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."
not patients: the risks of private medicine
2. Amid the Crowing of the GOP
and Clinton, Sanders Is on
3. The Trans-Pacific
4. Resurgence of the World Left?
5. China’s Stock Market Crash Is the Latest Crisis of Global
6. HEY YOU
This is a Nederlog
of Saturday, October 3, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is about an article by a Scottish medical doctor on the role of profit
in medicine (which is much more serious than most other roles,
these days, including that of helping the patient); item
2 is about a comparison between Clinton and Sanders (that I think
is a little bit too optimistic); item 3 is about an
article by Joseph Stiglitz et. al. that is quite clear on the evil TTP
and the evil TTIP (yes, they are); item
4 is about an article on whether the world's leftish forces are
resurging (again I think it is a little too optimistic); item
5 is about China, and makes clear that it is mostly capitalistic
now; and item 6 is an interesting article from 2012
on the American economy (but published on a site with very
patients: the risks of private medicine
item today is an article by Gavin Francis
on The Guardian:
Gavin Frances is a Scottish medical doctor who also
writes books and is 25 years my junior. He gives his personal
experiences with privately practising doctors and with the NHS, and is
a proponent of the latter.
I leave these to your interests, and choose - being a philosopher and
psychologist myself, in terms of academic degrees - some quotations of
a more philosophical nature.
The first shows that Hoppocrates (or "the authors known collectively as “Hippocrates”" (<-
Wikipedia)) was keenly aware of money and its role:
More than 2,000
years ago, the authors known collectively as “Hippocrates” were clear
on the subject of how money affects clinical practice: it corrupts. As
the NHS is denigrated by those in power, and private medicine is
promoted as an example of efficiency and consumer-friendliness, it is
worth remembering some of them. “One must not be anxious about fixing a
fee,” Hippocrates says in the Precepts. “For I consider such
a worry to be harmful to a troubled patient … it is better to reproach
a patient that you have saved than to extort money from those who are
at death’s door.” The theme is elaborated in the series of aphorisms
collected under the title Decorum, which contains a
meditation on how medical practice should involve the daily exercise of
practical compassion and an aspiration towards wisdom. According to
Hippocrates, a clinician’s wisdom entails adopting the “right manner”
towards money – a manner of generosity, modesty and temperance.
Quite so. Next, there is
physician Galen practised several centuries after the Hippocratic
writers, but echoed what they had to say: the best clinical decisions
are taken when anxieties over money are taken out of the doctor-patient
In fact, Francis quotes
the following from a brief text by Galen on philosophy:
necessary for doctors if they are to use the Art correctly, when
practitioners who are no physicians, but poisoners, are daily before
our eyes: lovers of money who abuse the Art for ends that are opposed
to its nature.” He is anxious that doctors shouldn’t be asked to double
as businesspeople, obliged to practise medicine with one eye on the
balance sheet: “For it is impossible at the same time to engage in
business, and to practise so great an Art: you must despise one of
them, if you are to press on with all speed towards the other.”
Quite so - but most
medical doctors I know (in Holland) seem to me to be much
more interested in money for themelves, than in the health
of their patients.
Also, this is a fairly recent phenomenon, that started around 1980.
My ex and I, who both fell ill as first-year students in January
1979, have seen around 30 Dutch doctors, none of whom even
knew of the existence of M.E. and most of whom told us -
generally without knowing anything about us or our lives - that
it was "psychosomatic" (which is itself a totally unscientific term),
also usually without doing any medical (or psychological)
attribute with the greatest currency of all is trust: it is essential
that we continue to trust our doctors. If private providers with profit
as their most fundamental concern are allowed to take over, trust will
evaporate. Removing financial questions from the consulting room and
transferring them to a central government body was one of the most
civilised achievements of the 20th century, perhaps one of the most
civilised ideas ever dreamed up by humanity.
To shortcut a lot: After
37 years of asking - with some of the best degrees
ever awarded in Holland, that I got while I was ill, and with a very
high IQ - I conclude that at least 90% of the medical doctors I have
met in Holland are either incompetents or are financially corrupted or
are sadists (if I had been a sadist I would have studied medicine!)
simply because 90% of the doctors I saw lied to me, didn't
know what they should know medically, and didn't help me at all,
but seriously hindered me by refusing to do anything
for me while insisting on their crazy non-medical "diagnoses" that were
only based on solid ignorance about my disease and my person.
The only good things I recall of my many experiences with Dutch doctors
are with the three or so that I saw that were competent: They still
exist, in a minority. (But they also don't know the explanation for
what ails me, but at least they agreed I am not a liar, and that
something is the matter.)
the Crowing of the GOP and Clinton, Sanders Is on the
article today is
by Robert Scheer on Truthdig:
This starts as
How easy it is to mock
the Republican candidates. They’re the gang in the clown car climbing
all over each other to offer a reactionary message of disarray that has
all but destroyed the chances of the Bush family dynasty continuing.
But isn’t that a grand achievement for the democratic process?
Hmm.. no: First of
all, the Republican candidates are "in the clown car" not because they
are themselves fools, but in order to mislead their audience,
that consists of a majority of lowly educated non-intelligent people,
who are not really able to distinguish between awful trash and solid
theory, and who are very easy to mislead.
Second, I don't think
myself that keeping the third Bush from being elected in 26
years as president of the USA is "a grand achievement for the democratic process", and especially not in view of the
horrible qualities of the second Bush.
Third, it also isn't
done yet: Bush2 Jr still may win.
The following is
Good riddance to bad
rubbish, except that the alternatives of Trump, Fiorina or Carson only
make Jeb Bush look stunningly reasonable in comparison. The other
problem is that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, is
not fundamentally different from the scion of the Bush dynasty.
This means, slighly
reformulated, that the two candidates that are still expected
by many to win the candidacies for their two parties amount to roughly
Actually, I don't know,
for I don't know their programs, indeed in part because I am also quite
convinced their "programs" are meant to win the presidency, but
are to be left behind as soon as they have won it (or lost it), just
like Obama did.
Then again, I mostly agree with the quotation, because both Bush2 Jr
and Clinton operate in the vicinity of what is presently "the middle"
of American politics, which seems in quite a few ways to the right of
Reagan, while e.g. Trump, Carson and Cruz are on the right of both, and
Sanders is to the left of both.
There is also this
fundamental difference between Clinton and Sanders:
Whereas Sanders supports
the efforts by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. John McCain to restore
the Glass-Steagall barrier against merging commercial and investment
banking, Clinton still insists her husband did the right thing in
signing off on the reversal of the sensible banking practice initiated
by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to prevent another Great Depression.
That is quite true
and also quite important. Scheer draws the following inference:
What voters of every
racial or ethnic group should understand is that the Clinton gift —
worth billions to the banking industry — robbed all working Americans
of the opportunity to improve their lot, as shown by the astounding
growth in wealth inequality since the Clinton presidency.
Are we really ready for
Well... I like
Sanders a lot better than Clinton, while Clinton may be a
little (but not much) better than Bush2 Jr, and the latter is again a
bit less bad than Trump, Cruz and Carson (etc.), but I am not at all
convinced Sanders will win or that Bush2 Jr will loose.
3. The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade
I just don't know - and I am wary of wishful
next article today is
Stiglitz and Adam Hersh on Common Dreams:
This is from the beginning
(and both writers are professors of economy, while Stiglitz also won a
hear much about the importance of the TPP for “free trade.” The reality
is that this is an agreement to manage its members’ trade and
investment relations – and to do so on behalf of each country’s most
powerful business lobbies. Make no mistake: It is evident from the main
outstanding issues, over which negotiators are still haggling, that the
is not about “free” trade.
Indeed - and the whole concept
of "free trade" is baloney, but this is just the introduction.
The main part is this:
decades, US-based tobacco companies have used foreign investor
adjudication mechanisms created by agreements like the TPP to fight
regulations intended to curb the public-health scourge of smoking.
Under these investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) systems, foreign
investors gain new rights
to sue national governments in binding private arbitration for
regulations they see as diminishing the expected profitability of their investments.
I agree - and to say
provisions make it hard to conduct their basic functions" is friendly acadamese, in my eyes,
for it will be factually impossible for any government that
adopts these rules to protect "their citizens’ health and safety", simply because all interests
are deemed inferior to the expectation (!) of profits
by multi-national firms.
The obligation to
compensate investors for losses of expected profits can and has been
applied even where rules are nondiscriminatory and profits are made
from causing public harm.
Such provisions make
it hard for governments to conduct their basic functions – protecting
their citizens’ health and safety, ensuring economic stability, and
safeguarding the environment.
This also is a quite insane desire, which seems to me to be the
main reason that Obama, who is very much in favor of the TTP
and TTIP, wants to keep them secret till they have been adopted
and practised for five years.
Here is one example of what the multi-nationals may do to any
government once the TTP or the TTIP are adopted:
would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the
lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down
manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed,
under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not
to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit
twice – first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then
to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government
stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.
is also why the TTP and the TTIP are so important, and why anybody who
is not a multi-national CEO or lawyer of a multi-national
should oppose them.
4. Resurgence of the World Left?
The next article is
Wallerstein (<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The sweeping triumph on
September 24 of Jeremy Corbyn to be the leader of Great Britain’s
Labour Party was stunning and totally unexpected. He entered the race
with barely enough support to be put on the ballot. He ran on an
uncompromisingly left platform. And then, standing against three more
conventional candidates, he won 59.5% of the vote in an election that
had an unusually high turnout of 76 percent.
That is quite true - and
one point of some importance, also to the rest of the article, is that
Corbyn was elected "on an
uncompromisingly left platform" in
a party that for over 20 years had pretended to have done away
with real leftism, and instead was in favor of the "Third Way", which
they also presented
as "New Labour".
Then there is this:
Whether the world
political scene is moving rightward or leftward is a favorite subject
of political discussion.
Yes and no. That is,
I agree with this (and "left" and "right" go back to the French
Revolution and the early 19th Century) but I am also not blind
to many people who are presently around 30 and who insist that they
disbelieve in the opposition between left and right.
I think that the
opposition still is correct, though it is perhaps better formulated in
terms of who you do support: Do you support the rich
(who are quite powerful these days, and have steadily increased their
powers and riches since 1980) or do you support the many (the
rest, who are not powerful these days, who also depend on the
many, and the government, to get a somewhat fair distribution of the
riches everyone helps to produce).
Then again, I would
agree with those who are
presently around 30 if what they mean by "the left" is New Labour in
England or Clinton in the USA: The "Third Way" is not leftist, and never
was. But to understand what the real left was, you have to
understand history, and specifically the history before 1980, which is
something few of the presently 30ish people do know well.
Next, there is this:
The first thing to
remember is that there is a large gamut of possible positions at any
given moment in any given place. Symbolically, let us say they vary
from 1 to 10 on a left-right axis. If parties or political leaders move
from 2-3, 5-6, or 8-9, this measures a swing to the right. And reverse
numbers (9-8, 6-5, 3-2) measure a swing to the left.
The main reason to copy
this is that I agree that "there
is a large gamut of possible positions at any given moment" and indeed also (although that is not
mentioned in the quotation) quite a few different dimensions (which
makes it diifficult or impossible to render the leftness or rightness
of a candidate or a policy as a single number).
Here is Wallenstein's
What, you may wonder,
does all this mean? It is clear that, in a world that is living amidst
great economic uncertainty and worsening conditions for large segments
of the world’s populations, parties in power tend to be blamed and lose
electoral strength. So, after the rightward swing of the last decade or
so, the pendulum is going the other way.
Perhaps, and indeed I hope
so - but as before: I am
wary of wishful
5. China’s Stock Market Crash Is the Latest
Crisis of Global Capitalism
The next article is
by Walden Bello:
This is from the beginning:
Now, in fact, the
Beijing stock market collapse marks the deepening of a new stage in the
contemporary crisis of global capitalism.
I agree, and the reason I
agree is the size of China's economy. Next, there
is this on those who were the real losers in China:
small and medium entrepreneurs serving local markets, the losers
include workers, peasants, and the general population in their roles as
savers and consumers — in short, as the economist Hongying Wang put it,
all those who have “suffered from the financial and public finance
systems that have deprived them of their fair share of the national
This seems similar to
how the USA spent its gains, except that in the USA the
According to statistics Wang
cited from Caijing Magazine, some 70 percent of the stimulus
funds went to infrastructure, while only 8 percent went to social
welfare expenditures like affordable housing, health care, and
infrastructure also is not invested in, while the few rich
gained a lot and the many non-rich nothing at all (or they lost, for
example their house).
Finally, there is this, which I think is rather interesting:
According to the
China Labor Bulletin, strikes have become the “new
normal” in China: There were some 1,378 workers’ strikes and
protests in 2014 — more than double the 2013 figure and triple 2012’s.
It is interesting
because it shows that the Chinese went in less than 50 years
from extreme Maoist "communism" (see e.g. Jung Chang's "Wild Swans") to
a rather extreme form of capitalism - while both social systems
were lorded by the Chinese Communist Party (which is still in power).
Over the last three
decades, the Communist Party of China has replaced the delivery of
socialism as the basis of its legitimacy with the delivery of rapid
growth and a rich capitalist economy. Indeed, one of the key reasons
the party has found it so hard to give up the export-oriented growth
model is that it regards this strategy as a tried and tested mechanism
of achieving high growth.
Also, it is mostly the rapidly increasing number of strikes
(which are rather dangerous in an authoritarian country) that supports
the notion that the Chinese
have turned from "communism" to capitalism.
6. HEY YOU
article today is by Jim Quinn on The Burning Platform. I found it by
way of the Raging Bull-Shit site, and I agree with Don Quijones, who
runs the lattter site, that this a quite interesting post from 2012,
which has not aged:
This starts as
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in
which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of
managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced,
because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley –
Brave New World
The world makes less
sense every day. Little children are randomly slaughtered in their
schoolrooms. Predator drones roam the skies over foreign countries
exterminating bad guys, along with innocent women and children
(collateral damage when it occurs in a foreign country). Drugged up
mentally ill kids with no hope and no future live lives of secluded
quiet desperation until they snap. Ignorant, government educated,
welfare dependent drones with no self respect or respect for others,
assault, kill and rob within their government created urban jungles.
Sociopathic criminals who committed the largest financial crime in
world history walk free and continue to occupy executive suites in
luxury office towers in downtown NYC, collecting millions in bonuses as
compensation for crushing the American middle class. Academics,
whose theories have been thoroughly disproven, continue to steer our
economy into an iceberg while accelerating the money printing and debt
issuance that will sink our ship of state. Corrupt, bought off
politicians pander to the lowest common denominator as their votes are
only dependent upon who contributed the most to their election
campaigns, which never end. Delusional, materialistic, egocentric, math
challenged consumers (formerly known as citizens) live for today,
enslave themselves in debt, vote themselves more entitlements, and care
not for future generations. The alienation and isolation created by our
sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government
controlled, debt financed society has spread like a cancerous tumor,
slowly killing our country.
I agree mostly, but I
must make two rather fundamental additions. The first is that the
development that is sketched in this opening paragraph was achieved
over a course of some 30 years, and started with the elections
of Thatcher and Reagan. The second is that it was possible
mostly because the majority of the voters are not highly
educated and are not really intelligent.
Next, skipping one
paragraph, there is this on the US economy by Jim Quinn, who is a
Since 1979, Total
Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to
$55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. Over this same time
frame total wages and salaries have risen from $1.3 trillion to $6.9
trillion, a 531% increase. GDP has grown from $2.6 trillion to $15.8
trillion, a 608% increase. Luckily for the oligarchs, the math
challenged masses don’t understand that 375% of the increase in GDP is
strictly due to Federal Reserve created inflation, as the U.S. dollar
has lost 68% of its purchasing power since 1979. This GDP growth was
driven by debt, with consumer expenditures rising from 61% of GDP in
1979 to 71% of GDP today. In the one hundred years since the creation
of the Federal Reserve the country’s population has tripled, while our
public debt and unfunded liabilites have risen from $2 billion to over
$200 trillion, a ten million percent increase. The
masses have been programmed and conditioned to love their debt
servitude and yearn for more debt to fix an economic system that
collapsed due to excessive debt. The cadre of ruling elite are obliging
by creating debt at hyperspeed levels. The corporate media, Wall Street
shysters and low-life captured politicians assure the sheep-like masses
that this is normal and beneficial to their interests, as the sheep are
sheared and led to slaughter.
I think that is also
mostly correct. I will leave the rest to your interests. 
 I like the article, but the site has
too many flashy advertisements for my taste.