Tag Archives: Robin Williams

Finger in a dike

We have all heard the story of the boy who stopped a flood by putting his finger in a dike; Robin Williams made a reference to it and women in comfortable shoes in the past (whatever that means). The story is known, the act sounds just too ridiculous, because any flood that can be stopped with a finger is one that will not amount to much flooding. Yet the story behind it is very different. You see, the story is about the dangerous Muskrats, who dig themselves boroughs in dikes. These boroughs have canals that can go for hundreds of feet and as the Muskrat population grows, the dikes and dams they are in could be damaged beyond normal repair and that is when the dangers start, because dikes are important in the Netherlands. A large part of it is vastly below sea level, meaning that such a loss could have impacted safe living in that place. Muskrats are also fierce fighters and feeders, meaning that as their population grows, the other animals become extinct. Even as that rat has a usual lifespan for a year, in that year it can reap damage that only people can match. So as we consider the damage a year brings, we need to now consider todays story in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/14/freedom-of-information-act-document-leaks-could-become-criminal), where we see: “criminalise passing on information discoverable under FOI requests“, so basically any news given, even when it can be obtained by an FOI request can become an issue that follows prosecution and even conviction? How is anyone allowed to pass this as law allowed in office, especially as he lives by the motto that was a Herman Brood hit (read: I’ll never be clever). There is a weighting here. I for one have spoken out against the non-accountability of the press. The one time they got scared (read: The Leveson enquiry), they started to scream foul and promise bettering themselves. A promise some of the press broke even before the ink of that promised dried. Yet there is in equal measure a need to keep the people correctly and decently informed. There is a need to get cybersecurity on a decent level and there is a need to hunt down hackers. In this places like Sony are feeling the brunt of hackers and until the authorities are willing to execute the parents (or children) of these hackers, depending of the age of the hacker in front of their eyes, they will not ever see the light and these issues will happen. In this, the entire whistle-blower thing is another hot potato and some politicians seem to think that the one will stop the other, which is even more delusional than my idea of executions to make a point. There is another side to all this that is linked. You see, in the military there is a strict need of secrecy. In that this Bradley Manning person is just a traitor who did not realise just how stupid he really was. The fact that he did not spend life in prison until death is another failing which has been covered by too many for too long and too often. Julian Assange is another matter. Basically he was a mere facilitator, we might seem to consider him a traitor but in the end he did not break any laws and the US knows this, they just have another need to address the ego of certain people. I see Snowden as a traitor, plain and simple. As we were misrepresented with a movie, a book and all kinds of stories, there is still the issue that things did not add up. The never did and never will. In this light a whistle-blower seems to be a very different needed person (I will get to that later).

The three names mentioned all have their own role to play in all this. In case of Manning, it is treason plain and simple, whomever got him off lightly did a stellar Law job, but in the end, he committed treason under war time conditions. Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-08-02/bradley-manning-s-crime-is-smaller-than-treason) gives us the view of John Yoo, a legal expert, whose view I share: “His actions knowingly placed the lives of American soldiers, agents, and allies at grave risk. In the world of instant, world-wide communications and non-state terrorist groups, Manning committed the crime of aiding the enemy, and he is lucky to escape the death penalty“. As an operator, Manning had access to do his job and he abused the access he had endangering the lives of his ‘fellow’ soldiers. In this the less diplomatic view would be that he was more entitled to death by hanging than some of those executed at Nuremberg. So as we realise that Manning soon could have more rights than an optional member of the press is just a little too insane in my book. In all this, as we see that part in a little biased light, we need to realise that the press has a need to expose certain elements. Yet they too are biased and they are biased towards advertisers and stakeholders, which is why certain military documents are placed in a juicy sexy light, yet the issues of Microsoft, Sony and a few others that clearly food for thought for a generation of consumers seems to be misplaced. So how should we see the less responsible acts of the press in that light?

The second part is Snowden, again, as I see it a traitor, here the issue is severe on all sides, the Intelligence community failed miserably on several sides as one person has seemingly access to systems that should have been monitoring access on a few sides. I saw within two hours at least 3 issues for consideration of prosecution of certain heads of intelligence for mere gross negligence. The issues found with NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin III just adds to the issues in Alphabet soup land. In this there would have been the need of a very different whistle blower, one that could have walked into the US supreme court stating that his nation is in serious danger giving evidence free from prosecution where an ‘uncle’ of the NSA walks into the office of Admiral Rogers (current director, not the director at that time) asking what the f**k he thinks he is doing on the farm. In a system that is about subterfuge and misdirection, those making errors are often chastised in unbalanced ways. As they are about deadlines and being flawless (which is a delusion all by itself) finding ways to clear issues, solve issues and give support in a place that is relying just a little too much on contractors is an essential need. In this the US is the most visible, but we can agree that the UK has its own demons, the most visible ones were in the 70’s, yet the cloud is now a dangerous place and in addition, I foresee that the near future will bring us more, because if a place like Sony cannot keep a lid on its data, do you actually believe that the cloud is secure? It is not, because some people were pushing too fast for a technology that has issues on several levels. As the cloud grows the customer is no longest charged per Gigabyte, but per Terabyte, so as the cost seems to be 0.1% of what was, they are all seeing the financial benefit and they are clearly ignoring the need to comprehends data sizes and what to put where. As the sales teams are giving nice presentations on security and no loss of data, they seem to be a little more silent on amount of data replicated somewhere else. Which in case of Intelligence is a bit of an issue under the best conditions. By the way that switch from GB to TB happened in the last 5 years alone, so this market is accelerated but in ways that seems to be a little too uncomfortable and I love tech and I embrace it whenever possible, so others should be a lot more mindful and worried than I am at present.

Last we get to Julian Assange, he is either loved or hated. I tried to remain in the balance of it as he basically broke no laws, but to shed the dirty laundry in the way he did was a little stupid. We read all the things on how certain stuff was removed and so on, but there is an issue. In all this we heard all the military stuff, yet when the mention and threats of bank presentations came, he went quiet and dark less than 48 hours later, so it seems that some issues are just not given to the people, especially certain facts that should have been brought out. Here we see another side of the whistle-blower. I get that certain events should not be allowed out, yet when I read: “We would expand the Freedom of Information act to stop ministers and departments from being able to block the publication of information they see as politically inconvenient“, which we get from Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson. We see another part of the conversation, one that needs scrutiny on a few levels. The entire issue that a conviction is possible for releasing information that is readily available under the FOI is dodgy to say the least. There is a side in my that there should be a certain level of control on whistle-blowers, yet in that same light as we see too often that corporate whistle-blowers are refused the light of day by the press calls for questions marks on the earliest given Mondays of any week.

If the dike is to stop the people from drowning we need to make sure that the muskrat is stopped for various reasons, yet when that dike is also the road that facilitates for the shipment of toxic waste, we need to wonder what the basic need of that specific dike is. And that is before we see that the road facilitates for ‘Big Pharma’ to ship its medication, whilst the 1000’s of tonnes of pharmaceutical waste is left ignored, which is ignored by the media when Dr Who (read: World Health Organisation) is telling people that there is now a direct danger to newborns, with in India alone an estimated 56,000 deaths of newborns dying from resistant infections. So as we see very little of that in the news, what are those opposing the whistleblowing actions crying about? They themselves have become filters on what the people are allowed to learn about. Doesn’t that sound slightly too sanctimonious to you?

The issue that goes on is that these events are less and less an issue of rarity. The Times (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/600-tonnes-of-waste-dumped-under-road-dmttlzrkh), gives us, when you are subscripted, a view that “Up to 600 tonnes of household rubbish have been dumped under the A40 in Buckinghamshire, in one of Britain’s worst incidents of fly-tipping”, this is not some issue that is done with a simple truck, this took time and staff. This was deliberate and orchestrated. In this the whistle-blower would have been essential in dealing with such a crime, as it stands now, it made someone an easy £90,000 and the damage could end up being considerable larger and more expensive. It is anyone’s guess if the CPS will ever secure an arrest and conviction. So as we see the toxicity of the changes the UK and others could face. When we consider the final part “Thomas Hughes, the executive director of Article 19, said: “The Law Commission’s proposals would move the clock backwards, undoing improvements in the UK’s 1989 Official Secrets Acts, and setting a dangerous example of eroding freedom of expression protections, which may be copied by oppressive regimes globally”, we must ask what the devils own sugar did the Law Commission have in mind when these changes were proposed. By the way, the moment it gets adopted, there is every chance that any person with direct links to Wall Street will see other sides. This is what we get from the NY Post, “The Financial CHOICE Act 2.0, which passed the House Financial Services Committee last week, has provisions to keep corporate whistle-blowers involved in any wrongdoing from collecting awards. The act would also require the whistle-blower to try to stop violations from happening within their company — a stipulation that advocates fear would force employees to choose between being fired or not reporting anything at all”, we see this at http://nypost.com/2017/05/14/whistleblower-bill-sparks-fear-among-advocates/, so you tell me who this is all supposed to benefit. As I see it, we see a shift where those who have not are stronger and stronger segregated from those who have and those who continuously want to have. A mere adaption from the battle strategy segregation, isolation and assassination? Assassination needs not resolve in death, today we see how economic and financial death could at times be much worse than anything permanently offered, although the mothers in India might disagree on that. The question becomes where does the press truly stand, with informing the people or with the advertisers they rely on nowadays?


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Military, Politics

We lost a giant

I was hit with waves of sadness yesterday. We lost Robin Williams. I do not claim or pretend to know too much about him. When I was young, I loved watching ‘Mork and Mindy’. I saw him in the movies and lately his star ascended again in the advertisement comedy ‘the Crazy ones‘. The thought most on my mind was ‘How can Sarah Michelle Gellar ever keep a straight face around him?’
Yesterday and today there are no happy faces, we lost a giant. I am not the only one thinking this. Twitter was buzzing with news and condolences from the famous and non-famous alike. The Guardian had a story (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/russell-brand-robin-williams-divine-madness-broken-world). It is an article by Russell Brand, and seeing him outside of comedy or from the stage of the social aware was reason to take a look at this. The article shows two clear things. The first is that there is a lot more to Russell Brand then I thought there was. He is brilliant in his own way and he is asking out loud certain questions we do not tend to ask. Basically I saw more journalism in Russell Brand in one article then several have showed this year (if you, the reading journalist are the exception, then I apologise for my generalising directness).
There is a quote at the end that gives pause to wonder “What I might do is watch Mrs Doubtfire. Or Dead Poets Society or Good Will Hunting and I might be nice to people, mindful today how fragile we all are, how delicate we are, even when fizzing with divine madness that seems like it will never expire“.
If we are all so fragile, how can we cope? If we are all sane, how can we give support to those with mental health issues? It I however this quote which strikes a nerve “Hidden behind his beard and kindness and compliments was a kind of awkwardness, like he was in the wrong context or element, a fallen bird on a hard floor. It seems that Robin Williams could not find a context. Is that what drug use is? An attempt to anaesthetise against a reality that constantly knocks against your nerves, like tinfoil on an old school filling, the pang an urgent message to a dormant, truer you“.
I am not sure if the thought is correct as such (from my point of view). It might apply to Robin Williams, Russell had met the man, I never had, so why my opposition to this?
Well, is drug use just that? I was fortunate to stay away from drugs, yet is it an anaesthetic against reality or a way to see a better reality as these users think it will, a more appealing one? You see, if Russell is right, then every famous comedian would become a drug user, I find that thought too depressing. Robin Williams once stated “Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs“, it is just a comedy statement, but there is also the statement from another giant, a musical one who stated “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself“. The man was Bob Marley!
Before I continue, I need to add another article. It was written by Dean Burnett (at http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish). Here he writes something particularly strong and interesting: “to say taking your own life because of such an illness is a ‘selfish’ act does nothing but insult the deceased, potentially cause more harm and reveal a staggering ignorance of mental health problems“.
Russell and Dean are both hitting one side of the same coin. My worry is not: ‘why this is happening to Robin Williams’, but why are we seeing it only now? Is Robin Williams the moment we start to wake up and realise that we have a massive issue which a ton of people have been hiding under the rug because it was too uncomfortable?
Dean goes on for a bit longer, but then he doesn’t just hit the nail on the head, he makes a case why the nail was never guilty and did not deserved to get hammered.
That doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider ‘too successful’ to be ill?
I myself had that very same thought. ‘Why would a man this successful, having a beautiful daughter who is starting to have her own successful career, a massive success in his field be depressed?
It is a side I never really considered when having to read ‘Crime and Mental Health Law in New South Wales‘ by D. Howard. Those who try to give aid in one way or another, being it through legal aid, through psychological aid or through medical aid might have unintentionally missed a side we never considered. Russell voices it as “Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?” But from my view the world is not broken (it is just in control by those filled with greed). The physician might note that this world can be lived in (it is just severely polluted and food is getting more and more expensive) lastly the psychiatrist wanted to talk about it but he had no sense of humour, apparently he was German.
The powerful statement Russell made in the beginning “Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?” is now slightly changed (by me). “Is the world making me too sad to consider remaining here for another day?” I feel so sad because I lost an idol of comedy. I am certain I will get over it, but I know I am not alone, many with me remember the man who was the Genie, voicing the life of Donald Trump ‘PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS!!! … Itty-bitty living space‘.
We will soon enough remember again and again the famous moments that made us laugh or be silent. Yet, the issues on depression remain, not for just those Robin left behind, but for those who are still fighting this battle. A battle that is not just uphill, but for many it is a losing uphill battle and that is how they feel from the beginning of the journey they walk.
It is not new; depression has been around for at least 3 centuries, it has had many names. It was called Melancholy and Charlotte Smith wrote a sonnet to it in 1785. She wrote:

O Melancholy!–such thy magic power,

That to the soul these dreams are often sweet,

And sooth the pensive visionary mind!

Which might be better phrased as:

Oh dark dread, stopper of heart and reason

in my dreams I yearn to end

so that in my next life, I find a friend

Did the sonnet turn people away from depression as it was not a real condition?

I think that too many have never seen it for the dangerous affliction it truly is. Dean goes on and writes in his article in regards to ‘a’ selfish act “The ‘selfish’ accusation also often implies that there are other options the sufferer has, but has chosen suicide“. Was suicide even a choice? Are those on this track choosing at all? I have seen my share of people under Section 20 and Section 21 of the mental health act. Those who are hospitalised through them without and with their consent. There has been enough documentation that these people never seemed to have any choice in the matter. From their one sided view, there was only one path and only when services were too late lives were lost.

So, the medical branch seems to know the dangers, the legal branch has the knowledge that resulted in the existence of a section 20 and a section 21 of the mental health act, but these two are only 0.001% of a population, wouldn’t it be great if the other 99% catches on, on how dangerous and lethal depression really is?
Russell also wakes up to a revelation in the quote “When someone gets to 63 I imagined, hoped, I suppose, that maturity would grant an immunity to adolescent notions of suicide but today I read that suicide isn’t exclusively a young man’s game“, depression is timeless and it is ageless. We are bound to endure its dangers quite literally from the cradle to the grave, we can only hope for true friends around us to be there when it overwhelms any of us.

There is one more article that must be mentioned. It is again in the Guardian, but now it is Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-sadness-clown-addiction-mental-illness) that writes his view, but then he makes one ‘mistake’, perhaps it is just the observation he makes, but I disagree completely and for that I must lash out. He wrote “Therapists wander the scene like surgeons on a medieval battlefield, at a loss for what to do“.

I do not think that this is the case; it has not been the case for some time. Yet, some physicians and some psychiatrists seem to have inherited a former treatment for this, ‘have a pill, sit in a corner until the moment passes‘. There is enough evidence that this is no longer the approach and the current generation is still fixing the mess the previous generation made; but even today many are learning on how long the path to a cure is. Perhaps it is never cured, but in some cases it could be managed, as long as the patient does not do it alone. It is a personal view I have. I might be very wrong indeed and if someone lashes out to me for that same reason, then so be it.

I do know that in many places it is getting more and more the visibility it should have had, but let us not forget that depression was not generally accepted and published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until the 3rd edition in 1980. The documentation that is openly out there shows that depression was a debilitating disease long before it was made a sonnet in 1785, so people had known about it for well over 300 years, which means the adoption only 30 years ago is still a questionable issue. So, it seems that therapist are not at a loss for what to do, but there seems to be a lacking clarity of what will truly work. It does seem that medication alone will not ever be a solution.
It is clear that we are not there yet. If you think other whiles then consider that for the DSM-V the following is currently set: “DSM – V proposed (not yet adopted) anxiety symptoms that may indicate depression: irrational worry, preoccupation with unpleasant worries, trouble relaxing, feeling tense, fear that something awful might happen.

Proposed, but not yet adopted!

We are not there yet and there is a long way to go. We can only hope that this road will have the resources needed to get there. I reckon we need to keep a view on the events that have shaped our view of the world and of those in it, for some of them will need our help. We might not be physicians or psychiatrists, but we can all do a little bit, so that they can do what must be done to find a solution for those who need help. If we keep to the cold statistics then we see that in the USA alone, 10% have it, this means that in one nation alone 30 million people are afflicted with depression, the reality is much higher because many do not seek help and some around them do not realise that depression is very near to them. Healthline (provider of health information) also reported the following: “60%-80% of all depression cases can be effectively treated with brief, structured forms of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication“.

I find absolutely nothing true in that statement, if it was then depression would have been successfully treated in so many cases and I would not have lost an idol. I think that it is time to take another true look at this without caring about budget cuts and ego’s.

If we get Keating involved, as Robin played him in Dead Poet’s Society, I would state “Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die“, is that, what we, with our ‘generic’ view of mental health condemn these people to?
So I hope that politicians will take this event to sit down and proclaim that they will ‘take another true look at today’s mental health issues‘.

I will have a reason to smile, but I will say “Son of a bitch! They stole my line!

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Politics, Science