1. 21:15 21st Aug 2014

    Notes: 57

    Reblogged from elmerseason

    The future — of news, of storytelling, of knowing — has to, in some way, address this. The methods by which we filter and evaluate and accumulate information need to be transparent and readily interrogated. Not because openness is a panacea — it isn’t — but because knowing something is an iterative process which depends upon collaboration, and collaboration can’t happen in a dark room.
     
  2. While individual officers and police executives may be motivated by the best of intentions, as long as they continue to be the primary tool for managing social discord, poverty and even crime, we will see a continuation of the over-policing of communities of color. It is this dynamic that is the most difficult to address, and the most important. We must invest in social policies that end the criminalization of poverty and attempt instead to deal with problems like drug abuse, homelessness, mental illness and even violent crime as public health and economic justice issues.
    — 

    Alex S. Vitale in The Nation. How to End Militarized Policing

    We can undo the policies facilitating police violence in Ferguson.

    (via protoslacker)
     
  3. Since our society elevates free choice into a supreme value, social control and domination can no longer appear to be infringing on subject’s freedom. Un-freedom, then, is cloaked in the guise of its opposite: When we are deprived of universal healthcare, we are told that we are given a new freedom to choose our healthcare provider; when we no longer can rely on longterm employment and are compelled to search for a new precarious work every couple of years, we are told that we are given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and discover new unexpected creative potentials that lurked in our personality; when we have to pay for the education of our children, we are told that we become “entrepreneurs of the self,” free to invest in our own—and our children’s—personal growth and fulfillment.

    Constantly bombarded by these imposed “free choices,” forced to make decisions for which we are mostly not even properly qualified or informed, our “freedom of choice” increasingly becomes a burden that deprives us of true freedom of choice—the choice (or rather, decision) to move [b]eyond market-freedom into the freedom of collectively organizing and regulating the process of production and exchange. It is more and more becoming clear that only in this way will humanity be able to cope with antagonisms that threaten its very survival (ecology, biogenetics, “intellectual property,” the rise of the new class of those excluded from public life).

     
  4. It bears saying one more time: It’s a disgrace that the Justice Department has failed to bring a single criminal charge against any Wall Street or mortgage executive of consequence for their roles in wrecking the economy, despite having managed to make arrests in the comparatively piddling schemes of Enron and the Savings & Loan flimflam. (The latter resulted in more than 800 convictions, including those of many top executives.) These settlements are wan consolation. The sums being surrendered, for starters, are large only until compared with the $13 trillion or so the public lost in the financial crash—or, for that matter, with the banks’ own coffers. (Citi’s pure profit in the two years before the wipeout was more than triple its penalty.) Not to mention that the money won’t be paid by any parties actually responsible, but by the banks’ current shareholders, who pretty much had nothing to do with the misdeeds in question. And the bulk of the settlements will be tax deductible. For destroying trillions in wealth and thousands of jobs, banks will get a write-off.

    This continues to make me very, very mad and deeply, darkly sad.

     
  5. This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor. And that’s how the status quo wants it.
     
  6. America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.

    But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself.

     
  7. "… looking at moderate costs for a family of four owning a home in a median family area, with one car, education and retirement costs factored in, it will cost $130k a year.  Add a third child and a second car into the mix and it will cost roughly $150k a year.  Only 1.46% of the overall population makes over $150k per year. In other words, in the current economy, the average traditional American Dream is only attainable for the 1%.  The 99% has been mathematically eliminated from the traditional American Dream.  If they want to have a family and own a home, they are now sentenced to a lifetime of economic insecurity and ever-increasing debt.”

    circlingtheroundabout:

    An extensive analysis of economic conditions and government policy reveals that the need for significant systemic change is now a mathematical fact. Corruption, greed and economic inequality have reached a peak tipping point.  Due to the consolidation of wealth, the majority of the population cannot generate enough income to keep up with the cost of living.  In the present economy, under current government policy, 70% of the population is now sentenced to an impoverished existence.

    Let’s take an in-depth look at the evidence.

    David offers an excerpt of his upcoming book on inequality and the corrupted economy. It’s been said before, but if you’re not mad you’re not paying attention. I was particularly galled by this portion:

    Once again, these baseline costs do not take college or retirement costs into account. With the reduced costs in childcare, due to one person in the family focused on taking care of the children, they can at least put some money away for college, as long as they don’t go away for vacation and none of their children go to a private school.

    Beyond these baseline costs, looking at moderate costs for a family of four owning a home in a median family area, with one car, education and retirement costs factored in, it will cost $130k a year.  Add a third child and a second car into the mix and it will cost roughly $150k a year.  Only 1.46% of the overall population makes over $150k per year. In other words, in the current economy, the average traditional American Dream is only attainable for the 1%.  The 99% has been mathematically eliminated from the traditional American Dream.  If they want to have a family and own a home, they are now sentenced to a lifetime of economic insecurity and ever-increasing debt.

    As for retirement, if you American dreamers think you are going to retire at 65, it’s time to wake up.

    The American dream has been “mathematically eliminated.” We must change this state of affairs, or we won’t survive.

     
  8. 10:01

    Notes: 23178

    Reblogged from dharmabum

    Tags: slaveryracecomedynarrativehistory

    hockeydandy:

    bctheinternet:

    Louis C.K. on slavery

    Comedians who tell the truth like Louis C.K., Katt Williams, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Griffin, and others are the best to me.

     
  9. Listening in Narrative Therapy

    When we meet people for the first time, we want to understand the meaning of their stories for them. This means turning our backs on “expert” filters: not listening for chief complaints; not “gathering” the pertinent-to-us-as-experts bits of diagnostic information interspersed in their stories; not hearing their anecdotes as matrices within which resources are embedded; not listening for surface hints about what the core problem “really” is; and not comparing the selves they portray in their stories to normative standards.

                In the beginning, we ask about non-problematic aspects of the lives of each partner and of their relationship. We are interested in getting to know the members of a couple as people and in making sure that the problem does not trick us into mistaking them for it.  Unless people insist on moving quickly into talking about problems, we spend a while listening to stories about their preferences and pleasures.  At some point in this process, people do usually begin to spontaneously tell problem-tinged stories.

                As we listen to their stories of the problem, we try to put ourselves in people’s  shoes. We do not assume that we understand the meaning their experience holds for them. We listen and ask. Connecting with people’s experience from their perspective orients us to the specific realities that shape, and are shaped by, their personal narratives. This sort of understanding requires that we listen with focused attention, patience, and curiosity while building a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

    — Jill Freedman & Gene Combs (2009). Narrative Couple Therapy. In A. Gurman & N. Jacobson (eds.) Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy (revised edition). New York: Guilford.

     
  10. Mickey Nardo highlights yet another facet of the pseudo-science that psychiatry has become in this post at 1boringoldman. This time he reviews a series of articles hyping (yes, promoting, advertising ) sophisticated-sounding computer programs in prominent psychiatric journals. The development of these products has been supported by taxpayer dollars, but they will be offered for sale by for-profit entities. The most irritating thing in this mess (to me, anyway) is that what’s being “accurately” measured are two sets of diagnostic criteria that flunked their field-testing. This is not good science. This is embarrassing.

    It’s not lost on me that the two diagnoses being evaluated here are Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, both of which flunked the DSM-5 Field Trials with Kappa’s of 0.32 and 0.20 respectively. Dr. Kupfer, co-chair of the DSM-5 Task Force, is an author on all three papers and surely knows the Field Trial results. In the discussion of the Field Trial outcome, they  explained this miserable showing away with:
    Conditions that did not do well included major depressive disorder [MDD], in adults and in children, and general anxiety disorder [GAD]. According to Darrel Regier, MD, vice-chair of the DSM-5 task force, the poor scores for MDD may be attributable to “co-travelers,” such as PTSD, major cognitive disorder, or even a substance use disorder, which often occur concurrently with depression. “Patients often don’t come in a single, simple diagnosis in clinical practice,” Dr. Regier told Medscape Medical News.
    It’s a little hard to generate any excitement for Dr. Gibbons’ correlations between his CAT-DI and CAT-ANX in the face of those results. Did they think we would forget the Field Trials?  But I have to admit that my negative reaction to these instruments is largely visceral, much like Dr. Nussbaum’s comments about physicians treating surrogates in the last post – looking at the computer rather than the person. The scope and importance of a diagnostic interview is so much greater than a search for brevity or precision. It’s a getting-to-know step that ought not be skipped. So, for me, these tests are just a further step down a road to nowhere leading away from the person looking for help…
     
  11. fallingup79:

    This is a great read on why you can’t trust BIG PHARMA. It is a business with the majority of intent to make money. If you go back and search GlaxoSmithKline, you’ll see the number of payouts they make every year to people that blew the whistle on their unethical behavior. Educate yourself!

     
  12. Ronald Kavanagh: … In the Center for Drugs [Center for Drug Evaluation and Research or CDER], as in the Center for Devices, the honest employee fears the dishonest employee. There is also irrefutable evidence that managers at CDER have placed the nation at risk by corrupting the evaluation of drugs and by interfering with our ability to ensure the safety and efficacy of drugs. While I was at FDA, drug reviewers were clearly told not to question drug companies and that our job was to approve drugs. We were prevented, except in rare instances, from presenting findings at advisory committees. In 2007, formal policies were instituted so that speaking in any way that could reflect poorly on the agency could result in termination. If we asked questions that could delay or prevent a drug’s approval - which of course was our job as drug reviewers - management would reprimand us, reassign us, hold secret meetings about us, and worse. Obviously in such an environment, people will self-censor.

    […]

    FDA’s response to most expected risks is to deny them and wait until there is irrefutable evidence postmarketing, and then simply add a watered down warning in the labeling. In fact, when patients exhibit drug toxicity, it is usually attributed to an underlying condition which we know is likely to make the drug toxicity worse. This also allows the toxicity to be dismissed as being unrelated to the drug in any way. Consequently, toxicities are only attributed to the drug when the evidence is irrefutable. Thus the majority of cases where there is a contributing factor are simply dismissed. When you do raise potential safety issues, the refrain that I heard repeatedly from upper management was‚ ”where are the dead bodies in the street?” Which I took to mean that we only do something if the press is making an issue of it. [++]

     
  13. socio-logic:


“Understanding how an ethos of violence constitutes a deep structural root of U.S. society requires viewing violence as a necessary and ever-present feature of oppression. Oppression in the U.S. context has been organized through specific systems of racism, sexism, class exploitation, heterosexism, age, and citizenship status. Despite being organized differently across varying historical periods, major social institutions of the United States have favored some groups over others and have used varying forms of violence to ensure that women, native peoples, Latinos, Asian immigrants, poor people, LGBT people, and many others stay in their assigned place. Violence has been part of those structural relations of social inequality. In this context, viewing the very definition of violence as lying outside intersecting oppression of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and citizenship ignores how the power to define what counts as violence simultaneously constructs these systems of oppression and erases the importance of violence in maintaining them. Given its socially constructed nature, surprisingly little attention has been focused on how power relations shape definitions of violence. … Everyday understandings of violence see it as being an intentional act of causing physical pain or injury to another person. Definitions of violence that take power relations into account refute these formal, abstract definitions. Racism, sexism, class exploitation, heterosexism, age, and citizenship status each have distinctive organizational patterns across their domains of power whereby violence takes a specific form. … Moreover, seeing power relations as intersecting and mutually constructing elevates violence to a characteristic that not only exists within race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and citizenship status as separate systems of power but also joins these systems of power.”

— On Intellectual Activism: The Ethos of Violence - Patricia Hill Collins

    socio-logic:

    “Understanding how an ethos of violence constitutes a deep structural root of U.S. society requires viewing violence as a necessary and ever-present feature of oppression. Oppression in the U.S. context has been organized through specific systems of racism, sexism, class exploitation, heterosexism, age, and citizenship status. Despite being organized differently across varying historical periods, major social institutions of the United States have favored some groups over others and have used varying forms of violence to ensure that women, native peoples, Latinos, Asian immigrants, poor people, LGBT people, and many others stay in their assigned place. Violence has been part of those structural relations of social inequality. In this context, viewing the very definition of violence as lying outside intersecting oppression of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and citizenship ignores how the power to define what counts as violence simultaneously constructs these systems of oppression and erases the importance of violence in maintaining them. Given its socially constructed nature, surprisingly little attention has been focused on how power relations shape definitions of violence. … Everyday understandings of violence see it as being an intentional act of causing physical pain or injury to another person. Definitions of violence that take power relations into account refute these formal, abstract definitions. Racism, sexism, class exploitation, heterosexism, age, and citizenship status each have distinctive organizational patterns across their domains of power whereby violence takes a specific form. … Moreover, seeing power relations as intersecting and mutually constructing elevates violence to a characteristic that not only exists within race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and citizenship status as separate systems of power but also joins these systems of power.”

    — On Intellectual Activism: The Ethos of Violence - Patricia Hill Collins

     
  14. This article gives a clear, well-documented, and chilling history of a major turning point toward our current state of affairs. I wish we had clearer ideas and more compelling leaders in figuring out how to turn things around. I originally posted the link a year ago. I’m re-posting now in as a contribution to the conversation around events in Ferguson.

    … there were two issues that towered above the rest in Morris’s assaying of public opinion: welfare and crime. In the 1992 campaign, Clinton had pledged to “end welfare as we know it.” In 1993, Gore had urged Clinton to declare war on welfare as part of the first 100 days and had implored the president to let him lead the charge. After all, Gore argued, he was one of the few Democratic senators to have supported a welfare-to-work law narrowly approved in 1988, forcing states to require parents getting welfare checks to work at least 16 hours per week in unpaid jobs. But Hillary thought an attack on welfare would divert energy from her health care package, and Gore lost the battle.

    By 1995 the welfare rolls were shrinking, from a peak of 18 million in the recession of 1991 to about 12.8 million. Defenders of the system in Clinton’s cabinet, Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Donna Shalala of Heath and Human Services, argued that the total budget for Aid to Families with Dependent Children was a tiny fraction of the federal budget; indeed, it was only 14 percent of the amount devoted to Medicare, a middle-class entitlement. The real problem, they argued, was lack of training for the chronically underemployed and unemployed.

    Reflexively hostile to welfare and fortified by Morris’s polls, Clinton pressed ahead. The administration began granting waivers to states to implement their own onslaughts on welfare, feature “workfare” requirements, time limits and “family caps”, a punishment for women who dared to have more than the approved number of children the government would help support. Through 1995 and early in 1996 the Republicans had passed and sent to Clinton two bills to dismantle the federal welfare system. He vetoed both, but in his veto messages he stressed that he agreed with much of their content in principle. Peter Edelman, a high level official at HHS, described this as “the squeeze play”, whereby Clinton would reap approval from Democratic New Dealers for standing up for poor kids while at the same time signaling that in the long run he’d throw the mothers of those kids off the rolls altogether.

    As they approached the Democratic convention in the summer of 1996, Clinton was floating on Morris’s magic carpet. Assisted by staggering blunders by Gingrich and a lackluster opponent in Bob Dole, Clinton was ahead by no less than 27 percent in the polls. The Republicans were eager to wrap up their legislative work before the conventions in July and August. They pushed through a welfare bill arguably worse than the ones Clinton had vetoed previously. Many Democrats on the Hill believed that Clinton would veto this bill too. But Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York had more sensitive political antennae. He warned, “I’ve heard that the leaders of the cabinet recommended a veto but that the president remains under the sway of his pollsters.”

    On July 30, 1996, Clinton mustered his cabinet to hear arguments on whether or not he should sign the Republicans’ bill. One by one his advisers said he should not. No’s from people like Shalala and Reich came as no surprise. But similarly disapproving were not only Leon Panetta but Laura Tyson, his chief economic adviser, Henry Cisneros of HUD and even Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who said that too many people would be harmed by the bill and that it show an act of political courage to veto it.

    Not trusting Shalala’s department to produce objective assessments of the consequences of the bill, the White House staff had commissioned a survey from the Urban Institute, a DC think tank. The numbers were dire. The bill would push 2.6 million people further into poverty–1.1 million of them children. In all, the Institute predicted that 11 million families would lose income. That was the best-case scenario. In the event of a recession (which would come in 2001), the numbers would be far, far worse. In that fateful cabinet meeting Rubin invoked this study, and the numbers seemed to find their mark with Clinton, while Gore remained mute.

    The meeting came to an end and Clinton, Panetta and Gore headed for the Oval Office for a private session. All accounts agree that, first, Panetta again made the case for a veto, laying particular emphasis on an appalling provision in the bill that would deny legal immigrants federal assistance, such as food stamps. Finally Gore broke his silence and urged Clinton to sign.

    Clinton, Morris and Gore prepared a press statement, delivered by the president later that same day. Clinton admitted that the bill contained “serious flaws” but went on to say, “This is the best chance we will have in a long time to complete the work of ending welfare as we know it.”

    (Source: satanic-capitalist)

     
  15. While virtues such as compassion, honesty, integrity, altruism, and respect are explicitly valued by the profession, others argue that the medical profession also places a high albeit covert value upon characteristics such as maleness, fierce competitiveness, emotional detachment, aggression, activism and antipathy for weakness. This unresolved tension between objectifying and humanizing forces, or between competence and caring has been described as a feature of medical education and the professional socialization that accompanies it.
    — Jaye, C., Egan, T & Parker, S. (2006). ‘Do as I say, not as I do’: Medical Education and Foucault’s Normalizing Technologies of Self.Anthropology & MedicineVol. 13, No. 2, August 2006, pp. 141-155. (pp. 143 - 144).