Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Crisis: Mass murder, Oligarchy, Climate Change, Real Science Exit, Allen Frances

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 9, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection (usually) from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 9, 2017

The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. The United States and the Crucifixion of Yemen

This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows (and is not just about crucifying Yemen):
The United States has killed, maimed, displaced and otherwise harmed an astonishing number of people in its 241-year record of murder and mayhem—including more than 20 million killed in 37 nations since 1945.

Murder, Direct and Proxy


A grisly distinction exists between those Uncle Sam has directly assaulted and those he has more indirectly attacked. Here are just a few examples from the long record of direct U.S.-military mass murder since 1945:

● Hiroshima (146,000 killed with a single bomb—what President Harry Truman called “the greatest thing in history”) and Nagasaki (80,000): The arch-criminal atom bombings were unnecessary and savagely carried out even though the U.S. high command knew Japan was defeated and ready to accept U.S. surrender terms.

Iran Air Flight 655: On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes crossed into Iranian waters and shot down an Iranian civilian plane, blowing 290 people out of the sky. The Vincennes’ commander was granted an award for “exceptionally meritorious conduct.”

● The “Highway of Death”: U.S. fighter jets engaged in a frenzied slaughter of tens of thousands of surrendered Iraqi troops in 1991. Lebanese-American journalist Joyce Chediac testified that “U.S. forces continued to drop bombs on the convoys until all humans were killed. So many jets swarmed over the inland road that it created an aerial traffic jam, and combat air controllers feared midair collisions.”

There is considerably more in the article.

2. As US Inequality Breeds Oligarchy, New Report Details Pathway to Equity

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Pervasive and growing inequality is corroding American democracy, and only ambitious solutions—including healthcare for all, a living wage, and the elimination of corporate money from the political process—will be sufficient to remedy the crisis.

That is the conclusion of a new report published Monday by the Next System Project and the Institute for Policy Studies. Their analysis makes overwhelmingly clear that despite the Trump administration's self-serving celebrations of the stock market boom and recent monthly job data, the vast majority of Americans remain locked out of America's tremendous wealth.

I agree with this, as indeed I do with the proposed general cure:

The report closes by offering numerous ways to tackle inequality, which are broken down into four categories, including policies that would "lift the floor, level the playing field, break up the over-concentration of wealth, and check unbridled corporate power."

Some of the ideal steps forward would include:

  • Guaranteeing healthcare to all Americans;
  • Making the minimum wage a living wage;
  • Ensuring that every worker has "family medical leave, sick leave, and protections against wage theft, racial discrimination, and sexual harassment";
  • Making public college tuition-free;
  • Enacting reforms that would "limit campaign contributions, ban corporate contributions and influence, and require timely disclosure of all political donations";
  • Restoring progressive taxation and eliminating avenues used by the wealthy to avoid paying taxes;
  • Breaking up "mega-banks" and vigorously enforcing anti-trust measures.

Acknowledging the drastic nature of these proposed solutions, the report closes by arguing that systemic change can only "flow from a shared vision of what is possible."

But indeed I do not see how these ideas and values will get realized in the present USA. Then again, this does not mean they should not be stated and discussed. And this is a recommended article.

3. Scientists Leak Study on Global Heating Before Trump Can Suppress it

This article is by Juan Cole on Truthdig. It starts as follows (and is one of quite a few articles on the same subject):
A draft report on the current impact of global heating on the United States, produced by 13 Federal agencies, has been leaked to the New York Times. The scientists who leaked it are afraid that the anti-science Trump administration will suppress the findings to help its friends in Big Oil.

One of its central findings is that man-made climate change (driving your car, air-conditioning your house on fossil fuels so that you release toxic CO2) is already having an impact on the United States.  For instance, the West is hotter, which exacerbates droughts.

The article ends as follows:

The oceans around the US are rising, warming and becoming more acidic.  You take a Gulf coast fishing town and this is bad news.  The town itself could be flooded out and disappear.  Warmer Gulf waters mean more extreme hurricanes, so it could be leveled.  And an acidic ocean will kill off a lot of the fish on which they depend.

The report is concrete, careful and scarier than any horror movie you’ve ever seen.  It gives upper and lower estimates, depending on whether humankind gets its act together.  Given the oil-drenched buffoons now in charge, you’d want to bet on the higher and more dangerous numbers in each case.

This is a recommended article.

4. Cosmology for the Curious

This article is by Peter Woit (<- Wikipedia) on his site "Not Even Wrong". It is here  because I tried to warn the Dutch between 1977 and 1989 that both their real sciences and their real universities were disappearing. (See e.g. here if you are interested.)

In thanks, I was first terrorized for three years by a madman protected by the Board of Directors of the "University" of Amsterdam, and then - totally illegally - removed from the right of taking my M.A. in philosophy, while I was gassed (literally) and threatened with murder (literally) since I was forced by the mayor of Amsterdam to live in the same house as his murderous dealers in illegal soft and hard drugs (which should have been housed in the mayor's house).

All of this was only painful for me: The Dutch in great majority do NOT believe in truth, do not believe in real science, do not like - really - intelligent persons, and disapprove of any morality or any ethics that does not conform to the conformists.

And this is about the current USA, nearly forty years after I warned about how science and truth were systematically broken down - and this continues Woit's worrying about physics eleven years ago:

Eleven years later I’m as baffled by what has happened to the field of fundamental physics as I’m baffled by what has happened to democracy in the US. As all attempts to extract a testable prediction from the multiverse have failed, instead of going away, pseudo-science has become ever more dominant, with a hugely successful publicity campaign (including a lot of “Fake Physics”) overcoming scientific failure. Now this sort of thing is moving from speculative pop science to getting the status of accepted science, taught as such to undergraduates.

Many are worried about the status of science in our society, as it faces new challenges. I don’t see how the physics community is going to continue to have any credibility with the rest of society if it sits back and allows multiverse mania to enter the canon. Non-scientists taking science classes need to be taught about the importance of always asking: what would it take to show that this theory is wrong? how do I know this is science not ideology?

In fact, I am not "worried about the status of science in our society" nor about its "credibility with the rest of society": I am worried about the - very steep - decline in any real science that I have seen the last forty years.

And I do not know how to stop it and fear that soon the great majority of the "sciences" taught at the "universities" will be - as they were and very probably still are in the "University" of Amsterdam - propaganda and pseudoscience.

For the ordinary people, including the ordinary scientists believe-or-pretend what I and ALL my fellow-students were taught in 1978, and ever since:
"Everybody knows that truth does not exist"
That was the beginning of (neo)fascism, but who cares? No one I have seen the last forty years in Holland, at least: All they believe in is propaganda and ideology.

5. What’s going on Here?

This is by David Healy MD on his site and is about Allen Frances, who is a leading psychiatric fraud who earned millions with his frauds.

I found this interesting, but it is hard to summarize, so instead of trying to do that I give three references to material I published in 2012 plus one bit by (ex-)psychiatrist
Warren S. McCulloch, who was so much more intelligent and more scientific than Allen Frances.

First, here are three of my articles from 2012:
The first is a long article on psychiatry that was never answered by any psychiatrist, though it was much downloaded; the second article is a list of - in fact - 137 articles I wrote about the DSM-5 (in fact there are some more); and the last is about a real philosopher (I say, as a a real philosopher) George Carlin, with some about the DSM-5.

And here is Warren S. McCulloch about psychiatry - which he gave up, to become one of the founders of cybernetics - when it was only a fraud serving the financial interests of psychiatrists, but before psychiatry became very much the eager servant of the psychopharmical corporations:
This from 1953. Allen Frances is not as far as 1953, in 2017, though indeed he earned a whole lot more than Warren McCulloch.


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