Tag Archives: Simon Jenkins

Delusional

This time the story has a twist, it has sides that some considered and many ignored. This all started when the Guardian started a new story this morning. The title ‘From Snowden to Panama, all hail the power of the press‘, written by Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/commentisfree/2016/apr/06/simon-jenkins-power-of-press-panama-papers-investigative-journalists). Even though it is ‘merely’ on the ‘comment is free’ part of the Guardian, this article deserves a separate bit of attention. You see, the start set me off, but it was the content that truly leaves food for thought and it should worry you all!

The title is the first part. You see, I always considered Snowden to be a joke, a scenario (explanation will follow), in addition, the Panama papers are showing a side that should worry a lot of players in this game of what I consider to be misinformation. The interesting part is that these two examples are both relying on data, one from the inside and one (Mossack Fonseca should hope so) from the outside.

Then the writer gives us the following: “Fifa corruption, Snowden and surveillance, Rotherham child abuse, drugged athletes, Stephen Lawrence, WikiLeaks, MPs’ expenses, phone hacking, HSBC, cash for questions, cricket fixing, extraordinary rendition, Olympic bribery, Slater Walker share fixing, DC-10 crashes, thalidomide, corruption at the Met: if power had had its way, none of these stories would have come to light“, now for some cold realities. If there is one voice that requires heralding, than it is the journalist Andrew Jennings. He was the one who truly looked into FIFA, with FIFA’s Dirty Secrets (first aired on 29th November 2010), this was basically one man. The press at large didn’t do that much. They ‘reported’ on certain matters, but the visibility it should have gotten was below minimum. The Guardian in May 2011 gave us in “Lord Triesman accuses Fifa executives of ‘unethical behaviour'” the mere quote “In retrospect that was not the right view to take and I accept that” seems to push for sympathy. The only part I see is that the press at large ignored seriously investigating FIFA. When it finally did happen, it was a decade too late. When we see the phone hacking reference, we must realise two elements “investigations conducted from 2005 to 2007 appeared to show that the paper’s phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians and members of the British Royal Family” is the first and the second “the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings had also been hacked“. It was public outcry that led to the official investigations, not the press. The Leveson inquiry that started through the announcement of David Cameron on July 6th 2011 would show a few sides. One of them that the Press Complaints Commission was merely a joke and a bad one at that. It also started Hacked Off, a group investigating the misdeeds of the press. The Leveson inquiry resulted in an advice for a royal charter, something that was massively feared and objected to. We would see responses like “state restriction on press freedom“, yet freedom does not mean unaccountable, which is what the press, for reasons of ambiguity and circulation requires.

The royal charter was from the very first moment bitterly contested by the press, with many of the largest newspapers instead backing Ipso, which by many non-journalists is regarded as a mere joke.

There is little to say about the rest of the initial list, but it is not the last stated about the article. You see, now the light grows on the Panama Papers with “A cloud of stinking dust rises as another wall in the edifice of unaccountability crashes to the ground. No thanks are due to any government or police force, to any minister or regulator“, this statement might sound true, but is it? Let’s look at the list:

  1. Any government. So, what about Panama? That place has its own government!
  2. Police force, they were never part of anything, remember the initial part, Mossack Fonseca has not broken any laws, so how does the police fit here?
  3. Any minister, which is the first real name, hidden in a field of useless names. You see, how are laws made? (at http://www.parliament.uk/education/about-your-parliament/how-laws-are-made/), that has been the issue from day one for decades, there was a need to truly overhaul taxation laws in pretty much every Commonwealth nation, when was this done? When did the press at large keep a watchful eye on those making laws? Which members of government, which MP, which Lord has attempted to overhaul tax havens and taxation laws? Which bills were created for that? All answers not forthcoming, the press tends to sleep through those moments as they are often regarded as not sexy enough for circulation.
  4. Any regulator. They overlook that things are properly done according to law. As no law was broken, they tend to be useless here.

So the list we see leaves us with one group to blame (because no crime has been reported 3 become non-players), a group that gets blamed all the time, so people do not take heed. What is brilliant is what Simon Jenkins does next. He basically validates all I wrote here (and I have written it before). He writes “Sometimes it relies on a solitary reporter, such Andrew Jennings initially on Olympic and Fifa corruption“, he is correct, especially when he writes “If indeed “everyone in the know knew” that Fifa was corrupt, sportsmen took drugs and contests were fixed, why did it need American attorneys to make arrests, spurred to action by the British press?“, that is a question that has an easy answer as I see it. You see, it is money! In that same light the press has become extremely cautious to (pardon my French) ‘piss off the shareholders and advertisers‘. When it is a player like FIFA, a player with billions, the nervous cat (aka the editor) might not take a step until the transgressor confesses on national news from a public place (like that will ever happen).

