Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, August 15, 2016

Democracy, Civitas, and the Rite To Have Rights; Or, Why I Will Not Relinquish Democratization To The Tech-Talkers Or Other Fauxvolutionaries


jimf said...

> [T]he maintenance of nonviolent alternatives for the adjudication
> of disputes by equal recourse to the law and by consent secured
> by welfare (as against vacuous contractarian consent duressed by
> misinformation, precarity, insecurity) remains interminable to the
> extent that nonviolent democratic contestation includes contests
> over what constitutes violence & democracy.

How to buy Congress. It's easy! (If expensive. ;-> )
Their Hair Fell Out. Should the F.D.A. Have the Power to Act?
AUG. 15, 2016

When the Los Angeles hairstylist Chaz Dean pitched his almond mint
and lavender-scented hair care products — endorsed by celebrities
like Brooke Shields and Alyssa Milano — he sold millions. But his
formula got an unexpected result: itching, rashes, even hair
loss in large clumps, in both adults and children. . .

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based national distributor of Mr. Dean’s hair
care line [Guthy-Renker] is part of a beauty care trade association that
has been aggressively lobbying Congress to block the passage of
tough new legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration
the authority to test ingredients used in cosmetics and issue mandatory
recalls for products found to be unsafe. . .

[The legislation has won the endorsement of heavyweights including
Estée Lauder. . .; Johnson & Johnson. . .; and Procter & Gamble. . .
Industry officials said they decided to embrace the legislation after
becoming increasingly concerned that a decline in consumer confidence
could hurt their sales.]

Each side has its champions in Congress: Senators Dianne Feinstein,
Democrat of California, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, for
the larger companies, and Representative Pete Sessions,
Republican of Texas, coming to the aid of his home-state company,
Mary Kay, which joined the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers
and Distributors to fight the Feinstein-Collins legislation. . .

“If you are in business and are not involved in politics, then
politics will run your business,” explained a presentation prepared
by Mary Kay last summer for sales representatives. . .

[E]ven before Ms. Feinstein formally introduced her legislation. . .,
the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors, in which Guthy-Renker
has been a dues-paying member for over a decade, moved to defeat it. . .

During a March 2015 strategy session in the New York law offices of a
trade association legal adviser, Locke Lord, industry executives were
briefed by their lobbying team, who explained that it had already approached
the office of Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the chairman of the
House Energy and Commerce Committee, with jurisdiction over the F.D.A.

Michael Lunceford, a senior vice president at Mary Kay overseeing the
company’s lobbying and public affairs divisions, had done groundwork
through the Direct Selling Association, where he is on the board, to
help Mr. Upton’s 2012 re-election effort. The organization bought billboard,
radio and newspaper ads “to gain the attention of the candidate in order
to cultivate a champion for the direct selling industry,” according
to an industry newsletter. . .

Simple! ;->

jimf said...

> . . .the righteous practice of rhetoric (good people, speaking well). . .
The Psychiatric Question: Is It Fair to Analyze Donald Trump From Afar?
AUG. 15, 2016

In the midst of a deeply divisive presidential campaign,
more than 1,000 psychiatrists declared the Republican candidate
unfit for the office, citing severe personality defects,
including paranoia, a grandiose manner and a Godlike self-image.
One doctor called him “a dangerous lunatic.”

The year was 1964, and after losing in a landslide,
the candidate, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, sued
the publisher of Fact magazine, which had published the survey,
winning $75,000 in damages. . .

Enter Donald J. Trump. . .

Psychiatrists and psychologists have publicly flouted the
Goldwater Rule, tagging Mr. Trump with an assortment of personality
problems, including grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and
“malignant narcissism.” The clinical insults are flying so thick
that earlier this month, the psychiatric association posted
a reminder that breaking the Goldwater Rule “is irresponsible,
potentially stigmatizing, and definitely unethical.” . . .

Supporters of the Goldwater Rule have cited three main
rationales for adhering to it: Most diagnoses made from a
distance turn out to be wrong; the labels themselves can
cause real harm to the person and family members; and
the practice undermines the field’s credibility, particularly
its commitment to confidentiality. Not to mention, others say,
that it could expose a left-leaning bias in the field. . .

