Category Archives: Mental Health

Towards a Leftist Psychotherapy

Millions of Britons are suffering from stress-related mental disorders. The number of people with anxiety has been steadily rising for years. According to NHS statistics, more than six million people in the UK are taking antidepressants.

There is an acceptance that wide-scale mental distress is an unavoidable part of modern life. The general response to the crisis by government bodies and the media is to call for more treatment. While increased support is necessary, the focus on treatment hides the extent to which society is often responsible for personal distress.

The cause for much of this depression is social and political. Under neoliberal governance, workers have seen their wages stagnate and their working conditions and job security become more precarious. The individualising and privatising forces that underpin capitalism have led to the breakdown of communities and social bonds, leaving millions of people lonely.

Given the increased reasons for anxiety, it’s not surprising that a large proportion of the population diagnose themselves as chronically miserable. Converting that depression into a political anger is an urgent political project. This should be the job of the left, who are the natural critics of capitalism. I believe that we should develop a kind of ‘leftist psychotherapy’ in which mental distress is explained in relation to the power structures of society.

In this endeavour the work of British clinical psychologist David Smail (1938-2014) is instructive. His writings provide a searing critique of the psychology establishment, and a social constructivist model for how to better understand mental distress. I believe that building on his work could have a tremendous impact.

The Role of the Psychology Establishment

In his seminal text Power, Interest and Psychology, Smail explains how mainstream psychology reinforces the status quo. It does this by diverting us from connecting mental distress to the material circumstances that condition our lives. ‘The psychology establishment has nothing to say about how to apparatus of power and interest that so clearly operates at the level of society comes to be reflected in the subjectivity of individuals – or even whether it does’.

Psychology has become a technical profession, like chiropody or dietetics, which focuses on the pragmatics of relief rather than on any more abstract intellectual or scientific enterprise. The dominant forms of treatment in mental illness are drugs and therapy.

Antidepressants contain people’s depression rather than actually deal with the causes of depression. The focus on brain chemistry creates a horrible loop whereby massive multinational pharmaceutical companies sell people drugs in order to cure them from the stresses brought about by working in late capitalism. In this context, the message to patients is cruel; if you’re depressed because of overwork, that’s between you and your brain chemistry!

Smail was critical of therapy. He suspected that it is only effective to the extent that the therapist becomes a true friend to the client, involved in their world. The supposed process by which people are ‘cured’ of mental illness once they gain ‘insight’ into their problems is illusory, and therapists are to a large extent involved in wishful thinking.

He argued that therapeutic psychology gives patients a false understanding of reality. The focus on the individual turns ‘the relation of person to world inside out, such that the former becomes the creator of the latter. If the story you find yourself in causes you distress, tell yourself another one’.

Counsellors and therapists have a stake in maintaining an individualist and idealist account of emotional distress, for only such an account can legitimate the role of professional practitioner. ‘Psychology tries to be objective like a science – explanations of activities or interests undermines the ‘scientific’ rationale for our practice’.

This is not to say that drugs or therapy are harmful. Being able to talk to someone for an hour in therapy or having something which will take the edge of things via anti-depressants can make people feel better, but it doesn’t get to the sources of that sort of misery in the first place.

A Sociomaterialist Explanation of Mental Distress

Smail argued that feelings of well-being fundamentally arise from a public world. And in a society in which the concept of the public has been so viciously and systematically attacked – it’s no surprise, he argues, that distress has increased.

Interest and power are what determine events in our lives more than we are allowed to acknowledge. ‘The strength and integrity of the subject is determined not (as therapeutic psychology would have us believe) by efforts of individual will, but by the adequacy or otherwise of the environment (including, crucially, the public societal structures) in which it is located.’

It follows that where public structures are stable, supportive and nurturing, the individual may blossom and flourish; where they disintegrate the subject becomes demoralised and depressed.

To solve the mental health crisis we must ask broader ethical questions about how we treat each other. ‘We are bodies in a world: of course, in a physical world, but also a socially structured, material space-time in which what we do to each other has enormous importance’.

A Way Forward

To solve the mental health crisis it is necessary to critique the social conditions that we live in. Widespread mental illness is a hidden cost of neoliberal capitalism. Market forces have created heightened instability and alienation which has resulted in mass psychological distress.

The medical establishment reinforces the status quo by privatising stress. Those who struggle to meet the expectations of society are told that the problem is their family background or in the chemical make-up of their brain. There is a case to be made that anti-depressants and therapy are now the opiates of the masses.

As a collective, there is an urgent need for us to connect mental distress to systems of power and interest. If someone struggles to meet the cost of living, or to cope with the instability of working in the gig economy, it is vital that they understand that millions of other people are suffering for the same reasons.  Those incapacitated by depression and anxiety often feel tremendous guilt and self-loathing.  By connecting their illness to broader social forces, they may apportion less blame to themselves.

We need to challenge the idea that wide-scale mental distress is an unavoidable part of modern life. The kind of world we want is an ethical choice. We are not bound to accept that the ‘real world’ is one in which the ‘bottom line’ defines what is right and wrong. The ruthless world may be chosen, as it is by the current rulers of the globalised neo-liberal market. It can also be rejected.

The awareness that neoliberal governance is causing wide-scale mental distress can be a catalyst for social change. The left can drive this process by developing a ‘leftist psychotherapy’ that provides a theoretical framework for how the material conditions that we live in cause mental illness.

The post Towards a Leftist Psychotherapy first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Right to Healthy Food: Comorbidities and COVID-19

In early 2020, we saw the beginning of the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’. The world went into lockdown and even after lockdowns in various countries had been lifted, restrictions continued. Data now shows that lockdowns seemingly had limited, if any, positive impacts on the trajectory of COVID-19 and in 2022 the world – especially the poor – is paying an immense price not least in terms of loss of income, loss of livelihoods, the deterioration of mental and physical health, the eradication of civil liberties, disrupted supply chains and shortages.

The mortality rate for COVID-19 patients is linked to their comorbid conditions. In the US, the Center for Disease Control provides a list of comorbid conditions in COVID-19 patients, which includes cancer, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, Down syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Research conducted in a German hospital shows that for those who died after SARS-CoV-2 infection the median number of chronic comorbidities was four and ranged from three to eight. Arterial hypertension was the most prevalent chronic condition (65.4%), followed by obesity (38.5%), chronic ischemic heart disease (34.6%), atrial fibrillation (26.9%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (23.1%). Of all patients, 15.4% had diabetes type II and chronic renal failure was noticed in 11.5%. The data suggests severe chronic comorbidities and health conditions in the majority of patients that had died after COVID-19.

The meta-analysis Prevalence of comorbidities in patients and mortality cases affected by SARS-CoV2: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2020) found that hypertension was the most prevalent comorbidity (affecting 32% of patients). Other common comorbidities included diabetes (22%) and heart disease (13%). The odds ratio of death for a patient with a comorbidity compared to one with no comorbidity was 2.4. The higher the prevalence of comorbidities the higher the odds that the COVID-19 patient will need intensive care or will die, especially if the pre-existing disease is hypertension, heart disease or diabetes.

In 2020, just 1,557 people aged 1-64 with no underlying co-morbidities were listed as having died from COVID in England and Wales out of a population of about 59 million. For the tens of thousands who were categorised as dying with COVID, co-morbidities were a major factor. UK data for 2020 shows that for ages 1-64 years, those who died with COVID had on average 1.71 co-morbidities. For those aged 65 and over, the figure is 2.02.

Patients with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases have a 54% increased risk for COVID-19 infection and more than twice the risk for COVID-19 death, versus the general population, according to data published in the journal Rheumatology (2021).

In the paper ‘COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune diseases: characteristics and outcomes in a multinational network of cohorts across three countries’ (2021), which also appeared in Rheumatology, researchers compared influenza with COVID-19 and concluded that the latter is a more severe disease for people with these conditions, leading to added complications and higher mortality.

Of deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 is listed, official government data shows the most common pre-existing condition recorded on the death certificate is diabetes (July to September 2021). This was identified in almost a quarter (22.5%) of ‘COVID deaths’.

Emerging data also suggests that obesity is a big risk factor for the progression of major complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), cytokine storm and coagulopathy in COVID-19.

A paper posted on the Center for Disease Control website provides an overview of factors associated with Covid-19 deaths for a 12-month period. The study, Underlying Medical Conditions and Severe Illness Among 540,667 Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19, March 2020–March 2021, looked at records of hospitalised adults and found that 94.9% had at least one underlying medical condition. The authors conclude that certain underlying conditions and the number of conditions were associated with severe COVID-19 illness. Hypertension and disorders of lipid metabolism were the most frequent, whereas obesity, diabetes with complication and anxiety disorders were the strongest risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness.

Based on the findings, Dr Peregrino Brimahdata (a molecular biologist, medical doctor, college professor and a published researcher) notes that obesity by itself gave a 30% increased death risk, anxiety disorders gave a 29% increased risk of death and diabetes led to a 26% increased risk of death.

Brimahdata concludes that about two thirds of ‘COVID deaths’ were patients who may be regarded as grossly unhealthy.

From the data presented above, it is clear that the vast majority of ‘COVID deaths’ (dying with COVID) are people who has serious, ongoing health conditions, the prevalence of which among the population has been rising year on year for decades and accelerating.

Food system

Although hereditary factors are involved, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London believe the growing popularity of Western-style diets is a major reason why autoimmune diseases are rising across the world by around 3% to 9% a year.

Professor James Lee from the institute recently told The Observer newspaper that human genetics has not altered over the past few decades, so something is changing in our environment that is increasing predisposition to autoimmune disease. His research team found that Western-style diets based on processed ingredients and with a lack of fresh vegetables can trigger autoimmune diseases.

Lee says that numbers of autoimmune cases began to increase about 40 years ago in the Western countries but are now also emerging in countries that never had such diseases before. These diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

It is estimated that approximately four million people in the UK have an autoimmune disease.

A Western-style diet is characterised by highly processed and refined foods with high contents of sugars, salt, and fat and protein from red meat. It is a major contributor to metabolic disturbances and the development of obesity-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease – the top comorbidities where ‘COVID deaths’ are concerned.

But it goes beyond that because a lot of the health-related problems we see can also be traced back to modern farming methods and how food is cultivated, not least the toxic agrochemicals used. Michael McCarthy, writer and naturalist, says that three generations of industrialised farming with a vast tide of poisons pouring over the land year after year after year since the end of the Second World War is the true price of pesticide-based agriculture, which society has for so long blithely accepted.

Professor Carola Vinuesa, who heads another research team at the Francis Crick Institute, argues that fast-food diets can negatively affect a person’s microbiome – gut microorganisms which play a key role in controlling various bodily functions.

The gut microbiome can contain up to six pounds of bacteria and agrochemicals and poor diets are disturbing this ‘human soil’. Many important neurotransmitters are located in the gut. Aside from affecting the functioning of major organs, these transmitters affect our moods and thinking.

Findings published in the journal ‘Translational Psychiatry’ provide strong evidence that gut bacteria can have a direct physical impact on the brain. Alterations in the composition of the gut microbiome have been implicated in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression and Parkinson’s Disease. Gut bacteria are also important for cognitive development in adolescence.

Changes to the gut microbiome are also linked to obesity. Increasing levels of obesity are associated with low bacterial richness in the gut. Indeed, it has been noted that tribes not exposed to the modern food system have richer microbiomes. Environmental campaigner Rosemary Mason lays the blame squarely at the door of agrochemicals, not least the use of the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate.

Mason has written to the two professors from the Francis Crick Institute mentioned above, making it clear to them that it would be remiss to ignore the role pesticides play when it comes to the worrying rates of disease we now see. She brings their attention to concerning levels of glyphosate in certain cereals in the UK.

Based on an analysis of these cereals, Dr John Fagan, director of Health Research Laboratories, has concluded:

The levels consumed in a single daily helping of any one of these cereals… is sufficient to put the person’s glyphosate levels above the levels that cause fatty liver disease in rats (and likely in people).

Mason also refers the two academics to the paper Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America in Journal of Organic Systems (2014)

It notes:

The herbicide glyphosate was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating with the advent of herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops. Evidence is mounting that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants and animals and glyphosate residues have been detected in both. Glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, it damages DNA and is a driver of mutations that lead to cancer.

The researchers searched US government databases for GE crop data, glyphosate application data and disease epidemiological data. Correlation analyses were then performed on a total of 22 diseases in these time-series data sets. The Pearson correlation coefficients were highly significant between glyphosate applications and a wide range of diseases, including hypertension, stroke, diabetes prevalence, diabetes incidence, obesity, Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal infections, end stage renal disease, acute kidney failure and various cancers. The Pearson correlation coefficients were also highly significant between the percentage of GE corn and soy planted in the US and most of the conditions listed above.

In 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, said:

Paediatricians have referred to childhood exposure to pesticides as creating a ‘silent pandemic’ of disease and disability. Exposure in pregnancy and childhood is linked to birth defects, diabetes and cancer. Because a child’s developing body is more sensitive to exposure than adults and takes in more of everything – relative to their size, children eat, breathe and drink much more than adults – they are particularly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals.

Consider that little is being done to address the food-related public health crisis which, according to the data on co-morbidities, seems to be a major contribution to increased risk where COVID is concerned. Then consider that governments are going all out to vaccinate children for a virus that poses minimal or virtually no risk to them. There is no logic to this approach.

While there is currently much talk of the coronavirus placing immense strain on the NHS, the health service was already creaking due to spiralling rates of disease linked to the food we eat. But do we see a clampdown on the activities or products of the global agrochemical or the food conglomerates? Instead, we see that successive governments in the UK have worked hand in glove with them to ensure ‘business as usual’.

The UK government is going out of its way under the guise of a health crisis to undermine the public’s rights in order to manage risk and to ‘protect’ the NHS but is all too willing to oversee a massive, ongoing health crisis caused by the chemical pollution of our bodies.

The unvaccinated are being cast as irresponsible or much worse if we listen to the recent reprehensible outbursts from leaders like Macron or Trudeau (concerning a disease that is as risky as the flu for the vast majority of the population) for having genuine concerns about vaccine safety, waning efficacy and the logic behind mass vaccination across all ages and risk groups.

Given that underlying health conditions substantially increase risk where COVID-19 is concerned, it is clear where the real irresponsibility lies – with government inaction for decades in terms of failing to tackle the corporations behind the health-damaging food they produce.

The post The Right to Healthy Food: Comorbidities and COVID-19 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

NYC = Covid Time Machine

As I walk around my neighborhood of Astoria or in Manhattan or ride the subway, I’m in a perpetual state of astonishment and disappointment. New York City is virtually indistinguishable from 12 months ago at this exact time, e.g.:

  • Long, socially-distanced lines (wrapped around the block) of double-masked folks waiting to become a useful statistic by taking the frighteningly flawed Covid test
  • People dramatically yank their masks up to cover their nose and mouth when I approach
  • Store owners and employees demanding you wear a mask to enter
  • Sneers and dirty looks aimed in my direction for not wearing a mask in any setting
  • All anyone talks about is Covid or variants or vaccines
  • The general state of panic
  • Fear rules the day

I could be out walking before sunrise and cross paths with only one other human on the dark desolate streets and you can rest assured that person will be wearing at least one mask — even if they are driving alone in their car.

AND THIS IS A FULL FUCKIN’ YEAR AFTER YOUR MIRACLE DRUG ARRIVED!

Reminders: Masks and social distancing don’t do what you think they do. The PCR test has created up to 97 percent false positives. The so-called vaccines don’t do what you think they do. The so-called vaccines are causing an avalanche of adverse events that are being censored. If you agree to “emergency powers,” there will always be an “emergency.” The “pandemic” will end when YOU stop complying.

Here’s to everyone living their lives outside the fear matrix. As we head into 2022, I’ll leave the rest of you with these words from Albert Camus: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

Join us.

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Will Billions More Vaccination Shots Stop Continual Economic and Social Decline?

Like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other imperialist organizations, the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) recently announced that the forecast for global economic recovery will be revised downward in light of the Omicron virus variant that emerged a few weeks ago .1

Predictably, the OECD claimed that “a swifter roll-out of COVID vaccines” will improve the economy even though this has not stopped social and economic decline so far, and even though President Joe Biden, South African leaders, Governor Kathy Hochul of New York, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and many others around the world, even Anthony Fauci have stressed that the Omicron variant generally causes mostly mild symptoms and does not warrant hysteria and panic. The OECD’s “the-vaccine-will-solve-all-economic-problems” narrative is evident in many news items and publications on its website.

The ruling elite and their media have been dogmatically insisting for 20 consecutive months that elusive economic recovery depends largely on giving everyone multiple vaccination shots with or without their consent—something that makes Big Pharma extremely happy.

But so far neither billions of vaccination shots nor top-down lockdowns have stopped the deepening economic and social crisis confronting the majority of humanity. Lockdowns have devastated the livelihoods of millions and increased poverty, debt, unemployment, inequality, misery, and depression worldwide. Millions of businesses have permanently disappeared in less than 20 months. How is this an effective response to a health crisis? Will more debt, poverty, inequality, unemployment, and insecurity improve people’s health and well-being? Do security and good health come from constant instability, fear, and uncertainty? Can an economy controlled and dominated by the top 0.1% even meet the needs of the people? Not surprisingly, a key feature of the “COVID Pandemic” has been even greater concentration of socially-produced wealth in fewer private hands, bringing inequality worldwide to even more barbaric levels. Currently, “the poorest half of the planet’s population owns about 2% of its riches”. In addition, high levels of inflation are spreading globally, thereby decreasing people’s purchasing power even further. Whatever wage or salary gains many people may be getting are being rapidly eaten up by rising inflation.

Nearly two years after the “COVID Pandemic” started economies around the world are plagued by many serious intractable economic problems. It has been a huge struggle for the rich and their political and media representatives to anchor themselves in any legitimacy, and given the chaotic, anarchic, and violent way everything is being approached by the rich and their entourage, more tragedies are in store.

The necessity for an economy, society, and institutions controlled by the people themselves has never been sharper and more urgent. The rich and their cheerleaders cannot offer a way forward. They are historically exhausted, unfit to rule, and determined to preserve obsolete arrangements that keep everyone marginalized and disempowered. They reject social responsibility and block any striving of the people for a better world. The all-sided crisis plaguing people everywhere can only be solved by people relying on themselves instead of the rich and their representatives.

  1. Imperialist organizations like the OECD regularly over-project economic growth and thus they routinely revise their projections downwards several times a year, causing many to lose faith in their ability to accurately cognize economic realities and conditions.
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The House of Cards of Clinical Psychology

Why is anger a motivation for writing this book? Because the rapid growth and professionalization of my field…has led it to abandon a commitment it made at the inception of that growth. That is to establish mental health base on research findings The practice would ignore the research…Instead, too many mental healthcare professionals rely on trained clinical intuition… it is often no different from the intuition of people who have had no training whatsoever… What our society has done is to license such people to do their own thing while simultaneously justifying that license on the basis of scientific knowledge which those licensed too often ignore.

Robyn M. Dawes, House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth, Free Press, 1st edition, November  24, 2009

Orientation Questions and Claims About Psychotherapy

  • Many clinicians think adult behavior is determined mainly by childhood What does the research show?
  • Surely interviewing and building case studies provide better predictability of individuals than actuarial statistics like those used by insurance companies.
  • The projective testing techniques like the Rorschach tests have shown to be very helpful in getting out the client’s unconscious motivates and drives.
  • How much does the age of the therapist indicate greater learning in the field? Surely this is true because all older therapists have more experience.
  • How well does raising self-esteem with psychological techniques predict improvements in personal and social behavior?
  • Does possessing a license imply that therapists are using scientifically sound methods?

Turning from the therapy office to the courtroom:

  • How good does professional psychological testimony in legal proceedings work in predicting competency for standing trial, establishing divorce and child custody or allegations of child abuse in the absence of physical evidence or reliable witnesses?
  • What are the chances that clinicians can know what someone was thinking just before they committed suicide?
  • Could therapists tell within 10 minutes of meeting them when someone has been sexually abused as a child based on that person’s general demeaner?
  • How likely is it that multiple personality disorders result from repeated sexual abuse or being raised by parents who practiced Satanism?

Defining the Boundaries of Psychology

This article is based on a very powerful criticism of the field of professional psychology by Robyn M. Dawes: House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth.

Are psychological problems mental illnesses?

Recently “mental illness” is being presented in our society as just the same as any other illness. According to Dawes, this has been done to destigmatize emotional distress by claiming that it is an illness is nothing to be embarrassed about. But the constant repetition of this assertion has gradually convinced the public and professional psychologists themselves that what psychotherapists or paraprofessionals do to alleviate emotional distress is similar to what medical doctors do to alleviate or cure physical disease. This is a very bad analogy, as we shall see. We must proceed carefully.

According to Dawes, there are three important mental illness categories for judging people’s mental health:

  • An outside observer thinks its dysfunctional
  • The individual client reports it as emotional distress
  • The behavior is derogated by others

Critics like Szasz and Masson concentrate on the third characteristic.

Psychology does not have the rigor of medicine or engineering

The problem for psychologists in calling psychological problems “illnesses” is that they create expectations that their practice is more rigorous than it is. It promises results that they cannot deliver. The field of psychology cannot give the results of engineering or medicine. We trust engineers because city buildings don’t fall down, and we rarely see plane flights that crash. We trust doctors because we have evidence it works. Doctors take out appendixes, and antibiotics and surgeries can cure people of many diseases.  Once cancer enters the bloodstream, we can usually predict what will happen.

The need for psychology to be cautious

Professional psychologists cannot predict what an individual will do with this kind of accuracy. Dawes says:

There is always more unexplained variation in the results than there is variation that can be explained by the trend we believe the study has supported. (29)

Responsible professionals should practice with a cautious, open, and questioning attitude. The field of psychology has developed several effective measuring devices and ways to predict future behavior. The most surprising thing is that it can be administered without much training and does not require extensive degrees, training, or experience to interpret.In addition, some people who experience distress will simply get over it, whether they are in treatment or not. When high school students were asked to predict which patients would become violent, their average judgments were almost identical to the average judgment of professionals. Some therapists’ research in:

…behavior and theory (are) derived from careful research studies and an analysis of their implications. Ironically, these are often not high-priced people; They are associated with universities and their treatment is systematic, they often involve several paraprofessionals in their teams. (290)

There is very little evidence that expertise in the mental health area has brought about a reduction in the incidence of emotional disturbance and distress. Even great champions of drug therapies maintain that all these drugs do is control the condition. According to Dawes, while therapy helps two thirds of the clients, it leaves the other third worse off than if they were in a control group. A profession with this kind record of failure rate would seem to require caution all the more.

Cognitive biases of professional psychologists

Clinical judgment is often based on a number of cognitive biases:

  • In searching one’s memory in building a case, there is something called the “availability bias”.  Because of selective exposure, recall will be selective. We are more likely to remember some things more than others.
  • The “representative bias”. This is where you fit the evidence that most likely fits with the stereotype of that person or situation.
  • The “vividness bias”. Therapists are no different than other people in that they are drawn to stories that are vivid in terms of color, music, smell, taste, or touch. These cases will stick out in their minds over a variety of drab cases.

Scientific methods: how do we know what we know?

How do we know what we know? By the ability to predict. In other words, if you know a phenomenon well, you should be about to show me what happen next. In doing this, a scientist must not only have a group of people with whom he tests his hypothesis. He must also have a randomly controlled group alongside of it in evaluating treatment and therapy.

To summarize, what is needed to test a professional psychologist’s claim to understanding is:

  • An assessment of their predictive power.
  • A comparison of the accuracy with that of some other means of prediction.
  • The ability to reach their conclusions in a way that would convince skeptics.
  • Allow the outside observers to reach a conclusion about its effectiveness. In psychotherapy symptom remission is a prime candidate for such an indicator.

In terms of evaluation of the therapy, patients are not reliable judges because they have spent a great deal of money.  It would be hard to admit it wasn’t worth it. Therapists are not good judges because of all the time they spent with the client, and they have a theory to defend.

Why statistical reasoning is necessary

Statistical predictions are specifically designed to discover a pattern of contexts of variability.  People have a very great difficulty time combining qualitatively distinct or incomparable predictors. Dawes gives the following examples:

  • How does an interviewer for a student applying for medical school combine information about a past college record with a score on the medical school aptitude test?
  • How to integrate information about past job history with a self-reflective statement about ambitions and goals?
  • A positive test result with an unusual Rorschach inkblot test with the knowledge that a disease indicated by such results are extremely rare.

The problem is the more we know about people through interview case studies, the more complicated these individual cases get. In reaction we might be tempted to be drawn to striking but irrelevant information rather than statistically valid information, which is less striking.

Bad judgments among professional psychologists:

As we will see, many professional psychologists do not follow scientific procedure or rely on knowledge of actuarial tables when:

  • judgments are made in the absence of well validated scientific theory;
  • when therapists are evaluated without systematic feedback about how good they are;
  • the supportive evidence is simply hypothesized;
  • the negative evidence that has been collected is simply ignored, or;
  • arguing from a vacuum – what is purported to be true is supported, not by direct evidence but by attacking an alternative possibility.

Does Licensing Assure Quality?

There are various unlicensed people who also present themselves to the public as experts, such as rape counselors, alcohol counselors, and religious counselors. This is one set of problems. But what about those who are licensed? Surely, they must be better. Does licensing ensure that valid scientific techniques of findings will be used by professional therapists in a valid manner? Sadly, the answer is no. Licensing is set up for institutional psychological settings like hospitals, prisons, psychological wards, or halfway houses. The problem is that these settings deal with patients very different from the relatively tame clients that private psychotherapists see. In addition, according to Dawes, only 9.8 percent of licensed psychologists work in these settings.

The education and training psychologists receive is not necessarily training in valid scientific techniques or theories. The licensing does not mandate that the psychologist share with the client the fact that they are employing a technique where no scientific standard exists. Nor that they are practicing techniques that are not generally accepted as reliable in the psychological research community. In 1990, only 30% of APA members subscribed to any of its journals. Licensing can be defined as official and legal permission to do or own any particular thing. But another definition can also mean deviation from normal rules and practices. Licensing has ironically and unintentionally taken on the last meaning. Professional psychologists have been granted a license to ignore the research once they have the license.

Dilution and deterioration of the field

In addition, the field is on the one hand growing by leaps and bounds, but it is also deteriorating in quality. Here Dawes describes a personal experience:

When I joined the APA in 1959 it had approximately 18,000 members…When I quit in 1988, there were 68,000, approximately, 40,000 of whom were in clinical or counseling… Psychological association members in professional practice grew by a factor of 16.  Clinical psychologists had doubled its numbers every 10 years. For comparison the doubling rate of lawyers is 12 years; social workers 14 years; psychiatrists 20 years. The selling point for psychologists over psychiatrists used to be that they had more extensive research training. In the light of this. The APA recognized a new degree, the Doctor of Psychology without research training PsyD (12)

…During that expansion the rigor of the scientific training of practicing psychologists diminished. We are not graduating thousands of psychologists. We are graduating thousands of practitioners who are peripherally acquainted with the discipline of psychology (6)

If the professional psychologist allows himself to be drawn into private practice, the chances of keeping up with the research and incorporating it into their practice shrinks.

The steady erosion of professional’s commitment to research findings is a basis for practice over the past 30 years. There has been an explosion in numbers which assures that there will be more bad therapists around in the 1990s than at the time when the studies were initiated (14)

Parameters and Qualifications

There are six basic schools within psychology: psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive, biological physiological, biological-evolutionary, and humanistic. The criticisms Dawes has laid out against professional psychology is only directed at psychoanalysis, and to a lesser extent humanistic psychology. Why? First, because they do not limit themselves to interventions that have been proven to work. Secondly, they do not create settings which lend themselves to scientific scrutiny. Psychoanalysis and humanistic psychological theories do not follow the science. Dawes is not suggesting that psychotherapy doesn’t work. He is suggesting that:

  1. we can only know what works if the therapist follows and applies scientific research in therapy;
  2. therapy can be successful regardless of the credentials, or training. A skilled paraprofessional is just as good as a professional provided – they have empathy and;
  3. experiences of the therapist are unrelated to outcomes since the setting of therapy does not easily lend itself to immediate, consistent, and repeated feedback from an outside source.

Despite these disturbing conclusions from a professional psychology point of view, the salaries of professional psychologists are high relative to researchers and academic psychologists. Professional psychologists would, no doubt, like to keep it that way. These conclusions are based on over 500 scientific studies of the psychotherapy outcome.

Psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology do share one common characteristic: individualistic egoism. Dawes points out that this egoistic individualism framework is consistent with frameworks in other social sciences, like classical economics or political science. This leads to the following individualist mistakes of psychodynamics and humanistic psychology:

  • a preference for case studies rather than statistical reasoning;
  • attempting to build self-esteem before taking action (as opposed encouraging action first and seeing if that might raise self-esteem) and;
  • motivation and insight must precede effective behavior.

I am not a stranger to the field of psychology. In addition to teaching as an adjunct in college and psychology departments for 27 years, I worked in halfway houses for two years in the 1990s. I worked in a 40-week training, court-ordered program for two years called Men Overcoming Violence. I have worked as a private counselor with a specialty in goal setting and overcoming procrastination. In most of these settings I used the methods of cognitive psychology. I have an M.A. in counseling psychology.

Psychoanalysis

Table A below shows the most important myths of psychoanalysis that Dawes points out:Weaknesses of interviews and case studies

Some professional psychologists think they and their clients are above statistical reasoning. They say that while statistical generalizations can be useful, they cannot predict what the therapist’s client is likely to do next. For this, the therapist claims their knowledge of this individual case will deliver the goods. After all, the individual is “unique”.

Besides, humanistic psychologists might say, statistical predictions are “dehumanizing” because they reduce people to “mere numbers”. In addition, these findings are taken as an affront to the self-image of the purported experts themselves. For persuading the public on television shows that while single vivid anecdotes might work, they don’t work in science. In the majority of situations, the individual’s past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, and these can be given with statistics.

Actuarial statistics hold up better in hospitals and prisons, according to Dawes. Weighing actuarial variables of those in hospitals like material status, length of psychotic distress and the degree of patient insight, outperformed the hospital’s medical and psychological staff members’ opinions. Turning to prison recidivism, actuarial variables, like past criminal records and current prison behavior, predictions of whether the prisoners would return to prison have proven better than expert criminologists’ predictions:

Jack Sawyer, 12 years later, published a review of about 45 studies; again, in none was the clinical prediction superior (83)

…Professional psychologists could not even detect young adolescents who were faking brain damage on standard intellectual tests after {the subjects} were given no instruction other than “to be convincing”. Yet less than 10% recognized the fake results. (91)

In the business context of predicting bankruptcy, a formula has been found to be superior to the judgement of bank loan experts (93)

It is not as if the case study and interview is worthless. The interview can be good for framing the kind of questions asked, and the categories that should be included in the experiment. In addition, the qualities that impress therapeutic interviews are not the same as how the client acts at work, with their co-workers and supervisors, or at home with their families where they live their lives. Despite all this, experts continue to interview and make predictions, and express great confidence in the validity of their predictive judgments.

Ignoring the counterfactuals

Psychoanalysts ignore what are called hypothetical counterfactuals. For example, in the courts, knowing what would have happened if custody had been granted to the other parent. Mental health workers in hospitals notice people who return to an institution, but do not notice those who do not.

Making up theories and tests that have not been scientifically validated

Perhaps the worst license of all is the “license” to make up one’s psychological theories from the psychologist’s experience with clients that have not been peer reviewed or tested. Secondly, the “license” to make up one’s tests from experience without scientific validation. This often leads to the Barnum Effect, where the list of the symptoms gets larger and larger and where virtually every symptom becomes an indicator of the problem. I have seen this happens over the years with the use of symptom growth of ADHD, borderline personality, narcissism, and addiction.

In a courtroom setting, both manufactured theories and tests are presented as part of being an expert witness. This license that has been granted is frightening in cases of child abuse and sexual abuse. The claim of some professional psychologists to detect child abuse has been to assert that “children never lie”. The subconscious mind is claimed to have a memory bank of everything we ever experienced – exactly as we perceived it. This flies in the face a great deal of research that indicated the flawed nature of human memory. Its nature is reconstructive – such that events that literally never occurred can be recalled in great detail with the proper leading questions by the therapist, both in therapy and in the courtroom.

Making the past determine the present

Historically, psychoanalysis has made its bread and butter from telling people that events that occurred within the first three years of life pretty much determine how adults turn out. Dawes points out that there is no evidence for this, especially in determining child abuse. He says:

There is no evidence that childhood abuse and neglect will out, or that it will have some permanent effect on adulthood without it first having an effect on adolescence. (219)

Jerome Kagan, who has spent decades studying temperament in young children, says: continuity does not imply inevitability. The human organism is highly resilient in the face of deleterious experiences and sufficiently malleable to bounce back, given constructive inputs. Only continual obstacles will prevent an initial bend in a twig from righting itself towards the sun. (218)

The problem is that feeling and believing that one is a victim of early traumatic experience is likely to induce a demoralized state in which the person stops trying to make things right in the present.  Or they must wait for years until they develop insight with the therapist’s help into what really happened so that these early events no longer haunt their lives. In the meantime, their lives can become worse. Dawes says the therapist should be blamed for putting unscientific ideas in people’s heads and teaching them to hate their parents. Where is the evidence that simply learning to blame or hate somebody is therapeutic?

Doll interpretations are not scientific

In the courts, professional psychologists often turn to doll play for as a tool for finding out if a child has been abused. Dawes says there is no psychological evidence that this works. Currently there is no standardized set of questions for conducting interviews using the dolls or standardized agreement as to how to interpret them.

This lack of validity does not prevent professionals from using the technique. The sad reality is that agencies not directly connected to psychology are using these unscientific techniques, including child protective agencies and the criminal justice system.

Rorschach tests aren’t scientific

Whether in or out of court settings, Rorschach tests are very popular among clinicians. This is popularly known as the inkblot test. Vague images are presented that are either the result of actual inkblot patterns resulting from a folded paper with a blot of ink on it or standardly vague images are presented and then interpreted.  For example, the clinician interprets whether the client attempts to integrate the entire blot into a single image or uses only part of it or only focuses on small detail. Use of the whole blot is interpreted as needing to form a big picture of grandiosity. Tiny details are interpreted as being an obsessive personality. The content of the imagery also matters. Many people see animals, but too high a proportion of animals indicates immaturity or a lack of imagination. Seeing figures that are part human and part nonhuman like satyrs, cartoon characters, or witches indicates alienation. It’s not that these interpretations aren’t interesting. But a therapist with a license that requires them to be scientific should not be making untested interpretations while making money off the public’s dime.

These tests have been dismissed by scientific psychologists:

In 1959, many of the world’s most eminent psychologists were lined up against the use of the Rorschach. Hans Eysenck quoted Lee Cronbach, one of the world’s leading experts of psychometric testing, said that “the test has repeatedly failed as a prediction of practical criteria”. In 1978 Richard H. Davis concluded that “the general lack of predictive validity for the Rorschach raises serious questions about its continued use in clinical practice”. (151-152)

After all this, why does it continue among licensed professionals. One reason is that it has intuitive and creative appeal. But another reason could be they are paid well for administering it.

Humanistic Psychology and the Obsession with Feelings and Self-Esteem

I feel, therefore I am

Late in his book, in Chapter 8, Dawes shifts gears from writing about the problems of clinical psychoanalytic therapies to what he unfortunately calls “New Age psychology”. What he is describing (the preoccupation with feelings and the obsession with self-esteem) were happening long before the New Age, the beginnings of which I date around 1978. The school of psychology that fits the bill is humanistic psychology. So, I will continue to describe the results of his research,but I have renamed the school as it is an expression of “Humanistic”, not New Age psychology.

As far back as the 18th century Enlightenment, the cause of psychological behavior was believed to be conscious choice after rational weighing of pros and cons.

For the Calvinists of 16th and 17th centuries, lack of willpower was considered a problem and needed to be overcome through prayer and introspection. Emotions were never taken seriously. They were seen as temporary fits of irrationality. It was not until the romantics in the hundred-year period between the end of the 18th and 19th centuries that emotions were not only taken seriously but were also considered primary. Humanistic psychology, just like the counterculture it sprang from, is directly connected to Romanticism.

The tendency of humanistic psychologists is to reduce all problems being determined by feelings which are repressed and need to be expressed. As Dawes writes, the platonic hierarchy was turned on its head. Contrary to the Enlightenment, it was rationality that was the problem. The belief is that we can only get better by allowing the magical but bratty child within to come out.Self-esteem

Beginning in the late 1970s, poor self-esteem is often cited as the cause of everything from failure to learn in elementary school, to failures in business, to failed marriages. Nathaniel Branden’s The Psychology of Self-Esteem propagated the importance of self-esteem. Instead of self-esteem arising as a result of action taken, high self-esteem was presented as a pre-condition for taking action. Diminished self-esteem stands as a powerful independent variable. But what does it matter that we know why we exercise before exercising? The behavior is more important than the motives for engaging in it. It is not necessary to feel wonderful about ourselves first. Dawes writes:

there is no evidence that for the majority of people a change in internal state and feeling is necessary prior to behaving in a beneficial way. (293)

Nevertheless, long-time state assemblyman John Vasconcellos promoted the establishment of a task force to promote self-esteem and the governor of CA, George Deukmejian, signed a bill to fund its work in 1986. The conclusions after putting these problems into practice were the following:

  1. There is insufficient evidence to support the belief in a direct relation between low self-esteem and child abuse.
  2. Low self-esteem should not be perceived as the primary cause of child abuse especially when compared to other factors such as age, employment status, availability of childcare and economic insecurity.
  3. There is no basis for arguing that increasing self-esteem is effective in decreasing child abuse.
  4. there is no evidence that lower self-esteem plays a causal role in alcoholism or drug use.

Furthermore, Dawes writes that this way of thinking about low self-esteem discourages taking action, and instead seeking talk therapy. More importantly, raising the self-esteem of children had no bearing on the academic performance of Yankees compared to students in Japan and China in the areas of geography and mathematics. Yankee students also do much less homework and have a shorter school year. They are poorer students despite the crusade to raise self-esteem in the schools. Finally, Dawes claims that attempts of schools to raise self-esteem by lowering standards hurts children in the long run.

Mental health equals living on the sunny side of the street

Humanistic psychology’s picture of mental health consists of high self-esteem, optimism, feelings of invulnerability, and self-confidence – all characteristics which are internal, pervasive, and stable over time for one’s own success. Conversely external locus of control, specific conditions and fleeing explanations go with one’s failure. This argument may be found in Shelley Taylor’s Positive Illusions: Creative Self-Deception and Heathy Mind.

By the late 1970s, the decline of Yankee capitalism had not reached the middle classes, and even working-class people could still imagine that the American dream was possible. With the proper internal characteristics – hard work, frugality, prudence and preservice – people could live the dream. But as the standard of living declined steeply for middle-class and working-class people, how psychologically healthy was it to continue to imagine you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? Having good reasons for being pessimistic might be healthier. If a worker is out of work because of the chaotic capitalist economy, wouldn’t it be healthier to have an external locus of control which blames the system, not the individual? Nonetheless, for comfortable upper middle-class professional psychologists, the mandate they give us today is the old “pull yourself by your own bootstraps”, and “don’t worry, be happy” at whatever cost to one’s own reality testing.

How Do Professional Psychologists get away with this?

The myth that expanding experience leads to increased learning

Part of the reason the public has gone along with the lack of the use of science on the part of clinicians is because of the public’s belief that long-term experience enhances the performance of professionals. After all, it does that in other professions, such as medical procedures being performed by surgeons. However, in the case of mental health professions, because of the lack of critical, consistent feedback, it is far from a done deal that therapists learn from their experience. The empirical data indicates that:

  1. mental health professionals’ accuracy of judgment does not increase with clinical experience once a rudimentary mastery of the techniques has been learned, and
  2. neither does their success as psychotherapists.

Learning motor skills is not the same as learning how to categorize and predict

It is clear we learn many motor skills, gradually from practices such as learning to drive in a straight line or learning to drive a stick-shift. But are clinical skills in the mental health professions of that nature as well? No, they aren’t. Because the psychologist does not experience feedback about the effects of their intervention on a patient that are:

  1. Immediate,
  2. unambiguous (a clear understanding of what constitutes an incorrect response), and
  3. continuous.

In the mental health profession, none of these conditions are satisfied. The type of feedback mental health professionals is given by their clients tends to be not immediate, chaotic, and sometimes non-existent. The client leaves and the therapist doesn’t know what happened. Meanwhile, the profession has been going merrily along in the absence of such findings, and that reflects the degree to which the profession has lost its research base. The public is not aware of this contradiction between the license and the lack of systemic learning and just trusts them as professionals. The American people know the national mental health problem is getting worse, yet they do not know the research about expertise incompetence.

The power of lobbying

Professional psychology has been able to survive, though far from its resource base in science, by lobbying state and national governments for money and privilege. Clinical work also appeals to students so they can apply their knowledge to real people after years of academic “preparation for life”.

Unscientific clinical theory often matches public intuition

The first need to which arguments are made for enhancing professional psychology is the need for authority. Imagine how extremely difficult life would be if we did not accept what many authorities tell us is true. Life would become impossible. In addition, sometimes the views of therapists’ views often coincide with popular intuition. For example, when people are told about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they usually spontaneously agree with it. Yet there is no scientific evidence that the hierarchy of needs matches any scientific testing and follow up. Another opinion that seems to make intuitive sense to the public is thinking that personality factors matter more than situational factors. Social psychologists name this as the “fundamental attribution error”. This is a tendency of people in industrial capitalist countries to:

  1. attribute personality factors when someone else does something that we don’t like,
  2. or when we do something we like.

This is opposed to situational variables. Both professional psychologists and the public think individualistically that the person determines what happens to them, not the situation. The fact that psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology ignore the scientific research done by sister psychologists in the same field and fail to incorporate it into their theories demonstrates how rigid they are in their own theories.

Why the public should care

We are all paying for these services through insurance premiums and taxes. Dawes says:

We should not be pouring our resources and money to support high-priced people who do not help others better than those with far less training skill would, and those judgments and predictions are actually worse than the simplest statistical conclusion based on obvious variables. (5).

By supporting licensing, income and status for credentialed practitioners, the mental health professions have treated variables that really don’t matter as if they did matter. (62)

In the case of so-called “repressed memories” in court settings, parents are fighting back against charges of incest by children at the prodding of clinicians with half-baked unscientific theories:

A new group called the False memory Syndrome Foundation (1992) had a membership of about 2,000 families, mainly parents who claimed that they were falsely accused as a result of their children’s “therapy”. By the end of the first half of 1993, the membership had grown to over 4,600. (173)

By 1994 the foundation had grown to more than 7,500 members. It was dissolved on December 31, 2019.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article is to expose the exploitation of psychological licenses on the part of psychoanalytic and humanistic clinicians who ignore scientific research in the field while claiming expertise on the dime of the public. After some rhetorical questions and answers about the field of psychology, I began by raising questions about whether psychological problems can be categorized as mental illnesses. Then I discussed how the field of psychology does not have the rigor of predictability of medicine and that the field of psychology needs to be cautious in their claims. I discussed three typical cognitive biases in the field as well as five bad judgments that psychologists make. I contrasted this to the process of good scientific reasoning as well as the necessity of making psychological judgments based on actuarial statistics rather than case studies. In the next two sections I discussed why licensing does not assure quality judgments and how the field of professional psychology is overpopulated, and the quality of training has deteriorated.

Next, I identified the six theoretical schools of psychology. Four of the six follow scientific research while psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology tend to ignore it. In the next two sections I discussed the myths of psychoanalysis by outlining the weaknesses of case studies as a method. I also pointed out the unscientific nature of the use of dolls to ascertain child abuse as well as the use of Rorschach tests for determining psychological problems. Next, I turned to humanistic psychology and its championing of the central importance of emotions and self-esteem in psychological life. Dawes argues against the cathartic theory of the emotions as well the need to raise self-esteem prior to taking any action. He points out that the children of the Yankee population are way behind the children in China and Japan, despite many years of implementing techniques of raising self-esteem in schools. Lastly Dawes challenges the Pollyannish humanistic equation of psychological health with happiness and internal locus of control. Psychological health does not automatically mean living in the sunny side of the street.

