Badshah Masala launched their new ad campaign #HumareYahan        


by Shrutee K/DNS
National: Badshah Masala, this Independence Day, has launched their new ad campaign #HumareYahan, aiming to decrease this divide and pushes notice to how similar these two sister countries are. Badshah Masala believes that despite all the differences we may have, food transcends all boundaries and brings people from different places together. 
In this video, Manno is a traditional Indian mom whose daughter, Dimple, has just returned from US after finishing her studies. Dimple, whilst showing Manno pictures from her time in US, also shows her a picture with her Pakistani friend, Saad. Manno immediately points to Saad being a Pakistani, but is shunned by her young and liberal daughter.  
Dimple then mentions that she wants to meet Saad, an idea which Manno isn't too fond of. After much deliberation, Manno asks Dimple to invite Saad over for dinner so that she can keep an eye on him. Once Saad comes over for dinner, he amazes Manno with what he does.
This video is a testimony to how much the younger generation can influence their parents in breaking stereotypes that have prevailed in modern India. The campaign also communicates a broader message that gets us thinking as to how Indians perceive foreign nationals. It stresses on the importance of respect for an individual regardless of his or her racial background and nationality, and the importance of not judging a person based on our own preconceived notions and existing stereotypes.
Kailash Jhaveri, Managing Partner of Jhaveri Industries, said,”As we are inching closer to a 70th Independence Day, there is no better time to contemplate the ties between these two countries. We are trying our best to close this divide by starting a conversation over something that no one would decline - Swaad.” 
Hemant Jhaveri, Managing Partner of Jhaveri Industries, adds, “Badshah Masala has always been involved in forming connections through food. From the very beginning of this company, we have looked at food as something that can bring people from everywhere together. We are glad that we are taking this opportunity to provide another outlook to the current scenario that our country is facing.” 
Anushree Pacheriwal, Creative Head of Gemius, said, “It has been an incredible experience working for this campaign. From the very start, we were certain that this message needed to be out there, and that shaped the direction that this campaign took.”
The campaign is by Badshah Masala conceptualised by agency Gemius and creative head Anushree Pacheriwal, Story, Saurabh Pacheriwal. The production house is 50mm Media Productions and Director & DOP is Saurabh Desai and Ankit Mavchi. Gemius is co founded by Saurabh Pacheriwal, a marketing professional and Anushree Pacheriwal, a creative professional. Its clientele includes Badshah Masala, World Economic Forum, Just In Time, Baggit, TEDx events amongst others.
·       Campaign Link:  https://youtu.be/2LFIuXf1Gqo
Credits:
Client: Badshah Masala
Managing Partners: Kailash Jhaveri, Hemant Jhaveri
Agency: Gemius
Managing Director: Saurabh Pacheriwal
Creative Head: Anushree Pacheriwal
Account Management Team: Tanvi Khandelwal, Abhishek Doshi, Varsha Tanna
Story: Saurabh Pacheriwal
Production House: 50mm Media Productions
Director & DOP: Saurabh Desai & Ankit Mavchi
Production Team: Fenil Patel, Siddhant Shah, Nehal Trivedi, Jigar M, Setu U


          Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)        

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)

~A culturally enriching and riveting morning hosted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai~

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 8, 2017 : In April 2017 in conjunction with the visit to India of the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri’ Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) signed a MoU with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA). Taking this MoU forward, on the morning of August 8th, MPOC and Mumbai Dabbawalas flagged off an event to create awareness for Malaysian Palm Oil and its benefits.

The event took place at the Lower Parel Bridge, where Dabbawalas wore the T-shirts and topis branded with MPOC message. They then delivered the dabbas carrying a booklet of recipes of dishes that can be cooked in palm oil and the benefits of using palm oil. The Dabbawalas are in a unique position to promote MPOC and raise awareness to the positive nutritional attributes of Malaysian Palm Oil. This becomes particularly useful in Indian cuisine as most dishes are cooked in oil. Substituting for a healthier oil can do no harm, besides besides providing the added bonus of eating delicious food cooked in a healthy oil that is nutritious for the body.

To kick off this event, Dr. Kalyana Sundaram, CEO of MPOC, was present, encouraging the use of palm oil and showing appreciation to our Dabbawalas for their exceptional work. The morning was most enjoyable, entertaining and culturally riveting as some of Maharashtra’s best dancers performed the traditional Lezim Dance, a true delight to have watched! For those unaware of the Lezim Dance, it is a Maharashtrian folk dance performed to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kalyan Sundaram, CEO, MPOC, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. Dabbawalas have been an integral part of this city and they define what Indians stand for: hardworking, responsible and efficient. They work relentlessly with a smile on their face, be it rain or storm. Malaysian Palm Oil has been a very important part of the Indian diet and with this unique initiative we wish to create awareness for this wonderful oil and its several health benefits. Our association with the Mumbai Dabbawalas allows us to spread the message of healthy cooking to a large number of households and encourages a healthier cooking lifestyle”


Mr. Subhash Talekar, Association Spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said “We Dabbawalas unfailingly deliver thousands of dabbas to hungry people daily, they are undoubtedly the best people to directly reach out to households and create awareness about palm oil and the health benefits of using it. This is a very exciting new chapter, and we are glad to be partnering with MPOC.”

India is the world’s largest importer of cooking oils. Palm oil constitutes about two-thirds of India’s steadily increasing vegetable oil import. The price, in comparison to competing oils and the proximity of origin, Malaysia, has made Malayisan Palm Oil a highly preferred oil. Now the Dabawallas have taken it upon themselves, with the help of MPOC, to inform families about the benefits of palm oil and how exquisite food can be cooked in palm oil in alternative to other vegetable oils.

Amongst some of the benefits we came to learn about during the event was that palm oil is rich in natural chemical compounds essential for health and nutrition. It has a rich source of carotenoids that are rich in Vitamin A, a potent natural antioxidant, Vitamins D, E, K, fatty acids, and other important fat-soluble micronutrients that boost the human immune system. The health benefits from using palm oil are tremendous - it reduces chances of Cancer, protects against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and helps children with Vitamin A deficiency.

The oil is great for cooking; it is of vegetable origin, making it free of cholesterol and apt for vegetarians, vegans, and Jains. Furthermore, the oil has a neutral flavor - you needn’t worry about changing tastes, it does not oxidize easily – making it perfect for frying food, and produces less gummy materials and helps in the cooking area maintaining a non-greasy surface; so, most bakers prefer to use a palm-based margarine for baking goods.

With people now more conscious about their health and food habits, palm oil is definitely the healthier choice to make whilst cooking and a step towards healthier bodies and practices.  What better way to create awareness than directly reaching out to the households through our Dabbawalas.


Note to Editors:
MPOC is a Council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.  Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian palm oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.

The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world, mainly in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC)  to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.
                                                                                                             

The plantation industry, particularly palm oil, is one of the main pillars of the Malaysian economy.  The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export of raw commodity and valued-added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings for Malaysia and accounted for 33% of the world’s palm oil production and 39% of total palm oil exports.

          Swipe launches KONNECT at Rs. 4,999 Exclusively on Snapdeal        

by Shrutee K/DNS 

India, 4th August 2017: Swipe Technologies, India’s leading mobile internet technology company, is all set to unveil brand new member in its popular KONNECT Series - Swipe KONNECT Power.  The slim and sturdy smartphone sports 5” HD IPS display and boasts enormous 3000 mAh battery.  The compelling feature rich Swipe KONNECT Power is competitively priced at Rs. 4,999 only. It will be available exclusively on Snapdeal from 7th August 2017.

Swipe KONNECT Power is driven by a powerful 1.5GHz quad core processor that runs on Android 6.0 OS for lag-free multi-tasking smartphone experience. It comes with 2 GB RAM plus 16 GB internal memory, expandable up to 32 GB and OTG support enhances the storage options. The new 4G VoLTE-ready KONNECT Power features 5” HD IPS display that allows users to enjoy cleaner & sharper visuals at the highest resolution. Besides, this device has a very sleek body that makes the phone very stylish in its looks. That’s not all. For the photography enthusiast, KONNECT Power comes with 8MP Rear Camera and 5MP Front Camera. The camera app also comes with lots of features to enhance the photography. The new phone gives an extended company to the user with its 3000 mAh battery, which is installed keeping in mind the daily lifestyle and usage patterns of young smartphone users.  Commenting on the launch of KONNECT Power, Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Swipe Technologies said: “Fulfilling aspirations of demanding Indians at affordable price is what differentiates Swipe from other smartphone players.  Our latest creation is yet another affordable device under the KONNECT series – KONNECT Power. It is designed for the aspiring youth of the country who requires long lasting battery that too with 2GB RAM yet the phone is light on pocket.”
Vishal Chadha, Sr.Vice President – Business said: “As part of our commitment to the vision of Digital India, we are keen to bring our consumers access to compelling technology products at great value. With Swipe Konnect Power, we are confident that this newest exclusive addition to our smartphone assortment will be well received by our customers”
Swipe KONNECT Power comes with a gorgeous design, and it has a smoother touch experience as well as comfortable grip. Customers will be able to enjoy a greater multimedia experience, as they can capture stunning photos and videos in virtually any lighting condition.
About Swipe Technologies:
Swipe Technologies is an innovation-centric mobility solutions company, having started its operations in July 2012. Within a short span of time, Swipe has become the leading tablet and Smartphone maker in India.   Swipe was started with an aim to bring exciting devices in the growing Indian market and today, it is the leading consumer brand with key innovations across products, pricing and customer support. Founded by technocrat Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Swipe raised $5 million in May 2014 from the Venture Capital firm Kalaari Capital. In the last three years, Swipe has won a number of accolades including the “Top 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurs of India” by The Economic Times, the “Most Innovation-driven Company in India” by World Brand Congress, and the “Most Innovative Start-up” by Franchise India, the “Best Integrated Campaign” by the World Brand and Congress& the “Best Youth Brand Tablet” by CNBC. Also, Swipe’s young founder Mr. Shripal Gandhi has been recognized as the “CNBC Young Turks” for his breakthrough strategies and innovation in the field of mobile communication technologies. For details, logon to www.justswipe.com

          Pausa pranzo        
Torno a casa. Metto una pentola d'acqua sul fornello e lo accendo. Poi prendo un dischetto e lo metto nel lettore.

Beethoven, Sonata op. 106 nell'orchestrazione di Felix Weingartner. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, diretta dallo stesso Weingartner. Incisione storica, del 1930. Riversata su CD, edizione economica.

Che idea bislacca, trascrivere l'Hammerklavier per orchestra. L'opera, così, non funziona. E' incongrua, fuori posto. O forse è l'arrangiamento che non va bene: tutto in legato! Come no: siccome al piano non si può fare e con l'orchestra sì, allora mettiamo il glissando un po' dovunque...

Non importa. L'op. 106 è bellissima anche così. Beethoven è l'unico musicista che riesce a commuovere anche nelle esecuzioni più impossibili, e nelle situazioni d'ascolto più precarie.

Audiocassette in edizioni da autogrill della Quinta o della Sonata al chiaro di luna ascoltate in auto, d'estate, andando verso la spiaggia, coi finestrini aperti e quasi tutta la musica che si perde nel rumore...

C'è qualcosa di disneyano, nell'orchestrazione anni '30 di Weingartner. Quando ho visto per la prima volta Fantasia? Non ricordo, ma dovevo avere quattro o cinque anni. A Milano. I miei mi portarono al cinema, sicuramente, e qualcosa deve essersi depositato profondamente nella mia memoria. La Sesta sinfonia mi sembra di conoscerla da sempre.

Questa, però, è preistoria. La storia dei miei ascolti musicali comincia invece a metà degli anni '80. Avevo (o meglio, i miei genitori avevano) un magnetofono da tavolo a cassette, di quelli che si usavano per registrare pro-memoria e appunti vocali. Io lo usavo per sentire musica. Le cassette le avevo comprate all'uscita da scuola, prima di prendere il treno che mi avrebbe ricondotto a casa.

Il corso principale della città dove frequentavo il liceo scientifico aveva due negozi di dischi. Quello della signora Esposito era il più fornito: aveva dei meravigliosi cataloghi delle principali case discografiche. I cataloghi, però, mi mettevano in imbarazzo. Avrei voluto consultarli per ore, ma non stava bene: a un certo punto bisognava scegliere e ordinare. E poi, la cassetta arrivava dopo settimane, e a quell'epoca ero molto impaziente.

Il negozio del signor Cavo (dischi ed elettrodomestici, nomen omen) era più piccolo, ma aveva la particolarità di essere praticamente sempre aperto. Arrivavi col treno la mattina presto e trovavi già la saracinesca alzata, oppure perdevi il primo treno del ritorno, e potevi comunque rifugiarti una mezz'oretta da Cavo a contemplare lo scaffale con le cassette, senza essere disturbato (era, e per quanto ne so è ancora, un uomo di una discrezione esemplare, cosa non frequente in provincia). Potevi stare lì davanti quanto volevi prima di scegliere cosa comprare, oppure anche uscire senza aver preso niente, con un semplice grazie e arrivederci.

Ma, quando avevo diecimila lire in tasca, mi piaceva sempre entrare da Cavo per poi uscirne con una cassetta di Mozart o di Beethoven ben sistemata in mezzo ai libri - che tenevo orgogliosamente legati con una cinta elastica, per distinguermi dai miei compagni che sfoggiavano zainetti Invicta dai quali, durante l'intervallo, tiravano fuori i loro dischi di musica pop.

Intanto l'acqua bolle. Mezzo cucchiaino di sale. Apro la dispensa: pennette rigate o spaghetti? Opto per gli spaghetti: cuociono prima.

"La città dove frequentavo il liceo". Ho già scritto il nome di questa città? No. Lo scrivo adesso: Locri. Provincia di Reggio Calabria.

Da una vita, la semplice domanda "Di dove sei?" mi obbliga a fornire spiegazioni complicate e, suppongo, noiose, e anche poco convincenti. Ai tempi del liceo la risposta era semplice: di Africo. Se l'interlocutore era discreto, bastava così. Altrimenti scattava l'altra domanda: "E perché parli con l'accento milanese?" - Sai, la mia famiglia abitava a Milano, poi ci siamo trasferiti in Calabria. "Ah, allora i tuoi sono milanesi". - Niente affatto, siamo calabresi da chissà quante generazioni; ma i miei erano emigrati a Milano alla fine degli anni '60. "E come mai siete tornati qui?" - Uffa...

Da quando sto al Nord, la spiegazione è diventata ancora più involuta e implausibile. Se ci penso, mi vedo in un commissariato di polizia, seduto davanti a una lampada da tavolo puntata addosso a me, mentre l'ispettore, nascosto in una minacciosa penombra, mi inquisisce. "Ricominciamo daccapo. Di dove sei?" - Di Vigevano. "Ma non parli con l'accento di Vigevano". - No, perché sono calabrese. "Ma sul documento c'è scritto che sei nato a Milano". - Sì, perché all'epoca i miei abitavano lì. "Ah. E adesso dove abitano?" - Ad Africo. "Prima hai detto a Bianco." - Sì, anagraficamente stanno a Bianco. Sono due paesi confinanti. In realtà casa dei miei è tra Africo e Bianco, sulla statale. Ma comunque è più vicina ad Africo che a Bianco, anche se, sulla carta, è nel territorio di Bianco. Però i miei sono di Africo. "Ricominciamo daccapo..."

Intanto l'op. 106 di Beethoven, trascritta da Weingartner, è finita. Devo cambiare il CD. Ho ancora una cinquantina di minuti prima di tornare in ufficio. Cosa metto?

Scelgo velocemente, prima che la pasta scuocia: Invenzioni a due e tre voci di J. S. Bach. Glenn Gould, al pianoforte.

Butto gli spaghetti nello scolapasta. Che senso ha suonare il piano facendo finta che sia un clavicembalo? Venticinque anni che ascolto Gould e me lo chiedo.

Dicembre millenovecentoottantotto. Pomeriggio. Devo studiare per l'interrogazione di matematica. Non ne ho proprio voglia. Slego il fardello dei libri di scuola e ne estraggo il mio acquisto di oggi. Una cassetta made in U.S.A., dall'elegantissima copertina nera bordata d'oro. Bach, Inventions and Sinfonias. Glenn Gould.

Metto la cassetta nel mangianastri. Una musica astratta, trasparente, cantabile. Sembra provenire dallo spazio siderale, eppure i contorni si distinguono con precisione. Una sensazione di freddo secco, fine e pungente.

Guardai fuori. Non potevo crederci: stava nevicando. La casa dei miei è sul mare; l'Aspromonte dista solo una cinquantina di chilometri, ma qui sulla costa l'inverno è mite, la neve è un evento che capita forse una volta ogni dieci anni. Capitò quella volta. Mi alzai dalla scrivania e andai alla finestra a vedere i cristalli che scendevano lentamente.

L'inverno è mite, sulla costa ionica della Calabria. La stagione peggiore è l'autunno. A fine ottobre le piogge arrivano improvvise, massicce e violente, e possono durare per settimane. Non c'è che da chiudersi in casa e aspettare che passino.

Ho sedici anni e sto correndo attraverso la piazza principale di Locri verso la stazione. Il cielo è nero, l'aria è elettrica e tra poco scoppierà un forte temporale. Stavolta ho perso troppo tempo dalla signora Esposito, non sapevo decidermi, alla fine ho comprato la Sesta sinfonia di Beethoven e i concerti K. 488 e K. 491 nell'interpretazione di Daniel Barenboim, ma ora rischio di perdere il treno. La Sesta un po' la conosco, è quella della pubblicità. Ma il Concerto in do minore. Chissà com'è. Mozart scrive raramente in minore. Ma quando lo fa, mette i brividi. Mi precipito con il cuore in gola, mentre le bobine sbattono ritmicamente contro l'involucro di plastica nascosto fra i libri.

"Secondo le testimonianze di molta gente che ha vissuto in prima persona quei tragici giorni dell'alluvione e attraverso dei libri pubblicati da alcuni scrittori del paese, il 15 ottobre 1951 rappresenta una data indimenticabile e storica per il popolo di Africo in quanto un evento imprevisto sconvolse l’esistenza di Africo e della sua frazione, Casalnuovo. Per quattro giorni consecutivi dal 15 al 18 ottobre 1951, una bufera di vento, pioggia e nevischio si abbatté ininterrottamente sui due paesi causando frane, crolli di abitazioni e la distruzione di intere colture. La gente, spaventata, si riversò in massa in chiesa, pregando Dio e il suo Santo protettore, San Leo. La catastrofe avvenne soprattutto giorno 17 con continue frane, smottamenti di terreno, pioggia battente e violenta".

"La mattina del 18 ottobre la gente ricorda un'aria rossastra su nel cielo che metteva paura solo ad osservarla. [...] Molti furono quelli che, sorpresi dal maltempo, non fecero in tempo a mettersi in salvo, perché la piena del fiume impedì loro la via del ritorno a casa. Alla fine i due paesi contarono i danni: i morti furono sei a Casalnuovo e tre ad Africo. Gran parte del bestiame fu trascinato dal fiume, le case furono per la maggior parte distrutte e sepolte, le colture non più esistenti perché trascinate dalla pioggia."

"La lenta organizzazione della vita civile e della lotta politica fu sconvolta dall'alluvione del 1951. Una frana spazzò via il paese. I morti furono pochi, ma Africo scomparve. La storia della ricostruzione è allucinante. Per tutto un decennio gli africoti cercarono il terreno per ricomporre la loro comunità. Si iniziò una lotta tra chi voleva tornare nel vecchio territorio, dove erano restate le misere proprietà, e quelli che cercavano una sistemazione nuova. La scelta di una soluzione divise i due campi, anche la sinistra. Alla fine prevalse la tesi, sostenuta da don Stilo e dalla DC, di costruire un nuovo comune in una località distante 50 chilometri dal vecchio paese. Per lunghi anni la maggioranza degli africoti visse in un campo profughi. All'inizio del 1960 era sorta Africo Nuovo".

Un bambino di nove anni. Una bambina di due anni. Che esperienza possono aver fatto della catastrofe, e poi della loro condizione di profughi? Come l'hanno vissuta? Che tracce ha lasciato su di loro?

I miei genitori mi hanno parlato pochissimo dell'alluvione e degli eventi successivi. Hanno sempre insistito affinché studiassi, hanno incoraggiato i miei interessi per la musica, la letteratura, le scienze. Mi hanno sostenuto fino al diploma, poi fino alla laurea. Ma sugli eventi del loro paese non mi hanno mai detto molto.

Mio padre non sopporta il vento. Se è notte, e fuori c'è vento, non riesce a dormire.

"Non si è mai capito - manca una documentazione e mancano anche testimonianze orali credibili - se fu la mafia calabrese a premere per ricostruire Africo nel territorio di Bianco, senza terra, senza delimitazione territoriale e stato giuridico (com'è rimasto fino al 1980), in una località dove i contadini poveri, la grande maggioranza degli abitanti, sarebbero stati privati di quei diritti civici - il legnatico, il seminativo, il pascolo - di cui godevano nel vecchio paese. Da una montagna aspra al mare. Un caso esemplare di perdita dell'identità individuale e collettiva: gli abitanti di Africo infatti non sono più pastori né contadini, odiano il mare e non sono diventati né pescatori né marinai".

Ho diciannove anni. Preparo l'esame di maturità ascoltando la Sinfonia Italiana di Mendelssohn e la Sinfonia Incompiuta di Schubert. L'incongruità della situazione mi è divenuta insopportabile: che senso ha vivere in Calabria stando sempre chiuso in casa, parlare con un ridicolo accento settentrionale e, in generale, far finta di abitare in Mitteleuropa? A questo punto, non è meglio emigrare? Spengo il registratore e accendo la radio. Trasmettono The End dei Doors. C'è l'anniversario della morte di Jim Morrison.

Alla maturità, filosofia non è uscita. Peccato. Mi sarebbe piaciuto portare Kant. Non capisco perché tutti dicono che è un pensatore difficile: a me sembra così naturale, così ovvio. Certo: lo spazio, il tempo, sono forme della nostra mente. Ma, in sé, non esistono affatto.

Spengo lo stereo, aziono la lavastoviglie. E' ora di tornare in ufficio.

(Racconto pubblicato anche su Evulon. Nota: tutti i paragrafi tra virgolette sono tratti dal sito Internet di un mio compaesano, http://www.giuseppemorabito.it tranne l'ultimo che è tratto da Corrado Stajano, L'Italia ferita. Storie di un popolo che vorrebbe vivere secondo le regole della democrazia, Cinemazero, Pordenone 2010, pag. 96).
          Stella rossa sull'Europa        
"Buongiorno, Anne. Buon anno".
"Buongiorno, Valentin. Buon anno anche a te. Novità?"
"Sì. Un nuovo arrivo. Sabato notte. Hai il colloquio già fissato per le undici. Trovi tutti i dettagli in agenda".
Anne Dupont, psicologa del Centro di Prima Accoglienza di Calais, entrò nel suo ufficio, accese il terminale e consultò la sua agenda elettronica.

Lunedì 5 gennaio 2011, ore 11,00. Colloquio con Monsieur Philip Brasser. Cittadino britannico. Età 38. Celibe. Operazione di salvataggio in mare, Canale della Manica, acque internazionali, 3 gennaio u.s. Condizioni fisiche buone. Non parla francese. Attribuzione provvisoria: codice blu.

Bene, pensò Anne. Un rifugiato politico. Iniziare l'anno nuovo con un codice blu era di buon auspicio. Il colloquio era di lì a due ore. Non c'erano altri impegni per la giornata. Completò con calma alcuni referti clinici iniziati la settimana precedente, fece una partita a Tetris, chattò con alcuni amici in Internet. Quando fu il momento, si aggiustò il make-up e si recò in sala colloqui.

Era una stanza non troppo ampia, arredata come un normale studio specialistico ma con qualche accorgimento per mettere gli ospiti a proprio agio: colori pastello, luci soffuse, lettino basso, comoda poltrona. Su quest'ultima, di fronte alla scrivania della dottoressa, era già seduto il signor Brasser.

"Good morning, Mr. Brasser. Prima di tutto, come sta?"
La domanda non era solo formale. L'uomo appariva molto provato. I tanti capelli bianchi, la pelle del viso magro solcata da numerose rughe, le profonde occhiaie dietro le lenti spesse, lo facevano sembrare più vecchio di dieci anni rispetto alla sua età anagrafica. Al posto degli abiti che indossava al momento del suo salvataggio, fradici e inservibili, gli avevano fornito un nuovo completo, che era tuttavia di due numeri più largo e accentuava la gracilità del suo fisico. Gli tremavano le mani.
Quegli scafisti maledetti, pensò Anne.
"Adesso sto meglio, grazie. Certo, suppongo che la notte passata all'addiaccio su quel canotto non abbia migliorato granché la mia cera. Ma ho fatto una buona dormita, qui da voi, e la vostra cucina è ottima". La sua voce era ferma, con una sfumatura d'ironia. "Solamente, non sono riuscito a procurarmi neppure una sigaretta, dottoressa..."
"Dupont. Ma può chiamarmi Anne. Temo che non ne troverà neppure in futuro. Nell'Unione non se ne producono più. Fino a qualche tempo fa, le importavamo dal suo paese".
"Oh, già, ora ricordo. Le esportazioni cessarono sei anni fa. Troppo pochi fumatori, qui da voi. Non c'era abbastanza profitto. Lo so perché all'epoca lavoravo in un'agenzia di rating".
"Lei è analista finanziario?"
Il signor Brasser rise. "No. Laureato in agraria. Da Troody's ero operatore al call center. Ogni grande compagnia ha il suo. E' la mansione che ho sempre svolto, durante tutta la mia carriera. Ho lavorato per almeno trenta società diverse, ogni volta per non più di sei mesi. Si imparano tante cose, sa?"
"Non ho dubbi. Ma veniamo al punto. Lei ha chiesto lo status di rifugiato politico. Data la sua provenienza, certamente la sua richiesta sarà accettata. Lei diventerà fra breve, a tutti gli effetti, cittadino dell'Unione delle Repubbliche Socialiste d'Europa. Già adesso, comunque, lei è libero di circolare in tutto il territorio dell'Unione, ed eventualmente anche di tornare da dove è venuto..."
"No grazie! Non ci tengo affatto".
"Dicevo per dire. In genere, qui da noi i rifugiati si integrano abbastanza in fretta. Tuttavia, non si può escludere che, all'inizio, lei si trovi un po' spaesato. Il nostro sistema sociale è molto diverso da quello da cui lei proviene. A sua richiesta, lei può fruire di adeguata assistenza psicologica e culturale, per superare eventuali difficoltà di adattamento. In questa fase iniziale, se vuole, mi consideri pure come suo referente".
"Oh. E quanto dura questa... fase iniziale?"
"Può finire anche subito, se crede. L'unico suo obbligo, se intende rimanere nell'Unione, è di iscriversi nelle liste di collocamento e nelle graduatorie per gli alloggi. Non credo che le sarà difficile trovare un lavoro e una casa. Se lei non ha esigenze particolari, penso che troverà una sistemazione accettabile nel giro di un paio di settimane. Fino ad allora, comunque, può rimanere qui, o spostarsi in una delle altre strutture di prima accoglienza nel territorio dell'Unione".
"Sembra magnifico. Dov'è la fregatura?"
"Ecco. Era proprio ciò che intendevo. Non c'è nessuna fregatura, per quanto lei sia abituato a pensare che debba per forza esserci. Non pretendo che lei mi creda. Presto se ne accorgerà da sé".

Non c'erano straordinari da fare, quel giorno. Alle tredici, Anne spense il computer, salutò i colleghi che arrivavano per il turno pomeridiano e, senza passare dalla mensa, prese l'elio-tram che, serpeggiando silenziosamente lungo la costa, la portò a casa sua in dieci minuti. Era una magnifica giornata di sole. Il mare era inusualmente calmo, in quei giorni. Una fortuna, per Brasser. Aveva evitato il triste destino di tanti boat-people che partivano clandestinamente dalla riva inglese ma non riuscivano a raggiungere i nostri mezzi di soccorso nelle acque internazionali.

Anne abitava da sola. Si preparò un leggero pranzo macrobiotico, poi un caffé d'orzo. Accese la radio; la spense. Si guardò nello specchio del soggiorno. Sorrise. Tutto sommato, si piaceva. Si chiese come sarebbe stato il suo sembiante, alla sua età, se anziché in Europa continentale fosse vissuta in quell'inferno che doveva essere Londra. I profughi le avevano raccontato storie orribili. Inquinamento, degrado. Se andava bene, orari lavorativi di dieci o dodici ore. Altrimenti, la disoccupazione, l'emarginazione e la pazzia. Oppure, per una ristretta minoranza, la ricchezza e il potere, ma a costo di rinunciare a qualsiasi barlume d'umanità. Un'altra forma di follia, in fondo.

Mercoledì 7 gennaio, ore 10,00. Secondo colloquio con Monsieur Brasser.

Quella mattina l'aspetto di Mr. Brasser era molto migliorato. Anne glielo disse.
"Grazie, Dottoressa. Lei è gentile quanto bella".
Anne Dupont ignorò il complimento.
"Se ho chiesto un nuovo colloquio" continuò Brasser, "non è per ottenere assistenza psicologica".
"Davvero? E perché, allora?"
"Ho due domande da porle".
"Le risponderò, se posso. Ma prima, permetta che le faccia io una domanda. Cosa sa, lei, dell'Unione?"
"Poco, in realtà. So che dapprima ci fu la Rivoluzione d'Ottobre, in Russia, nel 1917. Poi, tra il '18 e il '20, il capitalismo fu abbattuto in Germania, in Ungheria e in Italia. In rapida successione, tutte le colonie europee in Asia e in Africa conquistarono l'indipendenza. L'India nel 1925, la Cina nel '27, e così via. Poco dopo fu la volta dell'Algeria e del Marocco, e a quel punto la rivoluzione scoppiò anche in Francia e in Spagna. Alla fine degli anni '30, tutta l'Europa continentale era socialista.
Frattanto, il crollo di Wall Street nel 1929 aveva gettato l'America nella crisi più nera. Le elezioni presidenziali del 1940 furono vinte da Charles Lindbergh, un fanatico antisemita che instaurò negli U.S.A. una dittatura razzista, appoggiata dal grande capitale. Presto quel regime si circondò di una serie di stati-satellite che coprivano tutta l'America del Sud e del Nord.
Negli anni '80, quelle dittature iniziarono ad implodere, dapprima in America Latina e poi in Canada. Quando nel 1989 cadde il Muro di Tijuana, finalmente il capitalismo crollò negli stessi Stati Uniti. Da allora, secondo la nostra propaganda, il Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna è rimasto l'ultimo baluardo del libero mercato e della civiltà, contro la barbarie socialista che ha travolto tutto il resto del globo. Questo è quanto".
"Bene - disse la dottoressa - a parte la faccenda del baluardo, il quadro storico è corretto. Non le sarà stato facile ricostruirlo..."
"No, infatti. Da noi, formalmente, la cultura è libera, e ognuno può leggere ciò che vuole. Si possono prendere in prestito, nelle poche biblioteche rimaste, anche testi di Marx o di Lenin, e persino di Fabio Volo. Non è vietato. Di fatto, però, ci sono materie che non conviene approfondire troppo. Se si viene a sapere che lei fa certe letture e che ha determinate idee (e si viene a sapere sempre), non speri di trovare lavoro tanto facilmente. Io me la sono cavata con i call center, solo perché le mie origini non sono troppo umili. Quando avevo vent'anni, i miei riuscirono persino a mandarmi all'università. Certo, oggi non potrei più frequentarla. Da allora le rette sono decuplicate."
"Ah, lei ha letto Fabio Volo? Complimenti. Da noi, molti lo considerano un autore troppo difficile".
"Sì, è molto rigoroso e denso, ma se si ha tempo da dedicargli, è un pensatore affascinante. Le consiglio la Critica del tempo unidimensionale, se non l'ha ancora letta. A me ha aperto la mente. In realtà, uno dei motivi per cui mi sono deciso ad espatriare è che anche studiare per conto proprio da noi è diventato impossibile. Troppo costoso, da quando il dizionario è stato privatizzato".
"Il dizionario?"
"Sì. Tutti i sostantivi che iniziano per vocale appartengono alla Mircosoft. Quelli che iniziano per consonante sono del gruppo Murdogh. Gli avverbi sono di Merdaset, e così via. Per leggere o per usare comunque le parole bisogna pagare il noleggio ai legittimi proprietari. Quando lei scrive una e-mail, oppure quando chatta o quando telefona, un sistema di contatori automatici calcola la cifra e l'addebita sul suo conto. Ottimo sistema, fra l'altro, per controllare i contenuti della comunicazione. Io, per esempio, ho fatto quindici giorni di carcere per uso illecito di marchio registrato, la volta che in una mia mail ho scritto che la Cocca Colla mi faceva schifo".
"Senta, Mr. Brasser. Quali sono i suoi progetti? Cosa intende fare, ora che è venuto qui da noi?"
"Primo, togliermi una curiosità che mi ha tormentato a lungo. Ed è la prima delle due domande che volevo farle, si ricorda?"
La dottoressa Dupont sbuffò. "Va bene. Spari".
"La domanda è: perché non ci avete invaso? Come avete potuto lasciarci a mollo in quella fogna?"
Anne si appoggiò sullo schienale della sedia. "Beh, alcuni partiti in seno all'Internazionale erano per dichiarare guerra. Ma infine prevalse l'idea che il socialismo non può essere imposto con i carri armati. Se ci avessero attaccato, ci saremmo difesi. Per fortuna non accadde. Oggi, poi, molti sostengono che una pluralità di sistemi sociali diversi non è necessariamente un male. In India, in Giappone e in Sud America, dove la transizione al comunismo è molto avanzata, stanno già smantellando le strutture dello Stato, per sostituirle con vari tipi di organizzazione non statuale. In Europa e in Africa ci troviamo ancora nella fase socialista, in vari stadi di sviluppo a seconda dei territori. Forse è bene che ci siano delle zone dove ancora vige il capitalismo."
"Sarà un bene per voi, che ci osservate dall'esterno come se fossimo allo zoo! Ma per noi che siamo in gabbia è un altro discorso".
"Lei ora non è più in gabbia. Comunque, mi sembra che il suo atteggiamento nei confronti del suo paese d'origine sia un po' troppo negativo, non crede?"
"Mi dica lei cosa ci vede di bello, in quel letamaio", ribatté Brasser.
"Beh, che so... Avete una scena musicale molto vivace. Un sacco di gruppi pop, rock, punk, post-punk... Wim Wenders ci ha fatto anche un film. Poi, comunque, il vostro sistema ha ancora una base di consenso popolare".
"Si riferisce a West End London Social Club, vero? Quel film mi dà la nausea! Le televisioni del regime lo replicano senza tregua. L'unico film d'autore trasmesso in prima serata, e senza interruzioni pubblicitarie."
"Ecco, ad esempio - lo interruppe la dottoressa - Perché lei parla di televisioni di regime? Da voi ci sono sei o sette canali, se non sbaglio, tutti privati e in concorrenza fra loro..."
"... e trasmettono tutti le stesse schifezze. Non si distinguono l'uno dall'altro. Anne, lei non ha capito: da noi l'economia è allo sfascio, la società è in piena decadenza, la cultura è morta e sepolta. L'unica attività che va a gonfie vele è la manipolazione del consenso per mezzo dei mass-media. Quella è l'unica industria che non conosce crisi!"
"Non volevo farla arrabbiare. Si calmi. Lei ora è al sicuro. Andrà tutto bene. Respiri profondamente, e mi faccia la seconda domanda che voleva pormi".
"Mi scusi. La domanda è questa. Lei è libera stasera? Ho letto sul giornale che in un cinema d'essai a Dunkerque proiettano L'Atalante di Jean Vigo. E' una vita che desidero vedere quel film, e mi chiedevo se... lei volesse venire con me a vederlo, ecco."


Pubblicato su Evulon in due puntate: la prima il 7 gennaio 2011 qui, e la seconda il 12 gennaio 2011, qui.
          Radici        
"Sai" dico, "sono scaduti i diritti d'autore sulle opere di Freud".
E' domenica e sono le nove del mattino. Anna sa che, prima di colazione, non sono in grado di dire nulla che abbia un senso compiuto. Se è di buon umore, mi asseconda nel mio delirio. Oggi è di buon umore.
"Perché?", mi risponde. "Vuoi cominciare a tradurre Freud?"
"Magari. Purtroppo non so il tedesco. No, è per spiegare come mai mi sono alzato così presto. Ieri pomeriggio sono entrato in libreria e ho visto che la Newton Compton ha pubblicato questa edizione economica del saggio di Freud su Mosè..."
"Quello sul Mosè di Michelangelo? Ma non l'avevi già letto?"
"No, non quello sulla statua. E' una monografia proprio su Mosè il personaggio biblico. E' l'ultima grande opera di Freud, pubblicata nel 1938, un anno prima della morte. Non l'avevo ancora letta, perché l'edizione Bollati Boringhieri costa una barbarità e non mi andava di prenderla in prestito in biblioteca. Sai, i libri di Freud sono di quelli che voglio possedere. Comunque niente, ieri l'ho comprato e l'ho finito proprio poco fa. Senza zucchero, il tuo caffellatte, vero?"
"Tre cucchiaini, grazie".
"Mi prendi in giro?"
"Certo. Ma raccontami un po' questo libro, sono curiosa. E' assurdo come l'altro, quello sulla statua di Michelangelo? Quello dove Mosè, di ritorno dal Sinai, vedeva il suo popolo adorare il vitello d'oro, s'incazzava e stava per spezzare le tavole della legge, ma subito si tratteneva, e proprio in quel momento Michelangelo era lì che lo 'fotografava' con lo scalpello, e dietro un cespuglio c'era il professor Freud, col suo taccuino, che analizzava l'intera performance..."
"Dai, non essere così cattiva. Diciamo che, in quel saggio, Freud ha dato una sua interpretazione, un po' audace, di una celebre scultura rinascimentale. Comunque anche W. H. Auden, in una sua poesia, ha scritto che Freud a volte era assurdo e che ciò non diminuisce affatto la sua grandezza".
"Sarà. Intanto neppure il tuo Freud è riuscito a spiegare ad Auden la verità sull'amore".
"Tesoro! La verità sull'amore non la conosce nessuno. Tranne tu ed io, naturalmente".
"Naturalmente. Ma non mi hai ancora detto cos'ha di tanto speciale questo libro, che ti ha buttato giù dal letto poco dopo l'alba".
"E' presto detto. Hai presente Mosè, no? Il patriarca, il fondatore della religione ebraica, il profeta che guidò il suo popolo nell'esodo dall'Egitto verso la Palestina, che ricevette da Dio i dodici comandamenti, eccetera. Bene, Freud sostiene che Mosè, in realtà, non era affatto ebreo. Era egiziano".
"Ma va'?"
"Proprio così. Secondo Freud, Mosè era un nobile, o forse un alto sacerdote egiziano, seguace del dio Aton. Come ricorderai, il faraone Akhenaton aveva tentato di introdurre in Egitto il monoteismo, sostituendo al culto degli dèi la religione dell'unico dio solare Aton. Ma la sua riforma religiosa, molto avanzata per quei tempi, non ebbe fortuna. Quando Akhenaton morì, il politeismo riprese il sopravvento in Egitto. Il clero, che era stato represso ed esautorato da Akhenaton, morto il faraone, si vendicò ferocemente. Fu una reazione terribile: tutte le tracce del culto di Aton furono spazzate via. Persino il nome Aton fu cancellato dai monumenti".
"Sì, mi ricordo. Anche il faraone Tutankh-Aton, il giovane erede di Akhenaton, dovette cambiare nome, riconvertirsi alla vecchia religione e chiamarsi Tutankhamon. E forse neanche questo bastò a salvargli la vita, poverino! Probabilmente lo ammazzarono e lo chiusero nella tomba con quella bellissima maschera funebre tutta d'oro..."
"...quella che abbiamo visto cinque anni fa al museo del Cairo..."
"... durante il nostro viaggio di nozze. A proposito, fra poco è il nostro anniversario, Tato. Dove andiamo a festeggiarlo?"
"Mah, in Egitto ci siamo già stati. Ti porto a Vienna, a visitare la casa di Freud?".
"Anche a Vienna ci sono già stata".
"Ma io no. Comunque, stavo dicendo: Mosè era un fedele del dio Aton. La nuova religione gli piaceva proprio, e non si rassegnò alla restaurazione politeista. Era in contatto con questa popolazione di nomadi, che vivevano nel deserto, ai margini della società egiziana, chiamati Habiru...".
"Gli Ebrei?"
"Proprio loro. Mosè ne fece il suo popolo. Li convertì alla religione monoteista, diede loro nuove leggi, insegnò loro tutto ciò che sapeva, e li condusse con sé nell'esodo fuori dall'Egitto, verso la terra promessa."
"Ciumbia! Sembra una puntata di Voyager. Quali altre sensazionali rivelazioni ci sono, nel tuo libro? Nel senso: Mosè era egiziano, e poi? Shakespeare era siciliano? Le sinfonie di Mozart le ha scritte un veneto? Atlantide altro non era che la Sardegna? E qualcosa sul Graal? Non dirmi che non c'è niente sul Graal. Cioè, scusa, Tato, ma è una teoria un po' delirante..."
"Sshh! Se ridi così forte, svegli la bambina. Sì, hai ragione, è delirante. Proprio in ciò consiste la genialità di Freud. Lui ragionava come i suoi pazienti. Altrimenti non sarebbe mai riuscito a guarirli, no? Tramite lui, la Follia torna a parlare, dopo tre secoli di censura... E lascia perdere Voyager: non c'entra niente. Freud credeva in ciò che diceva, e non gli interessava fare audience".
"Boh. Ma li guariva, i suoi pazienti?"
"Certo che li guariva! Guarda, mi hai fatto talmente arrabbiare che mi sono mangiato tutti i pistokeddos".
"I savoiardi di Atlantide? Ma se te ne mangi un'intera confezione ogni mattina. Sei forte, Tato. Però spiegami una cosa. Allora, siamo nel 1938. Mezza Europa è sotto dittature fasciste, Hitler sta per annettersi l'Austria, lo stesso Freud deve scappare a Londra per sfuggire alla persecuzione, e in questa situazione tragica per il suo popolo, il professore non trova di meglio che pubblicare un libro dove sostiene che il fondatore dell'ebraismo non era ebreo? A me pare una mezza vigliaccata, non capisco come fai a parlarne con tutto questo entusiasmo".
"Ma caspita, Anna, è proprio questo il punto! Senti: chi ha vinto le ultime elezioni?"
"Non capisco cosa c'entra".
"Come, che c'entra? Ma lo senti, quello che dicono? 'Padroni a casa nostra. Ognuno a casa sua. Il Suolo. Il Sangue. La Razza. Le Tradizioni. Le Radici. Il Territorio. Radicarsi nel Territorio'... Dio, quanto ce la menano co' 'sta storia del territorio! Tutti a ribadire come un disco rotto che bisogna Radicarsi nel Territorio, come se non fossimo esseri umani, ma olmi, o platani, o che so io. E come se non fossero stati proprio loro a devastarlo e distruggerlo, 'sto cazzo di territorio, da quarant'anni in qua, a furia di capannoni e svincoli e tangenziali e inceneritori e ripetitori, centri commerciali e colate immonde di cemento, fabbriche aperte e poi chiuse, e sempre zero solidarietà, zero giustizia, zero cultura, zero arte e zero umanità... Talmente spaventati e abbrutiti e rimbecilliti da questo schifo che loro stessi hanno prodotto, da non saper fare altro che cercare spasmodicamente qualche capro espiatorio, cui far scontare tutta la loro bile e la loro frustrazione... E prima i meridionali, e poi i tossici, e poi gli albanesi, e ora gli islamici..."
"Adesso sei tu che rischi di svegliare la bambina".
"Sì. Scusami. Preparo un altro caffè. O preferisci un po' di spremuta d'arancia?"
"Spremuta, grazie. Quando parli di quelli là, mi sembri tuo padre".
"Che cosa brutta che hai detto..."
"Perché? Mi sta simpatico, tuo padre. Ma non mi hai ancora spiegato cosa c'entra tutto questo con Freud".
"Niente, tranne il fatto che tutta quella ripugnante retorica del Sangue e del Suolo era esattamente la stessa di cui si riempivano la bocca gli antisemiti al tempo di Freud. Sai cosa dicevano? Questo, dicevano: che ogni razza ha un proprio suolo d'origine, a cui è legata da un vincolo spirituale e mistico; che la qualità del suolo determina la qualità della razza; che gli ebrei non hanno patria, non hanno territorio e quindi non hanno dignità, sono nomadi e sbandati, vivono da parassiti degli altri popoli, eccetera eccetera."
"Beh, oggi gli ebrei ce l'hanno, il loro Stato".
"E infatti i razzisti di oggigiorno non se la prendono più tanto con gli ebrei (almeno per ora), quanto soprattutto con gli zingari e con i migranti. Ma gli argomenti sono più o meno gli stessi. Ed è contro questi argomenti che Freud mette in campo il suo Mosè. Considera questo: gli dèi che le popolazioni del Medio Oriente veneravano, a quell'epoca, erano divinità nazionali; ogni popolo aveva le sue, e queste facevano tutt'uno con il loro territorio. Erano divinità guerriere, rozze, sanguinarie, che accompagnavano ciascun popolo nella sua lotta per la supremazia sugli altri popoli."
"Ma era proprio così o lo dice Freud?"
"Non lo so. Non m'intendo di storia delle religioni. Comunque, Freud sostiene che il dio di Akhenaton e di Mosè era un dio molto diverso dagli altri dèi suoi contemporanei. Era un dio illuminista, per così dire. Anzi, quasi kantiano. Pacifista. Un dio universalista: non gli importava la nazionalità dei suoi fedeli. Non gliene fregava niente di cerimonie, riti, preghiere, statue o amuleti. Non pretendeva templi dove essere adorato, né una casta di sacerdoti per servirlo. Nemmeno prometteva alcuna vita dopo la morte. A questo dio, importava solo una cosa: che ci si comportasse bene. Che si vivesse una vita secondo ragione, verità e giustizia. Tutto qui. E' questa, secondo Freud, l'essenza del monoteismo ebraico: solo una personificazione della Ragione e della legge morale. L'aspetto etnico o nazionale o 'razziale' è così poco importante, nella concezione freudiana del monoteismo, che lo stesso fondatore dell'ebraismo non è ebreo. E allora il paradosso è che, con questo libro, l'ateo, scientista e razionalista Freud ha reso alla religione e alla cultura dei suoi padri l'omaggio più elevato che per lui fosse concepibile..."
"Bello. Ma è tutta una contraddizione. Prima non hai detto che tramite Freud la follia trova finalmente voce? Adesso te ne esci con questo panegirico della Ragione illuminista. Poi, scusa Tato, ma mi sembra tutta una diatriba tra maschi. Il dio di Freud, così ragionevole e tollerante, contro i rozzi e violenti dèi guerrieri delle mitologie pagane, va bene. Però le dee? La Grande Madre Mediterranea, per esempio, che fine ha fatto? E Iside? E poi, non capisco questa cosa dell'iconoclastia: cosa avete contro le cerimonie, i riti, e anche contro la magia, le statue e gli amuleti? Non so, sarà anche una bella cosa, questo famoso monoteismo, un grande progresso, non discuto, ma non so perché mi fa venire in mente la caccia alle streghe... Vado a svegliare la bambina, vah! Ché se no si fa tardi".
"No! Aspetta un minuto".

Pubblicato il 7 maggio 2010, qui: http://www.evulon.net/news.php?extend.3368
          'Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.' (no replies)        
'..America's pension crisis is a big part of the $400 trillion pension time bomb threatening the global economy and it is deflationary and bond friendly.'

- Leo Kolivakis, America's Corporate Pension Disaster? August 4, 2017


'In order for the Maestro to be right, US inflation expectations have to pick up in a significant way. This won't happen and to understand why, read Gary Shilling's recent comment on three things central bankers don't get about wages.'

- Leo Kolivakis, Is the Maestro Wrong on Bonds? August 2, 2017


'Very recent data confirms slumping household saving ratios in both the US and UK. This was last seen in 2007, just before the bursting debt bubble blew the global economy and financial system to smithereens. The Fed and BoE should surely hang their heads in shame having presided over yet another impending disaster. Why will politicians and the people tolerate this incompetence? Indeed they won’t.'

- Albert (Shades of 2008: UK and US Savings Rate Plunges, Debt Comes Full Circle, August 3, 2017)


'It’s no mystery why central bankers are mystified: Collectively, they are economically illiterate fools engaged in Keynesian and Monetarist group think.

..

On deck is another round of destructive asset price deflation, brought about by Central banks who cannot see the obvious.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Central Banks Puzzled as Global Inflation Hits Lowest Level Since 2009: Solving the Puzzle, August 3, 2017


'..history and logic both show that concerns over consumer price deflation are seriously misplaced.

Worse yet, in their attempts to fight routine consumer price deflation, central bankers create very destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse, setting off what they should fear – asset bubble deflations following a buildup of bank credit on inflated assets.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Historical Perspective on CPI Deflations: How Damaging are They? March 30, 2015


'BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine deflation was not any problem at all.

“Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive,” stated the study.

It’s asset bubble deflation that is damaging. When asset bubbles burst, debt deflation results.

Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, How Twisted Minds Function, August 2, 2017


Context

'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

'..a 30-year bear market..'

          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          (Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) Dream - Semco Style (no replies)        
Those who make dreams come true get noticed

- Aldowa (A Semco Style Company)

'Leading Wisely is a podcast series by Ricardo Semler about the search for wisdom in organizations. In discussions with business leaders such as Zappos' Tony Hsieh, Basecamp's Jason Friedman and David Heinemeier Hansson and with other experts on the topic such as Frederic Laloux, he challenges assumptions and explores how we can change the way we live and work.

- Killing the dinosaur business model, 2017

'In France, almost every couple of days a company or public sector organization is entering corporate liberation. How about US? Here is one more example on how a company’s leader decided to liberate his company.

Ricardo Semler’s book served as an inspiration. Add to that a deep conviction and a lot of common sense.'

- Freedom Inc, '..corporate liberation.' June 6, 2017


Context (Leaders)

'..I believe in responsibility but not in pyramidal hierarchy .. the negative value of structure. Structure creates hierarchy, and hierarchy creates constraint..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - 'Your physical .. cultural .. soul heredity..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'


'I, too, have a pet little evil, to which in more passionate moments I am apt to attribute all the others. This evil is the neglect of thinking. And when I say thinking I mean real thinking, independent thinking, hard thinking.'

- Learning How to Think (Economics - '..acts of choice.' (‘..imagination of alternatives..’))


(Open Source) - '..“open innovation.” Companies such as AstraZeneca, Lilly, GSK, Janssen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, TransCelerate, and others..'

(Haptopraxeology) - '..the senses were the windows of the soul and that reason had a divine right to feed upon fact..'

(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'


'..to rethink and to rebuild a culture where there are open channels between feeling and understanding..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

'Reinventing Organizations: ..radically more soulful, purposeful and powerful ways to structure and run .. organizations.'


(To Heal)(Management innovation) - '..Teal Organizations to start healing the world..'

(Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization

          '..committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.' (no replies)        
'Leaders from the City of Portland and Multnomah County have committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.

In an announcement earlier this week, authorities said that their goal was to meet the community's electricity needs with renewables by the year 2035 and to move all remaining energy sources to renewable ones by 2050.

..

Multnomah County is the most populous county in Oregon. Its Chair, Deborah Kafoury, welcomed the news. "This is a pledge to our children's future,'' she said. "100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunity.''

Portland is among a number of U.S. cities looking to embrace renewables. Over the weekend Chicago's Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced that city buildings there were to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.'

- Anmar Frangoul, Portland commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, April 12, 2017


Context

(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

(Fusion Power) - '..LPP has so far has two out of the three necessary ingredients for successful breakeven..'

'..to Ban Internal Combustion Engines by 2030'


The nuclear retreat - '..the global transition to sustainable 100 percent renewable energy.' - '..in Europe by 2050.'

(To Heal) - '..the forces and forms of nature -- clouds, mountains, waves -- in cities of the future.'

(In The Electric Universe) Open Source Infrastructure, beginning of the Enterprise Nervous System (ENS)

          Vision of Humanity - Global Peace (no replies)        
'Economists on Peace aims to stimulate global discussion and shared learning on economic aspects of peace and conflict leading to appropriate action for peace, security and the world economy.'

- An Economists for Peace and Security editorial collaboration


'The need to understand what works in peacebuilding, how to measure its impact and cost-effectiveness is essential to long-term efforts to prevent violence and build peace. Yet, there is much we collectively do not know about peacebuilding, what works and doesn’t work, let alone what activities broadly define it. At a time when the international community’s resources to international development and aid are under strain due to tightened national budgets and stress from humanitarian action, the need to understand and invest in the most cost-effective ways to build long term peace is more crucial than ever.'

- Report: Measuring Peace Building Cost-Effectiveness


Context (Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'

Global Peace Index

The Book of Peace

Four Ways Peace Research Made an Impact in Nuevo León, Mexico


Gold, Peace, and Prosperity

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love

'..tell your boss you think the company has a love deficit.' - Hamel


(To Heal)(Reinventing Organizations) - '..news about what happening in the space of organizations going Teal.'

(In The Electric Universe) Open Source Infrastructure, beginning of the Enterprise Nervous System (ENS)

          (Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


(Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

          (Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization (no replies)        
'I remain optimistic, but even more cautiously than before. If 2016 taught me anything, it was that we economists should stick to our jobs as "students of civilization" as the founding members of the Austrian School saw their intellectual mission.

..

..We have the tools and mentality to be 'students of civilization" as our intellectual tradition demands.'

- Peter Boettke, 2016: A Year in a Life, December 29, 2016


'This book argues that the work of the Austrian economists, including Carl Menger, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, has been too narrowly interpreted. Through a study of Viennese politics and culture, it demonstrates that the project they were engaged in was much broader: the study and defense of a liberal civilization. Erwin Dekker shows the importance of the civilization in their work and how they conceptualized their own responsibilities toward that civilization, which was attacked left and right during the interwar period. Dekker argues that what differentiates their position is that they thought of themselves primarily as students of that civilization rather than as social scientists, or engineers. This unique focus and approach is related to the Viennese setting of the circles, which constitute the heart of Viennese intellectual life in the interwar period.

• Corrects the one-sided view on Austrian economists which dominates the literature • Investigates how economics was transformed into a modern engineering science and what was lost in the process • Helps the reader understand how the Austrian economists regarded their role and responsibilities as scholars and citizens'

- The Viennese Students of Civilization, 2014


Context 'A judgment of value .. a man's affective response to definite conditions of the universe..' - Ludwig von Mises

'..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

(The Electric Universe) - SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016


The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'

'..how socialism actually produces a superclass of elites and a form of socio-economic apartheid..'


Presentation: Phase I (2012 - 2022) - The Beginning

          '..another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism.' (no replies)        
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between man’s valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns “riba”, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand “riba” with “the fire prepared for unbelievers.” Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn “ghara.” The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.

..

Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the “Great Satan” and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.

..

..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.

The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.

It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.

The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..

..

We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

- Hans F. Sennholz, In Another Cold War, 2004


Context

'..the battle of ideas taking place in the Muslim world..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

          '..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness' (no replies)        
'Every once in a while, even The Economist gets it right. In a review of an intellectual biography of Marx (Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion), published this past fall, they argue that “the myth is more impressive than the reality”. Echoing, in fact, several arguments from the book—written, surprisingly enough, by a scholar with Marxist leanings—, they point out how out of step Marx was with the theoretical developments of 19th century economics, and how dense and often nonsensical his writings were.

As refreshing as it may be, this perspective on Marx is hardly a new one. We know that throughout his work, Ludwig von Mises has exploded many of the fallacies of the Marxist school of thought, particularly those concerning the workings of a socialist system and the idea of class struggle. But Mises had, in several of his publications, also criticized the myth of Marx, pointing out inconsistencies and errors in his research, as well as criticizing his writing style.

Even if it will take a long time to dismantle the Marxist myth, I’d like to think that it will be Mises’s view of the world that will prevail.'

- Carmen Elena Dorobat, Mises on the Myth of Marx, December 26, 2016


'..Karl Marx .. the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

'COMMUNISM collapsed nearly 30 years ago, but the influence of Karl Marx lives on. Marxist approaches are found in some of the most interesting history and sociology being published today. Marx’s works, including “The Communist Manifesto”, written with Friedrich Engels in 1848, may have had more impact on the modern world than many suppose. Of the manifesto’s ten principal demands, perhaps four have been met in many rich countries, including “free education for all children in public schools” and a “progressive or graduated income tax”.

..

The overriding impression from this book is that Marx’s reputation (at least in some quarters) as an unrivalled economist-philosopher is wide of the mark. Marx had planned to write “Capital” in multiple volumes. He finished the first. But when it came to writing the second, on realising that he would face insurmountable intellectual hurdles, he pleaded illness (though seemed quite able to do other sorts of research). “Karl” was in the thick of the intellectual developments of the 19th century. But the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

- The Economist, Karl Marx, False consciousness, August 25, 2016


Context (Praxeology) - '..Menger’s experience stressed subjective factors..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

(Praxeology) - 'Economics .. is about human choice and action.' - '..books by Mises, Rothbard and Hayek are already translated .. online bookstore in China..'

(Praxeology) - Savings - Economic Growth - 'We Need More Wealth, Not Necessarily More Employment' - Entrepreneurship


'..You really have to be able to think about the post-bureaucratic world..'

'..economic growth cannot be conjured into being by top-down interventionism in the form of monetary pumping and deficit spending..'

' “Monetary policy… after all, is extremely important” – is an understatement.' - Doug Noland


'..have organizations that are more and more adaptable and far more humane..'

'When Jan Patocka wrote .. the phenomenon of human conscience..' - Václav Havel

'..the phenomenon of wave after wave of economic ups and downs is ideological in character..'


Praxeology '...the primordial fact of individual human action.'

          The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..' (no replies)        
'.."What If," points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II..'

'Deist: One thing that’s so remarkable about the Christmas Truce is this whole question of what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier or be somehow limited. Weintraub addresses this in his book. We may not have had the rise of communism, the Russian Revolution and Stalin and Lenin, we certainly would not have had Versailles. As a result, we might not have had Hitler or Nazism or maybe even FDR. I mean, it’s remarkable to think about, isn’t it?

Denson: That’s right and that’s counterfactual history at its best. Weintraub, in his last chapter, entitled "What If," points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II, as I have argued in the past, World War II was simply a continuation of World War I with a truce, and World War I was to see if you could remake the world to benefit the English, the British, and the Russian Czar. World War II was to see if you could keep it that way, what they’d done in World War I. So, it would have changed the whole history, in my opinion, of the twentieth century. And, we are still in the Middle East, suffering the results of the treaties that ended World War I. I mean, the treaties that created Iraq, tried to give Syria to the French, and Israel was created in the middle of an Arab world and it’s still a problem that was created by the World War I treaties. So, all of that, the whole twentieth century, I think, would have been completely different, if it could have ended, say when the troops stopped at Christmas of 1914. It’s amazing to think about that.

..

..H. Kingsley Wood, a cabinet minister, got up and made a speech and he said, he had been in the trenches, he said in the front trenches in Christmas 1914 and he said, I took part in what was well known at the time as a truce. We went over in front of the trenches and shook hands with many of our German enemies and a great number of people and I think we did something that was degrading or wrong and refused to stop, he said, the fact is, we did it. And I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves, there never would have been another shot fired. For a fortnight, the troops went on and we were on the most friendly terms and it was only the fact that we were being controlled by others that made it necessary for us to start trying to shoot one another again.

And he blamed the resumption of war on “the grip of the political system which was bad, and I and others who were there at the time, determined there and then, never to rest until we had seen whether we could change it.” And then it concludes. There are people that thrive on war, the military industrial complex and one of the results of the World War I revisionism showed that the people that do the armaments and make money off that, help cause war. There are people, bankers, that have an interest. JP Morgan had a big interest in America getting into World War I and he financed the British Army..'

- The Christmas Truce and the Future of War, December 24, 2016


Context

(Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'

Christmas Truce of 1914

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love


'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians..

Economics in One Lesson

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          RENUNGKANLAH SAUDARAKU...!        
Abdul Karim Germanus, Legenda Muslim Hungaria
"Islam satu saat nanti akan memperlihatkan keajaibannya pada saat dunia mulai diliputi oleh kegelapan." (Abdul Karim Germanus) Dr. Abdul Karim Germanus (1884-1979) adalah seorang orientalis terkemuka asal Hungaria dan juga seorang akademisi yang telah mendunia. Perjalanan spiritual Abdul Karim Germanus (dulu bernama Julius Germanus) mencari Islam menyita hampir separuh perjalanan hidupnya. Dia menghabiskan sepanjang hidupnya untuk mempertahankan Islam dan bahasa Arab. Selepas melewati masa-masa sulit semasa remaja dan lepas dari belenggu tradisi, dia kemudian tertarik untuk mempelajari Islam. Germanus menggambarkan kisah keislamannya itu sebagai “bangunnya sebuah kehidupan baru.” Disebutkan, awal perkenalannya dengan Islam adalah di Turki pada saat menjadi mahasiswa di sana. Kemudian, dia pergi ke India untuk mengajar di sana, pada masa Perang Dunia I. Dan di negeri Bollywood itulah dia mengucapkan dua kalimah syahadah. Selepas bertugas di India Germanus kembali ke Hungaria dan diangkat sebagai profesor di sana. Dia sering beradu argumentasi dengan para profesor dan orientalis Hungaria, terutama tentang kebenaran Islam. Berikut kisah perjalanan hidup salah satu legenda Muslim di Hungaria ini yang diambil dari beberapa sumber. *** Awal perjalanan Germanus lahir di Budapes, ibukota Hungaria pada tahun 1884 dan dibesarkan dalam nuansa Kristen taat. Segera setelah lulus dari Universitas Budapes, dia memutuskan untuk mengambil spesialisasi bahasa Turki. Selanjutnya pada tahun 1903 dia pergi ke Istanbul. Dia diterima di Universitas Istanbul dan mengambil program studi bahasa Turki. Selama bertahun-tahun tinggal di sana akhirnya dia menjadi fasih baik dalam hal percakapan, membaca maupun menulis. Selama di Istanbul, Germanus juga belajar Al-Quran berikut terjemahan dalam bahasa Turki. Itulah perkenalan awalnya dengan Islam. Dengan kemampuannya yang tinggi dalam membaca terjemahan Al-Quran berbahasa Turki, membuatnya mudah memahami Islam langsung dari sumber aslinya. Tak hanya itu, dia juga membandingkan terjemahan dalam beberapa bahasa lainnya. Sebuah upaya yang lazim dilakukan oleh misionaris Kristen untuk mengkaji kelemahan Islam. Namun Germanus justru tertarik dengan Islam. Termotivasi dengan kebenaran agama Islam, dia memutuskan untuk melakukan penelitian yakni menelusuri apa saja yang telah ditulis oleh orang-orang Kristen tentang Islam dan membandingkannya dengan sumber aslinya yaitu Al-Quran dan Sunnah Nabi. Dia melakukan berbagai upaya. Misalnya dengan membaca terjemahan kitab-kitab hadis dalam rangka mempelajari perkataan-perkataan Nabi Muhammad SAW. “Bertengkar” dengan profesor Germanus kembali ke Hungaria dan berjumpa dengan beberapa eks profesornya di Universitas Budapes. Mereka punya reputasi hebat sebagai orientalis. Namun sering menyampaikan pemikiran-pemikiran yang menyimpang tentang Islam. Germanus berdebat dengan para profesor itu. Dia menceritakan karakter sesungguhnya dari sosok Nabi Muhammad SAW. Uraiannya didasarkan pada berbagai hadis yang dia ketahui. Setelah puas “bertengkar” dengan para profesornya, Germanus memutuskan belajar bahasa Arab lebih mendalam lagi. Germanus memang punya bakat besar di bidang bahasa. Buktinya, dalam jangka waktu singkat dia sudah mahir berbahasa Arab. Belum puas, dia juga belajar bahasa Persia. Tahun 1912, Germanus diangkat sebagai profesor bahasa Arab, Persia dan Turki di Hungarian Royal Academy di Budapes. Dia juga mengasuh mata kuliah Sejarah Islam. Selanjutnya dia memimpin Department of Oriental studies pada Budapest University of Economics. Bersyahadah di India Pada tahun 1928, setelah bekerja beberapa lama di University of Budapest, sastrawan dan penerima Nobel terkemuka asal Bangladesh (dulu masih bernama India -red) Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) mengundang Germanus untuk mengajar sekaligus memimpin program Islamic Studies di Visva-Bharati University. Germanus bermukim di India selama beberapa tahun dan disana pula dia menemukan cahaya Islam. Prosesi syahadahnya berlangsung di Mesjid Agung Delhi dan dia berganti nama menjadi Abdul Karim. Universitas tempat dia bekerja tak mendiskriminasikannya gara-gara masuk Islam. Bahkan dia mendapat kelonggaran, misalnya untuk menunaikan shalat Jumat ke mesjid. Keinginan Germanus yang kuat untuk mendalami Islam dan menyelami sifat-sifat khas Muslim telah mempertemukannya dengan salah satu pujangga Islam tersohor asal Pakistan yakni Muhammad Iqbal. Rasa ingin tahu Germanus yang begitu tinggi hingga dia sering terlibat pembicaraan hingga berjam-jam lamanya. Tak hanya itu, mereka juga sering berdiskusi tentang aktifitas para orientalis dan misionaris Kristen. Germanus dan Iqbal punya pandangan berbeda tentang aktifitas misionaris Kristen. Menurut Germanus, propaganda yang disebarkan oleh para misionaris Kristen di Eropa sebagai sebuah masalah pelik yang mengkhawatirkan. Sementara Iqbal justru melihat masalah sesungguhnya ada pada orang Islam sendiri. Iqbal menyebut kesatuan Muslim yang lemah yang membuat Islam mudah diombang-ambing. Belajar bahasa Arab klasik Kecintaan Germanus pada bahasa Arab telah membawanya ke Kairo, tempat dimana dia kemudian belajar bahasa Arab klasik. Satu ketika, pada saat pertama kali menjejakkan kakinya di pelabuhan Alexandria, dia mengaku sangat terkejut dengan respon yang diberikan oleh penduduk setempat. Mereka pada tertawa mendengar bahasa Arab Germanus. Bukan apa-apa, karena dia berbicara dengan menggunakan bahasa Arab klasik atau kuno! Mereka, warga Alexandria, berbincang dengan memakai dialek setempat hingga Germanus tak mampu mencerna apa yang mereka ucapkan. Kontan dia merasa marah dan berteriak lantang, “Saya kemari untuk belajar bahasa Al-Quran dari Anda! Kenapa kalian justru menertawakan dan mengejek saya?” Selama di Mesir, Germanus menjalin hubungan erat dengan penulis terkenal negeri kuda nil itu yakni Mahmoud Timour. Mahmoud bahkan menulis tentang perjalanan Germanus mencari Islam dalam bukunya Behind the Veil (Dibalik Hijab) yang berisi kumpulan kisah-kisah pendek. Dia menyebut Germanus seorang teman yang baik, yang memiliki kecakapan bahasa Arab demikian mengagumkan. Menurut Mahmoud, Germanus memainkan peranan yang penting dalam menjaga dan melestarikan bahasa Arab klasik. Begitulah, akhirnya Germanus benar-benar mencapai tingkat kemahiran yang tinggi dalam tata bahasa Arab (baca: Al-Quran). Dia selanjutnya kembali ke kampung halaman dan menjadi profesor di Universitas Budapes bidang sejarah dan kebudayaan selama hampir 40 tahun lamanya. Dia banyak mempublikasikan hasil-hasil pemikirannya, terutama tentang kebangkitan bahasa Arab klasik di dunia Arab. Obsesinya adalah membangkitkan kembali kejayaan bahasa Arab klasik yang mati suri selama sekian lama. Impiannya, satu saat nanti semua negara-negara Arab bisa bercakap dengan format bahasa Arab yang seragam hingga akan mengikat kesatuan di antara mereka serta tumbuh kecintaan akan warisan budaya dan sejarah Arab yang begitu tinggi. Menentang sikap orientalis Sepanjang perjalanan karir akademisnya, Germanus berperang melawan orientalis di Eropa. Dalam berbagai penjelasan, dia selalu menyampaikan argumentasinya berdasarkan data dan fakta serta rasional. Begitupun dia selalu mendapat tentangan, bahkan menjurus permusuhan. Akibatnya sering berselisih pendapat dengan para orientalis lain. Bahkan dia dipecat oleh pihak universitas dengan alasan kelakuan yang tidak pantas. Sebaliknya dengan para mahasiswa bimbingannya, meskipun Germanus dicap berseberangan pemikiran dengan para orientalis, mereka tetap mendukung ide-ide yang dibawanya. Mereka menghargai pekerjaannya dan melihat buah karyanya punya pengaruh yang besar secara akademis, di Barat dan dunia Islam. Karena dukungan para mahasiswa itu pula dia masih masih bisa tetap menjadi staf pengajar di universitas. Naik Haji Di Hungaria, Germanus berusaha keras memberikan pencerahan kepada Muslim di negerinya, yang kala itu berjumlah antara 1000 hingga 2000 jiwa. Dia mendirikan sebuah organisasi guna menjembatani hubungan antara Islam dengan pemerintah. Misinya kala itu adalah membawa Islam agar diterima sebagai salah satu agama resmi di Hungaria. Tahun 1935 Germanus menunaikan rukum Islam kelima dan menjadi satu dari sedikit Muslim Eropa yang berangkat ke Mekkah pada masa itu. Tahun 1939 dia menunaikan ibadah haji untuk kali kedua. Bahkan kisah perjalanan rohaninya ke Mekkah dirangkumnya dalam sebuah buku berbahasa Hungaria yang cukup terkenal berjudul Allahu Akbar! Buku tersebut telah diterjemahkan ke dalam beberapa bahasa. Germanus menikah dengan seorang perempuan Eropa yang dulunya beragama Kristen. Setelah beberapa lama, sang istri akhirnya memeluk Islam dengan disaksikan oleh Syekh Ahmed Abdul Ghafur Attar, seorang penulis dan akademisi Islam terkenal. Publikasi Islam di Eropa Germanus aktif berdakwah melalui tulisan. Dia menulis tentang Islam di pelbagai media di Eropa. Dalam sebuah artikelnya dia pernah menulis bahwa Islam satu saat nanti akan memperlihatkan keajaibannya pada saat dunia mulai diliputi oleh kegelapan. Germanus bisa disebut sebagai jenius bahasa. Buktinya dia menulis banyak buku, diantaranya The Greek, Arabic Literature in Hungarian, Lights of the East, Uncovering the Arabian Peninsula, Between Intellectuals, The History of Arabic Literature, The History of the Arabs, Modern Movements in Islam, Studies in the Grammatical Structure of the Arabic Language, Journeys of Arabs, Pre-Islamic Poetry, Great Arabic Literature, Guidance From the Light of the Crescent (a personal memoir), An Adventure in the Desert, Arab Nationalism, Allahu Akbar, Mahmoud Timour and Modern Arabic Literature, The Great Arab Poets, dan The Rise of Arab Culture. Germanus yang meninggal pada 7 Nopember 1979 mengabdikan dirinya untuk Islam sepanjang lebih kurang 50 tahun. Begitulah, kisah sang legenda yang tak lekang oleh zaman. Dia dikenang hingga kini sebagai salah satu legenda Muslim di Hungaria. [www.hidayatullah.com]
          Gold, silver and the end of film.        
  Our previous “Inkonomics” article triggered a LOT of interesting emails from readers. Thank you for sharing your opinions. We just wish more people would comment below each post (instead of email) so not only we could benefit from different views. Perhaps a New Year’s resolution? A really intriguing comment was “the economic recession triggered […]
          Bella Communities: Utilizing technology & Google tools to drive "volunteer-ship"        

In 2009, Khoi Pham co-founded Bella Communities to address low-income housing issues and resident supportive services. Today, Bella Communities is harnessing the energy of thousands of community leaders, affordable housing owners, neighbors, nonprofits, resident volunteers, and professionals to offer a meaningful livelihood to their low-income housing tenants.  In addition to providing affordable housing, Bella’s signature program aims to mobilize low-income residents with an economic-opportunity modeled volunteering program. This programs enables residents to engage with other nonprofits, building civic engagement and social capital; improving career and personal skills; and earning rent credits to have financial capability and housing stability. Through this innovative “volunteer-ship” training program, they seek to help families “not just get by but also get ahead.” 

Bella Communities
What was the key to their success? We sat down with Khoi to hear exactly how they utilized technology and Google Apps for Nonprofits to achieve their goals.

Which role does technology play in Bella Communities?

Khoi: It’s critical! Technology allows us to communicate with our constituencies efficiently and cost-effectively which is vital for us. We want to empower our low-income residents with the tools needed to achieve economic development. With Google Apps for Nonprofits, we’ve built our own technology platform serving this objective. We have been able to switch from a desktop, web-based platform to a smart-phone mobile application, increasing engagement and participation from our residents using Google Forms. Most of them have skipped desktop to go mobile first!

Do you think technology has changed the way you work?

Khoi: Absolutely. It allowed us to operate in multiple states, virtually and real time! Communication, collection, and sharing data became seamless and effortless, which is fundamental to keeping pace.

Also Google Apps for Nonprofits has allowed us access to technology without heavy IT costs in order to preserve limited start-up resources and marshal them effectively. Google tools are all cloud-based and do not require us to build an internal IT infrastructure, which has enabled quick adaptability and flexibility to change. I have been amazed by the intuitiveness of the tools and how easily they integrate with one another!

Can you tell us more about your homemade program “Resident Volunteership United Program”?

Khoi: A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service showed that volunteers have a 27% greater chance  of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers? That is precisely why Bella Communities designed and tested an innovative supportive service program to simultaneously tackle both financial empowerment and civic engagement mobilization.  The Resident Volunteership United Program (ReV-UP) engages residents living in low-income communities to volunteer with other non-profit organizations in the immediate neighborhood to build community and economic development..

Google Apps was vital to the deployment of this program — we never would’ve been able to do it without that! It allowed us to manage workflow, and most importantly, it allowed us to gather, collect, and share data to build a case for supporting our program.

How are you measuring the success of this program?

Khoi: Using Google Forms and Google Drive, our low-income residents can easily manage their volunteer records online, as well as share and report their activities to the program managers. For the program pilot years, they contributed nearly 3,500 volunteer hours to their communities and generated earned approximately $21,000 in rent credits for their households.

Want to traverse the IT curve without the huge dollar investments? Find out how your nonprofit can better utilize technology with Google Apps for Nonprofits.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Bella Communities’ statements are made in connection with receiving free products as a participant in Google for Nonprofits, a program which provides free Google products to qualified nonprofits.


          Vanity GREAT (As Opposed To 'Fair')        
I almost hesitate to post these because our buddy Kroninger holds the official Drawger position as 'Vice President in Charge of Posting Images at Least 50 Years Old While Simultaneously Running Down a Hallway Dangerously Holding a Pair of Extra-Sharp Scissors'. I was checking out the Vanity Fair site over the weekend and was paying special attention to the Jazz Age and Depression-Era covers. Now THESE are covers! Covarrubias, Carlu, Aladjalov, Bolin and my personal fave, Paolo Garretto. So graphic, so elegant, so able to communicate an idea visual with an economy of line, shape and effects. So pull up a mouse and check out some absolutely amazing covers by illustrators who continue to inspire, influence and still ASTOUND us well over 50 years later. Oh, and don't mind Kroninger writhing over there in the corner -- it's only a flesh wound. Vintage Vanity Fair Covers




















          Discover What the Obama Loan Modification Programs and the 31 Percent Rule Can Do For You        
Loan Modification Programs aren't something new, but many will argue the old system wasn't structured properly to work. A recent example of this is - over half of the loans modified in the US from January to March 2008 defaulted on their modified loan before the end of the year.

What Exactly is Loan Modification?

As you are well aware the economy has taken a huge downturn over the last couple of years. This has had an undesired effect for many homeowners. People find their loans are at risk and the possible threat of foreclosure. This is where lenders will offer lower monthly repayments and set terms and conditions on your home loan for a specified period of time. However, with no real structure in place, this was doomed to fail.

The Obama administration unveiled their new program on Wednesday 4th March 2009. This program planned to restructure home loans and save millions of Americans from foreclosure.

So What is the 31% Rule?

The program requires lenders to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments to no more than 38% of your gross monthly income. The government will then fund the remainder, to bring your payments down by a further 7%. This would mean that your monthly mortgage repayments would be no more than 31% of your total gross monthly income.

In order for your lender to achieve this, they would first need to lower the interest rate on your loan and possibly extend the term of your mortgage. They have the ability to lower the interest rate to 2% and extend your term up to 40 years. However, even after all these alterations, if you are still paying above 31% threshold, the lender can merely claim payments for your principle balance and will charge no interest.

For you to secure help to join one of these Programs, you will usually need to approach a Loan Modification Company. Although, many people have reported savings in excess of $500 per month on their mortgage payments, others have told horror stories of the fees that some of these companies charge.
          Are These Offers That Provide Unsecured Personal Loans For Poor Credit All They're Cracked Up to Be?        
With the downturn in the world's economy, it appears more and more people now have a bad credit rating than ever before. You would think borrowing money would be more difficult now, but it seems this is when you become inundated with offers of Unsecured Personal Loans For Poor Credit.

Are the companies and organizations that offer these deals, what they actually appear to be, or are they trying to hide some dark secret from you. In all honesty, if you have bad credit score, or defaults/judgements registered against or even a bankruptcy, you cannot expect to be offered the same terms and conditions as when you had a clean record. However, this does not mean that unscrupulous lenders should be able to take advantage of your situation by charging excessively high interest rates.

This is when it may be more appropriate to educate yourself in the way that lenders think, prior to approaching them for a loan. A program that i have recently reviewed is My Miracle Loans. My Miracle Loans is a program that teaches it's members a number of different strategies on how to approach a lender during these trying times. They promise that as long as you thoroughly research and understand the techniques they teach you, once you put them into practice, you are 100% guaranteed a loan.

My Miracle Loans have a different approach for every situation. There is no one method to use. Depending on your personal circumstances, they can provide help for you:-

- Bad Credit

- No job or income

- Student

- Bankruptcy

- Very Low Credit Score

- Been turned down before

And not just Unsecured Personal Loans For People With Poor Credit, they can help you secure a loan or home finance for any purpose.

If you are struggling and not sure where to turn and you are looking for an Unsecured Personal Loan For Poor Credit, then please read my full review on My Miracle Loans and discover how to ease your financial troubles today.
          The Secret Strategy Behind Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit        
Do you remember the days of Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit? Lenders were queueing up to authorize loans and credit cards for people and it didn't seem to matter how good...or bad your credit rating was!

Well times have changed. Now that the world economy is stuck in a deep and difficult financial recession, Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit seem to be a thing of the past.

This is not altogether true. There are a number of financial companies within the marketplace who are looking to help clients who are unable to borrow money elsewhere. The problem with many of these companies though, is they want to charge outrageous interest rates and levels of monthly repayment just for you to secure some credit. It's almost as though these companies are trying to hold you to ransom!

However, it now appears that many intermediary organizations are springing up to help you in your search. These companies usually charge a very small one-time fee and then allow you access to their database of lenders, as well as providing online and telephone support. They can place you with a lender who will provide Instant Approval Credit Cards For People with Bad Credit and at an affordable price.

The outcome for you is two-fold:-

1) you have finally managed to secure the credit card that you have been searching high and low for.

2) As long as you maintain your monthly repayments and pay them in full and on time, you are also repairing your credit history, thus meaning a wider range of lenders may be available to you in the future.

These companies are a god-send for you if you are struggling with your monthly bills. Sometimes you just need and want someone to listen to you - just being approved for a credit card or loan could improve your current financial situation no end and bring an end to those sleepless nights.

Do you urgently need to get Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit Now? Or perhaps you would like know how to secure Personal Unsecured Loans For Bad Credit.
          First Formal Offer        
Our first formal lease offer on a building as come and gone without success. The problem we seem to be facing is that a brewery needs a rather strange space to fill. 18' clear ceilings, but only 10,000sqft of space. It’s almost a giant cube. Of all the issues I expected in setting up a brewery, finding space in Buffalo wasn't one of them.

The owners we have talked to have all been great guys, but the economics of everything makes it extremely hard to make a deal. No owner wants to take on the risk, or cost of divided up there building, and definitely not at the lease rate we can afford to offer. Seeing as it will be about 6-9 months after signing a lease we can start sell beer we just can't pay the big bucks people are looking for.

So at this point were back to looking at building something new. I really don't want to do that at all. It feels unreasonable to build a new building in a city full of old ones.  Next we’ll look into finding one the city has foreclosed on that isn't so broken I can't fix it for less.
          Londra: Il Transfer Più Economico dall’Aeroporto di Stansted        
Ti passo qualche informazione su come arrivare a Londra se atterri all’aeroporto di Stansted. Questo aeroporto, sebbene si trovi abbastanza fuori mano, è uno dei più affollati perché costituisce il terminale di molte compagnie low Cost (Ryan Air su tutte). A parte qualche raro caso uso sempre il servizio di easyBus quando vado a Londra perché […]
          Cosa Dovresti Sapere Prima di Decidere se Trasferirti in Brasile        
Il flusso di Italiani che decide di cambiare vita all’estero aumenta sempre di più, e secondo me viene volutamente sottostimato. Uno dei paesi più gettonati è proprio il Brasile, appartenente al blocco delle economie emergenti (BRIC). Non ho una conoscenza diretta di India, Cina e Russia ma il Brasile lo conosco sufficientemente per sapere quali insidie […]
          â€œEl reto más importante del gobierno en los programas sociales está en la focalización y priorización”        
Economista, jefe del área de desarrollo económico y social de Macroconsult, Álvaro Monge habla en la siguiente entrevista sobre los primeros 100 días del gobierno en política social y los principales retos que tiene en este tema. También analiza lo hecho por el gobierno de Ollanta Humala en materia de inclusión social, que fue la principal bandera política de ese gobierno, y cómo ha recibido el nuevo gobierno los programas sociales.
          â€œSi en estos últimos diez años se hubieran usado mejor los recursos existentes ahora tendríamos anemia cero y desnutrición muy baja”        
Ex viceministro de Economía y actual miembro del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, Javier Abugattás analiza en la siguiente entrevista las políticas públicas de combate contra la anemia y la desnutrición infantil, las razones por las cuales no han tenido los resultados esperados y qué hacer para mejorar esos resultados. También revisa los presupuestos destinados para este tema y el rol de los distintos niveles de gobierno.
          Reconocimiento a miembros de Inversión en la infancia por su trabajo a favor de los niños y niñas        
En el marco del 25 aniversario de la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño, UNICEF premió a trece personalidades por su trabajo a favor de la niñez. Entre quienes recibieron este reconocimiento, estuvieron cinco miembros del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia: Gastón Garatea, coordinador nacional de esta iniciativa ciudadana; Uriel García, ex ministro de Salud; Javier Abugattás, ex viceministro de Economía; y los educadores Alejandro Cussiánovich y Manuel Bello. Los cinco se pronuncian sobre este reconocimiento, la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño y los retos para mejorar la situación de la infancia.
          Upside to castration? Eunuchs lived longer, study finds        
A study of eunuchs in Korea's royal court has found men without testicles live longer. Researchers looking at the court of the Chosun Dynasty found eunuchs lived to 70 on average, or 14 to 19 years longer than "intact" men of similar socio-economic status.
          Economy Candy Founder Moishe Cohen's Sweet Lower East Side Legacy        

Moishe Cohen, the man we have to thank for Economy Candy, the sugar haven on New York City’s Lower East Side, died last week at 97. Cohen opened the Rivington Street shop in 1937, when he was 19, and the store quickly made a name for itself with its cheap candy, enormous selection, and haimish atmosphere. That reputation has lasted, and Economy Candy is a regular stop for tourists and New Yorkers alike, who are all won over by the place’s old-school charm.

The store, which is now run by Moishe’s grandson, Mitchell Cohen, announced the death on its Facebook page: “It is with great sadness and fond memories that we share with the Economy Candy family that we lost Morris ‘Moishe’ Cohen, the Original Candy Man at the age of 97.” The comments below the post, many of which were written by former Economy Candy employees, are a moving testament to Moishe’s character. “The man was my boss and also like a father to us,” one comment said. “Thanks for taking care of me and making me the man I’ve became,” said another. Two employees from the 1970s fondly remembered getting to drive Cohen’s Lincoln continental for pickups and deliveries.

Continue reading "Economy Candy Founder Moishe Cohen's Sweet Lower East Side Legacy" at...


                  

'National Retail Federation: As Economy Impacts Halloween, Americans Get Creative' article ZAKA link Wikipedia article about Ovadia Yosef '15 of the most disgusting Halloween candies you can buy' article The Annotated Child: Halloween Hangover

graphic for The Annotated Child: Halloween Hangover

Continue reading "" at...


                  

http://tabletmag.com/audio/podcast_feature051906_economycandy.mp3Jerry Cohen, owner of Economy Candy, a sweet tooth wonderland on New York City’s Lower East Side, has worked there ever since he was a kid. He knows the store’s vast inventory as well as anyone – everything from the Banana French Taffy Chews to rainbow-colored Gummy Sour Worms. In anticipation of Passover, Tablet’s Blake Eskin takes a guided tour of Jerry’s holiday-appropriate selection, which includes fresh candied fruit slices and chocolate dipped macaroons.

Continue reading "" at...


          The collapse of social security        
[+4] Question by cicerone imposter on 06/19/16 7:15 PM Replies: 7 Views: 967
Tags: Social Security, Economy, Savings, Retirement, Fear
Last Post by TomTomBinks on 06/22/16 5:32 AM
          Hey America, What's Your Retirement Plan?        
[+13] Discussion by Green Witch on 01/27/10 6:31 PM Replies: 27 Views: 2,760
Tags: Finance, Economy, Retirement, Retirement Plans
Last Post by mac11 on 01/28/10 3:41 PM
          Blog Post: Moves the RTS Genre Into Uncharted Territory, but Does it Hit the Mark?        

I've got nothing against non-traditional monetary models in games. BattleForge's odd setup, where players buy card packs through the online store to supplement their significant starting pool, and complete real-time strategy missions with created decks, is an intriguing framework. The online backend is solid, with a browser that lets players quickly find teammates or opponents for the mission they're interested in. It's too bad that the actual gameplay is so shoddy I wouldn't play it if the entire thing were free.

The basic combat is very traditional RTS battle, granting victory to the player who best uses counter units and properly employs his troops' activated abilities. Many of the little details that go into RTS design are poorly done, though. The massive pool of creatures and spells you may encounter makes it difficult to keep abreast of strengths and weaknesses. The extremely fast pace makes it easy to be overwhelmed – especially if, as in many scenarios, you have multiple fronts to deal with. [Excerpt]

There isn't much of an economic game, either. Controlling nodes gives a trickle of power to your pool, and any dead units slowly return their power cost to your bank as well. Strategic orbs can be captured to allow access to the higher tiers of spells in your deck. Most maps are designed in such a way that each player has access to a preset amount of these, meaning the units you summon are virtually the only determinant of success.

BattleForge is a combination of strange mechanics and bad design. Units are diverse, and yet none of them are terribly interesting. Missions have a ton of variety on the surface, but in practice they're variations on the same few objectives. Combat is vanilla RTS, but too messy to allow for much tactical or strategic creativity. New revenue models are a good way to try to find success in a tough PC gaming market, but even the cleverest is nowhere near as important as good gameplay.


          Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           As the Conceptual Age fades the Meaning Age rises        
    For years, we filled our brains and the mouths of the transaction between the information age - the era of computerization - and the conceptual age in the hope that this could save western economies from the ultimate nightmare of globalization of work and offshoring. We believed that thanks to our supposed greater ability to design great products, experiences and eventually statuses, we may have succeeded to the threat. The news is that this is not happening.
              Interviewing Richard Stallman: Freedom in the time of SaaS        
    Richard Stallman is one of the most revolutionary thinkers and activists of the twentieth century. Thanks to him we have things like GNU and free software movement. Meedabyte had the opportunity to publish an interview with him about the threats to personal freedom deriving from using what is commonly identified as SaaS. All of us use SaaS every day but the contours of this phenomenon, which has so many obscure points for users, are rarely clear. Emerges a clear picture: on one hand users, citizens, taxpayers, on the other huge economic interests. In the middle, the need for individuals to mobilize and be the first lawyers of their own Freedom. Richard Stallman è uno dei pensatori più rivoluzionari e gli attivisti del ventesimo secolo.A lui dobbiamo cose come GNU e del movimento del software libero. Meedabyte avuto l'opportunità di pubblicare un'intervista con lui riguardo le minacce alla libertà personale derivanti dal Software as a Service. Tutti noi usiamo SaaS ogni giorno, ma i contorni di questo fenomeno, che ha così tanti punti oscuri per gli utenti, raramente sono chiari. Ne emerge un quadro chiaro: da un lato gli utenti, cittadini, contribuenti, dall'altro enormi interessi economici. Nel mezzo, la necessità per gli individui di mobilitarsi e di essere i primi gli avvocati della propria libertà.
              SÍ, HAY UN PAÍS QUE SE LLAMA FILIPINAS...        

    ¿Para qué sirve un reinado de belleza? Los reinados son muy útiles porque no sirven para nada. Nos sirven para no pensar... y bueno nos enseñan que existe Filipinas y que queda en Asia. Dan espectáculo, enseñan que Confucio se inventó la confusión (Señorita Panamá 2009) "y también del mismo y en el sentido contrario" (Señorita Antioquia 2008). Y los reinados nos recuerdan que "estamos para darnos cariño, para darnos amor" (Señorita Antioquia 2008). Esto tratando de emular un sistema de citas digno de los reinados. Claro pero tienen la utilidad de trascender la psicología geográfica mundial... ¿En serio hay un país que se llama Filipinas? La gente en Colombia -quizás en el mundo- aprende de geopolítica, geografía e historia haciendo chismografía sobre reinados de belleza. Así que más allá del reinado y del "ese país existe" hablemos de Filipinas...

    Geografía psicológica de las tragedias

    Geografía Filipina y Sistema Político...
    Sí gente que en común padece una arbitrariedad llamada Colombia, hay un país que se llama Filipinas, son 7107 islas al sur del mar de China y al norte de Malasia e Indonesia. En total ocupan un área de 300.000 Km2 y su población es de 100 millones de habitantes. Fueron colonia española y de Estados Unidos. Idiomas oficiales Tagalo e Inglés, pero hablan otros como el Cebuano (que allá conocen como Bisaya). Entre sus islas se transportan en ferry. 
    Mapa de Filipinas
    Política y economía...
    Filipinas tiene la mitad del ingreso per cápita de Colombia.  Su moneda el Peso Filipino PHP es alrededor de 70 COP. El Peso Colombiano se ha devaluado también frente al PHP. Pero en todo caso, los salarios en Filipinas siguen siendo inferiores a los de Colombia. En general me parece un país barato. Al igual que Colombia el excesivo presupuesto público en Filipinas también desaparece. ¿Por qué? Porque al igual que en Colombia en Filipinas los políticos son "honestos"... Sin embargo, en Filipinas los únicos ricos son los políticos que "honestamente" se aprovechan del Pondo público. Bueno, las celebridades también tienen plata allá...

    Tienen una economía altamente proteccionista que prácticamente prohíbe los negocios de los extranjeros. Ningún extranjero puede adquirir propiedad raíz. Los casos comunes de jurisprudencia en propiedad es si un extranjero que compra a través de un filipino pueden transferir legítimamente propiedad a un tercero. Lo que, contrario a mis amigos de izquierda, es para mí la razón por la cual no tienen el desarrollo de Hong Kong, Singapur o Malasia. Filipinas es uno de los pocos países que no le exige Visa a los colombianos...claro si no siguen poniendo estupideces en redes sociales. Por culpa de algunos colombianos es que a otros nos da vergüenza mostrar el pasaporte. 

    Esa arbitrariedad llamada estado también genera problemas políticos en Asia. Hay un problema de aguas territoriales como Colombia. Colombia lo tiene con Nicaragua, algo la verdad relativamente fácil de lidiar. Pero ¿con quién tiene ese diferendo limítrofe Filipinas? ¡Con China! Un país conquistador y con un poder fuerte. En Filipinas por su pobreza y pequeño ejército tienen miedo al imperialismo del gobierno Chino. Por eso la pregunta de las bases militares. 

    ¿Actitud conspirativa...?
    Contrario a la cultura colombiana, en Filipinas no ven robos improvisados en cada esquina. Para ellos básicamente se trató de una situación muy incómoda, y un error de buena fe lo que pasó en el reinado. Si fuera lo contrario ¿cómo sería la actitud de este país sudaca?

    Cultura y religión...
    Los filipinos tienen un respeto por los mayores, algo común en la cultura asiática. A todo hombre mayor se le dice kuya y a toda mujer mayor ate. Su lenguaje utilizando la palabra po cambia a una expresión más educada. Por ejemplo, Salamat po es más educado que sólo salamat. Eso significa "gracias". En Colombia no hay respeto por los mayores sino por los cartones...

    Algunas palabras o curiosidades

    Kumustá ... Viene el español ¿Cómo está? Y es el saludo.
    Paki Significa por favor
    Pagbati Significa "feliticationes"
    Ako ay mula sa Kolombiya: Significa soy de Colombia en Tagalo.
    Paano mo sabihin? Cómo se dice?
    Mahal kita... Te quiero o te amo...
    Oo Sí
    Hindi No
    Ang babae Mujer
    Ang lalaki hombre
    Ang pusa Gato
    Ang tubig agua
    Ang = el/la/los/las
    ng= de (de pertenencia)
    sa= de (de procedencia)

    Es un idioma en el que uno ve muchas a, muchas m y n, muchas g y muchas p. Tienen una letra que es la ng que para mí suena como una ñ, aunque para ellos es más dulce.

    Es quizás el único país mayoritariamente cristiano de Asia con amplia influencia católica, aunque hay otras iglesias...

    Es muy curioso porque la influencia española en Filipinas duró más que en Colombia. ¿Por qué no hablan entonces español? ¿Por qué conservaron sus idiomas regionales pero aceptaron la religión? Si los españoles eran... lo que todo el mundo piensa... ¿No debería ser Filipinas un país donde se hablara español? 

    ¿Qué piensan de Colombia?
    Pero tranquilos que en Filipinas también desconocen de Colombia. Pero, a diferencia de Filipinas, Colombia es un país mucho más "x". Ellos creen que latinoamérica es como México. Aunque tienen razón porque latinoamérica es mera telenovela. Empezando por la política colombiana entre Uribe y Santos. Semejante divorcio no habría podido ser anticipado por ningún guionista mexicano. Y pase a Venezuela con Maduro y sus llantos "ya no les doy casa porque han roto mi corazón. A quien mi comandante nombró desde su corazón". Siga con Ecuador y "van a matar al Presidente". Y sobre latinoamérica no entienden el chiste de que el papa es el único Argentino humilde jajaja...

    También insisten en que hay una gran diferencia entre los ojos de los asiáticos. Claro, de la misma manera que no somos mexicanos. No es lo mismo los ojos de un chino, de un japonés y de un coreano... Ni los de un rolo... Para nosotros todos son chinos. Encuentre las diferencias...

    En Colombia pensamos que Manila es el componente de un sobre. No, Manila es la capital de Filipinas. El sobre efectivamente es hecho con cáñamo que se cultivaba en la región de Manila.

    A diferencia del orgullo de acá, ellos creen que las mujeres latinas son las más bonitas. ¿Por qué? ¡Porque suelen ganarse los reinados de belleza! Y puede que Ariadna no haya quedado de primera, pero había dos colombianas en ese escenario...

    En fin... qué importa quién gane el reinado. Hay mujeres lindas aquí y allá, 17.000 km de distancia, idiomas, culturas, creencias y economía deben unirnos en aquel gran trasfondo de humanidad. Somos humanos, dejemos de compararnos y recordemos como dijo la señorita Antioquia "estamos para darnos cariño, para darnos amor". Que Confucio no invente la confusión y conozcamos más allá de las diferencias las similitudes que tienen dos países tan extraños como Colombia y Filipinas...  


              LA GRAN "UTILIDAD" DE LA OEA...        
    Asamblea General 35 de la OEA.
    Decía en estos días el dictador venezolano Nicolás Maduro que a la OEA no la quiere nadie. ¿Cómo va a ser verdad una frase de tan despreciable personaje? ¡Tiene que estar "equivocado"! ¡La "verdad" únicamente la dice gente inteligente y agradable! Para refutar la frase de Maduro (aunque estaría "refutada" por quien la dice) vamos a mostrar la inmensa utilidad de la OEA.

    En los inicios de la juventud hay un idealismo que raya con la ingenuidad. Todos los recién egresados de colegio vibran por cambiar el mundo. Saben más de la profesión que piensan estudiar los que ya la estudiaron. Una época hermosa con unas ansias de cambiar el mundo más fuertes que las de Putin y las de Obama... Y es aquí donde viene la OEA. Con el ánimo de implantar "valores democráticos" se crean simulaciones de la OEA. Los jóvenes por un instante juegan a cambiar el mundo. Los hombres de corbata y las niñas de sastre. Una elegancia que eleva su "espíritu" a la categoría de aquellos representantes del continente... Sin la OEA ¿A qué jugarían nuestros jóvenes?


    Maduro diría que podrían jugan a un modelo de la "Asamblea Nacional". Más de uno elegiría ser Diosdado Cabello sin lugar a dudas. Pero la Asamblea Nacional Bolivariana es muy aburrida. La mayoría tendrían que gritar que están "rodilla en tierra" con el comandante eterno. La minoría básicamente tendría que gritar que "no existen garantías para la oposición". Lo único es que podría armarse un "bochinche" y liberar aquellas bajas pasiones... Tal vez esa sea una simulación un poco más auténtica del costoso circo de la política. Pero ¿Acaso eso eleva su noble y digno espíritu de nuestra juventud? 


    La diplomacia es el arte, que requiere enorme valentía, de sonreirle a quien en condiciones normales querrías pegarle un puño. No es hipocresía, para nada, por el contrario se requiere una gran valentía para sonreírle a alguien que detestas. Esto es incomprensible por algunas personas sobre todo en Antioquia y la Costa Colombiana.  Sin embargo, en su mayoría la gente en Colombia es "diplomática". En todo caso, más vale una sonrisa falsa que una guerra auténtica...


    Uno de los grandes beneficios conseguidos por la diplomacia es el de la "inmunidad diplomática". Más allá de entrar a analizar tan "valiosa" institución en sus debidas "excepciones" es claro que esto representa un beneficio. La inmunidad diplomática no solamente se presenta para "misiones diplomáticas" ante países, sino para aquellas ante instituciones como la OEA o la ONU.


    En un mundo donde priman principios como "la libertad de circulación" o la no-discriminación por razones de nacionalidad (leáse pasaporte) ¿Cómo se sacarían beneficios adicionales para personas "iguales ante la ley"? ¡Con la inmunidad diplomática! Se trata de una discriminación positiva en razón del pasaporte, de uno especial claro está. Siendo todos iguales ante la ley ¿cómo podríamos encontrar una forma para que a alguien le dijeran "Su Excelencia"? Eso sin contar que eso facilita el tránsito en aeropuertos demorado por medidas proteccionistas (que surgen "precisamente" como formas para facilitar la libertad de circulación y la no-discriminación) como las visas o las aduanas. Sin tantas instituciones internacionales ¿Cómo haría el político para incluir en la lista de su gigantesco número de "amigos" de los beneficios del poder? Ese carrusel de roscas, beneficios y adulación requiere privilegios especiales...


    Hay un tercer beneficio que presenta la OEA. Se trata de una Organización que no escatima en realizar toda serie de eventos, cocteles, tratos especiales, etc. Se trata de la socialización del más alto nivel. En estos eventos como "foro para la erradicación del hambre" se invita a "líderes comprometidos" a "discutirlo" en hoteles del más alto nivel. Se trata de eventos que sus asistentes no solamente no pasen hambre, sino que coman esquisitos manjares. Manjares que los motiven a una "reflexión profunda" para sacar una resolución, declaración, etc., donde se diga que se quiere acabar con el hambre. Â¿Cómo conseguiríamos aquellas "valiosísimas" declaraciones que se dan en eventos del más alto nivel?


    Eso sin contar con que, los organismos internacionales son buenos empleadores. ¿Qué pasaría con empleos como los del Secretario General, despachos, asistentes, adjuntos? No se puede negar que, en un mundo lleno de problemas económicos, se requiere resolver los problemas de empleo. Es "vital" para nuestra economía que haya personas encargadas de manejar varios tipos de sellos y la logística que ello implica. Más aún, por su directa relación con emitir otras de declaraciones acerca de la importancia de acabar con el hambre. Situación que llevará a otras declaraciones sobre tan importante problema... Eso sin contar que las facultades de relaciones internacionales perderían inmensas "ventajas" para el mercadeo de sus programas. ¿Dónde van a trabajar sus egresados? En esta economía global hay que "garantizarles" un empleo...


    Es así como Nicolás Maduro está equivocado. No solamente por ser él quien lo dice, sino por la importancia de la institución que se trata. Sin ella ¿Qué remedarían los jóvenes para cambiar el mundo? ¡Se perderían empleos, se desperdiciarían inmunidades diplomáticas (que podría darle a sus "amigos")! Sin la OEA y las instituciones internacionales ¿cómo podríamos tener un circo donde los payasos cumplan al pie de la letra el protocolo y la etiqueta? Sin ellos no tendríamos quien lograra darnos pan... bueno declaraciones que harán que este aparezca mágicamente...

              ARTÍCULOS EN OTROS BLOGS        
    CORTO CIRCUITO Y EL APAGÓN DE 1992. Escuela de Economía Universidad Eafit

    LIBERTAD Y SOLIDARIDAD  Publicado en el Blog Mises Hispano.

    FÁBRICAS DE PROTOTIPOS HUMANOS. En Plataforma por la Libertad Educativa

              ECO-IMPERIALISMO, HIDROELÉCTRICAS, MENTIRAS Y VERDADES        
    Esta mañana me encontré este artículo en el muro de un amigo http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2705631/el_quimbo_colombia_enelendesas_low_carbon_hydroelectric_racket.html. El artículo por un imperialismo ecológico critica el imperialismo económico, pero su crítica, aunque razonable en algunos puntos, no deja de tener el trasfondo errado de muchos ecologistas: ¡imponer condiciones a los países subdesarrollados para que los ecologistas de los desarrollados sigan contaminando en paz! Pero lo irónico es que The ecologist critica una de las fuentes de generación de energía renovable más bonitas, eficientes y que puede darle a la gente que vive en ese territorio que llaman Colombia fuentes de riqueza. Además, la crítica se hace de manera ligera pasando por alto las consideraciones del International Panel on Climate Change acerca de sus ventajas.  En el punto que acierta es precisamente en los abusos del estado sobre las comunidades, donde vale la pena resaltar que el aprovechamiento del potencial hidroeléctrico no da derecho a expropiar, en favor del que sea. 

    Este escrito consta de varias partes. El primero es que hay una confusión entre inversión extranjera y concesión de monopolios extranjeros, donde los ecologistas aciertan. Y para la aclaración cito a un a un profesor de la Universidad de New York, a Murray Rothbard. Luego, muestro que tras el ecologismo hay también imperialismo, pero uno que suele gustarle a ciertas izquierdas, uno que impone condiciones insoportables a los países pobres, para que los ecologistas nórdicos no tengan cargos de conciencia por prender la calefacción, dado que en las zonas tropicales hay selvas que se beneficiarán de su cariño al planeta. En ella explico que hay una falacia en cuanto a la consideración que hace el artículo de las hidroeléctricas, incluso basándome en el IPCC. Posteriormente, se muestra que las hidroeléctricas además de ser tecnologías que producen energía eficiente sin emisiones de CO2 (no se discute acá el tema de si el cambio climático es originado o no por el hombre) es una oportunidad de ofrecer energía barata. El precio de la energía se relaciona con el crecimiento económico, inclusive una disminución de la demanda de energía puede ser un indicio previo a una crisis económica. La energía eléctrica es clave en la industria y una energía más barata puede disminuir costos. Finalmente, ante un planteamiento del artículo que menciona las pérdidas de energía en transmisión y distribución (o sea los cables que llevan la energía de la planta a su casa) que denuncian a que se deben ¿a las leyes de la física? ¿a viabilidad técnica pero no económica? ¿a ineficiencia? Esto porque consideraban que era más importante disminuir las pérdidas que construir hidroeléctricas. Hasta cierto punto, por física, las pérdidas en transmisión son inevitables, no sé cuál sea el punto. Pero eso no es una excusa para no mejorar la oferta. 

    IMPERIALISMO ECONÓMICO Y MONOPOLIO ESTATAL
    El imperialismo ecológico es una realidad. Sin embargo, muchos partidos de izquierda al ser ecologistas están convencidos de que no es imperialismo. Ya Hayek denunciaba que existía una imposición de países ricos y contaminados que obligaban a países pobres y selváticos a generar amplias áreas protegidas. Esto genera como dice don Alpiniano en El Tomismo Desdeñado unos beneficios a unas personas que no les corresponden, imponiendo cargas a otros que no las merecen. Sin embargo, luego de que en estos países -como Colombia- nadie puede hacer nada, ni tiene cómo adquirir recursos para explotar sus ventajas ahí sí llegan empresas extranjeras que, haciendo convenios con el gobierno, adquieren los beneficios que los nacionales no han tenido. 

    Hace Murray Rothbard, citado por el instituto Mises Hispano una distinción importante entre la sana inversión extranjera y la alianza de empresas ricas con gobiernos ineptos pobres:

    "Los conservadores norteamericanos insisten en particular en resaltar ante los países retrasados las grandes posibilidades y la importancia de las inversiones privadas procedentes de los países avanzados, y les incitan a crear un clima favorable a las mismas, de modo que no se vean sujetas al instigamiento de los gobernantes. Todo ello es muy cierto, pero, una vez más, a menudo es irreal, dada la situación de estos países. Estos conservadores caen persistentemente en el error de no saber distinguir entre las inversiones exteriores legítimas del mercado libre y las basadas en concesiones monopolistas y en donaciones de vastas extensiones de tierras otorgadas por los Estados subdesarrollados. En la medida en que las inversiones exteriores se basan en monopolios y en agresiones contra el campesinado, en esa misma medida adquiere el capitalismo extranjero las características de los señores feudales y debe ser combatido con los mismos medios"

    En este sentido, estoy de acuerdo con el artículo -y en contra del imperialismo económico- en que el estado confunde inversión extranjera con monopolio extranjero. Y el monopolio es desagradable venga de donde venga, sea el monopolio estatal tan "nacional", como cualquier otro. Por eso, cuando Robledo, senador del Polo, defendía a los arroceros por la imposición ridícula de tener que comprar nuevas semillas estaba promoviendo algo anarcocapitalista y liberal, aunque con argumentos de izquierda. 

    Lo mismo pasa en este caso, si se trata de una inversión privada ¿por qué el estado entra y desaloja campesinos? ¿Por qué expropia? Y por más que la ley diga que la expropiación requiere una indemnización al precio del avalúo comercial, ¿es el avalúo comercial el precio de venta? Hombre, no estoy en momento de calcular las rentas campesinas vs las rentas hidroeléctricas, pero sospecho que las rentas hidroeléctricas son más altas. Ahora, si el campesino no quiere vender al precio que dice el avaluador ¿por qué le quita el estado su tierra bajo la excusa del "bien común" para las rentas particulares? No creo que si la transacción se diera en condiciones de libre mercado los campesinos salieran a protestar. Hay alrededor de un millón de kilómetros de líneas de transmisión eléctrica, y si uno viaja por carretera suele ver vacas o sembrados alrededor. ¿Por qué esos campesinos no protestan? Porque 1. esos terrenos no son expropiados sino que cuentan con servidumbres de paso, 2. Se suelen hacer arreglos de mercado. Hombre, hay casos de casos, pero en general no se ve un descontento generalizado. 

    Pero, no, la herramienta de la expropiación es el arma para el bien común, como en Venezuela que hay mucho "bien común", siendo tan paradisiado que prefieren venirse para Colombia. La expropiación existe pero tiene sus límites. En todo caso, sin estado Â¿quién expropiaría para que se hicieran las vías? 

    IMPERIALISMO ECOLÓGICO

    Sin embargo, las razones ecológicas que plantean para oponerse a las hidroeléctricas son más bien pobres. En primer lugar, las consideran también causa del calentamiento global. ¿Cómo? No quiero citar el artículo porque me da pereza pero la idea se resume en 1. cortan bosques tropicales que recogen el CO2, 2. son fuentes de Metano. Hombre ¿cómo un artículo que cita el Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático para defender a los campesinos y el agro sale a decir que son más contaminantes? En primer lugar, si uno revisa lo que dice el IPCC en materia de energía hidoeléctrica (sacaron un documento sobre energías alternativas) su resumen -de la IPCC- arranca así: "Hydropower offers significant potential for carbon emissions reductions" http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/srren/Chapter%205%20Hydropower.pdf. Creo que en ese punto "The ecologist" se equivoca. 

    Por otro lado argumenta que las represas (reservoirs) son fuentes de Metano. La verdad, lo que dicen los científicos climáticos es que si bien el metano CH4 es un gas efecto invernadero, su absorción es más rápida que el CO2, una diferencia que va desde unas décadas en el metano, hasta miles de años para el dióxido de carbono. Además, de acuerdo con la siguiente imagen que proviene del último reporte del IPCC parte del CO2 proviene del uso de la tierra http://www.slideshare.net/fullscreen/IPCCGeneva/fifth-assessment-report-synthesis-report/11:
    Francamente, si queremos disminuir TODAS las emisiones humanas de CO2 hay que empezar por dejar de respirar. ¿Y todas las artificiales? Dudo que la energía que utiliza "The ecologist" sea propiamente energía que no emita CO2 -bueno, puede ser nuclear que no les gusta tampoco- pero no es de las "terribles" hidroeléctricas. 

    ¿Qué otra razón puede tener "The ecologist"? ¿Proteger los bosques de los países subdesarrollados? ¿Para qué? ¿Para que haya bosques que puedan chuparse el CO2 que producen sus plantas a carbón, gas, petróleo, etc. a costa de energía más costosa, menor productividad, entre otras, en nuestros países? ¿Para que ellos puedan seguir subsidiando sus industrias a cambio de que las nuestras no puedan competir en sus mercados por el costo de la energía?

    DEFENDIENDO LAS HIDROELÉCTRICAS

    LAGO CALIMA
    Lago Calima.
    Uno de los embalses en Colombia.
    En un apartado anterior cuestioné el manejo del monopolio estatal con la empresa. El estado es una asociación de políticos corruptos con empresarios ineficientes. Pero tanto la oportunidad a nivel de recursos hídricos que hay en Colombia, la eficiencia energética de las hidroeléctricas, su costo en comparación con las térmicas a base de carbón, gas, gasolina, su posibilidad de cambiar potencia (a diferencia de otras renovables de potencia inestable) y almacenar la energía, entre muchas otras, me hacen tenerle cariño a esta tecnología. Creo que en el punto anterior quedó desvirtuado que las hidroeléctricas tengan impactos a nivel global vía CO2 (lo que hacen es quitar el calmadero de conciencia de los ecologistas ricos que les permite seguir emitiendo CO2 bajo la tranquilidad que los bosques tropicales los recogerán). El metano no me preocupa realmente y creo que es una afirmación que no estaba fundamentada, al fin y al cabo, los embalses no son aguas estancadas. 

    El potencial hidroeléctrico de ese territorio que llaman Colombia es una maravilla. Eso sin contar con el potencial energético de otras tecnologías renovables como las fotovoltaicas por su ubicación terrestre, las mareomotrices, entre otras. Que cualquiera venga y lo explote es necesario, aunque en condiciones de mercado, no monopólicas ni imperialistas. Adicionalmente, la energía hidroeléctrica es más barata. En el siguiente gráfico hay un promedio de los precios mensuales en comparación al porcentaje de generación térmica en Colombia:

    Por puro azar puede observarse con claridad la correlación entre el porcentaje de generación térmica en Colombia y el precio constante (deflactado con IPC) de la energía. Como la gráfica de generación térmica de alguna manera encaja con la hidráulica (la cogeneración y la eólica representan porcentajes insignificantes) podría afirmarse que a mayor generación hidráulica en general menos precio. ¿Por qué se presentan esos baches en la generación? La razón es muy simple, el agua es renovable pero no predecible. Si uno mira las correlaciones de series de ingresos los caudales en dos o tres días tienen altas correlaciones, pero alrededor de dos meses -algo que corroboré con un ex empleado de ISA e ISAGEN- las correlaciones son nulas. 

    Hay incertidumbre en el ingreso del agua. Adicionalmente, en unas ocasiones por década se presenta el fenómeno del niño. El fenómeno del niño genera lluvias en Perú -un país desértico- y trae sequía a un país lluvioso como Colombia. Como el agua escasea hay que producir la energía con un sustituto: las termoeléctricas. El costo de la energía se dispara. En este momento parece que están las condiciones para que se dé el fenómeno del Niño si es que no estamos ya en él. De ese fenómeno se ha venido especulando desde que empecé a investigar este tema en Junio del año pasado (o sea el 2014). Esa especulación posiblemente también influye en los precios, el aumento de la producción térmica y la disminución de la hidroeléctrica porque ante el riesgo de escasez se empieza a guardar el agua. El profesor John Jairo García y otros de EAFIT en un paper al respecto proponía medir las expectativas de aportes al sistema en relación con el precio: 

    "Una variable importante sobre la determinación del precio en el mercado no regulado que debiera incluirse en estudios futuros son las expectativas climatológicas; en la medida en que se espere una disminución del recurso hídrico, generará expectativas de aumentos en el precio.". http://revistas.upb.edu.co/index.php/cienciasestrategicas/article/view/1093/1313

    La intuición tras el análisis es muy buena, pero dudo que pueda encontrarse una variable de expectativas climatológicas. Aunque si algo me soprendió de John Jairo era esa capacidad de creatividad econométrica. El caso es que la ventaja de tener un sistema donde el "combustible"que es el agua es variable, permite inferir que, al menos en las condiciones geográficas de los Andes Colombianas, es más barato que el uso de otros combustibles.

    Es así como la construcción de hidroeléctricas -aunque respetando los derechos de propiedad privada- es una necesidad para mantener bajos los precios de la energía. Hay muchos trabajos que buscan predecir el precio de la energía y lo hacen en función de variables hídricas. Pero nada mejor que leer los errores de las predicciones pasadas de los economistas. En este artículo participó mi amigo y profesor de econometría Mauricio Lopera y dice lo siguiente:

    " La coherencia del resultado se corrobora en el mes de enero de 2014, donde se aprecia una caída grande en el precio producto de la entrada en operación de El Quimbo y Sogamoso, las cuales en conjunto aumentan la oferta de electricidad en 1220 MW" http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/1552/155226077004.pdf
    Mauricio nos insistía mucho que verificáramos que el resultado econométrico coincidiera con la "intuición" económica.  El problema es que las predicciones se equivocan y fuertemente. En el artículo citado, se muestra que los precios caerían en enero de 2014, la razón sería lógica la entrada de hidrosogamoso y quimbo (que es la que menciona The ecologist). Los precios en 2014 en bolsa fueron altísimos, y apenas hoy 16/01/2015 leí que estaban inaugurando la planta de hidrosogamoso. Lo que es cierto es que esas plantas deberían influir en la disminución del precio por el aumento de la oferta, además, de un insumo mucho más barato como "combustible" que el carbón. En eso acertó el trabajo de Mauricio y otros. Pero el cómo o cuánto bajarán los precios no podemos calcularlo con exactitud. 

    DEFICIENCIAS DEL SISTEMA
    Los cables suelen dañar las fotos de paisajes.
    Pero ¿no puede haber buenas fotos de cables de alta tensión?

    El sistema de energía que nace con las leyes 142 y en concreto 143 de 1994 tiene muchas deficiencias. Aunque la L143/94 trataba de dar paso a un modelo más parecido al de un mercado, esa distinción del mercado regulado del consumidor de energía hace que nos saquen un ojo de la cara porque sus precios están muy por encima de los de bolsa; aunque relativamente influidos por ellos como lo mostraba el profesor John Jairo García. El modelo aunque avanza hacia tratar de liberar lo que considera de mercado y regular lo que considera "monopolio natural" se queda corto. Pero realmente si hay algo aburrido es la regulación del sistema de energía, como todas las regulaciones. Hablemos más bien de leyes bonitas, las del "fatum" o de la naturaleza... las humanas dan asco. 

    Quiero enfocarme más en los problemas que mencionaba "The ecologist" y es las "pérdidas" de energía del sistema de transmisión y distribución. Una de las leyes de la física es la ley de la entropía. Básicamente consiste en que aunque la energía no se destruye, solamente se transforma, se degrada a formas de energía más "desordenadas". Básicamente la energía se transforma en "calor", o que es lo mismo que movimiento y vibración molecular. Utilizaremos el término "pérdida" de energía en un sentido amplio, o económico, pero entendiendo que solamente es una transformación no utilizable.  Esta es la razón por la cual no existe una máquina perfecta, sin desgaste y de movimiento absoluto. Por esta razón los relojes de péndulo necesitaban que les dieran "cuerda". 

    De esta manera, por cada 1 KWh (3.600.000 Joules) que produce uno recibe una cantidad menor de energía porque esta se ha "pérdido" transformándose en calor. Esto se debe a que los transformadores -que no entiendo cómo funcionan pero cambian el voltaje- generan pérdidas, la transmisión de energía puede generar calor, en la costa el desgaste de los cables genera pérdidas. Todo esto, como me decía un ex trabajador del sector eso es parte del costo de la energía. Dice textualmente "The ecologist" que se pierde alrededor del 16% de la energía generada:

    "Yet the Government is neglecting simple options to raise power supply - like reducing the high level of losses in transmission and distribution, which run at about 16% of power generation and amount to some 10,000 GWh per year - more than four times the energy production of El Quimbo."
    Pero es que por las leyes de la física: ¡tiene que "perderse" parte de la energía generada! De la energía potencial del agua embalsada el 80%-90% se transmite por medio de la electricidad y el 10%-20% se "pierde" o sea se transforma en "calor". ¡Y es de las más bajas! Las térmicas pierden el 59% de la energía contenida en el combustible, las nucleares el 70%  (CARTA GONZÁLEZ, CALERO PÉREZ, COLMENAR SANTOS, CASTRO GIL, & COLLADO FERNÁNDEZ, 2013, pp. 113-114). Puede que pueda perderse menos bajo un mantenimiento mucho más costoso, o puede que efectivamente pueda perderse menos. El caso es que siempre se va a "perder" algo de la energía. 

    Puede que The Ecologist tenga razón en que se aumente la eficiencia energética. Algo que puede ser inviable o física o económicamente. Pero eso no es razón para impedir que se produzcan plantas de producción de energía eléctrica, es bueno aumentar la oferta por todos los medios. 

    Lo que no puede el gobierno es ordenar que se cree energía, ni que no se degrade una parte en otras formas. Gracias a Dios las leyes de la física son inderogables, imprescriptibles, inembargables, anteriores al ser humano mismo. ¿Puede imaginarse una ley que cree energía? El Congreso de Colombia Decreta "Créase energía a partir de la nada...". Gracias a Dios eso no es posible, no soy capaz de imaginarme la inflación energética lo que produciría, al menos la moneda de la naturaleza es absolutamente neutral. O una ley que diga "Derógase la gravedad", el totazo que se pegarían de cuenta de creer en su validez sería de lo lindo...

    IN CONCLUSIÓN
    En primer lugar pido perdón al lector por tratar la energía de una forma tan política. Es decir, es demasiado pobre, aunque no más pobre que el Ministro de Minas que confundió potencia con energía, pero ¿quién es uno para cuestionar a los "doctores" Ministros? ¡De pronto ignoro una ley que asimila energía con potencia! En segundo lugar, no es esta, ni más faltaba una defensa al régimen de energía eléctrica Colombiana, tan no lo es, que arranco dándole la razón a los ecologistas en que muchas de esas empresas grandes y concesionadas arrasan con las comunidades. El problema de esas empresas grandes, no es la falta de estado, por el contrario, su exceso, lo que falta es libertad. 

    Lo que sí creo es que en sanas condiciones de mercado y con precios justos a los dueños de las tierras, la construcción de hidroeléctricas es una de las ventajas que tiene este territorio geográficamente llamado Colombia. Es vital empezar a utilizar en este territorio las ventajas que ofrece el desarrollo de miles de tecnologías de energía renovable, como la solar, la mareomotriz, la eólica y la más fuerte la hidroeléctrica. En esta región se podría utilizar un potencial enorme para producir energía barata, renovable y libre de elementos contaminantes. Esta energía se podría exportar. ¿Por qué no hay líneas de transmisión a Panamá y Centro América? ¿Por qué no hay líneas de transmisión al Perú? ¿Imposibilidad logística? ¿No serán más bien los elevados costos regulatorios -que agudizan las barreras de entrada- sumado al monopolio estatal? ¿O el monopolio de la transmisión es "natural"? 

     BIBLIOGRAFÍA
    Casi todas las citas salen de internet así que si no refiero la fuente, está el link. Las formalidades APA o lo que sea me parecen demasiado engorrosas para escribir informalmente. Con el internet debería bastar con el link. El único libro que cito, con todas las normas mamonas para probar su existencia, es:

    CARTA GONZÁLEZ, J. A., CALERO PÉREZ, R., COLMENAR SANTOS, A., CASTRO GIL, A., & COLLADO FERNÁNDEZ, E. (2013). Centrales de energías renovables. Generación eléctrica con energías renovables. (P. E. S.A. Ed. SEGUNDA ed.). Madrid, España.




              BREVES COMENTARIOS SOBRE LA REFORMA TRIBUTARIA        
    Para vergüenza mía tengo que confesar que he perdido el tiempo leyendo la reforma tributaria. Bueno, es algo "ñoño", aparte que no he entendido ni la mitad de sus consecuencias. Sin embargo, quisiera compartir mis apreciaciones dado que el gobierno se ha desgastado (y comprado con sus recursos) una serie de propagandas para insistir en la reforma tributaria. Una de esas es que no afecta a la clase media.

    Lo primero que hay que decir es que la reforma tributaria cuenta con una redacción en extremo confusa. Los políticos no tienen incentivos para clarificar sus reformas tributarias porque quieren que nadie sepa para quien es el totazo. Y es verdad que de acuerdo con su publicidad una lectura rápida no muestra que se esté gravando a la clase media. Eso hay que estudiarlo a profundidad. 

    JUGANDO AL IMPUESTO TEMPORAL
    Pienso de lo que entendí y lo que pude leer entre líneas es que los impuestos que se crean son temporales. Una creación de impuestos temporales es entre señal de debilidad del estado y un peligro inmenso porque nada más permanente que un impuesto temporal. El mejor ejemplo es el 4 X 1000 que nació por decreto inconstitucionalmente para salvar a los bancos en el gobierno de Pastrana, pero luego se saneó la inconstitucionalidad. Este impuesto lo están desmontando desde que tengo uso de razón tributaria. La anterior reforma tributaria, no hace menos de 2 años, había ordenado su desmonte. Ésta ¡hace lo mismo, pero deroga el desmonte anterior! ¿Qué qué? ¡Más 4 X 1000 por ahora! Una reforma tributaria no puede venir sin beneficios. Así que también hay una prórroga de beneficios temporales de leyes anteriores.

    EL DISCURSO DE LA CLASE MEDIA
    Como la ley 1607 de 2014 gravó onerosamente con el Impuesto Mínimo Alternativo Nacional a la renta donde claramente los ingresos eran de personas de clase media, esto fue muy criticado. La opinión pública y el análisis fueron claros al insistir lo intenso del gravamen. Como el gobierno quiere la paz, digo estar en paz, tiene que mostrar un discurso que no grave a la clase media. ¿Qué hacer entonces?

    Una vieja estrategia que se remonta hasta Marx es generar en el colectivo la imagen del "capitalista" rico. "El rico es malo y no hay legitimidad en la forma de generarla". Por eso se crea el "impuesto a la riqueza". Que además es "transitorio". Dice el presidente:

    "Por supuesto, esta reforma supone un esfuerzo para las empresas más grandes del país –unas 32 mil que tienen patrimonio superior a los mil millones de pesos– y para los colombianos más ricos –unos 50 mil que tienen también un patrimonio por encima de esa suma–.
    Pero no afecta a la clase media del país, ni a las pequeñas y medianas empresas –las pymes–.
    Además, como ya dije, esta reforma se hizo escuchando las inquietudes y sugerencias de los empresarios, motivo por el cual el impuesto a la riqueza –yo prefiero decirle impuesto contra la pobreza– desaparece en 2018.". http://wp.presidencia.gov.co/Noticias/2014/Diciembre/Paginas/20141223_03-Palabras-Presidente-Santos-sobre-la-sanciom-Ley-Reforma-Tributaria.aspx

    Palabras más palabras menos hay que quitarle a los más ricos para darle a los más pobres. Pero, ¿Tiene el impuesto a la riqueza una destinación específica?  Â¡No! O sea que lo que paguen por concepto de impuesto a la riqueza va a cualquier gasto del estado. No está ni dedicándose a los programas de primera infancia, educación, lucha contra la pobreza, etc. Así que Robin Hood no le está quitando a los ricos para darle a los pobres, sino quitándole a los ricos para darle al más rico e inútil: ¡el estado! Tan no es así que otro de los novedosos inventos es la "sobretasa al CREE" pero, a diferencia del CREE que sí tiene una destinación social específica:

    ARTÍCULO 22°. No destinación específica. La sobretasa al impuesto sobre la renta para la equidad – CREE no tiene destinación específica. Los recursos que se recauden por este tributo no estarán sometidos al régimen previsto en los artículos 24 y 28 de la Ley 1607 de 2012, no formarán parte del Fondo Especial sin personería Fondo CREE, y harán unidad de caja con los demás ingresos corrientes de la Nación, de acuerdo con las normas previstas en el Estatuto Orgánico del Presupuesto. http://www.comunidadcontable.com/BancoMedios/Documentos%20PDF/105%20-%2014%20s%20-%20134%20-%2014%20c%20reforma%20tributaria.pdf

    Sin embargo, en este impuesto hay una gran confusión entre riqueza y su medida. Los tan expertos en análisis económico y tributario parecen no comprender un balance. Un balance cuenta con activos líquidos y activos ilíquidos o fijos. Una empresa puede estar llena de activos fijos pero padecer iliquidez. 

    ¿Qué de la reforma toca a la clase media? Aunque cabe reconocer que de manera rápida no encuentro un empeoramiento a las condiciones de la "clase media" en materia tarifaria. Lo único es que el gobierno aumentó a las sociedades sujeto del "CREE" del 8% al 9%. Además de novedosos enredos en este impuesto.

    ¿Y es que el gobierno no beneficia a los ricos? Recordemos que el mencionado 4 X 1000 nació como el 2 X 1000 precisamente con la intención de salvar a los Bancos. Vea este video de Rudolf Homes cuando en aquella época http://youtu.be/bRgATyQm54A. Los comentarios agudos de Jaime Garzón son muy buenos ¿es que por encima de las leyes sociales están los bancos? ¿Es que los bancos cuando ganan no reparten y cuando pierden sí reparten? El estado es un aliado de los bancos, para eso puede leer a Mises que lo explica muy bien en el libro Human Action. Lo irónico del 4 X 1000 es que ¡terminó afectando a los bancos! ¿No ha oído a nadie decir "págueme en efectivo para que no me cobren el 4 X 1000"?

    ¿POR QUÉ HACERLO FÁCIL SI PODEMOS HACERLO DIFÍCIL?


    Esta imagen de www.actualicese.com da en el punto de los enredos de la reforma tributaria. Ponga la primera parte del índice tapando el meñique y abrazando el anular, que a su vez atrapa el intermedio que abraza el meñique aunque sobresale. Finalmente deje el pulgar afuera. ¡La esencia es el pulgar afuera y los demás enrollados! Podemos hacerlo fácil como a la derecha, o difícil como a la izquierda ¡El efecto es el mismo!

    Esa imagen, sin proponérselo, logra ser una descripción virtual del siguiente artículo: 

    ARTÍCULO 16°. Modifíquese el artículo 23 de la Ley 1607 de 2012 el cual quedará así:

    “Artículo 23. La tarifa del impuesto sobre la renta para la equidad - CREE a que se refiere el artículo 20 de la presente ley, será del ocho por ciento (8%). 
    Parágrafo. A partir del período gravable 2016, la tarifa será del nueve por ciento (9%).Parágrafo transitorio. Para los años 2013, 2014 y 2015 la tarifa del CREE será del nueve (9%). Este punto adicional se aplicará de acuerdo con la distribución que se hará en el parágrafo transitorio del siguiente artículo.” http://www.comunidadcontable.com/BancoMedios/Documentos%20PDF/105%20-%2014%20s%20-%20134%20-%2014%20c%20reforma%20tributaria.pdf

    ¿Qué? Lo que dice el artículo 23 se resume en "La tarifa del CREE será del 9%. Esta tarifa tiene efectos para los años 2013 y 2014 inclusive". Pero primero decir que es el 8%, luego que es el 9% desde el 2013. Incluyo la segunda frase simplemente porque la ley tiene efectos a futuro a menos que se especifique otra vigencia. Pero ¿para qué hacerlo en una frase si podíamos hacerla confusa?

    ¿IMPORTAN LOS ENREDOS EN LA ECONOMÍA?

    A finales de la década de los 30 Ronald Coase planteaba la teoría de la firma donde incluía su exitosa creación del concepto de "costo de transacción". Los costos de transacción son lo que cuesta realizar un intercambio. Por ejemplo, salir a comprar ropa implica no solamente pagar el precio, sino también una tarde perdida en un centro comercial, unas medidas incómodas, caminar, gasolina, etc. Todo para comprar unos benditos zapatos. ¿Cuál es el costo de transacción de pagar impuestos? Lo primero es entender qué toca pagar, luego cuándo y luego cómo. 

    Uno de los casos más comunes del pago de impuestos es la retención en la fuente. El que es agente retenedor tiene que aplicar unos enredos a la hora de pagarle a los "empleados". Pero un empleado tributario, además del empleado del Código Sustantivo de Trabajo, también lo es el independiente. Vea los artículos 383 y 384 del Estatuto Tributario sobre cómo se retiene el la fuente. Eso sin contar que tiene que pedirle el comprobante de pago de la seguridad social al independiente. Este costo de transacción de ignorarse puede generarse sanciones y de asumirse genera más trabajo al que lo hace. 

    Si una reforma tributaria es confusa para un abogado, estudiante de maestría en economía con experiencia en el día a día tributario-contable. Es confusa, también, para expertos consultores en materia de impuestos y planeación tributaria ¿Va a ser fácil de entender para el trabajador del común? Hice el experimento con estudiantes de último semestre de una carrera donde tienen contabilidad, costos, impuestos, etc. en su pénsum y escasamente pudieron comprender el ejemplo anterior. 

    En la medida en que los impuestos se hacen más confusos, es más difícil pagarlos. Esto implica una elección "no pagarlos y arriesgarse", "pagarlos y perder valiosas horas de productividad". Tampoco creo que ayude al recaudo, en la medida que la administración de impuestos estará muy ocupada entendiendo, aclarando, recibiendo interpretaciones diferentes. En Estados Unidos, y no es mi paradigma tributario, un doctor en ingeniería me decía que allá hacía fácilmente la declaración, acá le toca contratar un contador. Si un experto consultor se demoró un mes en entender el "Impuesto Mínimo Alternativo Nacional" ¿Va a ser fácil para las personas del común manejar estos costos? Y si los maneja ¡está dejando de pensar en cosas que sí le aportarían a su productividad! ¡Está dejando de producir y de trabajar por pagar impuestos! 

    No faltará el que salga con que eso genera empleo para los contadores. La verdad no creo que un contador realmente gane con la reforma tributaria. Realmente una reforma confusa no aumenta la productividad del contador, realmente la disminuye, lo obliga a vivir de capacitación en capacitación y le dificulta llevar el trabajo que ya tiene. Es posible que pueda cobrar más, pero porque la demanda aumenta y la oferta disminuye. Puede que el contador cobre más pero ¿a qué costo? Al costo de una labor más compleja. Es como decir que el médico ganaría más con la enfermedad, pues sí, pero hasta el punto que le den sus fuerzas: ¡Bendita sea la enfermedad que da trabajo a los médicos!

    ¿INEVITABLE?
    Puede que usted sea un creyente ferviente de esa ideología llamada Constitución de 1991. Que ame el estado social de derecho, como si por ponerle "social" capitán Constitución resolviera la pobreza, que crea que pagar impuestos es bueno. Crea usted que el  estado es un generoso Robin Hood que le quita a los "ricos tacaños" y que por ende, es inevitable resolver el déficit fiscal. Sepa varias cosas:

    A) La reforma tributaria trae más confusión, una mayor confusión tributaria es un virus que eleva los costos de producción de todas las empresas. Eso ya de por sí es una pérdida.

    B) Tenga en cuenta que hay muchas labores del estado que no tienen sentido. Por ejemplo, piense en el cargo de procurador judicial que todos sabemos que son una traba en procesos, especialmente los penales donde se juega con la libertad de las personas. Y ¿cuánto ganan? Piense en los carruseles de pensiones de las altas cortes mientras el juez promedio no tiene ni lapiceros. Tenga en cuenta la desigualdad de muchos funcionarios donde los altos tienen salario en especie con vehículos, escolta, entre otras. ¡Sí, la burocracia es más desigual todavía que las empresas privadas! 

    C) Tenga en cuenta que las reformas tributarias son confusas porque se quiere ocultar su verdadero sentido. Por eso incluyen exenciones con nuevos gravámenes lo que las hace más confusas todavía. Las exenciones se dan a costa de los gravámenes favoreciendo grupos económicos concretos. Lea algunas de las exenciones o descuentos y verá cómo los "ricos" pero "especiales" también ganan. Además si la intención es cubrir el "hueco fiscal" ¿cree que va a haber más descuentos que beneficios? Los beneficios son el "premio de consolación", ¿no cree que su intención es más psicológica?

    D) Finalmente, si quiere que el estado cubra el déficit funcionaría mejor si pensara en disminuir el gasto y priorizar. No se tiene que hacer una reforma tributaria si la intención es favorecer a los más pobres. Lo que se tiene que hacer es darle prioridad a los más pobres sacrificando el valioso "servicio" del procurador judicial, las pensiones presidenciales, el número de Congresistas, el carrusel de pensiones. ¿Cuánto no es el gasto de los órganos de control? 


    CONCLUSIÓN
    Concluir sobre 52 páginas y 72 artículos que remiten a otros artículos no termina aquí. La reforma tributaria no se acabó ¡apenas empieza! Pronto va a haber decretos, resoluciones, conceptos de la DIAN, seminarios, cursos, actualizaciones (en menos de dos años), sentencias, líos, enredos... Va a haber líos para resolver los líos, enredos para aclarar los enredos. Así si razona ad infinitum los enredos que trae la reforma son infinitos. Si quiere profundice en http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2157804, un análisis especial de las leyes tributarias gringas, que al lado de las colombianas son ¡fáciles! Así que esto es cuestión de tiempo que se difundan los daños que hace la reforma, por más buenas intenciones que tengan quienes la promovieron...



              LA FALACIA DE LO "EMPÍRICO" PRIMERA PARTE: ALGUNOS APUNTES SOBRE CO2 Y CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO        
    Conversando con un amigo de mi hermano quisimos mirar las tendencias sobre el tema del "cambio climático" o "calentamiento global". En primer lugar, quisimos mirar en concreto las mediciones de CO2 por kilotoneladas. El Banco Mundial uno de los mayores promotores de la existencia del cambio climático nos trae una larga serie, de 50 años un número geológicamente MUY relevante, del orden de un 1 y 7 ceros... antes o sea 0,000000011111111 de la edad de la tierra. No sabíamos la "amplia" duración de los periodos geológicos... pero hay buenas noticias, Estados Unidos ha ido disminuyendo su participación en las emisiones globales como lo muestra la siguiente gráfica:
    DATOS: Banco Mundial

    La tendencia es "alentadora". Lo que no nos muestran es que sus emisiones han venido aumentando desde 1960. Tampoco nos dicen que las emisiones Chinas han aumentado su participación en las emisiones globales veamos las emisiones Chinas y Norteamericanas por kilotonelada en el mismo periodo de tiempo:
    DATOS: Banco Mundial
    Y ¿hay alguna correlación entre el aumento de las emisiones chinas con la economía norteamericana? ¿Mano de obra "balata"? El caso es que es alentador ver que en 2009 cuando llegó el ambientalista y "Nobel" Barack Obama, las emisiones disminuyeron... también habrían caído con el petrolero Bush... venían cayendo con el petrolero Bush ¿Perdón? Las crisis bajan las emisiones... ¿Qué? Sí, las crisis bajan las emisiones. Para ponerlo un poco más duro, en nada impactan los políticos al manejo de emisiones... Â¿o si? La razón es simple, si el ciclo implica disminución del consumo pasan dos cosas:
    1. Por vía del consumo: las personas tratan de recortar al máximo sus gastos en políticas austeras. Apagan más la luz. Recordemos que en general la producción de energía norteamericana es del carbón o del petróleo. También la pérdida de empleos genera disminución en el uso de vehículos.
    2. Por vía de las industrias: al ver las crisis las industrias disminuyen la demanda de capital y de producción, no solamente despiden trabajadores sino que utilizan menos las máquinas. Es lo que llaman "hechos estilizados de los ciclos económicos".
    ¿Es cierto esto? Pues algo así se observa en Colombia y Cuba. Por ejemplo, en Cuba la escasa industria hace que sus emisiones no estén al nivel de las colombianas o no hayan crecido lo mismo lo mismo en Colombia, la crisis del 1999 se ve reflejada en las emisiones de CO2:
    FUENTE: Banco Mundial.
    
    
    
    ¿Y la disparada de las emisiones en Colombia? Hasta 2004 la construcción estuvo resentida por la crisis, a partir de 2004 se dispara, también hay minería que puede o debe influir al respecto. Lo que sí es interesante es la economía cubana, el comunismo parece que no hace creer las emisiones. Bueno, pero tienen a EEUU al lado ¿no les afecta sus mediciones? Conclusión, si es así hay que disminuir el crecimiento económico o volvernos una economía comunista -sin carbón o petróleo- para disminuir las emisiones... Es la conclusión absurda y corto placista de los ambientalistas.  
    Hay muchas falencias en estos temas. Uno puede preguntarse ¿son comparables las gráficas? Si uno es estricto no. ¿Cómo miden las emisiones de CO2 en Cuba, Colombia, EEUU y China? Las mediciones son diferentes, si en mi edificio tuviera dos barómetros y los pongo en el mimo lugar es probable que den mediciones diferentes, aproximadas pero diferentes. Lo mismo si los medidores están a las afueras o dentro de las ciudades la cuestión cambia, adicionalmente los vientos pueden llevar la contaminación hacia lugares distintos. Si es en el día en una ciudad costera la brisa del mar puede sesgar el medidor hacia arriba conservando la contaminación en ese punto. Las temperaturas pueden cambiar el proceso de ascenso, la densidad del aire varía con la temperatura, el CO2 también, los procesos de ascenso por convexión variarán de acuerdo con la latitud de la zona, la presión, la densidad del aire, entre muchos otros.
    No es igual la medición en zonas desérticas que no tienen vegetación a zonas con buena vegetación. No es lo mismo medir el CO2 en Cusco, Perú desértico, frío y a 3600 msnm que en Apartadó, Antioquia, Colombia altamente húmedo, caliente, mucha vegetación y prácticamente al nivel del mar (los dos climas más opuestos que conozco). Es así como un medidor de emisiones de CO2 no es comparable realmente de país a país. Que hay cierto nivel de error de país a país es claro... pero ¿cuánto? El "generoso" Banco Mundial que "tanta riqueza nos genera" no nos regala ese dato...
    Es así como estos datos realmente empíricos, tomados de una medición, no son comparables. No estoy criticando el empirismo como tal, estoy criticando el mal manejo que se da a lo empírico. Si no fuera un empirista no sabría que hay diferencias en la medición de diferentes medidores en la misma situación. La idea del laboratorio que se usa en física es excelente, logra aislar diversas variables, pero también tiene su error. ¿Pero un laboratorio multivariable?

              EDUCACIÓN, DIPLOMAS E INTERVENCIÓN ESTATAL        
    (Imagen tomada de GRUBER, 2010, pág. 308)
    Esta semana hablábamos mi hermano y yo acerca de una propuesta educativa, estudiar pero no por un diploma. Yo le añadiría ni por una nota. El tema de la educación me llama particularmente la atención por varias razones, en primer lugar, soy el que maneja los costos de transacción (impuestos, contratos, contabilidad, planeación financiera y tesorería) de una fundación cuyo mayor objetivo es resolver problemas sociales a través de la educación. Pero, ¿qué es la educación? ¿Cómo se vive la educación? 

    La educación actualmente es vista como un programa que tienen que recibir todas las personas, desarrollar unos exámenes, a cambio de obtener un diploma. Claro que el diploma es un papel y como el rey de la foto lo puede dar cualquiera... y generar naciones "educadas". Se supone que el estado "controla" la educación de "garaje", pero en sí mismo él es el promotor de que los estudiantes se preocupen por una nota (y hagan lo que sea por ella) o un diploma más que por sacar provecho y aprender. Antes las instituciones de "garaje" "facilitan el objetivo" de la "educación", OBTENER FÁCILMENTE UN DIPLOMA. Por otro lado, el estado considera la educación como un "bien público" que genera "externalidades" positivas... y niños medicados, deprimidos y sintiéndose inútiles porque los hacen ver matemática avanzada cuando ellos quieren es bailar, correr, o lo contrario, otros queremos ver matemáticas y nos hacen correr en extenuantes jornadas más allá de nuestras fuerzas. ¡Vaya externalidad "positiva"!

    ¿Por qué el estado se debe preocupar por la "educación"? ¿Por qué gasta la mayor parte de su presupuesto en ella? Las razones de política económica que se leen en el libro Public Finance and Public Policy de Jhonatan Gruber son las que consideraremos a continuación.

    ¿POR QUÉ EL ESTADO SE METE EN LA EDUCACIÓN?

    En primer lugar, consideran que la educación es un bien semi público (GRUBER, 2010, págs. 292, 293 y 294) y que con base en eso va a haber fallas de mercado y problemas de redistribución. ¿Realmente es así? Más adelante procederemos a esta objeción.

    Por otro lado, consideran que la educación aumenta la productividad (GRUBER, 2010, pág. 292) eso de alguna manera es cierto. Pero hay que preguntarse ¿para quién? El experto en educación Sir Ken Robinson sostiene que esa es la razón por la cual reforman la educación (ROBINSON), pero precisamente ese modelo genera caos en la vida de muchas personas. ¿Todos somos para el conocimiento académico?  Dicen que mejorar la productividad genera una externalidad positiva, pero y ¿Qué pasa con aquellos que simplemente fueron excluidos porque no eran considerados por el modelo? ¿Eso no es una perversa externalidad negativa tener niños tristes y drogados para atender a cosas que no les interesan?

    La tercera razón es la más perversa de todas. La educación genera “buenos ciudadanos” (GRUBER, 2010, pág. 293). Claro que con contenidos ideológicos y cátedras de lo que el estado que muchos nos quejamos es corrupto. Pero claro, se lanza un señor con una campaña de lápiz –como si el lápiz genera aprendizaje en sí mismo- y todo el mundo va a pensar ¡qué buen candidato! ¡Va a ideologizar a nuestros niños! 

    ¿CÓMO SE METE EL ESTADO EN LA EDUCACIÓN?

    La forma cómo se mete el estado en la educación es en primer lugar ofreciéndola como servicio gratuito. Esto no parece tan perverso. Lo que genera es el problema de la sobredemanda del bien gratuito y por ende salones atiborrados "aptos para el aprendizaje".

     Sin embargo, la mentalidad intervencionista, hace que el estado ofrezca otra intervención y es la estandarización. Esta estandarización es la forma más perversa de intervención del estado en la educación, porque pone un prototipo de seres humanos que deben cumplir con ciertas habilidades que no necesariamente son las que el mercado laboral requiere. Refiriéndose a la perversa alienación de toda política intervencionista nos dice José Alpiniano García Muñoz lo siguiente no tanto de lo alienante sino de por qué falla este modelo:

    "Al igual que el plan general de los bolcheviques, estos agregados estadístidos [que son el fundamento de la macroeconomía] no reconocen la singularidad humana que torna útiles las cosas.Entonces el mecanismo social deviene ajeno a la realidad. Sería necesario acudir a tantas cosas que resulta imposible que alguien particularmente pueda señalarlo.  La economía debe considerar multiplicidad de factores que además son variables." (GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, 2012, pág. 53)
    ¿Qué multiplicidad de factores debe considerar? Nada más y nada menos que la PARTICULARIDAD HUMANA. Particularidad humana que es única y exclusivamente cognosible por cada individuo. Así que el estado lo que hace con la educación es crear prototipos de personas y excluir a aquellos que no han sido considerados por el programa que es incapaz de considerarlos. Adicionalmente genera toda clase de efectos secundarios en la sociedad ¿Cuál es el más grave? No tanto que los profesores hagan trampa o sometan a los estudiantes a jornadas extenuantes para sacar un mejor puntaje en las pruebas "SABER". Es aquellos que la "educación" estandarizada excluye porque sus puntajes los hacen quedar como "inútiles". Si usted es un colegial o un universitario y está leyendo esto piense que lo que se requiere para las pruebas SABER es pensar lo que el estado quiere que usted le conteste. Por ejemplo, puede no creer en la democracia pero conteste que la democracia es el mejor sistema, ¡pero es una mentira!... Pues es una forma de burlarse de lo arbitrario que son las evaluaciones y simple una broma y ellos creerán que el sistema funciona... Conozco dos casos frente a estas pruebas que pensamos así, el mío y el de un cucuteño, se sorprendían de lo bien que nos fue en esas pruebas...

    OBJECIONES ECONÓMICO-ANTROPOLÓGICAS A LAS RAZONES DE INTERVENCIÓN ESTATAL

    Es falso que la educación sea un bien público, por el contrario se refiere a la parte más singular de la persona.
    En primer lugar si el ser humano es particular y solamente él puede conocerse a sí mismo, la educación no bien público ni semi-público sino una actividad absolutamente privada. Lo que pertenece a la conciencia y la intimidad del sujeto no es cognoscible más que por el propio sujeto. ¿Qué vendría siendo la educación entonces? Una ayuda para que cada quien se conozca a sí mismo y un apoyo para que como la sentencia de Píndaro que alguna vez le leí a Alpiniano cada quien devenga lo que es en sus habilidades. Esto podría sonar como un ideal, como un imposible, pero por el contrario es NUESTRA PROPIA CONDICIÓN ANTROPOLÓGICA la que determina la privacidad de la educación. Los colegios hacen lo contrario obligan a los niños a aprender unos contenidos iguales, ahora dizque desarrollar unas competencias y la arbitrariedad del estado lo medirá.

    Esto genera entonces varias preguntas ¿Cómo ayudar a que cada quien se conozca a sí mismo? ¿De quién es función? De los padres, por eso el movimiento del Homeschooling  no solamente es una salida para el excesivo bullying causado en parte por la estandarización, sino que es un movimiento que vuelve a la raíz verdadera de la educación: ¡ayudar a sus hijos al autoconocimiento!  A continuación unas razones que expuse en otro escrito para otro blog de cómo hacer esto:

    "Por lo tanto, mi querido Alcibiades, los Estados (léase ciudades) para ser dichosos no tienen necesidad de murallas, ni de buques, ni de arsenales, ni de tropas, ni de grande aparato; la única cosa de que tienen necesidad para su felicidad es la virtud. Por consiguiente, mi querido Alcibiades, si quieres ser dichoso tú y que lo sea la república, no es preciso un grande imperio, sino la virtud." (2)

    Pero ¿Cómo alcanzar la virtud? La tradición iniciada con Sócrates parte de iniciar la búsqueda del conocimiento del “sí mismo”. Al respecto algunos filósofos como Kierkegaard (3) le han dado un desarrollo tal que, quizás interpretándolo exageradamente, consisten en no imitar absolutamente nada, o el famoso “desnudarse” de Fernando González (4). Sócrates, en su reconocida tendencia aristocrática –pero de la verdadera- nos propone la imitación de la virtud “Y antes de adquirir esta virtud, lejos de mandar, es mejor obedecer, no digo a un niño, sino a un hombre, siempre que sea más virtuoso que él.” (2).

    Hemos visto que el bien común nace del bien y la virtud de los seres humanos y que la virtud surge del auto-conocimiento. Pero ¿cómo promover que los hombres se conozcan? ¿Obedeciendo e imitando a la virtud? Es allí donde la educación juega un papel importante en esta idea. A pesar del pésimo modelo educativo actual que se basa en la repetición de ideas pre-establecidas o diseñadas o pensadas para la producción en cadena (5), como para empacar a todos en la misma caja útil a la sociedad [como la canción Little Boxes]. Pero ¿cumple la función de enseñar a conocernos a nosotros mismos? ¿Sirve para conocer? Al vivir de hábitos los seres humanos podremos repetir fácilmente las ideas aprendidas en el colegio y en muchos casos en la universidad pero ¿de qué servirán? Inclusive el aprendizaje por repetición puede considerarse, en términos lógicos, como una falacia conocida como Argumentum ad nauseam (6) y eso no genera virtud (2)." (TORO RESTREPO, 2011)

    Una de las preguntas que pueden surgir es el uso del término obedecer. Los padres suelen haber desarrollado una serie de virtudes que el hijo puede imitar. Esa sería mi forma de entender el término de obedecer como como el subordinarse sino el aprendizaje de la virtud del virtuoso. 

    La educación puede aumentar ingresos pero hacernos vivir en el hastío. Además, profesiones mejor pagadas no implican eficiencia.
    La segunda razón es que la educación aumenta la productividad y genera efectos Spill over sobre toda la sociedad. Yo aprendo de los demás y los demás aprenden de mí. Eso es cierto. Pero las super correlaciones que indican que una "mejor educación" implica un mejor "ingreso" no significan que eso sea un mayor bienestar para la sociedad. Me explico, uno en la universidad ve muchos temas, pero a medida que se especializa separa los que le gustan de los que le disgustan. Y uno puede dedicarse a trabajos de mayores ingresos que no es lo que verdaderamente la persona vino a dar al mundo. A este lo llamaremos el efecto prostitución. En últimas el efecto prostitución no es más que la alienación de ganar ingresos por aquello que no nos gusta. Kafka es uno de los autores que mejor conoce la alienación de trabajar lo que no somos, en "El Proceso" muestra cómo la sociedad lo está persiguiendo permanentemente. Más que una novela sobre el debido proceso es una novela sobre el juicio que el estado y su expresión social masificada el sistema nos está exigiendo; que seamos lo que no somos. Por otra parte, en la metamorfosis se muestra cómo el "buen empleo" tal vez sea convertirnos en una cucaracha o bicho raros. No somos lo que somos porque la educación y las políticas nos desvían de nuestra realidad, de lo que somos realmente. 

    Al respecto en versión hispanoamericana tenemos a Facundo Cabral con su canción "Bombero". La canción muestra exactamente las exigencias que hace la sociedad en el proceso de Kafka, un juicio que no comprende. Al final se vuelve abogado -y qué profesión más alienante eligió-. Posiblemente si comparamos a un bombero con un abogado, aquel gana más que éste: ¡retornos de la educación! ¿Eficientes? Su felicidad particular y el destino de muchos se pierden, a la sombra de la alienación. Es el razonamiento hipotético de lo que no fue, pero hay algo claro con más ingresos, no fue lo que era, asumiendo que siendo bombero no hubiera podido idear un proceso que salvara muchas vidas y lo hiciera rico.  Hay varias frases que son muy llamativas al respecto:

    El reflejo que nos muestra la sociedad en la alienación
    es supuestamente belleza, cuando realmente estamos
    ¡muertos!
    • “Desde su galaxia tendrá que aprender a ser como todos, y tirar la llave del eterno sueño de ser o no ser.”
    • "Al fin de los días sentado a la sombra de su realidad, y desde la infancia, como en un espejo, la casa paterna, juguetes y amigos y aquel despilfarro de la libertad."
    • <<El viejo se apaga y vuelve a su mente el niño soñando con ser o no ser, cerrando los ojos se va lentamente por última vez: “bombero, bombero, yo quiero ser bombero, que nadie se meta con mi identidad”>>.
    Aparte de los problemas de alienación, que es una cuestión antropológica, la cuestión también es económica y de eficiencia. Se proveen servicios para los cuales no se es el más apto y se dejan de proveer servicios para los cuáles se es apto. La variedad de factores que influyen una vida humana cuando opta por el camino equivocado no pueden medirse. Pero es claro que la retroalimentación negativa de la ausencia de un bombero que se necesitaba puede tener unos efectos sociales mayores -especulando nada más- que él simple hastío que padece. La alienación de los seres humanos, en especial por la educación, tiene efectos que se dispersan a lo largo de la economía que podemos no conocer.

    La educación planificada no genera necesariamente "buenos ciudadanos".
    Veíamos previamente que el buen ciudadano es el que es virtuoso en aquello que es. Es decir, desarrolla habilidades para aquello que vino al mundo. Si la educación, el estado y el sistema lo que genera es un juicio permanente -como en "El Proceso" de Kafka- realmente no está generando "buenos ciudadanos" sino que está persiguiendo al buen ciudadano. Observándolo, juzgándolo por su vestimenta, ingresos, forma de pensar, cuerpo, carros, casas... ¡Alienación!

    Por otra parte, la noción de "buen ciudadano" es la de aquel ciudadano maleable, fácil de someter y manipular a los designios del estado. En los colegios la figura de poder que se manifiesta en el profesor es un juego similar a la figura de poder que ejerce el estado sobre la vida de los individuos. Es así como esa educación delineada por personas que no conocen a quienes educan, que además no son unidades humanas sino seres singulares con sueños y expectativas -como ser bombero, aunque el estado lo diseñe como ingeniero-, que ni si quiera han pisado un aula, diseñan programas desde unos conocimientos y dizque competencias para el "individuo promedio".  Â¿Quién es un individuo promedio? ¡Nadie!

    INCONCLUSIÓN...
    La educación me enseñó a concluir todo lo que escribiera ¿por qué? Porque según la educación todo ensayo agota un tema. La verdad la educación se equivoca, lo que busca un ensayo es empujar, hacer pensar y dejar una reflexión abierta. Si yo tuviera la verdad revelada en mis manos pues concluiría, daría órdenes, pero que esos cuentos se los crea el estado... El estado, sin conocer ni siquiera a los niños, sin saber nada sobre cada uno entre otras porque le es imposible, pretende concluir lo mejor para ellos diseñándoles una vida... que realmente, ni quieren, ni vinieron a vivir...


              EL AUMENTO DE LOS IMPUESTOS ES CONSECUENCIA DEL AUMENTO DEL ESTADO        
    El recaudador de impuestos. Pieter Brueghel
    Para una de las materias de la Universidad en la maestría en economía tuve que hacer un largo escrito presentando una investigación. Mi tesis o trabajo de maestría será sobre impuestos. Aunque inicialmente [en realidad inicialmente pensé en algo muy enredado y como los fractales de longitud infinita] pensé dedicarme a denunciar el aumento de la retención en la fuente a título de renta que se observa en series de tiempo, creo que tengo motivos suficientes para ampliarlo al impuesto de renta.

    ¿Por qué ampliar un poco el tema al impuesto como tal? a La razón es que a veces para los particulares y empresas la retención en la fuente es conveniente. Luego de haber escrito una larga disertación de su inconveniencia, una amiga contadora me dijo que había casos en los que era conveniente. Coincidencialmente, luego del comentario de mi amiga contadora como agente retenedor me pidieron dos personas en menos de una semana que no se acogían a beneficios legales que me permitían no retenerles sino que por el contrario me pedían que les retuviera. Esto tiene también su fundamento en el flujo de caja, el impuesto de renta afecta fuertemente el flujo de caja, la retención en la fuente puede diferir esa afectación al flujo de caja que es el impuesto de renta.

    En todo caso, sin perjuicio de los alcances que la investigación vaya a tener o a cambiar quisiera compartir unas pequeñas notas sobre por qué los impuestos tienden a subir –o a bajar-. ¿Qué hace que paguemos más impuestos en términos reales? ¿Por qué el estado promueve reformas tributarias? Básicamente porque necesita dinero. A continuación se mostrarán dos perspectivas, la histórica y la teoría económica sobre por qué aumentan los impuestos. Ambas coinciden a pesar de su diferencia en perspectiva.

    Aunque  se desconoce si existe algún marco teórico que presente hechos estilizados [hechos que se repiten al aumentar los impuestos] o hipótesis de las causas que influyen en el recaudo, hay un hecho central los impuestos surgen de la necesidad que tienen los estados de financiar el “gasto público”.  Esto puede observarse tanto desde la perspectiva histórica como desde la teoría económica.

    1. PERSPECTIVA HISTÓRICA Y FILOSÓFICA
    A mi modo de ver hay hechos estilizados están en un análisis histórico. Mil años antes de Cristo en el libro primero de Samuel se hace una advertencia vital: ¡Los reyes cuestan! (1 Samuel vs 11-18). Se tienen registros de impuestos alrededor de 3000 años antes de Cristo en la China (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008). En la antigua Grecia los impuestos se usaban para la guerra pero cuando esta terminaba se devolvían (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008). Quien fuese el tutor de uno de los más grandes tiranos de la historia, Aristóteles, tenía claro que los impuestos no pertenecían al que los recaudaba sino al “tesoro público” (ARISTÓTELES, pág. Volumen 8) y que eran objeto de reembolso (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008).

    En la Antigüedad parece entonces que los impuestos respondían a guerras y eran en general en cantidades pequeñas. El impuesto sobre las ventas del emperador Julio César era del 1% (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008). Los impuestos para financiar las guerras como el crecimiento imperial eran la mayor motivación para cobrarlos como sus aumentos. Por ejemplo, Pedro el Grande en Rusia gravó todo lo que pudo (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008) para sus ambiciones imperiales.  Por ejemplo en Inglaterra en 1914 el impuesto sobre el ingreso era del 6% y pasó al 30% al finalizar la primera Guerra Mundial en 1918  (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008).

    En la antigüedad eran muy pequeñas las cantidades que prácticamente no tenían efecto sobre la mayoría de los ciudadanos. Sin embargo, con el paso del tiempo las ideas de limitar los impuestos o inclusive negar su legitimidad han ido aumentando. Claro de la mano del crecimiento del estado. Tan es así que sorprende lo poco que importaban a los grandes filósofos estos temas con únicamente pequeñas alusiones al tema, siendo la Aristotélica mucho más racional y la platónica suelta una denuncia en uno de los apartados de la República. No es sino hasta la escolástica española que se hace un análisis jurídico-económico a los impuestos. La historia también ha mostrado ejemplos de límites y desobediencia a los impuestos. Francisco Suárez nos cuenta Carlos Parma sintetizó basado en las enseñanzas de Santo Tomás los límites de los impuestos. Según él estos debían ser para que fuesen justos (LAMAS):

    -          debe ser impuesta por la máxima autoridad legislativa;
    -          su finalidad debe ser conocida y justa
    -          y la proporción del tributo establecido por ella debe ser acorde con su finalidad, en el momento de su creación y durante la subsistencia del impuesto.

    Derivado de estos principios es que Juan de Mariana denuncia la mutación de la moneda –el aumento del flujo circulante de dinero- como un impuesto encubierto. Este método en la actualidad consiste en que el Banco Central [en Colombia Banco de la República] prenda la máquina de billetes a favor de los acreedores del estado. Esa mutación de la moneda es un robo, o viéndolo más “objetivamente” es un impuesto encubierto.

    Por otro lado, las cuestiones tributarias han sido motivo de movimientos políticos como la independencia de los Estados Unidos (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008).  También se cuenta que el pensador Norteamericano Henry David Thoureau autor de On the duty of civil disobedience fue encarcelado por no pagar un impuesto que financiaba una guerra que los Estados Unidos libraba con México (COY-FERRER, 1975, pág. 414). La oposición a los impuestos se encuentra de manera directa en las acciones de Thoureau, el filósofo Lysander Spooner (SPOONER, 1882)  al igual que el alemán Friedich Nietzsche (NIETZSCHE, pág. 68), consideran que no existe tal tesoro público sino que lo que “pertenece” al estado es robado.

    No presento las teorías que favorecen los impuestos por dos razones. La primera es que parecen estar implícitas en la mente de todos, como un lavado de cerebro muy bien hecho, así todos se quejen de ellos. Esta primera razón le explicará de entrada por qué le choca la cita Nietzscheana. La segunda razón es que más adelante sí hablaré de ellas.

    2. PERSPECTIVA ECONÓMICA
    Desde la perspectiva de la teoría económica hay una coincidencia total con la perspectiva histórica. La ventaja de la insípida perspectiva económica es que nos permite decir la verdad, sin necesidad de que usen nuestras ideas para distorsionar la veracidad de nuestras afirmaciones. El aumento del gasto público como impuesto presente o futuro es lo que se conoce como la equivalencia ricardiana. ¿Qué nos explica la equivalencia ricardiana?

    “Esta dice que cualquier cambio en el timing de los impuestos —es decir, por ejemplo, bajar transitoriamente impuestos hoy, financiar con deuda y repagar- la en el futuro— no tiene efectos sobre la economía, en particular sobre las decisiones del público. De ahí que se pueda argumentar que, a partir de esta idea, la deuda pública no es riqueza agregada, ya que al final hay que pagarla, y lo que la restricción del gobierno nos dice es que este pago se hará con impuestos.” (DE GREGORIO, 2007, pág. 148)

     Uno de los conceptos claves frente al recaudo es el déficit fiscal. El déficit fiscal puede expresarse matemáticamente la siguiente manera:


    Si es negativo se considera superávit fiscal e implica que los gobiernos o estados están gastando menos de lo que les ingresa lo cual es positivo en términos de finanzas públicas. Hay diversas distinciones sobre los distintos niveles de déficit pero la noción es clara. Ahora bien, ¿Qué pasa si el estado para crecer gasta más de lo que recauda? ¡Tiene necesariamente que endeudarse! Ya vimos que lo que enseña la equivalencia ricardiana tarde que temprano tiene que pagarse con más impuestos. Esto nos permite inferir la restricción presupuestaria del gobierno [o sea que el gobierno no tiene dinero absoluto en el tiempo] a lo largo del tiempo así:


    Esto quiere decir que el valor actual de todos los gastos más el valor actual de la deuda deben ser financiadas completamente por el flujo proyectado de impuestos. El último término significa que la deuda al final de los periodos tiene que tender a cero o decrecer lo que nos permite reexpresar así:



    Esto quiere decir que el valor actual de todo el flujo de impuestos, menos el flujo de gastos debe ser igual al valor actual de la deuda. Esta restricción presupuestaria intertemporal es la que impide que haya un déficit elevado y que la deuda no crezca a una tasa mayor que los intereses. Por tal motivo, habrá un momento que para suplir la restricción presupuestaria del gobierno habrá que aumentar los impuestos o estaríamos violando la condición de solvencia.

    Mejor dicho, a los estados también los pueden enviar a “cobro jurídico” por no pagar, por eso a la larga tendrán que pagar sus deudas. Pero ¿cómo pagan las deudas que son el precio del “bien común”? O vendiendo bienes propios o aumentando los impuestos porque es la única fuente de ingresos.

    3. IMPUESTOS EN EL ESTADO COLOMBIANO.
    Hemos visto que históricamente los afanes expansionistas estatales generan como consecuencia directa o indirecta el aumento de los impuestos. Y Colombia está en un afán estatal expansionista. Desde esta perspectiva, el flujo de gastos del estado colombiano se espera que crezca en los próximos años las razones son entre otras las siguientes:

    -          Las indemnizaciones a las víctimas del conflicto, el Consejo de Estado maneja la tesis de la reparación integral bastante costosa.

    -          El estado social de derecho que significa estado de bienestar en términos económicos y consiste en que el estadovela por el denominado “mínimo vital” de los individuos.

    -          Esto implica que los gastos en salud, educación, recreación, entre muchos otros sean prestados por el estado.

    ¿Quién paga esos costos? Derivado de la tesis del “mínimo vital” pronto caeremos en un pasivo pensional elevado, subsidios al agro, al desempleo –y al empleo-, subsidios a los ricos y a los pobres [que paga la clase media] que el estado tendrá que pagar con dinero recaudado de más impuestos.

    Previamente no citamos las corrientes que fundamentan los impuestos. Este es el momento. Si usted cree en el estado social de derecho tendrá que afirmar que el pago de los impuestos es vital para el sostenimiento de labores estatales como el “gasto público social”. Que es vital una estructura impositiva para redistribuir los ingresos de las clases más favorecidas a las menos favorecidas y que eso es labor del estado. En la teoría eso suena hermoso pero en la práctica es más impuestos para todos.

    Como el estado depende de una gran burocracia y ya no solamente se paga la corte del rey [por aquello de los “frenos y contrapesos”] sino la de Presidencia, Fiscalía, Procuraduría, Defensoría del Pueblo, Banco de la República, Gobernaciones, Alcaldías, Superintendencias, Establecimientos Públicos, Comisiones de Regulación, la DIAN, altas Cortes, Congreso –con altos salarios- con su aparato administrativo y todos aquellos extraterrestres administrativos como le decía una profesora (que creía en el estado) que podrían crecer ad infinitum. ¿Cómo así que pueden crecer ad infinitum? Pues infinitas son las formas de corrupción luego para preverlas se necesitan infinitos entes que también pueden ser corruptas: ¡una bonita serie de crecimiento geométrico! Es claro, con la burocracia que el estadoes un ente redistributivo, toma el dinero de las clases medias para dárselo a las altas o sea congresistas, funcionarios públicos, entre otras. Efectivamente ¿quién paga los impuestos? A más impuestos ¿quién pagará más si nadie quiere pagarlos?

    4.  REFLEXIÓN FINAL
    Uno de los objetivos del trabajo de grado no le gustaba al asesor, pero fue propuesto por el asesor [estos académicos no se ponen de acuerdo]. El objetivo es el siguiente:

    “Denunciar el peligro político y jurídico de que la retención en la fuente crezca a un ritmo porcentual superior al del ingreso de familias y empresas.”

    En este objetivo soy claro, mis afanes académicos tienen que tener una finalidad que sirva a la gente, sino escribiré buena carreta. De alguna manera hay algo entre este objetivo y esto que son notas previas a la investigación que en términos académicos llaman “marco teórico”. Sin embargo, el objetivo no se sobrepone a la conclusión que es levemente distinta: para reducir impuestos se requiere reducir el estado. Y ¿por qué es bueno reducir el estado? Pregúntese ¿De qué le sirve el estado? Y ¿Cuánto le cuesta el estado? Y con un análisis práctico quizás sepa la respuesta.

    Referencias.

    ARISTÓTELES. (s.f.). LA POLÍTICA (Vol. 8). La Editorial Virtual. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de http://www.laeditorialvirtual.com.ar/pages/Aristoteles_LaPolitica/Aristoteles_LaPolitica_000.htm

    COY-FERRER, J. (1975). THOUREAU, HENRY DAVID. En E. RIALP, GRAN ENCICLOPEDIA RIALP (Vol. 22, págs. 413-414). Madrid: Ediciones RIALP S.A.

    DE GREGORIO, J. (2007). MACROECONOMÍA. TEORÍA Y POLÍTICAS. Santiago de Chile: Pearson. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de http://www.degregorio.cl/pdf/Macroeconomia.pdf

    LAMAS, F. A. (s.f.). CARLOS PARMA. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de Francisco Suarez y el impuesto injusto: http://www.carlosparma.com.ar/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=172:francisco-suarez-y-el-impuesto-injusto-&catid=47:filosofia-del-derecho&Itemid=27

    NEW INTERNACIONALISM. (01 de 10 de 2008). NEW INTERNACIONALISM. Recuperado el 27 de 11 de 2013, de A short history of TAXATION: http://newint.org/features/2008/10/01/tax-history/

    NIETZSCHE, F. W. (s.f.). ASÍ HABLÓ ZARATHUSTRA. España: Euroliber S.A.

    SPOONER, L. (1882). NATURAL LAW OR THE SCIENCE OF JUSTICE. Boston. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de http://lysanderspooner.org/node/59


     OTROS ENLACES QUE TOCAN EL TEMA DE LOS IMPUESTOS



              HUELLA FRACTAL: una abstracción fotográfica.        
    HUELLA FRACTAL by ElAlispruz
    HUELLA FRACTAL, a photo by ElAlispruz on Flickr.

    Una huella es una abstracción de algo que pasa. Tal vez la definición o frase anterior suena demasiado aristotélico-aburrida, pero no ando poeta como para decirlo. Para ello me copio de Antonio Machado quizás mi poema favorito (bueno San Juan de la Cruz le gana pero este es más "pertinente") :

    Todo pasa y todo queda,
    pero lo nuestro es pasar,
    pasar haciendo caminos,
    caminos sobre el mar.

    Nunca perseguí la gloria,
    ni dejar en la memoria
    de los hombres mi canción;
    yo amo los mundos sutiles,
    ingrávidos y gentiles,
    como pompas de jabón.

    Me gusta verlos pintarse
    de sol y grana, volar
    bajo el cielo azul, temblar
    súbitamente y quebrarse...

    Nunca perseguí la gloria.

    Caminante, son tus huellas
    el camino y nada más;
    caminante, no hay camino,
    se hace camino al andar.

    Al andar se hace camino
    y al volver la vista atrás
    se ve la senda que nunca
    se ha de volver a pisar.

    Caminante no hay camino
    sino estelas en la mar...

    Hace algún tiempo en ese lugar
    donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos
    se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar
    "Caminante no hay camino,
    se hace camino al andar..."

    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso...

    Murió el poeta lejos del hogar.
    Le cubre el polvo de un país vecino.
    Al alejarse le vieron llorar.
    "Caminante no hay camino,
    se hace camino al andar..."

    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso...

    Cuando el jilguero no puede cantar.
    Cuando el poeta es un peregrino,
    cuando de nada nos sirve rezar.
    "Caminante no hay camino,
    se hace camino al andar..."

    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso.

    La naturaleza del movimiento es fluir. Los flujos son básicamente transformaciones de energía o materia. Esos cambios quizás por lo que en física se llama conservación del momento, hecho que permitió a Einstein desarrollar su teoría de la relatividad especial con su famosa ecuación E=mc^2 (dato erudito inútil para la lectura). Si algo cambia algo es influido por ese cambio, ese cambio a su vez influye en la realidad de otra manera. Esos cambios se retroalimentan de alguna manera el flujo vuelve sobre sí mismo.

    Las retroalimentaciones también dejan sus huellas pero no precisas, lineales, sino imprecisas, fractales. Lo que deja de paso el flujo es un fractal. ¿Qué es un fractal? Apenas he empezado a leer "The fractal geometry of nature" de Benoit Mandelbrot y daría unas definiciones inútiles -para el objeto de este escrito- sobre la dimensión fractal. La dimensión fractal es interesantísima pero ¿define eso el fractal? 

    Pues para no perder todo el denso intento de comprender la dimensión fractal, podríamos decir que un fractal es un camino finito lleno de infinitas huellas que son infinitamente pequeñas. Lo "infinitamente pequeño" tal vez no sea lo más correcto pero es lo más cercano a la intuición que decir como profesor de matemáticas:

    "El límite de la huella tiende a cero". Para que el lector no se pierda entienda infinito como la siguiente paradoja: es una cantidad incontable de tanto contar. Como uno habla de lo que tiene en mente esa definición es incompleta en los descubrimientos del infinito de Cantor, pero no me meteré con eso. O sea el infinito es aún más complejo que la cantidad incontable que se genera de tanto contar. 

    Las influencias y retroalimentaciones que generan huellas infinitas infinitamente pequeñas de la realidad obedecen a la multicausalidad que ya describía Tomás de Aquino que producía incertidumbre y que Nietzsche resumía en que las cosas preferían "danzar" al son del azar. Los flujos se mueven entre las múltiples causas, velocidad, temperatura -que es velocidad-, masa, gravedad -influencia de otros cuerpos-, todo energía en últimas y esto a nivel atómico (creo que a nivel de partículas subatómicas pero hasta allá no entiendo). Cada átomo se influye de manera diferente así el flujo tenga una dirección. Cada átomo genera una influencia pequeñísima. Es lo que el meteorólogo Edward Lorenz denominó "efecto mariposa" al fracasar en sus predicciones climáticas. ¿Qué pasa si muchísimas influencias pequeñísimas se unen en una dirección o en otra? 

    A todas estas ¿qué tiene que ver toda esta carreta con la imagen? Lo primero que hay que decir es que la imagen es realmente la foto de un flujo editada. Es el flujo de agua que sale de una manguera. La escena es de lo más cotidiano, pero ¿por qué es tan extraña la imagen? En primer lugar, la foto se tomó con una elevada velocidad de obturador. La máxima que me permite la cámara. Eso permite capturar el movimiento del agua de la forma más cercana a cero, o sea capturar el instante como dicen los fotógrafos "congelado". 

    Sin embargo las imágenes que tomé no me gustan todavía. Así que empecé a experimentar con la edición en Picasa. No es edición avanzada. Aleatoriamente buscaba las formas más llamativas hasta que recorté esta que es un "fragmento" de algo que logré. Adicionalmente este fragmento fue editado para lo que usted ve. 

    No sé si es bonita o fea, a mí me gusta porque teniendo forma es amorfa, porque tiene pequeños puntos que me indican la fractalidad de la imagen. Puntos que son bastante llamativos y que tanto el lente, el simulador de imagen de la cámara y los algoritmos de edición se unieron para mostrar esta imagen.

    No sobra decir que el flujo más claro es el agua que fluía. Pero ¿por qué puntos oscuros y otros más claros? Eso indica que aunque la dirección del agua es clara algunos puntos eran más densos que otros. Otros dejaban espacios, inclusive se observan grupos de gotas -lo digo porque conozco la imagen- que están por fuera de lo que pareciera el flujo principal que ¿es determinable? ¡No lo es! Si intentara medir el flujo principal encontraría claramente que está fragmentado. Por eso me gusta la imagen. El ambiente en el que se movía el agua era influido por la brisa marina por el ángulo de la manguera y si había una tendencia parabólica como lo ha dicho la física siempre el problema es que la parábola es más abstracta que la huella que estoy mostrando, así sea más manejable. 

    Quisiera finalizar con esto. Tengo una prima que va para octavo grado. Odia la geometría. Yo he querido hablar con ella que además de que no tenga vocación matemática, vea el mundo más artístico y los profesores aburran más las cosas de lo que en realidad son, su clamor en geometría (en concreto la geometría "euclidiana") es creo en ella un grito de rebeldía. ¿Qué grita mi prima? ¡Lo que me enseñan es irreal e inútil! Si las abstracciones de lo real no muestran líneas sino fractales, ¿por qué seguimos pensando que la recta es el paradigma de las dimensiones? 

    Para dejar empezado el escrito, pues el pensamiento es fluir y no concluye como creen los profesores de metodología de la investigación quiero decir varias cosas. No tengo pretensión científica, esto es simplemente un intento de soltar algunas lecturas y pensamientos. 

    No cito a nadie entre comillas o doy un detalle de la fuente porque eso es notaría académica, pero conversaciones, observaciones, experimentos, lecturas y muchas cosas de otros no habrían hecho posible lo que aquí escribo. Si quiere vaya a la wikipedia y busquen a Mandelbrot y su libro que es rebelde y revelador "The fractal geometry of nature", el tema de la multicausalidad lo leí en el libro El Tomismo Desdeñado que es sobre economía pero que resume la física tomista. La frase de Nietzsche es de "Así habló Zarathustra". También los libros "Espejo y Reflejo" y "Las siete leyes del caos" ambos de Briggs y Peat mencionan el efecto mariposa y el tema de la influencia sutil, los fractales entre otros. Libros de meteorología, climatología y matemática citan a Edward Lorenz sobre el efecto mariposa. 

    Espero que este sea un fragmento que a otro sirva y retroalimente, así lo deseche. Al fin y al cabo la realidad es como un diálogo y el diálogo como la realidad...

    Puede ver fotografías "fractales" más reales mías en:  http://flic.kr/s/aHsjPzL9Fg
    De otros que me gustan: http://flic.kr/y/Boj35n

    Artículos relacionados:
    EL ALISPRUZ : LA INMENSA CANTIDAD DE LO POCO

    EL ALISPRUZ : AUTO-SEMEJANZAS Y FAMILIARIDADES: HUELLAS Y FLUJOS

    EL ALISPRUZ : Templo del sol y asombro agradecido



              Â¿QUÉ PASA SI HACEMOS BILLETES?        
    En el artículo  Â¿LA POBREZA PROVIENE DE LA FALTA DE DINERO? sembramos la inquietud de cómo el dinero no implica pobreza ni riqueza sino su medida. Sin embargo, explicamos qué pasa si hacemos billetes. El niño propuso como solución hacer billetes y... Keynes le hizo caso. Quizás me digan que degrado a Keynes considerándolo que promovía la misma solución del niño, la verdad es que no, promovía el control de la "oferta monetaria" para influir en la "demanda agregada"... no promovía hacer billetes, promovía un sinónimo. 

    Pero ¿cuáles son las consecuencias de hacer billetes? Prendamos la maquinita y experimentemos. Las consecuencias anticipo son dos, la primera se llama inflación, la segunda se llama hurto mediante la mutación de la moneda.

    INFLACIÓN
    La inflación es la pérdida del poder adquisitivo del dinero por el aumento de los precios. Es que el valor del dinero también está sometido a las reglas de exceso y la escasez, escaso vale más por lo que los precios bajan, si vale menos por tanto los precios suben. Ya esto lo había descubierto Domingo de Soto como nos lo cita José Alpiniano García en su tesis doctoral:

    "La falta de dinero en un lugar determinado hace que el precio de los demás bienes descienda, y la abundancia de dinero hace que el precio suba. Cuanto menor es la cantidad de dinero en un sitio, más aumenta su valor y, por tanto, ‘caeteris paribus’, con la misma cantidad de dinero se pueden comprar más cosas”.  (DE SOTO, 1968, pág. 543).
    Es que como decíamos en Â¿POR QUÉ SURGE EL DINERO? el dinero vale en la medida en que  puede cambiarse por otra cosa, además que la compra es el fin de la venta como veíamos en Domingo de Soto citado por García Muñoz. El ejemplo de una persona en una isla con un millón de dólares desierta que no puede cambiar por nada muestran como ese dinero no vale nada. ¿Un millón de dólares no valen nada? Sí, en una isla desierta sin poderlos cambiar por nada. 

    Eso pasa si hacemos billetes. La cantidad de bienes producidos será exactamente la misma, pero con más billetes éstas valdrán mucho más. Es sencillo, si tenemos 100 unidades de productos por 100 unidades monetarias, esos 100 productos pueden cambiarse por las 100 unidades monetarias. Pero si por esa misma cantidad de unidades tenemos 200 unidades monetarias, todas esas 100 unidades valdrán el doble. 

    EL ROBO CAMUFLADO.
    Una de las formas que utilizan los estados para reducir sus déficit fiscales de todas las absurdas promesas que hacen los políticos, es prendiendo la maquinita. Es en últimas si no hay plata ¡hagamos billetes! Aparte que esa situación aumenta el precio que tienen que pagar las personas por las cosas, genera que el porcentaje de poder adquisitivo que tienen los particulares sobre los bienes se reduzca y el de los estados:

    Si hay 100 unidades de cambio por 100 bienes y servicio y el estado produce 60 para "aumentar la demanda agregada" ahora por cada unidad de bienes ya no habrá 1 unidad de cambio, sino que se requerirá 1,6 unidades de cambio para adquirir un bien. Pero que implica eso, que si las unidades de cambio pertenecían al 100% antes de la emisión de dinero, ahora tenemos que el estado será dueño del 37,5% de las unidades de cambio y los particulares del 62,5%. Lo que palabras más palabras menos significa un robo muy sofisticado...: la mutación de la moneda. (TORO RESTREPO, 2010)

    Sin embargo, una mejor explicación al respecto puede encontrarse en (GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, 2001, pág. 151 a 155). Además, las denuncias sobre estos temas ya se hicieron por los escolásticos españoles, en especial Juan de Mariana en su libro sobre la mutación de la moneda que he buscado pero no lo encuentro. En todo caso sí encuentro la descripción del libro en uno de los artículos del excelente Instituto español que lleva su nombre. Este libro: 



    "comienza en sus dos primeros capítulos explicando con firmeza que “el Rey no es dueño de los bienes particulares de sus vasallos”, por lo que, lógicamente, conforme a derecho y justicia, debe “tomar el beneplácito del pueblo para imponer en el reino nuevos tributos y pechos”. En seguida derivará su argumento hacia lo que constituyó el objetivo de ese librito: criticar la alteración monetaria que practicaba el gobierno de Felipe III por ser causa directa de subida de los precios; juzgando inmediatamente (con enorme perspicacia) que tal inflación era injusta por ser un impuesto oculto, no votado en las Cortes." (GÓMEZ RIVILLAS, 2010)
    ¿Por qué es robar? Es simple, si una persona me quita mi dinero me está quitando mi poder adquisitivo, pero pueden quitarme mi poder adquisitivo dejándome mi dinero. En últimas no se roba dinero, porque como hemos visto el dinero vale es en su capacidad de cambio por otra cosa, por eso se hurta poder adquisitivo. En el ejemplo citado vemos cómo el estado, mediante la impresión de moneda, redujo el poder adquisitivo de las personas en un 62.5%, si una persona se los hubiera quitado habría generado el mismo perjuicio y el mismo enriquecimiento injusto.


    LA FORMA QUE UTILIZAN LOS PARTICULARES PARA "HACER BILLETES".
    Sin perjuicio de la falsificación de la moneda, que también es un hurto similar a producir más dinero, los particulares también tienen sus formas de hacer dinero. Obviamente no somos el Banco de la República o Banco Central para hacer billetes, algo que sería tentador, pero sí tenemos el acceso al crédito que no podemos pagar. El crédito no es malo en sí mismo, muy por el contrario es una forma de garantizar la liquidez de las empresas, pero el crédito de consumo (que no genera riqueza) puede utilizarse como una forma de autoengañarse gastándose los recursos que no se tienen.

    A mi modo de ver, un crédito válido y viable es aquel que puede garantizarse con otra cosa que es el objeto del crédito. Es decir, un crédito debe garantizarse o apalancarse con aquello objeto del crédito. De esa forma, mediante el apalancamiento el balance permanece intacto pero se aumenta la liquidez, a futuro generará pérdida si no se paga, pero si se paga puede ser una forma de mejorar el balance. Pero cuando se accede a un crédito de consumo el balance no queda igual, sino que, como se trata de bienes de consumo, el balance queda en negativos. 

    En Colombia el crédito de consumo es mayor inclusive que el de vehículos (que es una forma de crédito de consumo), vivienda o educación. Al respecto veamos lo que dicen los expertos de Investigaciones Económicas de Bancolombia en uno de sus editoriales:


    La cartera del sector financiero llegó a 177 billones de pesos en junio de 2011, habiendo crecido 11.5% frente a diciembre de 2010. En ese mismo periodo la cartera de consumo creció 14.7% y alcanzó los 52.2 billones de pesos, un 29.5% de la cartera total (un año atrás representaba el 28.7%). En todo 2010 el monto de deuda en consumo aumentó 6.4 billones, y en los primeros seis meses de 2011 aumentó en 6.7 billones de pesos. Los datos mencionados contrastan con el hecho de que la cartera de vivienda a junio de 2011 creció 11% desde diciembre de 2010, con lo que representa el 11.3%de la cartera total (similar a los últimos tres años), y el monto de deuda en vivienda aumentó 2 billones de pesos en el primer semestre del presente año. 
    Existen varias alertas por el endeudamiento de los hogares. Una de ellas hace mención a cuánto más pueden endeudarse los colombianos sin comprometer su capacidad de pago.  (BANCOLOMBIA INVESTIGACIONES ECONÓMICAS, 2011) 
    ¿Hasta cuándo podremos endeudarnos? El crédito de consumo implica, en muchos casos, hacer lo mismo que hace el estado utilizar un dinero que no representa, ni representará riqueza. De esa manera, la herida en el patrimonio de las personas y de la economía en general genera una inflación. No se trata de unos recursos que adquirí con el sudor ni podré adquirir con todo el sudor a futuro. En otras palabras el mal uso del crédito de consumo me desincentiva de producir y trabajar, que es lo que verdaderamente genera riqueza. De esa forma se disminuye el valor del dinero porque no requiere bienes, servicios o trabajo para producirse. 

    Si somos realistas la cartera de consumo de 52.2 billones de pesos es un indicador que mide los recursos que no tenemos pero que tarde que temprano tendremos que generar. Eso sin contar con los intereses que generan y van a generar. Se preguntan ¿qué genera el ciclo económico y las crisis? ¡Demandar más de lo que podemos dar a cambio por ello!

    INCONCLUYENDO.
    La confusión que la riqueza proviene del dinero nos genera tanto el robo estatal como el deseo desenfrenado de consumir más de lo que podemos ofrecer. El dinero no es la felicidad, la compra hecha dice una frase, pero tampoco será felicidad si ese dinero no lo hemos conseguido a cambio de algo, a futuro será infelicidad. La falsedad de la idea de que el dinero es la riqueza radica en la confusión -originada en Adam Smith- que considera que el origen de los intercambios proviene de la demanda y no de la oferta (GARCÍA MUÑOZ, Derecho y Economía según Tomás de Aquino, Tesis Doctoral, 2011, pág. 34). Y es que, claramente, el dinero está del lado de la demanda, no de la oferta. ¿Será entonces que tenemos que mirar la oferta? ¿Será que es en la oferta donde podremos conocer la naturaleza del dinero? ¿Será que la riqueza proviene de la oferta?

    OTROS ARTÍCULOS

    OTROS ARTÍCULOS

    BIBLIOGRAFÍA


    DE SOTO, D. (1968). De Iustitia et iure (Vol. III). Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Políticos.

    GARCÍA MUÑOZ, J. A. (2011). Derecho y Economía según Tomás de Aquino, Tesis Doctoral. Pamplona, España: Universidad de Navarra. Facultad de Filosofía .

    GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, J. A. (2001). Derecho Económico de los Contratos. Bogotá: Ediciones Librería del Profesional.

    GÓMEZ RIVILLAS, L. (28 de Mayo de 2010). MARIANA Y LOS IMPUESTOS. Recuperado el 28 de Enero de 2012, de INSTITUTO JUAN DE MARIANA: http://www.juandemariana.org/comentario/4625/mariana/impuestos/

    Niño Tarazona, D. I. (11 de Noviembre de 2011). BANCOLOMBIA INVESTIGACIONES ECONÓMICAS. EDITORIAL SEMANAL: EL GASTO Y EL ENDEUDAMIENTO EN LOS HOGARES COLOMBIANOS . Colombia: Investigaciones Económicas Bancolombia.

    TORO RESTREPO, D. (29 de Marzo de 2010). EL MITO DE LA SOBREPOBLACIÓN Y LAS VERDADERAS CAUSAS DE LA POBREZA. Recuperado el 28 de Enero de 2012, de EL ALISPRUZ: http://elalispruz.blogspot.com/2010/03/el-mito-de-la-sobrepoblacion-y-las.html



    PUBLICIDAD EXTERNA



              Â¿LA POBREZA PROVIENE DE LA FALTA DE DINERO?        
    Para un niño es es fácil de creer que la pobreza proviene de la falta de dinero. Si a uno le dicen, "los ricos tienen mucha plata, los pobres poca plata" pues la inferencia lógica sería "pues la pobreza proviene de la falta de dinero". Adicionalmente si uno medio piensa el asunto, podría fácilmente concluir, que el problema se resolvería haciendo billetes para los pobres. Podríamos citar el intento de chiste "había una persona tan pobre, tan pobre que solo tenía plata" para explicar la falsedad de esta situación. Eso sin perjuicio que si el estado produce dinero, prende la maquinita de billetes, lo que está haciendo es una forma muy sutil de robo, como ya lo denunciaba Juan de Mariana en su libro sobre la mutación de la moneda. Una persona con dinero en una isla desierta cabría en el ejemplo del intento de chiste. Efectivamente ¿de qué me sirve tener un millón de dólares si no lo puedo cambiar por comida, bebida, refugio?

    Es así como para responder a la pregunta, la respuesta tajante es NO. La pobreza es la insatisfacción de ciertas necesidades, diferentes para cada persona, en cada situación, contexto. El dinero, en un contexto social, puede cambiarse por cosas que satisfagan necesidades pero no puede hacer que se produzcan esas cosas. Ni la expansión de la oferta monetaria, ni los créditos bancarios, ni nada puede hacerse si nadie produce. Muy por el contrario, si se descubre una forma de vivir -y las personas la acogen- que facilite el intercambio sin dinero y producen mucho, no necesitarán dinero para satisfacer sus necesidades. El dinero es un excelente invento para agilizar los intercambios, pero bien pueden existir otros medios para agilizarlo. Sin embargo, las tesis económicas actuales que se centran en un monetarismo y la centralización de la producción de dinero en los estados convierten al dinero en fin y no en medio. Efectivamente mi querido Keynes, haciendo billetes no vas a calmar el hambre de los pobres, pero sí la perversa avaricia de los gobernantes. 

    ¿ESCLAVOS DEL DINERO?
    La economía actual pretende someter y alienar mediante un exagerado culto al dinero. Es que la ciencia económica actual produce la alienación de la persona humana (Véase GARCÍA MUÑOZ, 2011). La visión económica actual parte de la idea que el ser humano es netamente un número que consumo y que la producción está fatalmente determinada (Véase GARCÍA MUÑOZ, 2011). Adicionalmente, al ser el dinero el medio por el cual se mueve el mercado, pues controlar el dinero en el mercado es una alternativa para que ese personaje adicto al consumo (la persona en su reducida visión) no dañe a los otros consumidores... más bien no deslegitime el poder del estado. Es así como la tesis de derecho y economía del santo de hoy 28 de Enero del profesor José Alpiniano nos centra en un punto esencial: "Esta visión aliena la personalidad humana en tanto que somete al hombre al imperio fatal de algo creado por él mismo: el mercado." (GARCÍA MUÑOZ, Derecho y Economía según Tomás de Aquino, Tesis Doctoral, 2011, pág. 131). Y si el mercado surge de intercambios con dinero, en la actualidad nuestra personalidad humana se encuentra alienada al dinero. 

    Así ve la economía actual
    al ser humano.

    Mediante la oferta dineraria, la producción de billetes, intervenciones macroeconómicas en las tasas de interés, control del aumento de los salarios, el incentivo o desincentivo de créditos para consumo, etc., no vamos a lograr satisfacer nuestras necesidades. De hecho, yo he vivenciado eso en términos prácticos. Una situación económica compleja no se resuelve por más sumas, restas, multiplicaciones o divisiones que se realicen con el dinero que se tiene. Es volver al problema que hablábamos en SOBRE EL DINERO un millón de dólares en una isla desierta no sirven para nada.

    La alienación económica, es decir, la confusión del dinero con la riqueza, se refleja también en el management o administración. Que el dinero al ser medio de cambio de todas las mercancías mida la riqueza no significa que sea la riqueza en sí. Es como decir que un edificio de 30 metros son 30 metros, no es un edificio. Sería como decir que el avalúo de ese edificio, sea ese edificio. Veamos cómo se ve esta problemática en el management.

     De acuerdo con Hamel y Prahalad (Prahalad QEPD es, entre otras, el creador de la idea "mercadeo en la base de la pirámide" que es aplicada, entre otros, por el profesor César Betancourt de la Universidad de la Sabana en el área de mercadeo) el rendimiento de una inversión se explica de la siguiente manera: "Ahora bien, el rendimiento de la inversión (o rendimiento de los activos netos, o rendimiento del capital empleado) tiene dos componentes: un numerador, que es la renta neta, y un denominador, que es la inversión, los activos netos o el capital empleado." (HAMEL & PRAHALAD, 1999, pág. 44). La estrategia común en la mayoría de los directivos es la reestructuración empresarial, ¿en qué consiste? En disminuir el nivel de gastos, costos y generalmente, la primera idea que se le viene a la cabeza a cualquiera -por más socialista que hubiese sido en su juventud- son los recortes de personal. ¿Por qué esta estrategia? Precisamente por un auto-engaño matemático, si recorto lo que pago en salarios podré, en mi división, ver cómo aumentan los rendimientos y en últimas auto-engañarme creyendo que por esto soy más rico. 

    ¿Esclavos de la economía?
    Pero ¿Qué consideran los autores Hamel y Prahalad frente a esa táctica de mejorar los rendimientos? Frente a esto plantean los citados autores lo siguiente: "A pesar de que quizás ha sido inevitable y en muchos casos loable, la reestructuración ha destruido vidas, hogares y comunidades en nombre de la eficacia y de la productividad" (HAMEL & PRAHALAD, 1999, pág. 44). Si una reestructuración pretende mostrar un número que dice que el rendimiento aumenta, pero destruye familias, hogares, etc., ¿no es eso muestra de la tesis central de Alpiniano sobre cómo la economía nos aliena? ¿Aumento de acciones a costa de destruir vidas? No es que la reestructuración sea mala en sí, sino que en muchos casos no es justa. Por ejemplo, cuando se despiden a tres empleados que trabajan intensamente y se deja a un cuarto con ese trabajo por el mismo salario ¿podemos decir que se aumentó la productividad? Dicen Hamel y Prahalad "la gestión del denominador [o sea reestructuración y recorte de personal] es un atajo contable para aumentar la productividad de los activos" (HAMEL & PRAHALAD, 1999, pág. 45). 


    A pesar de que en apariencia los rendimientos aumentan, simplemente por un "atajo matemático", esto no es necesariamente un bien para la empresa: "la reestructuración raramente da como resultado una mejora fundamental de la empresa. En el mejor de los casos sirve para ganar tiempo." (HAMEL & PRAHALAD, 1999, pág. 47). Es así como ese autoengaño bien podía producir efectos al corto plazo, pero no a mediano o a largo plazo en la valoración de las acciones:

    "Un estudio realizado entre dieciséis grandes empresas estadounidenses que llevaban, como mínimo, tres años en reestructuración, reveló que, aunque la reconversión normalmente mejoraba el precio de las acciones de la empresa, dicha mejora casi siempre tenía carácter temporal. Tres años después de iniciar la reestructuración, el precio de las acciones de las empresas encuestadas era, en promedio, incluso inferior a la tasa de crecimiento anterior al inicio del procedimiento de reestructuración."  (HAMEL & PRAHALAD, 1999, pág. 47)

    Sin embargo, no se trata de condenar a la reestructuración, que es una alternativa necesaria cuando en la empresa se forman estructuras injustas que limitan su eficiencia. Por ejemplo, que en una empresa de familia el hijo gerente gana lo mismo que su hermano que realiza una gestión operativa es un claro ejemplo de estructura injusta. En ese caso hay un desorden que no da al aporte del trabajo de cada uno su justa retribución. Además, debe ser posible reestructurar esa estructura injusta. A veces, como en el caso de las fusiones empresariales es necesario tolerar -por un tiempo- esa estructura injusta porque de lo contrario se quebraría y sería más injusto aún con todos. 

    CONCLUSIÓN INCONCLUSA.
    Tanto desde tesis doctorales como del management encontramos que se suele alienar al ser humano a costa de los números de la medida. Confundimos la riqueza con una forma de medirla y por eso, manipulamos su medida en aras de ver mejores resultados. La riqueza no es su medida. ¿Qué es entonces la riqueza? ¿Qué es entonces la pobreza? Para ello escribiremos dos cortos escritos uno sobre cómo el exceso de dinero se utiliza como robo y no genera riqueza y dos sobre lo que es la riqueza.

    OTROS ARTÍCULOS
    1. EL ALISPRUZ : ¿POR QUÉ SURGE EL DINERO?
    2. EL ALISPRUZ : SOBRE EL DINERO
    3. EL ALISPRUZ : ¿QUÉ PASA SI HACEMOS BILLETES?

    BIBLIOGRAFÍA


    GARCÍA MUÑOZ, J. A. (2011). Derecho y Economía según Tomás de Aquino, Tesis Doctoral. Pamplona, España: Universidad de Navarra. Facultad de Filosofía .

    HAMEL, G., & PRAHALAD, C. K. (1999). Compitiendo por el Futuro. En H. B. Press, La gestión en la incertidumbre (R. Aparicio Aldazabal, Trad., págs. 37-56). Bilbao, España: Ediciones Deusto S.A.

    PUBLICIDAD EXTERNA



              Â¿POR QUÉ SURGE EL DINERO?        

    ¿Por qué surge el dinero? ¿Para qué sirve? ¿Cuál es entonces su verdadera naturaleza? En  SOBRE EL DINERO iniciamos una serie de inquietudes acerca de la naturaleza del dinero. El dinero es algo bueno, muy bueno porque puede cambiarse por cualquier cosa útil, sin embargo, en la actualidad, desconocer su naturaleza genera muchos problemas, en especial la crisis económica que se cierne como una sombra sobre el mundo.

    EL ORIGEN DEL MERCADO Y EL INTERCAMBIO

    Es complicado cambiar hamburguesas por casas
    o cosas que
     no le interesen a esta mujer.
    El ser humano primero era nómada y hacía de todo menos vivir bueno. Cada persona, o cada familia más bien, debía protegerse, buscar alimento, refugio, sanarse, pasar la enfermedad, entre otras, solo. Esa situación en términos biológicos era una desventaja notoria. Una desventaja que impedía la supervivencia. ¿Entonces Rousseau se equivoca en lo del buen salvaje? ¡Efectivamente! El buen salvaje solo es incapaz de satisfacer por sí mismo todas sus necesidades lo que reduce notablemente su vida.

    Un día, unas personas inteligentes, se dieron cuenta. Él es bueno para cazar, yo para arar la tierra (bueno realmente no existía el arado), aquel para hacer protectores para el frío. De esa manera si uno hacía una cosa más veloz que otro, y el otro a su vez más veloz que aquel, pues, en vez de que cada uno intente hacer todas sus labores al tiempo ¿no es mejor que el que las hace más rápido lo haga por mí y yo haga por él lo que él no es capaz de hacer más rápido que yo? Así si uno recogía 10 frutas por día y hacía 2 empaques para conservarla al día y el otro producía 10 empaques para conservar el alimento y recogía 2 frutas. ¿Por qué no se dedica uno a hacer empaques para conservación y el otro a recoger frutas? ¡Eso fue lo que hicieron! Ese fue el origen de la economía y de la ciudad y ya lo comprendía Sócrates desde tiempos inmemoriales:

    SÓCRATES: Pues bien la ciudad nace, en mi opinión, por darse la circunstancia de que ninguno de nosotros se basta a sí mismo, sino que necesita de muchas cosas. ¿O crees otra la razón por la cual se fundan las ciudades?

    ADIMANTO: Ninguna otra

    SÓCRATES: Así, pues, cada uno va tomando consigo a tal hombre para satisfacer esta necesidad y a tal otro para aquella; de este modo, al necesitar todos de muchas cosas, vamos reuniendo en una sola vivienda a multitud de personas en calidad de asociados y auxiliares y a esta cohabitación le damos el nombre de ciudad. ¿No es así? (Platón, pág. 55: 369 B).
    Sin embargo, surge un problema. Tenemos en la comunidad una persona que hace chorizos y otra que construye casas. Si el que hace chorizos ofrece un chorizo por la casa, quizás el constructor le conteste "para construir una casa necesito más alimento que un simple chorizo", entonces el que hace chorizos le contestará "me importa un chorizo...", bueno, no le contestará eso. El que hace chorizos seguramente le contestaría que podría darle 100, 1000, los que sean, pero mientras tanto el que construye requerirá comida (además de chorizo), vestidos para protegerse del frío, etc., y con chorizos no podrá intercambiar todas sus necesidades. De la misma manera si recibiera muchos chorizos, es probable que el zapatero sea vegetariano que su medio de pago sean casas o chorizos le importe "un chorizo".

    De esa manera, la ciudad, comunidad, foro, plaza, constituye, de forma "consuetudinaria" un medio de cambio. Es así como originarse de una práctica consuetudinaria y ser medio de cambio son las dos características referentes al dinero.

    CARACTERÍSTICAS DEL DINERO
    ¿Qué implica que sea medio de cambio? Esto quiere decir que es el estándar o lo que mide un determinado intercambio. Es decir, el dinero es algo que puede cambiarse por todas las cosas, por todos los bienes o servicios. Es así como uno vende, pero para tener la libertad de intercambiar lo que quiera, no se vende por dinero porque nos pasaría lo de la isla desierta: ¡no serviría para nada! Con acierto sostuvo Domingo de Soto que se vende para recibir dinero y comprar de lo que falta sin compromiso de tener que recibir del comprador aquello que no necesite: “vendido lo que le sobra de una cosa, compra lo que de otra le falta (…) la compra es el fin de la venta”  (DE SOTO, 1968, pág. 593). El profesor José Alpiniano García Muñoz, en una tesis doctoral recientemente defendida en la Universidad de Navarra, nos aclara esta frase en relación al tema del valor del dinero "En consecuencia, quien vende no tiene como fin el dinero, sino la compra o adquisición de otra cosa que le falta." (GARCÍA MUÑOZ, 2011, pág. 28). La razón de ser del dinero no es otra pues que facilitar los intercambios de cosas realmente necesarias para cada persona. En otro libro del mismo autor se explica con más claridad este punto: "Como se dijo antes, el papel moneda sólo tiene razón de ser en la medida en que, por decirlo gráficamente, represente una cantidad o servicios, esto es, su razón de ser es su valor de cambio objetivo; el dinero vale toda la cantidad de bienes o servicios que puede obtenerse a cambio de él." (GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, 2001, pág. 148).

    Bolívar. Moneda Venezolana.
    El gobierno ha intentado avaluarla mediante sellos,
    pero es la mejor muestra que el valor del dinero
    nace de la costumbre.
    Adicionalmente el dinero se caracteriza por ser consuetudinario ¿Por qué consuetudinario? Porque es una costumbre, las personas se acostumbran a que esa cosa sea la medida que utilizan para intercambiar las cosas. Sin embargo, no faltan en la vida ciertos personajes que se dan el lujo de hacer dinero. Antes el oro y la plata eran los medios de cambio, en la actualidad, los estados se inventan el cuento que el dinero vale porque es hecho por ellos. Es así como surge el cuento del curso forzoso. Es así como si uno se encuentra del lado Colombiano de la frontera con Venezuela entre Villa del Rosario (Norte de Santander) y San Antonio del Táchira  y va a comprarle a un Venezolano tendría que hacerlo en pesos. Sin embargo, es precisamente en zona de frontera donde se observa lo ridícula que es su existencia. El Venezolano podría recibirle en pesos si quisiera, o únicamente recibirle en el tan "revaluado" Bolívar (moneda de Venezuela). Es que Chávez tiene el poder de producir un Bolívar "fuerte". En San Antonio del Táchira es usual que se reciban pesos como intercambio y en Cúcuta que se reciba el tan "revaluado" Bolívar. Adicionalmente, nada obstaría para que recibieran pesos, dólares, dólares canadienses, euros, yens, o tres vacas, un kilo de oro o una libra de sal. En todo caso, se acostumbra a recibir en una moneda determinada, en un "país" (en su sentido geográfico) determinado.

    Un ejemplo de que el dinero se utiliza de forma consuetudinaria es el uso del dólar estadounidense en Ecuador. ¿Por qué si es un billete que únicamente tiene cambio  curso forzoso en los EEUU? Pues porque es una costumbre. Citado por el profesor José Alpiniano, Domingo de Soto, hace ya varios siglos nos decía:  “aunque la moneda no estuviera sellada, tendría el mismo valor en el precio de las cosas”. (DE SOTO, 1968, pág. 585). Es así que si un día en Colombia o en el mundo decidiéramos cambiar nuestro "medio de cambio" por cualquier otro medio de referencia, nadie podría impedirlo...

    Es imposible en Colombia que nos inventemos un medio de cambio diferente al peso, dada nuestra mentalidad legalista y con nuestro arraigado culto al estado. Como diría Fernando González estamos sometidos al "espíritu" de Santander que consideraba que la ley era la causa de la libertad. Sin embargo, en la edad media, al resurgir del comercio, el medio de cambio era bastante escaso y el tránsito inseguro por lo que acudieron a diversas vías como el renacimiento del crédito o el contrato de cambio trayecticio (GARCÍA MUÑOZ, TÍTULOS-VALORES. RÉGIMEN GLOBAL, 2008, pág. 23 y siguientes).

    CONCLUSIONES
    El dinero -o medio de cambio- nace como una necesidad para facilitar los intercambios estandarizando los precios de las cosas. No proviene del estado su valor o legitimidad, sino que proviene de los individuos que utilizan cierta cosa o documento para hacer sus intercambios. Eso se denota incluso cómo los individuos en momentos de escasez de un determinado medio de cambio inventan o crean figuras para facilitar el intercambio a pesar de ello.

    OTROS ARTÍCULOS


    1. EL ALISPRUZ : SOBRE EL DINERO
    2. EL ALISPRUZ : ¿LA POBREZA PROVIENE DE LA FALTA DE DINERO?



    BIBLIOGRAFÍA

    DE SOTO, D. (1968). De Iustitia et iure (Vol. III). Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Políticos.

    GARCÍA MUÑOZ, J. A. (2011). Derecho y Economía según Tomás de Aquino, Tesis Doctoral. Pamplona, España: Universidad de Navarra. Facultad de Filosofía .

    GARCÍA MUÑOZ, J. A. (2008). TÍTULOS-VALORES. RÉGIMEN GLOBAL. Bogotá D.C, Colombia: Temis S.A.

    GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, J. A. (2001). Derecho Económico de los Contratos.Bogotá: Ediciones Librería del Profesional.

    Platón. La República (Versión en PDF ed.). www.planetalibro.com.ar.





              LA INMENSA CANTIDAD DE LO POCO        
    Ver el mundo en un grano de arena,
    y el cielo en una flor silvestre;
    tener el infinito en la palma de la mano
    y la eternidad en una hora.
    (William Blake en PAPPAS, 1996, pág. 50)

    Los seres humanos nos preocupamos tanto por las grandes obras, que las pequeñas acaban destruyendo la posibilidad de llegar a la grandeza. Es una paradoja, pero una paradoja con fuertes fundamentos fácticos que denotan cómo descuidar lo poco, es el más grande de nuestros errores. El presente ensayo partirá de una reflexión metafísica pasando por una económica, pero la intención será trascender hasta, si es posible, una reflexión mística. Partiremos de ser centaveros, con imagen de ambiciosos, para llegar a la gloria infinita... simplemente por el valor de lo pequeño.


    Una breve contemplación matemática.

    NUBES FRACTALES
    Nubes fractales.
    El fractal denota la potencia de esta paradoja,
    la parte se ve en el todo y el todo en la parte.
    Un cálculo elemental para cualquier persona es la suma de 1 + 1. La unidad pareciese una figura simple y carente de todo significado estético y místico. ¿Qué importa el número uno? ¿Uno no más? Sin embargo, cuando se ve el elevado potencial del uno a nivel matemático, su aparente carencia de significado y su falta de estética, le dan a ese número insignificante, nada dentro del infinito, un valor tan elevado que nos lleva a una paradoja: el uno es nada en comparación con el infinito pero el infinito no es nada sin el uno. ¿Cómo puede surgir tal paradoja en una proporción que todos prácticamente consideramos evidente si sabemos un poco de cálculo y de matemáticas? Evidentemente el infinito ha sido un creador de paradojas como la de Zenón (si cada vez recorro la mitad de lo que me falta ¿cuándo llegaré a la meta?) (PAPPAS, 1996, pág. 50) Sin embargo, esta explicación nos la da Pappas en una cita al pie sobre por qué los números naturales son infinitos: "los números de contar o naturales, son potencialmente infinitos ya que a cualquiera de ellos se le puede sumar uno para llegar al siguiente, pero nunca se puede tener el conjunto completo" (PAPPAS, 1996, pág. 52).

    Efectivamente todos los números son "una multitud compuesta de unidades" como decían los pitagóricos y por ello los consideraban la sustancia de todas las cosas (RECAMÁN SANTOS, 2007, pág. 30). Aunque los pitagóricos no consideraban a la unidad (1) como un número, de esta unidad procedían todos los demás que eran la sustancia del universo. "-¿Cuánto es uno y uno y uno y uno y uno y uno y uno? -No lo sé - dijo Alicia-, he perdido la cuenta. -No puedo hacer la suma - dijo la Reina Roja." (CARROL LEWIS [ALICIA EN EL PAÍS DE LAS MARAVILLAS] en RECAMÁN SANTOS, 2007, pág. 109). Efectivamente la suma constante de uno, uno, uno, cada vez va generando un número que ni la Reina Roja podía sumar, ni lo harán los sabios ancianos del rey en un caso que luego se expondrá. 

    Los pitagóricos, aunque erraron en lo que es un número tuvieron otros aciertos pues nadie ha visto un uno volando a menos que -como decía un compañero mío del colegio- estuviera sentado en una hamaca bastante trabado. Esto quiere decir que los números no son el mundo sino simples son abstracciones de intuiciones que nos explican el mundo, los pitagóricos sí acertaron en la magnifica intuición que nos remite al poema del comienzo. Es de unidades que se forman las cosas y de unidades que se suman indefinidamente que crecen indefinidamente y van formando pieza por pieza, una por una, el mundo. ¿Qué es una estrella? ¿Qué es un grano de arena? ¿Pero qué es una estrella y otra, y otra, y otra...? ¡El firmamento! Y ¿qué es un grano de arena y otro, y otro, y otro,...? ¡Una playa! Lo mismo podemos decir de las gotas de agua que conforman el mar, de las hojas, de las células que forman nuestro cuerpo. ¿Qué es un átomo? ¡lo que compone el universo!

    Deteniéndonos un poco en el tema de las células del cuerpo, nuestra vida comenzó con una célula, que se dividió en dos, en cuatro, en ocho, mórula, blástula, etc, especialización, hasta transformar una vida de una célula en millones de ellas. Podríamos entrar en miles de ejemplos místicos, poéticos que nos lleven a trascender en la contemplación pero eso haría que este escrito fuera infinito. Pues al fin y al cabo, así se comporta la naturaleza que los pitagóricos intuían, una sucesión de unidades que forman el todo, la unidad no es nada frente al todo pero el todo no es nada sin la unidad. Por tal motivo pasaremos de una breve contemplación matemática a un análisis económico.


    Del misticismo a la economía.
    El Banquero y Su esposa.
    ¡La diligencia en el cuidado de lo poco!
    Últimamente tengo pegada la frase "cuide los centavos que los pesos se cuidan solos". Esta frase se la escuché a mi papá, que entiendo se la escuchó a un empresario antioqueño ya difunto. La sabiduría de esta frase no va en lo sonoro de la misma sino en que puede corroborarse en la práctica. Si las personas gastáramos al nivel que lo hacemos en cosas de pequeña cantidad, nos quedaríamos asombrados de lo pronto que nos quebraríamos. Pondré un ejemplo sencillo. Si una persona tiene un capital de $2.000 pesos colombianos (alrededor de un dólar estadounidense) es muy probable que si le ofrecen algo cuyo valor es de $2.000 se relaje y cambie su dinero por esa cosa ¡No son más que $2.000! Pero si todo su capital líquido es de $50.000 (alrededor de 25 USD) y le ofrecen algo de $50.000 es mucho más probable que se controle y diga ¡es que son $50.000! Pero únicamente bastaría hacer únicamente 25 veces el ejercicio con los $2.000 para haberse gastado los $50.000 en cosas de $2.000. Haga el ejercicio de ahorrar $500 diarios durante un año y obtendrá una suma de $182.500, hágalo con $1.000, $2.000, etc.

    En un escrito anterior manifesté lo siguiente:

    "De hecho los pobres saben más de finanzas que los ricos. Un rico no sabe cuánto vale un peso porque ese es su día a día, pero una persona pobre sabe verdaderamente cuál es el costo del dinero, el sudor que se requiere para ganar $18.000 (10 Us$ aprox) [Cfr ElAlispruz. En 2010 si se quiere profundizar en el costo del trabajo]. Esto es tan cierto que los modelos financieros exitosos surgieron precisamente de un elevado valor del dinero. Adicionalmente es la razón por la cuál los modelos tecnocráticos e intervencionistas fracasan. (TORO RESTREPO, 2011)"

    ¿Por qué surgen modelos exitosos con un elevado costo del dinero? El valor de una cosa está relacionado con su escasez, entre más escasa más valiosa, por lo tanto el dinero es mucho más valioso cuando hay poco. Mientras escribo esto recuerdo la gloriosa frase de nuestro presidente Juan Manuel Santos "En Colombia se puede vivir con $190.000 mensuales". Lo glorioso no es tanto que no sea posible (personalmente no lo creo) sino que venga de una persona que ni siquiera sabe cuánto cuesta la gasolina porque tiene choferes y no ha tenido la necesidad de montar en bus. Si a uno le entran $190.000 mensuales tiene que ser bastante inteligente para que con esa suma pueda comer, tener un techo, vestirse y transportarse y si alguien nunca ha tenido el reto de vivir con esa miserable suma... ¿lo hará bien? Mi abuelo materno decía que los mejores financieros son los mendigos porque de $100 en $100 no se asuste si se encuentra al mendigo que pide en el semáforo de la 10 en un vuelo a Santa Marta con usted. Es más complicado cuando la liquidez es mucha pero inconstante, creo yo.


    Tributaristas, delincuentes financieros y el valor del dinero.

    La vocazione di San Matteo
    Caravaggio.
    Recordemos que San Mateo
    era un recaudador de impuestos y
    él comprende el mensaje de la fidelidad en lo poco.
    Los tributaristas son personas MUY INTELIGENTES que trabajan para el sector equivocado, el estado. El estado es una forma de robo menos violenta y menos inútil, pero forzada al fin y al cabo. Paréntesis, admiro a los delincuentes financieros, esos que roban un peso de cada cuenta de un banca, que forman pirámides, etc., porque son perversos, pero comprenden lo mismo que los pitagóricos acerca de la sustancia del mundo. Cualquiera se preguntará ¿por qué pongo a los delincuentes financieros con el sector tributario? Porque ambos piensan estrategias para sacar más de la manera más sutil.

    Una de las formas más inteligentes que comprenden el trasfondo del valor del dinero es la invención del Gravamen a los Movimientos Financieros o Cuatro por mil. Si fuera un señor tomando un peso de cada cuenta, diferente del estado, se llamaría Hurto Calificado. El caso es que no estoy anarquista sino que quiero elogiar al creador del 4 X 1000, eh Ave María qué tan inteligente, el problema es ¡por qué te contrató el lado equivocado!

    Mil pesos vienen siendo poco, pero cuatro pesos no son nada. Bueno 4 X 1000 no son nada y ¿qué tal 4000 por millón? ¿Duelen $40.000 al mover 10.000.000? ¿Qué tal $400.000 al mover $100.000.000? Si una empresa mueve al año $1.000 millones de pesos $4.000.000 pueden ser fácilmente la nómina de unos cuantos meses a salario mínimo. Miremos el 4 X 1000 desde otra perspectiva.

    Si yo pago 1 millón de pesos a otra persona a su cuenta, y ésta a su vez mueve todo ese millón pero pagando el 4 X 1000 y así sucesivamente deduciendo el 4 x 1000, en 27 transacciones, totalmente viables en la velocidad de nuestro sistema financiero, ya se habrá perdido alrededor del 10% de ese valor. O sea si hay una cadena de 27 deudores donde cada uno sea acreedor y deudor de 1.000.000, el 27 avo deberá conseguirse alrededor de $100.000 si cada uno ha venido descontando el 4 x 1000. El cuatro por mil tiene el valor de pasar desapercibido, no se siente su impacto sino cuando se empieza a sumar cada uno de esos gravámenes. 

    Si el PIB de 2010 fue de 548.273.000.000.000 (DANE - DEPARTAMENTO ADMINISTRATIVO NACIONAL DE ESTADÍSTICA, 2011) cifra que confieso no cabe en mi cabeza. Si moviéramos toda esa suma en una transacción serían $2.193,092 millones de pesos. Eso sin contar que son muchas las transacciones lo que implicaría que el recaudo estatal por este impuesto sería gigantesco. 


    Granos de arroz, trigo y hambre en el mundo.

    Hay algunos personajes que trabajan en la ONU que para discutir el problema del hambre en el mundo llegan llenitos luego de haber pagado los mejores hoteles 5 estrellas en New York. La comida debe ser de la mejor calidad y costosa. Ante esa situación cuando empiezan a discutir el tema con barrigas llenas, observan el problema y ven cómo comer un poquito menos sería bastante costoso y para no sufrir el dolor de ver la pobreza que su despilfarro ocasiona proponen matar a los pobres. Efectivamente, la solución es fácil: "seguimos comiendo igual y despilfarrando igual mientras matamos a aquellos que no pueden despilfarrar como nosotros.".

    Sin embargo, el problema del hambre no es de "exceso de población" sino de "desperdicio de comida". Cualquiera dirá que lo hago porque soy pro-vida o porque no creo que el calentamiento global sea ocasionado por el ser humano o como mínimo por la población. Somos 7.000 millones de personas, pero resulta que el número de hormigas ocupa la misma biomasa (o sea pesando TODAS las hormigas de la tierra pesan lo mismo que TODOS los seres humanos) (Chadwick & Moffet, 2011, pág. 86). La fuente del peso de las hormigas, como puede observarse, es la revista National Geographic de mayo de 2011, fuente científica acreditada a nivel mundial.

    Ahora bien, tomando en cuenta la misma revista pero del mes de julio tenemos un dato todavía más perverso y más triste sobre alimentación. Citemos la fuente textual. Refiriéndose frente a cómo alimentar un planeta creciente en su tercera solución plantea:
    "3. Reducir el desperdicio. Aproximadamente la mitad de las cosechas mundiales desaparecen 'entre el campo y el plato', dice Stockholm International Water Institute. El desperdicio, la desviación para fabricar alimentos para animales y el comportamiento del consumidor son factores que llevan a esto.". (TOMANIO, KLEBER, CASSIDY, WELLS, & BUZBY, 2011)
    Según el dato anterior no sería necesario aumentar las cosechas, bastaría que se acabara el desperdicio por el comportamiento desmedido del consumidor. La carencia proviene del derroche y la abundancia de la sobriedad. Cualquier persona pensadora a nivel actual, o sea lectora de periódicos, dirá: "pues que el estado impida el derroche". Sin embargo en ello también está la paradoja de lo poco, eso no lo hará el que tiene mucho poder, sino el pequeño poder de cada persona ante su plato. ¿Cómo entenderlo? Hagamos algunos análisis con gramos...

    ¿Cuánto pesa un gramo de arroz? De acuerdo con una fuente no tan fiable como Yahoo Answers pero en algo creíble, dice que un grano de arroz pesa 1.16 mg. Si cada persona del mundo desperdicia un grano de arroz, algo insignificante, el desperdicio acumulado sería de 8.12 toneladas. No soy nutricionista pero eso beneficiaría la dieta de miles de personas. El punto es ¿cuántos granos de arroz promedio desperdicia cada persona al día? 

    Al respecto de granos y desperdicio partiendo de la unidad hay una sabia leyendo sobre el momento en el que se inventó el ajedrez. El inventor llega ante el rey con el ajedrez y el rey le dice ¿qué puedo darte por esto? El inventor al principio no pidió nada pero ante la insistencia del rey le pidió "ordena que me den un grano de trigo por la primera casilla, dos por la segunda, 4 por la tercera y así sucesivamente hasta completar las 64 casillas." (PERELMAN, 2002, pág. 52). Al rey esto le pareció un insulto al fin y al cabo, sentía que le pedía demasiado poco... unos granitos de trigo no más.

    Pero hagamos el esquema matemático de lo que pedía el inventor del ajedrez:

    1+2+4+8+16+32+...

    Si organizamos la propuesta en una serie encontraremos que sigue la siguiente secuencia:

    1+2^1+2^2+2^3

    Concluyendo que la serie es 1+2^1+...+2^(n-1) por lo tanto por la última casilla recibirá 2^63 granos. 

    Plantación de trigo.
    No es la foto más hermosa pero se
    observa el efecto infinito.
    El caso es que sinteticemos la conclusión. Luego de un largo periodo de demora en el conteo de todos los matemáticos del rey veamos lo que pasó:

    "-Antes de comenzar tu informe [dice el rey], quiero saber si se ha entregado por fin (...) la mísera recompensa que ha solicitado.
    - Precisamente por eso me he atrevido a presentarme tan temprano -contestó el anciano [uno de los sabios del rey]. Hemos calculado escrupulosamente la cantidad total de granos que desea recibir... resulta una cifra tan enorme.
    -Sea cual fuere la cifra -le interrumpió con altivez el rey- mis graneros no empobrecerán. He prometido darle esa recompensa, y por lo tanto, hay que entregársela.
    -Soberano, o depende de tu voluntad cumplir semejante deseo. En todos tus graneros no existe la cantidad de trigo que exige. Tampoco existe en los graneros de todo el reino. Hasta los graneros del mundo entero son insuficientes. Si deseas entregar sin falta la recompensa prometida, ordena que todos los reinos de la Tierra se conviertan en labrantíos, manda desecar los mares y océanos, ordena fundir el hielo y la nieve que cubren los lejanos desiertos del norte. Que todo el espacio sea totalmente sembrado de trigo, y ordena que toda la cosecha obtenida en estos campos sea entregada [a él]. Sólo entonces recibirá su recompensa.
    El rey escuchaba lleno de asombro las palabras del anciano sabio.
    -Dime cuál es esa cifra tan monstruosa -dime reflexionando.
    -¡Oh soberano! Dieciocho trillones cuatrocientos cuarenta y seis mil setecientos cuarenta y cuatro billones setenta y tres mil setecientos nueve millones quinientos cincuenta y un mil seiscientos quince." (PERELMAN, 2002, pág. 55)
    Trascendiendo a lo místico: conclusión.
    Desde la V inicial hasta el último paréntesis este escrito consta de unas 2602 palabras y 12559 letras o signos y faltan unas pocas más. El punto es que una por una en unas 3 horas he llegado a tocar el teclado más de 12.600 veces una por una, palabra por palabra, sumando lentamente, pero sumando. Como estamos en navidad no puedo dejar de hacer el comentario místico, porque es el Espíritu Santo el que me inspira a escribir (yo iba a hacer un ensayo sobre por qué hay que ser sobrio, moralista como siempre y acabé partiendo de lo místico a lo económico) y los errores son míos. Ese Neuma, hálito o soplo quizás trabaja con la inmensa cantidad de lo poco, la paradoja de lo pequeño, la simple paloma que se posa. ¿Acaso nadie ha podido comprender que los vientos y las corrientes de aire son el trasfondo de las tormentas, lluvias e inundaciones? Quizás así sea el Espíritu Santo, sea esa pequeña mariposa del océano índico que con su movimiento preciso y conociendo todas las causas que lo influyen genera un huracán en el Atlántico. 

    Jesús es el ejemplo de esto. La multiplicación de los panes y los peces muestra cómo de unos pocos panes y peces se alimenta a una muchedumbre y lo que sobra se recoge. Aunque evidentemente es un milagro, no es lo milagroso lo que interesa, sino lo mucho que sale de lo poco su sentido o significado me parece más sorprendente, de la inmensa cantidad de lo poco, el infinito no es nada sin la unidad. Muchos son los ejemplos como el grano de mostaza (aunque lo discuten algunos tecnicistas pero al fin y al cabo de muchas semillas pequeñas salen cosas grandes). Todo el mensaje cristiano está en esa paradoja, un Dios que nace en lo poco pero que trae la más grande de las riquezas..., la salvación. hay que leer a Chesterton para mirar ese sentido cristiano como paradoja. 

    En la parábola de los talentos Jesús muestra cómo se confían ciertos bienes a unos trabajadores y aquí sale la frase bíblica que resume el mensaje aquí contenido:

    "Has sido fiel en lo poco, te confiaré lo mucho" (Mt. 25 vs 23)

    Esa es la inmensa, gigantesca, infinita cantidad de lo poco, de la unidad, lo pequeño o cuasi insignificante. Como los pitagóricos el sustento son las unidades (no los números por lo que ya expliqué) pero cada ente, por más insignificante que sea forma el todo. La sumatoria de cosas insignificantes es lo que produce la grandeza, la sorpresa, aquello invaluable. Sospecho que quizás esa es la lógica del Dios de los ejércitos, la adecuada valoración de lo que a los ojos del mundo es insignificante...

    TRIBUTO AL CIELO
    El guayacán y sus flores.
    Un árbol que da tributo al cielo y cae humildemente a la tierra para que persista el ciclo de la belleza

    Bibliografía.
    Chadwick, D. H., & Moffet, M. W. (Mayo de 2011). HERMANDAD DE TEJEDORAS. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (En Español) , 82-95.

    DANE - DEPARTAMENTO ADMINISTRATIVO NACIONAL DE ESTADÍSTICA. (25 de Noviembre de 2011). 'Producto Interno Bruto Departamental, a precios corrientes. '2000 - 2010pr. Miles de millones de pesos. Recuperado el 20 de Diciembre de 2011, de DANE: http://www.dane.gov.co/files/investigaciones/pib/departamentales/B_2005/PIB_Total_habitante_2010.xls

    Holmes, N. (Mayo de 2011). Población. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (En Español) .

    PAPPAS, T. (1996). LA MAGIA DE LA MATEMÁTICA. El orden oculto tras la naturaleza y el arte. (M. Rosenberg, Trad.) Madrid, España: Zugarto Ediciones S.A.

    PERELMAN, Y. (2002). Matemáticas recreativas. (F. Blanco, & C. Pérez, Trads.) Bogotá, Colombia: Planeta Colombiana S.A.

    RECAMÁN SANTOS, B. (2007). LOS NÚMEROS, UNA HISTORIA PARA CONTAR. BOGOTÁ D.C, Colombia: Taurus.

    TOMANIO, J., KLEBER, J., CASSIDY, M., WELLS, H., & BUZBY, J. (Julio de 2011). Cómo alimentar un planeta creciente. National Geographic , Sección Hoy (Inpaginado).

    TORO RESTREPO, D. (16 de Febrero de 2011). FINANZAS Y CUESTIÓN SOCIAL. REFLEXIONES SOBRE EL SISTEMA FINANCIERO. Recuperado el 20 de Diciembre de 2011, de EL ALISPRUZ: http://elalispruz.blogspot.com/2011/02/finanzas-y-cuestion-social-reflexiones.html


              La burbuja del estado de bienestar: Una breve opinión sobre la crisis europea        

    De un momento a otro los índices de acciones, como acciones concretas cayeron fuertemente. Me pareció muy rara esa caída y leí que es probable que Europa entre en recesión afectando los bancos gringos en su capacidad de pago. Si nos vamos al complejo mundo del fatum no sabemos qué llevará a qué, eso es un misterio. Pero lo que sí creo es que la culpa de la recesión en Europa tiene 2 causas concretas: 1. control de la natalidad, 2. estado de bienestar. Frente a la política del estado de bienestar (malestar) creo que es claro porque se gastaba más de lo que se tenía, creo que el estado de bienestar podía sostenerse con déficit cargando con más impuestos a los contribuyentes pero ¿sin contribuyentes? 

    El estado de bienestar propuso un costoso sistema de seguridad social con jubilaciones tempranas pero se le olvidó quién pagaría las jubilaciones. Poco a poco empezó a aumentar el número de pensionados (en Alemania cierran Escuelas y las convierten en Ancianatos) y como no es suficiente con la cotización actual aumentan el monto, adicionalmente llenan de impuestos a los empresarios que son la clase productiva, con estos costos tan elevados costos operativos para sostener las promesas de los políticos recortan personal. Eso genera desempleo generando un grupo de "indignados" por el recorte y el incumplimiento de las promesas estatales, la incertidumbre aumenta el número de abortos que disminuye lentamente el número de consumidores, bajando el ingreso de las empresas que disminuyen las ventas y despiden personal.

    Ante la situación anterior los estados intentan promover políticas intervencionistas. Bajan las tasas de interés para "inducir" al consumo, venden bonos de deuda, intentan aumentar el presupuesto que genera un déficit superior. Ante el déficit que va creciendo gracias al elevado gasto del estado y la venta de deuda, aumentan los impuestos y se emite dinero de "circulación forzosa" para cubrir el déficit. La política anterior genera inflación en parte por los costos de los impuestos que inducen al empresario a aumentar los precios y la inflación causada por la propuesta desesperada del estado.

    La economía sobrevive si se cumplen dos supuestos, trabajo y consumo. Cuando digo consumo no digo "consumismo" que implica vivir para consumir, sino simplemente consumir lo necesario para vivir. Es así como si el trabajo produce, este se tiene que equiparar al consumo en principio o a la inversión que implicaría no consumir hoy para producir más mañana. Si no hay nadie que trabaje no podremos consumir y si no hay nadie que consuma ¿para qué trabajamos? Resulta que en este mundo consumimos más de lo que producimos, es lo que genera el déficit y también lo que la izquierda llama "desiguladad", "inequidad". En la medida en que hay más personas se puede producir más fácil por la división del trabajo y de la misma manera habrá más gente que demande necesidades concretas.

    Como el estado de bienestar demanda más consumo del que puede producir o dar se quiebra y como hay cada vez menos contribuyentes que paguen impuestos la problemática es mayor. La crisis actual no es culpa de ningún "capitalismo salvaje", es culpa de un "intervencionismo salvaje" un intervencionismo salvaje que quiso modelar la sociedad a su modo contra la libertad y la vida de muchos. 

    La verdadera burbuja es el estado de bienestar. Los políticos prometen y ante el calor electoral la gente confía en un estado que luego le cobra sus promesas a un precio más alto del que está dispuesto a pagar por ellas. El estado se infla pero finalmente estalla, como una burbuja. Ahora con un enorme e insostenible pasivo pensional, de una sociedad envejecida en Europa donde ya no hay jóvenes para trabajar, ni tampoco jóvenes que tengan hijos... bueno, jóvenes que tienen hijos pero los abortan. 

    ¿Cuál es la solución ante la burbuja? Todo lo contrario, que haya gente que trabaje y libertad para trabajar, de lo contrario, el estado seguirá echándole la culpa a los niños y empresarios de lo que él les dijo que no hicieran ¡vivir y prosperar!


              The "Green" Jobs Canard        

    For too long, politicians, environmentalists and subsidized proponents of “green” jobs have been peddling the notions that “investing” in green technologies is the illuminating endeavor and beneficent job creator of our time.  With scant evidence, these green jobs postulates are bulwarked by so much hot air it rivals the amount of subsidized dollars used to sustain them.

    The main dilemma of green jobs and investing is that they defy the reality of basic economics.  Jobs are created by entrepreneurs willing to invest in capital, coupled with demand for their goods and services.  The economic environment fostered by government (taxes, regulations, etc.) plays an immensely important role as well.

    The experience in Europe with investment in greed jobs sheds a glaring light on the fallacious nature of the purported success of these initiatives.   In Spain, which has a 20.4 percent unemployment rate, every green job created destroyed an additional 2.2 regular jobs. In addition, every “green” megawatt created destroys 5.28 jobs in the rest of the economy.  Aggregately, these green jobs programs killed 110,500 elsewhere in the economy.

    The amount of money invested in these programs is exorbitantly costly when compared with private sector job creation.  In Italy, the amount of capital invested in the creation of 1 green job was equivalent to the amount of capital invested to create 5 jobs in the rest of the economy.

    The reason these programs are such colossal failures, is that government subsidies to inefficient and unsustainable green initiatives divert resources from other productive sectors of the economy and result in the loss of jobs.  Price-controls and central planning have long been considered an abject failure, why do we believe that these policies are any more palatable in the energy sector of our economy?

    The reason these economically suicidal green job schemes continue to seem viable is that somehow they represent drastically new technology and innovation.  It’s like a burgeoning plant, just give it a little water and it will rapidly expand, right?

    Wrong.  These propositions elucidate an inherent myopia within the green jobs cheerleaders.  The truth is that the wind-powered electricity was commercialized in 1881 and solar power received its first patent in 1892.  Mean ugly coal-fired electricity was commercialized in 1882.  

    The house that contains the green jobs myth has been set ablaze.  Do we want the dubious distinction of running in?


              Selective Amnesia of Reagan’s Legacy        

    Amazingly and audaciously, the mainstream media and liberal pundocracy has created a narrative that President Obama’s newly found centrism is molded in the inspirational optimism of President Reagan.  This narrative seems confusing, when many liberals excoriate Reagan’s economic policy as the grim reaper of capitalism coming to instill all the inequities of the free market.


    Reagan, like the Tea Party, believed heavily in the primacy of the individual over the government and limited self-government constrained by the Constitution.  
    Reagan, in his “A Time for Choosing” speech, echoed these sentiments by saying, “A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.”


    On the flipside, President Obama in his State of the Union Address enunciated the greater need for “investment” (i.e. government spending and subsidies) wrapped in the rhetorical trappings of American exceptionalism and greatness.   This deceptive rhetoric attempted to mask the policy that undergirded Obama’s State of the Union address which called for more dubious government subsidies for green energy and an increase in spending for high-speed rail boondoggles.  If American citizens were groping and longing for high-speed rail,  wouldn’t it be flourishing by now after nearly 30 years since the French launched their Paris-Lyon TGV line?

     
    If there is no demand for these industries, how else can government make them appealing, but by way of force, coercion or wasteful subsidizing hoping to create a market for these currently unwanted and inefficient products?

     
    Are we to forget the GM bailout,  Dodd-Frank financial regulation and an intrusive government intervention into our healthcare system?  Do President Obama’s policies even close to matching his own rhetoric in the State of the Union, let alone Reagan’s?


    These pontificators may be well-intentioned, but it is more than condescending to attempt to link President Obama with the former President merely based on oratorical flourishes and Reaganesque-style optimism.  Their ideas on the proper function and role of the government stand in stark contrast.


    As AEI’s Steven Hayward insightfully notes, Reagan believed that modern liberalism unequivocally left him.  

    Reagan's invocation of Paine, as well as his quotation of John Winthrop's "City upon a Hill" sermon, expresses the core of his optimism and belief in the dynamism of American society, a dynamism that can have unconservative effects. But he explained his use of Paine in conservative terms way back in his 1965 autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me? "The classic liberal," Reagan wrote, "used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a longtime refuge of the liberals: 'Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible.'"

    Maybe It is time for President Obama to return to some of Founder's writings in order to rediscover his inner centrism.  He can begin with Thomas Paine.

     


              Commerical Real Estate Property Rental Demands        
    In the event that the US economy does enter into a period of sustained weakness, commercial property vacancies would likely rise, which would have a depressing effect on rents. Should this adverse scenario be realized, real estate capitalization rates could rise and values could fall, and investment in real estate investment would most likely drop […]
              "The Uninhabitable Earth", by David Wallace-Wells, long piece in New York Mag         

    David Wallace-Wells has a long article in New York Magazine July 9, 2017, “The Uninhabitable Earth”.

     The subtitles are “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak, sooner than you think”, and “When will the planet be too hot for humans?  Much, much sooner than you think”.

    The author thinks that today’s teenagers will see the catastrophic collapse.

    One of the biggest dangers is sudden release of methane from permafrost.

    In some parts of the world, it will not be possible for humans to survive outside.  Their bodies just can cool fast enough.

    There’s also the astonishing statement that the spurt in standard of living in the West really occurred only once, with the industrial revolution.



    The author notes that it may be common throughout the Milky Way for civilizations to rise and fall.  They don’t survive long enough to have a good statistical chance of finding one another across light years.   In the video above, Harvard professor David Kipping notes that methane degrades quickly and says that Wallace could be overstating the methane risk.
     
    It may have been possible for Venus to host life more than a billion years ago, before a sudden catastrophe led to runaway greenhouse effects.  Both Venus and Mars may be sites of tragedies and we don’t know it yet.

    Nev Schulman ("Catflish") shared this in his Facebook feed tonight.


              Progressive Policy Institute: "Building a New Middle Class in a Knowledge Economy"         

    Harry Holzer, of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in Washington DC, has offered a position paper through “Progressive Policy”, “Building a New Middle Class in the Knowledge Economy”, a PDF with this link (34 pages).

    Holzer picks up on Donald Trump’s exploitation of the disenchantment of some groups, especially older white males without college degrees, with the job market and their earnings ability.

    He notes that the stability of jobs with regimentation but narrow skill sets has become less, as has the pay, not only because of foreign offshoring, but because of technology and automation. He says that families need incomes of at least $50000 a year to be middle class (possibly $40000 for smaller families) and notes the difficulties of single parents.



    The most effective measure would be to improve trade or vocational education opportunities at the community college level, especially in smaller communities or rural areas.  He also mentions the value of paid family leave.

    What I noticed after my forced “retirement” at the end of 2001 was the tendency for companies to resort to hucksterism to create jobs, and for the employment outplacement services and policy makers not to notice that this was happening so much. This has led to a culture clash:  aggressive attitudes in some communities about preserving telemarketing and door-to-door sales, versus resistance from consumers who see accelerating security problems. We need more manufacturing jobs to reverse this trend toward hucksterism.


              Duldrum Volatility        

    It appeared that we would have a "Happy Tuesday" until today's latest economic data point was used to spike the all-important USDJPY off its lows.

    read more


              Jaded and Disillusioned        

    Look, I'm no different from you. All of this bullshit is wearing me out, too. The BLS cranks out 158,000 make believe "jobs" via the birth/death model and they also throw on 393,000 part-time jobs. All of this is trumpeted as a sign of a "surging US economy" and used as cover to spike the dollar and smash Comex silver by 2.5%. It's all just one big, massive freaking scam.

    read more


              A Full Week Of Data        

    It's going to be a long and interesting week. Not only will political and geo-political events continuously loom, each day will bring economic datapoints that will capture the attention of the HFTs. So, buckle in for some volatility.

    read more


              Comentariu la Concurs pentru ocuparea 3 funcții publice temporar vacante și 2 funcții publice vacante de specialist principal la Direcția Generală Financiar-Economică de către stanislava moder        
    Bună ziua, toate întrebările ce țin de posturi vacante puteți să vă adresați la numărul de telefon și pe poșta electronică indicate în avizul de mai sus (Telefon de contact: 0(231)5-46-30, e-mail: sru.primaria@gmail.com)
              Comentariu la Concurs pentru ocuparea 3 funcții publice temporar vacante și 2 funcții publice vacante de specialist principal la Direcția Generală Financiar-Economică de către MIHAELA Z        
    Bună ziua. Mai este posibil astăzi de depus dosarul de concurs pentru funcția de specialist principal la Direcția Generală Fimanciar-Economica?
              Fique sabendo os benefícios dos brinquedos         
    Se observarmos crianças se divertindo juntas ou se reparamos nos presentes de aniversário em uma festa infantil, poderemos na maioria das vezes, encontrar brinquedos feitos de metal ou plástico e movidos a pilha, brinquedos que a publicidade direcionada para crianças; que muitas vezes não tem nenhuma condição de avaliar se aquilo que está assistindo é uma montagem, ilustração ou simulação; vendeu para elas nos intervalos de seus desenhos prediletos. Elas acreditam que aquele boneco sairá correndo verdadeiramente, esse desejo gera uma ansiedade tremenda, além é claro de após ganhar o brinquedo uma frustração e desinteresse. Barulhentos e com vários botões, esses brinquedos andam, falam, cantam. A criança apenas observa.Escutamos com frequência adultos dizendo que algo é muito simples para determinada criança pois ela já mexe livremente num I Pad ou possui muitos brinquedos eletrônicos. Esse raciocínio é bastante equivocado e se continuado levará a uma geração de crianças que não desenvolvem os princípios mais interessantes de suas capacidades motoras, cognitivas, sociais e neurológicas. Crianças são simples. O brincar é simples, pois é natural.
    Que tal colocar as crianças no comando da brincadeira? Essa é a proposta dos brinquedos selecionados por nós. Crianças tranquilas e desenvolvendo seu potencial intelectual naturalmente. 
    Seguem 6 razões para você oferecer um brinquedo da Ninho para seu filhote:

    ECOLOGIA
    Diferentemente dos metais, dos plásticos, das pilhas e de outros acessórios eletrônicos, a madeira não polui. Assim, ao escolher um brinquedo de madeira, você está presenteando a criança duas vezes: com um belo passatempo e, mais importante, com um planeta menos poluído no futuro.

    ECONOMIA
    Os brinquedos de madeira existem e resistem há séculos! Pedra e argila e madeira eram materiais usados para fabricar brinquedos desde a pré-história, como revelam achados arqueológicos. Além disso, esses brinquedos encantam crianças de geração a geração. Já imaginou o prazer dos avós ao entregar aos netinhos brinquedos que fizeram parte da sua própria infância? Ao atravessar gerações, os brinquedos de madeira carregam a história da família e preservam muitas memórias.
    SEGURANÇA
    Eles não são pintados com tintas que podem conter metais pesados, tão perigosos para a saúde do ser humano. Além disso, como a madeira é um material natural e não tóxico. Se acontecer um acidente em que a criança mastigue uma peça de madeira, por exemplo, os riscos serão bem menores do que ao engolir um pedaço de plástico colorido, uma pilha ou outro componente eletrônico.
    ESTIMULAM A IMAGINAÇÃO
    Com eles, a criança assume o comando e manuseia o brinquedo como quiser. Em vez de apertar botões, ela vai puxar, empurrar, construir prédios, inventar maneiras de brincar. Vai se sentir segura, autônoma, imaginativa e potencialmente aproveitada. A criança da Asas a imaginação e cria suas próprias brincadeiras em vez de assistir um brinquedo fazer tudo sozinho.
    APRENDIZADO
    Aqui na Ninho temos uma grande variedade de jogos, quebra-cabeças, peças para formar estruturas,  tijolinhos peças para montar caminhões e carrinhos e muitos outros. O aprendizado acontece naturalmente, da forma mais gostosa: A criança se desenvolve brincando.

    AUTONOMIA
    Com os brinquedos da Ninho, o protagonismo é da crianças. O som de uma criança brincando com brinquedos escolhidos por nós é de risadas e de vozes de verdade. Permitindo um ambiente mais tranquilo e um brincar harmonizado com as tarefas domésticas.

              200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind - CNN        

    CNN

    200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind
    CNN
    Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN) In 1962, as the United States and the Soviet Union wobbled toward nuclear confrontation, then-President John F. Kennedy got his predecessor on the phone. "What's your judgment as to the chances they'll fire these things off?
    FactCheck: Trump misfires on nuclear weapons boastPhilly.com
    AP FACT CHECK: Trump's unjustified boast about US nuke powerMiami Herald
    Fact Check: Trump's Unjustified Boast About US Nuke PowerNBC New York
    Twitter -Whitehouse.gov -The White House -Department of State
    all 113 news articles »

              Decoding the Maze of Metrics in the App Economy        
    DAU, MAU, downloads, usage, open rate, retention -- these terms can sound like a foreign language to those new to the app space.
                      

    EMAIL TO NYS LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES

     HERE IS THE EMAIL I SENT TO MY REPRESENTATIVES TO APPROVE THESE IMPORTANT PROPOSALS OF GOVERNOR COUMO'S BUDGET. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CUT AND PASTE IT AND SEND IT TO YOUR NYS REPS

     Dear(representative)
    The Executive budget was presented and as expected, language that will legalize crossbows as hunting implements as well as turn regulatory authority for their use over to the DEC was included. Additionally, language changing how far you have to be from a building to shoot a bow or crossbow from 500 feet to 150 feet, the 6 million allocation for 50 public access projects and the 4 million for DEC fish hatchery which are badly needed,  is also part of this package. I am urging you to support this segment of the Governor's budget.  It is a positive proactive step that is important to sportsmen and New York State’s economy.”


              BEHIND THE FENCE - IT IS FAIR GAME        

    BEHIND THE FENCE - ITS FAIR GAME

    Behind the fence hunts have been a controversial topic for many years and one of the primary targets of the anti-hunting organizations. And unfortunately they are also looked upon by some hunters and hunting organizations with disdain as well. I understand the objection by the anti’s but quite frankly I do not understand that of the hunters. But after talking with many of these hunters I have found that the majority of them do not totally understand exactly what takes place at these preserves and ranches. True, years ago there were fenced operations which literally offered and utilized unethical “boxed” hunts. But these places are, and have been gone for many years, and today’s hunting preserves offer a truly realistic and ethical hunt. And in this article that I will attempt to explain to the hunter, not the unreasonable anti-hunter, just what goes on “behind the fence” and how these hunting preserves serve a very important purpose, not only to the hunter; but the future of our hunting tradition as well.

    I think Ted Nugent summed it up perfectly in a recent Field & Stream interview when asked if high fence hunting degrades the heritage of American hunting and the rules of fair chase. Here is a recap of his answers. This is the Motor City Madman at his very best.

    There will always be whiners and small-minded squawkers who overreact base on assumption and other unidentifiable presumptuous notions. To their way of thinking in-line muzzleloaders, scopes, treestands, compound and crossbows, deer drives, etc. degrade our American hunting heritage and our reputation. They are so divisive and unsophisticated and I pray that they become educated.

    And when asked if he prefers to hunt in enclosures or in the wild he said, “I prefer to hunt, period, and shall more and more each year everyplace I possibly can. I am a hunter.”

    Now let’s look at some the truths about hunting these enclosures; first from my own experiences.

    Part of my job as an outdoor writer is to test, evaluate and report to the sportsmen/women on the latest new firearms, bows and even crossbows. These tests include extensive on the range accuracy and performance reviews and comparisons which I like to followed up by an actual hunting situation.

    Hunting with these new firearms and bows are usually not a problem in NYS but it is with the crossbow due to strict disable-only hunter regulations. However these regulations do not apply to hunting preserves in NYS and therefore I am able to hunt with the Horton Crossbow at a preserve just a short distance from my home.

    Actually my first harvest with a crossbow took place on a preserve. My choice of game - a 1700 pound bison that took me that I think covered almost every inch of the preserve and two full days of hunting before I was able to get clean kill shot. It was one of my greatest hunts that included some very anxious moments and a VERY dramatic and dangerous face to face encounter with a one ton herd bull who was not happy with my continued pursuit of him and his herd that I will never forget.

    It was at this same preserve that I met two hunters who were both hunting their first Russian wild boar. And it was from these average hunters that I really learned what these preserves really offered the everyday hunter.

    During dinner that evening at the lodge I asked them “why they chose a preserve to hunt.” Their answer was short and simple: time and money. “We just do not have the time nor the money to go out of state to hunt boar. We priced the wild boar hunts in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the average costs would have been close to $2000; and that did not include transportation and taking a week off from work. Here it is just $500, we don’t need a license, we can pick our own season and it was just a 31/2 hour ride from our house.” Economics, convenience and the thrill of a good hunt - this is what any reputable preserve will offer you.

    Now I would like to ask one questions for those of you hunters who look down upon those who hunt behind the fence: “Who gets hurt ?” If a man or woman has the desire to shoot a trophy or exotic animal not native to the area, but cannot ever hope to afford it, should he/she be denied the opportunity or right to do it, as long as it is done legally, ethically and within the confines of a preserve? I agree that it may not be for everyone, but you should not judge the intentions of those that do.

    Fair chase is another term that often arises in conversations involving enclosure or behind the fence hunting. Boone and Crockett defines fair chase as the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking an any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals. Doesn’t hunting legally over bait, using a ground blind or treestand, using a rifle scope, etc. also give the hunter an advantage?

    In the past twenty years I have hunted in a number of preserves and do not consider myself any less of a hunter. I know that I would have probably never been able to afford or experience the thrills and excitement of hunting 9 wild boar, 2 fallow and sika deer, stags, bison, rams and 2 wild crossbow turkeys. And I can honestly say that my most memorable hunt took place last year behind a fence where I shot a magnificent bull elk. Let me share this elk hunt with you.


    THE HUNT
    It was well before sunup when I met Dan Jennings, the manager of the Easton View Outfitters, a private preserve located in the Washington County town of Easton, New York. Dan was going to be my guide for my elk hunt and I must admit I was pumped. Joining me was Tim Blodgett, host of the local All Outdoors radio show, who would be taping the play-by-play of the hunt. He would also be doubling as my camera man.

    The game plan was to circle the preserve and come in through the heavily wooded topside of the mountain and work our way down. Dan expected the elk would be bedded down in the valley, fields and swamp below us.

    I remember standing on a ledge whispering how excited I was about the hunt and describing how pretty the sun was as it started to peek through the pines into Tim’s tape recorder when we heard our first unsolicited bugle. A bull elk bugling in New York State - it gave me the chills followed shortly thereafter by a real adrenaline rush. I don’t think I have felt this way since the first time I sighted in on a whitetail buck.

    Quickly Dan had us moving down the steep slopes to a blow down about 200 yards below us. Once in place Dan hadn’t even finished his first call when the bull responded. And each call he made the bull answered; but he didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Then out of nowhere, there about 100 yards below was a young spike bull headed right for us. At one point he was less than 10 yards from where I was sitting.

    For the next hour I had no less that four other bull elk in my scope at distances from 10 to 100yards; one of which was a beautiful 5 by 5 that had Dan given me the word, I would have ended my hunt right then. But he said, “Not that one; we can do better.” Easy for him to say, but I trusted his judgement and relaxed.

    Another hour and a half of calling got distance responses but they just didn’t seem to get any closer to us. Perhaps the bull already had his harem of cows and did not want to leave them. And when he stopped responding to the calls and we sat in silence for another 45 minutes I was beginning to get that, “I should have taken the 5 by 5 feeling.” But that ill-feeling quickly departed when Dan nudge me and smilingly whispered: “There’s your bull; get ready.”

    There just 200 yards below was a beautiful 6 by 6 bull elk raking his huge rack on several small scrub pines. Now he was talking again and each call Dan made was answered with a spine chilling response and he was coming closer. It was awesome to watch the bull as he lowered his head and responded to Dan’s love-sick cow calls.

    It took several deep breaths to settle my nerves and at about 75 yards I slowly raised the old Marlin 336SC towards him and placed the crosshairs of my scope on his massive body, following him as he moved through the heavy cover.

    Each step brought him closer but there was really only one opening between two pines where I could get a clear shot; hopefully he would walk through it. He was about 50 yards slightly quartering away when I place the crosshairs just behind his front shoulder and unleashed the 200 grain Hornady LEVERevolution 200 grain FTX bullet.

    Immediately I saw the fur fly through my scope and watched him stumble and fall; and all I could think of was “what a bull.” I guess I must have repeated it out loud because both Dan and Tim echoed their agreement. I just sat there staring at him when I heard Dan say we may have a little problem. About 100 yards below my fallen trophy was a huge 7 by 7 and he was headed towards the downed bull at a very quick pace.

    He ignored our shouts and charged right in, head down and rammed my bull actually moving him along the ground several yards. Obviously these two must have had previous confrontations. It wasn’t really until Dan continued to shout and threw a few rocks and branches at him that he finally backed off. There was one moment however when he turned and faced us shaking his head from side to side, that I thought he was going to charge, but he didn’t, and finally we watched him disappear into the edge of the swamp.

    High - 5s and photos were all a part of the after the hunt celebration as was the interview Tim taped of my feelings.
    Absolutely the best hunt that I have ever had and it all occurred within 30 miles of my home.

    But it wasn’t really until I stood over my bull that I fully appreciated what I had just accomplished - he was huge. The tale of the tape and scale revealed just how magnificent he really was. He tipped the scale at 807 pounds and his antlers measured: 40 inch wide spread, 41 inch main beams, with 9 inch bases. In terms of record book score I never did get an official score but I do know that he scored “number one” in my book; and always will.

    For information on Easton View Outfitters go to: eastonviewoutfitters.com or check out their ad in this issue of Outdoors Magazine. And by the way, that 7 by 7 is still there and a year older.
              Let the sage grouse conservation plans work        

    It took nearly a decade of conservation efforts to protect the iconic sage grouse, its fragile ecosystem of over 350 species, and a billion dollar plus regional recreational economy.


              3 Years Old General Trading License For Sale        
    We are selling 3 year old General Trading License. The license is completely cleared from Central Bank, Dubai Economic Department, and Labor Immigration Department. No Visas Issued No Labor Visa Issu...
              2 Years Old Food Stuff Trading License For Sale        
    We have a 2 years old Food Stuff Trading License for Sale. The license is completely cleared from Central Bank, Dubai Economic Department, and Labor Immigration Department. No Visa No Labor No Liabil...
              Pembroke Sustainability Planning Sessions        
    Environment & Conservation

    Through support from The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Keller Science Action Center is facilitating Sustainability Planning Sessions in Pembroke Township, IL. Though Pembroke has always been known for its incredibly diverse wildlife, there is currently no plan in place to ensure its protection. Various conservation agencies have interest in acquiring land, but no formal understanding existed between the residents and the agencies to determine what is best. In early 2016, The Field Museum helped to establish a joint agreement between the agencies and elected offices to collaborate on a sustainability plan for the region.

    Following the agreement, the team initiated a series of community meetings with Pembroke-Hopkins Park residents, the Nature Conservancy, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, State of Illinois conservation representatives, and government officials from the Village of Hopkins Park, Pembroke Township, and Kankakee County. During these sessions, participants have the opportunity to ask stakeholders questions directly, receive updates from government officials, and contribute to planning initiatives in smaller working groups. In December and January they explored ways to protect the community’s natural resources and achieve sustainable economic development. An immediate outcome was the commitment from USFWS to establish a stipend-based youth program this summer that will hire local teenagers. The program will hire four teens and one supervisor to do restoration projects in community greenspaces while learning about ecology and conservation. Residents are encouraged to be a part of this program by helping to create the curriculum and suggesting locations in the area that needs work.

    As the sessions draw upon the wisdom of farmers, ranchers, and longtime members of the community, the team is hopeful that more impactful outcomes will come out of this process. USFWS has announced they will include the results of this sustainability planning process for their federally mandated land protection plan. And further TNC and USFWS will not buy more land in this region until the process is complete. The final meeting will take place in February, and will identify strategies for building upon community values in the face of growth and change. These planning sessions have helped to create much needed dialogue in the township. The Field Museum is looking forward to the continued growth in the community and protection of precious land.


              With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront        
    Environment & Conservation

    North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

    Moving along the trail, just past the 31st Harbor, an intertwined monarch butterfly sculpture crowns a hill, this design will be circled with common milkweed. West of Lake Shore Drive on 31st Street, south on the trail, a Scholar's rock sits in a grove of mature oak trees; have a seat and imagine the sounds of traffic as waves from an ocean, urban nature at its best. Crossing 39th street/Oakwood, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, designed for growth every year, sculpted willow branches take organic shapes. The woodchip trail continues, a fallen tree hugs a bird sculpture born from the Sankofa symbol, a soulful reflection on nature.

    The Gathering Spaces, part of the Roots & Routes Initiative, were curated by a volunteer committee comprised of arts professionals and community leaders. 

    Caracol Opening

    Caracol, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Roots & Routes, Habitat Restoration, Pilsen, Contratiempo, Chicago, Lakefront
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum


    1. Caracol

    Lead artists:  Georgina Valverde, Diana Solis, Jose Terrazas

    Non-profit partner:  contratiempo (Pilsen) – preserves and highlights the cultural identity and contributions of the Spanish-speaking

    Latino population in the United States.

    Description:  Drawing on rich connections from the natural world and cultural symbolism, Caracol (“snail” and “shell” in Spanish) represents the immigrant's desire to belong while maintaining the core of memory and identity. Snails perform a critical role in the food chain, breaking down plant matter and aiding in the nutrification of the soil. Likewise, immigrants economic and cultural contributions enrich and revitalize the host society. Caracol´spiral-shaped structure suggests ongoing movement from the core to a widening exterior—from the familiar to the unknown.  The installation includes a table that can function as a work or picnic table, and as a painting surface for a series of murals featuring the interplay of language and images, a stage, and a hopscotch game that uses Mesoamerican numbers.

     

    La Ronda Parakata

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, La Ronda Parakata
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    2. La Ronda Parakata

    Lead artists:  Hector DuarteAlfonso “Piloto” Nieves

    Non-profit partner:  Casa Michoacán (Pilsen) – promotes cultural, social, and sporting activities between the Mexican and immigrant Michoacán community, with a transnational vision.

    Description:  This project is a circular sculpture inspired by the magic symbolism of the butterfly, harmony with nature, and migration.  It is demarcated by a delicate sculptural ring or “ronda” of interlocking butterfly forms. The center of the space features native plants and cement blocks that are being repurposed as rustic seating.

     

    Set in Stone

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Set in Stone
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    3. Set in Stone

    Lead artists:  Andy Bellomo, Anna Murphy

    Non-profit partner:  Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown) -- promotes the culture and history of Chinese-Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research.

    Description:  This project is an interpretation of a traditional Chinese “scholar’s rock” by sculpting, molding and fabricating a sculpture that emulates the magnificence felt through viewing these rocks. The scholar’s rock sculpture is placed at the center of a tranquil rock garden with hand-carved log benches for viewing/contemplation.

     

    Sounding Bronzeville

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sounding Bronzeville
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    4. Sounding Bronzeville

    Lead artists:  Fo Wilson, Norman Teague

    Non-profit partner:  Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Bronzeville) -- focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

    Description:  This site includes several organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground in different heights and shapes, covered with native plant material. Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “sound ports” or “nesting ports.” These openings allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African-Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North with 100 years of the Great Migration.

    Architects: Monica Chadha and Mike Newman; Landscape Architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright; Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman

     

    Sankofa for the Earth

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sankofa for the Earth
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    5. Sankofa for the Earth

    Lead artists:  Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas

    Non-profit partner:  South Side Community Art Center (Bronzeville) -- preserves, conserves and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

    Description:  This project features a “Sankofa” bird made from mixed-media and recycled materials. In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life. There is a mosaic on the exterior of the bird and mural on the interior representing Bronzeville history. QR codes are integrated into the mural design to allow visitors with smartphones, to access sites with information about the images included in the mural, as well as, information on Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum.

     

    How to get to the Gathering Spaces: 

    Gathering Spaces Map


              U.S. Employment Figures and the Industries Skills Gap        

    read more


              Benefícios da argila        
    Oi Divas, tudo bem com vocês? Que tal falarmos novamente sobre argila?
    É uma delícia falar sobre algo que é super fácil de encontrar, com preço acessível, com muitas funções e benefícios para nossa saúde, bem-estar e beleza. Além de tudo isso, ainda podemos economizar e nós mesmo fazer aplicações de argila em casa. Quando não é possível estar numa clínica ou spa. Tudo depende do que você precisa ou quer.
    Vamos ver o post completíssimo na  A Confraria das Divas


              [Article] Measured Performance of Heat Pump Clothes Dryers        
    The DOE Building America team—Partnership for Improved Residential Construction—collaborated with Florida Power & Light from 2012 to 2015 to conduct a phased residential energy efficiency retrofit program to determine whether installing advanced residential technologies reduced annual energy consumption. As part of this study, Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) researchers carried out an end-use energy savings and economic evaluation of heat pump clothes dryers (HPCD). The field evaluation involved eight study homes, each of which received the Whirlpool model WED99HED HPCD and a matched Whirlpool Energy Star clothes washer.
              Lovan Side Effects Weight Loss        

    Lovan Side Effects Weight Loss Quote:"Center centre core essence gist heart inwardness is a uneconomical use of h2o pee piddle piss urine weewee irrigate ...

    The post Lovan Side Effects Weight Loss appeared first on Buy Fat Burner Pills.


              US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China        
    The rising tension between the U.S. and North Korea has raised prospects of an economic confrontation between the U.S. and China.
              Westinghouse Disappointed in ČEZ Tender Cancellation; Reasserts the Strength of its Proposal, Technology and Business Model        

    Westinghouse Electric Company is deeply disappointed in the decision by ČEZ, a.s. to cancel the Temelín nuclear power plant tender in the very final stages of the process. The company also stated that the termination negates the significant safety, environmental and economic benefits that are inherent to the Westinghouse AP1000® technology and the company’s “Buy Where We Build™” business model.

    (PRWeb April 14, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/04/prweb11760342.htm


              Westinghouse Recognizes Czech Moravian-Silesian Region Fundamental to Temelin AP1000® Reactor Success        

    Westinghouse recognizes Czech Moravian-Silesian region fundamental to Temelin AP1000® reactor success; identifies 28 local companies with the potential to supply the project, including companies within the Vítkovice Machinery Group; unveils successful fabrication of demonstration module section of AP1000 plant; warns further interruptions in the Temelín tender will undermine and postpone socio-economic benefits to region and the Czech Republic.

    (PRWeb March 26, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11705193.htm


              Westinghouse Welcomes European Commission’s 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies        

    Westinghouse Electric Company, a leading voice for the nuclear industry in Europe and worldwide, welcomes the European Commission’s 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies, which aims to establish a more competitive, sustainable and energy-secure European economy

    (PRWeb January 22, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11511382.htm


              Westinghouse Sees Promising Future for Nuclear Energy Development in Brazil; AP1000(R) Plant 'The Right Fit' for Country's Needs        

    Initial partnerships include support of internship program for students from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s growing economy, rich uranium reserves and commitment to clean energy sources make it ideally suited for new nuclear energy development based on the latest safety technologies.

    (PRWeb November 26, 2013)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/11/prweb11372708.htm


              Nano aluminium offers fuel cells on demand – just add water        
    The accidental discovery of a new aluminium alloy could lead to portable hydrogen and could kick-start the struggling hydrogen economy
              Laboratory Life, B. Latour & S. Woolgar (1979)        
    Let’s do one more post on the economics of science; if you haven’t heard of Latour and the book that made him famous, all I can say is that it is 30% completely crazy (the author is a French philosopher, after all!), 70% incredibly insightful, and overall a must read for anyone trying to understand […]
              â€œTechnology and Learning by Factory Workers: The Stretch-Out at Lowell, 1842,” J. Bessen (2003)        
    This is a wonderful piece of theory-driven economic history. Everyone knows that machinery in the Industrial Revolution was “de-skilling”, replacing craft workers with rote machine work. Bessen suggests, using data from mid-19th century mills in New England, that this may not be the case; capital is expensive and sloppy work can cause it to be […]
              â€œThe Flexible Unity of Economics,” M. J. Reay (2012)        
    Michael Reay recently published this article on the economics profession in the esteemed American Journal of Sociology, and as he is a sociologist, I hope the econ navel-gazing can be excused. What Reay points out is that critical discourse about modern economics entails a paradox. On the one hand, economics is a unified, neoliberal-policy-endorsing monolith […]
              â€œInnovation: The History of a Category,” B. Godin (2008)        
    What is innovation? What, indeed, is invention? I am confident that the average economist could not answer these questions. Is invention merely a novel process or idea? A novel process or idea for a given person? A new way of combining real resources like capital and labor? A new process which allows more of something […]
              â€œThe Credit Crisis as a Problem in the Sociology of Knowledge,” D. Mackenzie (2011)        
    (Tip of the hat for pointing out Mackenzie’s article to Dan Hirschman) The financial crisis, it is quite clear by now, will be the worst worldwide economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. There are many explanations involving mistaken or misused economic theory, rapaciousness, political decisions, ignorance, and many more; two interesting examples here are Alp […]
              â€œNote on the Theory of the Economy of Research,” C. S. Peirce (1879)        
    Though this site is devoted generally to new research, the essay discussed in this post, I trust, will be new enough to the vast majority of readers. Charles Sanders Peirce is a titan of analytic philosophy, and there is certainly a case to be made that he is the greatest American philosopher of all time. […]
              â€œWhat Does it Mean to Say that Economics is Performative?,” M. Callon (2007)        
    With the last three posts being high mathematical-economic theory, let’s go 180 degrees and look at this recent essay – the introduction of a book, actually – by Michel Callon, one of the deans of actor-network theory (along with Bruno Latour, of course). I know what you’re thinking: a French sociologist of science who thinks […]
              Tea Party Pennsylvania Bill would give patients more privacy control over health care        
    The bill also seeks to protect the rights of patients to buy health insurance, or make any other arrangements to pay for their own health care.





    New federal legislation seeks to prevent government bureaucrats from interfering in private health care and guarantee patient rights to control health care decisions.





    Republican Congressman Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15, and Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk are the cosponsors of the Medical Rights Act of 2009 bill, which was introduced Wednesday. The lawmakers co-chair the centrist GOP Tuesday Group.





    "As Congress begins to discuss how best to address America's health care challenges, we must protect the sacrosanct relationship between a patient and a doctor," Dent said. "One of the greatest strengths of our health care system is that Americans can rely on getting the care that they need when they need it."





    The bill prevents the government from rationing private health care and actions that interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, the congressman contends. It also would prevent the federal government from regulating the hiring practices of organizations that provide health care, such as hospitals and clinics.





    The bill protects the rights of patients to buy health insurance, or make any other arrangements to pay for their own health care. Several foreign countries and several current health care reform proposals substantially restrict this right, according to the bill.





    Additionally, the proposed bill would give Americans who get care under government health programs, such as Medicare, the ability to obtain health care outside the program.





    In the U.S., if a Medicare-participating doctor accepts payment for a service that would otherwise be covered under Medicare, the doctor is suspended from participating in the federal health program for the elderly for two years, according to the bill.





    "This substantially restricts the ability of Medicare patients to pay on their own if Medicare decides they are ineligible for a particular service normally covered by the program," according to the bill. "Not many doctors are willing to take that penalty, so this substantially (if indirectly) restricts the right of seniors and the disabled to access the health care of their choice."





    With Congress preparing to debate health care reform this summer, the men warned legislation allowing government involvement in health care decisions could have "dire consequences." They cite other public health programs in Canada and Britain as examples of how government involvement compromises quality.





    Long waits for care elsewhere





    In a news release, the men cited a 2008 Commonwealth Fund International survey that found most Canadians and British adults waited longer than four weeks to see a medical specialist compared with only 26 percent of Americans.





    They also cited long waits for care, based on a Heritage Foundation study that found 43 percent of Canadian patients and 15 percent of British patients received hip replacements within six months, compared with more than 90 percent of American senior citizens.





    About 30 percent of Canadians' health care is paid for through the private sector, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 30 countries that meets regularly to discuss global issues and make economic and social policies.





    The private payments are mostly for services not covered or partially covered by Canada's health program, such as prescription drugs and dentistry, according to the OECD.





    About 65 percent of Canadians have some form of supplementary private health insurance and many receive it through their employers.





    Canada spends less of its gross domestic product on health care (10.4 percent, versus 16 percent in the U.S.) and performs better on two commonly cited health outcome measures - the infant mortality rate and life expectancy.





    A 2007 National Bureau of Economic Research report found the U.S. experienced a higher incidence of chronic health conditions than Canada, but Americans had somewhat better access to treatment for the conditions. Also, a significantly higher percentage of U.S. residents were screened for major forms of cancer.





    The need to ration health care resources in Canada is the reason most Canadians cited for unmet medical needs, where in the U.S., more than half of those surveyed cited health care costs as the reason for unmet needs, the agency found.


    Quoting and Saving on your health insurance has never been easier...EasyToInsureME

    Pennsylvania Health Insurance
    Ohio Health Insurance

    EasyToInsureME offers clients the easiest way to buy individual health insurance. Free services include instant online health insurance quotes, custom proposals for each client, free phone consultation, and 10-minute application by phone. Our services are free because we are paid by the health insurance company not by our clients.

    tea party: tea party protest


    tea party: 4th of july tea party


    Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


              Non Traditional Investing        


    Non Traditional Investing

    With the current decline in home prices some markets are ripe for investment. One such market with tremendous benefits is real estate investing in Austin, Texas. That’s right – real estate investors that are purchasing both commercial and residential properties in Austin are really seeing some huge profits in their investments. They are capitalizing on a very stable market – one that seems to be growing while other areas are in a downturn. So, if you’re considering investing in real estate and you have been looking for areas that you can invest, you should consider Austin Texas. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of investing in Austin Texas. By doing this, we hope that you will have a better idea of the market and can capitalize on this opportunity like many of the other real estate investors are doing. Let’s begin.

    First of all, Austin has a wide array of positive elements working in its favor for the real estate investor. These included affordable houses that aren’t at risk to volatile price swings, a growing and vibrant economy, and a large student population. As an investor wild price swings can wipe out your investment and put you in debt. Austin real estate has the big benefit of experiencing slow and steady appreciation. Therefore, this makes it a prime investment for the serious real estate investor.

    Second, the recent downturn hasn’t hit Austin to nearly the extent of other markets and so you have great stability in your investment. The population of Austin is growing and so this progression of prices will continue. The growing and vibrant economy presents another advantage as sustainable housing price appreciation can only be achieved with a growing and well-employed population. In fact, many researchers believe that even if the market continues to go down that the properties in Austin will still remain stable.

    Third, Austin is a high tech center that is growing in influence and so this promises to provide strong support for housing prices benefiting those investing in Austin real estate. Therefore, the housing market is ripe for the taking. In addition, savvy investors who also purchase commercial real estate and then either rent it to business associates will also find themselves with a worthwhile investment. On the same token, by purchasing properties that are close to these centers, you will most likely receive some hot properties that are ripe for renting.

    Finally, as a real estate investor you want a strong rental base so as to provide steady income from your property between the time your purchase the property and the time you sell it. Austin has a great renter population in the form of students thanks to the presence of the University of Texas at Austin.

    In conclusion, if you’re a serious or a beginning real estate investor, you should seriously consider investing in real estate in Austin, Texas. Not only is this a great time to invest but you will see some great profits from your investment.

    For more information on an austin investment property visit:http://noblecapital.com/noble1.html
              Benefits of the Cloud        
    The title industry has changed considerably over the last three years. Budgets have been cut due to economic conditions. Most title agents are allowing their title and escrow officers to work remotely to enhance work-life balance. New regulations are on the horizon. Cloud computing makes a lot of sense in this new environment where flexibility …Read more
              How Plastic We've Become        

    Our bodies carry residues of kitchen plastics

    Food for Thought

    In the 1967 film classic The Graduate, a businessman corners Benjamin Braddock at a cocktail party and gives him a bit of career advice. "Just one word…plastics."

    Although Benjamin didn't heed that recommendation, plenty of other young graduates did. Today, the planet is awash in products spawned by the plastics industry. Residues of plastics have become ubiquitous in the environment—and in our bodies.

    A federal government study now reports that bisphenol A (BPA)—the building block of one of the most widely used plastics—laces the bodies of the vast majority of U.S. residents young and old.

    Manufacturers link BPA molecules into long chains, called polymers, to make polycarbonate plastics. All of those clear, brittle plastics used in baby bottles, food ware, and small kitchen appliances (like food-processor bowls) are made from polycarbonates. BPA-based resins also line the interiors of most food, beer, and soft-drink cans. With use and heating, polycarbonates can break down, leaching BPA into the materials they contact. Such as foods.

    And that could be bad if what happens in laboratory animals also happens in people, because studies in rodents show that BPA can trigger a host of harmful changes, from reproductive havoc to impaired blood-sugar control and obesity (SN: 9/29/07, p. 202).

    For the new study, scientists analyzed urine from some 2,500 people who had been recruited between 2003 and 2004 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly 92 percent of the individuals hosted measurable amounts of BPA, according to a report in the January Environmental Health Perspectives. It's the first study to measure the pollutant in a representative cross-section of the U.S. population.

    Typically, only small traces of BPA turned up, concentrations of a few parts per billion in urine, note chemist Antonia M. Calafat and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with hormone-mimicking agents like BPA, even tiny exposures can have notable impacts.

    Overall, concentrations measured by Calafat's team were substantially higher than those that have triggered disease, birth defects, and more in exposed animals, notes Frederick S. vom Saal, a University of Missouri-Columbia biologist who has been probing the toxicology of BPA for more than 15 years.

    The BPA industry describes things differently. Although Calafat's team reported urine concentrations of BPA, in fact they assayed a breakdown product—the compound by which BPA is excreted, notes Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. As such, he argues, "this does not mean that BPA itself is present in the body or in urine."

    On the other hand, few people have direct exposure to the breakdown product.

    Hentges' group estimates that the daily BPA intake needed to create urine concentrations reported by the CDC scientists should be in the neighborhood of 50 nanograms per kilogram of bodyweight—or one millionth of an amount at which "no adverse effects" were measured in multi-generation animal studies. In other words, Hentges says, this suggests "a very large margin of safety."

    No way, counters vom Saal. If one applies the ratio of BPA intake to excreted values in hosts of published animal studies, concentrations just reported by CDC suggest that the daily intake of most Americans is actually closer to 100 micrograms (µg) per kilogram bodyweight, he says—or some 1,000-fold higher than the industry figure.

    Clearly, there are big differences of opinion and interpretation. And a lot may rest on who's right.

    Globally, chemical manufacturers produce an estimated 2.8 million tons of BPA each year. The material goes into a broad range of products, many used in and around the home. BPA also serves as the basis of dental sealants, which are resins applied to the teeth of children to protect their pearly whites from cavities (SN: 4/6/96, p. 214). The industry, therefore, has a strong economic interest in seeing that the market for BPA-based products doesn't become eroded by public concerns over the chemical.

    And that could happen. About 2 years after a Japanese research team showed that BPA leached out of baby bottles and plastic food ware (see What's Coming Out of Baby's Bottle?), manufacturers of those consumer products voluntarily found BPA substitutes for use in food cans. Some 2 years after that, a different group of Japanese scientists measured concentrations of BPA residues in the urine of college students. About half of the samples came from before the switch, the rest from after the period when BPA was removed from food cans.

    By comparing urine values from the two time periods, the researchers showed that BPA residues were much lower—down by at least 50 percent—after Japanese manufacturers had eliminated BPA from the lining of food cans.

    Concludes vom Saal, in light of the new CDC data and a growing body of animal data implicating even low-dose BPA exposures with the potential to cause harm, "the most logical thing" for the United States to do would be to follow in Japan's footsteps and "get this stuff [BPA] out of our food."

    Kids appear most exposed

    Overall, men tend to have statistically lower concentrations of BPA than women, the NHANES data indicate. But the big difference, Calafat says, traces to age. "Children had higher concentrations than adolescents, and they in turn had higher levels than adults," she told Science News Online.

    This decreasing body burden with older age "is something we have seen with some other nonpersistent chemicals," Calafat notes—such as phthalates, another class of plasticizers.

    The spread between the average BPA concentration that her team measured in children 6 to 11 years old (4.5 µg/liter) and adults (2.5 µg/L) doesn't look like much, but proved reliably different.

    The open question is why adults tended to excrete only 55 percent as much BPA. It could mean children have higher exposures, she posits, or perhaps that they break it down less efficiently. "We really need to do more research to be able to answer that question."

    Among other differences that emerged in the NHANES analysis: urine residues of BPA decreased with increasing household income and varied somewhat with ethnicity (with Mexican-Americans having the lowest average values, blacks the highest, and white's values in between).

    There was also a time-of-day difference, with urine values for any given group tending to be highest in the evening, lowest in the afternoon, and midway between those in the morning. Since BPA's half-life in the body is only about 6 hours, that temporal variation in the chemical's excretion would be consistent with food as a major source of exposure, the CDC scientists note.

    In the current NHANES paper, BPA samples were collected only once from each recruit. However, in a paper due to come out in the February Environmental Health Perspectives, Calafat and colleagues from several other institutions looked at how BPA excretion varied over a 2-year span among 82 individuals—men and women—seen at a fertility clinic in Boston.

    In contrast to the NHANES data, the upcoming report shows that men tended to have somewhat higher BPA concentrations than women. Then again both groups had only about one-quarter the concentration typical of Americans.

    The big difference in the Boston group emerged among the 10 women who ultimately became pregnant. Their BPA excretion increased 33 percent during pregnancy. Owing to the small number of participants in this subset of the study population, the pregnancy-associated change was not statistically significant. However, the researchers report, these are the first data to look for changes during pregnancy and ultimately determining whether some feature of pregnancy—such as a change in diet or metabolism of BPA—really alters body concentrations of the pollutant could be important. It could point to whether the fetus faces an unexpectedly high exposure to the pollutant.

    If it does, the fetus could face a double whammy: Not only would exposures be higher during this period of organ and neural development, but rates of detoxification also would be diminished, vom Saal says.

    Indeed, in a separate study, one due to be published soon in Reproductive Toxicology, his team administered BPA by ingestion or by injection to 3-day-old mice. Either way, the BPA exposure resulted in comparable BPA concentrations in blood.

    What's more, that study found, per unit of BPA delivered, blood values in the newborns were "markedly higher" than other studies have reported for adult rodents exposed to the chemical. And that makes sense, vom Saal says, because the enzyme needed to break BPA down and lead to its excretion is only a tenth as active in babies as in adults. That's true in the mouse, he says, in the rat—and, according to some preliminary data, in humans.

    Vom Saal contends that since studies have shown BPA exhibits potent hormonelike activity in human cells at the parts-per-trillion level, and since the new CDC study finds that most people are continually exposed to concentrations well above the parts-per-trillion ballpark, it's time to reevaluate whether it makes sense to use BPA-based products in and around foods.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.


              KE bierze się za Airbnb. Usługa ma zostać opodatkowana        
    Temat nie jest zupełnie nowy w UE. W czerwcu Parlament Europejski przyjął rezolucję, wzywając KE do stworzenia konkretnych przepisów regulujących usługi oferowane w ramach tzw. gospodarki dzielenia się, typu Airbnb czy Uber. Europosłowie bardziej jednak niż na podatki zwracali uwagę na stronę konsumencką wskazując, że klienci korzystający z usług za pośrednictwem platform powinni być chronieni jak w przypadku każdej innej transakcji.

    Komisja Europejska do tej pory patrzyła przychylnym okiem na usługi tzw. ekonomii dzielenia się. Bruksela nie zdecydowała się na przygotowanie unijnych przepisów, ale w ubiegłym roku wydała wytyczne dla państw członkowskich dotyczące regulacji tego sektora. Według KE innowacyjne usługi ekonomii dzielenia się (ang. sharing economy albo collaborative economy) mogą korzystnie wpłynąć na wzrost gospodarczy i tworzenie miejsc pracy w UE, o ile będą regulowane i rozwijane w odpowiedzialny sposób.

    Szybki rozwój tego sektora związany jest z nowymi technologiami. Najbardziej znanym przykładem jest UberPOP, czyli aplikacja kojarząca ludzi chcących odpłatnie wyświadczyć usługę przewozu oraz jej odbiorców. Inne przykłady to BlaBlaCar, czyli serwis łączący kierowców dysponujących wolnymi miejscami w aucie z osobami szukającymi transportu, albo Airbnb, umożliwiający wynajęcie pokoju, mieszkania czy domu.

    Skala tych usług jest już na tyle duża, że na potencjalne korzyści podatkowe łakomym okiem patrzą ministrowie finansów. W czwartek rzeczniczka KE Venessa Mock poinformowała, że dyskusja w tej sprawie z udziałem KE i szefów resortów finansów państw członkowskich odbędzie się we wrześniu w Tallinie.

    - Podatki są skomplikowane. To temat, który wymaga jednomyślności w UE, dlatego nie możemy wchodzić w nowy obszar taki jak ten bez odpowiedniej refleksji. I teraz zajmujemy się tą refleksją w sprawie najlepszego podejścia do opodatkowania cyfrowej gospodarki - zaznaczyła Mock.

    Zniecierpliwienie obecnym stanem rzeczy wyraził w środę francuski minister finansów Bruno Le Maire, który mówił, że sytuacja podatkowa platform cyfrowych jak Airbnb jest we Francji"nie do zaakceptowania". - Platformy te osiągają dziesiątki milionów euro obrotu, a do budżetu Francji wpływa z tego zaledwie kilkadziesiąt tysięcy euro - powiedział cytowany przez AFP minister.

    Zapowiedział, że we wrześniu Paryż wraz z Berlinem przedstawią inicjatywę w tej sprawie, by problem został rozwiązany na poziomie europejskim. Jak mówił, chciałby, aby francusko-niemiecki projekt stał się propozycją KE, którą mieliby omówić na grudniowym szczycie przywódcy państw UE.

    Platformy, o których mowa, bardzo często mają swoją siedzibę w Irlandii, gdzie mogą liczyć na bardzo niskie podatki.

    Unijny komisarz ds. gospodarczych Pierre Moscovici ocenił w środę, że poziom podatków, jaki we Francji płaci Airbnb, jest "szokujący". Według tamtejszego ministerstwa finansów platforma zapłaciła mniej niż 100 tys. euro podatków w 2016 roku nad Sekwaną, podczas gdy w tym czasie z jej usług skorzystało ponad 10 mln Francuzów.

    Moscovici opowiedział się za tym, by kraje UE raczej uzgodniły wspólną bazę podatkową niż harmonizowały stawkę podatkową, jaką płacą firmy. We Francji jest ona szczególnie wysoka, bo wynosi 33 proc., tymczasem w Irlandii jest to 12,5 proc., choć są przykłady dużych, globalnych firm, które płaciły w tym kraju efektywnie dużo niższą stawkę.

    W ubiegłorocznych wytycznych dla unijnych stolic KE stwierdziła, że zarówno platformy internetowe, jak i osoby świadczące usługi ekonomii dzielenia się powinny płacić podatki na równi z innymi uczestnikami rynku, w tym podatki dochodowe, podatki od działalności gospodarczej oraz VAT. KE zachęcała państwa unijne do upraszczania i wprowadzania jaśniejszych regulacji podatkowych dla tego sektora.

    Według ubiegłorocznych szacunków KE dotyczących 2015 roku, platformy internetowe i usługodawcy w sektorze ekonomii dzielenia się łącznie osiągnęli dochód brutto w wysokości 28 mld euro, dwa razy większy niż rok wcześniej. Co szósty mieszkaniec UE przynajmniej raz korzystał z usług tego sektora, a ponad 5 proc. taką usługę oferowało.

    PAP


              The Future of Customer Service: From Personal, to Self, to Crowd Service        

    The corporate world is at full stretch. On the one hand companies must meet ever-growing expectations with regard to customer experience, while on the other hand there’s a need for economic efficiency. The ultimate challenge for the customer service of the future consists in offering improved customer service at a lower cost. In the years to come, every company will question its customer processes. Any sensible company will strive to create the ideal combination between efficiency and the perfect customer experience. Players who are only active online, such as Amazon.com and Booking.com, boast a highly efficient customer process. Even though their customers rarely come into contact with actual people they still provide a very satisfactory customer experience. Traditional companies have a history of a personal service burdened with a heavy cost structure. To avoid overstretching, traditional companies must invest in digitization and in forging a personal (emotional) connection with the customer. Technology is opening up new possibilities in this regard but customers also like personal contact. This combination is shaping the future of customer service: a shift to self-service while still keeping things personal. Also, the service package is expanded by involving the customers themselves in the process. The customer-helps-customer philosophy (crowd service) enables companies to be more efficient and improve their service without losing sight of the human aspect. Fifty-five percent of consumers like the idea of other consumers helping them and 58% are prepared to help others . The customer is ready for crowd service. This paper was written based on my own research (in collaboration with SSI and translation partner No problem!), desk research and discussions with companies. This paper takes a closer look at new trends and evolutions in the field of customer service.
              The Self Service Economy        

    Consumers want to be in control.The service expectations are increasing day by day. The only solution to meet consumer expectations is a self service solution. The majority of consumers is ready for self service. This report contains the summary of a global research project in which we mapped this trend.
              Land        
      Matthew Ody & Associates   - represents some of the finest land, lots and commercial properties in the area. Real estate owners and investors value our leadership, client-centered business platform and ability to seamlessly provide a complete range of commercial real estate services. With many years experience in safely guiding our real estate clients through all economic [...]
              Human Suffering and Humanitarian Emergencies [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | Humanitarian emergencies are not simply brute facts, appealing directly to our emotions or our moral sensibilities. They are one of the important ways in which perceptions of human life, sympathy for suffering, and responses to social upheaval have come to be organized in recent decades. Like nations and business corporations, they are creatures of social imaginaries, but no less materially influential for that. They are shaped by a history of changing ideas about the human; moral responsibility for strangers; structures of chance and causality; and the imperative and capacity for effective action, even at a distance. They reflect the context of the modern era generally and more specific features of the era since the 1970s. And they are embedded in a complex institutionalization of responses. First, grasping human suffering as humanitarian emergencies is made possible by a long history of changes in how we – Westerners especially – construct the categories of the human, the emergency, and moral obligation. Second, though they are influenced by both state politics and economic activity, humanitarian emergencies appear as anomalies outside the putatively normal stable functioning of political and economic systems. Third, emergencies and humanitarian sympathies are produced importantly through large-scale media systems, including especially visual media. Fourth, they have commanded attention especially since the 1970s as responses to an era of market-driven globalization and declining faith in political action. Fifth, they have occasioned a new institutional field of response in which NGOs and voluntary action are pivotal (even though states remain crucial funders), and they are shaped by the way such response organizes both what we see and what happens materially on the ground. Sixth, they reflect a view from relatively ‘core’ locations in the modern world-system on seeming chaos in its periphery, a view often linked at once to a managerial orientation, an idea of charity, and the reassurance of grasping suffering and chaos precisely as distant. The specific historical circumstances that gave rise to humanitarian response are changing, and with them this specific project of cosmopolitan care for distant strangers may be undergoing a deep transformation. Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun is an American citizen but has deep connections with the United Kingdom. He took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
              Social Movements in the US: From the American Revolution to Obama [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
              The Democracy Project [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Dr David Graeber, Professor Craig Calhoun | From the earliest meetings for Occupy Wall Street, David Graeber felt that something was different from previous demonstrations. What was it about this particular movement that worked this time? And what can we now do to make our world more democratic again? Graeber presents a vital new exploration of anti-capitalist dissent, looking at the actions of the 99% and revealing the alternative political and economic possibilities of our future. David Graeber is an anthropologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, who has been involved with the Occupy movement most actively at Wall Street. He is widely credited with coining the phrase "We are the 99%" and is the author of the widely praised Debt: The First 5000 Years. His new book The Democracy Project is published by Allen Lane. Craig Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
              LSE Director's Inaugural Alumni Lecture [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | Craig Calhoun took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. Professor Calhoun is an American citizen but has deep connections with the United Kingdom. He took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes.
              Social Movements and Social Change [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | Drawing on his decades of research on social protest, Professor Calhoun will explore the roots of radicalism and the relationship between social movements and social change. Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun is an American citizen but has deep connections with the United Kingdom. He took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Describing his own approach to academic work, Professor Calhoun says: "We must set high standards for ourselves, but in order to inform the public well, not to isolate ourselves from it."
              Knowledge Matters: the public mission of research universities [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | The university is an institution in upheaval. In his Inaugural Lecture as Director of LSE, Professor Craig Calhoun explores the options for the future. Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun is an American citizen but has deep connections with the United Kingdom. He took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Describing his own approach to academic work, Professor Calhoun says: "We must set high standards for ourselves, but in order to inform the public well, not to isolate ourselves from it."
              America and the World - After the Election [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Anne Applebaum, Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Gideon Rachman | After a closely fought election, this highly topical LSE public debate will look ahead to Obama’s second administration and assess the challenges it faces at home and how it is likely to address them, as well as how its relationships with Britain, Europe and the rest of the world are likely to develop. Author and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum has taken up the post of Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the School for 2012-13. She is the first woman to ever hold this position. Anne Applebaum is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate. After graduating from Yale University, Anne Applebaum was a Marshall Scholar at both the LSE and St. Anthony’s College Oxford. She has also lectured at Yale and Columbia Universities, amongst others. Anne Applebaum’s journalistic work focuses on US and international politics, with a particular focus on economic and political transition. Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. He is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Michael Cox is founding director of LSE IDEAS. `Professor Cox is a well known speaker on global affairs and has lectured in the United States, Australia, Asia, and in the EU. He has spoken on a range of contemporary global issues, though most recently he has focused on the role of the United States in the international system, the rise of Asia, and whether or not the world is now in the midst of a major power shift. Gideon Rachman became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections. His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation.
              America Votes [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Dr Pippa Malmgren, Professor Sir Robert Worcester | With just a week to go to the US presidential election, this panel of experts will assess the state of the race, look back at Barack Obama’s first term, what a second term would bring, or what "President Romney" would mean for the US and the wider world. Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. Michael Cox is Founding co-director of LSE IDEAS. Pippa Malmgren is the president and founder of Principalis Asset Management, former financial market advisor in the White House and member of the National Economic Council. Robert Worcester was the founder of MORI and is an honorary fellow of LSE.
              Occupy's Predicament: The Moment and the Prospects for Movement [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Todd Gitlin, Professor Craig Calhoun | Erupting in September 2011, Occupy Wall Street was jump-started by a radical core who devised a form of action, occupation, that combined face-to-face with electronic elements. In an election year, the ingenuity of the original core has been overshadowed by the momentum, the stakes, and not least the money of the presidential campaign. Whether an Occupy movement takes shape and endures, focused on transformation of a political system overwhelmingly shaped by plutocrats, depends on the actions of many networks that were mobilized within and around the Occupy moment. Todd Gitlin is professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University and is the author of 15 books, including, Occupy Nation: the roots, the spirit, and the promise of Occupy Wall Street. Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council.
              Steering the British Economy [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies delivers an orientation lecture to LSE students giving an insiders perspective on monetary policy and the mechanics of policy making. Howard Davies is the Director of LSE.
              LSE Director's Dialogue with Stephen Green [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, Stephen Green | As the world's financial order is in a state of flux, how do we align our desire to improve material human wealth, and capitalism, with our spiritual and psychological needs? Do businesses and banks in particular have a duty to society that goes beyond the creation of profit? Does open market capitalism remain our best hope for creating wealth that benefits all of society? Green and Davies discuss history, politics, religion and economics. This event marks the launch of Stephen Green's book Good Value.
              Why Did Nobody Tell Us? Reporting the Global Crash of 2008 [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Alex Brummer, Vince Cable MP; Evan Davis; Gillian Tett; Professor Willem Buiter | This event will discuss the reporting leading up to the global credit crash of 2008. Alex Brummer has been City Editor for the Daily Mail since 2000. He has over thirty years' experience in the media. Vincent Cable is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and speaks for his party on issues of Finance, European Economic and Monetary Union and the City. Evan Davis is a presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He was the BBC's Economics Editor from 2001-2008.
              Policy Responses to the Financial Crisis [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Dr Ben S. Bernanke | Ben S. Bernanke was sworn in on February 1, 2006, as Chairman and a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Bernanke also serves as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System's principal monetary policymaking body. He was appointed as a member of the Board to a full 14-year term, which expires January 31, 2020, and to a four-year term as Chairman, which expires January 31, 2010. Before his appointment as Chairman, Dr. Bernanke was Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, from June 2005 to January 2006.
              The Subprime Crisis [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Robert J. Shiller | Bubbles in the stock market and the housing market are the cause of a financial crisis that is wreaking havoc around the world. The bubbles in turn are caused, at their core, by popular misunderstandings. This contradicts the 'rational expectations' view of the economy that has guided much economic theorizing. In dealing with this crisis in the short run, some kind of bailout of injured parties is necessary to prevent damage to the social fabric. In the long run, we can help mitigate such crises by improving the financial information infrastructure, by expanding market coverage of important risks, and introducing new retail financial products. Robert J. Shiller is the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, and Professor of Finance and Fellow at the International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management.
              Central Banking and the Credit Crunch [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies is working on a book about the future of central banking to be published in 2009 by Princeton University Press. He will assess the ways in which central banks around the world have responded to the credit crisis and what that implies for their role in financial sector regulation in the future. Howard Davies is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.
              China and Financial Reform [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies sits on the International advisory councils of the China banking and securities regulatory commissions. In the fourth lecture of an annual series he reviews the progress of reform in china's financial markets, and the implications for the rest of the world. Howard Davies is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.
              The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): George Soros and Howard Davies | In the midst of the worst financial upheaval since the Great Depression, George Soros explores the origins of the crisis and its implications for the future. Soros, whose breadth of experience in financial markets is unrivalled, places the current crisis in the context of decades of study of how individuals and institutions handle the boom and bust cycles that now dominate global economic activity. "This is a once in lifetime moment", says Soros in characterising the scale of financial distress spreading across Wall Street, the London Stock Exchange, and financial centres around the world. This event marks the launch of George Soros new book 'The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means' (PublicAffairs, May 2008).
              Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, David Green, John McFall, Sir Steve Robson, Gillian Tett | As international financial markets have become more complex, so has the regulatory system which oversees them. The Basel Committee is just one of a plethora of international bodies and groupings which now set standards for financial activity around the world, in the interests of investor protection and financial stability. These groupings, and their decisions, have a major impact on markets in developed and developing countries, and on competition between financial firms. Yet their workings are shrouded in mystery, and their legitimacy is uncertain. Howard Davies was the first chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the whole of Britain's financial sector. He was a member of the main international regulatory committees for several years, and is now director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). David Green was head of International Policy at the FSA, after 30 years in the Bank of England, and has been particularly closely associated with the development of the European regulatory system. He now advises the Financial Reporting Council. John McFall MP is Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons since 2001. He was re-elected to this post in October, 2005. In 1997 John served as a Government Whip and in July 1998 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. His portfolio included responsibility for the Department of Education, Community Relations, the Training and Employment Agency and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Economic Affairs. Sir Steve Robson is a former senior UK civil servant, who had responsibility for a wide variety of Treasury matters. His early career included the post of private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and secondment to ICFC (now 3i). He was also a second permanent secretary of HM Treasury, where he was managing director of the Finance and Regulation Directorate. He is a non-executive director of JP Morgan Cazenove Holdings, RBS, Xstrata Plc, The Financial Reporting Council Limited and Partnerships UK plc, and a member of the Chairman's Advisory Committee of KPMG.
              O TORNEIO MAIS DEMOCRÁTICO DO BRASIL        


    Cruzeiro (2) e Grêmio (3): domínio da Copa do Brasil




    Começou na semana passada mais um torneio no país, este sim com muita emoção e com certeza de casa cheia na maioria dos jogos. É a Copa do Brasil, considerada a competição mais democrática do país. E tal afirmação tem certo fundo de razão por envolver equipes de todos os estados brasileiros - do mais forte ao mais humilde, do mais rico ao com as economias mais abaladas, do mais conhecido ao mais obscuro. Outro motivo para essa certeza é o fato de que vários times de menor expressão terem surpreendido positivamente como veremos adiante. Neste torneio temos a oportunidade de conhecer clubes até então desconhecidos e ver alguns bons nomes surgirem na competição.

    A Copa foi idealizada em 1989 pela CBF a fim de dar uma espécie de consolo para as federações de estados com menor tradição futebolística que haviam ficado de fora da reformulação do Campeonato Brasileiro dois anos antes. Nas edições anteriores a 1987 o Brasileirão tinha ao menos um representante de cada estado, até chegar ao número absurdo de 94 clubes em 1979.

    A fórmula é simples e se assemelha às demais copas mundo a fora, com partidas em sistema eliminatório até a grande final. Até 1995 os jogos eram de ida e volta em todas as fases independente do resultado. A partir de então, até a segunda fase, caso o visitante vença o adversário por 2 ou mais gols de diferença nas partidas de ida não há a necessidade da realização do confronto de volta. Da terceira em diante os dois jogos são obrigatórios. 



    O Flamengo/RJ é o atual campeão do torneio



    Na edição de 2013 houve uma mudança significativa no número de participantes e do período de disputa da Copa do Brasil. Foram 86 times de todos os estados mais o Distrito Federal e incluindo novamente a participação das equipes que disputam a Taça Libertadores - desde 2001 tais times não entravam mais no certame por motivo de choque nas datas das competições. Além do mais aconteceu uma "esticada" no torneio até novembro. Em 2014 a fórmula será repetida e, como já é conhecido, seu vencedor garante vaga na Copa Libertadores da América do ano seguinte.

    Como já dito anteriormente, boas surpresas são reservadas ao democrático torneio. Entre os grandes e expressivos clubes nacionais como Cruzeiro, Flamengo. Corinthians, Palmeiras, Fluminense, entre outros, alguns "intrusos" roubaram o troféu, como Criciúma/SC, Juventude/RS, Santo André/SP e Paulista/SP (todos eles com êxitos sobre times considerados grandes como Botafogo, Flamengo e Fluminense, respectivamente). Sem falar nos nobres "desconhecidos" até então Brasiliense/DF, XV de Novembro/RS e Linhares/ES, que chegaram bem perto. Por outro lado a Copa promove um contraste inusitado: o maior detentor de títulos internacionais e um dos maiores em solo nacional, o São Paulo, jamais conquistou a taça.

    Alguns resultados surpreendentes também entraram para a história da competição e a tornam até hoje sempre atrativa, como a inesquecível vitória do inexpressivo Baraúnas/RN por 3 a 0 sobre o tradicionalíssimo Vasco da Gama em pleno São Januário em 2005, com direito a gol de Cícero Ramalho, atacante de 40 anos; além da desclassificação do Palmeiras para o ASA de Arapiraca em 2002 dentro do Parque Antártica apesar da vitória por 2 a 1 (os palmeirenses haviam perdido o primeiro encontro em Alagoas por 1 a 0), entre vários outros confrontos memoráveis.

    O primeiro gol da história do torneio foi do flamenguista Alcindo, na vitória por 2 a 0 sobre o Paysandu em 1989. Já os maiores campeões são Grêmio e Cruzeiro, ambos com 4 conquistas. Os clubes que mais participaram foram Atlético/MG e Vitória/BA com 25 edições - no total de 26. Gérson, ex-atacante do Galo mineiro e do Internacional/RS foi o jogador que mais vezes se sagrou artilheiro da Copa do Brasil: 3 vezes (1989, 1991 e 1992). O atacante Fred é o maior artilheiro de uma única edição até hoje com 14 gols em 2005, quando atuava pelo Cruzeiro. Mais números você pode conferir no final desta postagem.

    De norte ao sul do país a Copa do Brasil é um festival de cores, um desfile de jogadores diversos e, quem sabe, futuros ídolos da bola, dando uma pontinha de esperança às torcidas pelo país. E viva a democracia do futebol!

    Abaixo, dados, estatísticas e recordes do torneio mais democrático do Brasil.


    1989

    * Campeão: Grêmio/RS
    * Vice: Sport/PE
    * Artilheiro: Gérson (Atlético/MG) - 7 gols

    1990

    * Campeão: Flamengo/RJ
    * Vice: Goiás/GO
    * Artilheiro: Bizu (Náutico/PE) - 7 gols

    1991

    * Campeão: Criciúma/SC
    * Vice: Grêmio/RS
    * Artilheiro: Gérson (Atlético/MG) - 6 gols

    1992

    * Campeão: Internacional/RS
    * Vice: Fluminense/RJ
    * Artilheiro: Gérson (Internacional/RS) - 9 gols

    1993

    * Campeão: Cruzeiro/MG
    * Vice: Grêmio/RS
    * Artilheiro: Gílson (Grêmio/RS) - 8 gols

    1994

    * Campeão: Grêmio/RS
    * Vice: Ceará/CE
    * Artilheiro: Paulinho McLaren (Internacional/RS) - 6 gols

    1995

    * Campeão: Corinthians/SP
    * Vice: Grêmio/RS
    * Artilheiro: Sávio (Flamengo/RJ) - 7 gols

    1996

    * Campeão: Cruzeiro/MG
    * Vice: Palmeiras/SP
    * Artilheiro: Luizão (Palmeiras/SP) - 8 gols

    1997

    * Campeão: Grêmio/RS
    * Vice: Flamengo/RJ
    * Artilheiro: Paulo Nunes (Grêmio/RS) - 9 gols

    1998

    * Campeão: Palmeiras/SP
    * Vice: Cruzeiro/MG
    * Artilheiro: Romário (Flamengo/RJ) - 7 gols

    1999

    * Campeão: Juventude/RS
    * Vice: Botafogo/RJ
    * Artilheiros: Petković (Vitória/BA) e Romário (Flamengo/RJ) - 8 gols

    2000

    * Campeão: Cruzeiro/MG
    * Vice: São Paulo/SP
    * Artilheiro: Oséas (Palmeiras/SP) - 10 gols

    2001

    * Campeão: Grêmio/RS
    * Vice: Corinthians/SP
    * Artilheiro: Washington (Flamengo/RJ) - 11 gols

    2002

    * Campeão: Corinthians/SP
    * Vice: Brasiliense/DF
    * Artilheiro: Deivid (Corinthians/SP) - 13 gols

    2003

    * Campeão: Cruzeiro/MG
    * Vice: Flamengo/RJ
    * Artilheiro: Nonato (Bahia/BA) - 9 gols

    2004

    * Campeão: Santo André/SP
    * Vice: Flamengo/RJ
    * Artilheiros: Alex Alves (Botafogo/RJ) e Dauri (XV de Novembro/RS) - 8 gols

    2005

    * Campeão: Paulista/SP
    * Vice: Fluminense/RJ
    * Artilheiro: Fred (Cruzeiro/MG) - 14 gols

    2006

    * Campeão: Flamengo/RJ
    * Vice: Vasco da Gama/RJ
    * Artilheiro: Valdiram (Vasco da Gama/RJ) - 8 gols

    2007

    * Campeão: Fluminense/RJ
    * Vice: Figueirense/SC
    * Artilheiros: André Lima (Botafogo/RJ), Victor Simões (Figueirense/SC) e Dênis Marques (Atlético/PR) - 5 gols

    2008

    * Campeão: Sport/PE
    * Vice: Corinthians/SP
    * Artilheiros: Edmundo (Vasco da Gama), Wellington Paulista (Botafogo/RJ) e Romerito (Sport/PE) - 6 gols

    2009

    * Campeão: Corinthians/SP
    * Vice: Internacional/RS
    * Artilheiro: Taison (Internacional/RS) - 7 gols

    2010

    * Campeão: Santos/SP
    * Vice: Vitória/BA
    * Artilheiro: Neymar (Santos/SP) - 11 gols

    2011

    * Campeão: Vasco da Gama/RJ
    * Vice: Coritiba/PR
    * Artilheiros: Alecsandro (Vasco da Gama/RJ), Adriano (Palmeiras/SP), Kléber (Palmeiras/SP), Rafael Coelho (Avaí/SP) e William Júnior (Avaí/SC) - 5 gols

    2012

    * Campeão: Palmeiras/SP
    * Vice: Coritiba/PR
    * Artilheiros: Luís Fabiano (São Paulo/SP) - 8 gols

    2013

    * Campeão: Flamengo/RJ
    * Vice: Atlético/PR
    * Artilheiros: Hernane (Flamengo/RJ) - 8 gols



    RECORDES

    * Times mais vezes campeões: Grêmio/RS e Cruzeiro/MG (4 vezes)

    * Times que mais participaram: Atlético/MG e Vitória/BA (25 vezes)

    * Jogador que mais vezes marcou gols: Romário (36 gols)

    * Maior artilheiro de uma edição: Fred (14 gols em 2005)

    * Jogadores que mais atuaram na competição: Carlos Miguel e Zinho (71 jogos)

    * Maior goleada da história: Atlético/MG 11 X 0 Caiçara/PI, no dia 28 de fevereiro de 2011 em Belo Horizonte/MG

    * Maior placar agregado da história: Internacional/RS 15 X 1 Ji-Paraná/RO (6 X 0 e 9 X 1) em 1993

    * Maior público: 101581 pessoas (Botafogo/RJ 0 X 0 Juventude/RS, no dia 27 de junho de 1999 no estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro)




    Fotos 1, 2 e 3: Autores desconhecidos
    Foto 4: Já é Notícia


              Shrinking Investments Yield Smaller Returns        
    Amidst the politics of austerity, California has made staggering cuts to the early care and education sector, resulting in lost opportunities for children to be educated, parents to continue working, and members of the early care and education workforce to remain employed and contributing to the state’s economic recovery. During the Great Recession from 2008–2011,…
              FUTEBOL NO PARAÍSO TURÍSTICO        

    Tahiti: estreante em competições da FIFA




    A Copa das Confederações da FIFA aqui no Brasil se avizinha, dia 15 próximo teremos o pontapé inicial do torneio em Brasilia na partida entre Brasil e Japão. E nesta competição teremos um integrante bastante inusitado que algumas pessoas sequer ouviram falar: o Tahiti (Taiti no "português brasileiro").

    O Tahiti se encontra na Polinésia Francesa, território semi-autônomo pertencente à França na Oceania, mas com administração, legislação e economia próprias e uma badalada região turística que atrai milhares de viajantes o ano inteiro por suas paisagens paradisíacas, natureza exuberante e praias de águas cristalinas. É a maior ilha do arquipélago das Ilhas Sociedade e sua capital é Papeete. Sua população total é de pouco mais de 178 mil habitantes, seu regime de governo é o presidencialista, sua economia baseia-se no turismo e sua moeda é o Franco do Pacífico. 

    As práticas esportivas na ilha polinésia são pouco disseminadas. A modalidade mais popular é o Va'a, ou canoa em português, que consiste numa espécie de canoagem. Outros esportes também são bastante praticados no Tahiti, como o surf, o rugby, o basquete e o futebol. Este último, inclusive, alcançou um feito notável em 2012 conforme veremos adiante.

    O futebol tahitiano é bastante recente se comparado com a maioria dos países pelo mundo. E as informações disponíveis são bastante escassas como boa parte dos países da Oceania. A FTF (Federação Tahitiana de Futebol - ou Fédération Tahitienne de Football na língua local) foi fundada em 1938, mas a seleção nacional só veio estrear nos campos 14 anos depois num amistoso contra a Nova Zelândia. Ainda atuando sob o nome de Polinésia Francesa os tahitianos empataram com os neozelandeses por 2 a 2 em seus domínios. A primeira vitória oficial da seleção foi em 1953 sobre Vanuatu (então Novas Hébridas) por 4 a 3 na casa do adversário. Em 1971 o Tahiti protagonizou uma das maiores goleadas da história do futebol entre seleções: 30 a 0 nas Ilhas Cook em Papeete.

    Os números, como já informado, são escassos sobre o futebol do Tahiti, inclusive na página oficial da FTF. Lá não há registros sobre os recordistas de gols e de participações com a seleção e os sites que têm algum tipo de informação não possuem fontes oficiais. O pouco que se tem conhecimento é de suas participações em competições, sobretudo nas organizadas pela OFC, a entidade que rege o futebol na Oceania. Até 2009 as participações tahitianas se resumiam à Copa das Nações da Oceania ou às Eliminatórias para Copa do Mundo, quando estreou em 1992. Participou há 4 anos pela primeira vez em sua história de um campeonato promovido pela FIFA: o Mundial sub-20. Em âmbito continental seu histórico é bastante razoável com três vice-campeonatos e um 3º lugar. Entretanto, no ano passado essa história mudou de patamar com a conquista inédita da Copa das Nações, tornando-se o primeiro país a faturar o torneio além das poderosas Nova Zelândia e Austrália. Os tahitianos levaram a taça diante da Nova Caledônia na grande decisão e novamente fizeram história ao se classificarem pela primeira vez para um campeonato com as seleções principais organizado pela FIFA: a Copa das Confederações.

    Em 2012 o Tahiti conseguiu seu grande êxito em seus 61 anos de existência ao vencer a Copa das Nações da Oceania nas Ilhas Salomão. Os principais destaques da conquista heroica foram os atacantes Steevy Hue (autor do gol do título na final) e Lorenzo Tehau, os meias Jonathan e Alvin Tehau, o defensor Nicolas Vallar (capitão do time e eleito o melhor jogador do torneio), além do treinador Eddy Etaeta, ex-jogador da seleção de 43 anos e grande responsável pela campanha vitoriosa dos tahitianos.

    Como já citado não há registros oficiais dos recordistas de jogos e gols pela seleção polinésia, mas podemos aqui citar alguns jogadores que, de alguma forma, tiveram destaque atuando pela equipe ao longo dos anos: o atual treinador Eddy Etaeta, Reynald Temarii (ex-presidente da OFC), o defensor Samuel Garcia, os atacantes Félix Tagawa e Tetahio Auraa, entre outros. No atual elenco todos os atletas atuam no futebol local, predominantemente no AS Dragon, principal clube do Tahiti, com exceção de um: o atacante Marama Vahirua de 33 anos, tahitiano radicado na França que chegou a atuar nas categorias de base da seleção francesa, e que defende o Panthrakikos da Grécia. Vahirua, inclusive, fará sua estreia com os polinésios nessa edição da Copa das Confederações, cuja equipe está no Grupo B ao lado de Espanha, Nigéria e Uruguai. Outro dado curioso é que apenas o mesmo Vahirua é jogador profissional, visto que todos os demais são amadores, ou seja, possuem outras ocupações como professor, bombeiro e bibliotecário, além da prática futebolística.

    A seleção tahitiana joga no modesto estádio Hamuta, localizado na capital Papeete, que tem capacidade para cerca de 10 mil pessoas e é multi-uso. Após o título da Copa das Nações da Oceania no ano passado sua posição no ranking da FIFA deu uma boa guinada: hoje é a 138ª colocada. Além desta taça, a equipe da Polinésia Francesa ainda possui conquistas dos Jogos do Pacífico Sul.

    Por fim, para quem é bem mais conhecido como um paraíso turístico, nada mal fazer turismo também atuando num torneio internacional em outro destino bastante visitado: o Brasil. Será uma atração e tanto em terras brasileiras.

    Abaixo, dados e estatísticas da seleção que pode ser seu próximo destino nas férias.


    FÉDÉRATION TAHITIENNE DE FOOTBALL (FEDERAÇÃO TAHITIANA DE FUTEBOL)

    * Fundação: 1938

    * Presidente: Eugene Haereraaroa

    * Estádio: Hamuta (Papeete/TAH - 10 mil pessoas)

    * Treinador: Eddy Etaeta

    * Uniformes: Camisas brancas com detalhes vermelhos, calções vermelhos com detalhes brancos e meiões brancos com detalhes vermelhos (titular) / Camisas vermelhas com detalhes brancos, calções brancos com detalhes vermelhos e meiões vermelhos com detalhes brancos (reserva)

    * Títulos (6): Jogos do Pacífico Sul (1966, 1975, 1973, 1983 e 1995) e Copa das Nações da Oceania (2012)

    * Principais nomes: Eddy Etaeta, Reynald Temarii, Samuel Garcia, Nicolas Vallar, Lorenzo Tehau, Jonathan Tehau, Alvin Tehau, Félix Tagawa, Tetahio Auraa e Steevy Hue




    Escudo: arquivo pessoal
    Foto: Fifa.com

              A LIGA FAROESA        



    HB Tórshavn: maior vencedor da Liga Faroesa




    Depois de um longo e tenebroso inverno, eis que apareço novamente nesse espaço tão bacana com informação sobre a história de curiosidades do futebol. Recebi comentários, tweets e até e-mail questionando o porquê da não atualização periódica do blog. Então retorno hoje para contar um pouco mais sobre o esporte mais popular do planeta.

    O futebol existe está presente nos quatro cantos do mundo, desde nas superpotências econômicas mundiais como EUA, Japão e Alemanha, até nos mais exóticas e remotas nações como Vanuatu, Taiti, Guam, entre outros. Cada lugar tem sua liga local com suas regras específicas – algumas simples e outras bem complexas e pouco inteligíveis. Nelas podemos ver times que certamente a esmagadora maioria dos amantes do esporte jamais ouviu falar, como FC Tobol Kostanay, FK Jedinstvo, Erakor Golden Star, Quality Distributors, Inter Moengotapoe, Mtibwa Sugar, entre outros. Como informação os clubes citados são respectivamente do Cazaquistão, de Montenegro, Vanuatu, Guam, do Suriname e da Tanzânia.

    No post de hoje vamos falar sobre outro campeonato de nível técnico obscuro e praticamente desconhecido do restante do planeta, mas cujo país é um dos mais fascinantes no quesito paisagens naturais: o das Ilhas Faroe. Em 2009 este blog já teve publicada uma postagem sobre a seleção da região autônoma da Dinamarca, e você pode conferi-la clicando aqui.

    Como dito, as Ilhas Faroe é um país pertencente à coroa dinamarquesa, entretanto é autônomo politica e economicamente falando. É um arquipélago situado entre a Noruega e a Islândia que tem aproximadamente 1400 km² de extensão e uma população de pouco mais de 50 mil pessoas segundo dados oficiais de 2012. É uma região com paisagens exuberantes com seu mar de águas azuis e montanhas verdejantes recobrindo boa parte do território. Sua capital é Tórshavn e sua moeda é a Coroa Dinamarquesa.

    O desporto é bastante praticado nas Ilhas Faroe, entretanto os atletas têm que disputar modalidades olímpicas e paraolímpicas com a bandeira da Dinamarca. E como normalmente acontece na maioria dos paises pelo mundo a fora, o futebol é o esporte mais popular entre os faroeses. Sua seleção ocupa o 161º lugar no ranking da FIFA atualmente; já a liga nacional tem o 51º coeficiente pela UEFA. 

    O campeonato nacional existe desde 1942, entretanto os clubes participantes só passaram a disputar competições europeias somente 50 anos depois. Entre o ano de estreia e 1975 a primeira divisão do torneio era chamada de "Divisão dos Campeões", ou Meistaradeildin em faroês. Na primeira edição apenas quatro times disputaram a taça: TB Tvøroyri, B36 Tórshavn, HB Tórshavn e KÍ Klaksvík - sendo este último seu primeiro campeão nacional. Muitas das equipes que participam da liga faroesa surgiram antes da criação da disputa, por isso disputavam o campeonato dinamarquês até seu início. A segunda divisão passou a ser disputada em 1943, contudo não havia acesso nem descenso. Até 1971 o certame envolvia apenas quatro clubes, quando a ISF, a Associação de Esportes das Ilhas Faroe, aumentou o número de participantes para 6. Cinco anos depois mais uma vaga foi aberta para a disputa e o nome da liga de elite mudou para 1.deildin (Primeira Divisão) e o sistema de rebaixamento e acesso foi introduzido - a segundona local passou a se chamar 2.deildin. O NSÍ Runavík teve o desgosto de ser o primeiro time rebaixado da história do futebol faroês, enquanto a honra da primeira promoção coube ao Fram Tórshavn.

    Em 1979 foi criada a FSF, a Associação de Futebol das Ilhas Faroe, que passou a reger o campeonato faroês e, por conseguinte, já aumentou o número de equipes da primeira divisão para oito até 1988, quando finalmente o torneio passou a contar com 10 participantes, além de fazer com que dois times caíssem e subissem de divisão. Até 1992 os vencedores da 1.deildin não entravam nos torneios continentais, contudo, neste ano, a UEFA abriu vagas para os clubes faroeses disputarem tanto a Liga dos Campeões (o campeão nacional) e a Copa da UEFA (o campeão da Copa), atual Liga Europa, na primeira fase preliminar de ambos. KÍ Klaksvík e B36 Tórshavn foram os primeiros clubes da história das Ilhas Faroe a jogarem uma fase, respectivamente, da Liga e da Copa, porém sem passarem da primeira etapa.

    A partir de 2006 o nome da competição sofreu algumas mudanças por motivos de patrocínios, passando a se chamar Formuladeildin entre 2006 e 2008, Vodafonedeildin entre 2009 e 2011, e Effodeildin desde então. A segunda divisão passou, então, a receber o nome de 1.deildin. A fórmula de disputa é simples e padrão na maioria das ligas europeias: jogos em turno e returno com os dez participantes em pontos corridos. O vencedor se habilita a participar da primeira fase eliminatória da Liga dos Campeões, enquanto o segundo e o terceiro lugares vão encarar a fase inicial de qualificação da Liga Europa. Os dois últimos colocados, como já visto, são relegados para a segundona nacional.

    O maior vencedor da Liga Faroesa desde 1942 é o HB Tórshvan com 21 títulos, seguido do KÍ Klaksvík com 17. O atual detentor da taça é o EB Streymur. Já os maiores artilheiros de uma única edição são os ex-atacantes faroeses Uni Arge, pelo HB Tórshavn em 1997, e Fríði Johannesen, pelo B68 Toftir em 1995, ambos com 24 gols. Como não poderia ser diferente, a liga conta com alguns brasileiros, notadamente o atacante carioca Clayton Nascimento, de 34 anos, saído da base do Tigres do Brasil/RJ e desde 2002 no ÍF Fuglafjørður, artilheiro da última edição com 22 gols; e o zagueiro baiano Alex dos Santos, de 32, que começou a carreira na Portuguesa de Desportos em 2002 e hoje veste a camisa do HB Tórshavn.

    Abaixo, dados e estatísticas da Liga Faroesa de futebol.


    LIGA FAROESA - 1ª DIVISÃO (EFFODEILDIN)


    * Fundação: 1942

    * Organização: FSF - Associação de Futebol das Ilhas Faroe (Fótbólutssamband Føroya em faroês)

    * Fórmula: pontos corridos com 10 clubes jogando entre si em turno e returno

    * Clubes participantes em 2013 (10): 07 Vestur, AB Argir, B36 Tórshavn, EB Streymur, HB Tórshavn, ÍF Fuglafjørður, KÍ Klaksvík, NSÍ Runavík, TB Tvøroyri e Vikingur

    * Campeões: HB Tórshavn (21), KÍ Klaksvík (17), B36 Tórshavn (9), TB Tvøroyri (7), GÍ Gøta (6), B68 Toftir (3), EB Streymur (2), NSÍ Runavík (1), SÍ Sørvágur (1) e VB Vágur (1)

    * Maiores artilheiros de uma edição: Fríði Johannesen (pelo B68 Toftir em 1995) e Uni Arge (pelo HB Tórshavn em 1997) com 24 gols



    Foto 1: UEFA.com


              Scienziati senza frontiere         

    Voci, lingue, facce diverse. La globalizzazione della scienza porta i ricercatori in giro per il mondo. Le loro teste sono materia prima preziosa per il paese che li accoglie. Il problema può non essere esplorare i segreti della natura, ma ottenere un permesso di soggiorno. Allora la vita di uno scienziato si fa dura. Ostacoli economici e burocratici: se l'Italia offre questo, il bilancio tra cervelli in entrata e in uscita non sarà a nostro favore. Ne parlano da Trieste ricercatori e studenti stranieri del Centro Internazionale di Fisica Teorica e Stefano Fantoni, direttore della Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati.

    Realizzato da Anna, Andrea e Enrico, studenti del I anno del Master in Comunicazione della Scienza della Sissa


              Europe Summit Aims to Revive Lost Momentum Toward Unity         

    WITH public opinion soured on the merits of European unity, European Community leaders hope to ``relaunch Europe'' with a special summit tomorrow celebrating ratification of the long-awaited Maastricht Treaty.

    ``It's important to get the public thinking in terms of Europe again,'' says one Belgian Foreign Ministry official.

    But the celebration risks being seen as irrelevant by much of the public it targets, as Europeans worry about record-high unemployment, challenges to their infant-to-elder social-welfare system, and instability on the continent's eastern borders.

    ``In Germany, at least, people are thinking about their job security, while published opinion is wondering about the future course of Russia, and neither one sees how the EC can have a major impact on those concerns,'' says Josef Janning, deputy director of the research group on Europe at the University of Mainz in Germany. ``People are seeing such issues less in European and more in national terms.''

    The Maastricht Treaty, an ambitious blueprint for providing the EC with a monetary union and a common foreign and security policy by the latter part of the decade, was supposed to have been ratified and the process of its implementation begun in January 1992. That the treaty was not fully ratified until this month, when the German constitutional court finally approved it, provides a measure of the public doubt about Maastricht's goals.

    In the two-year delay, Maastricht was battered by an initial outright rejection by Danish voters in a referendum, plus rough ratification battles in Britain and France. The European currency crises of October 1992 and this past summer mocked the monetary union goal, while the EC's weak and disjointed response to the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina posed deep questions about the feasibility of a common foreign policy. Operation `restore stature'

    Tomorrow's summit, held in Brussels, is a German-French initiative to try to restore both Maastricht's and Europe's public stature. But even in France, where regard for the Community runs high, doubts are strong about what this summit can accomplish.

    ``No one should expect much of anything concrete out of this summit,'' says Phillipe Moreau-Defarges, an EC specialist at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. ``There's too much division among the EC countries for decisions to be made.''

    One possible area of action that Mr. Moreau-Defarges cites provides a good example of the Community's current lack of a common vision. The summit could give a new boost to earlier economic ``growth initiatives'' that have had trouble getting off the ground, he says.

    Elsewhere in Europe, where public spending is already causing record debts, and where skepticism is strong over the actual impact of large public-works programs, enthusiasm for such proposals is slight.

    ``The German public is definitely not in favor of this kind of centralized program to rebuild Europe's economic strength,'' Dr. Janning says. ``People in Ireland or Portugal may see Brussels [EC headquarters] as a guarantor or creator of jobs,'' he adds, since those countries receive substantial EC development funds, ``but they certainly don't in Germany.''

    Germany and France also had wanted to take up another issue at the summit: Community institutional reforms. The larger countries feel their power is too limited by the generally equal rights of smaller members, and concern is growing that the Community's enlargement to include three or four new small members by 1995 will further tilt the balance and generally render the Community more bureaucratic and plodding. Putting off reform

    German proposals for streamlining the EC administration met with staunch resistance from small members, and reform will likely be put on hold until the next EC treaty review in 1996.

    To demonstrate that Maastricht is now in force, EC leaders are expected to prepare the next stage of economic and monetary union by launching the European Monetary Institute, ``embryo'' of a future European central bank. The institute's location in Germany is likely to be approved, a move that could open the way for decisions on the placement of several other new EC institutions, including a patent office and environmental agency.

    Still, there is a lingering feeling that Maastricht, negotiated in 1990, is a treaty already left behind by European events. ``By spring of next year we may very well have a new imperial Russia to contend with, something never imagined when Maastricht was written,'' Janning says. ``Economies are seen more in national terms. [Community] leaders will have to work hard,'' he adds, ``to demonstrate that Maastricht is relevant in these conditions.''

    Become a part of the Monitor community


              Erika Berroth        

    Erika Berroth, associate professor of German, is the recipient of the 2014 Coalition of Women in German Faculty Research Award. The award recognizes and supports projects that address a significant topic with demonstrated relevance to German Studies informed by a feminist perspective. Preference is given to projects that engage the intersections of gender with other categories such as sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, religion, and citizenship. The Coalition of Women in German, WIG, also encourages proposals that further the project of rethinking German Studies along transnational lines. Dr. Hester Baer, President of WIG notes the relevance of Berroth's research project to feminist work in the context of transnational aesthetics, representations of economic transformations in East-Central Europe, and environmental implications in the literature of migration. Berroth is working on a book about the contemporary German author Marica Bodrožić, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature in 2013.


              Notables Intro        

    Getting Down to Business (and Accounting and Economics)


              The Art Of The Summer Garden 2009        
    A Photo-Journal Feature
    written and photographed by
    Ginger Van Hook



    Features Beverly Hills Artist
    LINDA KUNIK
    "PLANT IT FORWARD"


    Local Beverly Hills Artist Creates Art
    From Her Garden
    Launching a new project called
    “PLANT IT FORWARD”

    A local artist and resident of Beverly Hills turned her garden into an art form by creating a project called “Plant It Forward”. Linda Kunik, an artist and alumna from Otis College of Art and Design has initiated a project to enhance her artistic community as well as inspire local artists to do the same. “Plant It Forward” is about establishing community while reconnecting with the earth, a vision which includes artists bartering for vegetables either by working in the garden or helping in the documentation of the garden’s delights by photographing, videotaping and or journaling about the experience. Ms. Kunik believes trading services for food in these tough economic times makes sense because while cultivating the soil, a group of artists will also cultivate friendships and nourish the community. The foundation of Linda Kunik’s work is to get back to the roots of sustainable agriculture. “Plant It Forward” does exactly what it says. The seeds are planted now and the fruits of this labor go forward to feed people who take from the harvest the inspiration to plant their own gardens.

    “…My vision is for everyone to have their own garden, large or small and if that is not possible, to raise enough awareness for the people to shop locally and support their local Farmer’s Markets…” Ms. Kunik states as she points to the five large gardens she created in the back yard of her home, replacing flowerbeds and lawns in order to plant vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Kunik wanted to give back to her community, raise awareness of the need for personal gardens and utilize the artistic medium to make her statement. “My work has always referenced the land. From my early days as a watercolorist painting landscapes to later works making paintings of deforestation or global warming; the beauty and fragility of the earth has been a recurring theme. Combining my agricultural practice with my art-making seems to be an natural evolution.”

    The prospect of jumping into an artistic adventure to produce homegrown fruits and vegetables with a group of fellow artists was contagious. Thus the enthusiasm carried this labor of love into the summer as Ms. Kunik worked with a group of artists to bring in soil, create raised beds and began to fill them with the seeds of tomatoes, carrots, spinach, lettuce, corn, and a variety of herbs, citrus fruits and assorted vegetables. Some of the artists participating in Plant It Forward include Juna Amano (Painting & Sculpture), Marissa Magdalena (Installation, Performance and Drawing), Ofunne Obiamawe (Photographer), Suzanne Oshinsky (Videographer), Michiko Smith (Painting), Whitney Stolich (Photographer) and Ginger Van Hook (Photographer) as well as the new artists joining every week.

    It is the zenith of summer now and already some of the tomatoes have ripened looking fat, juicy and red. In recent weeks, there have already been harvests of endive lettuce, carrots and radishes. The important element in the formation of this garden is the artistic component of Ms. Kunik’s vision. The raised beds and gardens are shaped into asymmetrical forms with a walking path between them. Large Sunflowers adorn the corners of each of the vegetable beds and the aromas of fresh tomatoes and rosemary mixes with the fragrances of roses and lavender permeating the air in her back yard.

    Linda Kunik has written a blog about her work and continues to support the arts by highlighting the artistry of organic gardening in photography and painting. She also founded a community artist forum called the O Salon. The O Salon is where artists network and take part in conceptual critique as well as share information about each other’s works. Ms. Kunik is involved in a number of professional organizations including the Los Angeles Art Association, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Docent Council and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

    Linda Kunik photographed beside her painting
    Exhibition at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, California, 2008
    (Photo by Ginger Van Hook)

    Plant It Forward-the starving artist project
    http://plantitforwardla.blogspot.com
    lindakunik@gmail.com
    www.lkunik.com

    Additional artists websites and blogs:

    • Juna Amano (Painting & Sculpture) http://junaamano.blogspot.com

    • Marissa Magdalena (Installation, Performance and Drawing) www.marissamagdalena.com

    • Ofunne Obiamawe (Photographer) www.RepublicofPeace.com

    • Suzanne Oshinsky (Videographer) http://isoareyesore.blogspot.com/.

    • Michiko Smith (Painting)

    • Whitney Stolich (Photographer) www.whitneystolich.com

    • Ginger Van Hook (Photographer) www.gingervanhook.com
    • http://gingersartjournal.blogspot.com

    • Luke Van Hook (Painting) www.lukevanhook.com








    "Plant It Forward" : The week of June 07, 2009

















    "Plant It Forward" : The week of July 01, 2009





    "Plant It Forward" : The week of July 08, 2009




















    "Plant It Forward" : The week of July 15, 2009





















    "Plant It Forward" : The week of July 22, 2009










    "Plant It Forward" : The week of July 29, 2009








    "Plant It Forward" : The week of August 5, 2009

    Artist, Linda Kunik planted a garden to share with fellow artists.


















    "Plant It Forward" : The day of August 08, 2009

    HARVEST DAY!










































    "Plant It Forward" : The Week of August 12, 2009






























    "Plant It Forward" : Week of August 19, 2009



















              Best Time To Invest in Art, NOW! by Ginger Van Hook        
    TV celebrity Jason Alexander supports the arts at the TAG Gallery in Santa Monica, California on August 18, 2007 for the CALIFORNIA OPEN EXHIBITION show juried by Peter Frank. Now showing NEW WORKS, painting, mixed media, sculpture, photography and video through September 1st 2007. Jason Alexander, an actor who played the part of "George" in the long running and popular hit TV show "Seinfeld",
    is pictured here beside sculpture artist Ali Alinejad.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Christine Owens, president of the Focus One Community Credit Union and sponsor of the
    Focus One Gallery in Monrovia, California is presented with the Renaissance Award
    by Monrovia City Councilman, Joe Garcia at the Monrovia Arts Festival Association Gala Black Tie Annual Fund-raising Event May 12, 2007. The Renaissance Award is given to honor and recognize a special member of the community whose contributions to their fellow citizens leads to the cultural enrichment of the community as a whole. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist, Photographer and Actor, David Newsom poses with his dog in front of his latest photographs (Thistle #1) being exhibited at the DCA Fine Arts Gallery, in Santa Monica, California, (June 1, 2007 through July 14th, 2007). Three miles of Idaho is an exhibit focusing on the landscape between his brother and his sister's properties in a unique and poignant family setting. David Newsom released large scale renditions of his work currently published from his best-selling book titled SKIP.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Peter Frank, Jurist, for the TAG Gallery, CALIFORNIA OPEN EXHIBITION,
    stands beside emerging Los Angeles based artist, Luke Van Hook, August 18th, 2007.
    The Painting in background, oil on canvas, "May", the study of Giotto's perfect circle.
    by Luke Van Hook
    (Investigating the legend that Giotto drew a perfect circle for the Pope)

    As the economy goes up and down, so do the trends in the arts and art collecting. This is an exciting time for the arts because we have many historical markers and world conditions that exist today that make it a good time to invest in the arts. For instance, instability in the stock market often releases money to make investments in art, that, like real estate, also goes up in value as the years progress. Additionally, there are wars raging around the world so instability in world economic markets are impacting the art market too. The best impact that market instability plays upon the arts is that it gives incentives to support artists in your local communities. These artists are here and now. Their work is presently available, and like property, it too can be insured, placed into a family trust or safety deposit vault and along with the family heirlooms, art can be bequeathed as a legacy or inheritance to members of your family. Both the housing market and the stock market have been riding a roller-coaster in recent years making a good piece of tangible artwork a far more solid investment than betting on governments, point spreads or Las Vegas Mega Slots.

    M
    y husband Luke and I have explored a number of fine art galleries and art communities that will interest the art lover, the art collector and fellow artists in the pursuit of great works being created in the NOW, as well as some works that have survived the test of time. In my Blog I intend to discuss some of the hot spots and hot artists in Sunny Southern California. I'll share photos with you of some of these exciting options available to the every day collector, the seasoned collector, the art aficionados, or the emerging collectors eager with new money to infuse into an already thriving and ripe harvest of works in Oil Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Conceptual works, Collage, Digital Photography, Digital Film and Electronic Visual Art.

    Through this summer we visited communities on the West side such as Santa Monica, West LA, and Culver City. In the inland areas, we visited some of the foothill mountain art communities such as Glendale and a little further inland, we visited Old Town Monrovia. Starting with the inland foothills we find the quaint town of Monrovia where I grew up and went to school at Immaculate Conception Elementary on Shamrock Avenue. In Monrovia, the City of Art and in Duarte, the City of Health, I grew up as a child. I volunteered about 300 hours as a candy striper for the City of Hope in my teenage years, went on to work for the Duarte Library and attended Alverno High School for girls in Sierra Madre. This is the place where I was raised marching in parades with the Brownies and the Girl Scouts and where I learned to tap dance, twirl a baton and where I rode a ferris wheel for the first time at the fiesta, (as well as ate a lot of cotton candy), I came back as an adult to find an incredible amount of support for the arts in local schools. The arts are not limited to crayons and pencils either. There is an extensive array of art mediums in which students, and some very young students at that, learn to hone their creative skills. For instance, at Paint N Play on Myrtle Avenue, they learn how to throw pottery. Also, with after school teacher, Rouzanna Berberian, children learn the art of drawing, photography and gallery showmanship as well. There are art lessons going on, on almost every street corner you encounter in the busy Old Town Center on Myrtle near the Krikorian Movie theatre. You'll find this charming section of town both soothing and exhilarating. You ought to try walking up and down the main street where there are sidewalk activities, new park benches to rest under shade trees, new lampposts and lanterns all reminiscent of a nostalgic time. Artists show their work on wide city blocks and inside cool and dim lit gallery spaces. The mountains loom in the distance and the afternoons yeild a light summer breeze in the early evening.

    We support the Monrovia Arts Festival Association in their endeavors to promote the arts to the children at a very young age. It is not uncommon for lots of families that are raised to appreciate art to blossom into artists later in life. MAFA is a nonprofit organization led by President Bill Beebe with a history of supporting local artists and local after-school art programs. Over the years, the Monrovia community has begun to expand its outreach of art by developing local talent through a number of venues: Focus One Gallery for instance, is located in the lobby of the Focus One Community Credit Union at 404 East Huntington Drive on the corner of California and Huntington Drive. The president of Focus One Community Credit Union, Christine Owens is known for her support of local artists and was recently nominated for and awarded the annual Renaissance Award by Monrovia City Councilman Joe Garcia at the MAFA Black Tie Fundraiser in May 2007. This is a prestigious award that goes to honor and recognize a special member of the community whose contributions to their fellow citizens leads to the cultural enrichment of the community as a whole.

    MAFA Marketing coordinator, (on left)Denise Daniels is pictured here with Christine Owens, President of Focus One Community Credit Union and Bill Beebe, President of MAFA at their annual Black Tie Fundraiser that occurs in May.


    Monrovia, California
    Foothill Mountain Communities
    Some Artists in Action...

    THE MONROVIA ARTS FESTIVAL ASSOCIATION otherwise known as MAFA, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and is dedicated to the cultivation and support of the arts in children's after school programs as well as educational awareness of the arts in the community at large. MAFA P.O. Box 92 Monrovia, CA 91017 (www.artfestivals.org) 626-256-3124

    Several galleries and art venues have developed over the years which participate and support MAFA. The following information is current as of August 2007: If your event or venue is not listed, please contact Ginger Van Hook, press liaison, for MAFA at (enilde@sprintmail.com).

    The AZTEK ART GALLERY, is located beside the Aztek Hotel at 305 West Foothill Blvd. Exhibits local artists work as well as holds art classes during scheduled times. The contact person is Bill Hyatt, (Hyatt2000@yahoo.com)

    California Wine and Cheese, LLC supports local artists. New Artist reception for Frank Zgonc, Photographer is scheduled for the evening of Friday August 24th, 2007. Frank Zgonc shares images from his travels through Europe, scenes from Bodie Flats, Nevada and local scenes in Monrovia along with his signature digital watercolor manipulations. California Wine and Cheese is located at 115 W. Foothill Blvd., Owned by Janet and Tom Dugan, their website can be located at www.cawineandcheese.com (Contact by phone 626-358-6500 for reservations.)

    The MONROVIA COFFEE COMPANY supports local artists and is located at 425 South Myrtle Avenue. Exhibits contemporary and emerging artists work. Next artists showing September 1 through December 30th, Ginger and Luke Van Hook Photography exhibit, Methusula in the Bristlecone Pine Forest. (Landscape photographs of some of the oldest pine trees on the planet. Some trees aged over 4,700 years, older than the Egyptian Pyramids.) (Additional digital photography of flowers and collage by Ginger Van Hook.) For artist schedules, contact person is Carol Curtis, (shutterbug@altrionet.com)

    The PAINT 'N PLAY ART GALLERY is affiliated with Monrovia Arts Festival Association in its' support of the arts by providing a meeting place for MAFA members to discuss and plan their upcoming events for the community on a monthly basis. Contact Lisa or Rachel at paintnPlay2@aol.com. Paint 'N Play is located at 418 South Myrtle Avenue. Paint N Play sponsors the SUMMER ARTWALKS in Old Town Monrovia along with several merchants who participate every year. KidsArt, Segil Fine Art, Oh My Goddard Gallery, Family Festival Productions, Scoops, Joy Print and Design, Box Jewelers and Baldwin's Baked Potatoes as well as the Outback SteakHouse- Arcadia and Trader Joe's also participate in art festivities that promote the education of art in schools through Summer Artwalks. For more information regarding Summer Art Walks and how you may participate, you may also contact Betsy Thurmond (626-358-7800) or kamonrovia@verizon.net. The next SUMMER ARTWALK is scheduled for Saturday evening, August 25, 2007 from 6:30 to 9pm.


    *********************************************************

    GLENDALE COMMUNITY
    ARTISTS EXHIBIT AT THE
    BRAND LIBRARY ART GALLERIES

    August 11 - September 28th, 2007.
    Glendale Public Library Associates of Brand Library
    1601 West Mountain Street Glendale, CA 91201
    818-548-2051 www.brandlibrary.org


    A group show Titled: PATTERN PLAY. Four artists demonstrate the variety of patterns available in color schemes, pattern originality, unique images in oil paints, sculpture, and graphic designs. Artist reception August 18, 2007. Artists featured are Patsy Cox, Yuriko Etue, Melanie Rothschild, and Jerrin Wagstaff. Definitely a great show for the entire family. You'll experience a great variety of brilliant colors and patterns that pop out of the walls, rise from the floor and reveal creative abstract patterns that draw you in, spiral you out and make you feel good.

    Artist, Melanie Rothschild

    Artist, Patsy Cox

    Artist, Yuriko Etue

    Artist, Jerrin Wagstaff


    **********************************************************

    SANTA MONICA AND COASTAL EDGES
    OF CALIFORNIA ART


    16:1 Gallery, Santa Monica, California Summer 2007

    MONGREL

    Kathryn Andrews
    Chris Lipomi
    Donald Morgan
    Stephanie Taylor
    organized by Kathryn Andrews

    Showing August 11 through September 8, 2007

    Sixteen:One
    2116 Pico Blvd., Unit B
    Santa Monica, CA 90405
    310-450-4394
    email: info@16to1.com
    www.16to1.com


    ************************************************************************************************************

    SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

    DCA FINE ART GALLERY
    Delia Cabral, Gallery Director
    www.dcafineart.com
    delia@dcafineart.com
    3107 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405
    310-396-8565

    From Exhibition, THREE MENDACIOUS MINDS, (The Return of Paris' New Pestilence School) David Schoffman, Currado Malaspina, Micah Carpenter July 23- August 31, 2007 310-770-2525
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook



    ******************************************************************************************************************

    SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

    TAG Gallery
    TAGtheartistsgallery.com
    Elizabeth Sadoff
    Gallery Director
    2903 Santa Monica Blvd.
    Santa Monica, CA 90404
    310-829-9556

    Elizabeth Sadoff, Gallery Director, TAG Gallery
    handing out awards to the winning artists.

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Jason Cimenski accepts award from Peter Frank and Elizabeth Sadoff
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    First Place Winner, Artist, Jason Cimenski with his daughter "The Flooded Room" TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007 Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist Kim Kimbro, TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Artist, Lorien Suarez,
    TAG Gallery August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist, Carlos Daub,
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Derek McMullen, Luke Van Hook, Dennis Treretola Three artists, oil painters, from the same graduating class at Otis College of Art and Design, 2004
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Artists, and fine art painters, Carlos Daub, Luke Van Hook, Dennis Treretola
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist, Carole Garland, "Midnight Mystery", oil on canvas
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    TAG Gallery, Santa Monica, California
    August 18, 2007
    Standing room only at the popular show
    CALIFORNIA OPEN EXHIBITION

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Peter Frank thanks the artists and their guests who have participated
    at the TAG Gallery, Santa Monica, California Open Exhibition,
    August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook



              one in a million        

    Let's get realistic about love.

    For this exercise, we will make certain broad assumptions, discounting exceptions and outliers. We will try to figure what's happening statistically when two people fall in love. We will also place our exercise in an Indian social and cultural context.

    Let's start with the potential "universe" of people one can possibly fall in love with. We will start with the total population, and reduce for mutually exclusive groups. India has 1.2 billion people. ~50% for the opposite sex -> 600 million. India's median age is 27 years (50% population less than 27 years of age) . For this exercise, assuming that one intends to get married in the age range of 24-32, an 8-year span (our math won't vary much if we increase this window on either side by a few extra years, there is a bulge below this range), we are down to ~80 million.

    It gets a little tricky from here. Remove for some semblance of economic backgrounds and we are down to ~8 million (80 lakh). Now from this, remove for religion & caste preferences (I am looking at you Brahmins), dietary preferences (no onion no garlic anyone?), height & weight preferences (taar bijli se lambe humaare piya), complexion preferences (it's only fair, right? Lovely), educational preferences, language barriers and north Indian and south Indian and Gujju and Mallu and Kashmiri and Jat preferences. And so far we haven't removed for people already married or in love with someone else who is not you. And after you have removed for all of the above, you need to be with a person with whom when you spend time, your emotional response to them lies between "surreal" and "I can stand this person" on a scale of butterflies, and the other person's emotional response also lies somewhere in the same ballpark. And whoever you are left with, you haven't even begun to find him/her yet. Given your life experiences of school, college, workplace, pubs, bars, travels, tinder and what not, and the count of people you potentially meet through these life experiences, what are the fuckin' odds.

    I had always believed that the concept of "the one" does not hold. But given the odds, and given that there exists atleast "a" one, you are probably better off with a the. Two people falling in love with each other is a statistical miracle.


    [from Watchmen] Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event...; ...and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it's you - only you - that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos. It's like turning air into gold. A miracle.


    I hear "everything is great, but I am not so sure" ever so often that it's fuckin' unbelievable. I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would break up. You met someone and liked, and they liked you back, and you loved each other's company, and then you eventually started driving each other crazy and "it didn't work out"?! Huh?

    For people who are single still, I feel sorry for you. The odds are stacked against you and there is little hope for you (lol). Live, is all, and maybe, just maybe lightning will strike (in this case, twice). And for people who are married or with someone and in love, go hug your Significant Other really hard right now right this moment, take a good look at them, smile, hold their hands, and know that they are your one in a million. You have witnessed a miracle.




              Aam Aadmi Party: the political start-up        


    "Aaj hum yahaan aayein hain sabse ye kehne, ki kuch to karna hoga. Hum sabko kuch karna hoga."

    "Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota. Use perfect banaana hota hai. Police mai bharti honge, military join karenge, IAS banenge, politics ka hissa ban ke iss desh ki sarkaar chalaayenge. Ye desh badlega, hum badlenge ise."

    -- Rang De Basanti (2006)


    I quoted from Rang De Basanti, but it does not mean that this is going to be an incensed hysterical rant of a twenty-something someone which goes "Inquilab Zindabad!". Inquilab, sure. But let's put it into perspective and context. Inquilab will happen. One step at a time.


    Election is coming.

    It's easy to talk about politics sitting in our rooms, dissing any and everything that is happening around us. Heck, even this post qualifies. People here in India, and people abroad too - US, Europe, or farther east, you name it. "India has gone beyond a point-of-no-return." Sure, it must have sounded profound sitting in a room in a high-rise with a city skyline view in some sophisticated corner of the world, or here, in India. Sorry, no. But I have no interest in a conversation that begins or ends with that sentence, whether you live in India, or live abroad and intend to come back. It does not sound profound to me because I intend to spend my life in this country, by choice. Hopefully.

    I would not care if haters and dissers shoot holes into this post. By all means, go ahead. I admit I don't know my politics or economics. Let the intellectual masturbation begin. But I will not engage you in a conversation unless you give me a viable choice in the upcoming Delhi elections in November. We'll talk about NaMo vs Rahul Gandhi, sure, after the Delhi elections.


    It is really sad that after 66 years of our country's independence, the issues today, still, in the capital of India are Water, Electricity, Safety of Women, and Corruption. Forget Infrastructure, Public Health, or a healthy eco-system for entrepreneurs, we haven't afforded ourselves that luxury. Not yet.

    We, the youth, are lucky to have been born at a very opportune moment in the history of our country. We have the privilege to be a part of the 'Indian growth story', to be the Indian growth story. Be a part of it. Engage. Of course, it is unreasonable to ask people to quit whatever they wish to do with their lives and set out "to clean the system". No. But help those who are trying, in whatever little way. You can still be a part of it. That's why I am writing this.

    I know about a start-up that is trying to win the Delhi elections. I hope they do. It was unthinkable until a year ago, that a newly formed political party could think of forming a state government, let alone contesting elections with a strong foothold, or even fielding candidates in all the contested constituencies with confidence. Today, not so much. AAP doesn't have a long history, nor do they have the money or the adequate resources even, but they do have the passion and the will to do something. They believe they can, I believe they can. Sure, you or me might not agree with everything that they say or want to do, but do you agree with anyone a hundred percent? And if not them, who is your pick, and why? The question is whether anyone, anyone with the will and the passion can make a difference if they want? This is the test.

