To the Sounds of a Drum © Nina Otulakowski November 2022
Back in the last Millenium, 1997, a book appeared called The Sovereign Individual, written by James Davidson and William Rees-Mogg (yes – the father of Jacob) about the transition to an information age. No longer would we be Numbers, we would be Free Men – See I Am Not A Number.
There was a chance for Donald Trump’s Forgotten Man to re-emerge, be seen and regain sovereignty in his or her own life. Escape the clutches of the bureaucrats and the Deep State. While this was the case, in principle, the book made it clear that we were likely heading to a new age of autocrats or oligarchs – don’t call them dictators.
A recent BBC series of podcasts called The Coming Storm, of which there are now two seasons – the first tracking the Storming of the Capitol and a second tracking what has been happening since focused on Hunter Biden’s laptop – fingers The Sovereign Individual as laying out the path from where we were in 1997 to where we are now.
A new edition of The Sovereign Individual has come out with a foreword by Peter Thiel of Paypal fame, who is a key supporter of Donald Trump. Oligarch’s Together.
Thiel has also created a company called Palantir, an operation that is eyeing NHS data and making inroads on it. This post was going to introduce readers to Palantir but Susanne, who regularly comments on posts, left a detailed comment about Palantir on the last post including the link above – given her anticipatation of this post we’ve had to do a work around.
In 1649, Charles I was decapitated. He was England’s last Absolute Sovereign. He was replaced by a constitutional government. In Charles’ time the role of an Absolute Sovereign, to some extent at least, was to protect his people against the Corporations and a new merchant class then emerging. These groups fought back against his imposition of a Quarantine in the face of a plague and brought him down – as Shipwreck of the Singular outlines.
A century later, in 1848, after a series of French monarchs were decapitated or dethroned, and in the midst of a new French Revolution Marx noted that constitutional governments which had then been the handmaidens of aristocrats, and then merchants, were now switching to being the handmaidens of a middle class, the petit bourgeouis, and it was obvious given the arc of history they would inevitably become the handmaidens of the working class.
The role of governments, whether serving autocrats, merchants, or the middle class, were there to herd the people – make them conscriptable in the case of War, childbearers in the case of War, and willing to swallow the latest medicine when told to do so. See Valley of Death:
theirs is not to make reply,
theirs is not to reason why,
theirs is but to take and die
into the valley of death….
Governing the People
The collection of Data, outlined in I Am Not A Number, is all about how we are governed now. Since the end of the twentieth century government has been about governance – that is rule by numbers. Whether you blame neo-liberalism or a Deep State for ths, numbers are key.
The encroachment of numbers on the most intimate ways in which we used to think about ourselves can be seen most clearly in what once was Healthcare but is now Health Services. Getting our numbers right has replaced engaging with us to help us solve a problem getting in the way of our being able to live the life we want to live. Getting our numbers right is about getting us to live the life that Pfizer or GSK or Lilly want us to live.
Pharma’s efforts to access our data are all about this – 36 billion Euros in lobbying European politicians annually at the last reckoning.
But as in Remind Your Sister to get Vaccinated, they also create patient groups, and support them to influence governments. Particularly targeted are patient groups that represent people with Rare Diseases – the anticipated goldmine for pharma.
There are 300 million people living with a rare disease worldwide.
Possibly the most blatant example of this subterfuge is EURORDIS – Rare Diseases Europe “We advocate for, empower and engage people living with a rare disease in Europe”.
Eurordis began well, its intentions commendable. Those who created it could never have seen that pharma would be able to transform the movement into an opportunity to deny access to clinical trial data – on the basis that people with a Rare Disease might be identified from the data.
Or that pretty quickly, pharma would make more money from Orphan Drugs for Rare Diseases than from all other drugs combined. Some of the best selling drugs for the most common conditions were brought on the market through a Rare Disease route.
Watch Dirk Vander Mijnsbrugge from Pfizer confirm the importance of a collaborative effort to address the needs of people with rare diseases at the EURORDIS’s annual European Conference on Rare Diseases and Orphan Products, recognised globally as the largest, patient-led (sic) rare disease policy event.
Read their open letter to the European Commission, reminding them of the importance:
“to the rare disease community that there is a strong European Health Data Space that upholds strong ethical principles of digital health and that includes a specific rare disease codification standard”.
Patient Groups as Handmaids
The euphonious Patient Partnership Index (PPI) tells us:
“First, there are the patient groups, tirelessly working to provide their communities with information, support and funds to safely get them through this difficult time. Second are the pharmaceutical companies working at pace to develop new vaccines and treatments”. The PPI is a scion of Ovid Health itself created to “bridge the divide between ‘traditional’ healthcare PR, public affairs, campaigns and patient advocacy”.
Just like the vaccine-promoting lay groups, there are hundreds of spoof organisations fuelling the fire of rare diseases on behalf of pharma.
Let’s take a look at the International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organizations (also known as GlobalSkin), comprising over 200 patient groups. At their industry-sponsored 2021 virtual conference, the agenda included opportunities to be trained by EUPATI (the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation) an organisation dominated by 22 industry partners. EUPATI aims to improve health outcomes through the contribution of patients and patient representatives as valued stakeholders and to provide accessible, innovative and inclusive education that empowers patients and patient representatives
Using the Global Research on the Impact of Dermatological Diseases (GRIDD) project. This is the first comprehensive patient-led (sic) research on the impact of dermatological conditions in patients who live with these conditions. This impact data is vital to the success of placing dermatological disease at the top of health policy in Europe. GRIDD data unites our voices and empowers GlobalSkin-Europe to unite with a single voice and take a place at the top of health policy in Europe.
Once upon a time, language like this was harder to find but there is no effort to conceal it now. There are multiple lobbying groups with slightly different agendas. What could be more altruistic than the philanthropic non-profit organization Accumulus Synergy?
“At Accumulus Synergy, our vision is to accelerate the delivery of critical therapies to the citizens of the world. We should all want to accelerate these critical therapies to citizens globally in a safe and effective way. We use the word “citizens” intentionally, to include patients, caregivers, providers, and family members. At some point in our lives, we all benefit from medicines and vaccines.”
Surprise! – Accumulus Synergy is a consortium formed in July 2020 by 10 leading biopharmaceuticals companies: Amgen, Astellas, Bristol Myers Squibb, GSK, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Lilly, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, and Takeda.
Patient Groups are one way into the heart of EEC policy. What else? Well Youth is the Trojan Horse of Big Pharma – see Our Unequal Struggle to get an idea of the fate of people who try to advise caution about the Horse outside the Walls.
Red Red Wine
Hold the Mayo
Its not just Pharma. According to Mayo Clinic’s marketing, brand strategy, and advertising chair Molly Biwer:
“What we’re hoping to do is gather the medical records, and it’s a very lofty goal, but the medical records of everybody in the world, so we can start to predict before diseases and conditions even happen.”
The days when doctors or anyone working in healthcare rather than health services determined priorities in the health domain are long gone.
Our desire for health – salvation – for ourselves and our children is far stronger than our desire for fast cars or gadgets. From time immemorial con artists have known how easy it is to fleece us with elixirs for love or eternal youth or sure-fire remedies to prevent the latest plague.
Sanitocracy or Sanegeddon has always been the goal toward which we have been heading.
The UK has just set up a new Health TaskForce, modelled on its Vaccine TaskForce modelled in turn on Operation Warp Speed. There could not be a better illustration of Marx’s 1848 vision of Government being the Handmaiden of whoever our current rulers might be.
The 1848 Revolutions got nowhere. The Communist party, which began in the South of France, and in 1848 had over 100,000 French members, skilled artisans mostly, with many doctors among its leaders, fell out of favor for being too pacifist. The leadership of the party decided to quit France and emigrated to the United States, settling down in Illinois, a little south of where the Mayo Clinic is now headquartered.
With the pandemic, Blogs have been replaced by Substacks, which often note a subscription would help keep things going.
Published by Samizdat, Shipwreck of the Singular. Healthcare’s Castaways rolled out with the Vaccines. Its descriptions of a dystopian medical future and what happened the communists seem all too present now.
It is priced at $18.95, and $8.99 in kindle from each of which Samizdat gets $5, and it costs even less as El Naufragio de lo Singular.
Samizdat aims at the middle ground in health, enabling conversations to happen. A copy of any of its books for you or a friend, in lieu of an hypnotic, might help us all find a way to wake up.