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.
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
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
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 also has a new idea
that circumvents the problem, and says his software still does the job.
“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.
3. US government on verge of shutdown as House votes to
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
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.
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.
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.
It's difficult to say who will give in, and this may be some of the
The last time something like
this happened is 17 years ago.
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
4. Why Obama and the Democrats Shouldn’t Negotiate with
Having read the previous report, here is Robert Reich's
reaction to it:
Here is the last paragraph:
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).
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?
5. Multiple sclerosis researchers celebrate breakthrough gene
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
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
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.
 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
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.)