    Santosh died. No, I am not using her name to sensationalize this and drive my point across. The fact is, a good person wanted to contest the elections, and she died. It is NOT trivial. Can you do something about it?

    Take a look at their candidates list. Go ahead, look at their profiles. There is a commando who lost his hearing a hundred percent during 26/11, and was fired from the Army after that. Or this construction worker living in the slums, who is looking to contest from Rajouri Garden. And then, there is an ex-IRS IITian who championed the cause of RTI. He is pitting himself against Sheila Dixit. These people are getting their voice heard. We are getting our voice heard.

    At the very least what I'm confident of is this, that these candidates won't be murderers or rapists, and that if they are deemed incapable or corrupt, they will be sacked by their own party. Atleast give these people a chance. One chance. And like all start-ups, they need money to scale. They have been angel funded by several investors, and are looking to mobilize resources through crowdsourcing.


    What are you doing, Delhi? I'm jealous because you got this opportunity before I did. And things are happening and will, with or without you. Here's what the donations to AAP from our country looks like [link] :


    Almost as much from Maharashtra as from Delhi?! And it's not even Maharashtra's elections! There is still time. Get on board with this, man.


    1) You can donate in kind. There is much more than just money that is required to contest elections. You can give whatever you have to spare. [link]

    2) You can adopt a constituency. From anywhere. [link]

    3) You can make a recurring donation every month. [link]

    4) Or, you can just donate once and be done with it. [link]

    5) And the least you can do is get your voter i-card made and exercise your franchise. Vote. [link]


    An incident happened not so long ago. Arvind Kejriwal was asked by a journalist, "What would you do if you don't win the Delhi elections?". He responded by saying, "If we lose, what will you do?"

    Atleast we are talking about the right things.

    So... what will you do?



    Oh, and in this interview, Arvind Kejriwal answers most of the questions commonly posed by the haters and the dissers. Do watch. You might not agree with him or still be unsatisfied, but atleast hear what he has got to say.





    If you know me personally, or have been following this blog, you would know that I am not someone who begs for likes and shares. But this one time, I will. If this post struck a chord, please share it. It's only a click, and is much less to ask than an Inquilab.



              Special 313: L.A. Auto Show        

    TWiT Live Specials (Video-HD)

    In the market for a new ride? Or just interested in the latest automotive tech news available? We checked out some insane custom rides, Chevy's extended electric vehicle the Volt, Ford's EcoBoost motors pack power in a small package, Tim Stevens from CNet's RoadShow explains the future of tech in the automotive industry and BMW makes an Olympic wheelchair.

    • Chevrolet, Michelle Malcho- The Volt delivers 53 miles when only using the battery or up to 420 miles with a fuel tank of gas.
    • Galpin Auto Sports, Mad Mike - Take a look into the artistic and sometimes strange world of custom cars with Mad Mike from the TV show "Pimp My Ride".
    • RoadShow, Tim Stevens - Tim and Padre go over the hot tech from this years AutoShow and where the future of tech is going with the automobile industry.
    • BMW Olympic Wheelchair, Brad Cracchiola - BMW carries over years of automotive technology to create the most advanced Wheelchair in the world.
    • Ford EcoBoost and Echo Sport, Eric Loefler - Making an engine powerful and economic Ford's EcoBoost technology continues to innovate in a compact package.

    Host: Fr. Robert Ballecer, SJ

    Guest: Tim Stevens

    Download or subscribe to this show at https://twit.tv/shows/twit-live-specials.

    Thanks to CacheFly for the bandwidth for this special presentation.


              MASTER IN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM A SUCCESS AT ECU        
    Rachel Seewald-Phan

    A year after being instituted as a new degree program by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, East Central University’s Master in Management program is a smashing success.

    At least in the eyes of Rachel Seewald-Phan, who is the first graduate of the program, the former Norman resident went straight into the MiM program after earning her bachelor’s degree and ended up completing her master’s degree in just one year.

    “It was such an amazing experience and learning process that helped me grow as a student and an individual,” said Seewald-Phan. “Because of the MiM program, I was able to relocate to a state where I had no connections and land a job in a little under a month after moving there.”

    Now a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, she is extremely grateful for the program.

    “When the opportunity to enroll in the program was presented, I was somewhat hesitant since my undergraduate degree was in mass communication and public relations and I do not have a heavy business background,” she said. “However, I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The faculty involved in the MiM program are very helpful in working to make sure the students understand the material. They truly want to see everyone succeed.”

    Seewald-Phan is now client services manager at Lenox Wealth Management in Cincinnati.

    “I love my job and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the MiM program and all the wonderful people in the Stonecipher School of Business,” said Seewald-Phan.

    The MiM program is designed to help those with a bachelor’s degree develop management skills. This includes students who received their degrees in non-business fields.

    “There are many who have earned their first degrees and have been placed in positions of managers, but have not been given the knowledge and skills needed to be in successful managerial positions,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of ECU’s Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “Additionally, current students, who are skilled practitioners of the subject matter of their first degrees, had their potential to advance to managerial positions limited due to a lack of knowledge and skills in business.”

    Objectives of the program are to:

    1. Provide an innovative, high-level, focused program in response to employers’ needs for managerial-level employees with a sound knowledge of business theory and practices.
    2. Improve student opportunities to either gain employment or increase their chance of a level promotion at their current employer by offering a degree that is suitable for current and potential entry-level managers whose degree was not in a business field.
    3. Work with local employers to utilize this degree as part of personal development plans for current and future front-line managers.
    4. Provide a unique program for those in ECU’s service area and region who are seeking to complement their non-business degree with a business graduate degree that can be completed in 12 months.

    The curriculum consists of 30 hours derived from such courses as managerial accounting, employment labor and law, economics for managers, finance for managers, research methods for managerial decision making, foundations of management, leadership and organizational behavior, strategic management and marketing management. Three more credit hours will also come from one of the following: managing in the global economy, special topics in management, internship in management and individual study in management.

    Godwin anticipates 50 students to be enrolled in the program this fall.

    “The student feedback is that what you learn in the classroom on a Tuesday can be applied on the job on Wednesday,” Godwin said. “It is more application-focused instead of theory-focused.”

    For more information on ECU’s Master in Management program go online to https://www.ecok.edu/academic-affairs-programs/academics/colleges-schools/school-of-graduate-studies/master-management or call Dr. Charlie Jones at 580-559-5269.

     

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              The Role of Small Loans in Today’s Consumer Economy        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Small loans are quickly gaining influence that extends beyond their percentage of the economy. Smaller online lenders increasingly employ cutting-edge digital tools to provide their customers with faster decisions, expanded access to lending associates and greater credit options. A healthy market for small loans can stimulate business, increase the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, and

    The Role of Small Loans in Today’s Consumer Economy


              What You Should Know About Cash Loans – Before Borrowing        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Cash loans are loans in which you may be required to repay quickly. While financial experts and well-meaning friends and family will probably tell you to save money for financial emergencies, it can be tough to do in this economy. Most people request a small amount when they need cash loans, and they usually seek

    What You Should Know About Cash Loans – Before Borrowing


              The Bad Credit Loan Market is Alive and Well        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Today’s unbalanced economy has left millions of Americans with credit scores that are below average. Because of this, the bad credit loan market is alive and well. While credit scores have never been easier to access, too many borrowers fail to track or even check what their score is. In fact, a recent NerdWallet survey

    The Bad Credit Loan Market is Alive and Well


              Does Easy Access to Quick Cash Help or Harm Borrowers?        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Many economists are now questioning whether easy access to quick cash is helping or harming borrowers. Access to credit has long been accepted as an important part of building a strong financial base. However, what many people do not realize is that the types of consumer credit in use today were rarely seen before the

    Does Easy Access to Quick Cash Help or Harm Borrowers?


              5 Benefits of Secured Loans When Starting a Business        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    There are many benefits of getting a secured loan to use in your business. Business lending grows increasingly difficult to obtain in today’s economy. You have to show your business records, profit and loss statement and financial projections in a sound business plan. Your credit scores–both personal and business–affect whether your loan is approved. If

    5 Benefits of Secured Loans When Starting a Business


              The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys        
    imageObjectives: Rates of substance use and other mental health concerns among attorneys are relatively unknown, despite the potential for harm that attorney impairment poses to the struggling individuals themselves, and to our communities, government, economy, and society. This study measured the prevalence of these concerns among licensed attorneys, their utilization of treatment services, and what barriers existed between them and the services they may need. Methods: A sample of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys completed surveys, assessing alcohol use, drug use, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Results: Substantial rates of behavioral health problems were found, with 20.6% screening positive for hazardous, harmful, and potentially alcohol-dependent drinking. Men had a higher proportion of positive screens, and also younger participants and those working in the field for a shorter duration (P < 0.001). Age group predicted Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores; respondents 30 years of age or younger were more likely to have a higher score than their older peers (P < 0.001). Levels of depression, anxiety, and stress among attorneys were significant, with 28%, 19%, and 23% experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. Conclusions: Attorneys experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise consistent with alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than other professional populations. Mental health distress is also significant. These data underscore the need for greater resources for lawyer assistance programs, and also the expansion of available attorney-specific prevention and treatment interventions.
              Participação do Projeto Motorista Legal na Transamil        

    A empresa Transamil Logistic executou nos dias 18 e 19/04/2010 o Projeto Motorista Legal. Foram realizadas diversas palestras. O instrutor de Trânsito Elixsandro Seixas representou o CFC Shaloon ministrando palestra de Direção Defensiva e Economia Doméstica. Confira as fotos.


              Municípios paranaenses recebem R$ 18,9 milhões em investimentos        
    O deputado estadual Luiz Claudio Romanelli (PSB), líder do governo na Assembleia Legislativa, participou nesta terça-feira (8) da assinatura feita pelo governador do Estado Beto Richa (PSDB) que autorizou a liberação de R$ 18,9 milhões para 62 municípios do Paraná. A verba será destinada para a construção de academias ao ar livre, mini-arenas esportivas, compra de veículos de transporte, caminhões e máquinas de obras.
    De acordo com Richa, os recursos envolvem todas as áreas em diversas regiões do estado. “Isso demonstra o respeito do governo aos municípios, fazemos uma gestão eminentemente municipalista. Precisamos investir nas cidades para garantir uma vida melhor aos paranaenses”, afirmou.
    Para Romanelli, os investimentos, que têm sido constantes, mostram que o Paraná segue em frente. “Mesmo com a economia brasileira ainda em recessão e sem previsão de crescimento futuro, o Paraná está ampliando as conquistas populares e fazendo com que as pequenas cidades do interior continuem a se desenvolver. Isto porque 15% de toda a Receita Líquida Corrente do Estado deste ano, está sendo destinada à obras e programas que melhoram a vida das pessoas”, disse.
    Também participaram da Solenidade as prefeitas e os prefeitos de Cambará, Jose Salim Haggi Neto, de Santana do Itararé, João Ferras Michetti, de Colombo, Beti Pavin, de Querência do Norte, Rozinei Aparecida Raggiotto Oliveira, e de Moreira Sales, Rafael Brito do Prado.

              3 motivos         

     A Chá escolheu fazer parte do movimento que prioriza o consumo consciente, o que torna a experiência boa para quem compra e para quem vende.

     

     

    Saiba o porquê dos 3 motivos apaixonantes da Chá:

     

    3motivosapaixonates

     

    atemporal

     ATEMPORAL - Segue a tendência universal, onde a moda não tem prazo de validade. Peças com tempo de uso muito maior e que não perdem o valor com o passar dos anos.

     

    sustentabilidade

     

    SUSTENTÁVEL -  Estabelece uma relação de confiança entre a marca e pequenas manufacturas, produzindo com matérias primas e processos que minimizam os danos à natureza.

     

    feito no Brasil

    FEITO NO BRASIL - Produção local, 100% nacional. Gerando renda e fortalecendo a economia do nosso país.  

     

     

    Acreditamos nas suas escolhas e sabemos que juntos,

    somos capazes de transformar o mundo para melhor.


              The 2014 Acura RLX will be ready to drive in Spring 2013        



    The word 'innovative' is thrown around quite a bit - and nine times out of ten, it's not warranted. That one time where it is, belongs to the 2014 Acura RLX.

    Considered the most advanced Acura ever produced, the RLX took the L.A. Auto Show by storm, and people can't stop talking about it.

    Jeff Conrad, VP and general manager of Acura Sales says that "The 2014 Acura RLX heralds the introduction of a number of new signature Acura technologies that provide the driver a feeling of connection to the product, to the road, and to the world from the very moment they enter the vehicle." He goes on to add, "The RLX embodies the Acura commitment to create vehicles with outstanding handling that truly respond to the will of the driver."

    To make this car go really fast, an all-new 3.5L direct-injected SOHC i-VTEC V-6 engine sits under the hood, and produces up to 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. With the engine comes a brand new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission. The accessible 'Sport Mode' provides the driver with more aggressive shift points and greater engine braking when decelerating. Fuel economy is projected to get a 'best-in-class' rating, getting up to 31 mpg highway and 24 combined. Another option is the RLX featuring Acura's new Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, creating 370 hp and a fuel-efficiency rating of 30 mpg combined, will become available late 2013.

    One innovative feature of the 2014 RLX comes in the form of Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), which is the first technology to showcase independent and continuous control of the left and right rear-wheel steering angles which helps not only the handling of agility, but also the maneuverability at all types of speeds. Along with P-AWS, the RLX comes with Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control and Agile Handling Assist dynamic braking system. The RLX comes equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS). Plus, more firsts for Acura include the Electronic Parking Brake, Automatic Brake Hold, and Agile Handling Assist.

    Inside the cabin, best-in-class rear-seat legroom and overall shoulder room begin the experience for both driver and passenger. Premium metal and wood-grain accents set the tone, while the dual-screens provide both navigation and one-touch access to everything from radio to air-conditioning to SMS text message function. In addition to the screens, the RLX offers up push-button start, power sunroof, try-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth.

    With Acura taking safety very seriously, the 2014 RLX offers many current standout features, as well as some brand new ones. The all-new Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Jewel-Eye LED headlights join current standards like Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and the popular multi-angle camera.

    It's no doubt that Acura will hit a home run with the 2014 RLX, when it becomes available in Spring 2013. For more information on this or any of Acura's current models, visit your local Acura dealer at Muller Acura of Merrillville. For quality and professional service, please call to set up an appointment.
              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. 

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.

    [View:3255212410001]

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $30 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.

    The Xbox 360 Difference
    While both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions have their share of problems, the last-gen incarnation fares considerably worse. While testing the 360 version, I ran into increased gameplay bugs, load times, pop-up, and embarrassingly blurry visuals as the game struggled to stream in the high-resolution textures. These shortcomings don’t ruin the experience, but they are significant enough to earn the Xbox 360 entry a lower score than the Xbox One version. 

              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. The Xbox One-exclusive modes are even more disappointing. The splitscreen mode is an endless version of Garden Ops, where the second player doesn't get to save his or her progress and the boss mode relegates you to providing support to your team during competitive matches from a topdown map of the battlefield.  

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.

    [View:3255212410001]

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $40 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.


              FIRST WORLD PROPERTY & CAR PRICES BUT STUCK WITH THIRD WORLD WAGES        

    Dear Editors,

    I know of a PR who got retrenched recently. He is a PMET. So now it seems that the influx of cheap and maybe-good foreigners are not only displacing Singaporeans out of their jobs, but maybe also Singapore PRs, new citizens and foreign PMETs who have been working in Singapore for quite some time.

    If the current policy remain unchanged, the fresh influx of foreigners (of lower-pay and maybe questionable qualifications and work experience) will keep displacing workers in Singapore (Singaporeans, PRs, new citizens etc.) out of their jobs and placing a constant downward pressure on wages. But the influx of foreigners will keep placing an upward pressure on housing, food, transport and other important necessities. The age when a Singaporean experiences job uncertainty may just keep getting younger -- from 40s-50s, late 30s-40s then to around 30 and maybe even right after graduation sometime in the future. Most Singaporeans own a HDB flat as their main asset at their old age. With time, each generation may end up with a HDB flat with smaller floor area and from 4-5 room to 3-room to 2-room to shoebox, at one's old age. Singapore may be a place where prices of properties and homes are heading first-world, car prices are out-of-this-world and wages heading third-world.

    A breadwinner's income stability is paramount to the stability of a family. Many social and family issues can result from the stress of parents trying to make ends meet, negatively impacting the lives of young children. This is also not helping the issue of encouraging more Singaporeans to get married and have more children.

    But Singapore may not need to be like this. We are a wealthy country with sufficient savings to support a much more compassionate society. Our country (despite the small land area and lack of natural resources) may be able to comfortably support the lives of Singaporeans such that even the lowest-income can live dignified lives. If everything is mostly left to free economic market forces, a government's work may not be that much to justify a huge salary. With the right policies in place, Singaporeans may be able to enjoy living comfortable and dignified lives in their own home country while sustaining a robust economy and still maintaining a high world stature.

    All Things are Possible
    A.S.S. Contributor

    Editor's Note: 

    Do you have a story to share? Please use our submission form or email us at editorial@allsingaporestuff.com. If not, why not give us a 'Like'?

    Filed Under: 

    Tags: 


              FAMOUS STATIONMASTER CAT PASSES AWAY, ENSHRINED AS GODDESS        

    Tama the stationmaster was a well known sight to visitors at the Kishi railway station in Western Japan. Hired in 2007, she was appointed as stationmaster in 2007 and received her very own stationmaster's uniform - a cap and a jacket. Sitting quietly at the gates to Kishi railway station, she would greet and see off passengers to the station diligently everyday like most stationmasters would.

    But Tama was no ordinary stationmaster - she was a cat. Her "service" to Kishi railway station soon became world famous.

    Legend has it that Tama drew in enough curious tourists and passengers to the station that her employer went from near-bankrupt to profitable. Tourism flourished and even the local economy in Tama's town felt the effects of her popularity.

    On 22nd June last Sunday, Tama passed away in hospital of heart failure. After her death, Tama's employers held a short Shinto-style funeral at the station where she served, where Shinto priests elevated Tama to a "goddess".

    Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima thanked the cat for her "service", and said Tama would be enshrined at a nearby cat shrine next month.

    “Tama-chan really emerged like a savior, a goddess. It was truly my honor to have been able to work with her,” Kojima said in eulogy to the cat.

    During her tenure, Tama had contributed an estimated 1.1 billion yen ($8.9 million) to the local economy.

    Kojima said that when he visited Tama at an animal hospital the day before she died, the cat woke up and reached out to him with her paws, as if asking for a hug, and looked straight into his eyes. He said he told Tama to get well so they can celebrate the cat’s upcoming 10th anniversary as a stationmaster, and said the cat responded with a “meow.”

    Tama had climbed the corporate ladder from stationmaster to “ultra-stationmaster” and vice president of the company before receiving the additional title Sunday of “honorable eternal stationmaster.”

    She will be succeeded by another calico cat, Nitama, now an apprentice stationmaster.

    Editor's Note: 

    Do you have a story to share? Please use our submission form or email us at editorial@allsingaporestuff.com.

    Filed Under: 

    Tags: 


              BRAIN Initiative        
    President Obama recently announced a big new effort to map and understand the human brain. What are we trying to learn about our brains? One thing we will earn is how our brains are structured, "not this well-organized hierarchical control system where everything is in order." Another is how much of mental illness is shaped by experience and society, as opposed to chemical or structural factors. What do we already know about our brains? 12 Things We Know About How The Brain Works. And we know that unconcious processing improves decision-making. That brain structure may be linked to placebo response. And that unconcious brains can read and do math. We know a little bit more about how the brain responds to addiction. And we know that "genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms" in childhood can have permanent ill effects. We think that differences in our brain reflect political differences. But we know that a lot of pop neuroscience is bollocks. What could we do with new information? Could we reverse-engineer AI? Manipulate our brains, neuron-by-neuron? Make better soldiers? Or record dreams? Or activate neurons with light? Or make better, crowdsourced brain maps? Neurotechnology, Social Control, And Revolution
    In our neuro-centric world-view, a person is equated to his brain. The neuro-discourse has penetrated all aspects of our lives from law to politics to literature to medicine to physics. As part of this neuro-revolution, huge military funding is supporting neuro-scientific research; a huge body of basic knowledge on memory, belief formation, cognition and sensory modalities has been gathered over years, with fieldslike social neuroscience, cultural neuroscience, neuroeconomics and neuromarketing has emerging to improve our lifestyle; neurotechnological know-how from wireless non invasive technologies to neuroelectronic interfaces is exponentially advancing; and neurotechnology business reports indicates the rapid increase in neurotechnological start ups and the willingness of bringing neurotechnological products to the market. In my opinion, all the aforementioned indicators indicate that neurotechnology can be potentially used to control social dynamics.

              Strong Towns Conference Sept 24-25        
    The Strong Towns Conference will be a great opportunity to learn about various aspects of building a better Louisville, from historic preservation, economics, urban design, transportation and more. There are a lot of great professionals that will be leading discussions and should be well worth your more »
              British Ambassador Gave a Public Lecture at UNJA        
    Mendalo—The arrival of British ambassador to Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor Leste, Moazzam Malik, at third floor of rectorat building in senate room was welcomed by the students of Jambi University on Monday (13/3). The coming of Moazzam Malik to UNJA was scheduled to give a public lecture to students of Jambi university with theme: “Forest Fire Prevention Efforts by the Government of Jambi Province in Correlation to Global Climate Change”. The event was also attended by Jambi Governor, H. Zumi Zola Zulkifli, S.TP., M.A. In his description, Moazzam said that the forest in Indonesia was one of the biggest forests in the world and it has been the lung of the world. He reiterated that we should safeguard our forest and he also stated that his government would cooperate with the Indonesian government to prevent the side effects of climate changes. He said Indonesia has the best potency to become future country in Asian region even in the world because Indonesia is the fourth biggest population country in the world or its population reaches 250 millions. In his view, there are three contributing factors that make Indonesia a big country, that is, economic regulation system, infrastructure and human resources which made the most important part of advancement of a country.  “We invited students at Jambi University to come to study overseas especially in England. We provided many scholarship schemes, and I saw students in this university were smart and eager to see future,” he commented. On the other hand, the Rector of Jambi University, Prof. H. Johni Najwan, S.H., M.H., Ph.D stated that the coming of British Ambassador to UNJA was expected to give hope to UNJA in this matter was scholarship cooperation. He greatly hoped that there would be a student exchange program with universities in England. Besides that,...

    Continue Reading
              Three prom outfits for under 80$        



     Low budget? no problem!

    I know special events and proms are just around the corner so I did a little search and found for you girls some cheap and classy ideas for as low as 70$ dress + bag. It sounds great, right?
    If you save that much on the dress and bag you could invest more in shoes. It's time to get your favorite pair from Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik that will WOW your appearance.
    Or just spend your money on a nice vacation.
    So what do you think? Which is your favorite? I love the red dress!


    Stiu ca banchetele au inceput, invitatiile la nunti curg in posta , asa ca m-am gandit sa va vin in ajutor. Am gasit cateva tinute, rochie si geanta, la preturi foarte bune , chiar sub 300 lei , transport gratuit sau express prin DHL cu 15$.(putin zic eu). 
    Daca economisiti atat cu rochia si geanta, acum e momentul sa va aruncati la pereche favorita de la Jimmy Choo sau Manolo Blahnik. Sau va puteti cheltuii restul de bani intr-o excursie draguta. 
    Deci ce ziceti? Care e rochia preferata?
    Mie cea rosie imi place mult!


    1. Dress- Clutch     2. Dress- Clutch    3. Dress-Clutch

     Dress-clutch
     Dress-Clutch
    Dress-Clutch



              Usando uma Grid Gráfica efetivamente        
    As Grids economizam tempo e stress na hora de conceber um projeto. Projetos como, lojas virtuais, blogs e sites complexos, tendem a tomar muitos meses para confecção, mas com uso de grids o tempo é reduzido em 50%.

    Grids nos dão uma visão geral de espaçamentos, margens e divs que devemos criar. Muitos pensam que o desenvolvimento de um projeto começa com o código XHTML ou CSS.
    O processo todo começa com um Winframe, que seria o desenho do site em um editor de imagens.
    O editor de imagem nos da a capacidade de trabalhar por camadas, então a Grid pode ficar na camada mais baixa e assim podemos colocar os elementos em cima dela.
    Vamos analizar este projeto que fiz para um cliente.


     Os elementos principais de uma Loja Virtual são as promoções e produtos. A grid foi elaborada em cima desses itens.
    • Na parte de baixo, perto do Footer existem caixas para 4 produtos e uma caixa que pega 2 unidades para a newslleter.
    • A partir daí a grid que tem unidades de 152px e espaçamento de 6px, conseguimos estilizar o menu no topo com harmonia.
    • Além disso a regra dos terços, usada muito em fotografia, foi utilizada para dar equilíbrio no Layout.
    • Fazendo as somas de unidades nossa grid ficou com largura de 954px com unidades de 152px e espaçamentos de 6px.
    • Abaixo do banner temos um div que contém 3 blocos de 310px que farão referências e promoções, novidade e cadastramento de revendedores. Veja que com a grid fica mais fácil de saber quais divs devem ser criadas e em que tamanho.
    • O full_banner está incompleto de propósito para este artigo para que vocês possam ver, que com a grid, a visão de onde colocar, textos e imagens, fica mais clara.
    Está é a forma que se usa Grids para grandes projetos ou para projetos pequenos.
    Vocês devem ter entendido o uso das Grids já nos primeiros artigos, pois não houve muitas perguntas e nem dúvidas.
    Usem grids e bom trabalho!

    Subscreva o CSS-Desvendado completo! Subscreva CSS - Desvendado por Email
              Elemento post o mais importante no Blogger        
    A parte que abriga os post de todo blog é com certeza a parte mais importante de todo projeto.
    Através dela nossos leitores aprendem, se divertem, ficam sabendo do que está acontecendo. Sendo assim vamos dar uma atenção para ela.
    Antes de começar a codificar as postagens, você tem que ter em mente que, está parte tem que ter todo cuidado.
    Primeiro padronize como ela será, seja no papel ou em sua cabeça, mas ela terá que ser agradável e ter um equilibrio, principalmente se forem textos enormes ou tutoriais. Crie um padrão para tamanhos de imagens, espaços entre parágrafos, lista simples e outros elementos.

    Vamos começar:

    A classe .post abriga os elementos de uma postagem. Sendo uma classe ela se torna um elemento filho de da div main-wrapper que configuramos em tutoriais anteriores com uma largura de 417px.
    Veja o código CSS do nosso exemplo:

    .post {
    width:377px;
    margin: 0 0 0 20px;
    background: url(http://i37.tinypic.com/1z3z59x.jpg) no-repeat center bottom;
    padding-bottom: 20px;
    text-indent : 25px;
    text-align : justify;
    font-size:12px;
    }

    A largura de 377px para o post nos da uma sobra de 40px em relação a div main-wrapper.
    Sendo assim, colocamos uma margem a esquerda (left) de 20px, o que centralizará nossa classe.
    Colocamos uma imagem abaixo em vez de uma borda, para ficar mais bonito.
    Demos um espaçamento de 20px abaixo do post para separar os links de comentários nome do autor, etc.
    Text-indent é um recuo do primeiro parágrafo, que também serve para estilo de beleza.
    Justificamos o texto para dar equilibrio na classe e definimos o tamanho da fonte em 12 px.

    Todo post tem um título com um elemento h3. Se h3 está dentro da classe .post, então ele é filho deste elemento.
    Vamos referencia-lo

    .post h3 {
    margin : 18px 0 10px;
    font-size : 18px;
    font-weight : normal;
    font-style : italic;
    letter-spacing : -1px;
    text-align : center;
    }

    Demos uma margem em cima para dar espaço entre a imagem de sombreamento e demos uma margem embaixo para separar do texto da postagem.
    Definimos o tamanho da fonte em 18px;
    Estilo da fonte foi declarada em normal e ítalica (deitada)
    Os espaços entre as letras do título foi declarada em 1px para dar equilibrio para fonte Georgia.
    Colocamos o título no centro da classe .post.

    Como o título é um link, vamos estilizar seus estados quando o mouse está por cima, quando é visitado, etc.

    .post h3 a, .post h3 a:visited, .post h3 strong {
    text-decoration:none;
    border:none;
    color:#000;
    font-weight:normal;
    }

    Sempre que puder generalizar vários elementos, faça. Isso economiza código e trabalho.
    Este trecho não precisa de muita explicação pois utiliza uma css simples, mas veja que foram estilizados 3 elementos de uma vez. Sempre que puder faça isso.
    Uma dica é que aqui você poderá colocar uma imagem de fundo nos títulos.

    Como o elemento .post é vasto vamos ficar por aqui hoje e continuar no próximo artigo.

    Subscreva o CSS-Desvendado completo!
    Subscreva CSS - Desvendado por Email
              Small Business Saturday to Boost Indie Retailers' Holiday Sales        
    Small Business Saturday to Boost Indie Retailers' Holiday Sales

    With the holiday season rapidly approaching, more small business owners—including those in the beauty industry—are making Small Business Saturday an integral factor in their sales plans.

    Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and serves as the traditional kickoff to the holiday-shopping season for independent retailers and restaurateurs. The day was created in response to small business owners' most pressing need: more customers.

    Forty-six percent of independent merchants plan to incorporate Small Business Saturday as part of their holiday strategy—and the majority of them say they will offer discounts on Nov. 24, according to the inaugural Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, recently released by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express. 



    Of those small business owners who plan to promote Small Business Saturday, 80% expect a year-over-year boost in sales on that day.

    Discounts and special offers are among the key incentives to drive consumers to "Shop Small."

    “Research has shown that American consumers have a deep trust in and admiration for the small business community," says NFIB CEO Dan Danner. "Small Business Saturday gives them a chance to show their appreciation—and help America’s essential job creators in a very real way—by patronizing small shops, restaurants and service providers. And anything that helps with sales is certainly appreciated by small business owners, many of whom have struggled to stay afloat in a rough and uncertain economy.”

    There are a number of ways that small business owners plan to take advantage of the day. The survey reports:

    • 46% will create coupons for future offers or discounts
    • 25% will offer free gift wrapping
    • 23% will giveaway prizes or hosts contests
    • 20% will give away free items with purchases

    Other survey findings include:

    • 87% will be active in social-media channels to promote Small Business Saturday
    • 34% say Small Business Saturday is the most important shopping day during the holiday season—more important than Black Friday or Cyber Monday
    • 28% intend to increase the number of employees who will work on Small Business Saturday

    “In just three years, Small Business Saturday went from an idea to help [small businesses] find more customers to a permanent fixture on the holiday-shopping calendar,” adds Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. “According to the research, we are seeing the small business community take ownership of the day and make it their own.”

    For the third year in a row, American Express is offering a merchant toolkit to help small businesses.

    For the second consecutive year, FedEx gave away $1 million worth of American Express Shop Small Gift Cards—each worth $25—to consumers via Facebook.

    [Image courtesy of Thinkstock/Comstock]


               Lineages of a British international political economy         
    Clift, Ben and Rosamond, Ben (2009) Lineages of a British international political economy. In: Blyth, Mark, (ed.) Routledge handbook of International Political Economy (IPE) IPE as a global conversation. London ; New York: Routledge, pp. 95-111. ISBN 9780415771269
               Disciplinarity and the political economy of transformation: the epistemological politics of globalization studies         
    Rosamond, Ben. (2006) Disciplinarity and the political economy of transformation: the epistemological politics of globalization studies. Review of International Political Economy, Vol.13 (No.3). pp. 516-532. ISSN 0969-2290
              Resolution 2014: Waste No Money on Bottled Water        
    You wouldn’t believe it, but water is fast becoming the biggest industry in world economy. It used to be free and clean however, now big bottled water makers have found ways to sell you tap water in their bottles. This is why we think we have good reason to ditch bottled water for good this […]

              Nationally-televised interview with Liberal MP for Goldstein Tim 'Freedom Boy' Wilson that lasted just 22.55 seconds and 66 words        

    New Matilda, 3 August 2017:

    Sky News journalist Peter van Onselen had invited the loyal Liberal Party politician onto his program to discuss marriage equality, a burning topic in politics at the moment as Wilson’s colleagues seek to try and delay or sink momentum for enabling legislation.

    Wilson is gay, so he’s an obvious choice for an interview, and van Onselen wasted no time in getting straight to the point.

    VAN ONSELEN: Thanks very much for your company, do you like the idea of a secret ballot in the party room?

    TIM WILSON: Thanks Peter. I said everything I had to say on this issue and I make no plans to make any other comment at this time. I’d rather talk about something else that actually matters to the Australian population – the economy, energy prices, what’s going on with Labor’s tax slug, you pick it, I’m happy to talk about it. I’ve said what I’ve said on this issue.

    VAN ONSELEN: Tim Wilson thanks for your company.

    TIM WILSON: [Pause] That’s alright, pleasure.



    Does this interview rank as the shortest Australian political interview on record?


              Centrelink Mandatory Drug Testing: Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation calls on the Australian Government to stop playing games with people's lives        

    In its drive to universally implement the Cashless Debit Card for all welfare recipients, the Abbott Government first targeted remote indigenous communities to ‘trial’ this income management restrict and control scheme. The Turnbull Government then selected certain low-socio economic urban areas for further trials.

    Now the Liberal-Nationals federal government intends to extend the reach of this card even further and from 1 July 2018 intends to impose compulsory drug testing on 5,000 new recipients of unemployment benefits – with all who test positive for alcohol or drugs being immediately placed on restricted and controlled payments regardless of their personal circumstances.

    All those government MPs and senators cushioned by generous salaries and benefits from life’s vagaries have chosen this group because of the illegality of many of the drugs it will test for, as they think that all Australians will blame those with substance abuse problems and feel comfortable with the idea that they should be punished in some way.

    These MPs and senators do not appear to give a toss that in an effort to eventually control the income support payments of all welfare recipients, it will socially profile and discriminate against a specific group of people with little if any positive outcomes flowing from this discrimination.

    Because it is admitted that cutting off access to cash may exacerbate mental health issues, increase homelessness and lead the desperate into crime.

    The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 which contains this measure is currently before the federal parliament and, the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee is due to report on this bill on 4 August 2017.

    So a call has gone out……….

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    For 30 years, I served as the head of St Vincent's Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service in Sydney.

    I have treated many thousands of patients trying to rebuild their lives in the face of alcohol and drug problems. Many have been victims of sexual abuse, violence from family members, or other devastating trauma – and most are already living on the margins of society.

    That's why I'm stunned by the government's plan to strip people with alcohol and drug problems of income support payments.1

    Thirty years of experience, backed by research from all over the world, tells me that you can't punish people into recovery. In fact, pushing people into poverty only serves to undermine their chance of recovery – and puts lives at risk.

    Over the coming weeks, Parliament will vote on whether to implement mandatory drug testing. Doctors, nurses and allied health workers – determined to protect patients – are speaking out against the changes.


    Prime Minister Turnbull assures us that the proposal to strip people of income support payments is "based on love".2 That's a hard thing to swallow given his government's failure to consult with addiction medicine experts and lack of evidence to support the trials.

    Mandatory drug testing has already been trialled and abandoned in multiple countries around the world. It's a failed policy that violates our professional commitment to do no harm. This government is forcing doctors to make an impossible choice – to break the law or to hurt our patients.

    I've seen with my own eyes how medical treatment of people struggling with severe alcohol and drug problems must be guided by compassionate care and respect for their human rights.

    Call on the government to stop playing political games with people's lives: https://www.getup.org.au/help-not-harm-petition

    Sincerely,

    Dr Alex Wodak

    President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

    References:

    [1] Drug testing welfare recipients is not about love, Malcolm Turnbull, it's about punishment, The Guardian, 11 May 2017

    [2] Federal budget 2017: Turnbull says welfare drug test policy 'based on love', ABC News, 12 May 2017

    GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

    Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.

    Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



              Melbourne Institute's HILDA survey report 2017        


    Commenced in 2001, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Australian households. The study is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. Roy Morgan Research has conducted the fieldwork since Wave 9 (2009), prior to which The Nielsen Company was the fieldwork provider.
    The HILDA Survey seeks to provide longitudinal data on the lives of Australian residents. It annually collects information on a wide range of aspects of life in Australia, including household and family relationships, child care, employment, education, income, expenditure, health and wellbeing, attitudes and values on a variety of subjects, and various life events and experiences. Information is also collected at less frequent intervals on various topics, including household wealth, fertility related behaviour and plans, relationships with non-resident family members and non-resident partners, health care utilisation, eating habits, cognitive functioning and retirement.
    The important distinguishing feature of the HILDA Survey is that the same households and individuals are interviewed every year, allowing us to see how their lives are changing over time. By design, the study can be infinitely lived, following not only the initial sample members for the remainder of their lives, but also their children and all subsequent descendants

    Download the report here.


              Quotes of the Week        

    “These days, it's not just leftie troublemakers who doubt that benefits going direct to big business will trickle down to the rest of us, it's every punter in the street.”  [Economics Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittins, 24 July 2017]

    “Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump is saddled with a stalled agenda, a West Wing that resembles a viper’s nest, a pile of investigations and a Republican Party that is starting to break away.”  [Journalists Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire writing in The Washington Post, 29 July 2017]

    “This White House is broken, perhaps beyond repair. It can’t do anything right. It can’t issue executive orders that are enforceable. It can’t pass legislation. It can’t prioritize the president’s agenda. It can’t get anybody on the same page. In a normal White House, all of those things flow from an empowered White House chief of staff who can execute the president’s agenda and most importantly tell him what he does not want to hear. And none of that is happening.”  [Author Chris Whipple quoted in The Washington Post, 31 July 2017]

    “Yeah. He’s like a conveyor belt for bad overseas ideas.” [Journalist Richard Chirgwin tweeting about Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull on 2 August 2017]

    “By August 2 2017, we will have used more from Nature than our planet can renew in the whole year…..This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period.” [World Wildlife Fund quoted in the Independent on 2 August 2017]

              The travesty that is Australia's asylum seeker offshore detention policy -"If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here."         

    It seems the truth will out.

    After the United States completes its vetting of asylum seekers held in overseas detention by the Australian Government it is not obliged to take even one of those individuals U.S. immigration officials have examined.

    In May 2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed 268 people had completed their second-stage security interview with US officials: 220 in Nauru and 48 on Manus Island.

    U.S. immigration officials halted screening interviews and departed Nauru on 14 July 2017, two weeks short of their scheduled timetable and a day after Washington said the US had reached its annual refugee intake cap.

    However, under the original agreement once that vetting is completed Australia becomes obliged to resettle between 20 and 50 people under a U.S. "Protection Transfer Arrangement" in Costa Rica set up to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

    Prime Minister Turnbull verbally changed that undertaking to an open-ended number of people the Trump Administration might be “very keen on getting out of the United States”.

    There is no indication that the U.S. Government intends to complete its vetting of those detained on Nauru and Manus islands.

    The Washington Post, 3 August 2017:

    The Washington Post has obtained transcripts of two conversations President Trump had with foreign leaders: one with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
    The transcripts were prepared by the White House but have not been released. The Post is publishing reproductions rather than original documents in order to protect sources. The reproductions below also include minor spelling and grammatical mistakes that appeared in the documents………………


    JANUARY 28, 2017 FROM 5:05 TO 5:29 P.M. EST.

    TURNBULL
    Good evening.

    TRUMP
    Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

    TURNBULL
    I am doing very well.

    TRUMP
    And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

    TURNBULL
    He is a great mutual friend yes.

    TRUMP
    Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

    TURNBULL
    Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

    TRUMP
    Good.

    TURNBULL
    I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

    TRUMP
    That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing â€“ it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

    TURNBULL
    Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down – the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

    TRUMP
    Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

    TURNBULL
    Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

    TRUMP
    Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

    TURNBULL
    Can you hear me out Mr. President?

    TRUMP
    Yeah, go ahead.

    TURNBULL
    Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

    TRUMP
    Who made the deal? Obama?

    TURNBULL
    Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

    TRUMP
    Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

    TURNBULL
    Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

    TRUMP
    That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

    TURNBULL
    This is our experience.

    TRUMP
    Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

    TURNBULL
    I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

    TRUMP
    Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

    TURNBULL
    stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

    TRUMP
    Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

    TURNBULL
    With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

    TRUMP
    Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

    TURNBULL
    The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

    TRUMP
    No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

    TURNBULL
    I would not be so sure about that. They are basically —

    TRUMP
    Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

    TURNBULL
    But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.
    Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

    TURNBULL
    Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed —

    TRUMP
    Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

    TURNBULL
    That is the point I have been trying to make.

    TRUMP
    How does that help you?

    TURNBULL
    Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

    TRUMP
    Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

    TURNBULL
    Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

    TRUMP
    Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

    TURNBULL
    Correct, we have stopped the boats.

    TRUMP
    Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

    TURNBULL
    These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

    TRUMP
    Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

    TURNBULL
    They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

    TRUMP
    They were from wherever they were.

    TURNBULL
    Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

    TRUMP
    What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

    TURNBULL
    No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

    TRUMP
    I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

    TURNBULL
    You will not.

    TRUMP
    Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

    TURNBULL
    You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

    TRUMP
    I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

    TURNBULL
    Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

    TRUMP
    [inaudible] this is crazy.

    TURNBULL
    Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

    TRUMP
    It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

    TURNBULL
    You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

    TRUMP
    I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.

    TURNBULL
    Okay, thank you.
    END OF CALL

    * My yellow highlighting.

              Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again        

    With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

    This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

    Current committee membership is as follows:

    Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
    Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
    Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
    Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
    Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
    Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
    Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
    * Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

    A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

    It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

    Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

    Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

    It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

    This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

    The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

    It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

    While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

    As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

    The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

    There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

    The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

    The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

    HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

    The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

    Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

    The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

    According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

    “We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

    Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

    “It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

    “It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

    “There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

    Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

    “Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

    “They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

    “We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

    Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

    Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

    Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

    The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

    The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

    Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

    The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

    Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

    The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

    Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

    The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

    Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

    The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

    Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

    The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

    Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

    The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

    Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

    The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

    Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

    The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

    Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

    The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

    Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

    The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

    Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

    The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

    Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

    The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

    Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).


    One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

    After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

    The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

    If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.


              Call center ejecutivos telefonicos medio tiempo        
    Estudia y trabaja medio tiempo. obtén excelentes ingresos sueldo base+bonos $7,000- $10,000 citibanamex, representantes telefónicos no tienes que andar en la calle promoviendo productos, no realizas compras de productos, solo necesitas: &#61692; mayoría de edad (no hay limite de edad). &#61692; manejo básico de pc &#61692; actitud de servicio y deseos de excelentes ingresos economicos ofrecemos: sueldo base, bono de puntualidad y asistencia capacitación pagada bono de permanencia bono semanal por cumplimiento de métricas ayuda de transporte vale de alimentos excelente ambiente laboral capacitación y desarrollo no
              Memories of a Maryland forest        

    The forest patch in my Maryland backyard has always been a part of my life and is filled with fond memories. This patch is one of the last remaining outposts of nature amongst the rapid development in Frederick’s outskirts, cut off from its brethren.

    Yet this small patch has been thriving for decades.

    The forest undergoes wondrous transformations with the changing of the seasons. During spring every plant ardently strives to be the largest; every centimeter of their delicate foliage strains for the Sun. When summer arrives, schools of industrious minnows snatch insects off the surface of the gurgling creek. As summer wanes into autumn, the trees explode into a whirlwind of brilliant, dazzling color. Winter ushers in the end of the year as the slumbering forest is gently bundled into a fluffy white blanket. Birds of all species emerge from the trees and crowd my mother’s bird-feeders in a flock of color: cardinal red, junco gray, and sparrow brown..

    But this patch is a mere scrap compared to the magnificent National Forests, particularly the untouched Roadless areas. According to the Forest Service, the 58.5 million acres of roadless forests are indispensible to wildlife as they tend to have older and rarer trees than non-protected areas. These forests provide irreplaceable ecological services to both people and wildlife. They keep our waterways clean, provide unparalleled recreation, filter our air, preserve our soil, sequester carbon, and more.

    “Although roadless areas represent less than 1 percent of the American landmass, they serve as a reservoir of rare and vanishing values,” according to former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck. “They provide clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife, abundant hunting and fishing, recreation opportunities, reference areas for research, and barriers against noxious and invasive species.” Roadless areas are also highly productive economically. In 1984 alone, roadless areas in Colorado provided over $60 million in recreation revenue to the state.

    My great hope is that the U.S. continues to expand the roadless areas in light of their significant ecological and economic benefits. As a child, I took many creek walks with my mother and sister in our backyard forest. I can only imagine the splendor of hiking in a national forest.

    Learn more: See a chronology of the Roadless rule
     

    Photo: Fallen tree gives snow a place to sit in Maryland.

    Photo courtesy of: Sarah Peters

    Fallen tree gives snow a place to sit


              Cameron's unbelievable untruth        
    David Cameron has been pretty up front about cutting public servants but as pressure mounts regarding his government's failure to tackle tax avoidance, he's starting to deny that they're happening.


    When faced with a question during today's PMQs from Labour MP Teresa Pearce about why numbers of HM Revenue and Customs staff were being cut, just when a crackdown had been promised on tax avoidance, Cameron responded by stating that the government had actually presided over an increase in staff levels.


    He must have seen different figures to the ones I've seen. In February 2010, just before the coalition came in, the total headcount for HMRC staff was 78,078. Two years later this figure was down to only 70,853. The government are intending to cut a further 10,000 jobs by 2015. Hard to see where his claim of presiding over an increase comes from.


    He may of course be referring to the fact that they're reinvesting £900m into the department to deal with tax avoidance and evasion. However, this has to be seen in the wider context of them cutting its budget by £3bn over three years. So in fact, despite their much heralded 'investment', it means they're cutting just over £2bn from the budget of HMRC while claiming to get tough on avoidance. And these cuts are taking the form of sacking 10,000 staff and yet another massive tax office closure programme.


    As Graham Black, the President of the Association of Revenue Customs, so rightly put it in his Comment is Free piece: 
    "Does it make sense to cut the one part of the government that brings cash in, when we are having to cut back on services to the vulnerable across the board?"


    Well clearly it doesn't which is why the PM is so keen to deny that they're doing it. 
              Beware sharp corners        
    Ever looked at the 38 degrees campaign site and thought to yourself, "well saving our nation's forests and healthcare from being sold off is all very well but what if I want to ban homosexuals from getting married or stop foreigners from using our education system, where do I go to sign up for that?" Well worry no more because the right have come up with their own version called Right Angle.

    Heralding itself as "Standing up for Britain's silent majority" it aims to give a voice to all those people who had concerns about stuff they presumably never even realised they were bothered enough to do anything about before now.

    So what have they gone with for their first progressive cause for social justice? Well they've 'reclaimed' a 'popular' Lib Dem policy of lifting the tax threshold to £10,000. They claim to be doing this on behalf of low earners.

    On the face of it you could be forgiven for thinking this seems like quite a fair campaign. After all they claim it would cut taxes for millions of British people, not just millionaires. But hang on, what's this? Research carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies that reveals that those who would really benefit from this policy would be some of the richest households in the country.

    Well that's a relief, for a moment there I thought the Tories had gone all soft on us and were standing up for the poor. It turns out that despite claims it would put £60 extra in each of our pockets, one-third of all adults would get no benefit at all as they already earn too little to earn income tax. The changes could also cause 200,000 extra families to lose child benefits.

    As Richard Murphy puts it on his Tax Research blog "Isn’t it odd that the first thing Tory front @UKRightAngle campaigns for favours the rich?"

    I look forward to their future campaigns which I am sure will unmask some of the Party's true and nastier colours.
              An appeal on behalf of big business        
    I just wanted to bring to your attention a worthy cause that I think all working people should get behind.
    Today the ‘Scrap the Tax’ campaign has been officially launched to get the government to do away with the 50p tax rate.
    537 business leaders, who might possibly be subject to paying the higher rate, have signed a letter to the Telegraph stating that the 50% tax rate for those earning as little as £150,000 should be scrapped.
    The six figure salaried strugglers claim it is harming entrepreneurialism and job creation. However, if we were to let them pay less tax it would actually help the economy. If say, someone earning a high salary paid £50,000 rather than £100,000 in tax that would mean more wealth for us all. It might not sound right, but trust them, they’re cleverer than you are. After all, they have a well paid job and are in charge of hiring and firing (mainly firing) lots of people.
    I think this is something we could all support so please give anything you can. Or should I say keep giving everything you can. An extra 2.5% in VAT, a decent pay rise, your child tax credits or even, if you could spare it, your job. Perhaps you could think about stacking shelves at Tesco’s for free. Every little helps.
    Please give generously. Remember, those corporate dinners accompanied by bottles of vintage Beaujolais don’t come for free you know.

              Report blows hole in wealth creation theory        
    A report released today by the OECD has put pay to the trickle down theory espoused by right wingers when seeking to justify the massive incomes of those working at the top of the financial sector.

    Those that insist that protecting the interests of the very wealthy will benefit the whole of the economy because they are "wealth creators" is rubbished by the findings of the new report "Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising."

    Inequality around the world is rising fast and it's particularly bad in the UK where the top 10% now have incomes 12 times higher than the lowest 10%. This is up from a ratio of eight to one in 1985.

    As Nicholas Timmins rightly concludes in the Financial Times
    "Trickle down theory is dead. The belief fostered by Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK in the 1980s, that if the rich got richer, their income and wealth would trickle down the income scale so that a rising tide lifted all the boats, has had the last rites pronounced on it."
    So if the rich bankers aren't really creating wealth for society, who really provides it? A good starting point would be a 2009 study by The New Economics Foundation which compared the social value of different occupations. For bankers it found that