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."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Media ‘gagged over bid to report MP child sex
2. 'There were hundreds of us crying out for
afterlife of the whistleblower
3. Endless War: Obama Secretly
Extends US War on
4. Big Pharma—Crony Capitalism Out of Control
death of working-class politics: How the wealthy
conquered Congress and
abandoned blue-collar America
6. Wall Street is Taking
Over America’s Pension Plans
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, November 23. It is a crisis log.
There are 6 items
with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that
might damage national security – (that were disappeared) that were handed out in the
1980ies in England to prevent that the public learned anything about
the paedophilia of their political leaders; item 2
is a long and not very good article about whistleblowers; item 3 is about Obama once more not doing what he
said, this time about Afghanistan; item 4 is Ralph
Nader on Big Pharma and is good; item 5 is a none
too good article about the make-up of the American Congress (nearly all
millionaires); and item 6 is a decent article about
Wall Street's appropriating trillions of dollars of pensions to invest
as they please.
And here goes:
Media ‘gagged over bid to report MP child sex cases’
item today is an article by Daniel Boffey on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. This sounds
pretty crazy - and I do not mean that "a group of high-profile paedophiles was said
to have operated and may have killed a child"; I mean that (i) D-notices were handed around to
protect the "high-profile
paedophiles", and (ii)
after the fact the D-notices - which are pretty rare - were destroyed.
The security services are
facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as
it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts
in the early 1980s were destroyed.
Two newspaper executives
have told the Observer that their publications were issued
with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that
might damage national security – when they sought to report on
allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in
1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15
uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster
paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara
The other said that his
newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about
a police investigation into Elm Guest House, in southwest London, where a group of
high-profile paedophiles was said to have operated and may have killed
a child. Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify
or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not
There is considerably more under the last dotted link, but I do think
it quite unlikely that this ever will get clarified.
Then again, this gives me a reason to make a few other points I should
have made yesterday, when I discussed
- what I think is - the fact that currently voting is mostly an
exercise in manipulating the dumber half of the voters, that also tends
to succeed if sufficient amounts of money can be given to the
manipulation, as is currently the case in the United States.
I should have added this on political types - those who consider
themselves fit to lead the nation, to speak to millions, and to decide
the most fundamental social, economic and legal questions mostly by
themselves. I will call them "the politicians", and have learned the
following about them, the last 45 years:
There are, here and
there, now and then, a few exceptions to this, who mean well, and
sometimes even do well, but this gets less and less especially
because the politicians you see and hear tend to be those that got
approved by the current leaders, and not others: You nearly always get
more of the approved same, if not by the same persons.
- The majority of
the politicians is currently the least fit to be politicians as
defined: "to decide
the most fundamental social, economic and legal questions";
- the majority of
the politicians - left, right and center: it really matters very
little, especially in the U.S. and the U.K. - are not in
politics to do well for others, but to do well for themselves
and their parties;
- the majority of
the politicians are well-trained, professional liars and deceivers, who
generally speak as their PR-advisers advice them, also nearly
completely regardless of whatever their own beliefs and values and
priorities may be (which in fact are rarely publicly spoken about).
Another reason this gets less and less is that political parties -
left, right and center - are all organized on totalitarian
lines: only the approved party program gets public airing, and
that only by approved politicians. This is also why the very
few who do survive and get some public airing tend to be
considered fools by their own political mates, and also are generally
allowed only one subject.
Again, as I did yesterday, I have been painting in very broad
strokes, but this is the result of watching politics and politicians
for over 45 years now - I have only rarely seen a few who did not
belong to the great majority of the least fit to be proper politicians, by
which I also mean that the great majority almost never knows as much
about politics, history, and economics as I do (which means that for me
they are totally unfit to rule, whatever their intentions: you need real
knowledge to make good decisions, that indeed are very rare
these days), and also, at least in Holland (it is different elsewhere,
is true), extremely few can talk even half-way decently.
It's a shame, but it is a fact, and if you disagree it must be either
because you are a lot younger or a lot less well informed than I am (or
you live in another quite utopian country, indeed: who knows) - and
please note that I am not indulging any party here: it
holds across the board, though indeed especially in the larger and more
'There were hundreds of us crying out for help': the afterlife of the
item is an article by Andrew Smith on The Guardian:
This is a long article
about whistleblowers. I do not think it is very good, but it is long
and I will quote two bits of it. Here is the first, from quite a while
into the story, that sets the scene, as it were, in general terms:
have always been with us, but this century they have attained a kind of
ubiquity, leading the news on a weekly basis. Last month, a
whistleblower reported massive accounting
irregularities at Tesco; this month it was alleged mortgage
fraud on an unimaginable scale at JP Morgan Chase. As I write,
lax hygiene at a dental practice in Nottingham has been revealed.
And all this while Laura
Poitras’s documentary about Edward Snowden screens at cinemas
around the country.
Hm. I do follow
the news quite well, and for at least 45 years, but I can't say that it
ever has struck me that "Whistleblowers ... have attained a kind of ubiquity, leading the
news on a weekly basis". Really
now?! And even if it were true, what does it mean? What
"kind of ubiquity"? Which "news"? And what kind of "whistleblowers"? (I
have no idea: this is all too vague.)
Who are the whistleblowers,
and what makes them do it when most of us don’t? The Hollywood-created
image is of the awkward outsider; brave, but destined for maverick
isolation anyway. In short, not like us. But most of the people I meet
in the course of writing this article are essentially conservative.
They spoke out because they felt they had to. The real story lies in
what happened next.
And besides (and apart from all that "ubiquity", of whistleblowers):
Would it not have been somewhat relevant to investigate why the vast
majority - e.g. of Edward Snowden's former colleagues - is not
a whistleblower, even while they know there would be much
to complain about if they tried? What is it that turns the vast
majority into silent, taciturn, conformistic
non-whistleblowers? Lack of character? Lack of intelligence? Egoism?
But OK - these are some of my difficulties, perhaps. As I said,
there is a lot more, but I only want to quote one more bit:
C Fred Alford, professor of
government at the University of Maryland, is the author of Whistleblowers:
Broken Lives And Organizational Power, a study into the personal
impact of whistleblowing. It makes for an alarming read. Surprise
discoveries include a finding that seniority offers little protection,
and that it makes no difference whether a concern is first raised
inside or outside the organisation. Of Alford’s three dozen-strong
sample group, most lost their jobs and never worked in the same field
again; many also lost their families, as court cases and tribunals
dragged on for a decade and more. A majority suffered from depression,
with alcoholism common. In another study, half the sample group was
found to have gone bankrupt. All of this tallied with the people I
talked to: the sanctity of whistleblowing may be written into law, in
both the UK and US, but for most it will be a traumatic experience.
“The greatest shock,” Alford says, “is what the whistleblower learns
about the world – that nothing he or she believed is true."
Again: I've never heard
of Alford, but it seems his main lesson is: Don't do it!
Then again, I don't know anything about the research or the motives of
Alford, nor about his "sample", so again I only am offered vagueries.
Anyway...in case you want to read a long but not very clear report
about whistleblowing and whistleblowers, there is the above last dotted
3. Endless War: Obama Secretly Extends US War on
item is an article by Common Dreams Staff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There is a little more
under the last dotted link, but this is essentially it - and no, it
seems I am considerably less amazed than quite a few Americans seem to
be, and my reason is that, in my opinion, this just is Obama:
He generally says what
Last May 27, in an
announcement in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama said:
"2014, therefore, is a pivotal year. Together with
our allies and the Afghan government, we have agreed that this is the
year we will conclude our combat mission in Afghanistan... America’s
combat mission will be over by the end of this year. Starting next
year, Afghans will be fully responsible for securing their
country. American personnel will be in an advisory role. We
will no longer patrol Afghan cities or towns, mountains or
valleys. That is a task for the Afghan people."
The president has now
quietly authorized an expanded role for the U.S. military in
The New York Times
last night that Obama's decision is the result of "a lengthy and heated
debate" between the promise Mr. Obama made to end the war in
Afghanistan, versus the demands of the Pentagon.
The Pentagon won. An
official told the Times that “the military pretty much got
what it wanted.”
he thinks is liked; and he generally does what pleases the
Pentagon or the bank managers or the big corporations best.
I've noticed this since 2009, and it really is a pattern. What's the
reason? Probably not a single one, but so far it worked, although it
didn't make him popular.
Pharma—Crony Capitalism Out of Control
item is an article by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams (originally on
This starts as follows:
I notice that the CF
foundation got a return of over 2000% on its investment, while the drug
that got developed now can be used - in principle, at least - only by
those who either still make at least $ 1000 daily, or who have a family
that makes that amount. (There will be more who can afford it, but in
the end this is because of insurances.)
Two recent news items
about the voracious drug industry should call for a supine Congress to
arouse itself and initiate investigations about the pay-or-die drug
prices that are far too common.
The first item—a
page one story in the New York Times—was about the Cystic
Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, which fifteen years ago invested $150 million
in the biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop a drug
for this serious lung disease.
On November 19, the
Foundation reported a return of $3.3 billion from that
investment. Kalydeco, the drug developed with that investment, is taken
daily by CF patients (who can afford it) and is priced at $300,000 a
year per patient. Who can pay that price?
The second news release
came from the drug industry funded Tufts Center for the Study of Drug
Development. The Center’s Joseph DiMasi asserts that the cost of
developing a new prescription medicine is about $2.558 billion,
significantly higher than the previous estimate of $802 million that
the Center claimed in 2003.
Clearly, the drug is so expensive, because those who make the drug want
to get real rich real fast - and that seems to be quite
generally the case, at least when one studies Big Pharma in the U.S.
As to Joseph DiMassi: He clearly is making things up, as Nader also
explains, and as indeed also may be inferred from the fact that his -
false - estimates grew over 4 times - more than 400% - since 2003.
There are also these two facts mentioned by Ralph Nader:
Yes, indeed: Nearly all
of the psychiatric medicines that have been developed since 1980 were
variants of Prozac, that were developed basically to keep
having the possibility of describing a very expensive patented
mood changer to the millions. And indeed side-effects are generally
both there and systematically underreported, not studied, or
simply denied, which again is possible because Big Pharma claims to be
the owner of the data, and fails to publish these - and see Dr Healy's site in case you are
interested in side effects.
Another largely ignored
aspect of the industry’s R&D is how much of it is directed to
products that match, rather than improve, health outcomes—so-called “me
too” drugs that are profitable, but don’t benefit patients’ health.
Also, the consistently
profitable drug industry has been continually unable to restrain its
deceptive promotion of drugs and inadequate disclosure of side-effects.
About 100,000 Americans die every year from adverse effects of
Anyway - this is a good article.
death of working-class politics: How the wealthy conquered Congress and
abandoned blue-collar America
item is an article by Sean McElwee on Salon:
This starts as follows:
Congress is rich.
The average net worth in Congress is a
bit more than $6 million, while the median
net worth is $1 million. To put that in context,
$4 million in net worth is enough to put someone in the top 1 percent,
and $660,000 is enough to put an individual in the top 10 percent.
median family wealth for whites is $134,000 and for blacks is
$11,000. Emerging political science research suggests that the
implications of this class bias are profound and important.
Let me start by saying
that I am copying, and that the last statement - about "Emerging political science research" - seems to be there because the
"a research assistant".
In fact, the article seems top heavy with "research" and "opinions" of
"researchers" that again seems to depend on "research" these
"researchers" somehow did, but you can judge for yourself by clicking
the last dotted link.
Speaking for myself, I am not much impressed by the many "researchers"
whose "research" gets quoted (for one thing, while I read many times
"research" and "researchers", I read nothing about the real
research, while I know of none of the researchers), but the
initial quote is interesting, as is the following one, by
Nicholas Carnes, which in fact seems a fair conclusion for the whole
previous century in the U.S.:
were a political party, that party would make up roughly 3 percent of
American families, but it would have a super-majority in the Senate, a
majority in the House, a majority on the Supreme Court and a man in the
White House. If working-class Americans were a political party, that
party would have made up more than half the country since the start of
the 20th century. But legislators from that party (those who last
worked in blue-collar jobs before entering politics) would never have
held more than 2 percent of the seats in Congress.
Since I have not
researched the matter, it may be that my conclusions are not all that a
researcher might want, but it seems to me that something is badly
wrong in a supposed democracy (1) where almost everyone who got
elected is both a college graduate (as opposed to 1 in 3 in the
population) and a millionaire (who is being fed information
constantly from lobbyists of all kinds), and (2) where it is an
accepted matter of fact that while over half - over 25 of 50 - of the
population is a blue-collar worker at most 1 in 50 of these got a seat
in Congress, the last 100 years.
Street is Taking Over America’s Pension Plans
and last item is an article by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Coverage of the
midterm elections has, understandably, focused on the shift in
political power from Democrats toward Republicans. But behind the
scenes, another major story has been playing out. Wall Street spent upwards
of $300M to influence the election results. And a key part of its
agenda has been a plan to move more and more of the $3
trillion dollars in unguarded government pension funds into privately
managed, high-fee investments — a shift that may well
constitute the biggest financial story of our generation
that you’ve never heard of.
There is a considerable
amount more under the last dotted link, that ends like so:
Illinois, Massachusetts, and
Rhode Island all recently
elected governors who were previously executives and directors at
firms which managed investments on behalf of state pension funds.
These firms are now, consequently, in position to obtain even more
of these public funds. This alone represents a huge payoff on that
$300M investment made by the financial industry, and is likely to
result in more pension money going into investments which offer great
benefits for Wall Street but do little for the broader economy.
“There is a massive
transfer of power and wealth happening from the public to Wall Street,
through pensions,” says a former Congressional staffer, who asked to
remain anonymous because he has ties to the industry.“The more that
money goes into private hands as opposed to public hands, the less that
it gets invested into projects which are socially constructive.”
“It’s a policy justified
entirely on people’s ignorance of what’s going on.”
Of course, you may learn
more about this schema at the next crisis, when most of the pension
money will have disappeared, but then indeed it will be too late.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
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
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file
from is quite pertinent.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: