This new disease reminded Frances of one of his keenest regrets about the DSM-IV: its role, as he perceives it, in the epidemic of bipolar diagnoses in children over the past decade. Shortly after the book came out, doctors began to declare children bipolar even if they had never had a manic episode and were too young to have shown the pattern of mood change associated with the disease. Within a dozen years, bipolar diagnoses among children had increased 40-fold. Many of these kids were put on antipsychotic drugs, whose effects on the developing brain are poorly understood but which are known to cause obesity and diabetes. In 2007, a series of investigative reports revealed that an influential advocate for diagnosing bipolar disorder in kids, the Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Biederman, failed to disclose money he’d received from Johnson and Johnson, makers of Risperdal.
This is the real reason that Frances said what he did and got quoted by Jon Rappoport: DSM-IV is inadvertantly responsible for the epidemic of bipolar disorder in children. He doesn’t mention Joseph Biederman, who took money from Johnson and Johnson to push Risperdal on “deviant” children.
Here are a few selections from Mr. Rappoport’s blog post, “Psychiatric Fasciscm: Notes From Underground” (which are, in turn, selections from his “work-in-progress”, The Underground:
“Since there are no definitive physical tests for any of the 300 officially certified mental disorders—no blood tests, no urine tests, no brain scans, no genetic assays—what we’re left with is a phantasm-map of Nowhere Land, a philosophy of limitation. A translation of human problems and suffering into a professional liar’s language, a made-up nonsensical technical gibberish. And the federal government licenses this as a monopoly.”
“Psychiatry is a system of arbitrary definitions. When you get past all the pseudo-technical nonsense, you’re looking at mind control—the attempt to make people believe consciousness is composed of 300 disorders.”
“But, actually, consciousness is up for grabs. You can have any state of mind you want to. No labels. Does that sound frightening? You’re supposed to feel frightened and crawl back into a little hole. That’s the game.”
“Psychiatry and its government, media, and intelligence-agency allies are saying, ‘See that crazy killer over there? Anybody could turn into that. Even you. So we have to treat the whole population before somebody starts spraying bullets in your neighborhood. We have to sculpt everybody into a good citizen, an average person.’”
“Psychiatry is State control of emotion and thought. And its poor cousin, psychology, has become sentimental hokum for the rubes. Slop.”
“Psychiatry is the action of painting false pictures inside the mind, and obtaining obedience to those images. It’s imposed reality-invention. Meanwhile, under the tons of false information and propaganda that pervade life, the individual is, in fact, intensely creative; he is perfectly capable of inventing and fleshing out his own reality.”
The first line in the above quotes links to another post, entitled, “A Whole Branch of Science Turns Out to be Fake.” Some quotes from this piece:
“THERE ARE NO DEFINITIVE LABORATORY TESTS FOR ANY SO-CALLED MENTAL DISORDER.
And along with that:
ALL SO-CALLED MENTAL DISORDERS ARE CONCOCTED, NAMED, LABELED, DESCRIBED, AND CATEGORIZED by a committee of psychiatrists, from menus of human behaviors.
Their findings are published in periodically updated editions of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), printed by the American Psychiatric Association.
For years, even psychiatrists have been blowing the whistle on this hazy crazy process of “research.”
Of course, pharmaceutical companies, who manufacture highly toxic drugs to treat every one of these “disorders,” are leading the charge to invent more and more mental-health categories, so they can sell more drugs and make more money…
…But we have a mind-boggling twist. Under the radar, one of the great psychiatric stars, who has been out in front in inventing mental disorders, went public. He blew the whistle on himself and his colleagues. And for several years, almost no one noticed.
His name is Dr. Allen Frances, and he made VERY interesting statements to Gary Greenberg, author of a Wired article: “Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness.” (Dec.27, 2010)…
…Long after the DSM-IV had been put into print, Dr. Frances talked to Wired’s Greenberg and said the following:
“There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean, you just can’t define it.”
That’s an unusual statement, coming from a man partially responsible for the development of DSM-IV, the book that tries to define almost 300 mental disorders. Perhaps that has something to do with the replacement of DSM-IV by DSM-V. To continue:
PBS FRONTLINE INTERVIEWER: Skeptics say that there’s no biological marker—that it [ADHD] is the one condition out there where there is no blood test, and that no one knows what causes it.
BARKLEY (Dr. Russel Barkley,clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston): That’s tremendously naïve, and it shows a great deal of illiteracy about science and about the mental health professions. A disorder doesn’t have to have a blood test to be valid. If that were the case, all mental disorders would be invalid… There is no lab test for any mental disorder right now in our science. That doesn’t make them invalid. [Emphasis added]
What follows has to be understood as Mr. Rappoport’s personal opinion on the need for a “lab test” to prove that a disorder exists:
Without intending to, Dr. Barkley blows an ear-shattering whistle on his own profession.
So let’s take Dr. Barkley to school. Medical science, and disease-research in particular, rests on the notion that you can make a diagnosis backed up by lab tests. If you can’t produce lab tests, you’re spinning fantasies.
Mr. Rappoport goes on to polemicize the “fantasy” of a disorder based purely on history and physical examination, calling psychiatry a complete fraud, and blaming drug companies for supporting this fraud. He makes much of the phrase “chemical imbalance”– and he is partly, unintentionally right here, because there is no proof that any such “chemical imbalance” actually exists: it is a convenient phrase, essentially meaningless yet justifiable by describing serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain, given to patients to help them to understand that there is something physically wrong inside their heads that makes them feel sick.
Just what that is that something, that physical disorder of the brain? We don’t know, and in the hundred and fifty years since Freud first described hysteria, we’ve been frantically trying to figure it out. Small advances have been made. The model of drug treatment has helped some people find relief from the suffering they experience, the suffering of what we call “mental illness.” Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped many others.
To call the entire profession of psychiatry a “fraud” when the vast majority of psychiatrists and researchers are trying to find, if not cures, then at least relief for the suffering of the multitude of people who realize that there is something wrong in their brains, is an insult, a canard, and a distraction from honest attempts to help people.
Labeling the drug industry in this way also detracts from the good that drugs do: in most cases, they relieve suffering and help re-organize disorganized thoughts. There are a significant minority of drugs that either do not belong on the market or need to have their doses and indications changed because they are potentially dangerous or have detrimental long-term side effects. However, the majority of drugs produced give the kind of relief that patients need. The drug industry is corrupt and greedy, but many, if not most, of the drugs they produce are helpful.
The real problem is that psychiatry is in its infancy. Researchers are looking for chemical markers to improve upon the clinical diagnoses that are made. Functional brain scans are teasing apart the pathways through which normal and abnormal people channel their thoughts as they pass through the brain. There is much to be done, and many mysteries to unravel. To describe the psychiatric and drug industries as fraudulent completely misses the good that they do while grossly exaggerating the harms that have been, and will continue to be done on a diminishing scale.
What more can we expect from a man who has been a failure at investigative reporting for thirty years? He is using the Internet to spread his delusions and paranoia because no-one will spend a penny to pick up any of his publications, while he pretends that he is “Underground”, implying that he is an outlaw because his ravings have frightened the Psychiatric-Drug “fascist” organization. You get what you pay for. “Free” information often turns out to be no more valuable than the ramblings of a lunatic.
First, diseases without lab tests: there are a few. Chronic fatigue syndrome, or to go by its new name, “Exercise Intolerance Disease” or something like that. Chronic fatigue is a “syndrome” (important word) with the symptoms of severe, disabling fatigue, intolerance to exercise that gets worse with repetition (this is also important), episodes of sore throat and swollen neck glands, and so on. There has (up to now) been no laboratory test that has distinguished sufferer from well. Several years ago, a lab in Nevada, run by the Whittemores who had a daughter with CFS, supposedly found a viral cause and developed a test for it, but it was discredited and a pharmacologist named Judy Mikovits was disgraced and briefly jailed for removing laboratory notebooks without permission… Mr. Whittemore is now in jail for making an illegal contribution to a Senatorial candidate. Chronic fatigue syndrome, or exercise intolerance disorder, has a possible test on the treadmill, but that is all. Yet millions of sufferers all over the world need to know.
Second, and more important, this is the Internet, and you get what you pay for, or in more abstruse terms, “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”
The situation of the Chechens in Russia is very complex; after seeing their national aspirations wiped out, they subsist in abject poverty under a kleptocratic puppet regime controlled by Moscow. In a previous post, I grossly oversimplified their history but I’m afraid the bottom line is true: young Chechens sympathetic to the Islamic State have recently begun emigrating there. There is a lot of propaganda from ISIS that invites people to immigrate to their territory, not just fighters but engineers and other skilled people.
The recent history of Chechnya can be said to have begun on the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Pro-independence forces quickly took control in Chechnya. However, this was not acceptable to the Russian post-Soviet government, and covert attempts to destabilize the Chechen government turned into an invasion in 1994. This was disastrous for the Russians, who were incompetently led. Most Russian troops were withdrawn and the region was allowed to be autonomous for a time, from 1996-9. However, the local government under Mashdakov proved to be unable to protect a crucial oil pipeline and new Russian leader Vladimir Putin decided to invade.
Coincidentally, there were several terrorist attacks in Russia that were blamed on the Chechens, and within days afterwards, the Russians invaded Chechnya, this time successfully. However, the insurgency was very strong and spread to neighboring countries. Then there was the attack on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, after which Putin decided to label the Chechen insurgency as not only Islamist (which was true) but jihadist (which was not.) Then came the Beslan school siege in 2004. This attack by Chechen insurgents, which acutely risked the lives of children, embarrassed the rest of the insurgency and led to a reduction in further attacks. Never mind that the Russians had killed more children in incidents which had never been recorded.
There has always been an active Chechen “mafia” that lives on smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and other forms of petty terrorism; they are recorded as being active in WW II. The ranks of these outlaws swelled in the period between the two Chechen wars, when fighters had no better targets. They had already penetrated the gang community in Moscow and were known for their violent ways. They were suppressed after the second Russian invasion, although there are still active bands of Chechen mafiosi.
There was no connection between the Chechen insurgency and ISIS except that foreign volunteers came to fight in Chechnya, just as they did in Afghanistan . The shock at popular revulsion to their attack in Beslan and their suspension of attacks shows they didn’t have the psychopathic violence thing down at all. ISIS was born in the heads of Iraqi Sunnis who had been ill-treated by the Americans and the new Shia Iraqi government.
The Russians had Chechnya firmly under control when the insurgency died down as a result of shame after the Beslan attack. The discovery of numerous mass graves, most of them containing Russian victims, has had little effect on their administration. They installed a puppet named Ramzan Kadyrov, and allocated large amounts of money for reconstruction of the destroyed country. However, Kadyrov embezzled most of it and built himself a magnificent mansion; even the Russians have begun to lost patience with him.
The Wikipedia article has much, much more about the history of Chechnya, including this summary statement about Chechnya now: “The two wars have left millions of people living in poverty, up to half a million refugees (particularly ethnic Russians), and most of the infrastructure destroyed.” The people left in this repeatedly devastated country now report that their young people are gradually disappearing, emigrating to the Islamic State. This is according to an article in the New York Times, and I see little reason to doubt it.
The analysts said problems in Iraq were rooted in deep political and religious divides that could not easily be solved with a military campaign, current and former officials have said. Yet Centcom’s official posture remained generally upbeat.
And that’s because ISIS isn’t about a finite pantheon of ruthless puppeteers. It’s about a region in violent disarray, a culture in crisis and all sorts of brutal crosscurrents that no drone alone can address. Our assault on ISIS must be multifaceted, and it was good at least to hear an appreciation of that in Hillary Clinton’s speech on Thursday.
We lose the war against ISIS by being simplistic. We lose it by letting emotion overtake reason.
ISIS is as good an acronym as any– we forget that an acronym, by definition, must be pronounceable and ISIS certainly is pronounceable, unlike DAESH– but it’s a mistake to try to sum this phenomenon up in words of two syllables.
