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Nederlog

Jun 11, 2016

This is a non-crisis Nederlog - which is a relief
Sections 
Introduction

1. Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump

2. Why it is a relief not to write a crisis file every day
3. On the near-complete disappearance of the left
4. Transparency International on Massive Medical
     Corruption

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, June 11, 2016.

This is a non-crisis Nederlog - which is a relief. In fact, the previous statement is today's title, though today's file also contains crisis materials. In fact, there are 4 items with 3 dotted links: Item 1 is about two videos with Noam Chomsky (each about 6 m) who explains why he fears Donald Trump (and I think he is mostly right); item 2 is about the relief of not writing a crisis log every day (and some more: about Nederlog in the future, and my eyes, that improved a lot the last half year); item 3 is nominally about a Dutch article, but mostly about the disappearances of both the real social democrats and the radical left; and item 4 is about medicine, and in it a medical person explains what is wrong with modern medicine, which is an enormous lot, indeed so much that I decided to mostly give it up, not because I distrust science (I don't and am "a scientist" by education) but because I only met a small minority of decent and intelligent medical persons, while I also know a lot about the totally sick efforts by the pharmaceutical corporations who lie and deceive about most medical research, because they are only interested in their own profits.

1. Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump

The first item today are two recent videos with Noam Chomsky. Both are mainly about the great dangers a Trumpian presidency would or will have for the world and the USA, and there is a certain amount of overlap as well, but
also considerable differences in content (though not in outlook or values).

First, here they are:
Both are from this year; both are on Youtube; and both take about six minutes. Also, the first one is in fact audio with photographs, but the difference between a talking head and non-talking head with audioed talk is not large (I think).

I saw both only yesterday and I decided to list them here mostly because these
are the opinions of Noam Chomsky (<- Wikipedia), who is one of the leading intellectuals of the world, and who also is 87 now, and who knows more about politics than nearly everyone I know of.

Also, of the very many living people I have read about both politics and intellectual things, Chomsky's positions are often closer to my positions than other positions, in part because he is a real and credible anarchist (and so am I, indeed since age 25 or so, though not quite like Chomsky), and in part because - unlike the vast majority of "the politically interested" - he judges things mostly from an analytical and intellectual point of view, that is also similar to mine (though again not coincident).

In case you never heard Chomsky: I agree he is a somewhat boring speaker (in fact, so does he) and I agree he is 87, but I also insist that he generally is
a very clear speaker, unlike most who talk about politics.

As to the subject, the lunatic Trump (as I think he should be called, for that is what he is):

Noam Chomsky fears the possibility that Trump may become president of the USA, and is quite right to do so, in part because Trump is a rich racist, xeno- phobe and a demagogue; and in part because he is utterly unpredictable, often nonsensical, and totally unfit for a presidential role and presidential powers (which include blowing up the whole world with atomic bombs), simply because he is - I would and do say - an evident narcissist and psychopath.

Most of this gets articulated in the videos, though Chomsky avoids the terms "lunatic" and "psychopath". He does so - in so far as I can see - in part because he is not a psychologist; in part because Chomsky generally avoids
personal disqualifications; and in part because he does not need to given the
the things he does say.

In any case, I think these are good videos, and warn against a major danger that may be enthroned coming november by the majority of the stupid and ignorant American voters (and I am very sorry, but that is the situation).

2. Why it is a relief not to write a crisis file every day

This is about the first day in three full years that I am not writing a (real) crisis file and I will explain briefly why that is indeed a considerable relief for me, namely by explaining how I wrote it.


The crisis files were (and will be, but there will be fewer of them) written in four steps:
  • I started, generally very early in the morning, by reading several lists of files (around 35 lately), looking for crisis materials and selecting titles and addresses of those I wanted to review. This generally took between one and two hours (and I am a very fast reader).
  • Next, I prepared the beginning of a new Nederlog, with just the titles and links. This generally took between half an hour and an hour.
  • Next, I reloaded the selected titles from the internet, and selected the
    bits I wanted to review, and put in these texts (which generally required several conversions). This generally took up to an hour.
  • Finally, I wrote my comments on the selected bits (and I usually - though not always - am a very fast writer); put in the necessary links and notes; removed various bits that were put in by help programs; connected the files to each other, put the latest in the indexes and summaries, and uploaded the result (which I then checked to see whether it had all gone well). All of this generally took around three hours.
And I did this every day (nearly) for three successive years.

The reader will see that on an average day all of this cost me around six hours every day, and indeed most of these were given to preparations for writing my comments (and the combination of my selections with my comments is what is the most important to me).

I could do this (in spite of my illness) for two basic reasons: First, since the beginning of 2012 I used a combination of orthomolecular vitamins that did help me considerably, and while not curing me gave me less pain and a bit
more energy, and secondly (which is quite important if you are really ill and
the fundamental problem you have for 37 years is lack of energy (combined
with muscle aches)) because I could do all of this sitting and in my own home and with hardly any walking or standing.

Another reason I was willing to do this is because I think the present crisis is
one of the most important and deepest crises ever, and this especially because
of (i) the NSA, the GCHQ and all other secret services, who are in my estimate preparing - willingly preparing - for a kind of neofascism in which they have all the powers over anyone, and because of (ii) the environment / global warming, that threatens to collapse human civilization as it existed the last 400 years or so.

I think (i) and (ii) are as important as ever, and I also see very little effective opposition to either in the highest political circles, which do have most of the powers.

But at 66 now, I have learned most that I could learn from 3 years of close following of (mostly) journalism (that again was mostly from alternative sources), and working six hours a day to produce a crisis log also takes too
much time and energy to continue doing.

It simply is a relief not to have to spend the first three of the above four steps, that generally took between three and four hours. To be sure, I very probably will keep checking the around 35 sites I checked daily, but that will be the extent of my daily efforts to keep being informed about the crisis.

What I will do about the crisis (anyway, as long as I have the required health)
are (i) I will keep writing crisis files, but in a considerably lessened frequency
and (ii) I will try to write out a number of my general findings, for I did come closer (I think) to understanding the causes of the crisis, and did not have sufficient time and energy to write them out the last three years.

Otherwise, Nederlog will probably be a lot more as it was in the first half of
2012 (but with less attention on ME and with hardly any on the DSM-5).

I do not know what the precise shape of Nederlog will be, although it probably will continue to be published daily (for it will need fewer hours of work now) but one good thing (for me) is this:

My eyes are now a whole lot better than they were from June 2012 till the end of 2015:

It is only in the start of 2016 that my eyes started to improve a lot. They are not cured, but they are a lot less painful, and that as well is a great relief, for at long last - after 3 1/2 years of mostly lacking these abilities - I can again read mostly unproblematically and I also can visualize again mostly as before (which is one of the things I could do very well, but which mostly stopped when my eyes were continuously painful).

3. On the near-complete disappearance of the left

The present item is covered by the title, which I will treat more generally in coming Nederlogs, but the present item concerns only a little bit of it and also a specific instance of the near-complete disappearance of the left (and the liberals).

The reason it is here is the NRC-Handelsblad. I read that paper, which used to be a decent paper for Dutch intellectuals, from 1970 till 2010, which makes me a real long-term reader of the NRC (as it is generally known).

I gave this up by the end of 2010, simply because (i) the NRC had been sold (several times also, if I remember well) to end up in the hands of a few very
rich men, who (ii) handed the paper over to some Belgian loudmouth to be remade into something much more popular, much less intellectual, much more "amusing" (for average minds), and much less genuinely informing paper.

The plan sketched in (ii) was implemented quite successfully by the end of 2010 (and I had protested what I could see coming quite a few times in Nederlogs in 2008), especially because of the financial situation and the new
rich owners sketched in (i), and since I want a really informative paper for real intellectuals, which the NRC had almost completely ceased to be by the end of 2010 (given my forty years of up to then quite decent experiences with the NRC) I ceased to buy it - except for about once a week, mostly on Friday.

So I still am "following it", though with very little joy, and at most weekly, and I did buy one yesterday, and in this paper I found a (Dutch) piece by a "journalist" of the NRC, that (translated) starts as follows (including its title) - and I am sorry for the style, but this is the new non-intellectual NRC:
Does the radical left still exist? It makes no difference.

That the national populism of Front National, Alternative für Deutschland, and Wilders are gaining, we all know by now. That social democracy - in spite of governing in Germany, France, Italy and Holland [1] - has a dying existence, we also all know. But how does it go with the radical left? Where are the real socialists, who in this time of mass-immigration [2] and world wide big capitalism still dare to loudly announce "Their fight, our fight, international solidarity"?  [3]
To start with, this is the typical sort of article in which the new NRC specializes: It is limited to what "we all" are supposed to know (i.e. it contains no information), while the "information" it gives is blatantly false (see [1]).

Also (you wouldn't say so) this is written by a (former) "leftist" journalist (who here proudly asserts, by implication) that his
(former) "leftist" opinions make no difference (and were no doubt as "honest" as they were "leftist").

In any case, what I want to briefly consider here, and later in other Nederlogs,
are the questions: What happened to the left? And what happened to the radical left?

My answer is (more or less) as the writer of the article supposes: They both almost completely disappeared, and also the ordinary left - social demo- cracy, to settle for a name - was mostly intentionally killed by "social democratic" political leaders, who seem to have killed it (with Clinton and Blair) in the nineties because it limited their own wealth from politics. (If you think that is cynical: Clinton is now worth over $120 million, Blair is now worth around 80 million pounds, and many former Dutch "social democrats" and former "trade-union leaders" now earn €300,000 a year or more, for hardly doing anything. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being cynical about political leaders, by the way: they fully deserve it.)

There are other reasons, such as the disappearance of most of the real proletariat, but the above is my basic answer about the reasons why social
democracy disappeared: The "social democratic" political leaders killed it
because this was more convenient for their own personal desires for riches
and power. (And certainly not for any intellectual and moral reasons.)

As to the radical left, the reasons for its disappearance are different, in part because it was a lot smaller than the ordinary left, and in part because it was both more intellectual, and more based on students, intellectuals and academics.

Also, the radical left was not killed by its leaders, as was the ordinary left: It mostly disappeared (with a few remnants left) simply because there were far fewer leftist students, and also far fewer leftist intellectuals and aca- demics.

And this again happened mainly for two reasons (that I can see: there probably are more): The first was that most (but not all) of the radical left had simply quite bad, quite ideological theories, that were also rather rapidly discarded in the 1970ies and 1980ies; and the second reason was the arisal of the anti- intellectual bullshit that was postmodernism, that was widely adopted because it was extremely easy ("everybody knows there is no truth"), very radical (apparently) and utterly nonsensical, while promising almost everything to its believers. This was most popular in the 90ies and early 2000s, but now also is a lot less than it was then.

So by and large I agree with the writer of the article that both the ordinary and the radical left disappeared, but unlike him I think that is a great pity, because (1) the moral vision of the left - democracy, equality, justice, fairness, beliefs based on science rather than religion or prejudice or ignorance - still is quite valid, even if most of the leftist theories are incredible, and because (2) even while many (genuine) leftist theories were not valid and mistaken, they certainly were intellectually more interesting than the rightist and centrist theories, and far better than postmodernism, and were much better in terms of moral values, while (3) there also are quite a few leftist factual and moral ideas that make a lot of intellectual sense (also if they are not quite correct).

In brief: I am an unrepentant real and radical (intellectual) leftist, probably mostly like Goldman, Russell, Orwell, Mills, and Chomsky, but I do know this is by now a fairly rare position.

It also is the position that makes most intellectual, social and moral sense to me, and no: I am not impressed by the popularity of rightist, neofascistic and neoliberal ideas at present, simply because these have no respectable intellectual foundations whatsoever.

More later.

4. Transparency International on Massive Medical  Corruption

The fourth
and last item today is medical, and will interest few, even though it is quite important. It is by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal:

This starts as follows:

Health Care Corruption as a Taboo Topic

Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as

Abuse of entrusted power for private gain
In 2006, TI published a report on health care corruption, which asserted that corruption is widespread throughout the world, serious, and causes severe harm to patients and society.
the scale of corruption is vast in both rich and poor countries.
Also,
Corruption might mean the difference between life and death for those in need of urgent care. It is invariably the poor in society who are affected most by corruption because they often cannot afford bribes or private health care. But corruption in the richest parts of the world also has its costs.
The report did not get much attention.  Since then, health care corruption has been nearly a taboo topic in the US.  When health care corruption is discussed in English speaking developed countries, it is almost always in terms of a problem that affects benighted less developed countries.  On Health Care Renewal, we have repeatedly asserted that health care corruption is a big problem in all countries, including the US, but the topic remains anechoic.

This - apart from the following list of topics - is also all you are going to get, for the simple reason that few are (really, much) interested in health care for
the fairly good reasons that they know very little of medicine and are healthy
most of their lives.

To start with, here is the list of topics in the article, about which you can learn more if you click on the last dotted link, next to "Corruption in medical research":

Manipulation of Clinical Research
Suppression of Clinical Research
Manipulation of the Dissemination of Clinical Research
Deceptive Marketing
Other Topics, like the revolving door and regulatory capture

Also, Health Care Renewal is by an MD, and all of the above mentioned practices are now quite widely spread in American medicine (where some medical doctors now earn 4 million dollars a year, and not because they
are excellent medical doctors).

And it so happens that I do (meanwhile) know a fair amount of medicine, and also am a psychologist by academic education, and have been ill for more than half of my life: I am ill since 1.1.1979, but even that fact was never admitted by the Dutch bureaucracy, while it was evidently true, where it only because both my ex and I fell ill in the first year of our university-studies, when we could least afford it and had no reason whatsoever to pretend we were ill, and that are the reasons this article - which is good and recommend- ed - is here.

And in fact, after being mistreated for 37 years, I have given up almost completely on all Dutch medicine, all Dutch medics, and all Dutch "health care", and I look upon them as mostly frauds who are in fact working for their own fine incomes much rather than for the real interests of patients (patients have to pay - via health care insurance - and should shut up, seems to be the average medical conviction).

My reasons are that (i) most people who work, work for the money, and not for the job, and that is also the case for medical people, in spite of their pretensions to work "for the patients", "for the general good", "for the community" etc. etc.: Something like 5 to 10% of the medical doctors I saw
might say so with considerable justification, but the rest simply lied if they said so; and that (ii) I have seen far more medical people than most, I have mostly not met persons I could genuinely regard as either intelligent or helpful, and I am a real intellectual (with much better degrees than the very great majority), and I simply generalize from the many very disappointing experiences with medical men and women I have had: At most 5-10% of the medical doctors I have met treated me well and intelligently (and also found nothing), and the rest simply did not, and I think I saw enough Dutch medical persons to say that I have seen the average (which was not good, at least not for any disease that was not very well-known).

All of this is a very great pity and constitute genuine losses (for things were much better 40 and more years ago), and the reason few know about it are
simply that most are mostly healthy most of their lives while few know a lot about medicine.

---------------------

Notes

[1] I take it this is the level of "factual information" that is currently supplied by the NRC-Handelsblad:

(i) Holland is not governed (as claimed) by "the social democrats": Holland is governed by a coalition of the Dutch liberals, which are the stronger party, and "the social democrats", who are the weaker party, and are no longer social democrats since Wim Kok became a Blairite "Third Way" convert; (ii) Germany is not governed (as claimed) by "the social democrats": Germany is governed by a coalition of Christian Democrats (the stronger party) with the "social democrats", who are nearly as "socialist" or "democratic" as the Dutch former "social democrats"; (iii) Italy is not governed (as claimed) by "the social democrats": It is governed by a coalition of neoliberals who call themselves "Democrats" together with some Rightists (though it is true that the neoliberal Renzi also is leader of the "European Socialists", who again - probably - are not socialists at all).

It is true (a bit surprisingly, after all these falsehoods) that France is currently governed by "a social democrat" of some (extra-ordinary weak) kind who acts as if he is "a socialist", which he is not if my (extensive) memories of real socialists are correct, but OK: In France the social democrats are governing.

[2] In fact, there is no mass-immigration in Europe: European govern- ments are doing their best to prevent any mass-immigration of refugees from Syria and the Middle-East, and are largely successful in doing so. (And I am willing to agree that they are doing so to please their voters, who by and
large want to remain rich and do not want to share their riches with others, and certainly not with Muslims).

[3] This is translated from the Dutch, in which it rhymes. It is true that - in the seventies, at least - this call was often heard in demonstrations in Holland (but that is over 35 years ago, at least).


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