30, 2013
Crisis: Dream Team, Privacy, US government * 2, M.S.
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Dream Team: Scahill, Greenwald Investigating NSA Role
     in US 'Assassination Program'

2. Privacy and surveillance: Jacob Applebaum, Caspar
     Bowden and more

3. US government on verge of shutdown as House votes to
     delay health law

4. Why Obama and the Democrats Shouldn’t Negotiate with

5. Multiple sclerosis researchers celebrate breakthrough
     gene discovery
About ME/CFS


This was produced some six hours earlier than usual, for no special reason other than that I could, and has four crisis items plus a bit on finding the cause(s) of M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis) that I mainly quote to show that there still is medical research of unexplained conditions, even though professor Peter Denton White (and company), who got famous through fundamentally false research about M.E., insists all unexplained medical conditions are explained as madness (possibly with another name, but that is the idea).

There may be a later Nederlog today, but that is not certain: I am a bit fit, comparatively, and it is the third day of fine weather in Amsterdam, which I currently can enjoy, which I could not do for more than ten years.

1.  Dream Team: Scahill, Greenwald Investigating NSA Role in US 'Assassination Program'

First, a piece by Jon Queally on Common Dreams, about a dream team:

As the title says, the dream team is a collaboration of Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. Here is the beginning:

Though they refused to offer many details on the project, journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald on Saturday night announced that they are now working together on joint investigation on how the U.S. National Security Agency has been involved in the wider overseas "assassination program" run by the Obama administration.

As the Associated Press reports from Rio de Janeiro—where Greenwald and Scahill attended the South American premiere of Dirty Wars, a documentary film based on Scahill's book of the same name—the U.S. journalists "known for their investigations of the United States' government" have now "teamed up to report" on how the vast surveillance network of the NSA operates in conjunction with clandestine operations run by the U.S. military or CIA.

"The connections between war and surveillance are clear. I don't want to give too much away but Glenn and I are working on a project right now that has at its center how the National Security Agency plays a significant, central role in the U.S. assassination program," said Scahill, according to AP, while speaking at a roundtable discussion at the Rio Film Festival.

"There are so many stories that are yet to be published that we hope will produce 'actionable intelligence,' or information that ordinary citizens across the world can use to try to fight for change, to try to confront those in power," Scahill added.

I certainly hope the last will happen. And I also think this is a risky collaboration, not so much because of the partners as because of the subject.

2.  Privacy and surveillance: Jacob Applebaum, Caspar Bowden and more

This is a link to a liveblog maintained by Charles Arthur for the Guardian - which means it is not so much an article as a list of points with brief explanations:
In fact, this is interesting, and I hope some of the points will be fleshed out as stories, and indeed here is one, by Alex Hern, also in the Guardian:
This is an interview with Phil Zimmerman, who is the creator of PGP aka Pretty Good Privacy. He says:

“When I developed PGP, all I wanted to do was to protect the content of the message,” said Zimmermann, who is now the president and co-founder of secure communications firm Silent Circle.

“I didn't think that it was even doable to protect the email message headers. And still don't, at least if you want to comply with email protocols.

He also has a new idea that circumvents the problem, and says his software still does the job.

US government on verge of shutdown as House votes to delay health law

Now I turn to the eventuality that the US government gets shut down. First, an article in the Guardian by Paul Lewis, that explains what it is about:
Here is the start of the explanation:

The US government is on the precipice of a historic shutdown that would result in hundreds of thousands of federal workers being placed on unpaid leave, after House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it involved a delay to Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms.

Democratic leaders declined to convene the Senate on Sunday, standing firm against what they described as the extortion tactics of their Republican opponents who they accused of holding the government to ransom for ideological reasons.

And that seems correct: The Republicans - or at least some Tea Party members of it - want to undo a law that has been passed and accepted, already three years ago, and are quite willing to use any means.

It's difficult to say who will give in, and this may be some of the consequences:

The impact of any federal shutdown would depend upon how long it lasts. Under contingency arrangements, essential services such as law enforcement, will be kept alive, although hundreds of thousands of federal workers would be placed on unpaid leave.

Social security and Medicare benefits would continue, and air traffic controllers would remain in place to ensure airports function. However museums, national parks and landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument, would be closed.

The military's 1.4 million personnel active duty would remain in post, but their paychecks would be delayed. About half of the Defense Department's civilian employees – about 800,000 people – would be furloughed, meaning they would be suspended from work without pay.

Federal courts would continue to function as usual for around a fortnight, after which the judiciary would have to start shelving work that is not considered essential.

The last time something like this happened is 17 years ago.

Why Obama and the Democrats Shouldn’t Negotiate with Extortionists

Having read the previous report, here is Robert Reich's reaction to it:
Here is the last paragraph:
Obama and the Democrats must not give in. They shouldn’t even negotiate with extortionists. As I learned the hard way, giving in to bullies just encourages them to escalate their demands.
The President gave in at the end of 2011 when Republican bullies threatened to go over the fiscal cliff and take the rest of the nation with them. At that time  they demanded spending cuts. Now they want to repeal a law they detest. If we give in again, what’s next? A coup d’etat?
Actually, I have no firm opinion on this, but this is mostly for lack of information. Then again, I agree with Reich that the Republican Party is hardly sane (but that may be a means - and indeed is - to get the less intelligent half of the population to vote for them).

Multiple sclerosis researchers celebrate breakthrough gene discovery

Finally, an item that is only here because I have 35 years of M.E., that definitely is not the same as M.S., if only because there are much more subsidies for research into M.S., but which has some similarities, and which also is an unexplained disease - which, as I have detailed before, makes you at present mad, at least in the opinion of the lovely psychiatric persons who wrote the DSM-5, since that will allow them to force you to take all manner of expensive pills that makes their situation very pleasant indeed.

The article is credited to the Australian Associated Press and is in the Guardian:
Actually, it doesn't have much information, but here is the start of the article:

A milestone has been reached on the path to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis, researchers believe.

A group of international scientists, including an Australian contingent, has discovered 48 previously unknown genes that influence the risk of developing the disease.


The discovery is a big step towards finding a cure and further treatment for the debilitating condition, according to University of Sydney associate professor David Booth, who led the Australian and New Zealand component of the study.

I doubt that: At least for the moment, it seems to add complications, but then any well-trained medic immediately trumpets about "improved chances for cures and treatments" as soon as he or she has a journalist in sight.

But apart from that, it is an interesting finding, that shows medical research is not dead yet, though according to U.S. psychiatry it should be.



[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to
facilitate search machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1. 1979:

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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