a`\ 

Nederlog

 

May 31, 2010

 

ME+me: American Studies + Crisis + End of World (?)

 

   " I am no politician, and still less can I be said to be a party-man: but I have a hatred of tyranny, and a contempt for its tools; and this feeling I have expressed as often and as strongly as I could."
   -- William Hazlitt

Sections:

1. Intro
2. For Phoenix Rising disappointees...
3. Retracing my steps + a grave prediction

1. Intro

I still feel somewhat better than I have been the last months or half year, which incidentally is typical both for ME and for my me: It worsens and grows better without much obvious reason, except that there is good correlation with physical exercise, as the term is for the more one has to do, the higher the chance one collapses, which may take days, weeks, months, years or decades to recover from till the level one collapsed from, and the more rest one has, and in particular the more undisturbed sleep, the higher the chance one recovers some.

But it does vary, for a good part unaccountably, which is one reason to suspect it is indeed neurological mostly, and connected with bloodflow, oxygen, possibly small lesions in the brain, and also with diet. And in any case, thus it has been for me since my 32 years with ME: Up and down, with little rhyme or reason, except that it is correlated to rest or the lack thereof, and correlated with food and food supplements.

Also I still have sound on my computer, that I just found out namely, by tracking backwards in Nederlog, had disappeared early November last year, when I just was starting to have some real fun with it - for in fact I didn't have a fast internet but - thanks to "xs4all"=KPN - seven years of 4 Kb per second intermittently refused "internet" of late 1980ies standard, since 2002, when the real xs4all was sold to Dutch Telecom, and the complete staff, it seems, replaced by some of the least intelligent and most impolite the Dutch race produces.

2. For Phoenix Rising disappointees...

Now my previous paragraph, although quite typical for me, and indeed even for quite a few modern Dutch writers - Hermans, Komrij, Van 't Hek - who alo have not been able to see much cause for enjoyment in the modern Dutch, is one of those inegalitarian bits of somewhat sarcastic prose - a flippant respectless aside, some might say - that is quite distasteful to appropriately healthily egalitarian people, who as it happens - surprise, surprise, surprise! - consist almost wholly of the talentless, the hypocrites, the conformists, and the cowards led by the bastards and the conmen, which sums quickly, easily and democratically to well over 90% of mankind ("Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither" - Trots Op Noordholland!), that I shall be commenting on below as well, being one of that small minority not thus cursed, incidentally through no effort of my own, but by genetical acciden, that I sincerely wish upon every human being, that these days may soon become possible as well.

You may disagree with this diagnosis, or you might mostly agree and put it in different words, with some liberal doses of forgivingness, for which there is considerable cause too, for while ordinary men have been the willing executioners of the most cruel mass murders and the most intolerant policies, they they generally have been tricked, deceived and deluded into these acts by their political or religious leaders.

Meanwhile, I do myself belong to a very small enlightened intelligent minority - which is a thing one just shouldn't say, and indeed not even think, according to ordinary men if one happens not to be a Media Celeb or An Accepted Political ot Religious Leader, even if it is true and in fact especially ypu snot when you can prove it easily once you start talking or writing with no holds barred, for what ordinary folks like most are ordinary folks like them, who know their places, who are nothing special intellectually or morally, while the only ranking games they desire to play are those of external display: their cloths, cars, houses, rings, jewels, surgeoned boobs and botoxed skins.

At the Phoenix Forums free speech, such as I speak (since many decades in fact) and write on my own sites (since 1996), as everyone who cares can verify, presently has been forbidden, indeed with some justification in principle, because most of the members of the Phoenix Forums, that are located in the United States, are ill and quite a few are severely ill, and this suggests there are to be some fairly sensible brakes in principle for what one can discuss on such a public forum and in which words.

This setup also is maintained in some form on many other forums, on some of which I have been a member, and on some of which I have been a regular guest, mostly to prevent quarrels and what are known as flame wars, when a forum may be blown to pieces because some members can't or won't stop verbal fighting with other members.

But I have never seen moderation as practised on the Phoenix Forums, where the moderators don't moderate so much as censor everything that doesn't rhyme with their own point of view what ME is, how one should write about it, who should write about it and so on; brook no opposition; work by no clear rules, while such rules as they do apply are aplied unfairly, quite often, and quite prejudicially; and were all decision-taking is done behind the scenes, by what are for me mostly totally anonymous folks for no obvious or cogent reasons at all.

