who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
Military Bans The Intercept
2. The Double Identity of an "Anti-Semitic"
3. In Iraq, A Bombing Program Designed for the Weapons
4. Now Your Food Has Fake
DNA in It
“Bought” Congress … So Credit Derivatives Are
Bigger than Ever
6. 'I Could Have Stopped
Them': Ex-CIA Lawyer Defends
This is a Nederlog of
August 21. It is a crisis log.
Maybe I should say (again) that I relay what I found; that I check
daily about 40 sites; that my titles in the crisis files generally
consist of a sum-up of keywords that are about what the diverse
sections are about; that the titles of my sections are the titles of
the articles they treat (a few times shortened: a title should not take
4 lines, in my opinion); that I always comment, sometimes briefly,
sometimes rather long; and that there is no hard and fast rule for the
length of my comments: it depends too much on my health, time, and
mood. Also, you always get my real opinions: I don't lie, and do not
need to please anyone.
I also think I am doing this well, and anyway I can't do it much
better. I have one regret, that I also will not change: The titles are
generally difficult to read, at least since I started reviewing on
average 5 articles a day, which happened in June 2013.
The only way I can do it better is by doing one subject per file, but
that entails too much work for me, and it also entails too many files.
So, while I am sorry for the titles, I can't do any better.
Now to the articles of today.
1. U.S. Military Bans The Intercept
item is an article by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say. "The land of the free is the home of the brave"?
The U.S. military is
banning and blocking employees from visiting The Intercept in
an apparent effort to censor news reports that contain leaked
According to multiple
military sources, a notice has been circulated to units within the
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are
prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain
classified information. The ban appears to apply to all
employees—including those with top-secret security clearance—and is
aimed at preventing classified information from being viewed on
unclassified computer networks, even if it is freely available on the
internet. Similar military-wide bans have been directed against news
outlets in the past after leaks of classified information.
In any case, this seems to me to be a prime example of military
stupidity. Some of my reasons are the following. First, in any case it
seems to me stupid to censor almost anything for almost anyone. Second,
the more so as soldiers risk their health and lives. Third, in any case
The Intercept will be read by a few, whether it is allowed or not.
Fourth, it suggests the U.S. has no rational answers to criticism, and
therefore wants to exclude its personnel from viewing it.
But OK - it has happened, and will probably not be taken back. The
inference must be that, according to the USA's military leaders, the
brave in the land of the free will cease to be brave if they freely get to know the truth.
Double Identity of an "Anti-Semitic" Commenter
item is an article by Lance Tapley on Common Dreams:
This starts as
There is a whole lot
more under the last dotted link, including tasteless examples, and I
can well imagine Common Dream got quite upset, also because the
anti-semitism made them loose support and money.
many other news websites, Common Dreams has been plagued by
inflammatory anti-Semitic comments following its stories. But on Common
Dreams these posts have been so frequent and intense they have driven
away donors from a nonprofit dependent on reader generosity.
Dreams investigation has discovered that more than a thousand of these
damaging comments over the past two years were written with a deceptive
purpose by a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated
by the website's discussion of issues involving Israel.
intricate campaign, which he has admitted to Common Dreams, included
posting comments by a screen name, "JewishProgressive," whose purpose
was to draw attention to and denounce the anti-Semitic comments that he
had written under many other screen names.
The last sentence of the article, that is not properly part of the
article, is this:
will explore in a future article what might be done about anonymous,
manipulative commenting on internet news websites.
I have entirely stopped reading comments: They are nearly all
completely anonymous; nearly all are stupid and uninformed; and the
trouble is certainly not worth the yield.
that is just my decision. In general, I can only think of one
way to keep comments:
the real name and an internet address where anybody who wants to write
a comment normally can be found. They do not have to publish
under their real name (that would be asking too much of ordinary
people, and might finish most comments) but they have to unveil to the
staff who they are and where they can be found (who may agree not to
use their knowledge except in case of misbehavior).
this may be monthly checked, automatically also: "Hello Peter Miller,
this is to confirm that your real name is Peter Miller, you were born
in 1956, and your alias is Aardvark on our website. Thank you for your
cooperation, the website staff."
3. In Iraq, A Bombing Program Designed for the Weapons Industry
item is an article by Tom Engelhardt, that I found on Common Dreams but
that originates on tomdispatch):
This is given to
explaining the bright American future: The military-industrial
Wikipedia) sells weapons to parties that are destroyed by weapons it
has sold to other partier. Surely, a win-win situation, in terms of
market-oriented thinking, that is guided by profits.
it thus (amongst considerably more):
To complete the circle,
both the Iraqis defending Baghdad and the Kurds now desperately need
new weaponry, and Washington is already starting to supply
it in the north and soon undoubtedly in the south as
well. Can there be any question that this is a win-win situation
for the American arms industry and the military-industrial
complex? It gives new meaning to American bombing campaigns that,
since 1991, have proven to be disastrous regional destabilizers.
Think of this as an innovative profit center for American industry and
a jobs-creation exercise of the first order: we provide the weapons, we
destroy them, then we provide more.
