Tag: Honesty

Why Ordinary People Don’t Believe Scientists

Because they correctly observe that our whole society is profoundly corrupt, and this includes the most prestigious scientific and research institutions.

Seriously, it does not get any more “White Shoe” than Sloan Kettering:

Top officials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center repeatedly violated policies on financial conflicts of interest, fostering a culture in which profits appeared to take precedence over research and patient care, according to details released on Thursday from an outside review.

The findings followed months of turmoil over executives’ ties to drug and health care companies at one of the nation’s leading cancer centers. The review, conducted by the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, was outlined at a staff meeting on Thursday morning. It concluded that officials frequently violated or skirted their own policies; that hospital leaders’ ties to companies were likely considered on an ad hoc basis rather than through rigorous vetting; and that researchers were often unaware that some senior executives had financial stakes in the outcomes of their studies.

In acknowledging flaws in its oversight of conflicts of interest, the cancer center announced on Thursday an extensive overhaul of policies governing employees’ relationships with outside companies and financial arrangements — including public disclosure of doctors’ ties to corporations and limits on outside work.

Welcome to the wages of the neo-liberal society, where everything, including scientific integrity, is for sale, or at least for rent.

As a result, on issues where we are dependent upon expertise, we live in George Akerlof’s Market for Lemons, where the level of fraud results in the degradation of the “market” for scientific research.

Well, One Blairite in the UK Exhibits Self-Reflection and Honesty

Ayesha Hazarika, former senior advisor to Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband and current stand-up comedian, admits that she was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn:

I was in the busy, bustling media hub of ITV News when the exit poll dropped, and the shock was palpable. I was there as a political commentator with the great and the good of the media establishment. The last time we were gathered there we’d been caught out by the Brexit result, and once again we were all in collective shock. We had all overestimated Theresa May and underestimated Jeremy Corbyn.

I fess up to being one of those people. I got it wrong on Corbyn. He ripped up the political rules from the minute he decided to stand for the Labour leadership. I remember him speaking at the very first hustings for Labour MPs, Lords and MEPs. He spoke fluently, and with spirit and passion. I remember quipping that at this rate he would win. He hadn’t even got enough nominations to make it on to the ballot paper at this point. The rest is history.

Many of us thought that if Corbyn faced the electorate he would cost the Labour party seats and wipe us out. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the opposite happened. Labour gained votes, but most importantly looks like it will have gained seats.


I applaud Corbyn and his team on a great campaign and a great night. The Labour party exists to win seats and power so we can action the positive change this country is crying out for. Overnight we have made progress but Corbyn must continue to work hard to reach out to all parts of the population, not just those in metropolitan areas, and we must focus on winning more seats not just piling up votes in safe areas.

I urge my fellow Labour colleagues to acknowledge Corbyn’s success and to try to find peace with him. What the past few weeks has shown is that Labour can be an inspiring and powerful force for good. Let’s try and come together and find some settlement. The country needs us to be a strong united party now more than ever.

Of course, for some reason, it’s easier for a stand-up comic to admit that they were wrong than it is for a politician, which makes no sense to me. 

History is littered with wreckage politicos who would have succeeded had they simply admitted failure and moved on.

Both a Stopped Clock, and Boris Johnson, Are Right Twice a Day

Boris Johnson, breaking with a decades long policy of abject sycophancy to the House of Saud, has called out the oil rich nation for their antediluvian and violent legacy:

Boris Johnson accused Saudi Arabia of abusing Islam and acting as a puppeteer in proxy wars throughout the Middle East, in remarks that flout a longstanding Foreign Office convention not to criticise the UK’s allies in public.

The foreign secretary told a conference in Rome last week that the behaviour of Saudi Arabia, and also Iran, was a tragedy, adding that there was an absence of visionary leadership in the region that was willing to reach out across the Sunni-Shia divide.

At the event, Johnson said: “There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region. And the tragedy for me – and that’s why you have these proxy wars being fought the whole time in that area – is that there is not strong enough leadership in the countries themselves.”

The foreign secretary then identified Saudi Arabia and Iran specifically, saying: “That’s why you’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.”

Needless to say, the usual suspects, industries dependent on Riyadh and old Middle East “experts”, have been squealing about this like stuck pigs.

In the words of Otto Maddox, “F%$# that.”