I wrote about it repeatedly in Nederlog, and indeed wrote rather a lot for the Phoenix Forums, for originally I had not really understood the principles on which this is (or was) based, as these never got articulated up front either and as they emerged through the "moderating" of the "moderators".

Here are some relevant links, starting with the first difference of opinion I had on the Phoenix Forums, that I joined on Januaty 7 and left on May 23, where I first ran into Protestant and Catholic prejudice by a Protestant and a Catholic moderator, who were bent on protecting another Christian moderator, who, after some months of what she claimed to be ME claimed to be miraculously cured by a prayer meeting of her Church

This exchange stopped two excellent moderators the Phoenix Forums had till then, namely _Kim_ and Katie, moderating, apparently because of the qualities of the remaining moderators.

After which came months of efforts by the remaining moderators mostly filled with attempts by the moderators and the owner of the site to shut up people who write better than they can or who are better educated than they are, and especially those people who they knew do not believe as they do, all in the name of politically correct properly polite prose that wounds no one, opposes no one, says nay to no one, indeed criticizes no one, and does toe the line of 'appropriate prose' the moderators desire to hear: without balls, without brains, and without guts, but very polite to anyone else thus gifted, though impolite to accepted enemies of the group and to whoever is outstanding in any way that smacks like personal independence, like individual moral attitudes, or like a fine and independent mind.

As it happens, I am in favour of moderation on a forum meant for patients with a serious disease, and indeed I am convinced that with people like _Kim_ and Katie moderating, this could and would be done very well and quite unproblematically indeed.

But I am fundamentally a free speech person, and have always been - indeed, since I published my first piece in a Dutch national paper in 1971 and ever since then, almost anything I published on paper has been contentious and has given rise to many arguments and considerable amounts of heat, as indeed it should, for I don't write to make a career nor to flatter, softsoap or con people, but because I think I have something important to say others don't dare to say, can't say as well, or simply fail to see.

Now let's step back for a moment, and use the internet and Youtube to see what manner of country the US is, and why I found the antics of the Phoenix Forum moderators so totally incredible in a country were speech may be constitutionally so free almost anyone can say almost anything anywhere, and indeed does, as the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks show, and also as others show, for the following to pieces are TV as is totally impossible in Holland and Europe, and that I like more than not (while disliking Limbaugh and Beck, which is the utterly loony flipside of the US-style freedom of speech):

That's all from the country the Phoenix Forums are located in and I like it, especially in a field like politics or religion, since so many human lives depend on what happens in these fields. In that country, the owner and moderators of the Phoenix Forums over the past months tried to impose this on their adult members:

We reserve the right to edit posts, remove offensive posts without notice. Also while these rules cover most common situations, they cannot anticipate everything. Consequently we reserve the right to take any actions we deem appropriate to ensure these forums are not disrupted or abused in any way.
(..)
Critiques of individuals or organizations should be done in the spirit of constructive discourse; simply dumping on a person or organization is not conducive to the kind of conversation we strive for.

Note the first paragraph - see the Ventura link - on "any actions" and "any way" and the "we deem appropriate" - anonymously, secretively, without clear rules, without any consent of the vast majority of the members of Phoenix Forums, who are what the Forums are about, and who indeed wrote and write them - and also please note that the Phoenix Forums show that the second paragraph is not at all and never was adhered to, and in fact seems to be there to protect the CAA, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, the Lightning Process, the American Military up to possibly Dick Cheney and the AEI or anybody else the present moderators want to insulate from any criticisms (*), and any terms and arguments that may be displeasing to the CEOs, priests, clergy or whoever presently is in the favour of The Owner Of The Forums And His Moderators.

And please note what my principal problem is with this: My right of free speech - that I am willing to curb in the context of the Phoenix Forums, as I have been writing there from the very beginning - is being limited by persons I do not know at all; who are functionally anonymous to the extent that I do not even knew their real names, ages, degrees, opinions, abodes or what not; and who do this for reasons and on the basis of considerations that are totally arbitrary, beyond rational discussion, and secret from the public, the members of the forum, and the member victimized, for these decisions on the Phoenix Forums easily and as it were automatically take the form where one anonymous moderator rips out pieces of prose from a member's post and replaces it by unflattering, offensive remarks on the person who wrote it and/or the piece of text removed.

For me, this practice has a name: verbal sadism.

Here is an exchange with one of these moderators, the egregious doctor in the writing of coursewares for the lesser gifted military minds that I haven't published so far.

This happened briefly after the debate on on miracles I linked to above, which in fact I'd found pretty strange and that I had started writing about on the forums only after moderator Martlet had been grossly abusive of member Knackered, who only asked a few rational questions about moderator FreePrisoner's claim To Have Been Cured From ME/CFS After A Prayer-Meeting.

After having written about this and not being answered publicly, I sent the following private mail to four moderators:

Faith-healing & moderation - Feb 27

Hello Jody,

I appreciate the work you and the moderators are doing; I am most sorry _Kim_ has stopped as administrator; and it seems some people on the forum find it difficult to answer me.

So, if you or any moderator feels irked, irritated, grieved, hurt or somehow mistreated by any of my posts I am quite willing and capable of explaining myself without the - eventual - discussion appearing in public.

The reason I stepped into the original discussion is that I found Knackered got not a really fair treatment by Martlet, for he posed (mostly) fair and good questions, and I myself do not like to read on a forum like this that faith-healing + prayer cures ME.

My own position is that there are deeply religious people; they may believe and say what they want, within wide limits; but I think that the idea that faith-healing + prayer can cure ME deserves to be protested and rationally denied. (And is quite fit to be mercilessly ridiculed and satirized by me, but not on this forum.)

Also, as I have publicly said on the forum, I am in favour of moderation, that is a moderated forum, and I do not blame Martlet, for I am sure she meant well. I just disagreed with her then and there.

And I really am a logical philosopher and an atheist and a psychologist , with some qualifications to utter forth on a subject like this, also having ME for 32 years, with a real diagnosis also, without having been miraculously cured, like some 17 million others.

Finally, it seems to me that a very fine forum like Phoenix should NOT make itself ludicrous in the eyes of most real scientists by - tacitly or outspokenly or "with respect" - accepting that persons with ME (like me, not a mere claimant with a few months of trouble and no degrees) can be cured by miracles or prayer-meetings. (*)

Best regards,

Maarten.

P.S. Privately sent to Jody; Martlet and Kurt, and mentioned here because I am not sure it works. And to Katie.

At this point I done almost no private mailing with any member, and specificially not with either _Kim_ or Katie, although both had struck me as two uncommonly bright, intelligent women, both with many values and ideas I liked. Indeed, the reason to also provately mail this to Katie was that while she was moderating but she had expressed some sensible ideas about Kurt's totally uninformed most impertinent distortive and fa;lsifying writings about science, about which Kurt clearly did not and does not know anything real whatsoever, though this has not kept him pestering for months on end one of the brightest member of the forums who does. (I'm speaking of Gerwyn Morris, not myself.)

Neither Jody nor Martlet answered the above, and indeed Katie didn't either, though we did have some small correspondence later, and my own opinion is that from one Katie (or _Kim_) you can make a million Kurts, morally or intellectually, and have plenty of human excellence left still

I did get an answer of Kurt R. Ph.D. (as it later emerged, from someone else's being fed up with his lies and postures), which is a study in verbal sadism to one who wrote as I just quoted:

Re: Faith-healing & moderation

I don't think anyone has made claims about miracle healing (1), certainly that would be illegal (2), not just unethical (3). But saying that a person experienced what you interpret as a miracle is just part of ordinary human experience (4), there is nothing wrong with that (5). That is not a claim for healing, just a statement of a person's experience. (6)

I like to think of miracles as simply part of a natural physical process that we do not yet understand (7). For someone in the past, seeing our modern society, watching TV, would seem like a miracle. (8) Everything is relative. (9) Certainly there are ways of healing that we do not yet understand. (10) Science has a lot yet to learn about the mind, body and whatever spiritual powers there are in the universe. (11)

My conclusion was immediately: Here writes either a quite sick mind or somebody who wants to get me of the Phoenix Forums as soon as he can, and by any dirtyness - for which reason it was welcome to find Dr. R.'s name, title, list of publications and military courseware background unearthed by some other members he had personally offended.

Anyway, as to the numbered notes: For the moment I have not put in my comments, and indeed I never replied anything to this manner of gross sick studied impolite rudeness.

But my immediate conclusion is what I thought already upon receiving this personalized shit, for which reason I politely mailed Cort I don't want anything to do with Kurt the Creep (without using that well-deserved epitheton) and that he should not moderate. No answer - which I found in the circumstances pretty strange, and quite impolite, being an elderly European psychologist and philosopher with a good education and a sound understanding of politeness, moral rules, ethics and human weaknesses and psychology (**) and certainly not someone who deserves impertinent addressing like dr. R. the tiny military courseware mind allowed himself to do, and was allowed to do.

After the fact, I think at this point I already should have left the Phoenix Forums, having gotten an instant total contempt for a freak capable of writing the above manner of creepy shit to a man he doesn't know personally, who is much older than he is, who is much more learned and who is clearly far more intelligent and civilized, and who just has done the elementary decent, polite, friendly thing with his earlier note to the moderators, and finding upon reporting it that the owner of the forum sees no problem whatsoever in this manner of underhanded personal abuse by those working and speaking in his name.

For the moment, I leave this subject here, though I do point the reader again to my speculative note (**), about the wider context and problems of ME/CFS, and I do have two concluding remarks, that both seem to me very probable and very fair:

  • The moderation at Phoenix Forums is so bad that it must be intentional: One just does not deal with persons like I and others have been dealt with if one is fairminded, honest and decent. It is very probable that the owner has a private policy the moderators enforce, and part of that policy - as in political parties, in fact - is to get rid of able opponents as fast as possible, without seeming to do this
  • While I cannot confidently pronounce on the private policy behind the Phoenix Forums (indeed, they may be fairly honorable and indeed typically American: a career, money and influence) it is clear, mostly from Cort Johnson's stances on CBT and GET and the CFIDSAA a.k.a. CAA, that Johnson does work for or in cahoots with the CAA - which he may, for my part, except that it would be fair to say so upfront: Leave this forum, all ye people with ME, if you don't like the CAA's policies or staff, for these are defended on Phoenix Forums.

Indeed, for all I know there might be something to be said for supporting the CAA rather than some US hotheads who have had it with that institution - but then I do not know much about the CAA except that (1) I found their stance and published material in CBT and GET, including awful text and a photo of professor White, a close associate of professor Wessely, totally mistaken and in fact, at this point of time, in view of the evidence both they and I know, totally unreasonable, and (2) I also think that the staff of the CAA is getting rather well paid, for such a job, namely two to three times what a Dutch full university professor receives yearly.

Now for something completely different...

3. Retracing my steps + a grave prediction

Sound being there again, I have been yesterday retracing my steps of last year, using Nederlog for the purpose, and refound one of my favorite songs

that I had originally refound about a week before my computer stopped doing sound. For more links and some Dutch comments and explanations see

where you'll find some fine Python links, even though the text is Dutch.

Another thing I refound and took a serious new look at yesterday are The Young Turks. I wrote about them here, both in Dutch and English

The Young Turks exist, and as I said most of yesterday that I did not spend in bed I spend on TYTs. To start with, here is a recent bit in which they explain who they are:

You may not like them - this seems mostly a matter of intelligence, even if you disagree with them - and it is true that I do not know as much of American politics as ordinary Americans do, which makes it a bit difficult to place them on a political spectrum, but I like them, especially since it is about the first bit of intelligent political journalism (with some bite, and outside the BBC world service, that is well done but with little bite) I've heard or read since the demise of David Frost somehere around 1968, I believe.

And yes, I have no TV since 1970, and rarely watched it in the intervening decades, in fact mostly because it bores me if it doesn't sicken me, and I have a very good visual memory I do not want to overload with the idiocies or cruelties that are on TV, while there simply also are nearly always far more interesting things to do than watch TV.

Anyway... it is to Cenk Uygur and TYT; Dylan Ratigan, now also on TYT sometimes:

to Chris Matthews linked above, who you may see here apologizing, that's probably a rare event on US TV, where he plays his public game of political hardball, quite well also:

and - especially, also having been writing for the Phoenix Forums mainly the past months - to the present political, economic and ecological mess that I will return in June, and notably to some of the questions considered in the following long takes by TYTs Cenk Uygur, where I recommend especially what he says about the economy

This is 45 minutes, all worth watching, with Cenk Uygur's conclusion that there will be a worldwide economical collapse in one to three years starting at 26 minutes 45 seconds approximately, after a long build up.

I don't know whether that will be so, but Uygur has a good argument, he is a very good talker and a very smart man (who reminds me of myself in several ways), and he knows a lot about politics, especially American politics. Also, I do agree with him at least that the Obama administration has wasted almost all the chances they had, and has sofar been working mostly on the sides of the banks that caused the crash and profited from that crash and what caused it in the first place.

There is much more on the TYTs website, on very many subjects also, and I hope to link and discuss some of that the coming month, because this is at least intelligent political TV, and I agree more than not with what I've seen from Uygur and also from Ratigan.

There are also some differences, apart from the obvious ones, such as my being Dutch and a philosopher rather than American and a political journalist, that I may eventually come to discuss some, but there is one difference I should list beause it is relevant for understanding my take and view:

Unlike Uygur, Ratigan and Matthews I do not like politics: It interests me because it effects me and because I am interested in rational social science, but I definitely do not have the type of being fascinated with politics and politicians that these three men have, among other things because it is my very firm personal conviction that politicians and everyday politics are very boring persons and very boring subjects to start with, at least as they exist presently.

But these days politicians and their politics effect all human beings, and there are quite a few social crises going on in the Western world, and I would personally also not be amazed to see the whole system collapse within a few years, and then basically because in the past two years, at least, and when it was all quite obvious what should have been done, what should have been done was not done or was done very partially and mostly ineffectively.


P.S. More later on this next month, though I won't forget the Phoenix Forums nor ME either. And the above, written over two or three breaks today, may need some corrections I have to make later, having no energy for it right now.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
".
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

"Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
"
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources


P.P.S. ME - Resources needs is a Work In Progress that hasn't progressed today.


Notes

(*) First, see again the videos linked in the above text, to show what is everyday on US TV, as regards speaking one's mind freely. Second, realize that the motives, reasoning, and decision-making as to what the moderators of the Phoenix Forums do allow is totally obscure, hidden, behind the scenes and unmotivated except in totally general terms to the effect that what they do is necessary, whatever it is. And third, as soon as the pet enemies of the Phoenix Forums are involved, all norms and bounds are suddenly off, and anything goes - which for me is quite justified also, in a US context of free speech especially, albeit within very broad limits, but does not conform at all with such words and principles as the moderators pretend (or honestly but very stupidly believe) they uphold on the Phoenix Forums. Fourth, one of the moderators is one of the Christians who claimed a miraculous cure; one moderator is a biased catholic; one moderator a far from intelligent protestant; one moderator a postmodern relativist who is most impolite and impertinent, and besides of this they are mostly or wholly anonymous.

(**) Here is another thought I especially recommend to US-folks, who might meet this creepy specimen:

There is a LOT that is strange - evidently not moral, not fair and not scientific, for example - in the official reception by the state-bureaucracies of people with ME as there is a lot that is strange about the decades of almost no money for real research into the bio-medical cause or causes of ME.

Part of the strangeness is that documents relating to ME have been declared state-secret in England until 2071 (!!) and that literally millions have been siphoned off or disappeared into nothing that were meant to research ME by the US CDC between ca. 1980 and 2000, as has been very well demonstrated by Hillary Johnson.

Now personally I do not like paranoic speculations about deeply secret manipulations, and that especially because I like to spend such time and energy as I have on things I can find good evidence about, and that I do not need to assume are being lied about as a matter of course, but there is one perfectly fair guess about one possible cause of ME/CFS that would explain a lot, and especially would explain the English state secrets about matters of ME/CFS and the lack of research money combined with the many lies by psychiatric very willing executioners of the British Military like professor Simon Wessely:

It just may be - it is logically possible to hold - that ME/CFS is in fact caused by an organo-phosphate manipulator that is a secret weapon developed in England or the US, possibly as long ago as the 1950ies.

I do NOT know and I do NOT have evidence apart from what I've read about ME/CFS (meanwhile, quite a lot) - but it would explain rather a lot of governmenal opposition towards proper research into ME quite well, in principle, especially since ME/CFS would be such a perfect secret weapon, that could lame a whole civic or military population, disguised as a flue or Epstein-Barr.

Note that there is very good evidence that not only the Russian and Chinese governments are totally indifferent to to the suffering of their civic population: The same is true of the US in many ways, as shown by the following link;

However, none of this proves anything about ME/CFS and indeed if what is suggested in this note were true, it is most unlikely anyone will be able to prove it, and especially not before 2071, when the British state secrets involving ME/CFS are to be revealed.

Maarten Maartensz

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