So why do I have an issue?

You see, the title has the gem no one talks about.

I have written about Snowden many times, so you can Google that part, but the Panama Papers are new and here to we see a certain lack, one that was equally present with the Snowden claims.

For this we need to take a small step into Logic. You see Mossack Fonseca is not a simple place, I reckon that those working there are amongst the brightest on the planet. Even when Wall Street collapsed and whilst others were looking at Enron. This player with 300,000 companies was making its own waves. Namely waves of continued wealth. Consider those accounts and as these clients are all well above millionaires, consider a fictive amount that they’d pay $10,000 for the privilege of not paying more than 1% taxation. That means that we have a bare minimum of $3 billion in clean revenue and that is the smallest possible number. If they were paid 0.1% of the saved taxation, we get to a number of more than twenty times the amount, not bad for a company with 500 people over 42 nations. We all want a share of that pie and that is exactly what is happening right now (as I see it).

Do you think that you can just walk into systems that secure an annual revenue of billions? You think that hacking is a new invention? No, these people will pay top dollar for 24 hours a day monitoring of every byte they have. This is the puzzling part that every press agency seems to have overlooked (read: ignored). Those files and the massive size of it would have set above average alerts all over the place and this place is anything but absolute top tiered secure. You see, the second part in all this is that new progressive form of entertaining person. In America they refer to him as President of the United States. You see the title ‘Obama calls for international tax reform amid Panama Papers revelations‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/05/justice-department-panama-papers-mossack-fonseca-us-investigation) reads like a mere joke for the following reasons:

– As ‘lame duck’ president you Mr President are on the way out, the elections are already underway and in November a new person comes into the White House, whatever claims you make now, they will never become a reality!

– Let’s take a little gander back to July 2013, where your administration, perhaps even the head honcho of that oval office (read: you) REFUSED to back international taxation laws that would allow tougher calls on digital companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. The quote “Senior officials in Washington have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the nation’s fastest growing multinationals“, which amount to the US needs that money and taxation in other nations is not an option at present.

The last part is shown when we consider the congressional paper ‘Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion‘ called R40623, here we see on page 4 “These tax havens tend to be concentrated in certain areas, including the Caribbean and West Indies and Europe, locations close to large developed countries. There are 50 altogether“, which is wrong, for the simple reason that there are at least 51. America decided not to list the USA, which is shown by Bloomberg (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states), where we see “helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota“, did you see that one little reference, ‘from’, this is what Mossack Fonseca faces, a move from one place into the USA. Interesting that he who is on the way out seems to skip his own garden when it comes to tax havens. Could the USA be that bankrupt? Or is this another move to force any wealth away from supporting Brexit? You cannot deny the timing that this comes to light just when Greece will be unable to meet another payment, meaning that new arrangements are necessarily. And the Bloomberg article was published months ago!

What is a given is that hacking into Mossack Fonseca should have been nearly impossible, unless you have government assets to use, which we all know is not really an option. In the end I cannot prove how the data got out and Mossack Fonseca will never answer that with clarity, consider that even on a fast internet, it would take 326 hours to download the data that some claim they have from Mossack Fonseca. So either there was another medium, or there are other players in town. These simple elements were easily found, and how long until someone in the office realises that one data job is taking a really long time?

This is why the entire Panama Paper Trail smells and the press at large seems to be avoiding the questions, in this we will soon see the Guardian replace ‘According to Snowden’ replace with ‘According to the Panama Papers we have’ as a new false seal of reliability, so that more ‘dramatic’ revelations can find their way to a page one issue.

How Delusional is that?

That question is equally important, because even though I relied on quotes sources and logic, is my version so much better and so much more reliable? I am not willing to believe myself regarding some of the issues illuminated, so why would you? I personally believe that you can find these same facts easily enough. The levels of logic I employed can be equalled easily enough by an intelligent person, so why did the press not see them and why are they not asking the hard questions?

Is that fair enough?

I leave it with you to consider the facts I presented.

 

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We lost a giant

I was hit with waves of sadness yesterday. We lost Robin Williams. I do not claim or pretend to know too much about him. When I was young, I loved watching ‘Mork and Mindy’. I saw him in the movies and lately his star ascended again in the advertisement comedy ‘the Crazy ones‘. The thought most on my mind was ‘How can Sarah Michelle Gellar ever keep a straight face around him?’
Yesterday and today there are no happy faces, we lost a giant. I am not the only one thinking this. Twitter was buzzing with news and condolences from the famous and non-famous alike. The Guardian had a story (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/russell-brand-robin-williams-divine-madness-broken-world). It is an article by Russell Brand, and seeing him outside of comedy or from the stage of the social aware was reason to take a look at this. The article shows two clear things. The first is that there is a lot more to Russell Brand then I thought there was. He is brilliant in his own way and he is asking out loud certain questions we do not tend to ask. Basically I saw more journalism in Russell Brand in one article then several have showed this year (if you, the reading journalist are the exception, then I apologise for my generalising directness).
There is a quote at the end that gives pause to wonder “What I might do is watch Mrs Doubtfire. Or Dead Poets Society or Good Will Hunting and I might be nice to people, mindful today how fragile we all are, how delicate we are, even when fizzing with divine madness that seems like it will never expire“.
If we are all so fragile, how can we cope? If we are all sane, how can we give support to those with mental health issues? It I however this quote which strikes a nerve “Hidden behind his beard and kindness and compliments was a kind of awkwardness, like he was in the wrong context or element, a fallen bird on a hard floor. It seems that Robin Williams could not find a context. Is that what drug use is? An attempt to anaesthetise against a reality that constantly knocks against your nerves, like tinfoil on an old school filling, the pang an urgent message to a dormant, truer you“.
I am not sure if the thought is correct as such (from my point of view). It might apply to Robin Williams, Russell had met the man, I never had, so why my opposition to this?
Well, is drug use just that? I was fortunate to stay away from drugs, yet is it an anaesthetic against reality or a way to see a better reality as these users think it will, a more appealing one? You see, if Russell is right, then every famous comedian would become a drug user, I find that thought too depressing. Robin Williams once stated “Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs“, it is just a comedy statement, but there is also the statement from another giant, a musical one who stated “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself“. The man was Bob Marley!
Before I continue, I need to add another article. It was written by Dean Burnett (at http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish). Here he writes something particularly strong and interesting: “to say taking your own life because of such an illness is a ‘selfish’ act does nothing but insult the deceased, potentially cause more harm and reveal a staggering ignorance of mental health problems“.
Russell and Dean are both hitting one side of the same coin. My worry is not: ‘why this is happening to Robin Williams’, but why are we seeing it only now? Is Robin Williams the moment we start to wake up and realise that we have a massive issue which a ton of people have been hiding under the rug because it was too uncomfortable?
Dean goes on for a bit longer, but then he doesn’t just hit the nail on the head, he makes a case why the nail was never guilty and did not deserved to get hammered.
That doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider ‘too successful’ to be ill?
I myself had that very same thought. ‘Why would a man this successful, having a beautiful daughter who is starting to have her own successful career, a massive success in his field be depressed?
It is a side I never really considered when having to read ‘Crime and Mental Health Law in New South Wales‘ by D. Howard. Those who try to give aid in one way or another, being it through legal aid, through psychological aid or through medical aid might have unintentionally missed a side we never considered. Russell voices it as “Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?” But from my view the world is not broken (it is just in control by those filled with greed). The physician might note that this world can be lived in (it is just severely polluted and food is getting more and more expensive) lastly the psychiatrist wanted to talk about it but he had no sense of humour, apparently he was German.
The powerful statement Russell made in the beginning “Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?” is now slightly changed (by me). “Is the world making me too sad to consider remaining here for another day?” I feel so sad because I lost an idol of comedy. I am certain I will get over it, but I know I am not alone, many with me remember the man who was the Genie, voicing the life of Donald Trump ‘PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS!!! … Itty-bitty living space‘.
We will soon enough remember again and again the famous moments that made us laugh or be silent. Yet, the issues on depression remain, not for just those Robin left behind, but for those who are still fighting this battle. A battle that is not just uphill, but for many it is a losing uphill battle and that is how they feel from the beginning of the journey they walk.
It is not new; depression has been around for at least 3 centuries, it has had many names. It was called Melancholy and Charlotte Smith wrote a sonnet to it in 1785. She wrote:

O Melancholy!–such thy magic power,

That to the soul these dreams are often sweet,

And sooth the pensive visionary mind!

Which might be better phrased as:

Oh dark dread, stopper of heart and reason

in my dreams I yearn to end

so that in my next life, I find a friend

Did the sonnet turn people away from depression as it was not a real condition?

I think that too many have never seen it for the dangerous affliction it truly is. Dean goes on and writes in his article in regards to ‘a’ selfish act “The ‘selfish’ accusation also often implies that there are other options the sufferer has, but has chosen suicide“. Was suicide even a choice? Are those on this track choosing at all? I have seen my share of people under Section 20 and Section 21 of the mental health act. Those who are hospitalised through them without and with their consent. There has been enough documentation that these people never seemed to have any choice in the matter. From their one sided view, there was only one path and only when services were too late lives were lost.

So, the medical branch seems to know the dangers, the legal branch has the knowledge that resulted in the existence of a section 20 and a section 21 of the mental health act, but these two are only 0.001% of a population, wouldn’t it be great if the other 99% catches on, on how dangerous and lethal depression really is?
Russell also wakes up to a revelation in the quote “When someone gets to 63 I imagined, hoped, I suppose, that maturity would grant an immunity to adolescent notions of suicide but today I read that suicide isn’t exclusively a young man’s game“, depression is timeless and it is ageless. We are bound to endure its dangers quite literally from the cradle to the grave, we can only hope for true friends around us to be there when it overwhelms any of us.

There is one more article that must be mentioned. It is again in the Guardian, but now it is Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-sadness-clown-addiction-mental-illness) that writes his view, but then he makes one ‘mistake’, perhaps it is just the observation he makes, but I disagree completely and for that I must lash out. He wrote “Therapists wander the scene like surgeons on a medieval battlefield, at a loss for what to do“.

I do not think that this is the case; it has not been the case for some time. Yet, some physicians and some psychiatrists seem to have inherited a former treatment for this, ‘have a pill, sit in a corner until the moment passes‘. There is enough evidence that this is no longer the approach and the current generation is still fixing the mess the previous generation made; but even today many are learning on how long the path to a cure is. Perhaps it is never cured, but in some cases it could be managed, as long as the patient does not do it alone. It is a personal view I have. I might be very wrong indeed and if someone lashes out to me for that same reason, then so be it.

I do know that in many places it is getting more and more the visibility it should have had, but let us not forget that depression was not generally accepted and published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until the 3rd edition in 1980. The documentation that is openly out there shows that depression was a debilitating disease long before it was made a sonnet in 1785, so people had known about it for well over 300 years, which means the adoption only 30 years ago is still a questionable issue. So, it seems that therapist are not at a loss for what to do, but there seems to be a lacking clarity of what will truly work. It does seem that medication alone will not ever be a solution.
It is clear that we are not there yet. If you think other whiles then consider that for the DSM-V the following is currently set: “DSM – V proposed (not yet adopted) anxiety symptoms that may indicate depression: irrational worry, preoccupation with unpleasant worries, trouble relaxing, feeling tense, fear that something awful might happen.

Proposed, but not yet adopted!

We are not there yet and there is a long way to go. We can only hope that this road will have the resources needed to get there. I reckon we need to keep a view on the events that have shaped our view of the world and of those in it, for some of them will need our help. We might not be physicians or psychiatrists, but we can all do a little bit, so that they can do what must be done to find a solution for those who need help. If we keep to the cold statistics then we see that in the USA alone, 10% have it, this means that in one nation alone 30 million people are afflicted with depression, the reality is much higher because many do not seek help and some around them do not realise that depression is very near to them. Healthline (provider of health information) also reported the following: “60%-80% of all depression cases can be effectively treated with brief, structured forms of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication“.

I find absolutely nothing true in that statement, if it was then depression would have been successfully treated in so many cases and I would not have lost an idol. I think that it is time to take another true look at this without caring about budget cuts and ego’s.

If we get Keating involved, as Robin played him in Dead Poet’s Society, I would state “Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die“, is that, what we, with our ‘generic’ view of mental health condemn these people to?
So I hope that politicians will take this event to sit down and proclaim that they will ‘take another true look at today’s mental health issues‘.

I will have a reason to smile, but I will say “Son of a bitch! They stole my line!

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