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Nederlog


  April
20, 2014
Crisis+me+ME: Mills, CEO-pay, crisis, self (looking back)
   "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.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton
















Prev- crisis -Next
Sections
Introduction

1. C. Wright Mills Understood Why We’re So Lame
2. Extravagant CEO pay doesn't reflect performance – it's
     all about status

3. Looking back at the crisis
4. Looking back at my self

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of April 20.

But it's Easter and it is a Sunday, and I found only two
crisis-related articles. They follow below, and after that I have two sections in which I look back at the crisis and at myself - and in both cases I am not trying to chart everything or indeed much, but I do stand back a little and discuss a few relevant points.

(And you can skip my personal story.)

1. C. Wright Mills Understood Why We’re So Lame

The first article today is by
Alexander Reed Kelly on Truth Dig:
This is indeed about C. Wright Mills (<- Wikipedia), who lived from 1916-1962, which means he only got to be 45 and even missed The Sixties (which arose in 1963), but who is one of the few sociologists I really like and have most books of.

The article is brief, but contains a nice quotation of Mills, who still could write the following, in the 1950ies - and without being criticized for not seeing that "we all know everyone is equivalent" - which does seem to me quite apt for the great majority of bureaucrats I have known or have known of:
“The new Little Man seems to have no firm roots, no sure loyalties to sustain his life and give it a center. He is not aware of having any history, his past being as brief as it is unheroic; he has lived through no golden age he can recall in time of trouble. Perhaps because he does not know where he is going, he is in a frantic hurry; perhaps because he does not know what frightens him, he is paralyzed with fear. This is especially a feature of his political life, where the paralysis results in the most profound apathy of modern times.”
To be sure, this is about the bureaucrats of the 1950ies, but it seems also true of the same type afterwards, except that there grew more and more of them.

In any case: if you are interested in sociology, there are few who are more interesting than Mills and almost no one who writes as well, and the best you can do if you are going to read Mills is to read his "The Sociological Imagination" (<- Wikipedia), for this is a brief and very clear and very well written book on what it takes to be a good sociologist - and most sociologists, of whatever political color or motivation, are no good, as Mills himself also insisted.

And finally, by checking the last Wikipedia link I found something I did not know until now, namely that the International Sociological Association in 1998 has decided that
"The Sociological Imagination" was the second most important sociological text of the twentieth century, and indeed put up a list of ten books of which I have read seven (whole or in part - and the latter holds e.g. for Habermass and Parsons, who are major bullshitters in my eyes).

You can see them by clicking the last link but two (in the previous paragraph) - and the reason I did not know this is that I read Mills and most sociologists around 1970, when Mills was judged quite differently by most sociologists, namely as a sort of pinko fool who could or would not count, as a decent empiricist should.
(And I like especially numbers 1 and 10, in the ISA-list, by Weber and Goffman, apart from Mills.)

2.  Extravagant CEO pay doesn't reflect performance – it's all about status 

The next item is an article by Will Hutton on The Guardian:

This also has a subtitle that is quite adequate:

The rise in super-salaries has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with keeping up in a status race

Yes, indeed! To which it may be added: And this status race is between greedy Gordon Gekkos, degenerate would be oligarchs, outsized egoistic bureaucratic bullshitters, who as a rule are capable of nothing but administrating and stealing, both from their stock owners and from the people, while pretending to be able to lead "everything" as "alpha males" (which is complete bullshit).

Here is the beginning of the article:

Even American eyes are starting to pop at the sheer extravagance of executive pay. Last week, the New York Times published its annual league table of chief executive pay at the US's top 100 publicly quoted companies. The average has now climbed to $13.9m (8.3m).

That is nearly twice the average of 4.4m for CEOs within Britain's top 100. But since America's top 100 companies are, on average, around three times larger in terms of turnover than our own, one could argue that executives are even better paid in Britain.

A growing number of US commentators are asking, as are some of the braver remuneration consultants, just why executives in America need to be paid so much. The LA Times, for example, headlined one opinion piece "Obscenely high salaries are stark reminders of US wealth gap". The NYT talked about the dark side of executive pay driving US inequality. What do these men – and 91 of the 100 are men – actually do with so much money?  

Yes - and indeed I have been using "obscene" for many years for this sick level of greed. I do not mind much if someone - also if he or she, as is usually the case, is considerably less intelligent and less knowledgeable than I am - earns 15 times as much as I do, for I indeed am ill, and anyway totally uninterested in being a bureaucrat of any kind, for any pay. (But I do, while I am earning the minimum income in Holland, amuse at least 1500 persons every day with my sites.)

But if the pay gets more than 15 or 20 times the minimum, and now is 100 or 1000 times as much, I know this is only possible because I am living in a sick society, where the greedy few profit enormously at the cost of the many poor,
and not because they can do anything well, but only because they are at the top of some bureaucratic pyramid. (Note that capitalism worked quite well for quite a long time with most managers not earning more than 15 or 20 times of what the poorest earned.)

Hutton asks:
It is beginning to be obvious that performance has hardly anything to do with the sustained rise in executive pay. Why should British CEOs in charge of smaller, generally less complex companies be paid proportionally more than their counterparts in the US?
There are only two answers to that: 1. because they are greedy and egoistic individuals who 2. have friends who are just like them, abd who command things in politics. It is as simple as that. (Again: Note that capitalism worked quite well for quite a long time with most managers not earning more than 15 or 20 times of what the poorest earned.)

Here is part from Hutton's last paragraph:
There are remedies: what is needed is the political coalition to deliver them. The dilemma is that society needs successful business and politicians, especially on the left, do not want to be painted as anti-business. Yet something must be done.
I agree something must be done - but "politicians, especially on the left" who "do not want to be painted as anti-business" should be painted for what they are: Eager and greedy likes of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, who betrayed their background and the left, only in order to become millionaires themselves. (And yes: British Labour is full of them, as is Dutch Labour. At best they are "leftists", that is, men and women who pretend to be leftist, because that pays them the best.)

3. Looking back at the crisis 

I started writing about the crisis on September 1, 2008 - or to say it precisely: On September 8, but I very soon realized that I had written 5 earlier pieces in that month that also were about the crisis, and then decided to start the series on the crisis, which presently has over 450 html files, on September 1, 2008.

Actually, I do not know of anyone who has written as much on the crisis, and I suspect there is nobody - or if there are one or two others (that I certainly do not know about, but who may be there), these others have written only about aspects of it, while for me it is a crisis about the economy, health care, the education, politics and civil law, public debate and the climate - see my: "It's the deregulation, stupid", for deregulation is the main source of it: it is all about freedom, indeed, namely the freedom of the rich to exploit the poor, and without being kept back by law or politics or morals.

Also, the crisis goes on and on since 2008, basically because Obama likes it that way - and no, I am not blind to his being opposed by racists of the GOP (for that is what it is about), but I am also not blind to the fact that the only thing at which he excels is lying to the public: this he does a lot better than Bush Jr., but otherwise he is "Republican lite", as the American phrase is, judged by what he does rather than by what he says.

I also do not think it is Obama's fault that there is a crisis, but I do think it is especially his fault that all the wrong people were nominated, none of whom wanted to solve the crisis, and it also is especially his fault that bankmanageres are not prosecuted in courts, on the pretext that "their banks are too big to fail".

And it also is a fact that much of the causes of the crisis go back to the 1970ies and 1980ies, since when there also have not been any good presidents of the United States, and all of those who were presidents, since 1980 at least, served the bank managers, the rich, their parties and themselves, before considering the people, who elected them.

Then again, it seems as if a few things are changing now, in part (and mostly) thanks to Edward Snowden, and in part also  to the Supreme Court of the U.S., that in majority supports the banks and the rich, and also to the Koch brothers, who want to undo everything that was done since Franklin Roosevelt was president, and finally to Thomas Piketty, who may have changed some for some economists and some journalists, at least.

In any case, I find it mildly hopeful that one can say and read these days, even in decent  dailies, that are not marked for radicalism or leftism, that the American state is more like an oligarchy, where most who govern or are in Congress, serve the bankmanagers rather than the people, and also it is mildly hopeful that Snowden is mostly taken serious by ordinary people.

But it also seems to me things still have to get a lot worse if they are going to get much better - and the reason for me to write "if" rather than "before" is that it is much more of an if than a certainty.

4.  Looking back at my self 

I have M.E. since January 1, 1979, when I was 28, and I have gotten extremely little help all the time since, now that I am almost 64, which did teach me a lot about Holland and the Dutch, none of it positive, especially because I have been outspoken and honest, and because I know I can write and think, and have lots of things to say - but the great majority of the Dutch doesn't care, and doesn't have my values, and also doesn't have my intellect nor my interests.

What I have been relatively "happy" with is that I am Dutch, where the dole is better than England or the US, though that is indeed a very relative happiness, which also has nothing to do with me personally, or with my illness, which is now over 30 years denied by bureaucrats who deal out dole in Holland (and which has a lot to do with me personally: I criticized the Amsterdam mayors for helping the drugsmafia and themselves rather than do their duties, and such an inferior being as I clearly am, according to most Dutch bureaucrats, should not be allowed to do so).

I do not intend to chart the course of my disease here, except by saying that the first ten years, although quite difficult, were a holiday compared with the last 26 years, that were much more unhealthy after surviving four years of terrorism by the drugsmafia covered and helped by the Amsterdam mayors, and also were much more painful.

What I do wish to make clear is that my present position is rather different since 2012 from what it was before. There are two main reasons for that.

The first reason is that I got keratoconjunctivitis sicca aka "dry eye syndrome" in May of 2012, and that also got to be quite serious very soon, and kept me from sleeping well until September 2013: I had eyes that constantly felt like abrasions, and that allowed me to sleep no more than 4 to 6 hours a night.

This changed a whole lot for me, also because it came with something else, that is independent of it:

The second reason is that I found out that mB12 and metafolate help me, which I first got aware of late in 2009, when I learned there were high doses of hydroxy-cobalamine (one of the three forms of B12) available in Holland, which was a first in my knowledge.

Here I should say that I have been taking large doses of vitamins since 1983/84, when I first found out, quite accidentally, and without any prior belief, that large doses of B-vitamins,
especially, did help me considerably, and indeed seemed to have been curing me in 1985-1987 - after which I got hooked up in the terrorism of the drugsmafia against me, that was protected by the Amsterdam mayors, Amsterdam police and Amsterdam bureaucrats, and destroyed my health systematically from 1987-1991, by making me sleep far too little.

Since then I have taken vitamins on and off, and the reason I started taking them again, after not having taken them for several months, is that I always felt better, or at least less worse, when taking them, even though they are expensive. This has happened at least 10 to 20 times, which by my lights is sufficient confirmation that they help me, though from 1991 onwards my health was a lot worse than before, and there was no realistic hope for a cure (anymore).

Back to my taking large doses of B12-vitamins in 2009 and the beginning of 2010.

This did not help much, by itself, but when I combined this - following mostly Freddd and Rick van Konynenburh Ph.D., who both wrote on Phoenix Rising (but Van Konynenburg unfortunately died in September 2012) - with metafolate it did help me, especially after sorting out the doses of potassium I need to take, all of which took time, and seemed to really help me the first half year of 2012, and indeed enabled me to do quite a few things I had not been able to do for 3, 5 or 8 years previous, indeed all within 6 weeks to 2 months.

Then the
keratoconjunctivitis sicca struck, starting in May 2012. This was quite frightening for several reasons, one of which was that I knew that not getting sufficient sleep was an almost-certain predictor of great difficulties due to increased M.E.

Indeed, I stopped taking vitamins for several months (which did not help at all, but I wanted to make sure they did not cause the
keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and then slowly started again - and the one thing I did learn, which was quite unexpected, was that in spite of 15 months of too little sleep (and yes: I did write down all the hours I slept for 15 months, and it was maximally 6 1/2 hours per 24 hours all that time, and often less) my M.E. did not get worse. It also didn't get better, but in the circumstances this was quite amazing.

So this is part of the reason I am pretty confident large doses of mB12 (methyl-cobalamin) + metafolate + potassium have helped me, for they are the only difference that can explain why I did not get much worse while sleeping a lot less than I need (which is 8 hours, at least, every 24 hours).

Then again, I still have no strong beliefs on whether it will cure me or indeed help me getting much better, also in view of my age, which is nearly 64, although I still look (after 30 years of vitamins) a whole lot younger than I am.

Finally, why
my present position is rather different since 2012:

Until 2012 I had M.E. and nothing else, that I know of, or that my doctors had been able to find. Since 2012 I have three auto-immune diseases (of which the keratoconjunctivitis sicca is one, and by far the most serious) and also something that helps some, namely mB12 + metafolate + potassium - but I have no more known background condition that I can rely on.

This is rather confusing, also as the keratoconjunctivitis sicca still goes on, and I still need a specially tweaked computer, and regular drippings with Duratears, so as to be able to do more or less as I did before, although the autoimmune disease certainly is less and, albeit slowly, is still growing less.

Then again, on the whole my M.E. is better than it has been for 12 to 14 years, although it has far from disappeared (but I can cycle since last August, and for the first time in this millenium, that is, in fourteen years), and my eyes are still improving.

So on the whole my position seems a bit better at present than it has been since the end of 2000 (when I had ruined the little health I had, by trying to sort out something mathematical and logical).
---------------------------------
Note
[1] 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 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 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 quote from is quite pertinent.)

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 Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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