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  November
9, 2013
Crisis: Rusbridger, Britain, Hillary, Health, Dutch very INegalitarian
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone.











Sections
Introduction
  1. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to be questioned by
       MPs over NSA leaks

  2. UK objects to attempt by Council of Europe to examine
       online spying

  3. The Dynastic Hillary Bandwagon – Bad for America
  4. Health Action International: Access to Trial Data
  5. The very INegalitarian Dutch
About ME/CFS

Introduction

It is Saturday today, and there wasn't much about the crisis. But I did find three files that are definitely about it, at least if you consider Hillary Clinton's prospect to be the next president of the U.S. as part of the crisis, which indeed I do, because the Clintons have sold out the left and the Democrats in major and new ways, just for their own benefits and careers.

The other two items are about health, and the need for scientists to get the full access to trial data, which they have lost to the managers of Big Pharma for quite a while now (roughly since the 1980ies), and about how INegalitarian the Dutch are: in fact considerably more so than most European nations.

1. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to be questioned by MPs over NSA leaks

To start with, an item on Alan Rusbridher in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The editor of the Guardian is to be questioned by MPs about his newspaper's publication of intelligence files leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Alan Rusbridger is to appear before the House of Commons home affairs select committee next month following warnings from British security chiefs that the revelations were damaging national security.

It seems to me a sick procedure, that is probably due to a couple of Tory MPs who would absolutely love to see a British police state, because this makes government so much easier:

Tories Julian Smith and Stephen Phillips called on Rusbridger to clarify whether he had "acted on every security concern raised by government" over the news stories.

They also asked him to confirm whether anyone at the Guardian had "directed, permitted, facilitated or acquiesced" in the transfer of the files obtained by Snowden to anyone in the US or elsewhere.

Firstly, no editor has any duty to act on "every security concern raised by government": The government very well may be - and in this case is - quite mistaken.

Secondly, I would decline to answer whether anyone had "directed, permitted, facilitated or acquiesced" any files: this is not theirs to know, and indeed also not to ask.

2. UK objects to attempt by Council of Europe to examine online spying

Next, an article by Nicholas Watt in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Britain is delaying the publication of a declaration on internet freedom by the 47 members of Europe's human rights watchdog after objecting to a probe into the gathering of "vast amounts of electronic data" by intelligence agencies.

In a sign of Britain's determination to protect the work of GCHQ and other intelligence agencies, the government is declining to endorse a political declaration by the Council of Europe that could limit the ability of "security agencies" to gather electronic data.

Although this is by the (or a) "chief political correspondent", I object to confusing the desires of the Tory government with Britain: At most Britain's present government seems the correct phrase, though I agree it is longer.

In fact, this is about the following:

The document, entitled Political Declaration and Resolutions, says that the Council of Europe should examine whether the gathering of data by intelligence agencies is consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The disputed section of the draft declaration says: "We invited the Council of Europe to ... examine closely, in the light of the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, the question of gathering vast amounts of electronic communications data on individuals by security agencies, the deliberate building of flaws and 'backdoors' in the security system of the internet or otherwise deliberately weakening encryption systems."

And it seems to me that the reason the British government protests against this is because they are perfectly happy to become a police state. This they may think and want, and I agree it makes governing very easy, but it is utterly stupid to object to even examining "the gathering of data by intelligence agencies".

Indeed, the director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabati, quite correctly said
"Bad enough that our authorities engaged in blanket surveillance
without democratic mandate or legal authority; worse still when they attacked the ethical journalists who exposed that scandal. Now they delay the Council of Europe's action on the issue and risk turning Britain into an arrogant bad boy on the world stage. The nation that led the establishment of post-war European human rights now jeers at the Strasbourg court and tolerates no scrutiny for spooks or privacy for ordinary people. Churchill must be spinning in his grave."
Quite so!

3. The Dynastic Hillary Bandwagon – Bad for America

Next, an article by Ralph Nader about Hillary Clinton:
This starts as follows:

The Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 bandwagon has started very early and with a purpose. The idea is to get large numbers of endorsers, so that no Democratic Primary competitors dare make a move. These supporters include Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), financier George Soros and Ready for Hillary, a super PAC mobilizing with great specificity (already in Iowa).

Given this early bird launch, it is important to raise the pressing question:

Does the future of our country benefit from Hillary, another Clinton, another politician almost indistinguishable from Barack Obama’s militaristic, corporatist policies garnished by big money donors from Wall Street and other plutocratic canyons?

I think the question is fair, and indeed my answer is no. Also, Nader gives quite a few reasons for his saying no. Then again, I would not be amazed if she will be  the next president of the U.S., not because she is really fit for the job, but because she can get the most money to win the fight.

4. Health Action International: Access to Trial Data

Finally, an item that does and does not belong to the crisis, namely an article by Leah Cohan and Ancella los Santos, on David Healy's blog:
I think it does belong to the crisis, especially because of the following:

Clinical trial data must be made publicly available for three main reasons:

  1. Firstly, to strengthen the protection of public health; many adverse drug reactions (ADRs), including deaths, could have been avoided, had the public known about the undisclosed effects of the medicines that caused them harm. In addition, open access to trial data can facilitate independent re-analyses of medicines’ claimed efficacy and comparison between therapies.
  2. Secondly, disclosure of CT data will enhance the cost-effectiveness of public health expenditure, by ensuring that resources are allocated to medicines which have an assured safety and efficacy profile.
  3. Lastly, CT data should be made available for ethical reasons. If trial data is not publicly available, it would be an affront to the large number of participants that are exposed to safety risks when participating in a trial. According to the Declaration of Helsinki, authors have the duty to publish the results of their studies – whether positive, negative or inconclusive.
For too long, unfounded concerns over commercial confidentiality have prevented public access to full clinical trial data.
And none of these three points is the case now, for at least twenty years also - while only a few medical doctors, that include David Healy and 1 boring old man, have protested.

Finally, here is my reason why this belongs to the crisis: Because it is yet another example of how the rich and powerful have broken previously existing good or decent standards only to increase their own riches and power
.

5. The very INegalitarian Dutch

This last item is about Holland and about Dutch pretensions, in particular the lie that I have heard, and reheard far beyond the ad nauseam level, for literally thousands of times, in many speeches and in more conversations, and since my teens, that "everybody knows" - in Holland, anyway 'A Paradise' - "
that everybody is equivalent".

Note first that in Dutch this is even clearer: the Dutch for "equivalent" is "of equal value" that is in Dutch "gelijkwaardig", and the whole Dutch phrase also is singularly inept and hardly grammatical, because the equivalence to whom was never specified, but merely asserted: "Iedereen weet dat iedereen gelijkwaardig is" (in every respect, to anyone, wherever, whenever, for that was claimed)

My own problem since my teens is that I knew this to be an absolute hypocritical lie: Absolutely no sane man thinks he or his family are of the same value as Eichmann or Hitler, and almost everybody will try to bring it about that he or his family will get the best jobs, if there is a choice he has, namely between furthering the interests of those he knows and loves or likes, and those he does not know.

There is also nothing wrong with this (outside a few contexts): People may make great mistakes in appraising their own value, but it is very human to try to get the best for those one loves, including oneself.

But not according to those paragons of honesty and common sense, namely scores of Dutch politicians, and especially those of the Dutch Labour Party:

These just "knew" that "everybody is equivalent", and said it tens of times a day if possible, especially in the 1970ies an 1980ies, probably because many of them were and are total bastards, and real bastards know that the majority is easily deceived, and is much more docile if they can be tricked into thinking that absolutely everyone "is of equal value": it gives no reason to protest anything.

I never accepted it, but I must be one of the rare few who also protested against it in public - which meant that I risked being called "a fascist", because that was the Dutch epitheton for everyone the Dutch disagreed with: disagreeing with the majority - any majority - is despicable, in their eyes, and therefore someone who does disagree easily got branded as "a fascist".

And I have been called "a fascist" many times, by people who were generally very much more fascistic than I was, because I come from one of the most anti-fascistic families in Holland: my parents and grandparents were in the resistance against the Nazis, which was very rare in Holland, and is one of the reasons the Dutch lost more than 1% of the population, and for which reason both my father and my grandfather were convicted to concentration camp imprisonment, as "political terrorists", which my grandfather did not survive, while my father, who happened to be very healthy and strong, survived more than 3 years and 9 months of those camps, were the average survival lasted 3 months, also because he again went into the communist resistance inside the camps.

But I did not want to talk about that, except as a background to my angrily denying the hypocritic lie that "everybody knows everybody is equivalent", which also was the ruling value of the University of Amsterdam between 1970 and 1995, which (easily) comprised all the years I attended it.

Incidentally, this norm, that was for more than 25 years one that nearly every Dutchman falsely claimed to believe, has these days been left, since so very many Dutchmen have found that, in their opinion, Muslims must be their inferiors, which indeed also is what many have been saying publicly since before this century started.

But I did not want to talk about the sense of values of the Dutch either, and only made the last point as a clarification.

What I do want to talk about is a contribution by a professor Bas van Bazel of the University of Utrecht, who explained yesterday on the radio how it is really arranged in Hollland, where
"everybody" except for me and a very small minority "knows everybody is equivalent", at least until recently.

I have paid close attention and made notes, and here is the gist:

10% of the Dutch households is in debt, often in large debt, and this is rising.
50% of the Dutch households does not have property.
40% (almost) has some property, but most do not have much.
1% of the Dutch households owns 40% of the Dutch riches: 92,000 households.

As professor Van Bazel stressed several times: This is considerably more unequal than in most other European countries, but is about the same as it is currently in the U.S. - except that the Dutch inequality lasted much longer.

And as professor Van Bazel also repeatedly said: Holland is not an egalitarian country at all, and has never been.

He also repeatedly said: These facts are hardly known among the Dutch, and these facts are almost never spoken about, for they are strongly tabooed (which is possible, as he did not say, because the Dutch press serves the interests of the rich, and is hardly independent, especially lately).

Well, here they are, and I note several things about the numbers, which I do believe are correct:

First, 60% of the Dutch either makes enough money to get through the months, but has hardly anything left, or else does not make enough money, and is in debt, and this last percentage is rising.

In fact, I belong to these 60% due to my illness that now lasts 35 years (otherwise I would not: I do have the degrees to make an excellent and  quite remunerative career, if only I had more health) - and in fact I do not have any debts, since quite a few years.

Next, the nearly 40% with some property does indeed have some property, but it is usually not much, and indeed this group is also getting smaller.

Finally, most of the Dutch riches are owned by the 1% who owes 40% of them, which is of the size of a small Dutch town: 92,000 households. And this also shows why the 40% who owe something do not own much: They do owe 60% but divided by 40, and it is spread mostly quite thinly (and the 1% owes 40%).

So in fact in Holland, where the political Úlite has lied to the 99% who owe little or nothing for more than a generation that "everybody knows everybody is of equal value", this political lying was done, in part at least, to keep it a taboo and a secret that all the time the Dutch are as unequal as the U.S. now are, and that a very small group owns most, and the great majority owes little, nothing or debts.

I found it quite nice to learn these facts and numbers, not because they enjoy me, but to know how much I and all other Dutchmen have been lied to, and indeed also to know how many Dutchmen have furthered and defended these lies.

---------------------------------
Note

[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to
facilitate search machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1. 1979:

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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