The way to beat this threat to secular society is to make society so good that its allure is unbeatable. The tactics we need to use most are propaganda. Flooding the connections with propaganda about the good life– we are already doing that with our commercial programming today. That is why the Islamic State, in its founding document, bans satellite TV as an agent of the devil.
It is only a short step to developing deliberate propaganda such as was used during the Second World War against Hitler. In fact, there is an odd parallel between Hitler and the movement of violent jihad. Both looked back to ancient precedents for their ideology. Nazism has never been completely stamped out and there are pockets of Nazis in the guise of white supremacists living in the United States today.
It is time to resume the production of deliberately propagandistic films such as Casablanca, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the like. Repeated play of films such as these online and distribution of DVDs to follow.
The Russians have tried to stamp out jihadis in their territories, especially Chechnya, for many years. A famous series of terrorist attacks prompted the Russian government to strike back by applying their military heavy-handedly on the Chechen populace. They succeeded in quieting the area, and the terrorist attacks have ceased. But the Islamists who were left in Chechnya who had not been shot or arrested have been gradually emigrating to Syria and now to the Islamic State. The potential terrorists who were living in Chechnya under Russian control have simply left town for a more congenial venue.
Australia’s approach has been different; possibly due to the isolation of their island, they have been able to confiscate the passports of known jihadis and place them under close observation. They respond to these restrictions with an elaborate omission of any direct support for the Islamic State or for emigration there, since that would be against the law. But the rest of their speech is full of the hate and delusions that characterize their rants.
Another problem is that bombing will inevitably cause civilian casualties because the Islamic State fighters have many hostages, women, and children with whom they mix. There has been talk of “loosening the rules of engagement”, that is, allowing more civilian casualties, because the strikes so far have hit nothing but empty buildings. Only the Americans have been precise enough to kill a few leaders, including “Jihadi John”, the notorious narrator of terrorist videos.
According to adherents.com, there are 1.5 professed Muslims in the world; if 1/10 of 1 percent were committed to violent jihad, that would be 1.5 million people. The only way to prevent that many people from causing serious damage to the rest of the world without murdering them all is to convince them that it is in their best interests to respect the rights of the rest of the people. Demonstrating to them that life in the secular world is good is not enough, unless Australia is not a decent place to live, as demonstrated by those who have had their passports confiscated to prevent them from emigrating to the Islamic State. Military means are clearly necessary but it is possible that there is no completely successful way to eliminate them.
Before the official start of the basketball season my junior year in high school, the varsity basketball coach, Mr. Long, told me to practice on my own in the gym after school. I was usually there every afternoon, by myself or with one or two other elite high school basketball players.
The coach was a tall, thin, taciturn, moody man; he was not affable, nor cheerful, nor did he make friends with the players. He once told me that I had to choose between debate club and basketball; I told him I didn’t know how to play basketball and wanted to learn.
The gym was beautiful: it was a free dome covering the entire basketball court with bleacher seating all the way around, about eight rows of seats. The court was sunk into the ground, and the bleachers rose up to ground level. Around the bleachers was a running track, still inside the dome. On the west side, projecting out from the dome, were dressing rooms for home and visiting teams. On the east side were offices, an entrance hall, and a big room that was used for wrestling practice. The gym was almost new, and I was entranced by its modern appearance. The only fault in the building was a deep crack in the concrete floor that ran across the dressing rooms; it was said to be caused by the workmen leaving the freshly poured floor exposed to winter weather during a delay in construction.
I would practice layups and dribbling back and forth, then short jump shots, then free throws, then a short run around the track, a rest, then back on the court to dribble around, do layups, and if there was someone else there, practice free throws with one another.
I hadn’t had much experience with basketball; I started playing in eighth grade, having avoided the team in seventh grade. When I got to be eleven, however, I started growing rapidly, and by thirteen I had topped out at six feet seven inches. When that happened, I felt a lot of social pressure to be on the team. My sister, at six feet tall, in California, was pressured to become a model because of her height.
Through the first two years of high school I had been on the team, but I didn’t get much playing time, despite being five inches taller than the next tallest kid. I was just clumsy and inexperienced, and no-one took the time to work with me during the off season. I had a lot of other things to do, and I was on the cross country and track teams in the other seasons.
When I began my junior year, although I was taking courses at the college, the coach told me he didn’t want me to go out for cross-country (he coached that team too.) He told me to come to the gym and practice on my own. He wasn’t allowed to coach me himself, and no one else came out to the gym to tell me what to do, so I just practiced shooting by myself.
I could never get enough arch on the ball, and I was always impressed by the players who could send the ball way up into the rafters so it would come straight down and go through the basket without touching the hoop. The ball made a soft swishing sound as it went through the net.
After a couple of months it started to get dark earlier. My bicycle had a light on the front that was powered by a little generator that was spun by the rear wheel, and it caused a lot of drag that increased the pedal effort a lot. There was a little red light on the back. I thought it was not good, but there were no alternatives at the time other than a flashlight, and batteries were expensive and hard to get.
After practicing for a couple of hours I would cycle over to Terry’s house, and we would watch TV.
It would get to be six or so and I would get up and go home. My parents usually didn’t have dinner on until seven or so.
When the official basketball season started, the coach got us together and gave a speech about what the game was supposed to be and what he expected us to do, including haircuts. That particularly bothered a guy who sat next to me in biology, who had some problems with acne on his forehead. He liked to wear his hair long in front, to hang down and hide the pimples on his forehead. The coach said he had to have it cut.
First, we ran drills, such as starting at the half line and dribbling down to the basket, then making a layup, then running back around to the half line. With that drill, we would have a player on defense come out to try to stop the one with the ball. Each time you did defense, you would retrieve the ball and pass it to the next one in line to run the drill. Then you would run back to the end of the line of kids waiting to get the ball.
Then we would run up and down the court, stopping at the half, turning and running back to the base line. Back and forth we ran, squeaking loudly on the bright floor. Then we stopped and dropped down to do push ups on our fingertips.
We split up into pairs and spread out around the gym to the baskets on the side. We practiced free throws, one kid at the free throw line and the other recovering the ball, ten shots at a time. I rarely made more than four out of ten free throws in practice.
The guards and forwards would practice their long shots at the same time, on the main baskets. The long shots were my favorites, but sadly I had no arch on my throw and my shots went nowhere. I was especially bad at the shot from the baseline, out in the corner. This was the hardest shot for me, because you see the backboard edge on and it doesn’t give you any idea how far away you are. I also depended on the backboard to bounce my shots in so I needed to be where there’s plenty of it showing to have a chance.
After drills, we scrimmaged. Our offense was a three-two, that is, there were three players distributed around the outer court and two players who stayed close to the basket, just outside the foul line. One of the first three would bring the ball downcourt to the key, and pass back and forth between him and the other two guard/forwards; the two centers close to the basket could wander back and forth, into the foul area and out again before five seconds had passed.
I knew that other teams played different kinds of offenses, but I didn’t realize that the type of offense you played was supposed to be tailored to the kind of players you had. Our offense was appropriate only when we had two tall, slow players and three faster, short ones. We had one tall, slow player and a bunch of shorter, better playing ones. We would have done far better with a different offense, one in which I was the only one hanging around the basket, and the other four players could rotate around the outside, ready to drive in to the basket if the opportunity arose.
I didn’t know anything about that, and I hardly ever got to play anyway, so it didn’t matter to me. I could shoot a layup or pass off if I was being double-teamed; otherwise, on offense, I wandered around the foul line and watched the other players working the ball. Even when I was playing, it didn’t seem like I was doing much.
We played man-to-man defense full court the entire game. I watched our star center when I was a sophomore, and by the fourth quarter, he would be lagging further and further behind when it came time to run back to the other side of the court. He was very tall and thin, a good player, and again the only tall player on the team. By the end of the game he was exhausted from trying to run the length of the court to guard his man or get under the basket.
During scrimmage, there were usually several players who weren’t doing anything but watching the play. We were not allowed to sit down or lean against the pole that held up the basket and backboard. We usually paced, back and forth, as the players wove back and forth in their rounds.
I didn’t get to play much during scrimmage; the coach repeatedly pushed his top five players to drill the same plays, over and over. It was the same during games: only the top five players got to play almost the entire game, with two or three runner-ups used as short reliefs.
We used to play “shirts and skins” in scrimmage but that year we had a special reversible T-shirt that was gold on one side and crimson on the other, our school colors. We wore these T-shirts all season and washed them as often as our mothers would tolerate it; I think some kids had their jerseys washed every day. By the end of the season, those jerseys were ragged and frayed, stretched out of shape.
There were always times during practice when we would run around the track at the top of the bleachers, whether as a group, or individually for punishment. Running around the track was easier than running outside because there was no wind and the temperature was always reasonable. Sometimes running outside would get cold. At the end of practice, we usually ran ten laps around the track.
One day I wandered into the wrestling practice rooms, which were located on the east side of the basketball gym, next to a large entrance hall that was used for the public on game day. The wrestling practice was over, but one of the bigger wrestlers came up to me and challenged me.
I accepted, but he instantly ran and tackled me around the waist with his head down, knocking me over and nearly pinning me in two seconds flat. I laughed at his aggressiveness, but I didn’t realize that it was a big deal for him to put down someone like me who was so much bigger than everyone else.
I didn’t realize I was so big; I just felt normal-sized. I thought some people looked awfully small, but I got used to seeing regular sized people. When I came around someone who was nearly my height, they looked enormous to me.
At the beginning of our junior year, the coach was friendly to me after his fashion, and he said he wanted to play me a lot so I could learn how to play. The first game was away at a big high school thirty miles from our town. They had a big gym too, although it wasn’t new and dome-shaped like ours. For the varsity game, the bleachers were full of students and parents. Very few of our school’s contingent were there.
The coach put me in for the opening jump and two minutes later took me out. I soon realized that he was obsessed with winning and only wanted to play me for my obvious advantage: I was six inches taller than anyone else on the other team. Of course, I was a terrible player, partly because I didn’t get much playing time. The only thing he wanted me for was the tossup.
This performance was repeated at the beginning of each quarter: in for two minutes, out again. Once I tipped the ball directly to an opposing player, not concentrating on using my advantage.
We were winning in the third quarter, but the fans started to chant and stamp their feet. In that big old gym, the sound of stamping feet was deafening. We couldn’t hear the ball hitting the floor when our guard dribbled down the court. Within minutes, the opposing team took fire, and quickly erased our point advantage. They went on to win by five points.
I understood that I wasn’t up to the skills of the other players and the coach really wanted to win, but I was disappointed not to play. Ever since I had started playing in eighth grade, it was the same way. We practiced, and I sat on the bench, towering over everyone else. I was unhappy because I wanted to play basketball. Winning was important, and I knew that I just hadn’t had enough practice or playing time to get good.
In the middle of the season, the coach asked me a strange question: Are you planning to go to college next year? I didn’t see how it related to him, but I knew how he thought, so I lied: No.
It didn’t take long for him to find out that I had lied to him; the guidance counsellors or the principal or someone spilled the beans. Besides, I was already taking all my courses at the local college, so technically I wasn’t even in high school anymore.
After that, the limited playing time I had been given was suddenly eliminated. I sat far back on the bench, even at one game in the second row of bleachers. He said nothing to me. One night before a game, the zipper on my warmup pants broke. He called me over and taped it closed with athletic tape, saying nothing to me.
Two days before the last game of the season, a big home game, I took my washed and folded practice shorts and jersey and went into his office where he was sitting at his desk. I put the clothes on his desk and said: I won’t be needing these anymore.
I graduated with the class ahead of me, and someone else was the valedictorian. On the card I was given, where my place in the class was supposed to be listed, there was nothing. I wasn’t even number zero. I didn’t wear my mortarboard “hat” at the ceremony.
The next fall, I started school at Harvard College. I went out for basketball, but there were two other freshmen almost as tall as me. The coach told me: you’re too young, and I don’t think you’ll develop enough over the four years to be worth our time in coaching you; you’ll have plenty of other “learning opportunities” here. So I did something else, which turned out to be not as good.