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Nederlog


  August
3, 2014
Crisis: "Free markets", Pay, Censors, Israel, Intelligence, CEO Pay
  "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.
Why do we still honour free-market intellectuals?
2. Work and Worth
3. Israel's Military Censors Demand 'Prior Review' of NYT's
     Gaza Reporting

4.
American media's new pro-Israel bias: the same party
     line at the wrong time

5.
U.S. Intelligence Agencies Have All Been Busted Lying
     Again and Again
6. CEO Pay Is A Massive Scam, This Chart Proves It

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of August 3. It is a crisis log.

It also was compiled on a Sunday, but there are six items on various crisis issues, and while it is true that
item 1, item 2 and item 6 have a similar theme, it is also true that this is an accident, and they all have their own perspectives.
 

1. Why do we still honour free-market intellectuals?

The first item is an article by Nick Cohen on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
If the way we treat the past is a guide, the historians of early 21st-century Britain will look back at us and find significance in people and events we are failing to notice. Whatever else they choose to emphasise, however, I cannot believe they will ignore 14 September 2007. On that morning, Britain went from a mature modern democracy to a country that resembled a bankrupt banana republic. The crowds of savers queuing to pull their money out of the failed Northern Rock bank were a funeral procession marking the death of the old world. Margaret Thatcher's Big Bang, Gordon Brown's endorsement of light-touch regulation, and the wealthy's convenient belief that fantastic bonuses were no more than financiers' just deserts died that morning – not with a bang but a Weimar.
The question in the title is a good question, and I will turn to it below, but I suppose I must first explain the pun "not with a bang but a Weimar". I may be mistaken, but my guess is that most will not know its meaning: This consists of a reference to "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper", from "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot, whereas "Weimar" refers to the Weimar Republic, which was Germany after WW I and before Hitler's rise to power.

Anyway... to the question in the title. It doesn't apply to me - see the "we" - because I never believed it, but then my parents were marxists (real ones, not quasi-ones, as most I have seen) and I studied a lot. Here is my explanation, that Nick Cohen doesn't give because most of his article is in fact about the Northern Rock bank and its chairman.

I think it mostly comes down to the following points:

  • Few know much or anything about economy (in a more or less scientific way). [2]
  • Most are staunch proponents of freedom, indeed also when this ought to be somewhat qualified and regulated (again, few know much about politics). [3]
  • The conservatives (ab)used these two facts to set up a myth that combines "freedom" and "free markets" (a fallacy at least as old as Hayek in the 40ies).
  • In fact there are only markets because there are regulations; and in fact very much of the markets there are ceased being free with the arisal of big multi-national corporations that have oligopolies.
  • And in fact, the myth + the deregulations (also in part caused by the myth) makes it a whole lot easier for CEOs to appropriate millions a year, in fact for no reason at all (see item 2 and item 6, below).
  • In fact, what the CEOs and their spokesmen mean by "freedom" is their freedom to rob the non-rich from the millions that the CEOs and their spokesmen pocket themselves.
This is what the "free market" and "freedom" cries amount to: deceptive propaganda put forward to deceive the masses into believing that the CEOs of oligopolies deserve ten or twenty million dollars a year, whereas in fact this is only theft: no one is worth those amounts, at least not while his employees earn an average of $50,000 a year (which is more than most Americans earn) and do nearly all of the work.

And if "we" "honour" "free-market intellectuals" there are only two possible reasons: Either we don't know anything much about economics, politics, propaganda and deceptions or we like deceiving the many because we are CEOs or are working for them.

For more, see item 2 and item 6. (I didn't arrange it: these just happened to be there on the same day as this item.)

2.  Work and Worth

The next item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:

This in fact has a similar theme as item 1 and item 6, even though they each also have their own perspective. This starts as follows:

What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society. 

Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year.

How much does society gain from personal-care aides who assist the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities? Likely more than their average pay of $9.67 an hour, or just over $20,000 a year.

There are considerably more examples, that you may check out yourself, but the first main point is the opening statement - and even that seems somewhat slanted to me, for in fact it only applies to CEOs (and see item 6): There is NO relation between the income of a CEO and his or her qualities of any kind.

But if we consider all adult persons who work, it seems to me quite clear that those doing the real work, although as a rule they are paid little, normally on the fake ground that they have little formal education, do the things that are worthful for a society: Without their work there would be no society, or our lives would be a lot more difficult than they are.


The reason they do not stand out is simply that they make little money, and have few propagandists, and they are with many rather than few - but the few, however clever they may be (which CEOs rarely are: really clever people work in a university, also for a lot less pay), and whatever their propagandists falsely declare, cannot run a society, nor do the most important things in the society, which is the hard, common, little paid work that forms the backbone of everything.
[2]

After considerably more examples that I skip, Reich remarks, again quite correctly:
And what of writers, actors, painters, and poets? Only a tiny fraction ever become rich and famous. Most barely make enough to live on (many don’t, and are forced to take paying jobs to pursue their art). But society is surely all the richer for their efforts.
Yes indeed - and in spite of the fact that "our society" - quotes because it isn't ours, really: a few owe a lot; most owe nothing - is supposed to be about art and science, after the bellies are decently filled, at least. It isn't about art and science because the vast majority is very poorly educated and also not very intelligent - but this does not mean that the supposition that human society should be dedicated to art and science, after the economy works, is not a sound idea, and a much sounder than the current ideal of enormously enriching a few of the biggest bastards and handiest liars and deceivers at the cost of everyone, and hardly investing in art, artists, science or scientists (except where it is war - sorry: defense related).

The previous paragraph is followed by these two:

At the other extreme are hedge-fund and private-equity managers, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, management consultants, high-frequency traders, and top Washington lobbyists.

They’re getting paid vast sums for their labors. Yet it seems doubtful that society is really that much better off because of what they do.

Well... to me it is not doubtful: they're an enormous waste: They make the wrong decisions, for the wrong reasons, while awarding themselves huge riches, that they mostly stole from their much poorer underlings, on the basis of myths and propaganda - see item 1 and item 6.

But Reich has similar ideas, from the text that follows the above quotation.
Here is the last bit I quote, that is dedicated to the choices of "the best and the brightest":

In 2010 (the most recent date for which we have data) close to 36 percent of Princeton graduates went into finance (down from the pre-financial crisis high of 46 percent in 2006). Add in management consulting, and it was close to 60 percent.

Graduates of Harvard and other Ivy League universities are also more likely to enter finance and consulting than any other career.

Which means - quite correctly - that most of the supposed "best and the brightest" are not very bright (for then they had studied something else) and certainly are not very good (for they choose their financial studies and careers to help themselves, which in this society generally means: at the cost of others).

Anyway - this is good article, and you can read all of it by clicking the last dotted link. And also see
item 1 and item 6.

3. Israel's Military Censors Demand 'Prior Review' of NYT's Gaza Reporting 

The next item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Following its reporting of the latest events in the Gaza Strip on Friday, including available details about an IDF soldier captured by Hamas soldiers early in the day, the New York Times was contacted by Israel's military censor and told that future reporting related to the capture would need to be run through its office before publication.

The Times updated their original story by adding:

"...the military’s censor informed The New York Times that further information related to the soldier would have to be submitted for prior review. Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel. This was the first censorship notification The Times had received in more than two years.

Israel's policy of placing 'gag rules' over foreign correspondents is well known to reporters who have worked in the country, but rarely acknowledged by U.S. outlets.

I say?! An Israeli bunch of military censors insists on censoring an American newspaper?! Apparently on the understanding: "We Israelis get everything from your NSA, and so you should also conform to our censorship"?! (I must guess, for I find this an insane notion: That the Israeli censors have anything to say about the non-Israeli press.)

Jon Queally quotes a tweet from Freedom of the Press that advices a refusal to comply, with which I wholly agree: the Israelis have no right to censor anyone non-Israeli, at least. (And indeed I would withdraw from Israel, because one is being censored, rather than stay there to report on what the censors allow one to say: Uncensored news may be real news; censored news is always propaganda.)

There also is this:

The episode comes amid increased criticism of how many U.S.-based news outlets—including outlets like MSNBC and the Times which are often categorized as "liberal" by many—skew and bend their coverage in order to offer a narrative more friendly towards Israeli government and military policy.

Yes, indeed - and it may be these are censored by the Israelis as well, and don't tell.

4. American media's new pro-Israel bias: the same party line at the wrong time

The next item is an article by Chris McGreal on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Here are a few questions you won’t hear asked of the parade of Israeli officials crossing US television screens during the current crisis in Gaza:

  • What would you do if a foreign country was occupying your land?
  • What does it mean that Israeli cabinet ministers deny Palestine’s right to exist?
  • What should we make of a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who as opposition leader in the 1990s addressed a rally under a banner reading “Death to Arafat” a year after the Palestinian leader signed a peace accord with Israel?
These are contentious questions, to be sure, and with complicated answers. But they are relevant to understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.
Well, the first two are. Much as I dislike Netanyahu - the wrong man at the wrong place, surely - I am not much interested in his antics during elections in the 1990s. (And there is a note at the end of the article that the present quotation was substituted for the false quotation "Death to Arabs".)

McGreal has a lot of experience:

In years of reporting from and about Israel, I’ve followed the frequently robust debate in its press about whether Netanyahu really wants a peace deal, about the growing power of right-wing members inside the Israeli cabinet opposed to a Palestinian state, about the creeping air of permanence to the occupation.

So it has been all the more striking to discover a far narrower discourse in Washington and the notoriously pro-Israel mainstream media in the US at a time when difficult questions are more important than ever.
Yes, indeed. There is a lot more that I leave to your interest. I only want to comment on the following quote:
(...) Golda Meir’s line that Israelis can never forgive Arabs “for forcing us to kill their children”.
That is sick propaganda: Firstly, no one "forces" the Israelis to kill children: they chose to do so themselves. Secondly, to say that "Israelis can never forgive Arabs" is disgusting, for consider: Thirdly, what would Meir have said if Himmler had argued, in 1943, that the Germans can never forgive the Jews for forcing the Germans to kill their Jewish children?!

I don't know and Meir is dead, but I suppose her reply would be along the lines that the Germans murdered many more Jews than the Jews murdered Palestines.
This I grant, but it remains sickening and willfully false and distorted
propaganda for whoever tries to excuse his murders of children on the murdered children or their parents.

5. U.S. Intelligence Agencies Have All Been Busted Lying Again and Again

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:

This starts as follows (colors in the original):

CIA, NSA, FBI and other Intelligence Agencies Lie

CIA chief John Brennan was busted this week for lying to Congress and the American public by claiming  that the CIA wasn’t spying on the Congressional investigation into torture … when they were.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that he lied to Congress and the American people about spying, and many congress members, a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, and a constitutional expert all say that he should be prosecuted for perjury.

The NSA has been caught in lie after lie about surveillance on the American people.

An order from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has revealed the FBI lied to the court about the existence of records requested.

Yes, indeed. There is more there, and then there is this, again with colors in the original, and again only partially quoted:

Not Just Passive Lying, But Also Active Manipulation

Spy agencies have also been busted manipulating the Internet – including social media – in order to promote false propaganda and to stifle dissenting information. And see this.

And they have played a central role in carrying out false flag terror as well:

  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
It ends thus:
Postscript:  A senior NSA executive tells Washington’s Blog that the NSA can use information gathered from mass surveillance to FRAME anyone it doesn’t like.
Indeed - and as long the NSA is not tamed and rigidly controlled this is what one is going to see a whole lot more of in the none too far future: People who are prosecuted on very unclear "evidence" that somehow goes back or may go back to the NSA, that also may very well frame someone with fake information that gets accepted as "evidence". For no one can tell: The NSA works in secret, and has information on everyone, and also may have a lot of "information" about one, that can be used to frame one, without it being true.

6. CEO Pay Is A Massive Scam, This Chart Proves It

The final item is not an article but a video by The Young Turks:

This is a good and popular item of 6 m 1 s, and it is dedicated to the supposed incredible talents that are supposed (somehow) to justify the tens of millions CEOs get.

It is well worth seeing. The chart is in fact the following, that displays the relation between compensation of CEOs and results of CEOs, which was investigated by people only interested in the results and not in politics:



Which means that the result is: There is no relation between compensation and results - it is random.

And yes: CEO pay is a scam, and most CEOs are not talented in any major way at all, except perhaps as regards dishonesty and deceiving, and greed for money and power (as was already noticed by William Hazlitt: See his Corporate bodies). For more, see item 1 and item 2.

---------------------------------

Notes
[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.)

[2] I really owe this point to my marxist parents. Especially my father did not want me to go to university, because he held - with an IQ over 135 - that the skilled workers, of which he was one, are the only ethical persons, as a group, in the society he knew, and they should earn considerably more than they got, simply because they made almost everything.

For him intellectuals and CEOs both were betrayers of the ideas of equality of rights, and gobbled up much of the riches without any decent justification, as most of their work amounted to little or nothing - and I agree the vast majority turned out to be egoistic betrayers of equal rights for all (also if they spoke in favor of it: still they earned 5, 10, 15  times of those they said had "equal rights" as they had).

Incidentally, while I mostly agree with my parents, I should also say that their kind of worker is mostly a thing of the past in Europe or the U.S.: The modern economy is supposed to be "a service economy" (which I think is a very silly idea, but which has been implemented: most people in
Europe or the U.S. are supposed "to service" others, while the work has been exported to the poorer nations, since labor is much cheaper there).

And by "knowledge of economy" I mean you need to have read some great economics and some introductory books used in its study in good universities.
(In this sense I have knowledge of economy since a long time.)

[3]
By "knowledge of politics" I mean you need to have read some great historians and philosophers and some introductory books used in its study in good universities. (In this sense I have knowledge of politics since a long time.)


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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