Social Security / Granny, get your gun!

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For two weeks I have been calling Social Security in order to change some information. The SHORTEST wait time I’ve encountered on the automated system is 40 minutes.

I therefore tried signing up on line, hoping that there might be a form available to do what I need to do: You guessed it! The online website is perpetually “not available at this time” – not even to register.

Ssa.gov has been rated 1.2 out of 5 points.

A few complaints from a website that tracks website problems:

Flushed local cache, etc., no help.

Unable to open ssa.gov or socialsecurity.gov in Chrome browser over Cox internet, over 12 hours now. Went down in the middle of a session last night.

Tried to log in using my user id and password. Takes me to the screen where I have to agree to terms and conditions. Check the agree box and hit next and it takes me back to a blank login screen.

cant get through any phone number

Our government at work under the current administration. Why am I not surprised? Similar to Affordable Care Act website?

I am trying to enter our w2s and it is not letting me sign in – is there a problem?

SSA logins are not working. On hold for a human for 40 minutes, still no answer. Is our government shut down? This is beyond ridiculous!!!

Need to get that site back up and keep it running. Need to fire some of them working on the system if they can’t get it back up in due time.

I’m an US citizen living in Australia and can’t access any social security web site for weeks.

Excessively long hold times to speak to someone. Then they disconnect when it is finally my turn. At the office, one interviewer says one thing then the next says the opposite. NOT HELPFUL. 800 number interviewers have proven to be useless, dissiminating incorrect directions and information. Constant letters of reduction of benefits, appeal to then be asked why I was there since there was no basis for the reduction only to be called back and told my checks would be reduced for years. If that confuses you, ur not alone. It does me too. Need a benefit letter. Told to get it online for their website to say to get it during normal business hours which for the past week have not exsisted since their system across the nation has been up and down.

a-aaa-angry-old-lady

social security office in xxx ny is reporting their systems are down

It’s 1:28 pm on Thursday February 4th, The system is down at the social security office xxx CA. Over 20 people cannot even be issued service numbers!

This isn’t user error; the website actually returns a dialog box saying “we’re sorry, we cannot process your request (to sign in) at this time, please try again later.”

Can’t log in again. I’ve been trying for several days.

Unable to log in, as well, for a full week. Calling SS…”someone will call back in 3 hrs and 34 mins!!! Trying several different computers, using both Chrome and Internet Explorer.

What is wrong with web site? Cannot get “my profile” to open. I get Error 500: javex.servlet.jsp.JspException Everytime I go to check profile no matter what electronic device I use. 1/26/16

I have not been able to get to my ss account or to my medicare application to check it out for the last 5 days or so

I can navigate, but I couldn’t access to login to my account for the last three days

Have not been able to access my Social Security account on their website for months. My login and password are correct, but will not let me log in. Tried to set up new account, claims I have a valid account already, and takes me back to login page. Every time it says I have already had 3 unsuccessful attempts to log in and try again in 24 hours. I get this if it’s 24 hours or 3 weeks between attempts. They are f#!ked up.

rkANaSS

Cannot get on website for two days as of now! https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do

I have not been able to go to ssa.gov in days either and i did all i could to fix the issue it is NOT at my end it times out when trying to go to the pay and yes i have cleared my history and used other browsers so it most def not on my end

I have been trying to get to ssa.gov/bso for 3 days. Geek Squad and my provider Cox Communications checked my computer and said the problem is not with my computer. I called the systems people for ssa/bso (1-888-772-2970) and they asked what browser i am using, the Operating system, and my user ID for Business Services Online, and my phone number. The person I talked to said other people were also having this problem.

I haven’t been able to access socialsecurity.gov/presciptionhelp for two days now. This is pathetic. Why is there no one to fix the issues with this d*mn site?

Try to change direct deposit and password and goes to error page. Tried several times….ugh!!

My wife and myself, can not log in to our online accounts.. Have tried on 3 different computers, using a different web broswer on each.. 11-26-15

I can get into my online account but can’t estimate retirement benefits based on future senerios. The site doesn’t recognize me!

I am having same problem, checking on status of payment. Oh well, BIG Government gone amuck, I guess too busy killing terrorist to fix what is broken at home.

I have been trying for two weeks to sign in to my account on the social security website. The page won’t come up for me to even enter my password!! I need to apply for medicare, and it won’t let me sign in. I can get to the main page, but not to the sign in.

Tried last night and again this morning. Keeps saying it will be working as of 8 a.m.

We’re sorry, but some of the Social Security online services will not be available until 8:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, October 25 due to a scheduled upgrade. The services affected are Internet appeals, applications for retirement, disability, Medicare, and spouse’s benefits, my Social Security accounts, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) mobile wage reporting. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We’re sorry, but the service you requested isn’t available right now. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have an urgent need, please call us Mondays through Fridays at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 AM and 7 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

Can not sign it. it tells me: An account can not be found, You may select the “Create Account” button below to create an account. ~ I tried to create a new one and it said I have an account and asked if i forgot my password. So i did the lost password link and it again said: An account can not be found, You may select the “Create Account” button below to create an account. Please Help!

the-night-of-the-hunter-gish-gun

Tells me can’t verify my information I forgot username and pass word

I can open the home page but can’t open anything on the home page. 😦

Trying to retire, after 2 questions get a session timed out repeatedly!

I get message– : Program Error We’re sorry but this program has terminated unexpectedly

I continually get an error message stating ” terminated unexpectedly” and requests that I “try again later.”

I also get message terminated unexpectedly before that said cannot process request at this time

i try to logon to ssa.gov and when i click on sign in it tells me im sorry but the program terminated unexpectedly

If one system down why not open the other one if the website was down open the phone lines for the weekend If the website was going to be down have the phone line system open at least

It keeps telling me (1) I do not have an account or (2) it cannot verify my information.

Per SSA.gov website – 8/23/2015 12:22 am est – “We’re sorry, but the Social Security online services will not be available from 1:00 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, August 22 through 5:00 a.m. (ET) on Monday, August 24, 2015 due to a scheduled upgrade. We apologize for any inconvenience.” 

ssa.gov does not permit me to login as of 3:15 PM EDT on Sat., 7/26/14.

I have entered user name on website several times, says I do not have an account. then when i try to set up an account it says i have one

Once again: unable to log on to the Social Security website. I’ve used both Google Chrome and Firefox, but the SSA website is 100% unresponsive. It’s always like this.

Sporadic. Using Firefox got in early today, in the middle of creating account. Crash. After several tries, finally got in again and successfully created account. Then hit hot link to make an online application and got “server not found”. Tried a few more times then waited until several hours later and couldn’t even get to the home page. Tried the hotlink in the email that confirmed I’d created an account. That got me to the home page, but any attempt to navigate to another portion of the site (including “sign in”) kicks back “server not found”.

Google Chrome, IE, Firefox Mozilla all says http://www.ssa.gov cant be found. cleared DNS cache, nothing is working. Talked to a couple IT guys. Seems that SS website has updated something and is not compatible with some updates on chrome, IE, firefox, ect.,

dog butt

Says error entering 10 digit primary number.. I put 10 numbers there

called soc sec.. said no trouble.. sent me to socialsecurity.gov and trying to apply for benefits said cannot find server. She told me it was my servers fault because she had no trouble getting on. I cannot get on with my phone or tablet..

Cannot log into my account. Cannot find to the secure server (https).

The whole site is up except when I try to log in. At that point, page not found.

Anything the government is involved or sponsoring is dysfunctional. People who work there are useless and not held accountable. Have you been in a DMV office or any government agency? The attitude of the staff and their lack of care is obvious.

ssa.gov is down right now and the wait time if you call in is 2 hours!

Been trying to login for weeks and weeks, using Safari, Chrome, Firefox, IE — nothing!

Once again, the Social Security website is down…

 

 

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Asperger Genes / Where’s the beef?

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 I’m not saying that Aspergers, or the tendency to display Asperger traits, is not inherited; my family history veers toward that suspicion, but neither have I read any evidence that specific genes have been  identified.
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Lots of “teaser” headlines skew the actual findings from “no results” to gene aggregations that are “maybe, sort of” present in 1-2% of Aspergers tested (if the subjects even ARE Asperger – such a subjective diagnosis to begin with) And yet  those results are claimed to have significance.
The problem with assertions that Aspergers is inherited and there are Asperger genes is that the erroneous information gets repeated over and over until the public (and the helping, caring, fixing industry itself) BELIEVE it’s established scientific fact. This is a common occurrence in all types of disseminated “knowledge.” 
What’s so difficult in saying, Gee, I think we need a different strategy – an open mind would help – in locating possible genetic links. 
_______________________________________________________________________

A Pooled Genome-Wide Association Study of Asperger Syndrome.

College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Note use of Autism Spectrum Conditions instead of Disorder

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, alongside the presence of unusually repetitive, restricted interests and stereotyped behaviour. Individuals with AS have no delay in cognitive and language development. It is a subset of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) (A new name?) which are highly heritable (is ‘highly’ a scientific quantifier? and where is the proof?) and has a population prevalence of approximately 1%. Few studies have investigated the genetic basis of AS. To address this gap in the literature, we performed a genome-wide pooled DNA association study to identify candidate loci in 612 individuals (294 cases and 318 controls) of Caucasian ancestry, using the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping version 6.0 array. We identified 11 SNPs that had a p-value below 1×10-5. These SNPs were independently genotyped in the same sample. Three of the SNPs (rs1268055, rs7785891 and rs2782448) were nominally significant, though none remained significant after Bonferroni correction. Two of our top (?) three SNPs (rs7785891 and rs2782448) lie in loci previously implicated in ASC. However, investigation of the three SNPs in the ASC genome-wide association dataset from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium indicated that these three SNPs were not significantly associated with ASC. The effect sizes of the variants were modest, indicating that our study was not sufficiently powered to identify causal variants with precision… At all!

What this last sentence “sounds like” to me is, “Our minds are made up that specific genes do cause ASC? ASD? We blame “the power” of our study for not finding the genes that we are convinced are responsible (then why do this type of pooling study?) so we’ll keep doing studies until “we create  some significance.” It’s an inherently “fudgy” statement of the type that makes an Asperger cringe. Are these “bad people”? Of course not: but their thinking is so confined by years of academic “brain washing” that they cannot move beyond their “magic word” concepts.

________________________________________________________________________

Author information

Free PMC Article (Whole lot of technique going on!) PLoS One. 2015 Jul 15;10(7):e0131202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131202. eCollection 2015.

 

Letting ET Know that the “sapiens” of Earth are White

 

The Plaque

Voyager Plaque

It’s amazing how many incidences of “inattentional blindness” (or arrogance) one can find in important places. Once again, we see that even cuddly-wuddly Carl Sagan and colleagues mindlessly represented “the people of Earth” as White People! (AKA Masters of the Universe)

This was 1972, and plaques were being designed for the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, which would eventually leave the solar system. Since an ET civilization might intercept the craft, the opportunity to attach information about the crafts’ origin was seized upon.  The question of whether or not to depict female genitals was an issue; the compromise was “no.” Later historians argue that NASA and the Presidential Science Advisor would probably have okayed “a slit” in the correct location, but Sagan believed that the decision-making hierarchy was too Puritanical to go that far.

This represents something that has bothered me my entire life: Men talk like they’re big, bad and brave, but then knuckle under to the “Old Male” hierarchy. How embarrassing.

imagesW971YODE imagesQ0VBJ16W___________________________Factually, insects dominate Earth, not humans: “Ants control every millimeter of the Earth’s surface wherever they live, which is most places,” says Mark Moffett, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, US, who in 2011 published a book called Adventures Among Ants. “These territories are basically micromanaged by ants, altering or removing things even at a microbial level to their benefit.”

So why NO ANTS on the Voyager plaques?

 

Recent Anxiety / Visual Thinking

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Recently the clinic where I go for prescriptions and some therapy noticed that my 5-year review was last scheduled 10-years ago. So I went in for a two-hour “dredging up” of my entire life. It was a good thing too: the person who interviewed me last time was a fundamentalist Christian who got almost everything wrong. Not a good listener, plus she tended to reinterpret whatever one said as a plea to be “born again.”

The interview went well – a therapist to whom I can say anything and not feel “weird.” He knows that I have no memory for dates, but can rattle off vivid descriptions from visual memory. He likes this because the other Aspergers clients he has won’t say much at all. (Probably males)

Not surprising to me is that often after a therapy session in which I talk about difficult events, anxiety sets in; not right away, but hours to days afterward. After many such occurrences I traced this phenomenon to visual memory. Words are different: I’m quite emotionally detached when talking. Words are tools, not “reality” – that is, they have no meaning per se. Images – that’s whole different experience.

I think this is related to PTSD. It seems to be sensory reminders that trigger the horrible experiences of those who suffer with it. Extreme trauma – sights, sounds smells are relived in the immediate present.

As far as Asperger anxiety, for me it’s the images that drag me back, out of the present and into the visual record of sights (and smells and noises sometimes). I’ve posted about this before: how visual memory is so real; detailed, dense and difficult to change. Timeless. This is a great benefit if one is an artist or a writer.

The tactic I have learned to use is to bring my focus into the present. Even doing mundane things like chores, sorting photos or doing yard work is effective. Or doing something visual and physical such as taking a walk in the countryside. Anything that reminds me that I’m “here” not “there.” Managing one’s experience of time is possible, but It took me a very long time to grasp the notion that it’s possible.

I used to imagine that someday anxiety would not be part of my life, but like many unpleasant aspects of life, I had to accept that it’s part of who I am.

 

 

 

 

More / How Psychology Destroyed American Public Schools

Humans who are alive today learn in the same ways that our ancestors learned. A person who has knowledge or skill imparts that specific knowledge or skill to a child or other person, through words, pictures or demonstration. One person who can read and write can teach another person to read and write. “In person” teaching imparts the secure feeling in the child that someone cares enough to prepare him or her for life. One would expect “social” people to know this. Children copy the behavior of the older children or adults around them, which is why decent behavior is so important.

Crazy Diagrams: This is not how children learn. This is insane indulgence in erecting abstract conceptual schemes, and then fighting over whose control-freak theory is to dominate education.

Cognitive

Cognitive

Developmental

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Global War is a Social Activity / The West profits from human misery

 (click for full story and related articles)

Saudi Arabia leads surge in arms imports by Middle East states

 / Monday 22 February 2016  / THE GUARDIAN

Saudi imports up 275% in five years, with UK firms estimated to have sold £5.6bn of arms to the country, while imports by European states down 41%.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

My comment: Given Britain’s history of ugly colonial exploitation of the Middle East in the Good ol’ Days of the Empire, can we be surprised that the UK is raking in profits by fueling the destruction of the region today? But – they must compete with U.S. arms makers and brokers who also profit due to the intentional destruction (blunder or stupidity?) of key Middle Eastern governments sacrificed to American “foreign policy” over previous decades. (The Cold War never ended.)

The arms race is the core story of western policy today. The profitable consequences of calculated “regional Armageddon” have been made: Muslims are a threat to the West. Let Sunni and Shia slaughter each other. Problem solved: profits made. The male mind in a perpetual cycle of psychopathic rage is what drives human “progress.” Words of peace, compromise and cooperation are mere speed bumps on the road to total war.

He who dies with the most profit wins. The rest of humanity pays for this gruesome game one way or the other.

Social behavior. What an asset.

SunniShia1206

The game board: Disposable human pawns in yet another religious war. Remember Europe’s religious wars –  Roman Catholic versus Protestant? NO? Look it up. GRAPHIC CIARAN HUGHES.

 The U.S was founded on religious liberty and separation of church and state, and yet we promote and profit from religious wars in other nations. Shame on us.

KISS / Good advice rejected by Neurotypicals

You can’t solve a problem using the thought processes that created it.

KISS

“Keep it Simple Stupid” was a popular comment decades ago.

KISS is a handy reminder that the more complex a society is, the less effective complicated policies and infrastructures become. The more desks a pile of paperwork has to land on, the more quickly the drive to complete the chain of procedures will slow to a standstill. The more complex, detailed and dictatorial the rules, the more quickly the stream will be sidelined by the need for official intervention and interpretation, or bureaucratic empire building: a minor tyrant will terrorize his or her staff with “new” requirements and procedures that strip employees of any independence to do their job effectively rerouting decisions through their office. Or an angry employee will rebel against a suffocating control freak system and sabotage the flow of work. Built in functionaries will fulfill one task: rewriting and updating protocols to ensure that bureaucrats can’t lose their jobs.

We all know that this breakdown exists in corporations and across medieval government systems, which are neither democratic nor modern. The current fight in the “candidate wars” over Who is Progressive? sums up how antiquated American government (and thinking) is. We have perfectly adaptable founding directives: how much more flexible could “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” be? But U.S. history demonstrates that downgrading and limiting this generous, wide open statement has been far more popular than applying it to “all men” or women, children and various “lesser people.” Indeed, the Supreme Court recently extended this “blessing” to corporate and other wealthy entities: in case no one has noticed, this change has drastically reduced the opportunity for “people” to pursue LL&PH.

Government has fancied itself the arbiter and grantor of just who gets to experience “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We might think that the number of people who benefit from “noblesse oblige” on the part of ruling white males has expanded since xxx but in effect “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” recedes into fantasyland a bit more each day. The slaves were “freed” (sort of) and women get to vote, work outside the home and keep their pay, and to be out from under paternal control. Gee thanks for “giving me” my rights. But in the interim so many of the options to LL&PH have been legislated or sold – controlled by government law and regulation that stifles independent action and/or turned over to corporations through tax exemption, lack of regulation and bizarre economic policy that favors the already wealthy and pushes “average” people into more extreme financial stress. LL&PH has become as dead as democracy. Of what value is an individual vote today? Has anyone noticed the inferior gang of Dodos presented as candidates?

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Sanity is always a hidden dilemma in politics: if we expose YOUR dangerous SOB, then you’ll expose OUR dangerous SOB. Goldwater: look him up.

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What’s the Difference Between a Liberal and a Progressive?

by Davis Sirota, Huffington post. Full post: (once again the url does not link to the correct page, but displays a photo of a bull dog.)

“I often get asked what the difference between a “liberal” and a “progressive” is. The questions from the media on this subject are always something like, “Isn’t ‘progressive’ just another name for ‘liberal’ that people want to use because ‘liberal’ has become a bad word?” (Today “progressive:” does serve to hide Hillary Clinton’s disastrous liberal focus and Bernie Sander’s Socialist orientation – neither archaic system is suited to govern a 21st C. global empire, which is what the U.S. aspires to.)

“The answer, in my opinion, is no – there is a fundamental difference when it comes to core economic issues. It seems to me that traditional “liberals” in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A “progressive” are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules.”

“A liberal policy towards prescription drugs is one that would throw a lot of taxpayer cash at the pharmaceutical industry to get them to provide medicine to the poor; A progressive prescription drug policy would be one that centered around price regulations and bulk purchasing in order to force down the actual cost of medicine in America (much of which was originally developed with taxpayer R&D money).”

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A “real conservative” is easy to define.

Real Conservatives are white upper class males who claim to be strict constitutionalists. What they actually mean by this is that the Founding Fathers were the model for those who are mandated to “run the country” – obviously white males. As the percentage of American citizens belonging to their kind steadily decreases toward extinction, they become ever more frantic, indignant and befuddled that the old school domination of the United States by “boneheaded” white males is in danger. By boneheaded I mean that no new ideas can penetrate the privileged status that has built their impenetrable skulls.

This type is so closed off from political reality on the ground, that they continue to believe that the “peasants” will regain their subservient social deference and sensibly elect one of them: currently, Jeb Bush. These guys rank themselves at “the top” intellectually, but they cannot grasp simple numbers. There aren’t enough of their kind remaining to elect a county dog catcher. The death of Antonin Scalia, through whom they controlled policy and law favorable to their domination – via the back door of the Supreme Court – is a true catastrophe for them.

At this crucial intersection of American obsession with global power, the U.S. refuses to recognize that we are no longer an agrarian homespun republic, but an over-reaching and bumbling empire. An empire without a modern government, and with political leadership stuck in 18th, 19th, and 20th Century ideologies. Politicians and citizens are consumed by social fantasies of replicating a non-existent democratic past.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is a truly revolutionary idea in human governance. It was never comprehensive – but has always been thwarted by social civil wars.

Old Age, Wisdom and Peace / But When?

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It’s a cliché. Old age may be tough, but one day in the American Myth, you wake up a senior citizen, gaze at a lovely sunrise, and memories drawn from the days of one’s life produce a flood of golden wisdom; a permanent feeling of peace and wellbeing closes out the story. Life was a success. Now where do I go? Uh-oh.

Only in rich nations is this final and fatal greeting card sold. When did “the old ones” ever expect to “get out of life free.” The warmest and most dutiful younger generation cannot fathom that life ends. Adolescents are notoriously immortal. Human groups are lucky if a certain number of adolescents survive manic rebelliousness and the consequences of kids seeking danger; just enough may survive to keep the whole reproductive and “social thing” going.be_nice_to_your_kids_funny_bumper_sticker-r7d0c2e10f4454992bc5b252c173769a9_v9wht_8byvr_324

Often the “respect and duty” scenario that requires adult children to provide for aged parents is not voluntary, but enforced by strict punishment for failing to do so. Aged parents may indeed spend a lifetime “beating up” on their children to ensure obedience to this obligation. Even the most caring adult children may resent having to spend precious money on old people who soon will die anyway, when they see more sense in investing in their children. And, let’s face it, not all children like their parents and vice versa. Duty must bridge that divide and there are lucky families that have abundant love and money with which to weather the final chapter.

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I’m so sick of this social tyranny!

Wisdom. What is it? A lot of clichés about how to live, how to cope, how to resign oneself to hard times; how to emerge from tragedy. Somewhere in my middle years, after surviving a boatload of complications from being bipolar and a concealed Asperger, I realized that Life is Tragic; who came up with this notion that it’s one long vacation in Disneyland with a lifelong shopping trip thrown in? Well – Walt Disney, of course.  And this “animated movie” version of existence was on offer to white suburban children, but not our parents who had grown up during the Great Depression and WWII. They genuinely wanted “the best” for us.

Even as kids we knew that Peter Pan was "gay" but adults had to lie.

Even as kids we knew that Peter Pan was “gay” but adults had to lie.

The post-war myth that was concocted for children, for my generation, denied tragedy, although it was all around us. Isolated in suburbia, we lived the myth of prosperity: nice white people enjoying abundant manufactured food and luxuries. A false story that to this day is pushed by American commerce. Life remains tragic: “He who dies with the most toys wins” is not a mature realization of life.

I’m not sure that the myth of old age, wisdom and peace endures anywhere today except in TV commercials, and that’s not the advertised message at all. It’s more like, “Don’t you want to put a good front? Look and feel young? Play tennis, make cookies with grandkids, wave at your neighbors? New drug, new drug, new drug: artificial teeth, Botox, a jolt of something to keep your sex life pornographic, a boob and face lift; acid-etched wrinkles, a hideous wig or weave, braces for your back and knees.  Colostomy bags.” NO ONE WILL KNOW THAT YOU’RE OLD. Really? This is what I slugged and slogged all these years to achieve?

I'm so sick of this crap!

I’m so sick of this crap!

Not a chance. Life is a tragedy from the get-go for most humans, and just because we live in the Good Ol’ U.S.A. it doesn’t follow that we can buy our way out of tragedy, but we try exceedingly hard to hide it.

'My dad just wants to be treated with a little respect and dignity in his old age.' 'Don't worry. We're used to dealing with troublemakers at this home.'

 

 

 

Vatican Hypocrisy / Hey Francis! Tear down that wall!

How rich is the Vatican? So wealthy it can stumble across millions of euros just ‘tucked away’

vatican-bank wealth-francis Church-says-money-is-evil untitledpope pope-francis-attacks-capitalism-demands-world-share-wealth-socialsim-now-the-end-begins rich-pope 7f0455518015b1dea2e8bbd9f6a014d2dd651acd 777px-Vatican_City_map_EN

POPE announces Vatican will tear down its impenetrable fortress wall and will grant citizenship to anyone who wants citizenship. 

“I invite all Muslim refugees to come on in and share the wealth.” -Pope Francis

  • Shane Croucher

    By  International Business News December 5, 2014

    Such is the vastness of the Vatican’s wealth that it can find hundreds of millions of euros just “tucked away” off of its central balance sheet, according to the cardinal responsible for the Holy See’s finances.

    “In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet.”

    So exactly how much is the Vatican worth? It’s hard to say. The Catholic Church has a history of opacity about its finances, something Pell says is slowly changing.

  • And much of its assets are near impossible to value because they will never be sold off, such as its gold-laden palatial church property and priceless works of art by the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael. It also owns a global network of churches and religious buildings, many of which contain precious historical treasures, serving the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.What we do know is that Vatican Bank, officially titled the Institute for the Works of Religion, manages €5.9bn ($7.3bn, £4.64bn) of assets on behalf of its 17,400 customers. And it manages €700m of equity which it owns. Another titbit to emerge is that it keeps gold reserves worth over $20m with the US Federal Reserve.

    The bank has been caught up in a number of scandals in the past, including the funding of priests caught up in sex abuse allegations and of money laundering for the Mafia and former Nazis.

    This is why there are moves within parts of the church to make it more like a normal bank and open up its accounts for greater scrutiny. Protections for religious organisations mean it does not currently face the same transparency obligations as other financial institutions.

    According to Georgetown University, the average weekly donation of an American Catholic to the church is $10. There are 85 million in North America, meaning each week the Catholic Church pulls in $850m through donations from individual Catholics.

    Vatican City itself has a rich economy relative to its size. Though data is scarce, and the exact GDP figure is unknown, the CIA estimates Vatican City’s 2011 revenue to be $308m. It only has a population of 800 people, meaning its nominal GDP per capita is $365,796 – making it the richest state on the planet by this measure.

Let’s Revisit Alexithymia / Predatory Psychology

J Autism Dev Disord. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2007 Nov 23.
Published in final edited form as: J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 May; 36(4): 573–576.

The Overlap Between Alexithymia and Asperger’s Syndrome

 

Michael Fitzgerald and Mark A. Bellgrove Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland E-mail: ei.loi@iztif;

The term was coined by Sifneos (1972) but descriptions of conditions with alexithymic features predate this work. Aetiological theories of the disorder have variously emphasised genetic, neuropshysiological, developmental and psychodynamic factors (Krystal, 1998; Parker & Taylor, 1997). Like Alexithymia, Asperger’s disorder is also characterised by core disturbances in speech and language and social relationships. (Language defects don’t characterize Aspergers) Here we aim to demonstrate that there is considerable overlap in the clinical presentation of persons with a diagnosis of Alexithymia and Asperger’s syndrome.

As John Nemiah (1996) points out there is now a large literature devoted to the construction of standardised Alexithymia rating scales and their applications to clinical research. Alexithymia may now be measured as a valid and reliable clinical phenomenon (Nemiah, 1996, 1977). It is interesting that the description of Alexithymia focusing on aetiology and treatment all are similar to the literature on Asperger’s syndrome. Taylor, Bagby and Parker (1997) describes persons with Alexithymia as having difficulty in describing feelings and having difficulty in distinguishing between feelings and bodily sensations. He also points out their difficulties with affective self-regulation. Thus sufferers may have difficulties in the appraisal and expression of emotion and in the ability to use feelings to guide behaviour. Indeed Taylor et al. (1997) state that persons with Alexithymia “know very little about their own feelings and, in most instances, are unable to link them with memories, fantasies, and higher level effects, or specific situations” (page 29). It is argued that the inability of the patient with Alexithymia to express and modulate feelings, may lead to a discharge of tension through, for example, impulsive acts or compulsive behaviour such as binge eating (Bagby & Taylor, 1997). (Is this not also characteristic of “normal” people, or are all those obese, drunk and addicted  Americans Asperger?)

COGNITIVE PROBLEMS IN ALEXITHYMIA/ASPERGER’S SYNDROME

Taylor et al. (1997) notes that individuals with Alexithymia have problems with introspection, (a lie) poor capacity for fantasy, and that they show a stimulus bound, externally orientated cognitive style. (Is there something with this?) Indeed James Grotstein (in Disorders of Affect Regulation by Taylor et al., 1997) describes Alexithymia as “an affect processing disorder that interrupts or seriously interferes with the organisms self-organising and reorganising processes” (page 12). This means that they have a diffuse sense of self. (And yet we’re accused of being pre-occupied with self, selfish, self-absorbed) Indeed there is an earlier disorder called Pensee Operatoire (operative thinking) described by Marty and de M’Uzan (1963) where there is a similar utilitarian thinking style to that seen in Alexithymia and indeed Asperger’s disorder. Krystal (1998) has described patients with La Pensee Operatoire as showing a “dull, mundane, unimaginative, utilitarian, and sequential recitation of concrete facts” (page 246). NOW THIS IS ABUSIVE! We are not OBJECTS:  We are human beings. He also notes that these patients show a cognitive style where there is an “absence of the human quality (which) contributes to making these patients thoughts “operative” or thing orientated” (page 247). Such patients may often be described as dull, colourless and boring even when they are intellectual and clever (Taylor, 1984). (No one has ever called me boring) Of course many persons with Alexithymia or Asperger’s syndrome or La Pensee Operatoire can operate very well or indeed at superior levels in their work as mathematicians, engineers, etc. (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, & Clubley, 2001).

You know, there are some arrogant s—heads in the world and they all seem to be psychologists.

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PROBLEMS WITH SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS IN ALEXITHYMIA AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME

Taylor et al. (1997) noted that Alexithymic individuals are “unable to identify accurately their own subjective feelings, verbally communicate emotional distress to other people very poorly, thereby failing to enlist others as sources of aid and comfort” (This assumes that “others” are capable of comforting an Asperger – the common reaction is to bully us.) 

In addition they note that persons with Alexithymia have a preference to be alone or avoid people altogether. Krystal (1998) notes their tendency “to be like a rock or an island” and that “the degree of detachment in relation to others and their attitudes towards themselves is sometimes so flat that they feel psychotic to the interviewer and give the impression that the patient has deadened his object and self-representations or at least sapped it of all humanity” (page 246). Wing’s (1981) criteria for Asperger’s disorder (Asperger, 1944) emphasise a lack of normal interest and pleasure in people around them and a significant reduction in shared interests. Thus difficulties with social relationships are common to both Alexithymia and Asperger’s disorder. Krystal notes the tendency of Alexithymic individuals to treat people as if they were machines. McDougall (1984) notes their great fear in intimacy situations and the problems experienced by these individuals in understanding social groups. Persons with Asperger’s syndrome have similar problems. They have problems with social “know-how,” have empathy deficit (As if the writers display ANY EMPATHY AT ALL) and are often very over controlling, and have difficulty reading the non-verbal cues other people demonstrate in social interaction.

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SPEECH AND LANGUAGE PROBLEMS IN ALEXITHYMIA AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME

Taylor et al. (1997) describes persons with Alexithymia as showing speech which is deficient in nuance, meagre in the use of metaphor and lacking affect, which of course is typical of the kind of speech that persons with Asperger’s syndrome produce. He also notes that their language is characterised by flatness, banality and is fact based. Krystal (1998) notes that “the associations of these patients are characterised by an almost complete absence of thoughts relating to inner attitudes, feelings, wishes, or drives; and a recounting in great and often boring detail, of events in their external environment and their own actions in this setting” (page 248) and they also show a decreased use of the pronoun I. They show clear impairment in symbolic function. Indeed McDougall (1978) observed that Alexithymic patients use speech as “an act rather than a symbolic means of communication of ideas or affect” (page 45). Krystal noted that these patients with Alexithymia showed a “poorness and flatness of the contents of their communication” (page 246) as shown by their prosody and their monotone tone of voice. They can learn approximately socially appropriate responses but these are often excessively formal but these expressions lack nuance, lack proper prosody, are often very formal, and pedantic. They strike the listener as being somewhat unusual or overly formal. Speech and prosodic abnormalities are widely reported in autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s disorder (Shriberg et al., 2001). Such abnormalities are perhaps indicative of dysfunction to the right hemisphere (see below) in these disorders. Krystal also observes that patients with Alexithymia “give a boring recital of information with a mentality approaching that of mental retardation” (page 272). This description is again very similar to Asperger’s syndrome. In our own clinical experience (M.F.) we have noted that it is not uncommon to under estimate the IQ of some persons with Asperger’s syndrome. Indeed, the opposite can also happen because of the great knowledge apparent in a single narrow area.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS, mean, ignorant, inhuman crap; but Asperger “subhumans” have no feelings, so feel free to deny us any reason to live.

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NON-VERBAL BEHAVIOUR IN ALEXITHYMIA AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME

Bagby and Taylor (1997) note “a somewhat stiff wooden posture, and a prosody of facial emotional expression” (page 29) in patients with Alexithymia. They also note their problems in identifying non-verbal facial emotion. Difficulties in the perception of facial emotions expressed by others is a cardinal feature of autism spectrum disorders. Damasio and Maurer (1978) suggested that autism is accompanied by dysfunction within mesolimbic brain circuits, including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, medial temporal lobe, striatum and limbic thalamus. Damage to these areas causes deficits in social and emotional functioning, stereotype and obsessionality that also characterise autism spectrum disorders. Indeed, functional imaging studies have reported aberrant activation patterns within the above defined circuitry when autistic individuals perform tasks requiring the recognition of facial expressions (e.g., happy, sad, disgust) (Ogai et al., 2003).

It appears from this discussion that there is considerable overlap between Asperger’s syndrome and Alexithymia with social interactional difficulties, unusual language, problems in non-verbal behaviour, problems with affective interaction, and a rather factual based thinking style. In addition Alexithymia like Asperger’s syndrome, presents as a dimensional, rather than categorical, construct, suggesting multiple aetiological routes.

AETIOLOGY OF ALEXITHYMIA

At an aetiological level there also appears to be overlap between Alexithymia and Asperger’s disorder, in terms of the brain circuitry that is thought dysfunctional in these conditions. One source of information regarding the cerebral localisation of affective function has come from patients who have undergone commissurectomies. Hoppe and Bogen (1977) reported on 12 commissurectomized patients who experienced, among other difficulties, Alexithymia. Cerebral commissurectomies also result in impoverishment of dreams and fantasies, and difficulty in describing feelings, as well as a pronounced operative style of thinking. A similar clinical presentation has also been reported in a case of agenesis of the corpus callousm. Hoppe and Bogen (1977) has postulated that Alexithymia may involve interruption of the normal flow of information between the two hemispheres. An alternative hypothesis to a deficit in inter-hemispheric communication is that the right-hemisphere itself may be dysfunctional in Alexithymia (Krystal, 1998). Supporting evidence for this proposition comes from lesion studies that demonstrate abnormal prosody in right-hemisphere patients. Prosodic abnormalities are a feature of both Alexithymia and Asperger’s disorder. The right-hemisphere may also be specialised for processing the whole, rather than the detail. Patients with right-hemisphere lesions show deficits on visual-perceptual tasks where they are required to process the whole at the expense of the detail (Robertson, Lamb, & Knight, 1988). Influential cognitive theories of autism, such as weak central coherence, propose an alternative information processing style such that affected individuals show detailed-focussed processing that occurs at the expense of the global form (Happe, 1999). This processing style may extend to the semantic domain where for example, people with autism spectrum disorder do not show the usual advantage for recalling sentences better than unconnected word strings (Hermelin & O’Connor, 1967). It would be interesting to investigate whether individuals with Alexithymia demonstrate similar behavioural profiles in verbal and perceptual tasks. Persons with Alexithymia have greater tendencies to alcohol abuse, “psychosomatic complaints,” and have a tendency to social conformity. Alexithymia has been seen as a response to chronic illness. Clearly however differences exist between aetiological accounts of the disorders. Whereas Asperger’s syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder, Alexithymia may be more of a personality trait.

Despite the apparent overlap between the disorders, aetiological differences may exist. One point of difference may lie in the genetic and neurochemical underpinnings of the disorders. Although not conclusive, a number of studies have indicated an association between polymorphisms of the Serotonin transporter gene and Autism Spectrum Disorder (Cook et al., 1997; Kim et al., 2002). By contrast associations with polymorphisms of the dopamine system have not been reliably identified in Autism Spectrum Disorders. In a recent study Ham et al. (2005) reported an association between the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val 108/158Met polymorphism and Alexithymia. Interestingly, an association was reported with the Valine allele which is associated with lowered prefrontal dopamine tone and is also thought to confer a small amount of risk to schizophrenia (Egan et al., 2001). In contrast to Autism Spectrum Disorders, Ham et al. did not report any association between Alexithymia and polymorphisms of the Serotonin transporter gene. These very preliminary findings suggest a greater involvement of the dopamine system in Alexithymia and the Serotonin system in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Other points of difference between the disorder lie in the greater tendency on the part of persons with Alexithymia, relative to those with Asperger’s disorder, to alcohol abuse, psychosomatic complaints and social conformity. Alexithymia has also been seen as a response to chronic illness.

TREATMENT OF ALEXITHYMIA

Not surprisingly, persons with Alexithymia, like persons with Asperger’s syndrome, show a very poor response to psychoanalytic psychotherapy (Freyberger, 1977; McDougall, 1982). Alexithymic patients need a more cognitive behavioural therapy like patients with Asperger’s syndrome. Krystal (1998) described patients with Alexithymia as being “antianalytic.” The same could be said of persons with Asperger’s syndrome. Formal psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an impediment with patients with Alexithymia (Task Force Report of American Psychiatric Association, 1989) and Asperger’s syndrome (Klin & Volkmar, 2000a, b).

Ego psychological approaches which is similar to cognitive behavioural therapy are helpful. These work better with patients who have problems working with feelings and phantasies.

It is important that psychiatrists making a diagnosis of Alexithymia consider Asperger’s syndrome in the differential diagnosis.