who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
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
America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your
6. What Do Jews Say About
Palestine and Gaza?
7. President Obama (R)
Destroys Lobbyist Regulations
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
item is an article by Juliette Garside on The Guardian (and this is
about Great Britain):
This starts as follows:
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
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
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.
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. 
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.
This shows it was in
1980 roughly comparable to the Dutch situation in the 1970-ies,
although a bit more unfair.
"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.
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
item is an article by Esther Addley on The Guardian:
This starts as
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
in a generation'
item is an article by Joanna Walters on The Guardian:
This starts as
The New York Times
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
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:
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.
in Ferguson: A Rising Heat in the Suburbs
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
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
Overworked America: 12
Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil
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
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:
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.
313 Jewish survivors and
descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide have signed a
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
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!
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.
Obama (R) Destroys Lobbyist Regulations
The last item of
is not an article but a video by The Young Turks:
The video is 3 m 49 s
and comes with the following text:
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.
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".
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."
O Lord! Well, it is change, isn't it?
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
 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
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
(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: