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Nederlog


  August
18, 2014
Crisis: CEOs, Assange, Risen, Ferguson, American pay, Jews, lobbyists welcome
  "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
















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Sections
Introduction

1.
CEOs earning 143 times more than company averages,
     pay study shows

2. Julian Assange has had his human rights violated, says
     Ecuador foreign minister

3. James Risen calls Obama 'greatest enemy of press
     freedom in a generation'

4. Rebellion in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the Suburbs
5. Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your
     Blood Boil

6. What Do Jews Say About Palestine and Gaza?
7. President Obama (R) Destroys Lobbyist Regulations

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, August 18. It is a crisis log.

This file was written and uploaded a bit earlier than normal because I have to do some other things.
 
1.  CEOs earning 143 times more than company averages, pay study shows

The first item is an article by Juliette Garside on The Guardian (and this is about Great Britain):

This starts as follows:

The bosses of Britain's 100 biggest listed companies are earning on average 143 times more than their staff, according to data that exposes the growing imbalance between how the nation's workforce and its business leaders are rewarded.

The pay gap is widest at Rangold Resources, where boss Mark Bristow was paid £4.4m last year, nearly 1,500 times that of his average employee, many of whom work in the company's African mines. The study, published today by the High Pay Centre, also singles out marketing giant WPP and the retailer Next, both companies with large British workforces.

WPP founder, Sir Martin Sorrell, received nearly £30m last year, 780 times the £38,000 earned by his average worker. At Next, Lord Wolfson received £4.6m, while his staff, most of whom work on the shop floor, typically took home £10,000 – about 459 times less than their boss. The disparity at Next would have been greater had Wolfson not chosen to waive a £3.8m bonus and share the sum among the company's 20,000 staff.

As I said, this is strictly about Great Britain. As the article also makes clear, if the average pay of the top 100 biggest listed companies is compared to the average British salary, the difference is even starker: 174 times as much.

It is also worth noting that CEOs generally don't own the company that they are CEOs of, though they may, and also they often have shares.

According to me, the CEOs are paid at least 10 times too much - and I am on quite uncontroversial grounds here, for in Holland the norm in the 1970ies was that the difference between the highest salaries and the lowest salaries (note: not the average salary!) was around 15:1. That is, an average CEO earned maximally about 15 times as much as the lowest legally paid worker.

In Holland at the same time nearly anyone, asked and unasked, would chant to you that "everybody knows everybody is equivalent" or "everybody is equal", but I merely remark this to point out (1) how silly the average is and (2) how grotesquely false most of their general ideas are - but yes, back then the difference between highest and the lowest legal salary was about 15 to 1 (making the CEOs fifteen times as much value - moneywise - as the legally poorest).

Since I am not a believer in universal equality for all, I will assume, and indeed did assume then, that the difference is about fair, at least in a capitalist society, which is what Holland was and is during my whole life.
[2]

Here are the numbers for England going back to 1980:

The gap is widening, according to the High Pay Centre. In 1998, a FTSE 100 boss was typically paid 47 times more than their workers. Analysis of six major UK companies in 1980 found the senior executive was paid between 13 and 44 times more than their staff.
(...)
"When bosses make hundreds of times as much money as the rest of the workforce, it creates a deep sense of unfairness," said High Pay Centre director, Deborah Hargreaves. "Britain's executives haven't got so much better over the past two decades. The only reason why their pay has increased so rapidly compared to their employees is that they are able to get away with it.
This shows it was in 1980 roughly comparable to the Dutch situation in the 1970-ies, although a bit more unfair.

The present numbers represent gross theft: The CEOs are not any better, but indeed they simply got away with appropriating ten times as much, on average, in 35 years, also under any British government, whether conservative or labour.

You are being grossly and impertinently robbed by the rich, Brits. It is as simple as that.

2.  Julian Assange has had his human rights violated, says Ecuador foreign minister  

The next item is an article by Esther Addley on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Ecuador's foreign minister has accused the British government of having no real interest in finding a diplomatic solution to the confinement of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has spent more than two years in the country's embassy in London.

Ricardo Patino told the Guardian that he believed the UK was violating Assange's human rights by refusing to allow him to leave the building without fear of arrest.

"I do not think there is a will [in Britain] to find a solution," Patino said, acknowledging that without a political or legal breakthrough Assange could spend years living in a handful of tiny rooms at the country's small west London embassy.

"The British government hasn't taken any steps in that direction. We have made proposals, we have submitted documents, and all we have seen on the part of the British government is an increase in security to make sure Julian Assange does not leave the embassy, but there has been no political will or any steps taken towards a diplomatic solution to this.

"Everyone around the world knows that the rights of Julian Assange have been violated."

I agree with everything except the last paragraph, and I object against that simply because it is false: Most people simply do not seem to care much.

There is a lot more in the article.

3.  James Risen calls Obama 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation'

The next item is an article by Joanna Walters on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.

Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government.

Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War.

