Thursday, May 11, 2006

Down and Out

“It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary ‘working’ men. They are a race apart—outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men ‘work’, beggars do not ‘work’; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not ‘earn’ his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic ‘earns’ his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is work? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course—but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout—in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him.

Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?—for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except ‘Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it’? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modern people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.”

from "Down and Out in Paris and London" by George Orwell, 1933


Eli Lilly, Zyprexa, and the Bush Family

“The most important story about Eli Lilly is that Lilly’s two current blockbuster psychiatric drugs—Zyprexa and Prozac—are, in scientific terms, of little value. It is also about how Lilly and the rest of Big Pharma have corrupted psychiatry, resulting in the increasing medicalization of unhappiness. This diseasing of our malaise has diverted us from examining the social sources for our unhappiness—and implementing societal solutions.”
Eli Lilly, Zyprexa, & the Bush Family

Bruce E. Levine, PhD, is a psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life from Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations and a World Gone Crazy (New York-London: Continuum, 2003).

“Whistleblower charges medical oversight bureau with corruption”
British Medical Journal July 10, 2004

Allen Jones, who worked as an investigator in the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General (OIG), gained widespread attention as a 'whistleblower' after voicing concerns about attempts by the pharmaceutical industry to implement a mental health screening plan, based on the controversial Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), in Pennsylvania.

Jones was escorted out of his workplace on April 28, 2004, after OIG officials accused him of talking to the press. Jones was relieved of his duties because he breached OIG guidelines that no worker may report confidential data. Jones indicates he chose to disclose his findings to the press precisely because of corrupt behavior by OIG officials themselves, alleging the OIG's policy was "unconstitutional."

Jones further alleged, in a wrongful termination suit, OIG officials had sought to "coverup, discourage, and limit any investigations or oversight into the corrupt practices of large drug companies and corrupt public officials who have acted with them."

Allen Jones’ TMAP Critique (January 20, 2004) on the net at

Study Finds a Link of Drug Makers to Psychiatrists
New York Times
April 20, 2006

“More than half the psychiatrists who took part in developing a widely used diagnostic manual for mental disorders had financial ties to drug companies before or after the manual was published, public health researchers reported yesterday.”

“In recent years, critics have said that the manual has become too expansive, including diagnoses, like social phobia, that they say appear tailor-made to create a market for antidepressants or other drugs.”

See also “Medicating Aliah”


The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
ruled on April 14, 2006, that punishing homeless people for sleeping, sitting or lying on sidewalks and other public property when other shelter is not available was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
(Edward Jones v. City of Los Angeles)
“Appeals Court Slaps L.A. Over Arrests of Homeless”

Official government document on the internet at:$file/0455324.pdf?openelement

Arcata’s anti-homeless ordinances have been successfully challenged in the cases of
People v. Porter T0310779M 2005
People v. Theodore Lewis Robinson T0304959M 2003