But those using clinical language to describe Mr. Trump’s
behavior contend that this presidential election is vastly different,
for a big reason: The proliferation of social media comments
and video clips, which afford direct, unscripted access to
candidates, was simply not available in previous races. The
depth of that material creates a public persona complete
enough to analyze on its own merits, they say. . .

If there are exceptions to the Goldwater Rule, psychiatrists
apparently cannot agree on them. More distant historical figures
tend to be fair game; “Lincoln’s Melancholy,” a book by
Joshua Wolf Shenk making the case that Lincoln had suffered
from depression, was well received.

Leaders of hostile nations may or may not qualify, depending on
who is judging. A psychiatrist who provided a personality assessment
of Saddam Hussein at the request of the George W. Bush
administration was criticized by some in the psychiatric community,
but not formally censured.

Retired politicians fall into a gray area. Therapists have penned
books on George W. Bush, as well as Bill Clinton. Not all of
their colleagues approve.

But in an era when private moments and comments are increasingly
available for public consumption, some argue that the Goldwater Rule
is due for an update. . .

YMMV. ;->

jimf said...

> . . .the righteous practice. . .

Also in
The Psychiatric Question: Is It Fair to Analyze Donald Trump From Afar?
AUG. 15, 2016

. . .

[H]history cautions against. . . armchair analysis. . .
Psychiatrists point to Goldwater himself as a prime example of
getting it wrong. By the time he died in 1998, Mr. Goldwater
was regarded as “one of his party’s most respected elder statesmen,”
The Washington Post said in its obituary. . .

Dr. Steven Buser, a psychiatrist who with his colleague,
Dr. Leonard Cruz, coedited a new book, “A Clear and Present Danger:
Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump,” stressed, “We are
careful not to make a clinical diagnosis here, to say that
Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder.” The
contributing writers include psychiatrists and psychologists,
but Dr. Buser said, “We are focused on the image he projects,
on TV, in tweets, in quotes.”

Dr. [Paul] Appelbaum, [a professor of psychiatry, medicine and law
at Columbia University who disapproves of the practice] calls
this distinction a convenient splitting of hairs. “It takes a
skilled therapist months, sometimes longer, seeing a person
regularly and asking probing questions to make a determination
of whether a disorder is present,” Dr. Appelbaum said.

The stigma of mental vulnerability is especially damaging in politics.
In the 1972 presidential race, Senator Thomas F. Eagleton of
Missouri withdrew as George McGovern’s running mate after 18 days --
at Mr. McGovern’s request -- in the wake of revelations that
he had undergone psychiatric counseling and electroshock therapy.
In 1988, the Democratic nominee, Michael S. Dukakis, released
his medical records to counter rumors that he had undergone
psychiatric treatment. He had not.

During his libel trial, Mr. Goldwater was mystified by some of
the psychiatrists’ comments about his personality, including one
calling him an “anal character.” “I don’t know what an anal character
would be,” he testified, according to news accounts. “I tried to look
it up in the dictionary, but couldn’t find it.”

He took particular exception to a psychiatrist’s comment that he
was “a counterfeit figure of a masculine man.” Such a charge
“weighs several tons, and the effect is rather depressing,” he said. . .

Some of those 1964-era "diagnoses", particularly the psychoanalytically-
toned ones ("anal character") sound silly from today's perspective.
Maybe in 2068, some current psychiatric categories will sound
equally silly. On the other hand, the notion of narcissism
as a psychiatric disorder has been around for more than a century.
Freud wrote about it in 1914 (albeit in the context of
his own idiosyncratic theories), though it wasn't added to
the DSM until 1980.

jimf said...

> Democracy's definitive insistence on accountable authority. . .
> is. . . misunderstood. . . by [those]. . .
> who mis*identify* state forms with a violence that precedes
> and exceeds them. . .


You wrote, more than 7 years ago,

> Look, people, we know all this already. The Moral Majority
> was never a majority. Multiculturalists won the culture wars. . .
> America is becoming day by day by day an ever more
> diverse, secular, urban, pragmatic, convivial multiculture.
> Please make a note of it, get used to it, and act accordingly.

(via )

That may be true (particularly trend-wise), but unfortunately
it seems that **most** of the folks in this country who are officially
charged with pointing and discharging the state-sanctioned
puff-bangs[*] against targets both domestic and foreign,
puff-bangs ranging in size from hand-guns all
the way up to nukes -- i.e., the cops and the military,
are anything but "convivial multiculturalists".

From the comment thread of that same 2009 post:
BuzzFlash: You wrote a book. . . called _With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against
an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military_. . . Why did you write the book?

Michael L. Weinstein: . . . What I found at the Air Force Academy was
nothing short of something that could destroy the republic. An essentially
evangelical, fundamentalist, Christian perspective was being imposed on
those that were not evangelical fundamentalist Christians, in complete and
total disregard of the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. . .

[S]ince we ended the draft, going to the full volunteer force in 1972,
now we’re pulling mostly from what we call red states, where there’s a lot
of this blending of a virulent form of dominionist Christianity –-
essentially predatory Christianity -– with patriotism. . .

He wasn't the only one making that claim around the same time:
The Evangelical Christian Takeover of the Military
Retired Air Force Col. David Antoon investigates proselytizing within the military,
where religious ideology threatens to supersede the values of the Constitution.
By David Antoon
November 15, 2007

And nothing much has changed since then.
New Report Says Military Threatened By Ongoing Fundamentalist Influences
April 2013
Old Testament Armed Forces
Religious zealotry runs rampant in the U.S. military, and among those wishing to deploy it.
By Philip Giraldi
February 12, 2014

Does anybody doubt you could add "Republican" to "evangelical, fundamentalist,
Christian" in the above list?
Poll: Trump Leads Clinton Among Military Households
by Hannah Hartig, John Lapinski and Stephanie Psyllos
Aug 16 2016

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton among military households by 10 points,
51 percent to 41 percent, according to results from the latest NBC. . . [poll].

And wanna make a bet that the same would hold true if you polled cops?

These are the people who point the guns and pull the triggers, folks,
both at home and abroad. And a lot of them would be happier marching
under the Confederate flag than they are saluting the Stars and Stripes.

[*] I borrowed the term "puff-bangs" from C. S. Lewis
( )

Dale Carrico said...

My point about those who mis-identify the state with violence was directed at anarchists. I am far from denying the vulnerability of law and policing to violence, abuse, and organized exploitation. I just think there is nothing anarchists add to such critiques that liberalism hasn't understood for centuries at this point, and that by focusing their ire at the state itself as the indispensable site of the most organized violence they fail to grasp that the state is also the indispensable site of the most organized non-violence. Nor am I unaware not would I diminish the fact that there are bigots and dangerous characters in the military and in our police forces. How could anyone fail to grasp the reality of that problem at this point? But the visibility of abuses and the wide circulation of long-understood reform proposals to ameliorate these abuses are going to turn the tide. De-militarization of the police, community policing models, representative policing, continued de-patriarchization of the military, ending the drug war, getting commonsense gun safety regulations, banning military style weapons and private arsenals, eliminating for-profit prisons, shifting budgetary priorities from jails to education and housing... all of this is in the wind now. Far from seeing a worsening here, I am hopeful. In part, demographic diversification and secularizing is the driver here (and of backlash-formations needless to say, as well) but the phenomenon I addressed years back in my posts about winning the culture wars is also connected to this. I still think I was right and think with every passing year the evidence and the resulting forces of that victory are more palpable. Of course, assholes will always be among us and assholes will asshole in their variously catastrophic ways. I just see this as a more hopeful than dreadful story. At any rate, it is something where there is work to be done where the work can make a difference for the better, and that is all anyone can really ask for. New problems will raise their ugly heads soon enough. Environmental racism and climate disruption is a big and growing worry for our remaining years, the Archie Bunkers with guns are dying off into a more or less manageable marginality.