Risen recently failed in an attempt to have the supreme court review an order for him to testify, and acknowledges that he has exhausted all his legal options against the Justice Department’s pursuit of him under the controversial Espionage Act. In the face of incarceration that could come as early as this autumn, he is resorting instead to journalistic defiance.

Risen is clearly right. As Judy Miller, the last journalist to be incarcerated put it in 2005:

"If journalists cannot be trusted to guarantee confidentiality, then journalists cannot function, and there cannot be a free press," she said reading a statement to the court shortly before she was taken away. "The right of civil disobedience is based on personal conscience; it is fundamental to our system and it is honoured throughout our history."

Except that it is not anymore under the Bush and the Obama governments, which is also a sign Obama wants change, except that it is change in the opposite directions he promised.

There is considerably more in the article.

4. Rebellion in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the Suburbs

The next item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

NEWARK, N.J.—The public reaction to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., exposes the shifting dynamic of rebellion and repression in the United States. Spontaneous uprisings against the lethal force routinely employed by militarized police units will probably not erupt at first out of the old epicenters of unrest—Watts, Detroit, Harlem, Newark and others—but suburban black communities such as Ferguson, near St. Louis. In most of these communities, the power structures remain in the hands of white minorities although the populations have shifted from white to black. Only three of the 53 commissioned officers in Ferguson’s police department are black. These conditions, which approximate the racial divides that set off urban riots in the 1960s, have the potential to trigger a new wave of racial unrest in economically depressed black suburbs, and perhaps later in impoverished inner cities, especially amid a stagnant economy, high incarceration and unemployment rates for blacks and the rewriting of laws to make police forces omnipotent.

Yes, indeed. There is a lot more in the article, most of which is an interview with Lawrence Hamm.

5. Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil

The next item is an article by David Gilson on Mother Jones:

I should start with saying that while I got this link from the latest Mother Jones, the link is to a Mother Jones article of July/August 2011. But then the figures have not changed much, except that the rich got even richer. I reproduce the first chart:



The brief of it is that since 1979 CEOs earned 240% more; productivity increased 80%; and the average wage increased 10%. Now who would the US governments have been working for?

Anyway - there are 11 more charts in the article (and the situation got worse since 2011, that is, the inequalities got larger).

6.
What Do Jews Say About Palestine and Gaza?

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

Actually, I do not know what "the Jews" say about Palestine and Gaza, although I take it the majority supports Netanyahu. But then Washington's Blog doesn't speak about the Jews, but about some, and indeed from the group of which I have known quite a few.

Here it is from nearly the start of the article:

313 Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide have signed a letter stating:

As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia.

***

Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!

It is Open Letter Prose, I am sorry to say, but then that seems hard to avoid in those writing open letters. Also, I do not know about "right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia", but that may reflect more about me than about right-wing Israelis, though if they do, they seem extremely silly to me.

And I much doubt the wisdom of the last paragraph. I mean: I am against "all forms of racism", but the world has never been without racism, by many also. And I much doubt there willl be a boycott of Israel, and also doubt this would be wise, at least if you want Israel to survive.

But I agree the Israeli government did much very wrong in Gaza, and I also do not see any easy or fast solution.

7. President Obama (R) Destroys Lobbyist Regulations

The last item of today is not an article but a video by The Young Turks:
The video is 3 m 49 s and comes with the following text:
"President Barack Obama is loosening restrictions on lobbyists who want to serve on federal advisory boards, a White House official said on Tuesday, a setback to the president's efforts to tamp down special interest influence in Washington.

Obama came to office pledging to curtail the sway of lobbyists and banned lobbyists from serving on such panels, which guide government policy on a range of topics ranging from cancer to towing safety.

The president said he was doing so because the voices of paid representatives of interest groups were drowning out the views of ordinary citizens.

But many lobbyists felt they were being unfairly tarred by Obama's campaign to keep them out of public service. A lawsuit challenging the ban was initially dismissed, but a District of Columbia Circuit Court in January reinstated it."
Also, the lobbyists - who now are quite welcome because of their "expertise" - have renamed themselves to "government relations professionals", just as the professional propagandists restyled themselves to "public relations".

O Lord! Well, it is change, isn't it?

---------------------------------
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] Here I should point out that my parents were - sincere, real and honest - marxists, and the grandparents I"ve known were - sincere, real and honest - anarchists, which is something very few Dutchmen can truthfully say.

Well, one of the quite many reasons I gave up on marxism in 1970, when I was 20, was that I had concluded that the great majority of men I had known were simply not capable and not willing to live socialist or communist lives. I still think so, for this involves doing with a lot less earthly goods, and it is one of the major differences I have with "the left". Also, this opinion of mine is independent of the qualities and the honesty of the projected socialism and communism: Most do not want it, even if it were honest and fair, because most want to consume like the capitalist advertisements advertise.

It might be - and probably is, but no one knows - different if the average IQ were
30 points higher than it is, but that is simply assuming an impossible condition.


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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