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Ali Parsa, NHS Privatiser & Babylon Health CEO, attends Butchers without Borders

What motivates UK-based “healthcare entrepreneur”, ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker, Ali Parsa to attend the Butchers without Borders investment conference in Saudi Arabia?

The Saudi Sovereign Wealth fund, bought a stake in Babylon Health in August.

Yes, that’s right, Saudi Arabia are making money from the NHS, and no-one is saying a bad word about it.

Britain is truly open to all types of masochistic business.

The Neo-Liberal Guardian

Maybe Guardian news hound Rupert Neate is busy writing a book about the health benefits of wealth.

The Axios article referenced at the end of his piece was published last week and cited here:

Since then the event itself has started and a full line-up has been published.

For some reason the Guardian hasn’t mentioned that Babylon Health CEO Ali Parsa was at the conference yesterday:

In Brief

Babylon Health is defunding GPs practices, cherry picking younger patients, handing over confidential medical data to Google Health, operating with an inevitable significant error rate (machine learning isn’t perfect), taking Saudi Money, Google money, US health insurance (Centene) money, Swedish venture capitalist money which specialised in 1990’s Russian disaster capitalism (New Vostok Ventures), doing deals with surveillance capitalists Tencent in repressive China, and in Rwanda thanks to Tony Blair and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr Murphy

I can see why Ali Parsa is doing what he’s doing – for the money.

For more on NHS Privatisation the upcoming film, Great NHS Heist, is the one to watch:

Here is some good deprogramming re: Babyon BBC PR Shenanigans

The Circle Debacle

This is an Ali Parsa appearance in 2012 during his previous failed venture, with a Hospital:

Bankruptcy

The Big Society

Here is Ali Parsa on Health Care and the BIG SOCIETY:

National Radio

Here is Ali Parsa on BBC Today Programme, he isn’t introduced as having failed in his Circle venture, he is able to use his buzzwords.

When he makes claims none of them are questioned:

Regulation

The UK information commissioner is woefully underfunded for protecting patients from data fraud, as is the case with fake news during elections.

This took place yesterday. Can you feel the tech firms and investment banks circling the UK as we speak?

More puff from Ali, this time at KPMG.

KPMG, the Big Four, and PFI

KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, Accenture are management accounting firms that are also known as the Big Four.

They offer more than just accounting services and, although they are referred to as mere Bean Counters, their work is often laden with conflicts of interest.

KPMG, over the years have been a big funder of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) a New Labour-style Think Tank.

IPPR backed the part-privatisation of many of Britain’s hospitals in the 1990s and early 2000s. But the conflicts of interest in their promotion are now much clearer than they were then. The so-called left wing think tanks were funded by large private companies to push their privatising agenda.

Martin Taylor, former general secretary to the secretive Bilderberg Group, donates big. He was also a top Goldman Sachs, Barclays and WH Smith executive and is understood to have been a lead driver of PFI in this country.

IPPR has had a bit of a makeover in the last couple of years, since the 2017 election. Grace Blakeley, one of their economists, is on the TV a lot and Tom Kibasi, the soon to depart CEO, has become very close to the top of the Labour Party. But although Blakeley has written a book about Financialisation, I understand that she rarely takes on her former employers – like KPMG.

On the subject of PFI, IPPR now say that it was a disaster — conveniently forgetting their own role promoting it.

They say that the Government should bail out the hospitals by buying the debt and issuing (cheaper) government bonds to pay it off.

It goes without saying that the hospitals should have been funded using general taxation in the first place.

Apparently EU accounting rules forbade UK from running the type of deficits that such programmes would have required.

But the actual solution, going after the fraudsters that pushed PFI in the first place, doesn’t seem to get mentioned even in the Labour Party.

Why do you think that is? Maybe because IPPR have infiltrated Labour Party thinking and are doing the bidding of their friends, (some of) the fraudsters over at the City of London.

More on the NHS Privatisation from Dr Bob Gill, GP and producer of the Great NHS Heist.

Sell-Off

This film was made in 2014

Awareness

If we don’t have a proper media, the only way any good decision making will happen for this country is if we take back control of internal communication.

Lobbyists, Public Affairs and Public Relations execs will always be paid to serve the rich. But they need to be called out more frequently, if not they will carry on winning the war. The stakes are high. Please share this information, if you can.

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Nudged in New Cross

Behaviouralist Bants

So I thought Skinner was the bad guy. The really mechanistic one. Or was it Watson?

Who said we are basically all the same and that our feelings and personal stories don’t really matter.

That there is no such thing as experience. That we are all automatons. The one who put his daughter in a box.

These guys were out of fashion when I learned about them in the early 90s.

But then there was a behavioural revival of sorts. Which in turn enveloped economics.

But behavioural economics said we are all predictably irrational. That classical economics is wrong but behavioural economics is right.

But there are assumptions in behavioural economics too.

Such as that we have limited time and limited information.

Gigerenzer shows that lifting the information and time caps leads to bad decision making – even for experts.

He says we all excel at fast and frugal decision making and that overthinking things induces a form of judgment paralysis.

So behavioural economics itself is quite wrong in terms of how it is applied outside the narrowest of conditions.

And refuses to admit it only thrives under controlled conditions.

But it’s about control.

Choice architecture. Avoiding decision fatigue. Favorably automating information flows. Forcing people into certain situations and pretending it’s both logical and exemplifying freedom.

Someone tell Oliver Letwin.

He’s kind of gone now. Still an MP but not quite the eminence grise he once was.

He spoke about his ideas at the institute of government in 2014, I think.

Outlining the Road from Mont Pelerin that his parents and he had trundled. And then he admitted that he now realised that Intervention does work.

What kind of intervention do you mean, Oliver?

Surely not state intervention in markets – not a liberal like you?

Nor QE, where central banks do the heavy lifting that austerity governments ought really to be doing.

Oliver Letwin revealed that he was taking about the nudge unit.

Though he didn’t mention the job centre – he was probably talking about over there too.

His wife Isabel was head of legal services at The Department of Work and Pensions and at the Department of Health. Oliver’s crackpot ideas will have been used on mental health patients and “under” & “unemployed” people who didn’t really need them.

Of course the machinery of government exists to prevent anyone really knowing the consequences of their actions.

Agnatology is another word for ignorance studies. Sociologist Linsey McGoey has a book out on the topic next year. The Unknowers. Watch out for it.

There is always a latest fad via which the old school asset stripping is masked.

Dark Pools

At book club we looked at Dark Pools. The rise of AI and high frequency trading. I couldn’t help but think when presented with these smart idealist insurgent American price scalpers – You Got To Pick a Pocket or Two!!!

So there. From Hangman on the High Street to Richard Thaler’s Nobel 2017 Prize for Nudging.

Cancer research UK has me thinking of the Crick Institute, big pharma and the next Goldman Sachs social impact bond. This a featured big under Cameron, Osborne and Letwin and was just an excuse to privatize the NHS and get volunteers to steer the handover.

Will Davies looks at some of this stuff in Happiness Industry and Nervous States – links between neo-liberal policies, technology, happiness and “well being” discourse. I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure big pharma has its place in there too.

There’s some great work being done on investigating all this but it’s pretty under the radar.

Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Once you start looking into any of this funny things start happening.

The Road from Mont Pelerin.

I met up with John Christensen of tax justice Network yesterday who told me about The Finance Curse, a new book out by Nicholas Shaxson.

There’s some research accompanying the launch, this Friday, which sheds light on the colossal cost to the UK of the Finance Curse.

Meanwhile check out his film The Spiders Web on YouTube and for updates on what the Tax Justice Network are up to check out the TaxCast with Naomi Fowler.

When discussing Mont Pelerin, I told John I once met Linda Whetstone, whose father, Anthony Fisher, set up the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

John asked me how a man who so frequently invoked freedom could make his money from forcing hens into cages barely big enough for them to even breathe.

The Macron Curse

It looks like Macron is going to copy Blair and go all out for neoliberalism.

God knows what that will do to the environment and the Paris Climate accord!

I’m meeting Chloé Farrand of DeSmogUK tomorrow and will report back where she thinks we are heading.

The finance curse has done nothing to improve the gender pay gap in London. So I wonder what the figures look like in France.

London Conversation

I’m planning on publishing more frequently.

The idea is that with heightened fluency might come some sort of style.

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Trump Era White Collar Crime: Who’s Chasing Who?

What is going on with Wall Street White Collar Crime in the Trump era?

Hedge Fund Managers Never Die

Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote an excellent article in The New Yorker this January.

Her book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, is all about the way the US New York District Attorney tried to bring down Hedge Fund Manager Steve Cohen.

This from CSPAN yesterday:

You’re Fired!

It turns out that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who attempted to jail Steve Cohen,  has since been fired by Donald Trump.

Washington Post Washington Post

Reaction

Bharara’s own performance as a prosecutor has prompted mixed reactions.

From praise:

To mixed:

And outright hostile:

 

This hedge fund ethics and compliance executive was also jailed by Bharara.

 

 

Reading List

For more on Preet Bharara in the New Yorker:

TV Show

The TV Show Billions is loosely based on the Hedge Fund Insider Trading Battles that creator Andrew Ross Sorkin has covered while working as a New York Times journalist, CNBC Squawk Box host and successful author.

 

This is how the show’s creators responded to Bharara’s sacking:

So what do you think is really going on?

Is Mr Trump really ‘draining the swamp’ — or just feeding the crocodiles?

 

 

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Dance to the Muzak – Bannon and Trump read the Crowd

According to Dale Purves what we hear is often determined by our Darwinian programming which filters out sounds that don’t help us reproduce.

Purves points to the McGurk Effect:

How does this apply to modern politics?

As mentioned in a previous post Lord Ashcroft has released Hopes and Fears based on polling he did in the US 2016 Presidential election.

In it he publishes a graph of how voters from different points in the political spectrum responded to controversial questions such as whether Barack Obama was born outside the USA or if Hillary Clinton is ‘culpable for murder’.

Here are some of the results:

Given the McGurk Effect, it’s not hard to see how easily clickbait, fake news and filter bubbles feed off our predictable irrationality and confirmation bias.

This cognitive perfect storm creates  blindspots in society that allow vast chunks of the population to ditch their own interests and plump for Trump.

The current US President once said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and he wouldn’t lose a single vote.

By reading the crowd and making the right noises, Trump has been able to say and do anything and still win.

The McGurk Effect doesn’t just apply to Trump’s high visibility and invincibility but also to the powerlessness of his voters.

Steve Bannon now supposedly runs America on behalf of the American People but very little about him is known. Bannon may have helped Trump tap into voters’ fears and anxieties but will he help deliver a better economy in time for re-election in 2020?

In an age of populism and demagoguery Bannon and Trump have somehow ended up delivering for Goldman Sachs — the ultimate con.

Trump, May, & Farage deliver the anti-establishment messages but it’s Steve Bannon, Rupert Murdoch and Goldman Sachs who really benefit.

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Trump hands keys to Goldman Sachs

Bins financial regulation & consumer protection

But there is some hope, Government Sachs are facing some resistance outside their offices.

It was said that US authorities under Obama were worried that European banks would behave badly if TTIP had gone through.

These new arrangements have restored their licence to misbehave.