November 19, 2012

Crisis: David Petraeus compared with Dick Fuld

    1. Petraeus vs Fuld

About ME/CFS


Today's Nederlog is a follow up on yesterday's
The case of David Petraeus

And I have today changed yesterday's file, namely by replacing the textual quotations from Wikipedia with pictures of these quotations, because I do not want all the links in the quoted text from my own site: Clicking on the pictures on my site will lead you to Wikipedia with all the links. (The images are of the Wikipedia aricle as it was yesterday.)

1. Petraeus vs Fuld

I have looked a little more into "the Petraeus scandal", as it is now known, and found two interesting facts.

First, about the life style of military commanders like Petraeus, including lower ranking generals - and my source is "Petraeus scandal puts four-star general lifestyle under scrutiny"
in the Washington Post:
Of the many facts that have come to light in the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus, among the most curious was that during his days as a four-star general, he was once escorted by 28 police motorcycles as he traveled from his Central Command headquarters in Tampa to socialite Jill Kelley’s mansion. Although most of his trips did not involve a presidential-size convoy, the scandal has prompted new scrutiny of the imperial trappings that come with a senior general’s lifestyle.

The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.

The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737, some of which are configured with beds.

This reminded me of the lifestyle of Stalin's generals, for which see Montefiore's "Stalin - The Red Czar". It sounds corrupted and probably is: "All power corrupts", as Lord Acton observed.

Second, from the same article:

Compared with today’s plutocrats, their pay is modest. In 2013, the base salary for a four-star general with at least 38 years of service will be almost $235,000, although federal personnel regulations limit their take-home pay to $179,700. Unlike top civilians in government, top generals also receive free housing and subsidies for food and uniforms. And when they retire, those who have served at least 40 years get an annual pension that is slightly more than active-duty base pay — this year it is $236,650.

Taking 1 dollar as equivalent to 1.413 euros (which is what I found on the internet) this works out as 166.312, which is peanuts compared to what Dutch bureaucrats and middle and upper management take home.

For example, the members of the board of directors in Dutch universities receive
223,666 a year, which works out as $ 316,040 - and rest assured these folks also have other perquisites. Also, the quoted figure is the maximum as proposed in the Dutch Parliament, which is the same as the salary of the Dutch MP, but in fact many of these directors, and even directors of simple colleges in Holand (which are not even real colleges of education, but schools for intermediate or lower education with inflated titles) receive considerably more.

In any case, a US four star general has less than 75% of the value of quite a few Dutch managers of schools - at least in terms of such numbers as I found on the internet. (*)

Then again, compared to Mr Dick Fuld, one of "
today’s plutocrats" (<- with interesting video-link illustrating the quality of the man) it follows that US four star generals take home virtually nothing. I quote from Business Week's "How Much Did Lehman CEO Dick Fuld Really Make?", from April 29, 2010:
In "The Wages of Failure: Executive Compensation at Bear Stearns and Lehman, 2000-2008," Harvard Law professor Lucian Bebchuk; Alma Cohen, a visiting professor from Tel Aviv University; and Holger Spamann, a Harvard Law lecturer, calculate that Fuld earned $522.7 million from 2000 to 2007, only slightly less than Budde's tally. The study found that Fuld earned $461.2 million of that total from the sale of 12.4 million shares of Lehman stock, more than the 10.8 million shares, including unvested RSUs, he owned at the time of Lehman's bankruptcy.
Mr Fuld - through his lawyer - did not deny these figures. So let's see the comparative human value (as expressed in money, widely regarded - certainly by many bank managers and bureaucrats ! - as the central value by which one can measure all things) of a US four star general and a US bankmanager:

    8 * 235,000 : 522,000,000 =
    1,880,000 : 522,000,000   =
    1880 : 522000                = 1 : 277 approximately.

We live in a sick and absurd world.


Update Nov 20 2012: Corrected a typo and inserted two links I forgot to insert


(*) I do not know whether this should construed as a plea for increasing the salaries of US generals, and indeed I am not American but Dutch.

I do know that the managers of schools and universities in Holland currently earn ten times more than they are worth, and should receive much less than many of them do, and indeed return part of the incredible salaries - paid from the Dutch taxes! - they have received, basically by theft. They could appropriate the huge amounts they did appropriate because the Dutch state pays schools and universities large sums to educate their students, maintain buildings etc, and then the bosses and managers, largely uncontrolled since generations, started imitating the bank managers, on the pattern: "If they can do it, we can!"

Also, I do know this is an illustration of the sick morality that has been introduced by bank managers. For which see above.

About ME/CFS (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:
1. Anthony Komarof

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)