Dawes makes the following claims based on 500 validated scientific studies:

  1. we can only know what works if the therapist follows and applies scientific research in therapy;
  2. therapy can be successful regardless of the credentials or training. A skilled paraprofessional is just as good as a professional provided they have empathy; and,
  3. the experiences of the therapist are unrelated to outcomes since the setting of therapy does not easily lend itself to immediate, consistent, and repeated feedback from an outside source.

Anticipating Objections

Single studies that contradict his thesis aren’t enough because the generality of his conclusions is dependent on:

  1. multiple studies,
  2. conducted on multiple problems, and
  3. multiple contexts.

It would take a substantial body of new research to overturn the conclusions presented here.  A new finding or set of findings that would turn the whole field I have discussed upside down is extraordinarily unlikely to occur.

Given that this book was written in 1994, it is tempting to think new research has been found to overturn Dawes’sargument. In critical book reviews I have not found significant challenges. By way of closing, I would invite you to review the questions and statements I made at the beginning of this article to see if your questions have been answered.

• First appeared in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post The House of Cards of Clinical Psychology first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The CIA, Empty Assurances and Assange’s Defence

The second day of appellate proceedings by the United States against Julian Assange saw the defence make their case against the overturning of District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January ruling.  Any extradition to the US, she concluded, would be so oppressive to the publisher as to render it unjust under UK extradition law.  Before the UK High Court, both Edward Fitzgerald QC and Mark Summers QC sought to preserve the status quo.

The morning session was focused on defending the action of the defence witness Michael Kopelman, whose initial psychiatric assessment of Assange’s wellbeing omitted reference to Stella Moris and the existence of their two children.  The prosecution had contended that this impaired Kopelman’s partiality before the court, notwithstanding his correction to the account in the final court submission.  The omission, Fitzgerald contended, was justified given fears of the surveillance operation in the Ecuadorian embassy mounted by the Central Intelligence Agency, and concerns about potential abduction and assassination.  This point had been confirmed in the now famous Yahoo! News report.

A day prior to the submission of the initial report, Kopelman had sought legal advice from the head of the solicitor’s firm acting for Assange, Gareth Peirce.  But as Peirce was facing an avalanche of documents to be served at the time – surveillance, allegations of kidnapping and poisoning, among other things – she was unable to furnish him with timely advice.  Baraitser duly found that Kopelman’s conduct, while misleading, was not that of a dishonest individual but “a very human response”.  The judge also knew about the identity of Moris prior to reading the initial report.

To bolster Kopelman before the attacks of the prosecution, the defence adduced the opinion of consultant forensic psychiatrist Keith Rix, a noted authority on the ethical duties of psychiatric experts.  Kopelman had, in Rix’s view “acted ‘professionally’; responsibly’ and he ‘exercised appropriate and reasonable caution’” in omitting reference to Moris and the children in his initial report.

The defence also suggested that the US government could not have been surprised by the relationship between Moris and Assange and their children.  Nigel Blackwood, one of prosecution’s doctors of choice, was informed of the children’s existence in March 2020.

Fitzgerald, mindful of addressing Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett, reminded him about the parallels between the Assange case and the hacktivist Lauri Love, whose extradition was overturned in 2018.  Love’s extradition to the US was initially approved by the Westminster Magistrate’s Court but was overturned in the High Court with Burnett presiding. Love had also been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a contributing factor to his suicide risk in a US prison facility.  The court there had accepted a “predictive function” so frowned upon by James Lewis QC, whose submission the previous day insisted that current medical valuations – and notably those of the prosecution – were the only ones that counted.

Burnett took issue with the characterisation.  “It’s a completely different case,” he interjected, citing the fact that the district judge in Love’s case had found that preventive measures were adequate and would prevent suicide.  District Judge Baraitser had found the opposite with regards to Assange.  Fitzgerald contended the mental disorders in question were the same in both cases and that these would have a role in depriving intelligent individuals of volition in being at risk of suicide.

The defence submission to the High Court also makes the point that District Judge Baraitser “found that the cause of both the urge to commit suicide and the determined circumvention of suicide measures would be Mr Assange’s mental disorder itself.”  This was based on the evidence from consultant neuropsychiatrist Quinton Deeley about the effects of Assange’s Autism Spectrum Disorder and Kopelman’s submission on the effects of Assange’s depression.

After lunch, Summers took aim at the prosecution’s package of “assurances” regarding Assange’s fate in the pre-trial and post-trial phase. These included an undertaking that Assange would not be subject to oppressive Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), face solitary confinement or even end up in the ADX Florence supermax prison facility if convicted.  They also include a promise that Assange would receive appropriate “clinical and psychological treatment” as “recommended” by the relevant prison clinician.  If convicted, the US government would permit him to apply for a prisoner transfer to serve his sentence in Australia subject, of course, to Australian approval.

In the view of the defence, the entire package was unreliable.  Even assuming they would be acted upon, they would be inadequate.  They were also oddly timed and untestable, being given only after Baraitser’s ruling.  They only addressed two of the seven grounds for finding that Assange faced a substantial risk of suicide, and even then, inadequately addressed those limited issues.  And how could you trust such pledges from a power whose officials had considered abducting and killing Assange?

The previous day, Lewis had argued that the onus was on the judge to seek those assurances on how Assange would be treated in the first place.  This rather odd interpretation was given a deserved shredding by Summers.  Through the extradition hearing, the discussion about SAMs, ADX Florence and solitary confinement was frequent.  The prosecution might well have taken these conditions off the table but as Baraitser herself observed, “Mr Kromberg acknowledged that their imposition is possible.”

Furthermore, these new “conditional assurances do not in fact remove the real risk of detention on SAMs or on ADX.  They certainly do not remove the very real risk of detention or administrative segregation.”  The US authorities still reserved, according to the filed submission, “the power to impose SAMs on Mr Assange ‘in the event that, after entry of this assurance, he was to commit any future act that met the test for the imposition of a SAM’.”  Even leaving the matter of SAMs and ADX Florence, Assange would still risk facing “other severely isolating prison regimes or other notorious prisons in the US about which the [District Judge] heard copious evidence.”

Lewis, for the prosecution, suggested that such regimes as Administrative Segregation (AdSeg) could not be equated to solitary confinement.  But the US prison system is replete with terminology designed to conceal what amounts to the same thing. “Prisons often hide behind these rhetorical labels [the hole, AdSeg, protective custody, SMU, SHU] to avoid scrutiny under legal sanctions that prohibit indefinite placement in solitary confinement and require due process for those who are sentenced,” claims the US-based human rights body, the National Immigrant Justice Center.

The defence’s High Court submission also notes the crude reality that, “One agency with power to recommend SAMs to the attorney general (on the basis of some unspecified ‘act’ they perceive Mr Assange to have committed) is the CIA – the very same agency whose criminal acts Mr Assange has sought to expose and who are under active investigation in Spain for plotting to kill him.”

Continuing the focus on the role of the CIA, Summers reminded the judges that this was the “first time the US had sought the assistance of a UK court in obtaining jurisdiction” over an individual a US government entity had considered poisoning or assassinating.  “That is worthy of an investigation in relation to the assurances.”  The CIA had shown an “obsession for vengeance”; there was “credible evidence of US government plans at some length to do serious harm to Mr Assange”.

Drawing from the Yahoo! News report, Summers noted “discussions in the Oval Office about killing [Assange]” and “sketches drawn in the summer of 2017 as matters escalated to render him back to America from the UK.  But the UK refused to go along with this.”  The then CIA director Mike Pompeo was “on the record that some things are true and it’s under Congressional investigation.”

The assurance that Assange could be transferred to an Australian prison also deserved some measure of scorn.  “Mr Assange will most likely be dead before [this assurance] can have any purchase, if it ever could.”  Precedent also showed that the US could not be trusted to keep the undertaking.

The case of Spanish drug trafficker David Mendoza Herrarte was cited by Summers.  In that instance, a Spanish court was given an assurance that Mendoza, if extradited to the US to face trial, could serve any prison sentence in Spain.  The US Department of Justice had something else in mind, initially refusing the transfer application when it was made.  The pledge, it was subsequently claimed, had been to secure Mendoza the liberty to apply for a transfer; the DOJ retained the right to reject it.  It took six years of diplomatic tussling between Madrid and Washington, with the encouragement of the Spanish Supreme Court, to eventually secure the prisoner release.

In his rebuttal, Lewis, who omitted any reference to the role of the CIA, having previously dismissed such claims as “palpable nonsense”, made light of the tardiness of the US offer of assurances.  “It is proper to deal with assurances at any stage.  This is not a sea change.  Assurances are not evidence.  The fact is it is common sense that an assurance will be reactive in nature.”  Conditions might change. Even if a person was released, Lewis proposed, citing precedent, the extradition process might well be restarted on the basis of assurances given by the requesting state.  “We could start again with Assange.”  A promise of perennial legal purgatory.

This second and concluding day was illuminating in casting light on the barbarously defective nature of the entire effort against Assange.  The fact that it had reached the appeal stage is itself a grotesque reflection on British justice.  The fact that these proceedings could even assume that Assange might either get a fair trial or be treated fairly in a US prison after officials had chewed over the possibility of abducting or killing him can only be described as disturbed lunacy.  The US government, Fitzgerald remarked at one point, was happy to submit such declarations as those of Assistant US Attorney Gordon Kromberg, but not “subject themselves to cross-examination.  They cross-examine till the cows come home the defence experts.”

The High Court justices will now consider whether to continue this lamentable, sadistic enterprise.  The defence team are considering cross-appealing parts of the original decision on the grounds that it constitutes a grave threat to press liberties.  Whatever the outcome, an appeal to the Supreme Court is likely.  In the meantime, the torture of Assange by process will continue.

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One Degree of Separation: There Will be Parasitic Capitalism’s Blood

This year’s NDEAM theme is prescient: “America’s Recovery – Powered by Inclusion.” October 2021.

The power of acceptance in this diverse world will follow the arc of social justice; however,  it’s a long journey, still, in 2021.

When I was 15, I had to do community service for ripping through the Tucson desert with my unlicensed motorcycle while I had no driver’s license.  For three months, I read poetry, drama and letters to people in the last stages of their lives at a hospice.

When I sat with some of these patients, I was both humbled by and shaken awake to life’s fragility. My favorite person was Gloria, who was on her last stages with a tube running from her 60-pound inoperable tumor to draining ghastly fluids.

We  talked about her days in theater, and I read plays to her, including Shakespeare’s Othello and Sam Shepherd’s, Curse of the Starving Class. I met her 55 year old daughter with Down Syndrome.

Disability, or handicap, and other phrases like terminally ill, vegetative state and bed-ridden flummoxed me into a state of wokeness.

I am still working with drama and engaging people who fit the Disability Month profile: adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

This awareness campaign — started by Congress 33 years ago – is close to my heart since I’ve worked as a trained customized employment specialist, initially with United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon.

This work was in the tri-county Portland area, and successes were high points in my life, probably more so than the clients’ lives. Helping land jobs for people who have challenges and face unimaginable hurdles tied to discrimination, stigmatization and poverty is rewarding.

There have been big changes in how we relate to people living with disabilities; however, prejudice and disenfranchisement are still prevalent. Discrimination against those with a developmental disability is high.

The “National Snapshot of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force” was commissioned by Special Olympics. The facts are sobering:

  • Only 44% of adults with ID aged 21-64 are in the labor force. This is compared to 83% of working-age adults without disabilities who are in the labor force.
  • 21% of working age adults with ID are unemployed. This is compared to less than 8% of adults without disabilities who are unemployed.
  • 28% of working age adults with ID have never held a job.
  • Only 34% of adults with ID aged 21-64 are employed.

In Lincoln County, adults with intellectual disabilities work in  grocery stores, hotels, landscaping businesses, restaurants and other settings. State agencies are committed to making sure adults have the opportunity to work in competitive environments.

However, stigma and unique circumstances make it challenging to get job placement: many with DD/ID can’t work more than PT jobs;  transportation is problematic; and many need a job coach on site to ensure successful day-to-day activities.

Historically, in 1941, National Employ the Physically Handicapped week cracked open the nut. In 1962 “physically” was removed. 1973 harkened the Rehabilitation Act declaring discrimination on the premise of disability was illegal. Then, more headway: Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975).

Thirty years ago, Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, guaranteeing access to work and prohibiting discrimination against individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Today, more families and communities are comprised of an increasing number of people who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Still, today, those wanting integrated employment that have an employment specialist assisting in customized employment face roadblocks.

Cultural change must galvanize this philosophy of “it takes a village to ensure the safety, health and well being for all our fellow citizens.” That means business owners must step up to the plate.

In the words of Mister (Fred)  Rogers himself:  “Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”

2021 NDEAM Poster English

Ahh, that’s the piece coming out in the Newport News Times, above. The reality is I have 750 words to work with, no graphics, and alas, no polemics. And, yes, this concept of disabilities of a wide variety should be on everyone’s minds now, in 2021, the Year of the Jab, the Year of the Long Haul, the Year of Weathering, the Year of the Haves Putting the Screws Down on the Haves Not!

You see, the injuries caused by the felony offenders, Pfizer and their mRNA experimental what not, those are disabilities to be argued over for years to come. Lawyers lines up, judges bought and paid for through the ugly world of Capitalism — adding these prefixes: predatory, usury, chaotic, casino, disruptive, mafia, and so many other terms for this predation and rip-off scam. Structural violence is built into the system, and whether you are injured by glyphosate encrusted foods, or the unending cascade of carcinogens and neuro-toxins put out by the great believers in “better living-chronic illnesses through chemistry”, or injured by the jabs, or the bioweapon that is the perfect triple storm, or just by the endless threat of eviction-incarceration-bankruptcy, homelessness, medical-educational indebtedness, all that Repo that is the Republic, there ain’t no Demon-crat or Repulsive-can to come to anyone’s rescue. Prostitution is honest compared to these continuing criminal enterprise winners in government-big business-big finance-military-tech-Pharma-et al.

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles.

Old news:

A GRANT PROPOSAL written by the U.S.-based nonprofit the EcoHealth Alliance and submitted in 2018 to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, provides evidence that the group was working — or at least planning to work — on several risky areas of research. Among the scientific tasks the group described in its proposal, which was rejected by DARPA, was the creation of full-length infectious clones of bat SARS-related coronaviruses and the insertion of a tiny part of the virus known as a “proteolytic cleavage site” into bat coronaviruses. Of particular interest was a type of cleavage site able to interact with furin, an enzyme expressed in human cells.

The EcoHealth Alliance did not respond to inquiries about the document, despite having answered previous queries from The Intercept about the group’s government-funded coronavirus research. The group’s president, Peter Daszak, acknowledged the public discussion of an unfunded EcoHealth proposal in a tweet on Saturday. He did not dispute its authenticity.

Disability — what pray tell is that? There are dozens of chronic illnesses that generate many levels of loss of abilities; i.e., disabilities. I work with all sorts of disabilities, and all sorts of chronic illnesses go hand in hand with disabilities, especially with homeless and those who are fighting addiction and poverty and incarceration. Then, the luck of the roulette wheel — intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities.

Anyway you cut it, this is the Land of Chronic Illnesses. Food and factories, and the filth in prescriptions and in the peddled crap of fast food, junk food, packaged food. The chronic illnesses are at birth, and many are tied to all the hormone disruptors and neurotoxins and gut and brain discombobulations. We are really in a world of hurt, with so many with fatigue, fatty livers, kidney malfunctions, obesity, all the drug injuries from the Pharmaceuticals, and so much more of the pollution, single point source, and all of it mixed together into a veritable pureed mush of poisons in the food, soil, air, water, airwaves and just living in a mass psychosis society. . . . Where the rich, undeserving, celebrity of every dirty kind, play god, and determine who and what and where and why and how we are as people. Elites are the cancer of cancers.

And then, you have this human tick, Trump, and boy what a sick world of people who would never ever let this guy forget who he is — racist, fascist, undeserving, soiled un-Man, Donald Trump (and his followers and bootlickers)

‘The poor guy’

Referring to the 2001 article (published by the Washington Post) at a South Carolina rally on Tuesday night, Mr. Trump called Mr. Kovaleski “a nice reporter”.

“Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy,” he continued, before launching into an apparent impression of Mr. Kovaleski, waving his arms around with his hands at an odd angle.

“Uhh, I don’t know what I said. Uhh, I don’t remember. He’s going like ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’”

Mr. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a condition that affects the movement of joints and is noticeable in his right arm and hand.

A New York Times spokeswoman told news site Politico: “We think it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters,”

The original Washington Post article by Mr. Kovaleski said that authorities in Jersey City “detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river”.

Since Mr. Trump’s claims about Muslim Americans celebrating 9/11, the reporter has said he does “not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating”.

Yeah, October, the month when the folks like Fauci and Trump and all the other enablers of pain and disaster capitalism should be set to sea. We all are useless breathers, eaters, walkers, sleepers, in and out of wheelchairs, what have you, to the rich! Hence, the planned demic, bioweapons 6.0. May they all rot in proverbial hell.

LEAKED GRANT PROPOSAL DETAILS HIGH-RISK CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH

The proposal, rejected by U.S. military research agency DARPA, describes the insertion of human-specific cleavage sites into SARS-related bat coronaviruses (source)

Disabilities month, indeed!!!

The post One Degree of Separation: There Will be Parasitic Capitalism’s Blood first appeared on Dissident Voice.

6 Reasons to Feel Grateful During Covid

A novel coronavirus, deadly and unnecessary lockdowns, civil unrest, political division, economic crises, a rise in mental health issues — the list goes on and on and on. Since March 2020, most of the world has suffered immensely in one way or another. But, amidst the madness, there is room for gratitude. More specifically, I’m suggesting we should be grateful for who and what has been exposed over the past 18 months or so.

6 Reasons to Feel Grateful During Covid

1. EXPOSED: Science and Medicine

If you ever had a doubt that these two “institutions” were hotbeds of corruption and greed, the response to Covid-19 surely cleared things up for you. Everything — from social distancing to masks to vaccines to variants to other treatments being demonized and beyond — was a poorly constructed lie.

2. EXPOSED: Corporations

The biggest money grab in history, #woke opportunism, support for mandates, and so much more. All their rainbow flags and BLM banners can’t change who they are (and have always been).

3. EXPOSED: Government

It’s a well-worn script: A crisis unfolds and elected officials — across the ideological spectrum — exploit it to enhance their power. If you were unsure whether or not any politician could be trusted, you now have your answer.4. EXPOSED: The #woke Left

The same clowns who once marched against Monsanto are now shilling for Moderna. Plus: Censorship, support for mandates, hypocrisy, thought control, groupthink… need I go on?

5. EXPOSED: Media and Social Media

All media outlets and social media platforms — regardless of their ostensible “narrative” — are nothing more than AI-assisted stenographers to power.

6. EXPOSED: The General Population 

Before Covid, did you ever wonder how your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc., would respond to a genuine (or manufactured) crisis? Well… take a good look around. Most of them, it seems, will follow orders and respect authority without question. They’ll willingly abdicate their autonomy, enthusiastically volunteer to be lab rats, and ruthlessly turn on anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep. They will embrace totalitarianism and surrender their freedoms in exchange for the illusion of safety. So, yeah… now you know.

I’m thankful that so many people and institutions in my life have clarified who they are and how they behave under duress. To connect with like-minded and open-minded comrades, you are required to move on from those seeking to harm you or, at least, hold you back. You know exactly who they are because they’ve openly exposed that they do not have your best interests at heart.

In order to move forward in a positive and powerful way, it’s essential to know where you stand in relation to others. If you wish to continue growing, learning, and evolving, you must be willing to see and accept what’s going on. Translation: You must reclaim the subversive pleasure of thinking for yourself. #gratitude.

The post 6 Reasons to Feel Grateful During Covid first appeared on Dissident Voice.

America in an Age of Faucism

Reason can wrestle and overthrow terror.

— Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis

Medical ethics in the West has long been predicated on informed consent, the oath to do no harm, the notion that good health care is a human right, and the search for scientific truth free from skullduggery and censorship. These tenets are not only integral to a sound health care system but are foundational to a civilized society. Lamentably, each of these sacrosanct principles is anathema to the medical industrial complex. For we have entered the Age of Faucism.

In “Why do patients hate going to the doctor?” by Maheswari Raja, MD, the author reiterates the establishment medical narrative, that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with our health care system, and that the problem is the American patient:

And the truth is that the doctor’s office is an uncomfortable place. It is where one answers the most intimate questions and speaks their most intimate fears — where they have to face the reality of the consequences of their behaviors and misjudgments.

Will physicians devoid of a moral compass, the private health insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry ever face the consequences of their “behaviors and misjudgments?” No less delusional and absurd, Dana Hassneiah, MD, writes in KevinMD:

Most people in other jobs would probably not care to help a person who is indifferent and doesn’t want to help himself. But in medicine, your knowledge and morals make you the desperate person in the encounter.

These superior morals were on display in the Covid vaccine propaganda video where doctors tell patients to “Just grow the f**k up and get the vaccine,” an obscenity emblematic of the growing push towards severing ties with the Hippocratic Oath.

Embedded in Faucism are three cults: the Cult of Psychiatry, the Church of Vaccinology, and the Branch Covidians. These branches of American pseudo-medicine inhabit a world of authoritarianism, zealotry, and unreason, and are anchored in a deep-seated contempt for informed consent and the oath to do no harm. Just as Europeans who were suspected of deviating from a once supremely powerful church were labeled heretics, necromancers, and accused of witchcraft and sorcery, those that have the temerity to question the pharmaceutical priesthood are denounced as “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vax,” and “anti-science.” Whether it be Wahhabism, the Cultural Revolution in China, the Nazis, or the Christian fundamentalists of 16th and 17th century Europe, tyranny needs a dogma, and the rapacious corporatization of medicine coupled with the neoliberal belief in the infallibility of the liberal media have spawned Faucism.

The Cult of Psychiatry is grounded in despotism and dogmatism, as virtually all of the diseases in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can neither be scientifically tested nor proven. (Consider how depraved a physician would have to be to genuinely believe that “oppositional defiant disorder” is a real medical diagnosis). The more mental illnesses are invented, the more psychiatrists are able to create drug addicts for the pharmaceutical industry. Undoubtedly, there are sinister elements within the intelligence services that are delighted with this Huxleyan state of affairs. While there will always be some good people in psychiatry such as Peter Breggin, MD, the field is infested with sociopaths that regard every human emotion as a disease. Indeed, the Britney Spears tragedy offers a harrowing example of psychiatric sadism and cruelty.

When a new vaccine is in production, one should always ask three questions: Is the vaccine necessary? Is it safe? And is it efficacious? The Church of Vaccinology is founded on the notion that every vaccine is necessary, safe, and effective, and history has repeatedly shown this to be a myth going back to the Cutter Incident. Since vaccination constitutes a significant medical intervention which poses an element of risk, why should a vaccine be produced for an illness which is treatable? And if vaccines are unfailingly innocuous, why is there a need for coercion? Alas, wherever there are insatiable pharmaceutical cabals one is sure to find marketing masquerading as science.

The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted for the mRNA vaccines is contingent on there being no treatments for Covid. Yet this claim is fallacious, as Ivermectin (see herehere, here and here) and Hydroxychloroquine (see hereherehere, here and here) have indeed shown efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19, particularly if these regimens are deployed early in the disease process. Moreover, unlike with the mRNA vaccines, Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin have a strong safety profile, the former being approved by the FDA in 1955, and the latter being on the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. (The CDC’s website states that “Hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed to adults and children of all ages. It can also be safely taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers”). Those who spurn the studies which demonstrate that Covid is treatable because this would contradict the pharmaceutical priesthood are no less indoctrinated than those who once insisted that the Earth couldn’t possibly go around the Sun because this contradicted the teachings of the church. Terrified of excommunication, the proselytized refuse to look through the telescope. They refuse to see.

Unlike the mRNA hucksters, the physicians of the FLCCC Alliance and America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) have treated thousands of Covid patients and have real-world experience in successfully treating COVID-19. Does this mean that they will be able to save every life? No, it does not. There are Americans that die every year from influenza and pneumonia. Has that led to calls to turn the country into an enormous prison?

The “vaccines” have not been proven to prevent transmission and there have been thousands of so-called “breakthrough cases.” In “Are vaccines driving the surge in new Covid infections?” Marco Cáceres points out that “In the UK, Israel, Chile and other countries with high vaccination rates, Covid infections among the fully vaccinated are outpacing those in the unvaccinated….” Israel’s Channel 13 has reported that in the Herzog Medical Center in Jerusalem the overwhelming majority of hospitalized Covid patients are fully vaccinated. Perhaps we can take delight in knowing what the vaccines have been proven to do: inflict staggering amounts of pain and suffering.

It is likely that FDA, CDC, and NIH have known for quite some time about the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine, as an article about SARS-CoV-1 appeared in Virology Journal titled “Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread,” and was published in 2005. Of course, when science gets in the way of profit-making, one can always publish fraudulent papers which later have to be retracted. As Dr. Peter McCullough has repeatedly emphasized, the public health agencies instructed doctors to send patients home without treatment when they were sick with Covid, as opposed to establishing protocols for how to treat patients early and aggressively with drugs that were already FDA approved. How many thousands died as a result of this malfeasance?

The 1976 swine flu vaccine program was terminated after it caused the death of dozens of Americans and gave hundreds of Americans Guillain-Barré syndrome. Data on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) indicate that there have been thousands of Covid vaccine deaths in the US, and yet the authorities continue with this unprecedented push to get the entire planet vaccinated. It is important to note that VAERS is notoriously dysfunctional and captures only 1% to 10% of the actual data. Interestingly, the CDC recently decided to slash the VAERS death toll for Covid vaccines from 13,068 to 6,018 citing “foreign reports.”

Distinguished scientists and physicians such as Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, Dr. Ryan Cole, Dr. Sucharit BhakdiDr. Harvey RischDr. Mike YeadonDr. Roger HodkinsonDr. Tess Lawrie, and doctors Stephanie Seneff and Greg Nigh have expressed concern over the growing number of mRNA vaccine adverse events and the lack of long-term safety data. The cultlike notion that one must submit to the collective through masking and vaccination is antithetical to the principle of bodily autonomy and mirrors the sophistry used to defend female genital mutilation. It is also scientific hogwash, for if the vaccine confers immunity what difference does it make if one’s friends, colleagues, and neighbors are vaccinated or unvaccinated?

Branch Covidian dogma mirrors the Nazi medical ethos, which maintained that any medical atrocity can be justified if done for the “greater good.” For instance, if an SS doctor were to place a Russian prisoner of war in a tub of ice water, monitor his vital signs and note how long it took for him to die, and then autopsy the body, all in an attempt to glean information that could ostensibly be used to aid German pilots and sailors, this would be justified by the medical community of the Third Reich as acceptable and executed within their medical guidelines. In this same vein, Branch Covidians would argue that the catastrophic impact of the lockdowns, the growing numbers of Covid vaccine deaths and injuries, and the deleterious consequences of the mask mandates are justified, as these measures represent inevitable collateral damage integral to “flattening the curve” and “preventing emergency rooms from being overwhelmed.” (A remarkable case of sophistry, particularly when one considers the fact that Ivermectin can be used prophylactically). According to Children’s Health Defense, “Nearly 67 million [Americans] lost work between Mar. 21 and Oct. 7, 2020.” And this, for a virus which is treatable and has a 99.7% survival rate! As the public health agencies of FDA, CDC, NIH, and NIAID (which should really be called corporate health agencies) have long fallen victim to regulatory capture, they have no incentive to impose stringent safety guidelines.

In England, more minors have been lost to suicide than to “the coronavirus,” while thousands of American children have suffered serious adverse events from the experimental inoculations (see herehere, here, here and here), even as their risk of dying from Covid is almost statistically zero. Clearly, the Nuremberg Code is being egregiously violated, as EUA biologicals are by definition experimental. Bemoaning this deterioration of bioethical norms, one of the inventors of mRNA technology, Robert Malone, MD, writes in TrialSite News that “The Geneva Convention, the Helsinki declaration, and the entire structure which supports ethical human subjects research requires that research subjects be fully informed of risks and must consent to participation without coercion.”

When a powerful pharmaceutical company is impatient to unleash a blockbuster drug they are invariably indifferent to safety, necessity, and efficacy. This apathetic attitude towards basic principles of medical ethics has been glaringly on display with regard to the overprescribing of benzodiazepines, the Vioxx disaster, the opioid epidemic, the psychotropic drug epidemic, anthrax vaccine (also an EUA), Gardasil vaccine, the 2009 Pandemrix vaccine for H1N1, and fen-phen, drugs and vaccines which have destroyed countless lives and some of which are still on the market. Bear in mind that the medical institutions that are responsible for these drug regulatory catastrophes – some of the worst in human history – are “the experts.”

College students are generally kept in the dark about the many illegal wars of aggression, both covert and overt, that have been perpetrated by the CIA and the Pentagon. This is even more common with the indoctrination of military academy cadets and political science majors. Likewise, most medical graduates know nothing about the history of the pharmaceutical industry, rendering them incapable of placing contemporary events in their appropriate historical context. This intellectual amnesia explains how we ended up with an army of doctors that will happily hand out opioids, psychotropic drugs, benzodiazepines, and Covid vaccines as if they were gummy bears. Those among us that can no longer distinguish between real medical care, rooted in informed consent, the oath to do no harm, and medical scientific integrity, and Nazi medical care, where the powers of modern medicine are weaponized and used to enslave, debase, and violate have lost their humanity.

Parents are consistently told by pediatricians that every vaccine is “safe and effective” and that no risk-benefit analysis is needed. As the ghosts of history emerge from the shadows, these claims ring hollow. Granted, this may be true with regard to certain immunizations, but the dramatic surge in the number of mandatory vaccines on the CDC schedule, combined with the treasonous behavior of the public health agencies, and the broad immunity granted for the vaccine manufacturers, has brought us to a precipice from which we are staring at an abyss of tyranny. Indeed, the Church of Vaccinology isn’t interested in public health. They are interested in money and power.

The notion of vaccine inviolability is laid to rest in Dr. Richard Moskowitz’s masterpiece Vaccines: A Reappraisal. Concluding chapter 9, he writes:

Population-based surveys have shown a linear, directly proportional relationship between the number of vaccinations administered in the first year of life and the infant mortality rate, as well as the rate of hospitalizations and emergency room visits during the same period. Other surveys have shown that children vaccinated according to the CDC schedule exhibit higher rates of asthma and other childhood diseases and generally have poorer health than those who were ‘undervaccinated,’ while those children who were never vaccinated at all seemed by far the healthiest in a number of typical parameters.

As discussed in The Virus and the Vaccine, by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher, millions of Americans were given polio vaccines tainted with the monkey virus SV40, a contaminant initially dismissed as incidental by our public health agencies, but which was later shown to be oncogenic. There is also the unresolved yet compelling hypothesis of Edward Hooper, laid out in his tome The River, where he argues that the HIV pandemic began when the CHAT oral polio vaccine was deployed in the Belgian Congo, an apartheid state, and that chimpanzee kidneys contaminated with SIV, the cousin to HIV, were used in this process, meaning that the origins of HIV would be iatrogenic. Nevertheless, we mustn’t listen to heathens like Hooper who “spread misinformation,” are likely working for the Russians, and are possibly even terrorists.

The totalitarian mentality of the medical establishment is evidenced not only by their lack of humanism and compassion, but by their disdain for checks and balances. Consider the bizarre language on the CDC’s website, where they repeatedly speak of “orders” that they allegedly have the authority to hand down. And who, pray tell, do they take “orders” from? As Senator Ronald Johnson pointed out in his discussion with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in affiliation with Children’s Health Defense, the government’s response to SARS-CoV-2 has been marked by a dangerous censorship and a growing antipathy towards openness and debate.

The term “anti-vaxxer” is designed to disparage and denigrate those who reject biofascism. In actuality, these people are “pro-informed-consenters.” (Were those who expressed outrage over thalidomide-induced teratogenesis “anti-drug?”) They also resent the fact that the drug companies cannot be sued should their vaccines inflict long-lasting harm, which has been the case in the US since the passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, a dastardly piece of legislation which gave the drug companies permission to use children as laboratory ferrets. Furthermore, the drug companies have liability protection for any adverse event caused by a Covid vaccine under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), providing the pharmaceutical industry with multiple layers of immunity. The drug companies were afforded no liability protection for opioids and Vioxx, yet when it comes to vaccines where they are indemnified “they suddenly find Jesus,” as Robert Kennedy Jr. is fond of saying.

