"They who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. Jon Stewart on
Johnson & Johnson and the DoJ
2. How Many Straws? - Johnson
and Johnson Settles
3. November's Jobs Report Is
Good, But Many Americans
4. Before Mandela Was a Hero, the
Right Called Him a
5. 12 Mandela Quotes That Won't
Be In the Corporate
Indicted by US, Key Witness for EU
is another crisis item. It is from a weekend, in which there tends to
be less crisis-related materials in the papers, and this is also the
case the present weekend.
I have two sections about Nelson Mandela who died two days ago, that
seem to me to be more just to the man than most laudations that were
poured out over his dead body by the ordinary press, to whom he is a
hero only since the 1990-ies, when he was already in his
1. Jon Stewart on Johnson & Johnson and the DoJ
start with, an item by Jon Stewart, who mocks Johnson & Johnson,
quite justifiedly so:
Note that it is not merely Johnson & Johnson: First, it seems - and
see the 100 pieces I wrote on
psychiatry the last three years - as if
all of Big Pharma is thoroughly rotten in the same way as Johnson &
Johnson is, and secondly, it is not only Big Pharma that is thoroughly
corrupt: The treatment they get from the Department of Justice,
that allows them to buy off the illegalities they committed so as to
make many billions of yearly profits by a - relatively! - small
financial sum, that also exonerates them of any wrongdoing, seems to me
thoroughly and intentionally corrupt.
The mechanism is: You make
10 to 20 billion dollars by grossly falsifying the data on
then you are freed of any future legal trouble by making a deal
the Department of Justice for 5 to 10% of the profits you made.
This is explained more
fully in the next item:
How Many Straws? - Johnson and Johnson Settles Again,
an article by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal, that incidentally
also runs the previous Jon Stewart item:
Here is part of the
by rich and powerful leaders of big organizations, and failure to
enforce laws broken by such people is a very old story in American
history, but that pattern was interrupted briefly after the great
depression through the 1970s. Now impunity for the rich and
powerful is back, and maybe that is why 43% of the American population
think our health care system is corrupt (look here).
Of course, the current settlement involved no admissions of
wrongdoing. Like most legal
actions against big health care organizations, it is thus
paradoxical. Fines are paid, but at least on paper, not because
of any wrongdoing. So what were the penalties for? Who
knows? But allowing a settlement without an admission of
wrongdoing allows the next settlement to be made as if it were dealing
with an isolated problem.
And here is part of the
So I get to say
again, again again... many of largest and once proud health care
organizations now have recent records of repeated, egregious ethical
lapses. Not only have their leaders have nearly all avoided penalties,
but they have become extremely rich while their companies have so
These leaders seem to have
become like nobility, able to extract money from lesser folk, while
remaining entirely unaccountable for bad results of their reigns. We
can see from this case that health care organizations' leadership's
nobility overlaps with the supposed "royalty" of the leaders of big
financial firms, none of whom have gone to jail after the global
financial collapse, great recession, and ongoing international
financial disaster (look here).
Indeed: it is part of a
pattern, that started under Bush and gets continued under Obama: Any
large corporation is allowed to plunder hundreds of thousands or
millions of individuals, on the pretext that "they are too big to fail".
No, they are not:
It is simply a pretext that allows them to do anything they
please, and get away with it by paying back a small percentage of the
profits they made - that also washes the perpetrators clean.
Jobs Report Is Good, But Many Americans Are Still Struggling
an article by Erika Eichelberger on Mother Jones, that addresses the
improvements on the stock exchange:
starts as follows, with the good news:
But a few
paragraphs further it is noted:
The economy added 203,000
jobs in November, according
to new numbers released Friday by the Labor Department. The
unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent—the lowest level in five years.
But many Americans are still struggling.
Employment increased in
the private and public sectors, despite the continuing effects of the drastic budget cuts that went into effect in
March. Industries including transportation, manufacturing, retail, and
leisure and hospitality saw jobs gains, and average hourly earnings
increased by 4 cents to $24.15.
is more, for most of the new jobs are very low paying jobs. In any
case: I do not believe the crisis is over, even while I grant
persons who trade stocks are, perhaps, a bit better of than they were
since 2008 - and even that is easily turned around, and probably will
be, in 2014.
And although about 2.1
million unemployed workers found jobs last month, 2.4 million stopped
looking. November is the 43rd month in a row in
which more job seekers left the labor force than found employment. A
total of only 63 percent of American adults are either working or
looking for work. That's the second-lowest monthly labor force
participation rate in 35 years. (The lowest-ever labor force
participation rate was recorded in October, but the data for that month
was skewed because of the government shutdown.)
The number of long-term
unemployed—those without a job for 27 weeks or more—edged up slightly
to 4.1 million. Unemployment amongst African-Americans and Latinos
remains much higher than average—at 12.5 percent, and 8.5 percent,
respectively. For those without a high school diploma, the unemployment
rate is 10.8 percent. It's 14 percent for people under 25.
Before Mandela Was a Hero, the Right Called Him a Terrorist
the first of two pieces on Mandela that are not propaganda, as
that I did read (or better: scanned) on December 5 and 6. The article
by Scott Martelle and it is on Truth Dig:
starts as follows:
indeed. In fact, until well into the 1990ies opinions as follow were
rather normal, in the papers that now praise Mandela:
Remember, before he was a
hero and an international beacon of dignity, healing and quiet power,
Nelson Mandela was a terrorist—at least in the eyes of the United
States and other Western governments that have been lauding him in the
hours since his death Thursday at age 95.
They should celebrate
Mandela’s life and mourn the world’s loss. But they should also own up
to their own institutional support of the very apartheid regime Mandela
fought against with such effect. In their opposition to the efforts of
Mandela and the African National Congress to unshackle themselves from
the racist South African regime, the conservatives of the era often
came across as sputtering, frothing lunatics (some are still sputtering).
a lot more in the article, but I now turn to another article on the
The British Independent
newspaper wrapped up some of the more egregious comments
in 1996 as Mandela was about to address both houses of Parliament, and
have tea with the queen.
‘The ANC is a typical
terrorist organisation ... Anyone who thinks it is going to run the
government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land’ - Margaret
‘How much longer will
the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black
terrorist?’ - Terry Dicks MP, mid-1980s
‘Nelson Mandela should
be shot’ - Teddy Taylor MP, mid-1980s
Mandela Quotes That Won't Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries
Next, an article by
the Common Dreams staff, that starts under the Mandela quote:
“When a man is denied the
right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become
This is from the beginning:
Nelson Mandela was a
powerful and inspirational leader who eloquently and forcefully spoke
truth to power. As tributes are published over the coming days, the
corporate media will paint a sanitized portrait of Mandela that leaves
out much of who he was. We expect to see 'safe' Mandela quotes such as
"education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the
world" or "after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are
many more hills to climb."
We wanted to share some
Nelson Mandela quotes which we don't expect to read in the corporate
media's obituaries (..)
Yes, indeed. And then they
proceed to give 12 quotes, of which I will repeat two, and leave the
rest to you:
"A critical, independent
and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press
must be free from state interference. It must have the economic
strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It
must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and
inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the
constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."
Quite so - but it is
also true that these days the press is not free from state
interference; much of the press has little economic strength; it does
sufficient independence; it no longer engages in bold inquiries without
fear or favor, except in exceptional cases; in many countries a free
press is not protected by the constitution; and also in many cases the
not anymore protect the rights of citizens. (Instead it amuses them, or
Also, I am not
criticizing Mandela:I am merely showing how right he was, and how wrong
much of the current set-up is, when measured by his lights.
Also, there is this
“Overcoming poverty is
not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and
Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be
overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.
Indeed, quite so:
Poverty is injustice, except for a few rare cases, and it is
by those who get rich of it, or by their willing menials and executors.
Indicted by US, Key Witness for EU
Finally, a short piece by
Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
starts as follows:
Edward Snowden, the NSA
whistleblower indicted by the United States government, is slated to
testify by video to the European Parliament later this month about the
mass surveillance of EU citizens.
Jan Philipp Albrecht,
German member of the European Parliament, announced Thursday that
Snowden will present to the Committee on Legal Affairs possibly as
early as December 18, Deutche Welle reports.
Snowden's statement, and
his responses to questions provided in advance, will be pre-recorded
and shown by video, due to the danger that a live stream could reveal
his location, EU Observer reports.
is good news - except that I hope Snowden was filmed in Russia, and did
not travel to Germany.
 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
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.