Thursday, September 14, 2017

Crisis: Clinton Book, On U.S. Spying, Medicare, Continuous Wars, On Sigmund Freud

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from September 14, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, September 14, 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 will continue with it.

On the moment I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from September 14, 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:

This article is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

To pitch her book, Hillary Clinton is sitting down this week for a series of media interviews, mostly with supportive TV personalities, such as Rachel Maddow, to discuss her views of “What Happened,” the book’s title. Calls for Clinton to be quiet and disappear are misguided for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that she is a very smart, informed, and articulate politician, which means her interviews — especially when she’s liberated from programmed campaign mode — are illuminating about how she, and her fellow establishment Democrats who have driven the party into a ditch, really think.

I suppose this is also the only review of "What Happened" that I will review in Nederlog, in part because I think Hillary Clinton is a fraud (who sells her political credit for very large amounts of bankers' money, like her husband) and in part because I think the sooner she disappears the better it is for everyone (even the Clintons).

And I don't agree with Greenwald that being "a very smart, informed, and articulate politician" is a reason to interview her, for I think she is also quite dishonest. Why one should listen to a "very smart, informed, and articulate" liar escapes me, indeed except if one is interested in propaganda and lies.

For one example, here is one further bit by Greenwald:

(...) a huge factor in Clinton’s political career and how she is perceived — as a senator and especially as secretary of state — is her advocacy of multiple wars and other military actions, many, if not all, of which were rather disastrous, rendering it quite strange to spend an hour discussing why she lost without so much as mentioning any of that.

This is (..) reflective of the broader Democratic Party desire to pretend that the foreign wars it has repeatedly prosecuted, and the endless killing of innocent people for which it is responsible, do not exist. Part of that is the discomfort of cognitive dissonance: the Democratic branding and self-glorification as enemies of privilege, racism, and violence are directly in conflict with the party’s long-standing eagerness to ignore, or even actively support, policies which kill large numbers of innocent people from Pakistan, Libya, and Somalia to Yemen, Iraq, and Gaza, but which receive scant attention because of the nationality, ethnicity, poverty, distance, and general invisibility of their victims.

I agree, but this again means that she is lying on several levels, namely here directly about the multiple wars, and indirectly about the 180 degree clash between the public pretensions of the Democrats, and their actual policies. And then even these lies are not documented directly, but simply are not shown by "supportive TV personalities" (which is an additional lie, though perhaps not by Clinton herself, but by the "supportive TV personalities" who don't say what Clinton doesn't want to be said).

And the above last quotation occurs directly above a photograph from the NBC News of Jan 17, 2017 that says, quite correctly:

"U.S. Bombed Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libia, Yemen, Somalia in 2016"

I think all of these wars are illegal by U.S. law that requires the consent of the House for acts of war, and this was never given, but then the U.S. wars have been conducted now for 16 years without almost any legal justification in terms of U.S. laws. (And see item 4 below.)

There is considerably more by Glenn Greenwald that I leave to your interests, and he ends as follows:

From a policy perspective, endless war and militarism shape virtually every key issue, from budgetary priorities and tax policy to corporatism and lobbyist power, making it inexcusable on the merits to ignore or downplay them. But also as a political matter, any discussion of why Clinton lost, or what the Democrats must reform, is woefully incomplete if it excludes these questions.

Yes indeed, but once again: If much of what you get when you interview Hillary Clinton are "very smart, informed, and articulate" lies, I really see no rational reason to interview her (other than as studies of lies). And also see item 4 below.

2. Sloppy U.S. Spies Misused a Covert Network for Personal Shopping — and Other Stories from Internal NSA Documents

This article is by Micah Lee, Margot Williams and Talya Cooper on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

NSA agents successfully targeted “the entire business chain” connecting foreign cafes to the internet, bragged about an “all-out effort” to spy on liberated Iraq, and began systematically trying to break into virtual private networks, according to a set of internal agency news reports dating to the first half of 2005.

British spies, meanwhile, were made to begin providing new details about their informants via a system of “Intelligence Source Descriptors” created in response to intelligence failures in Iraq. Hungary and the Czech Republic pulled closer to the National Security Agency.

And future Intercept backer Pierre Omidyar visited NSA headquarters for an internal conference panel on “human networking” and open-source intelligence.

These stories and more are contained in a batch of 294 articles from SIDtoday, the internal news website of the NSA’s core Signals Intelligence Directorate. The Intercept is publishing the articles in redacted form as part of an ongoing project to release material from the files provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

There is a lot more text in the article that is recommended.

3. It’s Now Time for Medicare for All

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

Senator Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Jeff Merkley, are introducing a Medicare For All bill in the Senate. It’s a model for where this nation needs to be headed.

Some background: American spending on health care per person is more than twice the average in the world’s 35 advanced economies. Yet Americans are sicker, our lives are shorter, and we have more chronic illnesses than in any other advanced nation.

That’s because medical care is so expensive for the typical American that many put off seeing a doctor until their health has seriously deteriorated.

Why is health care so much cheaper in other nations? Partly because their governments negotiate lower rates with health care providers. In France, the average cost of a magnetic resonance imaging exam is $363. In the United States, it’s $1,121. There, an appendectomy costs $4,463. Here, it’s $13,851.

The French can get lower rates because they cover everyone — which gives them lots of bargaining power.

All of these are good reasons to introduce medicare for all. Here is some more:

Medicare for all would avoid all these problems and get lower prices and better care.

Ideally, it would be financed the same way Medicare and Social Security are financed, through the payroll tax. Wealthy Americans should pay a higher payroll tax rate and contribute more than lower-income people. But everyone would come out ahead because total health care costs would be far lower, and outcomes far better.

I completely agree, and I think the proposal by Sanders, Warren and others deserves strong support, although it is my pessimistic guess that it will fail in the present circumstances (with most political power in the hands of the Republicans).

4. Endless War Continues as Senate Kills Effort to Repeal 2001 Authorization

This article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday killed an effort by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to sunset the war authorizations that have been used for 16 years to justify ongoing military actions in regions around the globe.

Despite the failure, Win Without War director Stephen Miles argues that the vote "shows that momentum is building to cancel the president's blank check for endless war," adding that "it's clear that our representatives in Congress are beginning to recognize that after nearly two decades, the conflicts we are currently fighting have a tenuous connection to the laws that are used to authorize them."

"If Congress can't even be bothered to vote on whether we should be in war, then we have no business sending young men and women to die fighting in it," Miles concluded.

In essence, as observers noted, the chamber gave the OK to continuing "endless war" (..)
I agree with the last quote of Miles. Here is some more:

Sen. Paul's attempt was an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have repealed the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force after six months and allow for Congress debate another potential war authorization.

The procedural vote was 61-36, with the "yea" votes in support of tabling (rejecting) the amendment.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Paul said, "I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared, and unconstitutional war. What we have today is basically unlimited war—war anywhere, anytime, any place on the globe."

"No one with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes these authorizations allow current wars we fight in seven countries," he said.

Yes indeed: What we have today and since 16 years
"is basically unlimited war—war anywhere, anytime, any place on the globe"
and these wars are permitted by 2 out of 3 of "the people's representatives". I say.
And this is a recommended article.

5. Untangling the Complicated, Controversial Legacy of Sigmund Freud

This article is by Cody Delistraty on The Cut. It starts as follows:

On January 24, 1895, in a letter that was kept unpublished for nearly 90 years, Sigmund Freud wrote nervously about a dangerous experiment he was planning to embark upon. “Now only one more week separates us from the operation,” he wrote to his friend Wilhelm Fliess, who would be performing the surgery. “My lack of medical knowledge once again weighs heavily on me.”

The patient who would be undergoing the procedure, Emma Eckstein, came from a well-regarded family in Vienna and began analysis with Freud when she was about 27. She complained of stomach and menstrual issues that made even walking a pain. Freud and Fliess believed that Eckstein’s suffering was related to her masturbation, which she discussed with Freud during their psychoanalytic sessions. It was a dubious logical path, but Freud and Fliess’s solution was almost comically unfounded. “Girls who masturbate normally suffer from dysmenorrhea,” Fliess later wrote in reference to Eckstein’s menstrual pains. “In such cases, nasal treatment is only successful when they truly give up this aberration.”

Freud believed that the sexual organs were connected to the nose, and sexual “issues,” particularly masturbation, were principle causes of neurotic maladies, and that they could sometimes be solved by nasal surgery.
About the only true medical or psychological statement in the above quotation is Freud's admission that he had a (very large) "lack of medical knowledge".

Freud's friend Wilhelm Fliess (<- Wikipedia) was another major medical fraud, but indeed he never got popular (and quarreled with Freud in 1904).

And - see e.g. Sigmund Freud’s Cocaine Years, in the NYT of 2011 - Freud's twelve years (!!) addiction to cocaine (<- Wikipedia) are hardly ever mentioned by credulous Freudians.

The above quotation continues as follows:

The operation failed. On March 4, 1895, a little more than a month after Eckstein’s surgery, Freud wrote to Fliess of the surgery’s complications: “Eckstein’s condition is still unsatisfactory … she had a massive hemorrhage, probably as a result of expelling a bone chip the size of a Heller [a small coin]; there were two bowls full of pus.” Eckstein survived, but in sticking to his scientifically unfounded theory, Freud nearly killed her.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, for nearly a century, nearly every mention of this surgery — and of Emma Eckstein in general — had been purged from the official collections of Freud’s letters.
As was Freud's addiction to cocaine, which he still had in 1895. (He seems to have stopped using it in 1896. He started it in 1884, indeed also with his first publication, which was in praise of cocaine.)

There is also this:
In the early 1970s, the so-called “Freud wars” — a virulent academic debate over Freud’s legitimacy — began with psychiatrist Henri Ellenberger, philosopher Frank Cioffi, and historian Paul Roazen. “There were plenty of doubters before then,” says outspoken Freud critic Frederick Crews, an emeritus professor of literary theory at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the recent Freud: The Making of an Illusion. “Some of the keenest ones were Freud’s contemporaries. But only in the ’70s did the whole Freudian edifice begin to crumble.” Crews’s own 1980 essay, “Analysis Terminable,” in Commentary and his 1993 follow-up essay in The New York Review of Books, called “The Unknown Freud,” further made the case that Freud was a fraudulent and unethical scientist, and together acted as the final bullet in the heart of his legacy.
I agree with Crewes "that Freud was a fraudulent and unethical scientist" (and would put "pseudo" in front of scientist), and indeed did so ever since 1967, when I was 17, and had bought Patrick Mullahy's "Oedipus - Myth and Conflict" to find out about psychiatry (of which Mullahy was a strong defender and a decent summarizer) and about myself.

My immediate reactions to that book (in 1967) were that almost everything it said (with a few exceptions in Sullivan's case and a few others) was false or nonsense, had little or no proper evidence for it, and was definitely mistaken, and it also was fraudulent when it was presented (as it was) as "medical science". [2]

Since 1967 50 years passed in which I studied philosophy and psychology in which I found no ground whatsoever to believe in Freudian (or Jungian or Rankian or Reichian or etc.) psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

And indeed by now - in 2017 - my guess is that most psychologists, at least, either have given up on Freud or never believed in him [3], but this was quite different from 1900 until the
“Freud wars” of the 1970s.
He also had a crackerjack public relations team defending his name long after his death. How else could his name continue to survive after a statement like this from Crews in Psychological Science in 1996: “There is literally nothing to be said, scientifically or therapeutically, to the advantage of the entire Freudian system or any of its component dogmas”? Or after the 1975 statement from Peter Medawar, a medical biologist with a Nobel Prize, calling Freudian psychoanalysis “the most stupendous intellectual confidence trick of the 20th century”? Or the fact that, by 1980, nearly every mention of Freudianism had been deleted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders?
I agree with Crews and Medawar. And I also agree with the following:
“My belief is that if high schools did their job, most high-school graduates would be capable of seeing through Freud,” says Crews. “It’s a question of asking for the evidential goods to be produced.” He adds: “I don’t consider myself a radical. My point of view is garden-variety empiricism.”
Precisely. And the sad consequence (which I think is true) is that neither high schools nor medical educations in most universities do the job they should do.

There is considerably more in this article, which is recommended.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

[2] Namely because real medical science - as especially Thomas Szasz has insisted on for a long time - is based on medical facts and medical pathologies, and not on - extremely vague, almost principially unevidenced - quite wild assumptions about human experiences  (that are, as such, not a part of medical science).

I studied psychology in the late 1970ies and early 1980ies, and found that Freud was almost completely neglected (in the program I followed, which did not include what was called "clinical psychology", that very probably contained more Freud), except for the reading of his "Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", which I found to be a quite dishonest and quite vague and incomplete summary of his ideas (that were almost completely rejected by most Dutch psychologists by the 1970ies).

In case you want to know more about my (also philosophical/methodological) reasons to reject Freud, see my
DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" and my DSM-5: 100 Nederlogs  about and around the APA and the DSM-5 and also my long review of the ideas of Thomas Szasz, that you'll find here: Thomas Szasz's ideas about psychiatry.
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