THE PUBLIC EYE: 2000-2019: What Hath the Internet Wrought?

Bob Burnett
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:39:00 PM

While I usually write about politics, I'm also interested in technology. And, of course, technology is political. So here are a few observations about the social and political impact of the Internet in the first twenty years of the twenty-first century.

THE INTERNET turned fifty in October. The modern era of the Internet began in 1989 with the invention of the "world-wide web" and the first web browser. The past twenty years has seen rapid deployment of the Internet throughout the world -- although in some locations, such as central Africa, it's difficult to read your email without a satellite phone.

The vast expansion of the Internet has impacted all aspects of our lives, from our daily personal rituals to the conduct of our businesses. It's been facilitated by the develpment of high-speed telecommunication networks, LTE (long-term evolution) -- mostly 4G in the U.S. And by the advent of the PDA (personal data assistant) and e-commerce (electronic commerce). -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Antipsychotics: A Chemical Straitjacket?

Jack Bragen
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 01:12:00 PM

Although I've taken antipsychotics for more than thirty years, and I swear by them, they are not an ideal treatment. This is because an ideal treatment for a psychotic disorder hasn't yet been discovered. We have medications, counseling, and, to augment these, training oneself to recognize delusional thoughts. None of these three alone are enough; we need all three.

Medication causes a lot of problems for the patient. Antipsychotics depress the central nervous system. They restrict the flow of information in the brain. Everything is affected by this. It is harder to brush your teeth. It is harder to get up out of your chair and do calisthenics. Any attempt at connecting with, and/or exerting the body is harder.

Antipsychotics make it harder to concentrate. They make it harder to read. They make it nearly impossible to work competitively at most jobs. They can make life a miserable experience.

Antipsychotics are like a chemical straitjacket.

How many readers have been in a straitjacket? I have a vague memory of being in one once. I've also been "four-pointed." This is where you are tied to a restraint table with a leather strap at each limb. When four-pointed, California state law mandates that staff must check on you every fifteen minutes to make sure you are still breathing.

(Anything that resembles restraint to me triggers a lot of anger. This is because mental health treatment has given me PTSD. If my path is blocked, especially when I have no exit route from a space, I become very upset. This has happened to me in my kitchen.)

The alternative? There is none. Trying to go without medication doesn't work. I tried that several times, and each time, I barely got through it alive and intact. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Trump versus Iran Over Assassination of General Soleimang

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:45:00 PM

The assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Suleimani, Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, must be considered violations of international and humanitarian law.

Assassinations are unlawful under an executive order signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 (which updated those by Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter). Because the ban on assassinations is set forth in an executive order rather than an act of Congress, numerous methods circumventing the prohibition exist. -more-