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Nederlog

Jun 1, 2016

Crisis: Corrupt Law, Middle Class, Elections, Opioids and Heroin, Decline of Medicine
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Introduction

1.
Appeals Court Delivers Devastating Blow to
     Cellphone-Privacy Advocates

2. Once Middle Class, Millions Are Joining the Ranks of
     'Disposable' Americans

3. 'Rigged' 2016 Election Has Voters Feeling Helpless,
     Unheard, and Ashamed
 
4. Congress Boosts Rehab but Gives Opioid Pushers a
     Pass

5. key opinion leaders: the new millennium…
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about either an insane or a very corrupt outcome of an American appeals court (that incidentally strongly suggests most of American law is corrupt: it works to protect the rich and the powerful, not the weak and the powerless); item 2 is about the collapse of the American middle class (whose well-paying jobs were - after deregulations - exported to the much less well-paid Indians, Pakistanis, and Chinese); item 3 is about the 2016 elections, though it sounds a bit strange to me; item 4 is about a vastly growing increase in the abuse of heroin in the USA, mostly because the pharmaceutical corporations sell the equivalent as pain-killers, but heroin is cheaper (and as addictive); and item 5 is about the collapse of psychiatry as a science, together with the partial collapse of much of medicine, since pharmaceutical corporations now write most of the medical papers that make them loads of money, and they write for profit and as advertisers, much rather than helping patients with real medicine.

Also, I yesterday uploaded an extended version of the
crisis index that shows I wrote 1227 Nederlogs about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (and over a 1000 since June 10, 2013).                          

1. Appeals Court Delivers Devastating Blow to Cellphone-Privacy Advocates

The first item is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Courts across the country are grappling with a key question for the information age: When law enforcement asks a company for cellphone records to track location data in an investigation, is that a search under the Fourth Amendment?

By a 12-3 vote, appellate court judges in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday ruled that it is not — and therefore does not require a warrant.

Put otherwise: The USA's state terrorists - i.e. the USA's secret services - have dominant interests to secretly know absolutely everything about you (whoever you are, wherever you are) according to judges in Richmond, Virginia (but yes, this is about the inhabitants of the USA).

They also had a sick argument for it:

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld what is known as the third-party doctrine: a legal theory suggesting that consumers who knowingly and willingly surrender information to third parties therefore have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in that information — regardless of how much information there is, or how revealing it is.

Research clearly shows that cell-site location data collected over time can reveal a tremendous amount of personal information — like where you live, where you work, when you travel, who you meet with, and who you sleep with. And it’s impossible to make a call without giving up your location to the cellphone company.

The "arguments" of the first paragraph are total bullshit:

First, only a small minority of those buying cellphones do understand enough of both computers and the law to make it fair to say that they "knowingly and willingly surrender information"; secondly, very few of those buying cellphones knew that therewith they give their all to the secret services; third, there is an enormous and totally unmotivated leap from "knowingly and willingly surrender[ing] information" to having “no reasonable expectation of privacy”.

I think this "Court of Appeals" would have been a whole lot more honest if they had simply declared: "We uphold the right of the secret services to plunder your computer and your cellphone, because we judges support, and trust, and deeply admire the supermen and superwomen of the secret services".

You think I am exaggerating? I don't think so, for the "precedent" that was quoted also was utter bullshit, from before the days anyone had internet or cellphones, and extremely few even had personal computers:

“Supreme Court precedent mandates this conclusion,” Judge Diana Motz wrote in the majority opinion. “For the Court has long held that an individual enjoys no Fourth Amendment protection ‘in information he voluntarily turns over to [a] third part[y].’” The quote was from the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland.

And again there is the enormous and utterly insane leap from "voluntarily turning over information" (like your name and address) to "voluntarily turning over everything on your cellphone and computer".

But this is strong evidence that the American courts are no longer real courts: This judgment is mere intentional bullshit and baloney.

2. Once Middle Class, Millions Are Joining the Ranks of 'Disposable' Americans

The second item is b
y Paul Buchheit on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
After 35 years of wealth redistribution to the super-rich, inequality has forced much of the middle class down to near-poverty levels, worsened by the fact that they are also blamed for their own misfortunes.

The evidence for this disposability keeps accumulating: income and wealth—and health—are all declining for middle-class America. Meanwhile, those at the top could not be less concerned. As wealth at the top grows, the super-rich feel they have little need for the rest of society.
Yes, that seems mostly correct to me, after three years of daily reporting on the crisis that started in 2008, and that continues and continues ever since (except for the very rich, to be sure: there is no crisis for them, but there are enormous increases in their riches).

There are much better arguments and statistics, but I have also given these quite a few times over the past three years and shall not repeat them.

Paul Buchheit also has four points plus texts, of which I will only quote the points:

Income among the middle class is plummeting
Half of us have no savings, along wealth
Inequality is taking a toll on our health
It may all be getting still worse
In case you want to see the texts associated with these points, click the last dotted link.

And here is a sum-up:

The staggering reality is that half of America is in financial distress and is at risk of falling deeper into debt. 

In fact, it could be even more than half. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a JP Morgan study's conclusion that "the bottom 80% of households by income lack sufficient savings to cover the type of volatility observed in income and spending." Fewer than one in three 25- to 34-year-olds live in their own homes, a 20 percent drop in just the past 15 years.
I don't quite get what the wizards of JP Morgan meant when they wrote that "the bottom 80% of households by income lack sufficient savings to cover the type of volatility observed in income and spending", but I presume that they
mean that 4 out of 5 of the present American households do not earn enough
to meet any large payment they have to make without further losses in income.

And yes, I think Buchheit is right that "
It may all be getting still worse":

It has been growing worse for the many ever since 1980, and by now the few rich, their lawyers and their servants have deregulated nearly all the laws that protected the non-rich from the depradations the rich could inflict on them.

So I do expect it will get a lot worse before it starts improving again, if that ever happens (without a major revolution after a major collapse).

3. 'Rigged' 2016 Election Has Voters Feeling Helpless, Unheard, and Ashamed

The third
item is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

This year's presidential primary has left many voters feeling helpless and alienated from their political parties, according to a new poll, which found that Democrats and Republicans alike want to see major changes in the way presidential candidates are chosen.

The survey, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and published Tuesday, reported that a full 90 percent of voters lack confidence in the country's political system while 40 percent went so far as to say that the two-party structure is "seriously broken."

Seventy percent of voters, including equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans, said they feel frustrated about the 2016 presidential election and 55 percent reported feeling "helpless."

Hm. I am willing (I think) to accept the survey, but I must say that "feeling helpless", "feeling alienated", "lacking confidence" while even - gasp! gasp! - 4 out of 10 "went so far as to say that the two-party structure is "seriously broken", all motivated (it seems) by this "year's presidential primary" seems a bit odd to me. [1]

Besides, when 60% of American voters also believe in the literal truth of Noah's Ark (<- Wikipedia) I have to doubt the rationality of the majority anyway.

Then again, this is a bit more definite:

Most Americans believe that neither political party represents the views of ordinary voters. Just 14 percent say the Democratic Party is responsive to the opinions of the average voter while 8 percent say the same about the Republicans.

Yes, but the Americans have this - mostly - two party system for a hundred or more years, while it is clear for most Europeans that two parties is not enough (not by far) to reflect the diverse interests, values, and concerns of hundreds of millions of voters a bit adequately. [2]

In brief, while I agree that the elections are rigged, and quite possibly more so than before, it is also true that the American system of elections has been rigged and corrupt for a long time.

4. Congress Boosts Rehab but Gives Opioid Pushers a Pass

The fourth item is by Lee Fang on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are proudly touting recently passed measures to address the nation’s growing heroin and opioid crisis, but the legislation may have handed the drug companies at the center of the epidemic a major victory.

The legislation focuses on treating addiction and does nothing to limit the role of pharmaceutical companies in fueling the opioid crisis. In fact, it instructs the federal government to review and potentially undo sweeping new guidelines that recommend less prescribing of highly addictive opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

The reason for "the nation’s growing heroin and opioid crisis" is mostly the greed of pharmaceutical corporations and doctors (and psychiatrists) who work for them (and see item 5), who put the equivalent of heroin on the market, and recommended prescribing it as much as possible:

The review panel would be made up of a range of stakeholders including pain management groups, many of which are financially tied to the drug industry.

Four out of five people addicted to heroin began using it after trying prescription opioid painkillers, which provide a similar high. Investigations have found that drug companies orchestrated much of the epidemic by promoting claims that opioids are not addictive and by financing third-party groups that promote opioid painkillers for minor pains, such as toothaches.

The pharmaceutical corporations and their medical doctors are responsible, for it is utter bullshit "that opioids are not addictive" and it is extreme greed to finance "third-party groups that promote opioid painkillers for minor pains": You know you are trying to hook them to strongly habituating expensive drugs, but you do it nevertheless, because it makes you a big profit.

Here is how it works:

The demand for pain advocacy and pain specialists to review the CDC guidelines comes as recent reports show that the leading societies for pain management have been funded and controlled by painkiller companies for years.

One leading pain advocacy group, the Pain Care Forum, is funded and largely controlled by Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin. According to a report from the Associated Press, the Pain Care Forum organized a lobbying campaign last year to defeat the CDC guidelines. 

And here is the reason why "four out of five people addicted to heroin began using it after trying prescription opioid painkillers": Because it is less expensive than heroin.

In the end, it is all greed, all corruption, all utter lack of care for the interests of those that are not your family or your personal friends. Also, I have that much experience with Dutch doctors to say that you are a very happy person if you have a doctor who belongs to the circa 10% who is decent, honest and intelligent. [3]

They exist, but only in a minority. Here is some evidence for that proposition:

5. key opinion leaders: the new millennium…

The fifth item is by 1 boring old man, who is in fact an American psychiatrist in his seventies, on his blog:
This starts as follows and lists the utter collapse of psychiatry (as a medical disciplin) in the United States:
When I left academic and mainstream psychiatry in the mid-1980s, we had experts – people who were known and knowledgeable about some particular topic in the field. When I returned several decades later, we had a different breed – Key Opinion Leaders [KOLs]. They too were well known and knowledgeable, but they were something else as well. The term comes from the PHARMA marketing lingo and was well chosen – they can lead the opinions of others. So they are in high demand by industry as advisors, authors, speakers, grantees, etc. And the pay, though sometimes indirect, has been excellent, both to them and their institutions. Some did actual research, but most referred to themselves as researchers by defining Clinical Trials as research. And they published like crazy – authoring and co-authoring hundreds of articles.
Note that this was not merely a change: it was a turn of 180 degrees from doing medicine in a decently controlled rational way, to promoting the sellings of expensive patented drugs based on advertisements disguised as "experiments", and written up by ghost writers, but signed by "Key Opinion Leaders", who again were very well paid.

Those who wanted themselves to get extremely rich easily triumphed, in part because big money tends to triumph, in part because most medical men are in
medicine to make money, in part because - especially - psychiatry is not a real science, and in part because the pharmaceutical corporations got extremely corrupt and fraudulent from the 1980ies onwards.

There is a lot more I could say, but I have said so before (especially in Nederlogs of 2010, 2011 and 2012) and leave it out today.

The article ends as follows - and the phrase "
academic·industrial complex" no doubt intentionally mirrors Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" (<- Wikipedia, well worth reading):
So at the turn of the century, the academic·industrial complex was going strong in psychiatry, but largely out of sight. Clinical Trials were conducted by Contract Research Organizations [CROs]. The data was analysed by the sponsors and written up by contracted medical firms [ghostwriters]. The publication authors were editors and window dressing for the industry- dominated process. Inside academic psychiatry, there was a powerful coalition of KOLs and a boss·of·bosses running the show with pharma allies [or vice versa].
Actually, "the academic·industrial complex" was started in 1980, with the appearance of the totally fraudulent DSM-III. (You may disagree, but I am a psychologist and a philosopher, and what you have to refute, if you disagree, is my article of 2012 DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis": you will find it is interesting, long and very difficult to refute with rational science).

Since then (1980) psychiatry and most of medicine ceased to be sciences, and transformed themselves to servants of the pharmaceutical corporations, whose
medical opinions are frauds ("
data was analysed by the sponsors and written up by contracted medical firms [ghostwriters]"), whose science was not science but advertising ("window dressing for the industry-dominated process"), and who were being led by medical and pharmaceutical millionairs only out for money, money, and more money for themselves ("a powerful coalition of KOLs and a boss·of·bosses running the show with pharma allies").

----------------------------------------------------------
Notes

[1] It seems odd to me because (i) this is about the presidential primaries (rather than about poverty, exploitation, repression etc.) and (ii) for this European it also sounds odd that merely 4 out of 10 Americans think "the two-party structure" is broken.

[2] Yes, I know there are more than two parties in the USA - there's the Communist Party, the Green Party, and more - but effectively it is always between the Republicans and the Democrats. There are quite a few reasons for this, and one important one is corruption (only the big parties get lots of money).

And in any case, judging from my European point of view - living in a country of 16 million people, with Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Greens, Liberals, the Party of the Animals, and quite a few more, all with different programs, different values, different ideas, different leaders, and with seats in parliament - the American system seems considerably more primitive and crude.

[3] I am a psychologist and a philosopher; I am ill for 37 years without even being recognized as ill, except by a few good doctors (and it started in the first full year of my studies, when I had no reason whatsoever to pretend to be ill, as neither did my ex, who all the time had and has the same disease as I have, and who also got it in the first year of her studies); and I have seen many more medical doctors than most:

It is my judgment that 9 out of 10 of those I met as medical doctors were not competent.

And incidentally: Since I did get a very excellent M.A. in spite of being ill all the time, and could have made a lot of money with that if I had not been ill, it is really vastly more probable that I do have a real disease, which is not understood by medicine, than that I am a liar who pretends to be ill, because he loves to get a sub-minimal income all his life - as most of the liars who had studied medicine that I saw either did in fact accuse me of or (for the most part) seem to have believed because they were stupid (but indeed did not accuse me of, nor did they offer any help).


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