Food Has Fake DNA in It
This starts as follows:
item is an article by Tom Philpott on Mother Jones:
Like many novel
technologies in this age of TED Talks and Silicon Valley triumphalism,
synthetic biology—synbio for short—floats on a sea of hype. One of its
founding scientists, Boston University biomedical engineer James Collins,
has called it "genetic engineering on steroids." Whereas
garden-variety genetic engineers busy themselves moving genes from one
organism into another—to create tomatoes that don't bruise easily, for
example—synthetic biologists generate
new DNA sequences the way programmers write code, creating new
Actually, at the moment
it seems to be mostly hype, except for some things like vanilla
flavorings, but surely synbio has a large future (if mankind has a
So, why is this here? For the following reason, that is related to the
fact that I am ill now for 36 years with a disease that is still
possibly go wrong with vanilla flavoring brewed by DNA-manipulated
yeast? Well, like genetic engineering, synbio falls into a regulatory
void that often allows products to go from lab to grocery store with
little or no oversight. Evolva's vanillin and resveratrol will likely
sail through the Food and Drug Administration's approval process—and
end up in your food without any special labeling—because they are
versions of already-existing compounds and thus have "generally
recognized as safe" status.
Actually, they are not
precisely because they are completely new versions. Here is the
end of the article:
Now, you may
consider creating new DNA to be an entirely different matter, but
whether you find it creepy or cool ultimately doesn't matter: Because
synbio foods won't have to be labeled as such, you'll likely soon be
eating them—without even knowing it.
Until you get an
unknown disease that won't go away - but then, if it somehow depends on
the new DNA in your food, you will never find out.
(By the way, a side-remark: This is true of the USA. I do not know
whether the same situation is true in Europe.)
Big Banks “Bought”
Congress … So Credit Derivatives Are
Bigger than Ever
item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as
follows (colors in the original)
The Causes of the 2008 Crisis Have Never Been
We’ve noted for years
that Washington never
reined in the risky derivatives which helped cause the 2008 crash …
and so the big
banks hold more derivatives than ever.
We’ve also noted that the
financial services industry has bought
and sold Congress.
Indeed, Washington never
fixed the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.
Yesterday, Janet Tavakoli
gave a good
overview of the problem to CBC:
We threw money at the
banks, and it all came back to Washington in the form of campaign
And we changed our
campaign contribution law sot hat corporations could be considered
people. And banks hired the relatives of people who work in
So they pretty much
bought Congress. So we can’t really rely on them for reform.
The low rates – and the
changes we made to accounting rules – benefited the banks, and helped
them to gloss over all of these problems on their balance sheets, which
were never solved.
And in addition, it
helped the people who were in financial engineering – the financiers –
to do leveraged buy-outs, all debt-based, where basically they were
raising debts to pay themselves huge dividends.
And all of the low
rates enabled that kind of activity and that kind of leveraging up
And it shows that “made
in the USA” … the complete irresponsibility of the in the financial
And we will pay the
price. It’s hard to say when. But when you see this kind of leverage
and this kind of opacity, it doesn’t end well.
better internal controls [at the big banks]. And they have a
bigger, more opaque, more complex market with more players.
Actually, that was
all of the article, but this does seem to be the right kind of
analysis. Also, I have to say that at present, if I had to make a
choice between a major collapse and an NSA-surveilled future, my choice
is the first, provided both the banks and the NSA get slaughtered after
the next collapse.
Could Have Stopped Them': Ex-CIA Lawyer Defends Waterboarding Decision
item is an article by Holger Stark on Spiegel On Line:
This is an interview
with the former top CIA lawyer John Rizzo. I will only quote one bit
from it, which is this - and Rizzo is talking:
So that's when I decided
to seek definitive legal advice from the US Department of Justice about
whether the planned interrogation techniques violated the anti-torture
statute. If the Justice Department had come back with the conclusion
that these did constitute torture, then we would not have carried them
But the Department of
Justice, who do not decide these things, said - I assume - it
considered waterboarding "enhanced interrogation", and that
terminological change made all the difference.
At least, according
to Mr. Rizzo, who is too slick to be caught, and here wriggled himself
out of it, by blaming the responsibility in part to the Department of
For what it is worth:
My own guess about 9/11 is now that it was a false flag operation set
up by Cheney and Rumsfeld, but I agree that there is no conclusive
evidence, and that this is just my opinion.
item today is an article by Andrew Scull in The Times Literary
Supplement, which is a review of "The story of pain" by Joanna Bourke:
It is here because I have had
a lot of pain, though this was comparatively mild: I am ill since
1.1.1979, and meanwhile have had some 30 years of nearly
constant muscle agues in my arms and legs; I have had several years of
rheumatic pains in my hands; and I have had two years of pains in my
eyes (that still persist, though it is much less than two years ago).
However, then I read this, from the beginning of the article:
But pain, Joanna
Bourke insists in her new book, is essentially social, an aspect of
sentient existence that assumes many guises. It is not something that
has a single essence or is simply an intrinsic quality of raw sensory
experience, but rather a complex cultural phenomenon, a way of
perceiving experience that is shaped by language and history. “There
is”, she argues, “no such thing as a private pain-event”, in much the
same was as there is no such thing as a private language (she borrows
here from Wittgenstein).
I am sorry, but that is major
rot - and yes, I have excellent degrees in psychology and
philosophy, and I see Ms Bourke, who describes herself as "a socialist
feminist" has a degree in history.
Also, Andrew Scull tells us that Bourke's technique of writing is very
The same stories,
even the very same quotations from Bourke’s sources, reappear at
intervals – sometimes quite short intervals. The American neurologist
Silas Weir Mitchell tells us on p23 that “torture clogs the very source
of thought” and then he tells us the same thing nine pages later.
Wittgenstein informs us on p7 that “mental language is rendered
significant not by virtue of its capacity to reveal, mark, or describe
mental states, but by its function in social interaction”. He pops up
to tell us the same thing in the same words sixty odd pages later.
So, as this is a book by
a postmodernist feminist with a Christian background, all I will say is
that I read the whole review, and this is a book you safely can miss.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
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 one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: