PTSD Overdiagnosed in Soldiers?

No way.

An article in NY times tried to argue that PTSD in returning soldiers is really just lack of home support, because more are being diagnosed than actually saw enemy fire. Obviously misguided.

If you sit in a hostile foreign land where your companions are being killed, you do not have to be shot at to be traumatized. One client I had, for example, had PTSD from the Panama Canal zone even though he was never shot at. It was nevertheless disturbing on a daily basis, since his job was to go up and down the canal in the body barge collecting bodies. That picture in his head was still traumatic.

While it is true that in cultures where there is more affluence there is greater alienation and social supports are low for any problems one has, that does not account for these numbers. Some people get trauma from a car accident, or even seeing one. Should not up close and personal experience of war count as much as how many bullets one dodges? My definition of trauma is rather broad : any event(s) that exceed(s) your resources.

 

There are a few misdiagnoses, such as TBS being mistaken for PTSD. Not nearly so many as there were when the VA tried to mislabel for economic reasons..

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Published in: on May 7, 2015 at 8:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Been a While

Since I posted here so I thought I would ay least throw out a few random thoughts so this site does not develop rigor mortis.

As for politics, America has only one party, the establishment, with left and right wings loosely called democrats and republicans (no capitalization is intended, not worthy of it). Tea Party activists do the bidding of the republican establishment, and progressives carry water for the democratic establishment.

Sheldon Adelson, who supplied Newt Gingrich’s entire bankroll, now is putting all his money and power behind getting government on our backs, controlling the internet by banning things like online poker. Next will be angry birds?

Published in: on February 13, 2014 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Whistleblowers Can Be An Antidote to Fascism

More than a decade after the twin towers were attacked by foreign forces, the USA becomes more and more willing to curtail our bill of rights. While the initial reaction by the Bush regime was obviously excessive: waterboarding, warrantless wiretaps and other surveillance, the end of habeas corpus, and general forfeiture of our privacy rights, we all hoped that sanity would eventually, if gradually, return.

The election of a Democrat as president did little to change this picture. We may have stopped waterboarding, but there would be no way of being sure, given the lack of transparency. Otherwise the tendency to fascistic methods of top down control by the elite has remained – and in many cases it has grown; this was even more troubling to those few of us who still care about the principles that made the USA a beacon for freedom and human rights.

If you doubt this trend, just look at the 112th congress. Infamous for having a “do nothing” approach in which far less was accomplished and fewer bills passed than any other congress, this congress was nevertheless very productive in curtailing the rights of Americans. Bill after bill passed to end these rights, with large bipartisan support, and many of these bills would not have been thinkable, even under Chaney and the specter of the 911 attack.

Is there any way out of this gradual slide to a state in which individual rights are rare? We, of course, would need a more thoughtful media. This is unlikely to happen with the mainstream media who long ago lost its soul, its curiosity, and its forebrain. The best we can hope for there is a vibrant web and blog universe, although I think it is still an imperative to crack open the cable providers, forcing them to provide dozens of smaller less commercial cable channels with divergent voices.

For me, however, the most pressing need is to make it not only possible for whistleblowers to reveal the excesses, but to insure that they are protected afterwards. There has been a little progress with this project in some spheres, but there is no protection whatsoever for whistleblowers who work for the parts of out government most likely to be abused. Nada. No whistleblowers there. We need to put pressure on our legislators to balance the erosion of our rights by encouraging a voice for those working in the muck who discover the dirty laundry, and would like to air it. Sunshine is still a good antisceptic.

General Hospitable- Soap Opera Surges

I am rather amused that everyone seems so obsessed about who General Petraeus is sleeping with or sharing his smiley faces by email.  This whole affair is more like a soap opera than a real issue, worthy of public debate. It is a reality show run amuck. I think they could have a Bachelor Pad type set up on a middle east base, with the top brass and their wives/girlfriends, complete with candid footage shot by drone.  American viewers could vote them off one at a time, until the last general and his partner get to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

I for one am pleased that the real surge included women in a support role, but I think we would be better off if we put the women in charge of the military ansd politcal choices, especially when it comes to conflict. Men can be so alpha, and the last thing the military needs is a few alpha men trying to “one up” each other. This is, I think, the best argument I have heard in a long time, for cutting military spending.

I really thought the days of J. Edgar Hoover were over, when  the FBI had dossiers on all the politicians and could use them as they please, to end or build someone’s careers. This was the slippery slope we started back down when we made getting a warrant unncessary during the Bush and Cheney era. Everybody said, “hey, don’t worry, it will only be used against terrorists.” 

I did not  really expect to see Petraeus and Ossama Bin Laden given the same protections (none) and now we know that the agencies with access to emails and other personal communications will use them to curry favor, and to tarnish rivals.

If they can snoop and blackmail when it comes to flirtations, custody battles, and affairs, who really believes that it won’t also be done for financial and/or political gain? I want my constitution back, especially my rights to privacy.

Mitt as Bishop Counsults LDS Living Prophet About his Run

The Mormon church believes that they have, at the head of their church, a living prophet at all times, and the current one is Gordon B. Hinckley. Romney not only knows Mr. Hinckley, but met with him prior to his run for President, to get his guidance.

A candidate’s religion should not be an issue if he runs for office, unless he get’s guidance from a living prophet, or is a leader in the church hierarchy. Mitt Romney’s family have always been prominent in the Mormon church hierarchy, and Mitt Romney was for several years first the equivalent of a Bishop and later, from 1986 to 1994, an Arch-Bishop “Stake President” in the mormon church. In the latter position he oversaw several congregations in the Boston area.

In his “duties” in the church he would do things like personally invite Lani Gerson to her excommunication trial from the church. Women claim that he was insensitive in his counsel. But this is the same Mormon church that spent a huge amount of money and prestige opposing equal rights for women, not in the 1800’s but in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Latter Day Church member Evelyn Harville told the Phoenix that he declined to speak up against domestic abuse, and Romney counseled her to not abort a foetus when her health was at stake.

Romney also did “missionary” work in France attempting to convert the wine-drinking French to his alcohol unfriendly religion. While many Mormons do this missionary work in third world countries, this privileged member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Romney, like most missionaries in the Mormon church, spent 30 months avoiding the draft in the late 60’s at the height of the Vietnam War.

If a Bishop in any other church ran for President, we would be asking how his beliefs will impact his decisions, and more importantly what conflicts of interest there will be, should he become president. Hey I don’t even know whether they will be able to serve wine at state dinners, when the French President visits to talk about the economy. Why won’t he answer questions at a town hall about his mormonism?

Published in: on September 2, 2012 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Banking Settlement Is Baloney

Five Banks who were caught destroying the American Dream of home ownership are getting a slap on the wrist and wished well.  The  banking settlement reached between five major banks and some States Attorney Generals is pathetic pandering. It’s another example of how the 1% make out like bandits, even when they are caught red-handed.

Some state Attorney Generals refused to sign on, because it was far too weak.

In the settlement terms, the five biggest banks involved will pay approximately $2000 to everyone whose home went imto foreclosure when the banks had run amuck.  That won’t seem like much to the homeowners who lost huge multiples of that, to the same banks.

It’s as if someone got caught robbing your business of 50K and they got to keep $48,000 and as a penalty had to return only $2000 of what you lost.  Meanwhile your business goes under, and the banks make record profits stealing from you.

Or, it is as if a fat cat got drunk, and he crashed his BMW into your Volvo, crippling your daughter and then he had to pay 1% of her medical bills. However, since he could afford a  good lawyer, he can still keep their driver’s license, with a promise that next time maybe he wont drink so much when he drives.  Such a deterent.

Of course Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan, Ally, and Wells Fargo have also agreed to refinance some more loans, which might be a little to their disadvantage. However, the chances they will do that, are the same as their compliance on other matters to date- slim and none.  If they ignore the settlement, what will be the consequences? Who will know, other than the next homeowners who go under?

The state of California and Countrywide already had a much bigger settlement about the same illegal practices, but Bank of America, who acquired Countrywide, has ignored the previous agreement.  All 5 banks flagrantly ignored legislation aimed to fixing the problem when it was starting to boil over, and did they ever pay a penalty?

No!  So why would they worry about complying this time?  These settlements are merely a small fee of doing business- dirty business that is anti-American.

Remember none of these Robber Barons have done any jail time.  Robosigning is fraud and theft. It was at times like these (homes being lost to unscrupulous banks)  that Bonnie and Clyde captured the hearts of the American People, by robbing the banks that brought this country into the depression. 

Now the banks are at it again, teamed up with politicians from both parties. Where are the populists of both parties?  The little guy needs a voice, has anyone got one? Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

Newt Gingrich and John Edwards at the Top?

Rumor has it that if Newt Gingrich doesn’t win the 2012 nomination, he will be running as a third Party candidate, in a party tentatively labeled as the Party Party.

He plans to ask John Edwards to be his running mate, because John is the only politician who can make Newts affair look normal (both cheated often on their spouses while they were dying of cancer, but Gingrich can argue that at least he was willing to get a divorce).

Their motto would be “A line of credit at Tiffany’s for your mistress!” Newt plans to accept Romney’s 10K bet, as he hopes to take his campaign staff along on his next Greek Island cruise. He and Edwards also plan to co-author a book entitled “The Two America’s: Those Who Commit and Those Who Won’t.” A second book Cheating for Dummies, is being co-authored with Sarah Palin.

Newt, ever the idea man, seems to have no idea how sleezy he seems.

Making Practical Use of Psychology

I was interested to hear on NPR other day that 2 cognitive psychologists were able to pinpoint the location of a sunken Australian ship from WWII.

They used the techniques of the discipline to examine the stories — previously discounted — of the eye witness accounts of nearly 300 Germans who were rescued from a German ship involved in the same skirmish. The stories that were told by the eyewitnesses were even more fuzzy than most eye witness accounts.

The psychologists were able to pin point the spot that had the most in common with all the different versions, and came within less than 3 miles of where the ship Sydney actually was found.

While this may not be all that helpful in finding other ships (unless there were lots of eye witnesses), it might be useful in figuring out where our politicians really stand. We could map out all of Rick Perry’s or Barak Obama’s comments about social security and see where the truth is buried!

I am not meaning to imply these guys have different positions just because of faulty memories, but the distortions of memories that we all have may provide the statistical noise that allows us to find what was the essence of what they were saying.

Girls and Boys Preference for Pink

In a recent child development study, on gender-based preferences, there is new evidence that girls develop a preference for pink at about age 2, and while their prefernce may fade somewhat by age 5, the aversion to pink by boys stays steady  between ages 2 and 5.

The study, by Lobue and Deloache in the Brittish Journal of Developmental Psychology , casts doubt on recent speculation that the preference has to do with an innate preference for louder colors, like pink. Indeed if there was such an innate preference we would likely see it reflected sooner.

In the study, toddlers indicated their preference by a paired choice of otherwise identical items, differing only in color. While this choice seems to overlap with a developmental phase that includes verbalization of some ability to distinguish genders verbally, it is still a long way from showing that these changes reflect acculturation.

The study did not look at a preference for blue, a preference that has not been shown to be very robust.

An interesting approach would be to control for language development, and look at the children of parents who themselves have differing views of gender equality, to see if these results are independent of these two factors.