For decades, informed consent has been under a sustained and ruthless assault. From threatening to call Child Protective Services should parents not want their children on psychotropic drugs, to failing to communicate the dangers of opioids and benzodiazepines, to practice pelvic exams performed on anesthetized patients by trainees, to the imposition of unwanted observers during physician office visits, to the violation of do-not-resuscitate orders, to the nondisclosure of long-term chemotherapy side effects, to the growing list of mandatory vaccines of dubious safety and efficacy, informed consent is being systematically and methodically dismantled. The mask mandates, lockdowns, and the relentless pressure to participate in a dangerous medical experiment are merely a perpetuation of this barbarism. Moreover, masks and vaccines are inextricably linked, for if a restaurant, bar, library, museum, school, or workplace has the power to deny you entry due to being unmasked then they will have the power to deny you entry should you be unvaccinated (an unfolding reality in New York City), as a critical precedent for medical martial law has been established.

As pediatrician and pulmonologist Sterling Simpson, MD, pointed out in his interview with The Last American Vagabond, the majority of masks people are using are not FDA approved, which underscores the fact that they do not constitute a real medical device. In other words, the risks, such as extreme isolation, sensory deprivation, mass hysteria, traumatized children (some of whom are showing signs of cognitive impairment), and people becoming acidotic, can easily outweigh the benefits. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is likewise not FDA approved. McBride and Locricchio write for The Defender:

All COVID vaccines, COVID PCR and antigen tests, and masks are merely EUA-authorized, not approved or licensed, by the federal government. Long-term safety and efficacy have not been proven.

EUA products are by definition experimental, which requires people be given the right to refuse them. Under the Nuremberg Code, the foundation of ethical medicine, no one may be coerced to participate in a medical experiment. Consent of the individual is ‘absolutely essential.’

To underscore the dangers of rushing a vaccine to market in under a year, it took Sanofi Pasteur twenty years to create the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, which ultimately led to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a phenomenon whereby vaccination inadvertently facilitates viral replication. The formalin-inactivated (FI) Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine used in the 1960s is another example of ADE. Dr. Malone and Doctors for COVID Ethics have warned that this very scenario could unfold with the mRNA vaccines. (A new vaccine for RSV is expected to be extremely profitable and pharmaceutical companies are presently jockeying for position). Perhaps it is those who are responsible for pushing inadequately tested vaccines that are responsible for “spreading misinformation” and “stoking vaccine hesitancy.”

If a government can force you to take an experimental drug, what will prevent them from forcing you to have exploratory brain surgery, a tracheotomy, or gender reassignment surgery? The Nazification of American medicine is magnified tenfold in the public schools, where sorcery has usurped science and the three death cults are bludgeoning minds, bodies, and spirits, and doing so in an environment of brutality and unmitigated lawlessness.

The interminable fearmongering about all the different variants is simply a more rabid and maniacal version of what precipitated the 1976 swine flu, 2003 smallpox, and 2009 H1N1 vaccination programs. Keep that in mind the next time you’re told to “follow the science.” Another preposterous canard being parroted by the media is that naturally acquired immunity is somehow inadequate and pales in comparison with vaccine-induced immunity. As Dr. Charles Hoffe has pointed out, patients that have immunity for SARS-CoV-1 have immunity for SARS-CoV-2, despite the fact that there is a 20% difference between these two viruses, while the different Covid variants have less than a 1% difference between them.

Can any amount of money restore fulfillment and tranquility to a perfidious soul? Let us reflect on the words of Imogen in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline:

Thus may poor fools
Believe false teachers: though those that are betray’d
Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe. (III.iv.)

A collection of clowns, witch hunters, Eichmanns, and snickering snake oil salesmen, the Branch Covidians, together with the Church of Vaccinology and the Cult of Psychiatry, are hammering away at two of the most vital, indispensable, and irreplaceable pillars of democracy: informed consent and the First Amendment.

As relationships crumble and the pressure to succumb to the primordial darkness grows, the chasm inexorably widens between the moral and the amoral, the sentient and the nonsentient, the wise and the wicked. Should the citadel of liberty fall to the hordes of Faucism, we will descend into a long and terrible night before our descendants reclaim its resurrection.

The post America in an Age of Faucism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Chair Is Against the Wall: A Letter to the Occupied Zone 

Day 509 of the pandemic. If you’re reading this letter, you still have some freedom. Don’t take it for granted. And don’t ask, why didn’t you warn me earlier? Don’t say, I would have resisted. That isn’t true. We don’t know how to resist. That’s why we bow our heads and follow the herd, looking for a consensus in the twitches that go up and down each other’s spines. Like beasts, we are terrified that when the wolf skulks in, the herd will dart and we’ll be left behind. There is strength in numbers, I know. That’s why you feel safe. But you aren’t. None of us are. And now you are reading these words, and the ground begins to sway. The chair is against the wall, it says. And you can’t look away anymore. Somehow, you always knew that these words would find you, and you know exactly what they mean. Everything has gone to shit! Yes, and we have to find our way back.

Don’t think that because I’m not there with you in the Occupied Zone, I don’t get what’s going on. I see things more clearly because I’m here, free of the hysteria. You shouldn’t underestimate the pull of the herd. Its force is hypnotic, especially when we’re afraid. A child in danger doesn’t wonder whether he should listen to his mother. Threatened, he obeys her warnings. The words that she speaks go straight past his thinking mind, free of scrutiny, and get lodged in his subconscious. If they didn’t, he would soon end up dead. But the same thing happens when a child is told how to be a good boy and fit into the herd. Afraid of being left out, he doesn’t ask whether what he is told makes sense. He believes it. That’s how hypnosis works. Fear induces a trance that lets anyone with authority tell us what to do without us questioning the truth of what it is said. Once implanted, the commandments become dogma.

When the World Health Organization announced that the spread of the virus was a global emergency, I was in a small town full of travellers from all over the place. If the virus was afoot, it was already here or would be soon. Called home by their government leaders, most people left. But some of us stayed. To me, it looked like we were going to watch flu deaths in real time that winter. Some nasty people wanted us all to be very afraid. Of course, it was too early to know whether the virus would be worse than the flu, and you might think that I was wrong. But all-cause mortality was no higher in 2020 than in recent years. Replaced by Covid-19, not only did the flu season vanish in many parts of the world, but most causes of death, from pneumonia to heart disease, were also blamed on Covid-19. You want to ask, what about the crowded hospitals? You want to scream, real people died, you know! I don’t deny that. Like its sister, SARS, this virus has killed people who would not otherwise have died, some of them young. I also know that in cities with bad smog like New Delhi and on Native reservations polluted by the mining industry, the virus has been especially deadly. But the numbers don’t lie. There was no global pandemic in 2020.

Last spring, after the town here emptied out, local vigilantes started manning checkpoints on the access roads to keep away travellers. With all the restaurants and hotels closed, families went hungry for lack of work. Twice a week, I made pots of lentils and rice to serve at a food giveaway near the plaza, where the lines got longer as the pandemic wore on. You might say that all of this suffering was necessary to flatten the curve. But that doesn’t explain what has happened since then. You’ve been under curfews and lockdowns there and cut off from your friends. Masks are still de rigueur. Haven’t you wondered why I have it so much easier than you do? I can leave the house whenever I want. The town is overrun with tourists again and life is back to normal. Why should that be? The answer is simple: this is a second-world country without much of a middle class to destroy through bankruptcy. Put another way, most people here are too poor to steal from. This pandemic is about the transfer of wealth from the many to the few, also called piracy. Yes, the world’s overlords are pirates before anything else.

In the first-world countries, we don’t live with our hands in the soil anymore. We stopped fighting for our land long ago. We are born on this planet but can’t claim a bit of it to put a roof over our heads. We’re all renters and borrowers in the grand scheme of things. Here, people still own the earth. It supports families across time. People are dollar-poor but land-rich, even if they have only a scrap that is their own. So they are hard to push around. There is still a lot of the Wild West here. The police have a role to play, but they are not the authority. It was the Cartel that decided when it was time to open the town again, not the state. The Cartel may be thugs, but they are part of the fabric of the culture. They are the blue-collar equivalent of our white-collar criminals. The difference is that the Cartel does not murder by proxy. It’s personal with them. When two of the vigilantes beat up a guy who had Cartel friends, the Cartel executed the leader of the vigilantes, and the rest of them disbanded and melted away. That was when the roadblocks came down and businesses started to open, including the Cartel’s many pharmacies, where it launders most of it money.

Early on, a friend of mine wrote a message in the dust that coated the back windows of his van: Fear the vaccine, not the pandemic. And he was right. The vaccine is far worse than the pandemic. From the start, vaccination has been the goal. For that, the pandemic had to be dragged out. First, they exaggerated the number of Covid-19 deaths. The true survival rate is over ninety-nine percent for anyone younger than seventy and over ninety-five percent for the elderly. Then, when the number of deaths dropped, they wildly inflated case numbers by using a rigged test. Here, the test is too expensive, so only the tourists get it. Without mass testing, there were no false positives to shore up the panic. Another piece of the puzzle was to deny the existence of treatments so that the vaccines could be approved for emergency use. When Mexico City started treating patients with these known drugs, hospitalizations plummeted. You’re thinking, who would start a pandemic just to sell vaccines? But surely you have realized by now that the vaccines are not only about profit. Yes, our overlords are pirates, but they are also dictators. They want control. It stared with the masks, the curfews, and the lockdowns, and now they have us lining up to be injected with a potion that is outright killing people and injuring others. Next, they will force vaccine passports on us. Those who refuse vaccination will be excluded from the workplace and the marketplace. We will be cast as pariahs.

Maybe you were hoping that the vaccines would set us free and that things would go back to normal. That is only because you can’t accept that people would be so evil. The players in this catastrophe held an event in 2019 that simulated the pandemic. You say that it was just a coincidence. They profited madly from the lockdowns and the vaccines. You say that they were being opportunistic. They published a book about how they are going to use the pandemic to enslave us. You say that I’m overreacting. But I’ve also heard you say that absolute power corrupts absolutely. If you can agree that there are people with absolute power afoot in this pandemic, then you must concede that they are absolutely corrupt. Because they have enough money to oversee unelected bodies like the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum, they have enough power to dictate the policies of our elected governments and to strip us of our rights. Make no mistake, these people have absolute power, and their plans for us are beyond evil. The next piece of the puzzle will be variants of the virus so that the emergency can be extended long enough to bankrupt the middle class, defeat our spirits, and soften us up for the fascist world order that is coming.

I said that we have to find our way back from this madness. But I don’t know what steps are possible when most of the people who should be resisting don’t realize that they are under assault. At the same time, perhaps I should be optimistic since censorship is now so commonplace that it can’t be denied. Controlling the Covid-19 narrative by suspending social media accounts and deplatforming websites is as totalitarian as any tactic ever used by the Soviets or East Germans. People can see what is happening. It’s all out in the open. To be branded a conspiracy theorist is no longer to be identified as a lunatic but to be recognized as someone who can see the obvious: the Covid-19 narrative cannot brook descent and debate because it is built on lies.

If we don’t resist now, our only hope is that the human spirit will save us. It will take time for that to happen, but no tyranny has ever withstood it. When things get bad enough, our souls will rebel. As Cohen wrote,

Any system you contrive without us
will be brought down
We warned you before
and nothing that you built has stood
— Leonard Cohen, The Energy of Slaves (1973)

It will be so again.

The post The Chair Is Against the Wall: A Letter to the Occupied Zone  first appeared on Dissident Voice.