Schwarz on The Intercept:

I'll follow the title's lead. First, here is Blankfein quoted on Sanders (without "personally" naming "it"):

 “To personalize it, it has the potential to be a dangerous moment, not just for Wall Street, not just for the people are particularly targeted but for anybody who is a little bit out of line.”

And here is Sanders on Blankfein (while personally naming it):

SANDERS: Sometimes there is no end to arrogance. … Lloyd Blankfein is the CEO of Goldman Sachs. … During the financial crisis Goldman Sachs received a total of $814 billion in virtually zero-interest loans from the Federal Reserve and a $10 billion bailout from the Treasury Department. … And now with his huge wealth he is coming here to Washington to lecture the American people on how we have got to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for tens of millions of Americans who are struggling now to keep their heads above water.

I think this clarifies things: Blankfein appropriated $824 billion dollars to save himself and his bank (in virtually free loans) - and now wants to rob the poor and the ill of money to survive; Sanders criticized him. [1]

2. "I'd Bring Back a Hell of a Lot Worse Than Waterboarding"

The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

To start with, here is a quotation by Trump on torture:
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what. In the Middle East, we have people chopping the heads off Christians. We have people chopping the heads off many other people. We have things that we have never seen before—as a group, we have never seen before what’s happening right now. The medieval times—I mean, we studied medieval times. Not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on. I would bring back waterboarding, and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.
Incidentally, somebody who introduces a morally utterly rotten point in the way Trump did, just doesn't know what he is talking about. Did Trump ever read a halfway decent book about history? I much doubt it. (And waterboarding has been a favorite form of torture since - at least - the 1600s, in part because it is quick and leaves no external marks.)

And here is a senior staff attorney from the Center for Constitutional Rights quoting American and international laws:

PARDISS KEBRIAEI: Senator Cruz said it wasn’t [torture - MM]. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is an authority on the laws of war and international humanitarian law, has said specifically waterboarding is torture. U.S. courts have said it. U.S.—the United States has prosecuted U.S. and foreign soldiers for engaging in waterboarding. There have been prosecutions domestically for waterboarding domestically. So the idea that this is arguable is just not supported. It is clearly illegal.
There is considerably more in the article, also about Guantánamo, and the article is recommended.

3. Key Members of Hillary Clinton Team Lobbied Against Bills She Now Touts as National Accomplishments

The third item is by Donald Kaufman on Truthdig:

This shows how Hillary Clinton is doing just the same as Obama: Talking progressive to the Democrats who might vote for her, while acting conservative to help the banks rob even more:

In December, in an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Clinton wrote: “People’s savings are being restored. And we have tough new rules on the books, including the Dodd-Frank Act, that protect consumers and curb recklessness on Wall Street.”

Yet The Intercept found that Clinton’s chief pollster and strategist, Joel Benenson of the Benenson Strategy Group, lobbied on behalf of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs and worked for many years to weaken a wide variety of Dodd-Frank reforms. Another campaign adviser, Steve Elmendorf, was at one time retained by Goldman Sachs and tapped by Citigroup to help push through a bill that would have allowed banks to avoid financial regulations by moving certain operations overseas. And Jeff Berman, who is leading Clinton’s delegate strategy, previously worked for TransCanada as a lobbyist for the Keystone XL project. The oil pipeline’s extension was eventually blocked when Obama rejected it late last year.

Hillary Clinton’s embrace of Washington lobbyists offers a frightening picture of what her administration might look like if she is elected.

Yes indeed, also because Clinton's "embrace of Washington lobbyists" is all based on very impertinent lies - as illustrated by the quote.

4. Dangerous Speech: Would the Founders Be Considered Domestic Extremists Today?

The fourth item is by John Whitehead on Washington's Blog:
This starts as follows:

“If you can’t say ‘Fuck’ you can’t say, ‘Fuck the government.’” ― Lenny Bruce

Not only has free speech become a four-letter word—profane, obscene, uncouth, not to be uttered in so-called public places—but in more and more cases, the government deems free speech to be downright dangerous and in some instances illegal.

The U.S. government has become particularly intolerant of speech that challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, extremist speech, etc.

Yet by allowing the government to whittle away at cherished First Amendment freedoms—which form the backbone of the Bill of Rights—we have evolved into a society that would not only be abhorrent to the founders of this country but would be hostile to the words they used to birth this nation.

I agree with this introduction, and like to remark that this is all politically correct censorship, which is what much of "leftist" politics has been reduced to (and no, this is not leftist at all, which is why I wrote it between scare quotes: it simply is authoritarian censorship of anything you disagree with, on the pretext that you mean well).

There is also this on the Declaration of Independence and its authors:

For that matter, just try reciting the Declaration of Independence, which rejects tyranny, establishes Americans as sovereign beings, recognizes God as a Supreme power, portrays the government as evil, and provides a detailed laundry list of abuses that are as relevant today as they were 240 years ago.

My guess is that you won’t last long before you get thrown out, shut up, threatened with arrest or at the very least accused of being a radical, a troublemaker, a sovereign citizen, a conspiratorialist or an extremist.

Especially if the police, or whoever threatens or throws you out, has no idea
of whose words you quote (and indeed they usually don't: who reads 18th Century writers these days?)

There is considerably more in the article, mostly about a journalist who was arrested after the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were arrested, and who is accused of the same things as the occupiers.

I'll leave that to your interests. Here is the ending of the article:

As the insightful and brash comedian George Carlin observed:

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government does not give a fuck about them! The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. It simply does not give a fuck about you! It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”

Incidentally, I agree with Carlin that rights have been treated as privileges, but I disagree with his distinction between rights and privileges, firstly because an evil government can take away anything from you, including your body and bodily parts, regardless of whether you had "a right" or "a privilege" or "a law" that said they should not, and secondly because something counts as a right if it is based on law and applies to everyone, whereas many priviliges are not based on law and only apply to select groups.

But Carlin is quite right about the government (his, mine and most others):

They really don't care "
about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety" also not if they are lying that they do: The government simply is a very small group of presently successful liars and deceivers who mostly work to extend their own powers and their own riches.

This is the case both in non-democratic governments and in democratic governments, and the only way to curb these tendencies is by very much more transparency and honesty than there is almost anywhere, and by a really working really free press... [2]

5. Pharmaceutical Rape: Doctors still know best

The fifth and last item is by Laurie Oakley on David Healy's website:
This starts as follows (and is not a crisis item):
Many who experience life-altering, adverse outcomes after taking their medicines as prescribed do not receive acknowledgment of what they have experienced, let alone the medical care they need. Medical systems do not recognize many treatment related outcomes and patients are therefore denied knowledgeable, compassionate treatment for the iatrogenic illnesses they experience after following doctors orders. While health practitioners can generally make a good living within healthcare systems, thousands of patients end up on disability after adverse pharmaceutical outcomes. Without the support of a doctor to verify one’s condition, there are others who, tragically, end up on the streets.

There is a lot more in the article (which is one of a series called "Pharmaceutical Rape"), and dr. David Healy is one of the very few good psychiatrists I know about (as a psychologist).

As to psychiatry: It always was and still is a pseudo-science. In case you want to know why, read my treatment of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" (which is not easy and is long, but also is quite good and never answered).

As to medicine: It simply is a fact that 85% of the doctors I turned to - mostly specialists, also - did not even know what I had (although this was well described in their medical literature from 1965 onwards - and I fell ill in 1979) and therefore (and for other reasons besides) just were plain and obvious incompetents. (And yes, I do know what science is and ought to be, and very much better than any medic I have seen, simply because that was my specialism, as a philosopher of science.)

Therefore I say (as a psychologist): Avoid psychiatrists whenever you can (try psychologists if you need them: they probably don't know much more [3], but at least they cannot prescribe you expensive pills they themselves profit from) and disbelieve most doctors, especially about non-standard diseases: They really do not know very many things they should know, and at most 1 in 6 is competent in my experience. [4]


[1] As I have said several times (see: On socialism): Everything would be changed in major ways with just ONE change, that also effects less than 1%:
Put an income cap on what people may earn in a year.
If you settle this by deciding nobody may earn more than 20 times as much as the poorest do (like me), nobody but the mega-rich 1% would loose anything, and everybody but the mega-rich would gain very much.

Why keep a system that favors a few major frauds and enormous liars to make millions or billions of dollars from millions or billions of poor people? Why keep a system that is enthralled by the very few mega-rich? Why keep a system that is manifestly extremely unfair to more than 99% of the people if it can be repaired as simply as by an income cap? That will hurt less than 1%?!
And in case you protest: Most Americans are not for a 20 to 1 ratio, but favor a 7 to 1 ratio, while George Orwell favored a 10 to 1 ratio. I am more careful, and chose a proportion that favors over 99% of the living people.

But who talks about income caps? Ah well... here is something to think about, if you care:

And this graphic does not address the issue of income caps. It does show matters are extremely tilted towards the few rich, in the USA (and much more than most Americans think or desire).

Also, the median income - half has less, half has more - is currently a bit less than $52,000 a year, while only 3,65 % had incomes larger than $200,000 a year (which - by the way - is less than the Clintons receive for 1 speech to Goldman Sachs).

For more, see Household incomes in the United States on Wikipedia.

And I am saying this with considerable pain, because the free press has mostly died (from lack of advertisements and from being bought up by a few billionaires), which means democracy and democratic law are dying or dead.

There is no real democracy without a really free press.

[3] For psychologists are just as ignorant as psychiatrists are about anyone's psychology and simply do NOT know - I say this as a psychologist and a philosopher of science - nearly everything there is to know about psychology, if only because both fields are hardly older than a hundred years. (That is: An incredible amount of science about psychology may be done in the next four centuries or so, and probably will be done, if mankind survives, but it simply has not been done so far.)

In other words, present day psychologists and psychiatrists are about as far in to growing into a real science with reputable and extensive and reliable results, as was the 17th Century (before Newton, also) in physics (which now exists for over 400 years, quite unlike psychology and psychiatry).

And no: I have seriously studied both subjects; I have one of the best degrees in psychology that were ever awarded; and I do not think either psychology or psychiatry is a real science (as physics and chemistry are, these days).

Also, most honest and rational psychologists would answer you in a similar way, were it not that their livelihoods depend on their pretenses. Mine does not, and that is another reason why I can be honest.

[4] Also, the majority of the medical folks I have seen were in fact quite impolite, quite greedy, and quite dishonest (and some were clearly not, and that is part of the reason I know) and for none of these blemishes there was any reason other than their own personal decisions in view of their high status among the scientifically totally incompetent.

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