This starts as
There is considerably
more in the article (and yes, The Washington Post was recently bought
by Amazon owner, billionair Jeff Bezos).
sociological experiment unfolds before our eyes starting this morning,
as the Washington Post unveils its new “PowerPost”
vertical, subtitled “Intelligence for Leaders.”
Fred Ryan, in a memo to the Post newsroom leaked to Politico, said
the new project would focus “on the subjects that matter most to
the people at the center of power.”
What we can learn,
therefore, is what the editors of the Washington Post,
themselves of course among the powerful, think their fellow powerful
people are interested in.
If I had a captive
audience of powerful people, mind you, I would expose them relentlessly
to the stories of the powerless — the people being squashed by their
precious status quo, the people scraping by at wrong end of the playing
field the powerful have tilted so steeply, the people going to schools
to which the powerful would never dream of sending their children.
But of course the Washington
Post’s goal here is not to bum out the powerful, or teach them
humility; it is to attract them, coddle them and fulfill their needs.
2. Proposed Torture Ban Includes New
Transparency and Oversight Mechanisms
item is an article by Sam Sacks on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The Senate is poised to
vote on a measure imposing a government-wide ban on torture — a
prohibition that would be bolstered by provisions to bring detainee
interrogation policy out of the shadows.
The move, proposed by
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would
require the Pentagon and all federal agencies to conduct interrogations
in accordance with the Army Field Manual,
which forbids the worst of the Bush-era “enhanced interrogation”
techniques documented last year by the Senate Intelligence
on the post-9/11 torture program.
Senators could vote on
the legislation, an amendment to the annual National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA), as
early as Wednesday, as they consider a long list of related
includes transparency and oversight mechanisms that would subject the
field manual’s section on human intelligence to public scrutiny, and
would compel the army to publicly release proposed changes to the
guidelines 30 days before they take effect.
The White House-created High
Value Detainee Interrogation Group would be required to determine “best practices” for
interrogation. And the Pentagon, Justice Department, Director of
National Intelligence and FBI would be required to reassess the field
manual every three years.
I say! This is fairly
Personhood Matters The next
item is an article by Tamara R. Piety, who professes law, on Truth-out:
This is basically a
reflection on the concept of a person in American law, in which I
learned that, in some sense at least, corporations are persons since
129 years now.
Then again, none of this justifies the recent decision of the Supreme
Court, which allowed billionaires to fund politicians as they please.
Besides, as the article also makes clear, the legal decisions of the
Supreme Court about corporate personhood
are almost completely unmotivated.
Here is the last
Voters do not need to be
legal sophisticates to know that something is wrong when corporations
have more rights than people do. Santa Clara laid
the foundation for this "corporate civil rights movement," which in
turn facilitates "oligarchic capture," a situation in which government
serves the interests of money over people. That is bad for democracy.
It may ultimately be bad for business as well. The time has come to
reassert common sense in the treatment of corporate "persons." That may
require more focus on
the personhood concept, not less.
Perhaps. But I do not think
law is a science, and I also do not think that anything other than a
physical body can be a person, while the advantage of prosecuting
a corporation can be had without making such an aggregation a person.
Then again, indeed I am not a lawyer.
Continued absence of the
ICD-10 G93.3 terms from the ICD-11 Beta drafting platform: Letter to
key Revision personnel
item is an article by Suzy Chapman on dxrevisionwatch:
This is only relevant
for people with M.E. (as I am):
Chapman published a letter (based on a mail to various medical doctors
involved with the WHO) which starts as follows:
At the end of May, a
frozen release was posted for the ICD-11 Beta draft.
I remain extremely
concerned that there are still no entries in the public Beta, within
any linearization, for the three ICD-10 G93.3 legacy
Postviral fatigue syndrome
Benign myalgic encephalomyelitis
Chronic fatigue syndrome
As you are aware, these
three entities (plus a dozen or so synonym terms) were removed
without explanation from the Diseases of the nervous system
chapter of the public version of the Beta draft, in early 2013.
more, click the last dotted link.
Durrell-Miller Letters, 1935-1980"
item is not about an article and also not about the crisis, but about a
book that I bought in the end of May of this year and finished
The book was
published in 1988 (and as usual I bought my copy second hand,
simply because that is cheaper, and the bookshop
is a very good one, since 1978 also). The link is to a review
by Vivian Gornick, "Masters of Self-Congratulation".
I did not like that review very much (it is mostly about Miller and
Durrell on women and on Jews) so here is my bit.
In fact, this is
about the first book I've read since June 2012 that I read with
few problems with my eyes. They are still not OK, but they are a
lot less painful than
they were for 2 1/2 years, and also I do not have many difficulties
with seeing anymore.
So all in all this is the first book of over 500 pages that
I've read in the last three years, and indeed I also read it rather
fast, both of which are considerable steps
As to the book: What
did I think of it? I liked it, but it is not great prose nor
great literature, and it will be mainly of interest to people who have
some personal interest in Miller or Durrell.
I do have a personal
interest in Miller since the late 1970ies, when I first read him,
though my interest is a bit abnormal, I guess: I am especially
interested in Miller on individualism and on mysticism (and on the last
subject he tends to be obscure).
Also, I don't have
much of an interest in Durrell, although I have read around 1980 most
of his "Alexandria Quartet" and all of "The Black Book": He was a
decent writer, but his themes are less interesting, and he also has the
for me that his writing often sounds a bit artificial. (I may be
this, but that is what I think, indeed also without disliking Durrell.)
There were four
things that struck me about the book.
A. Both Durrell and
Miller are rather interested in being famous (that also
brought them money, even though for Miller this took
to his seventies),
and for both fame is mostly problematic (many
and uninvited letters, for example). But both were
interested in being found
interesting, even if both, and especially Miller,
are convinced that in the end
only a few really understand them.
I do not have this,
but indeed I never was famous or well-known, at least
outside the confines of the University of Amsterdam. But apart from
better finances, I am not at all interested in being found interesting
by people who
do not understand me, and especially not on literary grounds.
Indeed, that is one of the main reasons, next to being Dutch and being
the dole since I was 34, that kept me from trying to become famous by
writing literature: Dutch writing is generally awful, and being in the
made publishing virtually impossible. 
B. After 60 or 65
both writers wrote less, and not at all as much as in
their 40ies, even though they kept up writing
letters to each other.
This is not to say
they stopped publishing, but it did get considerably less.
As for me: I guess I wrote the most since 2001 until now, mostly for the
website. (But that is a great lot: 500 MB of which I wrote more than
And a decent sized Penguin Classics has around 700 Kb of text. )
C. Both lacked a
university degree, and had little experience of universities.
This may seem like a strange remark, but I make it because of their
Miller is much interested in many swamis and other mystics, and Durrell
is interested in the Templars, and by and large I find those interests
- and in spite of sharing a strong interest in mysticism with Miller - difficult
to make sense of.
Then again: (1) the
only thing that might have stopped them was a study of physics,
mathematics or philosophy of science, and neither had the head for it,
and (2) I also think "a university education" rarely comprises much, so
sense they very probably did not miss much.
D. The last ten years
of Miller's life - from 1971-1980 - must have been
considerably less pleasant than it seemed to be:
Around 1976 he had
half an ear (one deaf, one with a hearing aid); one
none to good eye (the
other had died); a bad right leg and a bad left hip.
I didn't know that
because there is little to be seen about it from his writings or from
such correspondence as I saw. On the other hand: He was quite healthy,
in spite of considerable smoking and drinking, until he was 80, which
healthy years than most get.