Interesting article   
Below is an interesting article about men and feminism which some of you might be interested in. Thanks to Sarah for sending this in our direction.

Men and gender justice: old debate, new perspective

Emily Esplen

The expanding intellectual interest in "masculinities" is welcome but needs greater involvement by gender-justice and women's-rights specialists if it is to be the vehicle of progress, says Emily Esplen.

28 - 02 - 2008

The nature of men's involvement in the struggle for gender justice has long fiercely divided gender-equality advocates. After nearly three decades of disagreement this seam of tension doggedly persists, little engaged with and largely unresolved.

Even as the women's movement remains hesitant, often bordering on hostile, to the idea of men's involvement, the "masculinities agenda" is striding forwards with innovative work on men and masculinities - even though it is at times often flawed in its understanding of power and in the way it merely counterposes to the idea of women's empowerment a focus on working with men "for their sake".

The most promising work in this field is happening at the level of the personal: it concentrates on transforming men's sexual behaviour, challenging violence against women and relations of fatherhood. The pioneering work of organisations like the Instituto Promundo in Brazil, which supports young men to question traditional gender norms and promote gender-equitable behaviours and attitudes, has shown that, yes, men can change. Other organisations, like the Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa are taking work with men in exciting new directions, reorienting existing projects aimed at individual men and politicising it in order to promote men's broader mobilisation around structural inequities and injustices. Futhermore, organisations working with men are themselves coming together to facilitate sharing and learning, enabling a stronger, more coherent struggle, as with the recently established "Men Engage" global alliance which seeks to involve men and boys in reducing gender inequalities.

A unique opportunity

This current momentum offers a unique opportunity to advance the common goal of realising gender equality. But while the proliferation of organisations working with men for gender justice is welcome, it is notable that very few of them have close and direct relationships with the women's movement. True, some do have looser connections or networks that include people active in the women's movement in individual countries, but even these are rare. This creates a discernible danger that "masculinities" will become - or has become already - a discrete field of thinking and practice, somehow disconnected from the women's movement and from gender and development more broadly.

Indeed, a depressing reality is coming into view whereby "gender" seems - even among those most committed to the gender agenda - repeatedly to be conflated with women. As long as connections between the women's movement and those working with men remain fragile (at best) to non-existent (at worst), femininities are likely to be rendered invisible in evolving masculinities discourses. The result is that - once again - the fundamental interconnectedness of men and women and the relational nature of gendered power will be lost.

Indeed, I've been repeatedly struck at recent seminars and conferences on "engaging men in gender equality" by the meagre representation from the gender and development field: a couple of us at most, in an audience comprised overwhelmingly of specialists in sexual and reproductive health and rights. In part, this points to one of the weaknesses of the current masculinities field: the overwhelming focus on sexual health and violence, and the corresponding failure to engage sufficiently with equity issues: among them equal pay and leave entitlements, representation in politics, parental rights and benefits, and domestic work/housework. The lack of attention to such issues results in the waste of opportunities to advance shared concerns.

A false equivalence

There are other dangers in refusing to engage constructively with the evolving men and masculinities discourse. While many organisations working with men are deeply informed by feminist thinking and practice, others are less grounded in a pro-feminist framework. As the masculinities bandwagon gathers momentum, there is a temptation to slip into modes of thinking and language that (for example) regard women and men as equivalently vulnerable (i.e. women are harmed by femininity and men are harmed by masculinity), or even describe men as "worse off" than women.

This is reflected in the way that much of the discourse of men and masculinities has been expressed in terms of a "crisis in masculinity". It's certainly the case that many men share with the women in their lives similar experiences of indignity as a result of social and economic oppression. Yet it is important to recognise the real differences in power and privilege experienced by women and men on the basis of gender, and to avoid glossing over men's accountability for the ways in which they choose to act out their privilege. While it's important to engage with poor men's realities, this should be done without positing men as the "new victims".

At a symposium in October 2007 on "Politicising Masculinities", organised by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), it was noted that this issue of false equivalence surfaces frequently in discussions of men's own experience of violence. It is not uncommon to hear the statement that "men are also victims of violence at the hands of women". Such comments can be profoundly unhelpful, not least because this violence is nothing like on the same scale as the many forms of violence experienced by women from men. Alan Greig made clear at the IDS symposium that the mere counterposing of women's and men's experience and perpetration of violence is a trap; the challenge is rather to help illuminate the workings and functions of violence within the systems of oppression that organise our different societies, while holding accountable the individuals and institutions (mostly men and male-dominated) that are responsible for enacting this violence.

But to have some influence over the evolving masculinities discourse and practice in a way that avoids positing men as the "new victims" requires working in solidarity with those in the masculinities field who do understand power and the core issues of gender equality and justice. Now is an opportune time to open up the debate and advance thinking on what it would take to build bridges between the feminist/women's movement and those working with men. The eleventh Association for Women's Rights in Development (Awid) forum in November 2008 is on the horizon, with a timely focus on the power of movements; Men Engage are hosting their first global conference in early 2009 on engaging men and boys in gender equality; and the fifty-third United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will focus on engaging men in caring for people living with HIV.

These spaces offer a much-overdue opportunity for open, constructive dialogue between the feminist/women's movement and organisations working with men for gender justice. It's high time we started to have these conversations - to ask some of the questions people don't like to talk about. It's striking how little we really know or understand about women's hostility towards working with men, or indeed about men's experiences of trying to work with feminist and women's organisations. What will it take to build bridges? How can we promote dialogue and foster greater solidarity? How can we reframe our engagement with questions of masculinities and power so that new alliances can be created, bringing work on masculinities into the heart of movements for social and gender justice?

I don't have the answers - in fact, I doubt that straightforward or singular answers exist. But I do believe these are questions that badly need to be asked if we are to progress beyond the current polarisation of issues that ought to be everyone's concern. The inadequacies of focusing on women in isolation have long been recognised; if we are really serious about achieving a gender-just world, it's time for a more open debate to begin.

Emily Esplen is research and communications officer at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

          Jawapan Wartawan Kepada Pengkritik Laporan Isu Kerja Ladang Di Australia   

Kepada : Akmar Abu Bakar

Terdapat beberapa kesalahan fakta asas dalam ulasan saudara Akmar.
1-Saya bukan wartawan Berita Harian tetapi Utusan Malaysia
2-Di Cutri, saya membuat kerja-kerja thinning, bukannya memetik buah
Maka saya tertanya-tanya sama ada saudara membaca sepenuhnya laporan saya atau sekadar membaca tajuk sahaja?
Sudahkan saudara membaca lapan muka surat laporan khas saya. Sudahkan saudara membaca sepenuhnya tulisan Nick McKenzie dan menonton 7.30 report?
Jika dibaca, pastinya jelas terpampang maklumat asas tadi. Takkan itu pun masih buat silap fakta.
Inilah penyakit orang kita. Dia baca tajuk, dia terus percaya. Dia tak kaji betul-betul tapi dia share di Facebook, WhatsApp.
Saya lihat saudara Akmar berada dalam kategori ini. Jenis suka baca tajuk, lepas tu terus melompat buat ulasan. Baca saudara, Allah dah kata, Iqra' (baca).
Macam tu jugalah kaitannya dengan iklan-iklan menawarkan kemewahan dengan kerja ladang buah di Australia. Ramai yang percaya bulat-bulat.
Memang duit jadi kelemahan manusia dan sebab tu lah iklan kerja Australia di Facebook ni semuanya tayang duit.
Mungkin ada yang plan nak pergi tiga bulan sahaja (selari dengan tempoh sah visa pelancong), maklumlah sebulan dapat RM9,000, tiga bulan dah berapa? Lumayan, boleh bayar hutang.
Tapi sedih, lepas tiga bulan pun tak boleh balik lagi.
Memang orang Melayu obses dengan duit segera. Tengoklah skim cepat kaya, MLM dan sebagainya, orang Melayu lah yang palig ramai kena tipu.
Saya pun tak faham sangat kenapa orang kita mudah sangat kena tipu. Gores dan menang pun kena tipu. Alahai...
Saya tidak berminat untuk menjawab serangan dan cercaan peribadi saudara ke atas saya. Pemikiran saya bukanlah serendah itu.
Saudara juga telah membuat tafsiran sendiri mengenai diri saya berdasarkan laporan yang dibuat walaupun tidak mengenali secara peribadi.
Maka, izinkan saya untuk membuat penilaian menggunakan methodology yang sama, siapakah diri saudara berdasarkan maklumat yang saya peroleh di laman Facebook saudara
Selepas disemak, saudara dilihat konsisten mempromosikan peluang pekerjaan ladang di Australia dan secara terbuka meminta rakan FB berhubung jika berminat.
Dan seperti biasa, yang indah-indah sahajalah diceritakan. Biasalah taktik FB marketing dan saya lihat saudara adalah orang yang mengkaji teknik FB marketing.
Maka, izinkanlah saya bertanya:
1- Apa yang dibuat saudara di Australia? Kerja ladang atau bawa orang masuk? Atau seorang pekerja ladang yang nampak peluang untuk buat duit dengan bawa masuk pekerja.
2- Berapa lama dah saudara di sana? Adakah visa membenarkan saudara bekerja di sana? Bagaimana dengan kawan-kawan yang mengikuti saudara, visa apa yang nak digunakan? Student visa?
3- Katakan saudara adalah jujur, tidak menganiayai kawan-kawan yang dibawa masuk, adakah saudara sedar apa yang dibuat adalah jenayah? Pernahkan saudara mendengar istilah human traficking?
Ramai menuduh saya menutup periuk nasi bangsa saya di Australia. Tunggu....saya jelaskan dulu okey.
Laporan saya bertujuan:
1-Mengelakkan rakyat Malaysia dan bangsa saya daripada terpedaya dengan janji manis ejen. Ramai dah orang terkena, orang dari kampung.
Saya pun berasal dari kampung dan tak sanggup tengok orang saya kena tipu.
Tak kena atas kepala saudara Alhamdulillah, tapi jangan nafikan ada kes macam ni dan jumlahnya besar.
Ada yang sanggup pinjam duit sebab fikir dia pergi sekejap je, dah dapat buat untung akan balik segera. Alih-alih hidup susah di farm dan berhutang lagi.
Apa yang saya tulis bukan rekaan. Bukan imiginasi. Semua makumat saya terima daripada pekerja farm juga. Saya bukan keyboard warrior, saya turun ke ground dan saya tengok dan rasa kehidupan orang kita di Swan Hill.
Cuma masalah dengan bangsa Melayu yang masuk farm ni, dia tak suka cerita kedukaan dia sangat. Dia bagitahu kawan-kawan di Malaysia kerja best padahal diri sendiri je lah yang tahu.
Yang di Malaysia percaya bulat-bulat dan terpengaruh ke sana.
Sebab apa? Sebab ego, orang kampung dengar tumpang bangga. Kerja di Australia beb, bunyi gah sangat, malulah kalau mengaku hidup susah.
Bagi yang berjaya, berjayalah, dan kita jangan lupa memang ada yang terjerat di Australia. Semoga yang berjaya itu tidak mencemari tangan mereka dengan memanipulasikan mana-mana pihak.
2- Disebabkan banyak sangat orang Malaysia salah guna visa pelancong dan langgar peraturan, Imigresen sana dah alert.
Kalau naik penerbangan tambang murah, lagilah Imigresen curios. Tengoklah apa soalan dia tanya masa nak masuk. Lebih-lebih lagi kalau Australia adalah negara asing pertama yang korang lawat.
Adil kah benda ni untuk kira-kira 30 juta rakyat Malaysia lain yang nak ke sana melancong, bekerja secara sah, buka bisness dan lain lain.
Disebabkan pekerja ladang Malaysia buat hal dengan imigresen, orang lain kena getah. Pekerja Malaysia di farm tuduh saya tutup periuk nasi, sedarkah yang korang juga tutup periuk nasi rakyat Malaysia yang lain.
Bagi lah apa pun alasan, kerja tanpa permit tetap salah. Hormatilah undang-undang negara orang, kita pun marah Bangla dan Indon masuk Malaysia kerja haram.
Setiap rumah orang ada peraturan, kena lah ikut. Bukan sesuka hati terjah dan bagi hujah kami cari rezeki halal (TAPI DENGAN CARA SALAH).
Kena ingat, apa yang berlaku di ladang-ladang akan menjejaskan 156,000 diaspora Malaysia yang berada di Australi secara sah tak termasuk pelajar dan pekerja haram lain
Untuk kefahaman, saya copy n paste petikan statement seorang peguam rakyat Malaysia yang memiliki law firm, Fides Lawyers di Melbourne sejak 8 tahun lalu, Vicknaraj Thanarajah dalam isu ini.
As of 30th March 2016 the percentage of Australian residents born overseas are one of its highest in Australian History. The latest statistics show that out of the current Australian Population 156,500 or 0.7 percent are from Malaysia.
These are the legitimate migrants on record till to-date.
The above figures do not include the students who come here yearly to study or the illegal migrants.
According to the statistics for the months of September 2016, there are approximately 35,000 thousand people from Malaysia who visit Australia between August and September of 2016.
The above figures shows us a few crucial facts;
1.The Malaysian Diaspora in Australia is about 156K, and we have a sizeable presence in Australia being the top 10 diaspora in Australia;
2.The Monthly Malaysian Entrants Australia is the top 5 in Australia;
Therefore, whatever happens to the Malaysian community in Australia, has an impact not only to Malaysia reputation but also to the rest of the diaspora that have migrated here or has legitimate business interest in Australia, this includes a series of investments by Malaysian GLC in Australia.
It is also commonly known that Malaysia is the only Southeast Asian country with access to the electronic travel authority system under which Malaysian citizens — and applicants from most of the Western world — can get a three-month tourist visa online.
This is probably the result of the excellent diplomatic relations that is shared between the two countries.
Common sense would dictate that should there be in surge in abuse of this privilege this efficient process is endangered in being scrapped.
Australia tak bodoh, dia bukan tak tahu apa yang pekerja ladang ni buat. Kalau tengok statistik protection visa pun dah kantoi sebab tiba-tiba mendadak naik. Ini kerja siapa sebenarnya?
Malaysia negara aman dan masih berungsi tetapi ramai rakyat kita minta visa perlindugan (refugee). Negara kita tak beperang pun. Untuk kepentingan dia, dia menipu dalam borang permohonan siap kondem Malaysia lagi.
Berdasarkan statitik laman web Imigresen Australia, didapati permohonan visa protection oleh rakyat Malaysia meningkat daripada 294 permohonan pada 2013-2014, 1,401 permohonan pada 2014-2015 dan meroket kepada 3,549 (2015-2016)
Dari 294 permohonan naik kepada 3,549 permohonan dalam masa hanya empat tahun? Kegilaan apa kah ini?
Berikut petikan kenyataan Vicknaraj Thanarajah:
According to the statistic published by the Department of Immigration in Australia, we can gather the following crucial facts;
•Asylum applications from Malaysians lodged while within Australia in the last financial year topped 3500, more than double the total for 2014-15 even though Malaysia is a stable and functioning state, new figures show.
•Immigration department figures show 87 per cent of these applications are refused. Of the reviews conducted by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, 88 per cent validate the original decision.
•The tribunal processed more than 2000 reviews last financial year — a fourfold increase on 2014-15 — representing almost half of its protection claim caseload.
•Details of the recent flood of onshore asylum applications from Malaysia, which totalled just 294 in 2013-4, are contained in documents published on the department’s website.
•In 2014-15, 1401 Malaysians applied for asylum from within Australia. That total surged to 3549 in the 2015-16 year.
Baca lagi petikan kenyataan Vicknaraj Thanarajah:
"Apart from the above financial and legal considerations, these workers need to be aware of the political considerations that are associated with the Horticulture industry in Australia specifically the Fruit Picking Jobs.
The truth is, this is not a new issue; the Malaysians are just a latest wave of workers that are being used by the syndicates as work-stock. Prior to in recent years this there was an uproar on the abuse of Pacific Islanders as illegal workforce and as a result of an inquiry, the illegal workforce have significantly reduce from the Pacific Island.
It is my personal opinion the Malaysians are merely filling in a temporary gap left by the prior inquiry in relation to the Pacific islanders. What the Malaysian migrants need to realise, that the labour dilemma is soon to be solve (at least in part); because a political solution has been reached recently.
The Immigration Department of Australia will be launching a special class of visa (416) to enable Pacific islanders to work in the horticulture industry seasonally. This is supposed to commence by the 19th of November 2016.
Unfortunately Malaysia is not on the list as that particular visa caters for Pacific Islanders.
The hypocrisy of politics are blinding, the blatant fact remains that there is a need for workers in the horticulture industry especially in rural Australia, and the industry and the syndicates are filling that gap and need.
The syndicates take advantage on this legal and economic arbitrage simply because workers are voiceless because of their legal status in Australia. 
Rhetorically, Corporations, Farmers and Authorities, at the Federal, State and Local Government manage the blame efficiently and seamlessly each respectively pleading ignorance of the existence of such syndicates and illegal workforce.
This plea of ignorance is laughable, especially with the example of the case of Swan Hill a rural town in regional Victoria is swarming with Malaysians Workforce.
The issue and the challenge now is whether the Australia Government specifically the Minister responsible for Immigration is going to provide an empty political retort by conveniently electing to enforce a pre-existing law or a sound policy resolution that is sustainable and future proof for all those affected by the labour shortage.
For the sake Human Dignity and Decency, I challenge the Minister to extend the same opportunity for Malaysians to enable them to apply as seasonal workers in the Horticultural Industry.
Alternative expand the quota of Sub Class 462 Work Holiday Visa which is currently fixed at 100 visa for Malaysian per annum.
Saya juga sependapat dengan Vicknaraj yang berharap ada sinar untuk rakyat Malaysia bekerja di ladang-ladang secara sah supaya nasib mereka lebih terjamin.
PM Najib pun dah jumpa dengan PM Australia, Malcom Turnbull di APEC, Lima, Peru, kelmarin.
Malaysia, Australia bincang isu kedatangan migran
LIMA, Peru 20 Nov. - Kerjasama berkaitan kedatangan migran secara tidak sekata adalah antara topik yang disentuh dalam perbincangan dua hala Malaysia dan Australia di luar persidangan Kerjasama Ekonomi Asia Pasifik (APEC) di ibu negara Peru semalam.
Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yang mengadakan pertemuan dengan Perdana Menteri Australia, Malcolm Turnbull berkata, Australia dalam pertemuan itu meminta kerjasama Malaysia untuk membendung isu pelarian, yang menghantui negara berkenaan ekoran kebanjiran migran itu.
"Beliau (Turnbull) mahu bendung masalah migran ini yang dikaitkan dengan permerdagangan manusia," katanya kepada wartawan Malaysia di sini selepas menghadiri program hari pertama Mesyuarat Pemimpin Ekonomi APEC.
Antara kerjasama itu adalah melalui pertukaran laporan risikan dan melakukan larangan rasmi iaitu dengan mengambil tindakan sekiranya migran berkenaan melalui perairan negara, katanya.
Kita harap pertemuan ini dapat merintis jalan ke arah rundingan yang akan memberi manfaat kepada rakyat Malaysia yang mahu bekerja di Australia secara sah dalam sektor kemahiran rendah.
NOTA: Ada beberapa soalan Saudara Saharudin Jang yang perlu saya jawab.
1- Apakah keburukan yg ada pada rakyat malaysia bekerja di malaysia.
Keburukan? Saya dan jutaan rakyat Malaysia lain tetap kerja macam biasa. Memang ada kelemahan tertentu seperti gaji yang tak setara dengan kos sara hidup. Saya sebagai rakyat pun buat 2-3 kerja untuk survive. Dan buat masa ini saya belum terfikir perlu bekerja di negara orang secara haram untuk survive.
2- Adakah baik untuk kerajaan malaysia jika aliran wang tunai dari aussie masuk kemalaysia dan dihabiskan untuk membayar cukai & gst?
Betul tapi sepatutnya dilakukan secara sah. Pekerja haram tidak mebayar cukai kepada kerajaan Australia dan duit berkenaan mengalir ke Malaysia secara tak sah.
3- Ramai pekerja di aussie nie akan terdidik dgn cara hidup di aussie x boleh wat huru hara bising n sabagainya yg menganggu privasi org lain. Betul atau tidak?
Betul lah. Mematuhi undang-undang perkara yang mulia, begitulah juga undang-undang Imigresen di Australia. Kenapa tak hormat pula?
Kalau setakat nak didik supaya tak bising, kat Malaysia pun boleh. Hormati hak jiran tu kan ajaran Islam.
4- Pepatah orang dahulu jauh berjalan luas pengalaman.
Betul ke tidak.
1000 peratus saya sokong. Sebab saya sendiri suka berjalan. Sejak 2006 sampai sekarang, dah 24-25 negara saya dah pergi.
Pada 2010 saya berekspedisi dengan tiga lagi kawan naik motosikal dari KL ke London dalam masa 2 bulan. Di sepanjang perjalanan saya jumpa ramai rakyat Malaysia yang berjaya, tak ada seorang pun daripada mereka ni bekerja secara haram.
Bulan Ogos lepas, saya berada di Rio de Janeiro, Brazil selama tiga minggu untuk liputan sukan Olimpik Rio2016.
Saya pun kenal ramai lejen-lejen hardcore overlander yang dah pusing dunia, mereka tak der pula nak kutuk-kutu Malaysia. Jangan baru jejak kaki di satu negara, dah rasa Malaysia ni serba tak kena.
5- Berapakah komisyen yang bro saiful haizan terima daei egent egent pembuat bridging visa. Yg lebih membahayakan kedudukan malaysia pada PRU 14 nanti. Setiap pemegang visa a & c x boleh balik kemalaysia tau. Camner diorg nk undi BN namti. Heheheh.
Apa punya soalan ni. Apa kaitan dengan ejen buat bridging visa? Sepatutnya mereka yang marah dengan saya.
Kalau tak boleh balik, pergilah mengundi di kedutaan. Asalkan berdaftar dengan SPR.
Akmar pula ada cakap yang Imigresen Australia tangkap orang Malaysia sebab Najib nak rakyat balik undi dia.
Hahahaha...hal politik tak perlu masuk lah bro. Tak habis-habis dengan politik.
Terima kasih kerana membaca ke peringkat ini. Saya menghargainya kerana selepas ini saya tidak lagi mengulas isu ini secara detail di FB.
*Share jika bermanfaat*
Salam hormat,
Saiful Haizan
Besut, Terengganu


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          FELIZ ANO NOVO!!!!!   

Espero que todos estejam bem...
Eu estou ótima Graças a Deus!!!
Estou passando para desejar um FELIZ ANO NOVO para todos... repleto de muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuita saúde, paz, amor, realizações e felicidades!!!!
Aproveito também para deixar uma receita de ano novo... hahahaha


Dê amor e carinho e receberá igual ou mais...
Tenha a paz no seu coração e voará tão alto que jamais será alcançado (a) pelo mal...
Brinde sem exageros e terá o equilíbrio, a vida...
Creia que é capaz e alcançará seus objetivos.
Acredite... Uma boa ideia se transformará numa realização...
Preserve a própria vida e respeite a vida alheia. Economize, mas com sabedoria. Não deixe de viver a vida por economia a pouco dinheiro e nem se venda por ele.
Ame com intensidade.
Não tenha medo de alcançar as estrelas.
E o mais importante dos ingredientes...
Encontre-se com Deus todos os dias...
Assim tudo se tornará muito mais simples e o seu ano será Iluminado!

E como dizia um grande mestre da literatura brasileira...

"Para sonhar um ano novo que mereça este nome, você, meu caro, tem de merecê-lo, tem de fazê-lo novo, eu sei que não é fácil, mas tente, experimente, consciente. É dentro de você que o Ano Novo cochila e espera desde sempre." (Carlos Drummond de Andrade).

Fiquem com Deus e aproveitem muuuuuuuuuuuuito esse último dia do ano de 2011...
Ah! Sem esquecer de agradecer por tudo o que recebemos nesse ano... até mesmo aquilo que julgamos ser ruíns para a nossa vida... pois temos que lembrar que TUDO tem os dois lados e o nosso dever é olhar sempre pelo lado positivo...
Beijos iluminados

          ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างROE PBV PE    
ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่าง ROE PBV PE

ROE PBV PE ค่าทั้งสามตัวนี้เป็นค่าที่ใช้บ่อยๆในการวิเคราะห์และประเมินค่า การรู้ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่าง สามตัวนี้จะทำให้สามารถวิเคราะห์ได้ลึกซึ้งยิ่งขึ้น


roe = E/bv
=E/p x p/bv
roe เท่ากับ pbv คูณส่วนกลับของ pe

2,ROE และการเติบโต

roe คือผลตอบแทนที่บริษัททำกลับมาให้ผู้ถือหุ้น คนก่อตั้งมักจะมีหุ้นที่ราคาพาร์ดังนั้นผลตอบแทนที่เขาได้ก็คือ roe นั่นเอง

น้อกจากนั้น ROE จะมีความสัมพันธ์กับ การเติบโตของกิจการ ถ้าบริษัทโตเรื่อยๆแบบรักษาสัดส่วนโครงสร้งเงินทุนไว้เท่าเดิมจะเป็นการโตแบบ Sustainable growth

g = ROE x (1-b)

จะเห็นว่าถ้าบริษัทจายเงินปันผลอัตราคงที่เมื่อเทียบกับกำไร และบริษัทรักษาอัตรา ROE ให้สม่ำเสมอได้ บริษัทก็จะโตไปเรื่อยๆเท่ากับ g นั่นเอง ดังนั้นการซื้อหุ้นจึงเป็นการสะท้อน การเติบโตที่คาดหวังไปได้ด้วยส่วนหนึ่ง

3.PBV กับค่าความนิยม

pbv บอกว่าเราจ่ายซื้อที่ราคากี่เท่าของ  ฺBook Value คือส่วนทุน ในทางบัญชีเรียกสินทรัพย์สุทธิ

ในการขายหุ้นถ้าบริษัทดี เจ้าของคงไม่ขายบริษัทที่ bv  ต้องขายที่ราคาแพงกว่า bv

มองในแง่นักลงทุน เราจ่ายเงินซื้อที่ราคาสูงกว่ามูลค่าสินทรัพย์สุทธิ จะเกิดค่าความนิยม (goodwill) ในงบของเรา

ดังนั้นถือหุ้นไปอยู่เฉยๆไม่ได้ต้องดูว่าหุ้นที่เราถือยังมีค่าความนิยมหรือไม่ถ้ามองแล้วกิจการกำลังแย่ลงก็ต้องขายออก ถ้าไม่ขายตลาดจะปรับด้อยค่าความนิยมให้เองจากราคาตลาดที่ลดลง

การที่จ่ายซื้อสินทรัพย์ แพงกว่า bv แสดงว่าต้องเห็นอะไรดีๆในสินทรัพย์ เช่นแบรนด์แข็งแกร่ง networkของผู้บริโภค economy off scale จากการผลิตที่ทำให้อำนาจต่อรองสูงๆ ต้นทุนการเปลี่ยนแบรนสูงๆ หรือกฎระเบียบที่ทำกันคู่แข่ง ทำให้ส้างใหม่แข่งก็ลำบาก ยอมจ่ายซื้อกิจการที่good willดีกว่า

4.PE กับผลตอบแทนที่คาดหวัง

e/p ส่วนกลับของpe คือผลตอบแทนจากเงินลงทุนนั่นเอง
ดังนั้นถ้ามองจากสมการ roe ก็คือผลตอบแทนที่บริษัททำให้ bv pbvก็คือ ค่าความนิยมที่เรายอมจ่ายและepคือผลตอบแทนที่เราได้ แสดงว่าราคาเหมาะสมคือราคาที่ทำให้ได้ผลตอบแทนตามที่เราคาดหวังนั่นเอง หวังน้อยก็ยอมจ่ายซื้อที่ค่าความนิยมเยอะขึ้น

จะเห็นว่าสามอัตราส่วนนี้มีความสัมพันธ์กันแนบแน่น แสดงทั้งมุมมองฝั่งกิจการและมุมมองฝังนักลงทุน ถ้ามองเป็นก็สามารถประยุกต์ได้ไมมีขีดจำกัด เจริญในการลงทุนทุกท่านครับ

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          Comment on What Happened To Venezuela? by Mark   
So what happened to the economy?
          Comentário em Novo Banco – BANC por jorge iombo sanaha sergio   
Boa tarde sr diretor da area dos recursos humanos,venho por este meio, mostrar o meu maior interesse em fazer parte em fazer parte desta magnifica equipa. sou tecnico medio em contabilidade e gestao,tenho curso basico de informaitca de gabinete,frequento o 4 ano do curso suprior em economia pea universidade 11 de Novembro,possui capaciade fisica e menta,e uma longa experiencia e espirito em trabalhar por equipa,umas vez que trablho a 7 anos como professor de matematica e fisica no colégio,espero por vossa ´parte uma oportunidade para que juntos posssamos fazer crescer a empresa
          Why Kerry Lost   

BOSTON—My take on the election: Vision without details beats details without vision. President Bush put forward a powerful and compelling philosophy of what the government should do at home and abroad: Expand liberty. You can disagree with Bush's implementation of that vision, but objecting to it as a matter of principle isn't a political winner. John Kerry, on the other hand, campaigned as a technocrat, a man who would be better at "managing" the war and the economy. But for voters faced with a mediocre economy rather than a miserable one, and with a difficult war that's hopefully not a disastrous one, that message—packaged as "change"—wasn't compelling enough to persuade them to vote for Kerry.

Without reliable exit-poll data, it's hard to know exactly which voters and issues decided the election, but my guess is that the Democrats will ultimately conclude that they did what they thought was necessary on the ground to win the election. Karl Rove and the Republicans just did more. (On the exit-poll question: If the initial evening exit-poll result that 5 percent of the late deciders broke for Ralph Nader had turned out to be accurate, Nader would have received more votes from among the pool of late-breaking undecideds than he ended up receiving from the entire electorate.) The Democratic confidence during the early afternoon and evening was based on more than faulty poll data. The Kerry campaign was confident that high turnout from the party base would swing the election their way.

But this election wasn't a swing, or a pendulum. There was no fairly evenly divided group in the middle of the electorate that ultimately broke for one side and made the difference. The 2004 campaign was not a tug of war between two sides trying to yank the center toward them. Instead, it was a battle over an electorate perched on a seesaw. Each campaign furiously tried to find new voters to add so that it could outweigh the other side. Both sides performed capably: Kerry received more votes than Al Gore did four years ago, and he even received more votes than the previous all-time leader, Ronald Reagan in 1984. President Bush just did even better.

Rove's gamble that he could find more Bush supporters from among nonvoting social conservatives than from the small number of undecideds in the usual voting public worked exactly as designed. The question for Democrats is whether Rove's formula will turn out to be a one-time trick tied to Bush's personal popularity and the emotional bond the nation formed with him after the trauma of 9/11, or whether the Democratic Party has been relegated to permanent, if competitive, minority status. Are the Democrats once again a regional party, the new Eisenhower Republicans of the Northeast? For seven consecutive presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has failed to garner 50 percent of the vote. Not since Jimmy Carter in 1976 has a Democrat won a majority, and even Watergate could get Carter only 50.1 percent.

The silver lining for the minority party is that the Democrats may have a slight edge in the Electoral College. Although he lost the popular vote by more than 3.5 million (a landslide in a 50-50 nation), Kerry lost the presidency by a much smaller amount: fewer than 140,000 votes in Ohio. The 2008 battleground will likely be even smaller than 2004's: Only 19 states in this election had a vote margin that within single digits. In 2000's divided America, Bush and Gore finished within 5 points of each other in 22 states. This time, Bush and Kerry came within sniffing distance of each other in half as many, 11. Despite President Bush's remarkably successful campaign, and despite the fact that he became the first president to win a majority of the vote since his father did the same in 1988, in his second term George W. Bush will preside over a country that is even more divided than it was during his first.

          The Bush Victory Party   

George W. Bush's last victory party, which took place four years ago in Austin, Texas, never quite got underway. There was some annoying business about a withdrawn concession phone call and a steady downpour of rain. This year's party, held inside the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., was in one respect an improvement. There was no rain.

The evening began in the Reagan Building's giant, sloping atrium. The GOP herded its youngish volunteers into a mosh pit, jammed between the stage and the TV cameras. Vodka tonics were consumed, and the twentysomethings seemed poised for giddy celebration. Just after 12:30 a.m., Fox News awarded Ohio to Bush, bringing the president's electoral tally, by the network's count, to 266. Four more years! Alaska followed 20 minutes later, nudging Bush to 269. Four more years! At that point, a portly man wearing a blue suit and pin-striped shirt removed his "W Is Still President" lapel pin, held it aloft like a cigarette lighter, and began to lurch toward the stage.

But as soon as the crowd began to rock, Bush's glorious night ground to a halt. More than three hours passed without Fox awarding Bush a single electoral vote. Some of the other networks refused to give him Ohio. It wasn't that the remaining states were breaking for Kerry; they simply weren't breaking at all. The country band playing at the victory celebration exhausted its playlist and began glancing up nervously at the TV monitors. A producer with a ponytail and "W" hat waddled onstage and told them to keep playing. Reporters in the press row reached for their cell phones: The news from Boston was that John Edwards would take the stage and extend the election.

Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, dashed to the podium and, in a speech that lasted for the exact duration of Edwards', declared that Kerry couldn't possibly unearth 100,000 more votes in Ohio. The crowd whooped, but malaise was setting in. Wouldn't the president just get over here and declare victory already? Better yet, wouldn't Kerry just give up?

The heavy eyes were a marked shift from the evening's start, which was brimming with cautious optimism. As Bush swept the early states, Jeremy Bouma, a member of something called the Center for Christian Statesmanship, told me the expected surge in Democratic turnout would be offset by new evangelical voters. "My prayer going into this was that the evangelical vote was the X Factor," he said. Rosario Marin, a former U.S. treasurer, thought that Bush had succeeded in increasing his support among Hispanic voters. She was telling me why Latinos did not, in fact, oppose to the Iraq war when Gillespie announced that ABC had called Florida for Bush.

Aaaaaaaaah! she screamed, into my right ear."Oh, sorry." Then: Aaaaaaaaaah! "Oh, sorry." Aaaaaaaaaaaah! I told her she should go ahead and scream. After she caught her breath, Marin said: "I'm so happy. I'm so excited. My heart is pumping. I've got to call my husband." And then she was gone.

Bush never appeared at his 2000 victory party. Around 3 a.m. Wednesday, a question arose as to whether, in fact, he would appear at this one. CNN's John King reported that Bush had stormed into Karl Rove's office and asked the guru to let him declare victory. The reporters in the press room that weren't asleep let out a whoop. King later reported that Rove told the networks that if they would just call New Mexico for Bush, the president would make his way to the Reagan Building. The message was clear: I know you're tired. So give me the damn state.

At 5:05 a.m., an end—sort of. CNN reported that Bush wouldn't appear in person Wednesday morning; Andy Card, his chief of staff, would speak in his place. Card arrived in a room with a few dozen listless Republicans and said nothing memorable. Mario H. Lopez, one of the listless, declared, "I don't know how I cannot describe this night as historic." Then he glanced at someone's watch and said, "I think we're gonna get some breakfast and then get ready to go to work."  ... 3:17 a.m.

Party Monster: Welcome to George W. Bush's "victory" party in Washington, D.C. Sorta. Us news reporters have been herded into a giant white tent, yards away from the actual party, and contact with revelers looks unlikely. This is what the mob outside Studio 54 must have looked like, if only you upped the dweeb factor.

As the Washington Post's "Reliable Source" column notedthis morning: "Reporters wishing to cover the president's election night party will have to pay $300 for the privilege of a 3-by-2-foot work space and a padded seat in a tent nearby to watch the proceedings on television. … Small groups of media will be escorted into the atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building to look around—but they won't be allowed to talk to participants." For a White House that hates the press, handcuffing reporters on Victory Night seems appropriate.

Last-minute indicators of victory: The handful of people I saw shuffling out of the White House grounds looked grim. Someone who identified himself as a Homeland Security apparatchik looked ebullient. On Fox News, Bill Kristol and Mort Kondracke are wearing prepared smiles. ... 4:05 p.m.

Recriminations Watch—Hispanic-Vote Edition: In the category of what my friend Noam Scheiber calls "possibly meaningless anecdotal evidence," my relatives in Northern New Mexico report an inordinate number of Bush signs in the poor Hispanic colonias—communities that figured to go overwhelmingly to Kerry. The same relatives report that Hispanic men profess to have a cultural affinity with Bush, who they see as a tough, macho sort of guy. Again, meaningless, but it underscores a point: That's about the only thing Bush has going for him with the Hispanic community. The Bushies, who heralded their leader's minority-outreach miracles as Texas governor, have done a shoddy job of courting Hispanics since entering the White House.

A few months back, Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velasquez Institute told me that Kerry staffers had whiffed at the Democratic Convention. They featured too few Hispanic speakers; and the preoccupation with Iraq drew attention away from domestic issues affecting the poor. All Karl Rove had to do, Gonzalez said, was goad his keynote speakers into mumbling a few "qué pasas" and the Hispanic vote might tilt slightly to Bush. Well, it didn't happen and it hasn't happened. Most surveys show Bush polling around 30 percent to 35 percent of the Hispanic vote, about what he did in 2000. Even GOP apparatchiks, wishing for miracles, don't put Bush much above 40 percent.

If Bush loses tight races in Florida and New Mexico (and, God forbid, Nevada and Colorado), an early recrimination theory might be that Bush spent too little time chasing Hispanic voters. Then again, perhaps he didn't have a chance. The sour economy disproportionately affects Hispanic and black communities; so does the Iraq War, which draws foot soldiers from the poorest segments of the population. Though both candidates ran Spanish-language ads in the Southwest, the campaigns seemed, at times, to forget about Hispanic voters entirely. Remember the fixation on the gringo Spanish spoken (haltingly) by Al Gore and Bush in 2000? Did Bush and Kerry ignore Hispanic voters, or has the media processed them as stable members of the electorate?

Even if Bush should lose, the GOP would be wise to thank him for ratcheting up their Hispanic numbers to Ronald Reagan levels—and up from depths plumbed by the Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush campaigns. But for a man who wonEl Paso County in his 1998 gubernatorial race, 35 percent doesn't seem like much of a miracle. ... 1:11 p.m.

Tom DeLay's Poetic Justice: Tom DeLay's push to rejigger Texas' congressional districts, an effort that caused such a kerfuffle last year, has faded under the onslaught of Swift Boat Veterans, the Osama tape, and Al Qaqaa. But DeLay's gambit has been no less effective. Five Texas Democrats face re-election Tuesday in GOP-friendly districts, and even the most optimistic Dems predict that only one or two of them (probably Martin Frost or Chet Edwards) can survive. There's a better-than-even shot that allfive Democrats will lose, giving the House GOP majority an enormous boost.

But it's not all sad news. With an influx of new Republicans comes an infusion of unwitting comic genius. Most of this can be seen in the personage of Ted Poe. Poe, a former Houston felony court judge, kicked off his national political career in August by boldly proclaiming, "Now is not the time to be a French Republican."

On the bench in Houston, Poe styled himself as a remorseless, Wild West, hangin' judge in the tradition of Roy Bean. His brainchild was something he called "Poetic Justice." With "Poetic Justice," Poe sentenced criminals to public humiliations to teach them a lesson. Shoplifters who found themselves in front of Poe, for instance, had to stand outside the stores they pinched from carrying signs identifying themselves as criminals.

When a man robbed legendary Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore, Poe made the perp shovel manure 20 hours a month at the Houston police department's horse pens. The sentence was to last for 10 years.

The Club for Growth's Stephen Moore reports that Poe made convicted car thieves hand over their own cars to their victims. Convicted murderers were forced to visit their victims' grave sites; others felons had to hang their victims' pictures in their cells and, upon release, carry them in their wallets. According to the Houston Press, Poe slapped one homicidal drunken driver with the following the rap:

… boot camp; erecting and maintaining a cross and Star of David at the accident site; carrying pictures of the victims in his wallet for ten years; observing the autopsy of a drunk-driving victim; placing flowers on the graves of the two victims on their birthdays for the next ten years; and carrying a sign outside a bar that reads, "I killed two people while driving drunk."

This article describes the ambiance of Poe's Houston office: "a poster of Alcatraz, a painting of a scene from the battle of Gettysburg and a sign proclaiming, 'I really don't care how you did it up north.' "

As the Houston Chronicle reports, victims' relatives have charged that Poe would often fail to follow through on the harsh sentences—a revelation which comes as something of a relief. Slate eagerly awaits the punishments Poe metes out on congressional Democrats. ... 11:12 a.m.

A Snowball's Chance: If the election drifts into Mountain Time Tuesday, will John Kerry regret stiffing New Mexico? That's one theory being floated on Joe Monahan's superb New Mexico political blog tonight. George W. Bush visited the state Monday, Dick Cheney over the weekend. So, New Mexicans will wake up Tuesday to read triumphant Bush headlines like this and this, while they'll see news pictures of Kerry overnighting in Wisconsin.

Bill Richardson pulls all the puppet-strings in New Mexico, but there's mounting evidence that Kerry may be in trouble. The polls have looked limp. And there's a theory that Al Gore's slim margin in 2000—366 votes, all found days after the election—may be attributable to one thing: snow.

On Election Day 2000, a freak snowstorm blanketed "Little Texas," the swath of southeastern New Mexico known for its cultural and political kinship with its neighbor. Conservative voters in three counties stayed home in droves. With Gore running strong in northern New Mexico and narrowly winning Albuquerque, the snowed-in voters may have cost Bush the state.

Tuesday's weather report: This site says "rain and snow showers will linger" near the region. Kerry may need every flake and drop.  … 12:01 a.m.

Monday, Nov. 1 2004

The ESPN Primary: "Mr. President, I am wondering how you feel about taxpayers having to have a financial burden placed on them for building new stadiums and new facilities for existing teams?" So went The Candidates: Election 2004,ESPN's special last night that valiantly tried to make Tuesday's contest into a referendum on professional sports. Jim Gray, the thinking man's Ahmad Rashad, the guy who hones his interview technique on coaches trying to sneak off the court before halftime ("So, uh, how do you prepare for the second half?"), landed interviews with both candidates. With its modus operandi inching ever closer to that of Sabado Gigante, it's groovy to see ESPN put on its serious face once in a while—for the shtick to give way to grave pronouncements about THE WORLD BEYOND SPORTS. Except that Gray never acknowledged that such a thing existed.

In response to a question about ticket prices, Bush replied, "I was always concerned when I was with the Rangers that our ticket prices would become so high that the family would be priced out of baseball." Perhaps this is why Bush helped build the Ballpark at Arlington, one of the most expensive venues in baseball and one of its most soulless. For his part, Kerry repeated his I-stand-with-the-working-man pabulum, suggesting that fathers were looting their children's college funds to sit at club level.

Asked to name his favorite athlete, Kerry, of course, straddled, ticking off a fair slice of the Boston Bruins' first line and, for swing-state mojo, a handful of Detroit Red Wings. Bush got another chance to coo about his clutch performance during the 2001 World Series. And that's about as deep as our man Gray got. There are some reasonably interesting questions to ask about sports, such as why it remains one of the viciously anti-gay segments of public life, a black mark that is ignored when it isn't celebrated.

But why get huffy when you can ask both candidates, as Gray did, what should be done about Pete Rose, who after his selfless act of contrition last winter finds himself no closer to baseball's Hall of Fame? This is the kind of spitball that will get you hooted off most respectable sports radio shows, but the candidates tried their level best. Bush said Rose had never really apologized to baseball. Kerry straddled, then agreed. You could see the nervous flicker in both men's eyes—Bush: Christian values!; Kerry: Cincinnati values!—as they tried outflank one another on Charlie Hustle's quagmire.  ... 10:02 p.m.

          The Vanishing Nonvoter   

FORT LAUDERDALE—Republicans love to criticize Democrats for failing to use "dynamic scoring" when assessing the impact of tax cuts on budget revenues. But if President Bush loses the 2004 presidential election, it may be because Karl Rove failed to use dynamic scoring when assessing the impact of his political strategy on the electorate.

In budgetary matters, dynamic scoring means including the effect that cutting taxes will have on economic growth when determining how a tax cut will affect federal revenues. A static analysis, on the other hand, would just decrease the government's inflows by the amount that taxes were cut (or increase revenues by the amount taxes were raised), without calculating the ways a change in tax policy can change people's economic decisions.

For the 2004 election, Rove's static political analysis was that appealing to the 4 million evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000 would bring President Bush a decisive re-election victory. Bush's campaign—and his presidency—have appealed almost entirely to the base of the Republican Party. In a static world, that strategy makes sense: Consolidate the support you received last time, and then find new conservative voters who weren't motivated to turn out four years ago, whether because of the late-breaking news of Bush's DUI arrest or because they weren't convinced of Bush's conservative bona fides. But Rove may have missed the dynamic analysis: the effect that such a strategy would have on the rest of the nonvoting public.

In most states, the Democratic voter-registration program has outpaced the Republican one. Here in Florida, that hasn't been the case, as the GOP has turned up more new registrants across the state than the Democrats. But evidence that Rove's unconventional strategy inflamed the Democratic base can be seen in the early-voting turnout, which seems to be favoring the Democrats. Friday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel featured this headline on the front page: "Early Vote Turnout Boosts Democrats." Calling the turnout in heavily Democratic Broward County a "bad sign for President Bush's chances to win the state," the Sun-Sentinel noted that "twice as many Democrats as Republicans had either voted at early voting sites or returned absentee ballots in the county." In Miami-Dade, another heavily Democratic county, Kerry stands to beat Bush by 90,000 votes if a Miami Herald poll conducted by John Zogby is accurate, Herald columnist Jim DeFede wrote on Thursday. Al Gore won the county by less than 40,000 votes.

"By our count, John Kerry already has a significant lead with the people who have already voted in Florida," Tad Devine said in a conference call with reporters Saturday. The voters who are waiting in line for 2 1/2 hours to vote—almost exactly how long the line was Saturday at the downtown Fort Lauderdale public library—aren't doing that to register their support for "more of the same," he said. Interestingly, Devine sounded more confident about Kerry's chances in Florida than in Ohio, a state in which most people think Kerry has a slight edge. He said that Kerry had a "small but important advantage" in Florida (as well as Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania) but only that the race was "very close" with Kerry "positioned to win" in Ohio, putting that the Buckeye State in the same category as Bush-leaning (by most accounts) states Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico.

It's possible that Rove and the Bush campaign have turned up a huge trove of conservative nonvoters who were registered to vote four years ago and who therefore aren't showing up in the numbers of new registered voters. Unless that's true, however, the early indications are that Rove's repudiation of centrist politics will backfire. The secret of Bill Clinton's campaigns and of George W. Bush's election in 2000 was the much-maligned politics of small differences: Find the smallest possible majority (well, of electoral votes, for both men) that gets you to the White House. In political science, something called the "median voter theorem" dictates that in a two-party system, both parties will rush to the center looking for that lone voter—the median voter—who has 50.1 percent of the public to the right (or left) of him. Win that person's vote, and you've won the election.

Rove has tried to use the Bush campaign to disprove the politics of the median voter. It was as big a gamble as any of the big bets President Bush has placed over the past four years. It has the potential to pay off spectacularly. After all, everyone always talks about how there are as many people who don't vote in this country as people who do vote. Rove decided to try to get the president to excite those people. Whether Bush wins or loses, it looks like he succeeded.

          I Want My GOTV   

COLUMBUS, Ohio—With only nine days until this election is over (or so everyone hopes), we've reached the stage of the campaign when the political press evaluates each side's ground game. The media's track record on this is not encouraging. Almost exactly nine months ago, reporters were wandering around Iowa judging the merits of everyone's "organization, organization, organization." The verdict: Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt were the men to beat. We were dazzled by Gephardt's union support and by Dean's "Perfect Storm" of door-knocking, orange-hatted, out-of-state volunteers. They both got creamed.

In hindsight, Dean's Perfect Storm has been judged a debacle on two levels: It annoyed Iowans, who don't like outsiders, and it tied up Dean's staff with organizational headaches—where should we house the Stormers? How can we keep them busy?—when the staff's time would have been better spent figuring out how to get Iowans to the caucuses. But at the time, it got great press.

So, perhaps it's a bad omen for Kerry's ground game in Ohio when I discover that Christy Setzer, the woman who handled press for the Perfect Storm, has been assigned to deal with national reporters who parachute into Columbus to watch America Coming Together, the New New Thing of the general election, in action. That's not meant as a slap at Setzer—she's a terrific person who's good at her job (see the aforementioned glowing press)—but the parallels are irresistible. Like the Storm was for the caucuses, the George Soros-funded ACT is the Big Question Mark of the general election: How many of the new voters it registered in the past year are authentic? How many of them will show up to vote? Can this unconventional strategy win Kerry the presidency?

ACT's army of red-coated canvassers are Kerry's Afghan warlords: He's outsourced his base campaign, his voter-registration drives, and a healthy chunk of his get-out-the-vote operation to them. Much of the rest of the operation will be handled by the groups (including ACT) that make up America Votes, another 527 that coordinates the voter-contact and voter-turnout operations of a host of interest groups, from the AFL-CIO to Planned Parenthood, to ensure that everyone's on the same page. In a sense, America Votes does for the liberal ground game what Grover Norquist's weekly meeting does for conservative talking points.

When I ask Setzer to compare ACT to Dean's Storm, she says it differs in important ways. For one, the canvassers are paid workers and not volunteers, and the organization tries to hire locals instead of out-of-towners. More important, perhaps, the canvassers are supposed to identify voters and get them to the polls, not tell voters their personal stories of how far they've traveled and why they're committed to Howard Dean (or John Kerry). But the real key is that they don't work for just one weekend.

The secret to turnout is frequent face-to-face contact with voters. That's a lesson Steve Rosenthal, the national head of America Coming Together, learned during his years as the political director of the AFL-CIO. Many people attribute Al Gore's victory in the popular vote in 2000—and his wins in every close state except Florida—to Rosenthal's turnout operation for the unions in 2000. Donna Brazile has called Rosenthal "the last great hope of the Democratic Party" and has compared him to Michael Whouley and Karl Rove. ACT is a national version of what Rosenthal did for Philadelphia Mayor John Street in 2003. In that race, 38,000, or 44 percent, of the 86,000 new voters Rosenthal registered came to the polls, he told National Journal earlier this year, compared to 28 or 29 percent of what the magazine called "voters from the same neighborhoods and similar socio-economic backgrounds who had registered on their own."

In Ohio, ACT sends out between 200 and 250 paid canvassers each day. They get paid between $8 and $10 an hour. Setzer reels off impressive numbers: We've knocked on 3.7 million doors in Ohio, had more than 1 million conversations. On Election Day, ACT will send out 12,000 volunteers, each paid a stipend of $75 for travel and expenses, to make sure voters get to the polls. ACT and the partner organizations that make up America Votes have registered about 300,000 new voters in Ohio, and they'll consider it a success to turn out just half of them. Those voters alone, though, wouldn't swing the election. Four years ago, Bush's margin of victory was nearly 180,000 votes. In all, Ohio has between 700,000 and 800,000 new voters for this election, though Setzer points out that some of that could just be churn from voters who moved.

My trip to watch two ACT canvassers in action wasn't very impressive, but that's because it was a Potemkin canvass, organized for the benefit of an MSNBC reporter and his camera. Malik Hubbard, 26, and Julian Johannesen, 32, walked up and down a few blocks in a largely African-American neighborhood in Columbus on a Saturday afternoon. As ACT's field directors for Franklin County, which includes Columbus, Hubbard and Johannesen don't usually canvass themselves. Each man carried a Palm Tungsten T2, which contained the addresses of the voters they were supposed to contact. It's Saturday afternoon on the day of the Ohio State homecoming game, so it's not optimal door-knocking time, but they do their best to put on a good show. When a voter answers the door, the canvasser gives him or her a flyer that has the address of the local polling place stamped on it. He explains that the polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., advises the voter to bring some form of identification to the polls in case their registration is challenged, and asks if there are any questions. On two separate occasions, a voter worries about a false rumor that the neighborhood's voting machines have been replaced with punch-card ballots. After talking to each voter, Hubbard and Johannesen input the data into their Tungsten T2s.

Over the next nine days, canvassers will follow up with voters, continuing the personal contacts. For what it's worth, the Bush-Cheney campaign in the state is following a similar strategy, though it doesn't partly rely on an outside organization to carry it out. "I'm not saying we're gonna outperform the other side, because they have the potential to be spectacular," says Dave Beckwith, a Bush-Cheney spokesman in Ohio. "I'd just rather be where we are, with a real solid model." The model is the Republican "72 Hour Program," Karl Rove's get-out-the-vote operation from 2002, which helped the Republicans gain House and Senate seats in the midterm elections. Like ACT, the 72 Hour Program relies on frequent face-to-face contact with voters, what Bush's Ohio campaign manager Bob Paduchik calls "the volunteer-to-voter interface."

"By and large, it is an effort to move closer to the Democrat knock-and-drag vote drive," Beckwith says. Republicans have traditionally relied on things like direct mail to get out the vote, but this time, "We are going to the personal contact system." The Bush-Cheney campaign has printed up small pamphlets that contain a list of each committed Bush voter in a neighborhood, along with voters' phone numbers and a map of the area. On Election Day, a volunteer takes the book and checks off each voter after they go to the polls.

Beckwith admits that the Democrats have registered more new voters than the Republicans, but he says that their work was done by "mercenaries"—and they have "people signed up by crack addicts"—while his side employs volunteers, or "liberty-loving free men." Beckwith then drifts into a reverie about the Battle of San Jacinto and explains how Sam Houston knew that "conscripts" and the forces of "despotism" couldn't defeat free men. The enemy was saying, "Me no Alamo," Beckwith says with a laugh. (At another moment in the interview, Beckwith observes of the Kerry-Edwards campaign offices, "I think they're on Gay Street, which is interesting, because we're on Rich Street.")

At the Bush-Cheney headquarters, I mention to Paduchik, Bush's Ohio campaign manager, how the media overestimated the effectiveness of Dean's Perfect Storm. Paduchik says the evidence of Bush's organization in Ohio is the size of his crowds, because the campaign distributes its tickets through its volunteers. When you see 22,000 people in Troy, Ohio, or 50,000 people in Westchester, Ohio, you know you're looking at "a real organization," he says. "It's not because we had tickets you could download from the Internet. It's not because we had put them on car windows, or had people pick them up at a 7-Eleven, like the other side does."

On the way out, I'm reminded that all this work on both sides isn't necessarily a sign of confidence. As we walk to the door, Beckwith points to an empty portion of the Bush-Cheney offices. That's where the staff for Sen. George Voinovich works, he says. "These cocksuckers are up 30 points and they're never in here."

          Second Best   

CLEVELAND—Is John Kerry finally winning? His campaign, which only a week ago was defensive about the candidate's standing in the polls, is now more confidently asserting that he's pulled ahead. Before Friday, the Kerry campaign hadn't been willing to make that claim. Typically, the Bush campaign would argue that the president was leading in the race, and the Kerry campaign would respond by saying, no, it's a tie. But in a Friday afternoon conference call, Kerry's people finally started pointing to the scoreboard.

Here are the numbers outlined by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg on the latest Democracy Corps poll. The numbers are consistent with the latest polls from news organizations, most of which are in keeping with what the Kerry people have been saying all along, that the race is a toss-up. In Greenberg's poll, the horse race is a statistical tie, with Kerry at 49 and Bush at 47. The president's approval rating is 48 percent, "which is just at the edge of electability," Greenberg noted.

So why the confidence? Greenberg cited two internal numbers from the part of the poll that focused on "persuadable" voters. That group includes undecided voters, Bush and Kerry supporters who say their minds remain open, and a third group, Bush voters who say they want the country to go in a significantly different direction. The first number Greenberg cited was this: Fifty-seven percent of the persuadable voters in the Democracy Corps poll said they want to know how a candidate will "make the economy and health care better for people," while only 32 percent want to know "how you'll make us safe." The other number Greenberg highlighted: Given a choice between "I'm comfortable with changing to a new person if he has the right priorities" and "Bush has made us safer and I'm reluctant to change," 54 percent of persuadable voters said they were comfortable with changing, and 45 percent said they were reluctant. The responses to those two questions, Greenberg said, show that Kerry has "an audience" ready to listen to his message. He just has to "seal the deal."

With 11 days to go, that puts Kerry in the exact same place he was with more than three months to go, before the Democratic convention. He had a willing and persuadable audience then, and he proved unable to win them over. People preferred the "generic Democrat" to Bush, but they soured on the specific Democrat. Fortunately for Kerry, in the first debate, Bush reminded voters of what they don't like about him, and now we're back to square one again.

That dynamic is in keeping with the "spotlight" theory of the election being peddled by Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times. The theory goes something like this: Given that a slight majority of the electorate doesn't want Bush, and that a different but similarly slight majority doesn't want Kerry, the winning candidate will be the one who manages to keep the spotlight on his opponent's flaws, rather than his own.

Up to now, I've rejected Brownstein's theory and argued that Kerry has to do more than just watch Bush lose. He has to win the separate "referendum on the challenger" by persuading Americans that he's an acceptable replacement for the president. But if Brownstein is right, neither candidate should get too optimistic by polling data that shows him ahead. Because every time for the past few months that this race has been one man's race to lose, that man hasn't had any trouble finding a way to lose it.

          Unanswered Questions   

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There are lots of questions going into the third and final presidential debate of the 2004 campaign: Will President Bush find his inside voice? After two debate victories, will the overconfident, coasting "Bad Kerry" return? Will Bush wire himself with an earpiece so he can listen to the baseball playoffs? What bad Red Sox joke will Kerry make? Most important, wouldn't the nation be better off if this were another foreign-policy debate?

If you've paid any attention at all to the presidential campaign for the past seven months, you know the basic differences between Bush and Kerry on taxes, health care, education, abortion, same-sex marriage, Social Security, outsourcing, or whatever your favorite domestic issue is. There are no unanswered questions for the two men that I can think of. Instead, Wednesday night's debate will be a shallow exercise in political point-scoring, with each candidate trying to highlight the embarrassing parts of his opponent's record.

Normally, I'd think such an event would be both great fun and worthwhile. But on foreign policy, the central issue of this election, there's still a great deal of confusion as to where each candidate stands, despite a presidential debate and a half, and a vice presidential debate, on the subject. Do you know, for example, what John Kerry's position is on how the nation should deal with state sponsors of terrorism? Does he agree with Bush that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves? What's his opinion of the Bush Doctrine? Would he amend it? If so, how? Does he think the nation should adhere to a foreign-policy doctrine, or should we just take an ad hoc approach to terrorism and other global problems?

None of those questions were addressed in the first three debates. The campaign's focus on unilateralism vs. internationalism has obscured the more fundamental foreign-policy difference between Bush and Kerry: their views on the role of states, and state sponsors, in the war on terror. Matt Bai's New York Times Magazine piece on John Kerry's view of the war on terror elucidates this difference between the two men more clearly than any article yet written on Kerry's foreign policy, including manful attempts by the Atlantic and TheNew Yorker.

Bush's war on terror assumes that states are the main actors in international affairs. After 9/11, Bush expressed skepticism that a mere "network" could have pulled off such a feat. Bush, Bai writes, does not believe that terrorists "can ultimately survive and operate independently of states." The Bush National Security Strategy calls terrorists "clients" of rogue states. The Bush war on terror is remarkably state-centric. After the fall of Afghanistan, the administration immediately began looking for the next state to topple.

Kerry focuses on nonstate actors, international networks that operate outside of state control. "Kerry's view, on the other hand, suggests that it is the very premise of civilized states ... that is under attack," Bai writes. Kerry's internationalism stems from his view of the war on terror, rather than vice versa: "And no one state, acting alone, can possibly have much impact on the threat, because terrorists will always be able to move around, shelter their money and connect in cyberspace; there are no capitals for a superpower like the United States to bomb, no ambassadors to recall, no economies to sanction."

The clear implication of Bai's article is not, as the Bush campaign would have it, that Kerry wants only to reduce terrorism to a "nuisance" while Bush wants to eliminate it. It's that Bush would seek to topple more regimes in his second term, while Kerry wouldn't. Perhaps everyone already knew that. But don't you want to know more about it? I've already proposed several questions for Kerry. Here are some for Bush: Mr. President, you say John Kerry has a "fundamental misunderstanding" of the war on terror when he says it is only a war against al-Qaida. Does this mean that you are likely to try to change other regimes by force in the Middle East in your second term—those that harbor, say, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad? You say those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. What countries in the world are harboring terrorists, and how do you plan to punish them for their guilt? When you mock Sen. Kerry for saying the war on terror is in large part a "law enforcement operation," are you saying that breaking up terrorist cells is insufficient for victory in the war? What is sufficient for victory? Other than Iraq and Afghanistan, where do you see the next battleground in the war on terror?

If you want to know about the candidates' health-care plans, you can read about them on their Web sites and in newspaper articles. We're a nation at war. Don't you wish the two candidates had to answer some more questions about who exactly we're at war with?

          The Post-Debate Debate   

ORLANDO—Sen. John Kerry, you just walloped President Bush in the first 2004 debate. What are you going to do now? Go to Disney World, apparently: The Kerry campaign and his traveling press spent Friday night at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World, possibly the only place more unreal than the presidential campaign bubble. There couldn't be a more appropriate place for Kerry to stay the night after the debate, because right now, Democrats think they're in the happiest place on earth.

As the press bus arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday morning, a reporter jokingly pronounced a crowd of Kerry supporters to be "30 percent more excited" than they would have been before Thursday's debate. But he underestimated the enthusiasm among Democrats for Kerry's performance. In 90 minutes, Kerry erased the nagging complaints within his party about the effectiveness of his campaign, and he crushed any incipient Dean nostalgia.

On the stump, Kerry has discovered a new applause line, simply uttering the word "debate." At the University of South Florida in Tampa on Friday, Kerry walked out to the loudest and longest ovation I've seen in more than a year on the campaign. Kerry's still a 40-minute rambler at his campaign events—he should consider traveling with a podium equipped with green, yellow, and red lights that tell him when to stop—but he didn't have to do anything more than ask the crowd, "So, did you watch that debate last night?" to get the rumbling foot-stomping and cheering started again. In Orlando later that night, Kerry uses his new line—"Did you watch that little debate last night?"—as his opener, and again its gets the crowd roaring.

Kerry has even taken to ridiculing the president for his underwhelming showing. On Friday night, he mockingly impersonated Bush as a stammering Porky Pig. (Not Elmer Fudd, as the New York Times claims. Get your cartoon references right, Gray Lady!) The next day, Kerry was at it again, poking fun of Bush's repetition of the phrase "hard work" at the debate: "He confuses staying in place, just kind of saying, 'It's tough, it's hard work, you gotta make a decision,' "—laughter—"he considers that, and confuses that, with leadership."

Those Democrats who aren't already buoyed by the debate will take heart in Saturday's Newsweek poll, which shows the race in a statistical tie: Kerry at 47 percent and Bush at 45 percent, with a 4-point margin of error. Kerry adviser Joel Johnson dismissed the poll's significance during a conference call with reporters, saying, "It's probably a poll that we took issue with in the past," such as when Newsweek showed the president leading by 11 points coming out of the Republican convention.

In the wake of all these good signs for Kerry, the Bush campaign is busy trying to Gore him, to kill the Democratic buzz by turning Kerry's debate victory into a defeat. A White House pool report Saturday from the Baltimore Sun's David Greene reported that Bush communications director Nicolle Devenish said, "Nobody is going to look back on November 3 and remember that first debate for anything other than a night when Kerry made four serious strategic mistakes." Here's how Greene summarized the mistakes: "1) Kerry spoke of a 'global test.' 2) Kerry called the war in Iraq a mistake then later said Americans were not dying for a mistake. 3) Kerry spoke of the troops deserving better after saying in an interview before the debate that his vote on funding was made in protest. 4) Kerry offered what Nicolle called a 'new insult' for allies when he said the coalition is not 'genuine.' "

Thursday night after the debate, the Bush surrogates emphasized Devenish's second point, to reinforce its caricature of the Democratic nominee as a habitual flip-flopper. By Friday and Saturday, however, the Bush campaign had seized upon Kerry's mention—a virtual aside—of a "global test" for pre-emptive war as their chance to reverse the perception that Kerry won the debate. (Based on Devenish's comments, they've also dropped their initial nobody-won spin in which they sounded like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda: "We didn't lose Vietnam! It was a tie!")

On Friday afternoon, the Bush campaign e-mailed excerpts of remarks the president made in Allentown, Pa., including this quote: "Senator Kerry last night said that America has to pass some sort of global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. He wants our national security decisions subject to the approval of a foreign government. Listen, I'll continue to work with our allies and the international community, but I will never submit America's national security to an international test. The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France." Scott McClellan piled on, as distilled by another White House pool report, saying that Kerry's comment "showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the war on terrorism," and that the remark "shows something that is very disturbing."

By Saturday, Bush himself had taken to calling the "global test" the "Kerry doctrine," which would "give foreign governments veto power over our own national security decisions." In the afternoon, the Kerry campaign dispatched Richard Holbrooke to rebut "Bush's misleading rhetoric on the stump" in a conference call. Nearly every question was about what Kerry meant during the debate by "global test," and about the Bush's campaign's rhetoric of a "global permission slip" and the "Kerry doctrine." Holbrooke read Kerry's debate statement in full: "No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Holbrooke said the "Bush attack" was "another flagrant misrepresentation by the administration of what Sen. Kerry said," and added, "Who in their right mind would not wish to be sure that the use of force preemptively, or for that matter, any use of force, gets support and understanding from the rest of the world and from the American people and is fully justified?" He called it "longstanding American doctrine" and "a standard position, all presidents have taken it since at least 1945." Sounding irritated about the repeated mentions of the "Kerry doctrine" by reporters, Holbrooke said, "Don't call it a Kerry doctrine. That would suggest that John Kerry has enunciated something new, and he didn't."

An hour later, at 2:30 p.m., Kerry adviser Joel Johnson and Democratic National Committee adviser Howard Wolfson held a conference call to "discuss the results" of the presidential debate. The first question, from a Knight Ridder reporter, was about "this alleged Kerry doctrine." Would the campaign make any "paid media response"? No, Johnson said, we're going to focus on the economy in our TV ads, as planned. "We don't feel like this one is one we're going to have to respond in any way" in paid media.

The Republicans are "trying to take away the medal from the Olympic gymnast after the contest is over," Wolfson said. ABC's Dan Harris asked, "Aren't you opening yourself up to the charge that you've failed to learn the lessons of August?" referring to the Swift Boat ads and the Kerry campaign's belated response. "We're focusing on the failed economy," Johnson said. But you should know, "He'll never give a veto to any other country, period." Harris replied, "But boy, it really sounds like you're letting that charge hang out there." Johnson: "Well, we'll take that under advisement."

Shortly after that conference call ended, the Bush campaign e-mailed its script for a new TV ad, called—surprise—"Global Test." The ad says in part, "The Kerry doctrine: A global test. So we must seek permission from foreign governments before protecting America? A global test? So America will be forced to wait while threats gather? President Bush believes decisions about protecting America should be made in the Oval Office, not foreign capitals." Within a couple of hours, the Kerry campaign had changed its mind about whether to release its own ad. Their script begins, "George Bush lost the debate.  Now he's lying about it." The Kerry ad also tries to change the subject, to a New York Times story that comes out Sunday. That day's conference call is billed as, "What President Bush Really Knew About Iraq's WMD Programs Before the War."

During his conference call, Joel Johnson complained, "The Bush campaign is trying to concoct arguments that the president couldn't make the other night in the debate." That's exactly right. The mystery is why Johnson didn't think his campaign would have to do the same for Kerry.

          Great Expectations   

PHILADELPHIA—On the Kerry plane Thursday, reporters asked Mike McCurry why the campaign agreed to make the foreign-policy debate first, as the Bush campaign wanted, instead of third, as the Commission on Presidential Debates had scheduled it. "You know, we have to take anything like that and turn it into an opportunity," McCurry said. So, you see it as an opportunity? Not quite: "I'm supposed to lower expectations, not raise them."

Maybe McCurry should tell the candidate. I counted six times this week that Kerry raised his debate expectations by disparaging President Bush's intelligence or knowledge, seven if you count a comment made by Sen. Joe Biden during a Friday rally here. During his Monday night appearance on David Letterman, Kerry said that during the debates, "George Bush is gonna sit on Dick Cheney's lap," an apparent reference to the widespread Democratic belief that the vice president is the ventriloquist/puppeteer and Bush is the dummy. (At least, I hope that was the reference.) On Tuesday's Live With Regis & Kelly, Kerry said of the just-concluded debate negotiations, "The big hang-up was George Bush wanted a lifeline where he could call," an allusion to Regis Philbin's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? game show. That night in Orlando, Kerry said that President Bush says he would have gone to war "even if he knew there was no connection of al-Qaida and Sept. 11 and Iraq—which we knew, but even if he knew that." In Columbus on Thursday, Kerry mocked Bush's claim that the CIA was "just guessing" about Iraq in its National Intelligence Estimate by implying that the president didn't understand the nature of the report and hadn't looked at it: "It's called an analysis. And the president ought to read it, and he ought to study it, and he ought to respond to it." On Friday on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania *, Biden compared the two candidates for president by saying, "John Kerry understands and has actually read history." Earlier that morning, during Kerry's war-on-terror speech at Temple University, Kerry noted that the president agreed to testify before the 9/11 commission "only with Vice President Cheney at his side," and he ridiculed Republican claims that a new president wouldn't be able to get more allies involved in Iraq and the war on terror by saying, "I have news for President Bush: Just because you can't do something doesn't mean it can't be done."

Good lines all—well, except the sitting-in-Cheney's lap one. But was this the week to trot out the Bush-is-an-idiot-controlled-by-Cheney meme? I thought the campaigns were supposed to talk up their opponents before the debates, not deride them. Kerry is Cicero and Bush is Rocky Marciano, the man who has never lost.

Other than this minor misstep in the expectations game, however, Kerry set himself up well this week for Thursday's debate, which will be the most decisive event in the presidential campaign so far. The foreign-policy debate deserves to go first, because this is a foreign-policy election. At Kerry's town halls, even the ones that are supposed to be about health care or Social Security or the economy, the majority of voters ask him questions about Iraq. Here's one way to think about next week's face-off: Bush and Kerry are running for leader of the free world, not just president of the United States, and both candidates want to cast themselves as a global Abraham Lincoln while defining their opponent as an international version of John C. Calhoun.

Bush lays claim to the mantle of Lincoln the Emancipator: Like the 16th president, Bush believes that individual liberty trumps state sovereignty (the international version of states' rights). Sure, Saddam Hussein was sovereign, but he was a tyrant and a menace to his people, Bush says, so America's invasion was a just one. Kofi Annan says Bush's invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law, but Bush appeals to a higher law that says that some laws and some rulers are illegitimate. Bush laid out his Lincolnesque doctrine of liberty over sovereignty in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention: "Our nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom." Bush wants to paint Kerry as a global Calhoun, a man who prefers French sovereignty to Iraqi freedom.

Kerry, on the other hand, casts himself as Lincoln the preserver of the Union (while at the same time questioning Bush's competence and highlighting the disparity between the president's "fantasy world" ideals and the "world of reality" on the ground). I don't want to overstate this, because the Republican caricature of Kerry as a one-worlder who would let France exert a veto over American security is inaccurate. But Kerry clearly believes in the international structures and institutions that have been created since World War II, and he sees Bush, shall we say, nullifying them. In this version of the story, it's Bush who is Calhoun, the man who would elevate the shortsighted rights of his state over the compact that every state has entered to promote the greater good.

This analogy, like all historical analogies, is flawed in many ways. It may be particularly unfair to Kerry, who on the stump talks about relying on allies out of pragmatism rather than idealism. But it gets at the factor that I think will determine the winner of next week's debate: Which candidate will be able to present himself as the internationalist and his opponent as the isolationist? Bush says Kerry would turn his back on the people of the world who suffer under tyranny. Kerry says Bush has already turned his back on the world and has replaced dictatorship in Iraq with chaos, not the freedom he claims.

It will be an uphill battle for Kerry. So far, he's been successful at pointing out the flaws in Bush's policies, but he hasn't convinced enough people that President Kerry's policies would be any better. And Bush's bounce out of the Republican convention showed how attractive the president's principles, if not his policies, are.

In July, voters seemed to have decided that they'd like to get rid of Bush. But when they turned their attention to his potential replacement, they were disappointed by what they discovered. The Republican convention exploited that disappointment, and now there are more undecided voters than ever—because voters found out they don't like either guy.

Bush lost the incumbent's referendum, then Kerry lost the one on the challenger. Now we don't know what we want. That's why Thursday will be so critical. For Kerry to win, he needs to argue successfully that liberty and the international order, like strength and wisdom, are not opposing values.

Correction, Sept. 27, 2004: This article originally said that Biden spoke at the University of Philadelphia. He spoke at the University of Pennsylvania. (Return to corrected sentence.)

          Cheney's Burden   

CORNWALL, PA.—Dick Cheney delivers a lecture, not a stump speech. He squats on a stool, buttons his too-tight jacket, and speaks for 10 minutes without drawing applause. During his entire discourse, which lasts nearly half an hour, the audience claps six times. Only once does Cheney pause ostentatiously, as politicians do, to signal to his listeners that a particular utterance merits their enthusiasm. George W. Bush, John Edwards, and John Kerry all say that this election is the most important in history, but only Cheney dares to make you believe it.

Theoretically, Monday's town hall is about manufacturing, small businesses, and the economy. That's what all the introductory speakers talk about. But Cheney doesn't say a word on the subject. He talks terrorism, he talks Afghanistan, and he talks Iraq. After World War II, Cheney says, a bipartisan consensus created the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and other institutions, and those structures served the United States well for more than 40 years, until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Now, the nation stands at "another of those moments in history," when policies and institutions will be crafted to deal with the national security issues of the next 30 to 50 years. And that, he says, is what this election is about: not four years but four decades.

He makes the most compelling case possible for continuing with a flawed policy. Before 9/11, he says, the terrorists learned two lessons from how the United States responded to their multiple strikes: "They could strike the United States with relative impunity," and, "If they hit us hard enough, they could change our policy," as happened after the 1983 attack in Beirut and again in Mogadishu. That's why, Cheney insists, the nation must stay the course in Iraq. The strategy of terrorists is to use violence to force a change in U.S. policy. If that happens, "that's a victory for the terrorists."

Kerry hasn't argued for a complete withdrawal from Iraq, of course, though Cheney certainly implies it. What really differentiates Cheney's position from Kerry's is how the two men approach the burden of proof for war: The Bush administration has shifted it from war to peace.

That's what Cheney is saying, that the administration's current Iraq policies are the proper default position. Any change in policy—not just a complete withdrawal, but any "change"—must be weighed against the fear of emboldening al-Qaida. And at its heart, that's what the debate over going to war with Iraq has been about for two years. Those, like Kerry, who wanted to give the inspectors more time, or who wanted to bring more allies aboard before invading, believed that the burden of proof was on war, that an attacking nation must provide evidence of the justness of its decision. The administration argued the opposite, that Iraq needed to prove to the world that it didn't deserve to be invaded. The job of the inspectors, in this view, wasn't to find weapons of mass destruction but to prove a virtual impossibility, that Iraq didn't possess WMD. That was the lesson of 9/11, the administration said. We couldn't wait to find out whether Iraq had WMD. If we did, it might be too late.

Based on his speech in New York on Monday, Kerry doesn't agree with that lesson. He says he voted for the war to give the president leverage in the United Nations. That way the inspectors could verify whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But Kerry misunderstands the administration's position. They didn't want to prove the case for war. The only way to dissuade them would be if someone had proven the case for peace.

Kerry did agree with one thing Cheney said: This debate isn't just about Iraq. Bush's policies are a "warning," Kerry said. If Bush is re-elected, "he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes."

The question in front of voters in November: Do you think, for the next 30 to 50 years, that the nation needs to prove its case when it goes to war? Or do you think the world has changed so much that we should have to prove the case for peace?

          Shrum Strikes Back?   

ALLENTOWN, PA.—The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich profiled Kerry adviser Bob Shrum in a piece Friday that focused on the so-called "Shrum Curse," the idea that Shrum is the losingest great political strategist of modern times. Leibovich didn't bring up William Jennings Bryan or the Buffalo Bills, but he does compare Shrum to Kerry's favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. Ten speechwriters at the Democratic convention, Leibovich writes, considered wearing "Reverse the Curse" T-shirts emblazoned with a picture of Shrum. The article's headline: "Loss Leader: At 0-7, Adviser Bob Shrum Is Well Acquainted With the Concession Speech."

Ouch. It gets worse. Here are some of the piece's highlights: "Shrum's career-long slump in presidential campaigns, a well-catalogued losing streak that runs from George McGovern to Al Gore. … the ["Reverse the Curse"] slogan endures as a joke among Kerry staffers. … Shrum's 0-7 win-loss record in presidential elections has become ensconced in the psyches of the campaigns he orchestrates. …. Kerry is sputtering … His campaign has been called listless and unfocused, words that were also applied to Shrum's last presidential enterprise, the Gore campaign (a forbidden comparison within Kerry headquarters). … But curses sometimes have prosaic explanations. … critics started to rehash old complaints about Shrum. They say he relies too heavily on populist rhetoric, … that his aggressiveness led to backbiting within the campaign. ... James Carville harpooned Shrum relentlessly to reporters at the Republican convention last week. Clinton himself was critical of the campaign's reluctance to attack Bush—a position Shrum had advocated—in a phone call to Kerry … Shrum's brand of old-style liberalism—steeped in the tradition of his political patron, Ted Kennedy—is anathema to the centrist, New Democrat ethic that got Clinton elected twice. … 'You tend to listen extra hard to Clinton people,' says a mid-level Kerry aide who didn't want to be identified because he's not an official spokesman. 'They've actually won one of these.' "

The one thing Leibovich couldn't nail down was Shrum's role in the Kerry campaign after the elevation of John Sasso and Michael Whouley and the infusion of Clinton operatives like Joe Lockhart. How much power does Shrum have now? Does he still have the candidate's ear? "Shrum is either in Kerry's doghouse, or his influence has been diffused by the high-level additions. Ultimately, though, campaign sources say, Shrum is a survivor" who has "worked strenuously to cultivate Lockhart." Leibovich also writes that Kerry feels loyal to Shrum for helping him to defeat William Weld in 1996.

So, Shrumologists take note: During a rally here on Friday, the same day Leibovich's critical profile appeared, Kerry inserted a Shrumian flourish into his standard stump speech. For a few minutes, Kerry sounded an awful lot like Al Gore during his much-criticized—and Shrum-penned—"people vs. the powerful" acceptance speech at the 2000 Democratic convention. The business-friendly Kerry  of Labor Day vanished, replaced by a Wall Street-bashing economic populist.

Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Kerry's remarks weren't significant. "It didn't strike me as anything unusual," she said. "It's not a 'people vs. the powerful.' " Judge for yourself: There's a theme that runs through "everything I just talked about," Kerry explained. "Why aren't we importing drugs from Canada? Why did they take that out? Why did we refuse to allow Medicare to be able to negotiate [bulk drug prices] so you would lower your taxes? Why has the tax burden of the average American family gone up while the tax burden of the richest people in America has gone down? Why is it that when we're fighting to have alternative and renewable energy, we wind up with an energy bill that's written for the oil and gas companies? Why is it that when American citizens are losing their health care by the millions, it's the HMOs and the companies that keep getting fed?" Kerry mentions all of these things frequently on the stump, but this time he punctuated his critique with an allusion to the rhetoric of Al Gore's "forbidden" campaign: "I'll tell you why: because this administration exists for the purpose of serving the powerful and the moneyed, and we need to restore … the voices of America, the real Americans who built this country and make it strong. We need to step up and fight."

Was Kerry paying a final tribute to the dear, departed Shrum? Or was Shrum serving notice to the Clinton faction that he won't disappear without a fight? Both? Neither? Was it just a coincidence? What is the sound of one hand clapping? If a Shrum falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

          Kerry's Deathbed Conversion   

CLEVELAND—Everything you need to know about Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run—and therefore, everything a Democrat needs to know about taking the White House from an incumbent—is supposed to have been scrawled on a wipeboard in Little Rock 12 years ago by James Carville. "It's the economy, stupid," the phrase that has become holy writ, was only one-third of Carville's message. The other two tenets of the Clinton war room were "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care." John Kerry has been running on two of those three planks, the economy and health care. But one day after talking with President Clinton on his deathbed—Kerry's, not Clinton's—the candidate has finally embraced the third: change.

Kerry offered a taste of his new message Monday morning at one of his "front porch" campaign stops in Canonsburg, Penn., but he waited until the afternoon in Racine, W.V., to unveil his new stump speech in full. The new message: Go vote for Bush if you want four more years of falling wages, of Social Security surpluses being transferred to wealthy Americans in the form of tax cuts, of underfunded schools and lost jobs. But if you want a new direction, he said, vote for Kerry and Edwards.

It's a simple and obvious message, but Kerry hasn't used it before. There were other new, even more Clintonesque wrinkles, too. Kerry talked about the same issues—jobs, health care, Social Security, education—that he's talked about in the past, but he had a new context for them: how Bush's policies were taking money out of taxpayers' pockets. The deficit, the Medicare prescription drug plan that forbids bulk-price negotiation and the importation of drugs from Canada, and the "$200 billion and counting" Iraq war all "cost you money," Kerry said, by increasing the cost of government. Kerry even pushed his health-care plan as a selfish device to put more money in voters' wallets (rather than an altruistic plan to cover the uninsured), in the form of lower health-insurance premiums ($1,000, he says). He also talked about a Clinton favorite, putting 100,000 new cops on the street during the 1990s, and he said he wanted to cut taxes for corporations by 5 percent to lower the cost of doing business in the United States. Talking about corporate tax cuts on Labor Day—if that's not a New Democrat, I don't know what is.

In West Virginia and later Cleveland, Kerry framed most of the new message around a mantra: "W stands for wrong. Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country." If you like those wrong choices, the lost jobs, "raiding Social Security," rising health-care costs, and "a go-it-alone foreign policy that abandons America," then vote for George W. Bush, Kerry said. If not, vote for me. The cost of the Iraq war is coming out of your pocket, he said, and it's taking away from money that could be used for homeland security. "That's W.; that's wrong," he said. With each issue Kerry raised—from Iraq to rising Medicare premiums to Social Security to jobs—he concluded his criticism of the president's policy by repeating, "That's W.; that's wrong."

It's not a perfect speech, nor is it delivered all that well. Kerry will never win an oratory contest with Bush, and he is fond of bizarre extemporizing. For example, he said, after being given a shotgun by a union leader to emphasize his support for hunting, "I'm thankful for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me." Still, even with Kerry's shaggy delivery, the speech—and more important, the message, if he sticks with it—should be good enough to get his campaign out of its latest sinkhole.

Sometimes, Kerry even improvises well. During the event in Canonsburg, Kerry was heckled by a small but noisy group of Bush supporters. But he managed to pull something out of Clinton's bag of tricks. When Kerry began talking about how the average family's tax burden has risen during the past four years, a man shouted, "Yeah, you're average, Kerry!" In response, Kerry adopted the tactic that Clinton used at the Democratic Convention in Boston: He embraced his affluence. "Just to answer that guy, 'cause he's right," Kerry said. "I'm privileged," just like President Bush. As a result, "My tax burden went down," Kerry said. "And I don't think that's right. I think your tax burden ought to go down."

Before today, Kerry's public image was starting to resemble that of a different Democratic candidate of recent vintage: the Republican caricature of Al Gore, a self-promoting braggart with a weakness for resume-inflating exaggerations. When Kerry was so angered by a Washington Post headline last week that he decided to speak directly after Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, he appeared to be imitating Gore's unfortunate tendency to let his campaign strategy be driven by the whims of the political media. Some Democrats feared that, by shaking up his campaign over the weekend and bringing in John Sasso and Michael Whouley, Kerry was overreacting in Gore-like fashion to some bad August press. On Monday, anyway, those fears seem overstated. The revamped Kerry campaign looks more like the Democrat who beat a president named Bush than the Democrat who lost to one.

          Looking Backward   

MANKATO, Minn.—After watching President Bush speak for only a couple of hours on the 2004 stump, it's easy to see the main tenets of his re-election campaign: My opponent is un-American, or at least less American than me and you. My opponent, much like Al Gore, doesn't know who he is. My opponent is a tax-hiking, big-government liberal. Worse, he wants to ask other countries for permission for America to defend itself against its enemies. Last, and most important, my wife is better than his wife.

What you don't hear from President Bush's stump speech, or from his surrogates, is what he plans to do were he given another four years as president. The problem is particularly glaring on matters of foreign policy. There are glimmers of a domestic agenda in the president's two campaign events Wednesday: He wants to reform America's high schools, increase math and science education, and increase the use of the Internet in schools. He wants more ethanol subsidies. He wants to make health care more available and affordable. He wants less regulation. He likes community colleges. He wants workers to be able to acquire flex time and comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

Bush also gives his audiences a rehash of the greatest hits from his 2000 campaign mantras. He likes tort reform and dislikes "frivolous lawsuits." (A favorite line of Bush crowds: "You cannot be pro-patient and pro-doctor and pro-trial lawyer at the same time. You have to choose. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket.") He wants private Social Security accounts for younger workers. He likes marriage and the family, which always gets him a big cheer, because what it really means is he's against gay marriage. He's for a "culture of life," "judges who faithfully interpret the law instead of legislating from the bench," and a "culture of responsibility." Not to mention the responsibility society and the ownership society. He's still against the soft bigotry of low expectations. And of course, he wants everyone to love their neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.

Bush doesn't talk much about the future. He talks about the past. The biggest portions of Bush's speech are spent mounting a vigorous defense of his presidency. When Bush's campaign foundered in New Hampshire four years ago, he retooled his strategy in response to John McCain and began billing himself as a "reformer with results." He's not using that slogan yet, but the rhetoric is similar. "It's not enough to advocate reform," he says. "You have to be able to get it done." The closing section of his speech ends with the mantra, "Results matter." On education, health care, the economy, farms, and security, Bush concludes by saying, "Results matter." Of his Medicare prescription drug benefit, Bush says, "Leaders in both political parties had promised prescription drug coverage for years. We got the job done."

Bush spends the longest amount of time defending his policies after Sept. 11. He takes credit for the creation of the Homeland Security Department (one of those things that Bush voted against before he voted for it), and he takes pride in the Patriot Act. Afghanistan has gone from being the "home base of al-Qaida" to being a "rising democracy." Pakistan, once a "safe transit point for terrorists," is now an ally. Saudi Arabia, he says, "is taking the fight to al-Qaida." Libya has given up its quest for weapons of mass destruction.

Most of all, Bush defends the war in Iraq. He repeats the litany of reasons for going to war: Saddam was defying the will of the United Nations, he harbored terrorists, he funded suicide bombers, he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. "In other words, we saw a threat," Bush says. "Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and came to the same conclusion."

What Bush doesn't acknowledge is what went wrong: The WMD were never found. We weren't welcomed as liberators. Oil revenues haven't paid for the war. It wasn't a cakewalk. What went wrong? Why? Given four more years, what does Bush plan to do about it? He hasn't told us yet, other than suggesting "more of the same."

"Every incumbent who asks for your vote has got to answer one central question, and that's 'Why?'" Bush says. "Why should the American people give me the high privilege of serving as your president for four more years?" The answer Bush gives to that question is his record. He says he deserves re-election because of what he has already done. At Wednesday's first event, in Davenport, Iowa, U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle embodies this attitude when he introduces Bush to the crowd. "There is no one I would have wanted to be at the helm of this country these last four years than you," Nussle says.

Bush and Nussle are asking the wrong question. The real question an incumbent faces is, what now? What's next? So far, Bush isn't telling. A president's record matters, but the reason it matters is because it has predictive value. Bush's defenders say he is a transformational figure, that he's willing to take on big problems and challenges. Wouldn't you like to know what Bush believes those big problems and challenges would be in foreign policy over the next four years? Are there gathering threats that, like Iraq, he thinks need to be tackled "before they materialize"? The president says that is the lesson of Sept. 11, that the nation must confront its security problems pre-emptively. Where else does he plan to apply that lesson? Does he plan to tell us?

After the 2002 midterm elections, when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill objected to another round of tax cuts for the rich, Vice President Cheney told O'Neill to discard his worries. We won the midterm elections, Cheney said. "This is our due." As much as liberals dislike President Bush's record over the past four years, it's the prospect of another four years that terrifies them. What they want to know—what keeps them awake at night—is what President Bush hasn't answered yet: What are you going to do next? This time, what will be your due?

          The Cheese Stands Alone   

BOSTON—Throughout his presidential campaign, John Kerry has relied on a team of salesmen to make the case for why voters should elect him as the next man to occupy the Oval Office. Even before the arrival of John Edwards as his running mate, Kerry seemed to know that he needed a charismatic advocate by his side at all times. In Iowa, Christie Vilsack, the wife of Hawkeye State Gov. Tom Vilsack, charmed the crowds at Kerry events, and the surprise arrival of this-man-saved-my-life Jim Rassman cinched the caucuses for Kerry. In New Hampshire, it was Bay State neighbor Teddy Kennedy who entertained the audience, while Kerry was content to play master of ceremonies to a cavalcade of guest stars. In effect, the first three days of the Democratic convention take the conceit of the standard Kerry campaign event to its logical conclusion, by eliminating the candidate entirely.

Unfortunately, it didn't work quite as well on Monday night as I expected. Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, the night's two main speakers not named Clinton, made powerful and persuasive critiques of George W. Bush's presidency, but they failed to advance much of a positive case for a President Kerry. Gore, the first major speaker to take the stage, gave the best speech it's possible for Al Gore to deliver, hitting that third gear he usually skips, the one in between robotic Gore and mental-patient Gore. It felt like Gore's turn to have a Bob Dole moment, to reinvent himself as an elder statesman who laughs at himself.

But what the speech did for Gore is less important than what it did for Kerry: not enough. Gore's case against Bush was clear and convincing. He asked those who voted for his opponent four years ago, "Did you really get what you expected from the candidate that you voted for? Is our country more united today? Or more divided? Has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled? Or do those words now ring hollow? For that matter, are the economic policies really conservative at all? Did you expect, for example, the largest deficits in history?" Gore also reached out to Nader voters—and maybe even to capital-L Libertarians—asking, "Do you still believe that there was no difference between the candidates?" Gore even advanced what Mickey Kaus dubs the "Pedro Martinez" theory of the presidential campaign. He asked supporters of the Iraq war to consider the merits of a relief pitcher: "Wouldn't we be better off with a new President who hasn't burned his bridges to our allies, and who could rebuild respect for America in the world?"

But if you're deciding whether to turn to the bullpen, it matters whether the guy warming up is Eric Gagne or Byung-Hyun Kim, and Gore doesn't do much to assure voters who aren't certain about Kerry's merits. Here's the entirety of his case for Kerry: He is loyal. He is honest. He is patriotic. He served in Vietnam. He protects the environment. He fights narcoterrorism. He's a deficit hawk. He picked John Edwards.

It's not a bad list, but it feels insufficient. Carter's speech suffered from a similar problem. It was filled with reasons to vote against George Bush but not enough reasons to vote for John Kerry. Carter's critique of Bush was even more effective than Gore's, though, in part because it was so genially vicious. Alone of all the speakers Monday night, Carter alluded to Bush's service, or lack thereof, in the National Guard. He noted that Truman and Eisenhower, the two presidents Carter served under during his time in the Navy, "faced their active military responsibilities with honor." Kerry, likewise, "showed up when assigned to duty, and he served with honor and distinction." Carter also came the closest of any speaker to calling Bush a liar. He said that if Bush wins reelection, "the manipulation of truth will define America's role in the world," and he said that "in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead." Carter even made what to my ear sounds like a reference to the Abu Ghraib scandal, saying that "we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others."

Like Gore, however, Carter's embrace of Kerry wasn't as persuasive as his denunciation of Bush. This is nice, but it just isn't enough, I think to myself. Maybe Kerry can't rely on surrogates anymore. He's going to have to finally sell himself. Then Bill Clinton strode into the FleetCenter to worshipful applause.

Clinton sold Kerry, rather than just tearing down the leading brand. And he managed to tie Kerry's Vietnam experience into a compelling thematic refrain, with Kerry declaring "send me," like a believer answering God's call, every time his nation needed him. Soon, the crowd began chanting Clinton's refrain with him. As usual, Clinton's familiarity with the language of religion added depth to his oratory. After Clinton said to remember the Scripture, "Be not afraid," I found myself singing the hymn in my head: "I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart." More concisely: Send me.

The speech was everything Kerry could have wished for, an electric performance by the party's most charismatic salesman. Still, as the former president walked off the stage, I had to wonder how many people were thinking: Send Clinton. This man would beat President Bush—again—in a romp. Kerry, on the other hand, hasn't yet proved that he can close the deal.

So, in the end, Clinton's speech was just like Gore's and Carter's. It was nice, but it isn't enough.

          The Final Days   

MILWAUKEE—We're at the point in the movie where you know how it's going to end, but you stay up late to watch anyway, no matter how painful it gets. The only reason we're here is to watch the beheading of Howard Dean, one reporter declares in the press room after Sunday night's debate. But didn't we see that part already? The end of Dean's quest for the Democratic presidential nomination is winding up with the leisurely pace of the interminable conclusion of The Return of the King. After New Hampshire, there's been nothing but denouement.

Wisconsin was supposed to be Dean's dramatic last stand. Instead, it has all the excitement of the Missouri primary, but at least Missouri had the excuse that there weren't any candidates there. Members of the Dean campaign staff used Saturday to tour the Miller brewery—some are now sporting Miller High Life lapel pins—and I mentioned that I thought that was a pretty smart use of their free day, since Dean was in Vermont that night watching his son's final high-school hockey game. "They're pretty much all free days now," a campaign staffer replied.

But Dean isn't the only candidate facing a death watch. I hear rumors before the debate that both John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich are dropping out. I don't believe either rumor, but I can't decide whether it's more shocking that people believe Edwards is leaving or that Kucinich is.

Kucinich will never drop out. He's said so several times, and he's the one candidate who I believe means everything that comes out of his mouth. He really means it when he talks about the "militarization of thought," about being a "peace president," and about wanting to "change the metaphor of our society from war to peace." He was serious when he said in the spin room after Sunday's debate that unless we pull out of Iraq, "we're going to have a draft." Irony is not the long suit of the man who extended his wingspan Saturday night in front of a few hundred Democrats and helicoptered silently for several long seconds before shouting "No strings! No strings! No strings! No strings! I'll take you to the White House with no strings attached!" (Mean joke: Sure, he's got no strings to hold him down, but he still needs to be turned into a real candidate.) I feel bad about that joke—not bad enough not to print it—because, as Christopher Hitchens wrote last week, "Dennis Kucinich is the sort of guy who we need in politics." My wife thinks Kucinich is great, except for his crazy positions. I think that's about right.

As for Edwards, what's the point of winning the battle to be the last man standing against Kerry if you're not going to follow through on your long-shot strategy? Edwards did better than expected in Iowa after being endorsed by the state's largest newspaper, followed by a superior performance in the state's final debate. Well, Edwards did pretty well Sunday night—it's fairer to say that Kerry did poorly—and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just endorsed him.

How bad was Kerry's night? It wasn't disastrous, but it's as bad as I've seen him. He sounded like the meandering, orotund Kerry of last summer. His answers to questions about diversity and gay marriage were muddled incoherence, and he claimed that it wasn't his fault that the Bush administration has abused the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the congressional Iraq war resolution. But if you vote for broadly written laws that are abused by the administration in power when you passed them, aren't you at least partly to blame for the consequences? You wouldn't let your 6-year-old drive the family car and then blame him for the accident. And you can be certain that if the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and the war were popular with Democratic voters, Kerry would be taking credit for them.

Edwards fired off the night's best line in response to Kerry's tortuous answer to a question about whether he feels "any degree of responsibility for the war and its costs and casualties": "That's the longest answer I ever heard to a yes or no question. The answer to your question is: of course; we all accept responsibility for what we did." (The Dean campaign followed up with a press release stating only, "Memo to John Edwards: You are so right.")

But I don't think that moment offsets the fact that Edwards is torching his centrist reputation with his antitrade rhetoric. Granted, it's not only him. Alleged liberal Howard Dean was the only candidate on stage willing to unabashedly defend the passage of free trade agreements such as NAFTA ("I think the free trade agreements were justified"), though he does want to change them now. Kerry seemed evasive when he defended his votes for NAFTA and permanent normal trade relations with China by citing side agreements that dealt with labor and environmental standards.

But Edwards goes much further than Dean and Kerry. His campaign issued a press release trumpeting his votes against "fast track" and against trade agreements with Chile, Singapore, Africa, and the Caribbean. And on stage, he criticized Dean and Kerry for supporting "free trade, as they always have." The anti-NAFTA consensus was the most striking thing to me about Sunday's debate. Was it really more than 10 years ago that Al Gore handed that picture of Reed Smoot and Willis Hawley to Ross Perot on CNN?

Later in the debate, Edwards toned down his rhetoric. "The truth is, some of these jobs are gone," he said. "We're not going to get them back." And I was grateful that no candidate elected to bash Greg Mankiw, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (as Kerry did in a speech Saturday night), for suggesting that the outsourcing of some jobs is good for the American economy in the long run. Bush administration economists have told enough lies—Mankiw's predecessor asserted that there was no connection between the deficit and interest rates, despite writing about the connection in his own textbook—that they deserve some applause when they tell an unpopular truth.

          Who's No. 1?   

DES MOINES, IOWA—To give you an idea of how crowded Iowa is with presidential candidates and those who follow them, here's what happened in the first hour and a half after I landed here Wednesday night: At baggage claim, I encountered two Kerry campaign workers in need of a lift, so I dropped them off at Kerry HQ, which is downtown in what used to be a car dealership. Moments later, when I pulled up in front of my hotel, the "Real Solutions Express"—the big, blue, star-spangled Edwards bus—was sitting outside. After I checked in, I rode up the elevator with Juan Williams. Ten minutes later, my next elevator ride was with Aaron Pickerel, the Iowa political director for the Edwards campaign. In 20 minutes of TV viewing, I saw ads for Dean, Kerry, Kucinich ("Did I approve this commercial? You bet"), Edwards, Dean again, and Kucinich again.

Two days ago, the Iowa storyline seemed pretty clear: Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt would duke it out for first place, and John Kerry and John Edwards would compete for third. But now, if the latest Zogby poll is to be believed, it's a four-way run for the finish. No one seems to have any idea how things are going to go down on Monday, but at the moment, the race feels so close that the results won't winnow a single candidate from the race.

Right now, the biggest mystery of the campaign to me is what's gotten into John Edwards? After his spectacular performance at the Des Moines Register debate earlier this month, I thought to myself, "Too little, too late." After the Register endorsed him, I yawned. But a campaign rally this afternoon at the Renaissance Savery Hotel is the first Edwards event I've witnessed where an enthusiastic crowd gave him the aura of a winner. Before today, I'd only seen Howard Dean and Wesley Clark perform this well. (I'll weigh in with a judgment on John Kerry after I see him tonight.)

North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley introduces Edwards with the best introduction speech I've heard for any candidate this campaign. He praises Edwards' opponents, saying: "They've all served our country well. I don't have anything negative to say about any of them, and neither does Sen. Edwards." Then he says something artfully negative about them anyway. "I'm running [for re-election] this time, and I want to run with someone I can run with, not from." Easley prepares the crowd for Edwards' theme: The North Carolina senator has dropped his aw-shucks, son of a mill worker, I've-done-this-my-whole-life campaign, and now presents himself as a fighter who has defeated powerful interests and powerful Republicans. "When he decided to run [for U.S. senator], he took on the toughest Republican establishment in the history of this country," Easley says.

Edwards has expanded one of the most effective portions of his stump speech, the part about "two school systems, one for the haves, and one for the have-nots," and turned it into the campaign theme. There are "two Americas," he says: two school systems, two tax systems, two economies, even "two governments in Washington, D.C." America also has "two images all around the world," the shining City on a Hill versus a new, less flattering image that's been created by President Bush.

Edwards has always gone after lobbyists, but now he's more strident about it. "We ought to cut these lobbyists off at the knees," he says. "We ought to ban them from making political contributions." He rails against the "revolving door" between lobbying and government, and he condemns "war profiteering." "We ought to ban these companies from making political contributions at the same time they're bidding on Iraq."

Of the corporate lawyers who underestimated him in the courtroom, Edwards yells: "I beat 'em. And I beat 'em again. And I beat 'em again." Ditto for "the Jesse Helms political machine," which underestimated him during his race for the U.S. Senate, he says. "And now I'm the senior senator from North Carolina, not Jesse Helms! And that is good for America!" (This fires up the crowd, but won't John Edwards not be the senior senator from North Carolina next year, because he decided to run for president instead of re-election? Is that bad for America?)

By the end of his speech, Edwards is sounding more and more like the man he's been chasing, Howard Dean. Up to now, most of the non-Deans have been trying to copy Dean's message by mimicking his anger, but Edwards zeroes in on another part of Dean's pitch, the part about empowering "you." Edwards promises to take away Washington from "that crowd of insiders in Washington, D.C.," and restore it to you. He can't do it alone, he says: "You and I are going to do it together." And the last line of his speech is no longer about himself, about an America in which the son of a mill worker can beat the son of a president. Instead, the son of a mill worker sounds like the son of a stockbroker: "I believe in you."

On the subject of speaking precisely: I've been inundated with complaints about my recent piece that listed six statements made by Wesley Clark in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, I lumped statements that are objectively inaccurate (there were no terrorists in Iraq before the war) with statements that are demagogic (we could find Osama Bin Laden "if we wanted to") with statements that are imprecise (the statement that Bush "never intended to put the resources in to get Osama Bin Laden" can be defended logically, but so can Howard Dean's statement about the "Saudi tip-off" conspiracy theory that a secretive administration breeds conspiracy theories; neither are smart politics) with statements that are merely provocative and controversial and could be used to tar Clark unfairly (for example, I think it's unwise for Clark to focus on whether 9/11 was preventable). And I didn't outline which statement I believe falls in which category.

The point of the piece, which was admittedly not clear, was to suggest that Clark may not be the "electable Dean" that his supporters believe he is. Both candidates have a propensity to make statements that range from impolitic to provocative to simply inaccurate. If you like Clark or Dean, you're predisposed to excuse these statements or to see them as courageous truth-telling. If you don't like them, you have a different reaction. I wanted to highlight this similarity between the two candidates, which belies the consensus that Clark is supported by careful centrists and Dean by angry liberals. I wish I had been more precise.

          A Browser's Guide to Campaign 2004   

Here's a quick guide to the good parts of Winning Back America, Howard Dean's campaign book to be published Dec. 3 (complete with a cover picture of the candidate trying his damnedest to look sunny):

Chapter 1: "I'm a Regular Guy." Dean touches on his family's roots and his childhood in New York City, and he makes passing mention of his Rhode Island prep school, but he says he "really grew up in East Hampton on eastern Long Island." His "idyllic childhood" involved being outdoors, riding bikes, a duck pond, fishing, sailing, and baseball. His dad wouldn't buy him a uniform for his baseball team because he thought it was a waste of money. The chapter concludes, "At heart, I'm a country person."

Chapter 2: Howard Dean, Farmer. Devoted to Dean's summer jobs as a teenager. Dean writes two sentences about working as a sailing-camp counselor but an entire page about his work on a cattle ranch in Florida. There he earned "agricultural minimum wage," cleared land, dusted crops, and in a yearning-macho voice worthy of Apocalypse Now's Col. Kilgore, he remembers "feeling the cool mist of the herbicide on my bare chest as the plane went over."

Chapter 3: "Unlike George W. Bush, I Had Black Roommates at Yale." Bush went to Yale, too, but his senior year was Dean's freshman year, 1968. "The gulf between our experiences was much larger, though; it was as if we were a generation apart," Dean writes, referring to the changes wreaked both by "the phenomenon of the sixties" and the increasing diversity of the Yale student body, including more Jews, more public school students, and in 1969, women.

Chapter 4: Howard Dean, Ski Bum. Dean's post-college years before medical school. He skis in Colorado (living in a cabin "in a little place called Ashcroft"), where he pours concrete and washes dishes to pay the bills. He becomes a teacher by virtue of a strange snap judgment after missing a plane to Bogotá, Colombia: "I've taken many hundreds of flights in my life, and this is the only time that's ever happened. I realized that there was a reason I missed the plane. I cut short my intended trip, went home, and decided to get to work." After teaching for a year, he takes a job on Wall Street. He decides he's too careful with other people's money to be a good broker, and that he doesn't really like New York City.

Chapter 5: Med School and Judy. Contains one of the more intriguing sentences in the book: "I didn't really get to be a happy person until I went to medical school." Dean's explanation for this is that he didn't work hard enough at Yale, and "If I'm directionless and coasting, I'm not happy." He meets his future wife, Judy Steinberg. He doesn't get into any of his top three choices for his medical residency. The University of Vermont was choice No. 4, and he moves to Burlington in May 1978.

Chapter 6: Dean Enters Politics. Is Dean a moderate Republican in disguise? He compares himself to his Republican father, a "fiscal conservative" who was "not particularly liberal on social issues, but he wasn't particularly conservative either. Today he would be considered a moderate, business-oriented Republican; he wanted the budget run properly. In that way, I am very much my father's son." Dean on why he's a "pragmatic Democrat": "I was friendly with the younger, more liberal Democrats because they were my age, but I didn't vote with them. I didn't relate to their political sensibilities."

Chapter 7: The Vermont Statehouse. A woman tells him, "You're going to do really well here, but you've got to get over this chip on your shoulder that tells you to fix somebody's wagon if they cross you."

Chapter 8: Governor. "Our telephone number remained in the book." Dean cuts marginal tax rates to improve Vermont's economy, but he insists he didn't engage in the "outrageous tax cutting that went on in some of the states." He also cuts spending programs over the objections of liberal Democrats. On one occasion, he visits Congress to talk about health care: "Bob Michel, the House minority leader, was there. He was a wonderful person. Newt Gingrich was there. He's not a wonderful person."

Chapter 9: More of the Vermont Miracle. Here's Dean's illustration of the "striking difference" between Republicans and Democrats: "When the Democrats controlled the National Governors Association (I was chair of the NGA from 1994 to 1995), we used to fight against our own party when it passed legislation that harmed the states. When the Republicans took over, however, they took orders from the G.O.P. in Washington, with few standing up for the people they represented. … Most Republican governors caved to the right-wing Republican White House because they were fearful; the folks in the White House are more than willing to threaten them."

Chapter 10: Pre-President Dean. He defends the Bush daughters: "I know that several thousand kids every year get caught with fake IDs." And he defends his wife's decision not to participate in his presidential campaign: "The notion that the wife is going to be dragged along in the wake of her husband's career is something that should have been left behind decades ago." Six sentences on religion, including "I'm a fairly religious person though I don't regularly attend church or temple," "I pray just about every day," and "I also believe that good and evil exist in the world, and I thoroughly disapprove of people who use religion to inflict pain on others."

Dean's favorite books: All the King's Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion; also Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed and David McCullough's Truman ("It is one of the books that has had the most impact on me in the last ten years").

Dean ranks the presidents: 1) Washington; 2) Lincoln; 3) FDR; 4) a four-way tie between Jefferson, Truman, TR, and LBJ, despite Vietnam. We also learn Dean's weight, about 167 pounds. And don't tell Arianna, but he drives a Ford Explorer.

Chapter 11: The Chapter Most Worth Reading. Dean on the execution of his brother Charlie by communists in Laos in 1975 and on the death of his father in 2001. His parents thought Charlie was CIA: "There was speculation that Charlie was in Laos because he was working for the CIA and I think my parents believed that to be the case. Personally, I don't think he was employed by the U.S. government in any capacity, but we'll probably never know the answer to that question." Dean admits that he has spoken to counselors about his brother's death, and the chapter ends, "I'm sure that, had he lived, he'd be the one running for president and not me."

The second half of the book is campaign boilerplate: True believers will nod in approval, but you've heard this stuff before.

          See Dick Run   

SIOUX CITY, Iowa—Dean season! Gephardt season! Dean season! Gephardt season! If any lingering debate remained over which presidential candidate is currently enjoying his media moment, my two days with Dick Gephardt settled it. The 20 national reporters who follow Gephardt for all or part of his campaign swing from Des Moines to Sioux City are the latest sign that not only have the leaves turned in late October, but so have the media.

I came along to witness firsthand the evidence for something I wrote earlier this month after the Phoenix debate, that Gephardt's hard-nosed and well-organized Iowa campaign presents, at the moment, the biggest obstacle to President Dean (or, to be fairer, Democratic Nominee Dean). But I missed the media conspiracy memo that told everyone else to show up, too. During Gephardt's weekend swing in Iowa two days before, only three national reporters trailed the candidate. But now, David Brooks is here. So are Mara Liasson of NPR and Carl Cameron of Fox News. Throw in reporters from ABC, MSNBC, Knight Ridder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, and the New York Times. (Counting Brooks, on Wednesday there are two New York Times writers following Gephardt.) Just for the sake of overkill, there are reporters from the British press and from Japanese television along for the ride. At one event in Pocahontas, Iowa—a town with an absolutely gigantic statue of the Indian princess outside her teepee welcoming visitors from the highway—the number of journalists nearly matches the number of prospective caucus-goers.

The Gephardt campaign pushes its slow-and-steady-wins-the-race angle (or is it a plea for votes from Maryland Terrapins alums?) by emblazoning "Fear the Turtle!" on the front of the press itinerary, complete with a little clip-art turtle on every page. The packet includes the latest Iowa poll results, which show Gephardt and Dean in a statistical tie for the lead, with Kerry and Edwards lagging behind. For good measure, the campaign throws in last week's favorable press clippings, including Des Moines Register wise man David Yepsen's assertion that Gephardt is the Iowa front-runner and that Dean has "plateaued" in the state. Also enclosed is a much-discussed Washington Post report—distributed, in truncated form, to voters at campaign events—that Gephardt is the candidate "many prominent Republicans fear the most." Not included is a delicious metaphor for Gephardt supporters to latch onto: While hurtling from campaign stop to campaign stop in Iowa over the past few months, the Dean van has been pulled over multiple times for speeding.

At his first stop, a senior center in Des Moines (the first of three consecutive senior centers visited by the campaign), Gephardt is supposed to deliver a "health policy address," but it turns out to be a rehash of old Howard Dean quotes about Medicare. (Later, while being ribbed by reporters about the false advertising, Gephardt's Iowa press secretary, Bill Burton, protests that he never called it a "major" policy address.) The newest wrinkle: Gephardt wants to paint the 1997 balanced budget accord—generally thought to be one of President Clinton's major accomplishments, and one supported by Dean—as a "deep, devastating cut" in Medicare.

While Gephardt speaks in front of a sign that reads "Protect Social Security" and "Protect Medicare" over and over, like computer-desktop wallpaper, I wonder: Does he really want to play this game? Dredging up old quotes and votes about Gephardt's onetime conservatism is what helped to derail his '88 campaign. He voted against the establishment of the Department of Education. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He voted to means-test Social Security and to eliminate cost-of-living adjustments from the program. He voted for Reagan's 1981 tax cuts. He opposed an increase in the minimum wage. Does a man with a legislative record this long and varied really want to ostentatiously declare, "There are life-and-death consequences to every position taken and every vote cast"? If that's so, how many times was Dick Gephardt on the side of death?

For now, however, it's a more recent House vote that's preventing Gephardt from running away with the Iowa race. At nearly every campaign event I attend, Gephardt is forced to deliver, in effect, two separate stump speeches. The first is the one he would like the campaign to be about: universal health care, jobs, and the immorality of rapacious multinational corporations. Gephardt's not anticapitalist: "Capitalism is the best system," he says in Pocahontas. "But capitalism has to have rules, so the capitalists don't destroy the very system" they benefit from.

He describes his visits to Mexico, China, and India, where workers live in the cardboard boxes used to ship the products they make. "I smelled where they live," he says. They live without electricity, without running water, with raw sewage running down the streets and next to "drainage ditches filled with human waste." "They live in worse conditions than farm animals in Iowa," he continues. "This is nothing short of human exploitation, that's what it is, for the profit of some special interests in the world." I'm not sure I agree with Gephardt's proposed solutions—though I'm intrigued by his notion of a variable international minimum wage—but there's no denying that he's a powerful critic of global capitalism's excesses.

Then, once Gephardt has finished and the applause has subsided, almost invariably a voter raises his hand to ask: What about Iraq? Was this war about oil? How can we recover the world's respect? How can we pay for all your programs with a war on?

At this point, Gephardt is forced to unveil stump speech No. 2. Sept. 11 changed everything, he says. Government's highest obligation is to protect American lives. In a Gephardt administration, the highest priority would be to prevent a nuclear device—"dirty or clean"—from going off in New York, Los Angeles, or Des Moines. That's why he decided Saddam Hussein needed to be removed. He supported the war because he believed the estimates of the CIA and the warnings of former Clinton administration officials, not because he listened to President Bush ("I would never do that").

Slowly, Gephardt's defense of his vote for the congressional war resolution transitions into a critique of the president. Though in an interview he insisted that the president was smart, on the stump he's not shy about insinuating that the president (whom he often refers to as "Dubya") is stupid. "He's incompetent," "He frightens me," "He's hard to help," I told him America founded the United Nations because "I wasn't sure he knew the history," and "If you'd been meeting with him every week since 9/11, you'd be running for president," too. Because Bush refused to negotiate with Kim Jong Il, North Korea is now "weeks away" from producing nuclear bombs. Bush abandoned the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, saying, "It's not our problem." He's arrogant. He doesn't play well with others. By the end, people are satisfied enough with Gephardt's explanation, and maybe even a little terrified, but you get the sense that they're not enthused by it.

But Gephardt isn't counting on enthusiasm. He has a couple edges on Dean, in addition to his obvious union support. For one, a surprising number of Iowa Democrats just don't like the former Vermont governor. The opposition to Gephardt tends to be substantive, based on his support for the war or his failure as Democratic leader to enact a more Democratic agenda. But the opposition to Dean is stylistic, or maybe even cultural. In socially conservative Iowa, sometimes you hear it whispered: Where's Dean's wife? Before Gephardt arrives at an event in the town of Ida Grove, I overhear a woman grumble about Judith Steinberg's refusal to campaign for her husband. "I can't get used to that," she tells her companion. "It's supposed to be a family thing."

By the same token, Gephardt never fails to mention the "church loans" and "church scholarships" that allowed him to attend Northwestern and then Michigan law school. He also refers to his son, Matt, who survived prostate cancer as an infant, as a "gift of God." I don't think I've ever heard Howard Dean say the word "God" in reference to anything.

Just before the last stop in Sioux City, I'm granted a 10-minute ride-along interview with Gephardt. I've got a number of questions, but the one I really want an answer to is this: If balanced budgets and free trade—two things that don't get a lot of emphasis in the Gephardt platform—weren't the secrets of the Clinton economy, what were? Higher taxes for the rich? Gephardt explains that the '97 budget accord wasn't needed to balance the budget, and then he tries to explain why Bush's steel tariffs—which Gephardt supported, and which made the United States lose manufacturing jobs—aren't analogous to the retaliatory tariffs Gephardt wants to be able to impose on foreign products or factories that don't comply with minimal labor and environmental standards. Soon enough, we're so sidetracked that I've forgotten entirely what we were talking about.

But afterward, when I'm once again following Gephardt in my rental car, I'm left with my question: Clinton balanced the budget and promoted free trade, and the economy boomed. President Bush ran up enormous deficits and put new restrictions on trade, and the economy sputtered. Isn't Dick Gephardt's plan closer to President Bush's?

          Mormons, Catholics Work Together in Semi-Annual Job Fair   
With a struggling economy, many are seeking employment these days. A little less than a month ago, I attended the semi-annual job fair sponsored by a local Mormon and Catholic church. The event took place at the Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church in Katy, which brought together 50 employers, 800 job seekers, and 24
          Chamber Luncheons   

May 26th Jackie Pels and John French, RBHS Heritage Tourism June 9th  Amy Jackman, Keep Cannabis Legal July 14th  Curtis Thayer,  Alaska Chamber of Commerce August 11th  Tim Dillon, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District

The post Chamber Luncheons appeared first on - Alaska Starts Here!.

          Some Novel Statistical Inferences   

In medical diagnostic studies, the area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) and Youden index are two summary measures widely used in the evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy of a medical test with continuous test results. The first half of this dissertation will highlight ROC analysis including extension of Youden index to the partial Youden index as well as novel confidence interval estimation for AUC and Youden index in the presence of covariates in induced linear regression models. Extensive simulation results show that the proposed methods perform well with small to moderate sized samples. In addition, some real examples will be presented to illustrate the methods.

The latter half focuses on the application of empirical likelihood method in economics and finance. Two models draw our attention. The first one is the predictive regression model with independent and identically distributed errors. Some uniform tests have been proposed in the literature without distinguishing whether the predicting variable is stationary or nearly integrated. Here, we extend the empirical likelihood methods in Zhu, Cai and Peng (2014) with independent errors to the case of an AR error process. The proposed new tests do not need to know whether the predicting variable is stationary or nearly integrated, and whether it has a finite variance or an infinite variance. Another model we considered is a GARCH(1,1) sequence or an AR(1) model with ARCH(1) errors. It is known that the observations have a heavy tail and the tail index is determined by an estimating equation. Therefore, one can estimate the tail index by solving the estimating equation with unknown parameters replaced by Quasi Maximum Likelihood Estimation (QMLE), and profile empirical likelihood method can be employed to effectively construct a confidence interval for the tail index. However, this requires that the errors of such a model have at least finite fourth moment to ensure asymptotic normality with n1/2 rate of convergence and Wilk's Theorem. We show that the finite fourth moment can be relaxed by employing some Least Absolute Deviations Estimate (LADE) instead of QMLE for the unknown parameters by noting that the estimating equation for determining the tail index is invariant to a scale transformation of the underlying model. Furthermore, the proposed tail index estimators have a normal limit with n1/2 rate of convergence under minimal moment condition, which may have an infinite fourth moment, and Wilk's theorem holds for the proposed profile empirical likelihood methods. Hence a confidence interval for the tail index can be obtained without estimating any additional quantities such as asymptotic variance.

          China: Global economy still not out of the woods, says regulator   
The financial crisis has proved the financial services sector to be dysfunctional and the current economic situation remains "tough", according to Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.
          LIFF SPECIAL REVIEW: Ondu Motteya Kathe (“Egghead”)   
Kannada director Pawan Kamar (Lucia, U-Turn) brings his considerable talents to act as producer and promoter for Ondu Motteya Kathe (“Egghead”), the first feature film from fellow Kannada filmmaker (as well as writer and actor) Raj B. Shetty. Janardhan (Shetty)– the “Egghead” of the film’s title – is a balding 28-year-old Kannada language lecturer and devotee of Kannada superstar Rajkumar, and is in search of a wife. The marriage broker his parents hire struggles to find a suitable bride (they all reject him because, well, he’s a Kannada lecturer, and he’s bald). Janardhan sets his sights on a pretty economics
          Guest Post: 'Getting In & Knowing Stuff'   
This could be you...

Hi all.

As part of the start of a new influx of AdGrads writers, below is an account about how to prepare for interviews by Jen Meyerson Dubbin. Take it away, Jen:

“They aren’t going to expect us to know stuff, right?”
by Jen Meyerson Dubbin

Your blood is pumping. You are hopefully not sweating through your suit. You nervously tap your foot against your leg while sitting on a modern chair that was clearly chosen for design instead of comfort. After having applied to every grad scheme and junior position under the sun, you have landed an interview.

You’re an ad grad who knows their stuff. Your lecturers and professors have prepared you. You brought your portfolio of your previous work to show, and yesterday you reviewed pertinent materials from your lectures to refresh yourself.

You start talking to and sizing up the competition whilst you all wait for a chance to break into Adland. There's someone with a BSc in Biology from Edinburgh, BA in Medieval History from Cambridge, BA in English from Sheffield, and then there's you; an ad grad. When the group finds out you are an ad grad the whole dynamic changes to you versus everyone else. The guy from Cambridge anxiously asks, “They aren’t going to expect us to know stuff, right?” While the girl from Edinburgh reassures him by saying, “They know we aren’t ad people.”

This should be obvious, but make sure you prepare for your interview. When I went on interviews, I was surprised at the number of people who didn’t seem to think they needed to do anything to prepare. Yes, ad agencies do expect you to know about advertising. You aren’t being hired as an account manager or planner for your ability to make a decent cuppa - especially in this economy. There is nothing wrong with never having taken an advertising course, but that’s not a valid excuse to not know about advertising. You wouldn’t expect a lorry driver not to know how to operate a vehicle. No-one expects you to know everything and it's okay to be wrong. However, it’s essential to have an opinion - make sure you're more knowledgeable than a general consumer. 

There are several things you can do to prepare for an advertising interview. It might take a bit of work to get there, but knowledge is empowering and a confidence booster too. Obviously, I can’t cover everything in this post - those who've gotten in, please feel free to post additional recommendations in the comment section.

Knowing how an advertising concept works and having knowledge of a little bit of history is essential; especially if there is a team task involved in the interview process. Sometimes you will be lucky by being informed before the interview the type of task you will be given. Use that information to focus your preparation - for instance, I was in a team where one of members was trying to explain to the team that the target market should be as broad as possible when it should actually be narrow and specific to be optimally targeted. He obviously didn’t do his prep work and it hurt the team. In these situations, you don’t want to be the weak link in your group.

What's more, you should try to find out what the person in the position you are applying for does. There are a lot of websites and blogs that should have the information available (Linkedin, for example). If you can’t find anything, note that some agencies do have quirky job titles, so be sure to ask in the interview. Use what you learned to sell yourself by connecting your skills and experience to the position - most things you've done can be related to advertising in some way - you've just got to know what the job entails.

When it comes to research, look at the agency you are applying to online. You can learn about their agency culture, clients, current & past work, people, and history. You can also find information in trade publications and websites such as (e.g., IPA, Brand Republic).

Learn about other agencies. Agencies are brands with communication products just like Coca-Cola is a brand with soft drink products. Other agencies are the competitors of the agency you are applying for. You don’t need to do SWOT analyses for each, but basics like what they offer, who their current & past clients are, current & past work, and agency culture should have you well covered. In the end, you should be able to talk about what differentiates Agency A from Agency B.

Finally, when I set off in advertising school I thought Planners & Account Managers went to college and Creatives went to portfolio school, but the ad world isn’t like that. There are no extra points for having a communications and business background. No specific mold of what makes an ad person exists. 

Advertising is incredibly diverse. Some people have degrees while others don’t. Those who do have degrees come from a variety of disciplines. Regardless of their discipline, ad people are willing to put in the work to stay current and knowledgeable because they genuinely like what they do.

          Disclosure Rules for Economists   
By James Kwak In October, Gerald Epstein and Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth released a paper documenting potential conflicts of interests among academic economists writing about the financial crisis and financial reform. Focusing on the Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation and the … Continue reading
          India and the Balance of Power   

India is arriving on the world stage as the first large, economically powerful, culturally vibrant, multiethnic, multireligious democracy outside of the geographic West. As it rises, India has the potential to become a leading member of the "political West" and to play a key role in the great political struggles of the next decades. Whether it will, and how soon, depends above all on the readiness of the Western powers to engage India on its own terms.


India's grand strategy divides the world into three concentric circles. In the first, which encompasses the immediate neighborhood, India has sought primacy and a veto over the actions of outside powers. In the second, which encompasses the so-called extended neighborhood stretching across Asia and the Indian Ocean littoral, India has sought to balance the influence of other powers and prevent them from undercutting its interests. In the third, which includes the entire global stage, India has tried to take its place as one of the great powers, a key player in international peace and security.

Three things have historically prevented India from realizing these grand strategic goals. First, the partition of the South Asian subcontinent along religious lines (first into India and Pakistan, in 1947, then into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, in 1971) left India with a persistent conflict with Pakistan and an internal Hindu-Muslim divide. It also physically separated India from historically linked states such as Afghanistan, Iran, and the nations of Southeast Asia. The creation of an avowedly Islamic state in Pakistan caused especially profound problems for India's engagement with the Middle East. Such tensions intertwined with regional and global great-power rivalries to severely constrict India's room for maneuver in all three concentric circles.

The second obstacle was the Indian socialist system, which caused a steady relative economic decline and a consequent loss of influence in the years after independence. The state-socialist model led India to shun commercial engagement with the outside world. As a result, India was disconnected from its natural markets and culturally akin areas in the extended neighborhood.

Finally, the Cold War, the onset of which quickly followed India's independence, pushed India into the arms of the Soviet Union in response to Washington's support for Pakistan and China -- and thus put the country on the losing side of the great political contest of the second half of the twentieth century. Despite being the largest democracy in the world, India ended up siding with the opposite camp on most global issues.

The last decade of the twentieth century liberated India from at least two of these constraints; state socialism gave way to economic liberalization and openness to globalization, and the Cold War ended. Suddenly, New Delhi was free to reinvent its foreign policy -- positioning itself to face the rise of China, shifting its strategic approach to its other neighbors, and beginning to work closely with the world's existing great powers.


India's recent embrace of openness and globalization has had an especially dramatic effect on the country's role in the region. As the nations of the subcontinent jettison their old socialist agendas, India is well positioned to promote economic integration. Although the pace has been relatively slow, the process has begun to gain traction. The planned implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement this summer signals the coming reintegration of the subcontinent's markets, which constituted a single economic space until 1947.

At the same time, optimism on the economic front must be tempered by an awareness of the problematic political developments in India's smaller neighbors. The struggle for democracy and social justice in Nepal, interminable political violence and the rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, and the simmering civil war in Sri Lanka underscore the potential dangers of failing states on the subcontinent. There are also the uncertain futures of Pakistan and Afghanistan: defeating religious extremism and creating modern and moderate states in both countries is of paramount importance to India. A successful Indian strategy for promoting peace and prosperity within the region would require preventing internal conflicts from undermining regional security, as well as resolving India's own conflicts with its neighbors.

In the past, great-power rivalries, as well as India's own tensions with Pakistan and China, have complicated New Delhi's effort to maintain order in the region. Today, all of the great powers, including the United States and China, support the Indian objective of promoting regional economic integration. The Bush administration has also started to defer to Indian leadership on regional security issues. Given the new convergence of U.S. and Indian interests in promoting democracy and countering extremism and terrorism, New Delhi no longer suspects Washington of trying to undercut its influence in the region. As a result, it is more prepared than ever to work with the United States and other Western powers to pursue regional goals.

Meanwhile, the external environment has never been as conducive as it is today to the resolution of the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir. The conflict has become less and less relevant to India's relations with the great powers, which has meant a corresponding willingness on New Delhi's part to work toward a solution. Of particular importance has been the steady evolution of the U.S. position on Kashmir since the late 1990s. The support extended by President Bill Clinton to India in its limited war with Pakistan in 1999 removed the perception that Washington would inevitably align with Islamabad in regional conflicts. But India remained distrustful of the Clinton administration's hyperactive, prescriptive approach to Kashmir. It has been more comfortable with the low-key methods of the Bush administration, which has avoided injecting itself directly into the conflict. The Bush administration has also publicly held Pakistan responsible for cross-border terrorism and has extracted the first-ever assurances from Pakistan to put an end to the attacks. New Delhi does not entirely believe these promises, but it has nonetheless come to trust Washington as a source of positive of influence on Islamabad.

These developments have opened the way for a peace process between the two governments. With the growing awareness that the normalization of relations with Pakistan would end a debilitating conflict and help India's regional and global standing, New Delhi has begun to negotiate seriously for the first time in decades. Although the pace of talks has not satisfied Pakistan, the two sides have agreed on a range of confidence-building measures. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rejected the idea of giving up territory, but he has often called for innovative solutions that would improve living conditions and for common institutions that would connect Kashmiris across the Line of Control. Singh has made clear that the Indian leadership is ready to risk political capital on finding a diplomatic solution to Kashmir.

India's recent effort to resolve its long-standing border dispute with China has been just as bold. New Delhi decided in 2003 to seek a settlement with Beijing on a political basis, rather than on the basis of legal or historical claims. As a result, during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to New Delhi in April 2005, India and China agreed on a set of principles to guide the final settlement. The two governments are now exploring the contours of mutually satisfactory territorial compromises.

India's search for practical solutions to the disputes over Kashmir and its border with China suggests that the country has finally begun to overcome the obsession with territoriality that has consumed it since its formation. Ironically, the nuclearization of India and Pakistan in 1998 may have helped in this regard: although nuclearization initially sharpened New Delhi's conflicts with both Islamabad and Beijing, it also allowed India to approach its territorial problems with greater self-assurance and pragmatism.


Progress on the resolution of either of these conflicts, especially the one over Kashmir, would liberate India's political and diplomatic energies so that the country could play a larger role in the world. It would also finally release India's armed forces from the constraining mission of territorial defense, allowing them to get more involved in peace and stability operations around the Indian Ocean. Even with all the tensions on the subcontinent, the armies of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have been among the biggest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. The normalization of Indo-Pakistani relations would further free up some of the best armed forces in the world for the promotion of the collective good in the greater Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Even as the Kashmir and China questions have remained unsettled, India's profile in its extended neighborhood has grown considerably since the early 1990s. India's outward economic orientation has allowed it to reestablish trade and investment linkages with much of its near abroad. New Delhi is negotiating a slew of free- and preferential-trade agreements with individual countries as well as multilateral bodies including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Southern African Development Community. Just as China has become the motor of economic growth in East Asia, a rising India could become the engine of economic integration in the Indian Ocean region.

After decades of being marginalized from regional institutions in different parts of Asia, India is also now a preferred political partner for ASEAN, the East Asian Summit, the GCC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the African Union. Moreover, it has emerged as a major aid donor; having been an aid recipient for so long, India is now actively leveraging its own external assistance to promote trade as well as political objectives. For example, India has given $650 million in aid to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Meanwhile, the search for oil has encouraged Indian energy companies to tail their Western and Chinese counterparts throughout the world, from Central Asia and Siberia and to western Africa and Venezuela.

On the security side, India has been actively engaged in defense diplomacy. Thanks to the strength of its armed forces, India is well positioned to assist in stabilizing the Indian Ocean region. It helps that there has been a convergence of U.S. and Indian political interests: countering terrorism, pacifying Islamic radicalism, promoting democracy, and ensuring the security of sea-lanes, to name a few. The Indian navy in particular has been at the cutting edge of India's engagement with the region -- as was evident from its ability to deploy quickly to areas hit by the tsunami at the end of 2004. The Indian navy today is also ready to participate in multinational military operations.


The end of the Cold War freed India to pursue engagement with all the great powers -- but especially the United States. At the start of the 1990s, finding that its relations with the United States, China, Japan, and Europe were all underdeveloped, India moved quickly to repair the situation. Discarding old socialist shibboleths, it began to search for markets for its products and capital to fuel its long-constrained domestic growth. Economic partnerships were easy to construct, and increasing trade flows provided a new basis for stability in India's relations with other major powers. India's emergence as an outsourcing destination and its new prowess in information technology also give it a niche in the world economy -- along with the confidence that it can benefit from economic globalization.

Barely 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, India's omnidirectional engagement with the great powers has paid off handsomely. Never before has India had such expansive relations with all the major powers at the same time -- a result not only of India's increasing weight in the global economy and its growing power potential, but also of New Delhi's savvy and persistent diplomacy.

The evolution of Sino-Indian ties since the 1990s has been especially important and intriguing. Many see violent conflict between the two rising Asian powers as inevitable. But thanks to New Delhi's policy of actively engaging China since the late 1980s, the tensions that characterized relations between them from the late 1950s through the 1970s have become receding memories. Bilateral trade has boomed, growing from less than $200 million in the early 1990s to nearly $20 billion in 2005. In fact, China is set to overtake the European Union and the United States as India's largest trading partner within a few years. The 3,500-kilometer Sino-Indian border, over which the two countries fought a war in 1962, is now tranquil. And during Wen's visit to India in April 2005, India and China announced a "strategic partnership" -- even though just seven years earlier New Delhi had cited concerns over China as a reason for performing nuclear tests, prompting a vicious reaction from Beijing.

India has also cooperated with China in order to neutralize it in conflicts with Pakistan and other smaller neighbors. In the past, China tended to be a free rider on regional security issues, proclaiming noninterference in the internal affairs of other nations while opportunistically befriending regimes in pursuit of its long-term strategic interests. This allowed India's subcontinental neighbors to play the China card against New Delhi when they wanted to resist India's attempts to nudge them toward conflict resolution. But now, Beijing has increasingly avoided taking sides in India's disputes, even as its economic and security profile in the region has grown.

China is not the only Asian power that India is aiming to engage and befriend. Japan has also emerged as an important partner for India, especially since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has transformed Japanese politics in the last few years. During a visit to New Delhi just a couple of weeks after Wen's in April 2005, Koizumi announced Japan's own "strategic partnership" with India. (This came despite Japan's harsh reaction to India's nuclear test in 1998, which prompted Japanese sanctions and an effort by Tokyo to censure India in the United Nations and other multilateral forums.) Amid growing fears of a rising China and the incipient U.S.-Indian alliance, Japan has elevated India to a key player in its long-term plans for Asian security.

Recognizing the need to diversify its Asian economic portfolio, Tokyo has also, for political reasons, begun to direct some of its foreign investment to India (which has overtaken China as the largest recipient of Japanese development assistance). Since the start of the Bush administration, Japan has also shown increasing interest in expanding military cooperation with India, especially in the maritime domain. India, too, has recognized that it shares with Japan an interest in energy security and in maintaining a stable balance of power in Asia. Japan actively supported India's participation in the inaugural East Asian Summit, in December 2005, despite China's reluctance to include New Delhi. Neither India nor Japan wants to base their political relationship exclusively on a potential threat from China, but both know that deepening their own security cooperation will open up new strategic options and that greater coordination between Asian democracies could limit China's impact.

India's relations with Europe have been limited by the fact that New Delhi is fairly unimpressed with Europe's role in global politics. It senses that Europe and India have traded places in terms of their attitudes toward the United States: while Europe seethes with resentment of U.S. policies, India is giving up on habitually being the first, and most trenchant, critic of Washington. As pessimism overtakes Europe, growing Indian optimism allows New Delhi to support unpopular U.S. policies. Indians consistently give both the United States and the Bush administration very favorable marks; according to a recent Pew Global Attitudes poll, for example, the percentage of Indians with a positive view of the United States rose from 54 percent in 2002 to 71 percent in 2005. And whereas a declining Europe has tended to be skeptical of India's rise, the Bush administration has been fully sympathetic to India's great-power aspirations.

Still, India does have growing economic and political ties with some European powers. Although many smaller European countries have been critical of the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal, the continent's two nuclear powers, France and the United Kingdom, have been supportive. Paris, in particular, bet long ago (well before Washington did, in fact) that a rising India would provide a good market for high-tech goods; with this in mind, it shielded New Delhi from the ire of the G-8 (the group of eight highly industrialized nations) after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998. In the last several years, the United Kingdom has also started to seize economic opportunities in India and has been generally accommodating of New Delhi's regional and global aspirations.

In the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, India also worked to maintain a relationship with Russia. The two states resolved residual issues relating to their old semi-barter rupee-ruble trading arrangements, recast their 1971 peace and friendship treaty, and maintained military cooperation. When President Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin, in 2000, India's waiting game paid off. A newly assertive Moscow was determined to revive and expand its strategic cooperation with India. New Delhi's only problems with Moscow today are the weakening bilateral trade relationship and the risk of Russia's doing too much to strengthen China's military capabilities.


At the end of the Cold War, the prospect of India's building a new political relationship with the United States seemed remote. Washington had long favored Pakistan and China in the region, India had in turn aligned itself with the Soviet Union, and a number of global issues seemed to pit the two countries against each other. Yet after the Cold War, India set about wooing the United States. For most of the Clinton administration, this sweet-talking fell on deaf ears, in part because Clinton officials were so focused on the Kashmir dispute and nonproliferation. Clinton, driven by the unshakable assumption that Kashmir was one of the world's most dangerous "nuclear flashpoints" and so needed to be defused, emphasized "preventive diplomacy" and was determined to "cap, roll back, and eventually eliminate" India's nuclear capabilities. Of course, Clinton's approach ran headlong into India's core national security concerns -- territorial integrity and preserving its nuclear option. Pressed by Washington to circumscribe its strategic capabilities, New Delhi reacted by testing nuclear weapons.

But even as it faced U.S. sanctions, New Delhi also began to proclaim that India was a natural ally of the United States. Although the Clinton administration was not interested in an alliance, the nuclear tests forced the United States to engage India seriously for the first time in five decades. That engagement did not resolve the nuclear differences, but it did bring Clinton to India in March 2000 -- the first American presidential visit to India in 22 years. Clinton's personal charm, his genuine empathy for India, and his unexpected support of India in the 1999 war with Pakistan succeeded in improving the atmospherics of the relations and in putting New Delhi on Washington's radar screen in a new way.

It took Bush, however, to transform the strategic context of U.S.-Indian relations. Convinced that India's influence will stretch far beyond its immediate neighborhood, Bush has reconceived the framework of U.S. engagement with New Delhi. He has removed many of the sanctions, opened the door for high-tech cooperation, lent political support to India's own war on terrorism, ended the historical U.S. tilt toward Pakistan on Kashmir, and repositioned the United States in the Sino-Indian equation by drawing closer to New Delhi.

India has responded to these sweeping changes by backing the Bush administration on missile defense, the International Criminal Court, and finding alternative approaches to confronting global warming. It lent active support to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan by protecting U.S. assets in transit through the Strait of Malacca in 2002, agreed to work with the United States on multinational military operations outside of the UN framework, and, in 2005 and 2006, voted twice with Washington against Iran -- an erstwhile Indian ally -- at the International Atomic Energy Agency. India also came close to sending a division of troops to Iraq in the summer of 2003 before pulling back at the last moment. Every one of these actions marked a big departure in Indian foreign policy. And although disappointed by India's decision to stay out of Iraq, the Bush administration recognized that India was in the midst of a historic transformation of its foreign policy -- and kept faith that India's own strategic interests would continue to lead it toward deeper political cooperation with Washington. New Delhi's persistence in reaching out to Washington since 1991 has been driven by the belief that only by fundamentally changing its relationship with the world's sole superpower could it achieve its larger strategic objectives: improving its global position and gaining leverage in its relations with other great powers.

But India's ability to engage everyone at the same time might soon come to an end. As U.S.-Chinese tensions grow and Washington looks for ways to manage China's influence, questions about India's attitude toward the new power politics will arise: Can India choose to remain "nonaligned" between the United States and China, or does India's current grand strategy show a clear bias toward the United States?

The nuclear pact unveiled by Bush and Singh in July 2005 -- and consolidated when Bush went to New Delhi in March 2006 -- was an effort by Washington to influence the ultimate answer to that question. Bush offered to modify U.S. nonproliferation laws (subject to approval by Congress, of course) and revise the global nuclear order to facilitate full cooperation with India on civilian nuclear energy. New Delhi, in return, has promised to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, place its civilian nuclear plants under international safeguards, and abide by a range of nonproliferation obligations. India's interest in such a deal has been apparent for a long time. Having failed to test weapons before the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was drafted, in 1968, India was trapped in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis the nuclear order: it was not willing to give up the nuclear option, but it could not be formally accommodated by the nonproliferation regime as a nuclear weapons state.

India's motives for wanting a change in the nuclear regime are thus obvious. But for the Bush administration, the deal is less about nuclear issues than it is about creating the basis for a true alliance between the United States and India -- about encouraging India to work in the United States' favor as the global balance of power shifts. Ironically, it was the lack of a history of mutual trust and cooperation -- stemming in part from past nuclear disputes -- that convinced the Bush administration that a nuclear deal was necessary.


Many critics argue that the Bush administration's hopes for an alliance are misplaced. They insist that the traditionally nonaligned India will never be a true ally of the United States. But such critics misunderstand India's nonalignment, as well as the nature of its realpolitik over the past 60 years. Contrary to a belief that is especially pervasive in India itself, New Delhi has not had difficulty entering into alliances when its interests so demanded. Its relationship with the Soviet Union, built around a 1971 peace and friendship treaty, had many features of an alliance (notwithstanding India's claim that such ties were consistent with nonalignment); the compact was in many ways a classic response to the alignment of Washington, Beijing, and Islamabad. India has also had treaty-based security relationships with two of its smaller neighbors, Bhutan and Nepal, that date back to 1949-50 -- protectorate arrangements that were a reaction to China's entry into Tibet.

In fact, there is no contradiction between India's alleged preference for "moralpolitik" (in opposition to pure power politics, or Machtpolitik) and the Bush administration's expectation of an alliance with India. New Delhi is increasingly replacing the idea of "autonomy," so dear to Indian traditionalists, with the notion of India's becoming a "responsible power." (Autonomy is thought appropriate for weak states trying to protect themselves from great-power competition but not for a rising force such as India.) As India starts to recognize that its political choices have global consequences, it will become less averse to choosing sides on specific issues. Alliance formation and balancing are tools in the kits of all great powers -- and so they are likely to be in India's as well.

That India is capable of forming alliances does not, however, mean that it will necessarily form a long-term one with the United States. Whether it does will depend on the extent of the countries' shared interests and their political capacity to act on them together. The Bush administration expects that such shared interests -- for example, in balancing China and countering radical Islam in the Middle East -- will provide the basis for long-term strategic cooperation. This outcome is broadly credible, but it is by no means inevitable, especially given the United States' seeming inability to build partnerships based on equality.

When it comes to facing a rising China, India's tendency to engage in regional balancing with Beijing has not come to an end with the proclamation of a strategic partnership between the two nations. Indeed, preventing China from gaining excessive influence in India's immediate neighborhood and competing with Beijing in Southeast Asia are still among the more enduring elements of India's foreign policy. Despite Western concerns about the military regime in Myanmar, New Delhi has vigorously worked to prevent Yangon from falling completely under Beijing's influence, and India's military ties with the Southeast Asian nations are expanding rapidly. In 2005, when Pakistan pushed for giving China observer status in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, India acted quickly to bring Japan, South Korea, and the United States in as well. Given India's deep-seated reluctance to play second fiddle to China in Asia and the Indian Ocean region -- and the relative comfort of working with a distant superpower -- there is a structural reason for New Delhi to favor greater security cooperation with Washington.

In the Middle East, too, India has a common interest with the United States in preventing the rise of radical Islam, which poses an existential threat to India. Given its large Muslim population -- at nearly 150 million, the third largest in the world -- and the ongoing tensions stemming from the subcontinent's partition, India has in the past acted on its own to avert the spread of radical Islam. When Washington aligned with conservative Islamic forces in the Middle East during the Cold War, India's preference was for secular nationalist forces in the region. When the United States acted ambivalently toward the Taliban in the mid-1990s, India worked with Russia, Iran, and the Central Asian states to counter the Taliban by supporting the Northern Alliance. Now, although some in India are concerned that alignment with the United States might make India a prime target for Islamist extremists, there is no way India can compromise with radical Islam, which threatens its very unity.

But shared interests do not automatically produce alliances. The inequality of power between the two countries, the absence of a habit of political cooperation between them, and the remaining bureaucratic resistance to deeper engagement in both capitals will continue to limit the pace and the scope of strategic cooperation between India and the United States. Still, there is no denying that India will have more in common with the United States than with the other great powers for the foreseeable future.

While New Delhi has acknowledged that U.S. support is necessary for India's rise to be successful, Washington has recognized India's potentially critical role in managing emerging challenges to global order and security. As a major beneficiary of accelerating globalization, India could play a crucial role in ensuring that other developing countries manage their transitions as successfully as it has, that is, by taking advantage of opportunities while working to reduce the pain of disruption. Given the pace of its expansion and the scale of its economy, India will also become an important force in ensuring that the unfolding global redistribution of economic power occurs in an orderly fashion. Meanwhile, India could become a key player in the effort to modernize the politics of the Middle East. If nothing else, India's success in ensuring the rights and the integration of its own Muslim minority and in reaching peace with Pakistan would have a powerful demonstration effect.

To secure a long-term partnership with India, Washington must build on the argument of "Indian exceptionalism" that it has advanced in defense of the recent nuclear pact, devising a range of India-specific policies to deepen cooperation. India is unlikely, however, to become a mere subsidiary partner of the United States, ready to sign on to every U.S. adventure and misadventure around the world. It will never become another U.S. ally in the mold of the United Kingdom or Japan. But nor will it be an Asian France, seeking tactical independence within the framework of a formal alliance.

Given the magnitude of the global security challenges today, the United States needs more than meek allies. It should instead be looking to win capable and compatible partners. A rising India may be difficult at times, but it will act broadly to defend and promote the many interests it shares with Washington. Assisting India's rise, then, is in the United States' own long-term interest.

          Ashok Leyland to consolidate CV business; new launches on anvil   
The company, however, said that commercial vehicle makers are under profitability pressure due to increasing competition and cost of meeting stronger emission standards.
          SAIC to launch MG brand, set-up car manufacturing plant in India   
According to the company, its vision for India is to deliver "environment friendly mobility solutions" under the iconic "MG" brand.
          SAIC to commence operations in India with Morris Garages brand in 2019   
The investment, a SAIC spokesperson said, will depend on whether SAIC sets up a greenfield facility or starts operations from General Motor India's Halol facility.
          Volvo starts sourcing industrial engines from India   
India is already the exclusive manufacturing hub for the 5-8 litre, medium-duty Euro VI engines for automotive applications for Volvo's home base in Europe.
          Dealers fear 15k job loss post GM's exit,ask govt to intervene   
Around 40 dealers and their staff members today staged protest here against the company's decision.
          How GST will alter contours of the automobile industry - for the better   
GST may provide a fillip to aspirational segments - mid-sized sedans and SUVs - especially at the luxury end - which combined account for just 25-30% of the market.
          FADA seeks rollback of decision to deny input tax credit on all stock   
Under GST, a government-appointed panel has made provisions for dealers to only claim 60% input tax credit on spares which have been in stock for less than a year.
          GST regime: Same tax rate on new, used cars set to hit sales of both   
To avoid higher levies, used-car dealers liquidating existing stock, hesitant to buy from market until clarity emerges on tax structure.
          General Motors dealers to sit on 'dharna' at Jantar Mantar tomorrow   
A majority of General Motors' 96 dealers, which operate around 140 showrooms across India, are unhappy with the company's offer of compensation.
          General Motors starts export of Chevrolet Beat sedan to Latin America from India   
Unable to turn around its fortunes in India after nearly two decades of struggle, General Motors had announced that it would stop selling in India by the end of 2017.
          Motherson Sumi, Maruti Suzuki may hit target a year earlier   
Maruti Suzuki is likely to hit its production target of 2 million vehicles on a yearly basis at least two quarters into FY19, powered by demand for new models.
          TVS Motors, Royal Enfield to pass on GST benefit to customers   
Niche bike maker Royal Enfield has reduced prices of its models by up to Rs 2,300 while TVS Motors did not disclose quantum of price cut on its product portfolio.
          Maruti's mega car plants lean on new tech to be future-ready   
It is a far cry from nearly 35 years back, when the company first rolled out the now-discontinued iconic M800 model with around 900 people and negligible automation .
          Ford India recalls 39,000 units of Fiesta, Figo models   
"Ford India, through its dealers, will replace the high pressure power assisted steering hose on all affected vehicles."
          Ford recalls 39315 Fiesta and Figo   
The statement added, "Ford remains committed to delivering world-class quality vehicles to its customers and this voluntary safety recall is part of that commitment."
          China may target slower economic growth: media   
This file photo shows a woman riding her tricycle, loaded with polystyrene boxes, in Shanghai. China might set an annual economic growth target below 8.0 percent for this year, state media said, as the leaders of the world's second largest economy acknowledge it is slowing.

03 March 2012
AFP News

China might set an annual economic growth target below 8.0 percent for this year, state media said, as the leaders of the world's second largest economy acknowledge it is slowing.

The report in the official Shanghai Securities News came before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers an annual policy address to lawmakers on Monday, when he is due to announce economic goals for the year.

China's economy expanded by 9.2 percent last year, slowing from 10.4 percent in 2010, as global turbulence and efforts to tame high inflation put the brakes on growth.

"An economic growth rate adjusted down to around 7.5 percent will not have any impact on economic development," the newspaper quoted Li Guozhang, an academic at Lanzhou University and member of an advisory body to the National People's Congress, or legislature, as saying.

China typically exceeds the annual growth target unveiled every March at the parliament session, and most economists are predicting GDP growth of 8.0-8.5 percent for China this year.

The 2011 increase in gross domestic product was well above the government's 8.0 percent target.

In a bid to counter slowing exports, the government has cut reserve requirements for banks twice in the last three months to increase lending and give the economy a boost.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has forecast China will set a lower GDP growth target of 7.5 percent at the legislative meeting, but said that implied the government was willing to accept slower growth.

"A slightly lower GDP growth target rate is sensible given the fall in the level of potential GDP growth," Goldman said Friday in a research report.

"It can also be viewed as a gesture from the central government that local governments should not focus solely on the pace of GDP growth."

China has sought to prod local governments to focus on the quality of growth instead of its speed, while also seeking to shift away from dependence on exports to other engines such as domestic consumption.

China could target containing inflation to less than 4.0 percent this year at the upcoming congress, the Shanghai Securities News said, amid worries surging prices could spark social unrest.

For all of 2011, China's consumer price inflation was 5.4 percent, official figures showed, well above the government's full-year target of 4.0 percent and higher than the 2010 rate of 3.3 percent.

          Can you beat that?   

A Cambodian woman rides on her motorbike loaded with vegetables for sale in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 01 March 2012.
A Cambodian motorized cart loaded with firewoods drives on a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 01 March 2012. Cambodia's economy is expected to grow 6.5 percent in 2012, up from 5.75 percent in the year 2011, the International Monetary Fund said in its annual review, adding that government policies to boost the investment climate were paying off. EPA/MAK REMISSA - 1 March, 2012

          Kingdom’s arable land all but gone   
A map created by the rights group Licadho shows economic land concessions and mining concessions in Cambodia. Map Supplied

Thursday, 01 March 2012
May Titthara and David Boyle
The Phnom Penh Post

If the government continues to grant economic land and mining concessions at the current rate, there will be no more arable land left in the country to give away within one year, a researcher from the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights said yesterday.

Pointing to the vast increase in economic land concessions granted last year alone, which rights group Adhoc places at about 800,000 hectares, Ouch Leng, the head of the CCHR’s land reform program, said only 300,000 hectares of unclaimed arable land remained.

“The government can grant licenses for one more year because the remaining arable land is only 386,294 hectares,” he said.

Exploratory mining concessions had been included in this calculation, he said, because while firms granted these rights did not technically own the land, they acted like it in practice by erecting fences and expelling villagers from the area.

Ouch Leng said increasing outbreaks of civil unrest across the country such as the protests in Kandal, Kratie and Ratanikkiri province were sounding a clear message that Prime Minister Hun Sen had begun to heed.

On Monday, the premier canceled all 35 commercial fishing lots on the Tonle Sap lake, leaving the country’s most fertile fishing ground entirely for small scale fishermen.

Beng Hong Socheat Khnmero, spokesman for the Ministry of Land Management, said ELCs were not the responsibility of his ministry and deferred questions to Ministry of Agriculture officials, who could not be reached for comment.

But figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday showed 1.19 million hectares had now been granted in ELCs, far below findings from rights groups Adhoc and Licadho released late last year, which put the number closer to 2 million.

A map from Licadho obtained by the Post shows that 54.90 per cent of all arable land in Cambodia had been absorbed by ELC’s alone up until November 2011.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator at Licadho, said that the latest figures show two-thirds of all arable land in Cambodia has now been given away through ELCs.

“We [Cambodians] are dependent on agriculture, but two-thirds of arable land has been granted as economic land concessions,” he said.

“I don’t know if the government is worried, but NGOs are.”

Statistics released by Adhoc last year found that when all types of private concessions were added together, including forest concessions, about 39 per cent of Cambodia’s entire land mass has been granted to private firms.

          Nueva propuesta a los gremios docentes   
El Gobierno de la provincia de Buenos Aires hizo una nueva propuesta a los gremios docentes, se trata de un ofrecimiento superador a todos los anteriores que incluye un aumento para este año de un 21,5% más la cláusula gatillo y una compensación de 2,5% por el año 2016. 

La reunión se llevó adelante hoy en el ministerio de Economía de la provincia de Buenos Aires y contó con la presencia, en representación del Ejecutivo bonaerense, del ministro de Economía, Hernán Lacunza, de su par de Trabajo, Marcelo Villegas y del Director General de Educación, Alejandro Finocchiaro. 

El aumento es en dos tramos: 11% en abril (retroactivo a enero) y 10,5% en septiembre. De esta manera, el salario inicial (1 cargo de 4 horas, sin antigüedad) pasa a ser $12.151. El salario promedio pasa a ser $ 23.352.

Los representantes de los gremios docentes tomaron la propuesta y se comprometieron a responder el próximo martes.

          Thailand Pushes Xayaburi Dam   
Xayaburi work goes on (photo credit: Suthep Kritsanavarin)

Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Written by Our Correspondent
Asian Sentinel

Despite reservations from Mekong Basin countries, construction continues

Over the opposition of environmental groups and the governments of other countries in the Mekong Basin, the Thai government is pushing ahead with the construction of the controversial Xayaburi Dam, environmentalists say.

Although the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments have expressed concerns about the dam and work was supposed to stop until further study has been completed, preliminary construction on the giant dam deep inside Laos, is continuing, according to International Rivers, which opposes the structure.

Large numbers of workers have been on the job for two years to build access roads and facilities for the project, said Pianporn Deetes, Thailand Campaign Coordinator for International Rivers. Ch. Karnchang, Thailand’s largest construction company, has the contract to build the dam for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, better known as EGAT, which has contracted to 95 percent of the energy from the dam.

“It doesn’t mean the dam can’t be stopped,” Deets told Asia Sentinel in a telephone interview. “We believe there are many channels that we can try to cancel the PPA (power purchase agreement).”

Thailand appears to be defying an agreement in early December by the Mekong River Commission Council, comprising water and environment ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, to seek international support to produce a more complete study of the dam, which is intended to produce 1,280 megawatts of power for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

The Mekong supports the largest freshwater fishery in the world. The downstream governments are concerned that the Xayaburi and 10 other dams planned for the Mekong, which feeds a river basin populated by 60 million people, will do irreparable damage to the river’s habitat.

Environmentalists say anywhere between 23 and 100 fish species could be adversely affected.

The dam, 810 meters wide and 32 meters high, is opposed by 263 NGOs from 51 countries. Thousands of people in the region have urged that it be cancelled. Its primary objective is to generate, along with electricity, foreign exchange earnings for financing socio-economic development in Laos, a landlocked and obscure country of 6.8 million mostly poverty-stricken people. Laos is seeking to develop its way into prosperity through extensive investment in dams, mines and plantations, hoping for jobs, rising incomes and revenues to end poverty.

Wracked by incessant bombing and the dropping of tens of millions of antipersonnel mines by the Americans during the Vietnam War, Laos remains one of the world's poorest countries, ranking 135th in the world. Nearly 41 percent of the population are under the age of 14. It is one of the few remaining one-party Communist countries left on the planet. Subsistence agriculture accounts for as much as 30 percent of gross domestic product, according to the CIA Factbook, and provides 80 percent of total employment.

Ten dams are already in operation across the country, generating 669 megawatts of power. Another eight are expected to be operational by this year, generating an additional 2,531 megawatts. Nineteen more are planned and 42 more are the subject of feasibility studies, almost all of them financed and developed by foreign interests expecting to turn a profit from electricity generation. Thailand is to import up to 7,000 megawatts by 2015. Vietnam will take another 3,000 megawatts by 2015 possibly rising to 5,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with an understanding reached in December 2006, according to a 2010 study titled Development in LAO PDR: the Food Security Paradox, produced for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and written by researcher David Fullbrook.

In 2010, the Mekong River Commission commissioned a strategic environmental assessment that recommended all decisions on Mekong mainstream dams be deferred for a period of at least 10 years while further studies can be conducted.

“We are afraid the fish migration could be destroyed,” Deets said. “There are 60 million people in the basin who depend for their livelihood on the river.”

The Thai government, she said in a prepared statement, “has ignored the agreements made last year among the four regional governments and the concerns expressed by Cambodia and Vietnam. With more than eight provinces in Thailand at risk from the Xayaburi Dam’s transboundary impacts, the state has also disregarded its duty to protect its own people from harm. It’s irresponsible to push forward with this dam, when the project’s impacts on Thailand have yet to be adequately studied.”

“The Mekong River Commission governments have not yet reached agreement on the Xayaburi Dam nor have they closed the prior consultation process,” the press release quoted Lam Thi Thu Suu, Director of the Centre for Social Research and Development in Vietnam, as saying. “By committing to purchase power from the dam and moving forward with the project’s implementation, EGAT and Ch. Karnchang are violating the trust and goodwill of Thailand’s neighbors. No construction on the Xayaburi Dam should proceed while further study is underway.”

Four Thai banks have already provided financial support for the dam including the state-owned Krung Thai Bank. When the Commission asked about the steps they took to examine the project’s environmental and social impacts, however, the banks were not able to provide detailed information.

“It’s astonishing to think that the financiers of this project have not taken the dam’s significant environmental and social impacts more seriously. Even a five minute search on the internet would reveal numerous media reports that highlight the concerns of the Thai people,” Deets said. “The recklessness of EGAT’s and the Thai companies’ pursuit of the project is likely to become a catastrophe for our country’s reputation. We call on the Thai government to immediately cancel the power purchase agreement and for Thai banks to withdraw financing from the Xayaburi Dam.”

An independent study has already concluded that the Xayaburi Dam’s electricity is not needed to meet Thailand’s demand for energy in the coming decades.

          China introduces a communist tablet: the Red Pad [... at a non-proletarian price of US$1,600]   
January 20, 2012
By Molly McHugh
Digital Trends

The extremely expensive tablet will marketed specifically towards party officials.

If you thought iPads were expensive, think again. A new Chinese tablet called the Red Pad will cost $1,600 dollars, but not just anyone can buy it, even if you do have the money.

After heavy criticism over its price from Chinese consumers, marketing and advertising featuring the Red Pad seemingly disappeared. Now, the Economic Times is saying that the manufacturer will only sell the tablet to bureaucrats and not the public. Originally the device was going to be available for anyone with the money (or the ability to subsidize the purchase), but the public backlash was so strong, the manufacturers decided to change its marketing tactics. It now looks like some back-pedaling occurred, and as a result the tablets availability will be limited to only Party officials.

But it’s not only the cost that will appeal to party members either. The Red Pad is specifically built to cater to their needs: the tablet from Red Pad Technology (which is supposedly in cahoots with the country’s Ministry of Information Industry) comes packaged with government database access and integration with the communist mouthpiece website, People’s Daily.

What’s possibly most amusing about the Red Pad is its operating system. The 9.7-inch Red Pad uses the Android OS, which is surprising considering China’s ongoing issues with Google. Aside from its ironic use of this platform and outrageous price, the Red Pad is similar to any other tablet: it features an A9 dual core processor, Wi-Fi and 3G support, 16GB of flash storage, with a sub 10-inch touchscreen display.

Last month we heard that a personalized iPad application was being developed for UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The supposed app would give him immediate access to government affairs and news. While the degree of this app has been questioned (it’s possible it’s merely a secure, Flipboard-like portal to this data), it’s clear that government leaders have become taken with tablets.

          Yingluck Shinawatra's Foreign Policy   
Thaksin's foreign policy

Friday, 20 January 2012
Written by Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Asia Sentinel

Taking over where Thaksin left off

It has been six months since the July election that brought the first woman into Thailand's top political position—Yingluck Shinawatra.

During this period, Prime Minister Yingluck has encountered several difficult issues, ranging from the devastating floods, the attempt to provide amnesty for her fugitive brother Thaksin, and the increasing cases of lèse-majesté.

But there is one area in which Yingluck has appeared to be doing well so far—foreign affairs. It is fair to say that since Thaksin’s downfall in 2006, Thailand has had no tangible foreign policy. The Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat governments were short-lived. And the Abhisit Vejjajiva period was marked by conflicts with neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia.

It is therefore a real test for Yingluck to reinvent Thai diplomacy, the one that departs from antagonism toward neighbouring countries. In terms of Thai-Cambodian relations, Yingluck paid a high-profile visit to Cambodia, as the first country in her introductory tour. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was gleeful to roll out a red carpet to receive the Thai female premier. For now, relationship between the two countries has returned to normalcy. And the secret to this success is that issues in this bilateral relationship have simply become less politicised, particularly on the Thai part.

Yingluck then went on to visit a number of countries which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar and recently the Philippines. Symbolic as they were, these visits signalled Thailand’s recovery from political illness at home and its eagerness to take a role in ASEAN. But a question must be asked: How realistic is the Thai eagerness?

During her visit to Naypyidaw in December 2011, Yingluck demonstrated that her government wanted to diversify Thailand’s policy options towards Myanmar, by reaching out to both the government as well as the opposition. Yingluck held a discussion with President Thein Sein and also paid a visit to Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy. At the end of her tour, Yingluck offered her support for national reconciliation in Myanmar, wishing to see further political reforms in the country long governed by the military.

Can Thailand, despite these bold moves initiated by Yingluck, expect a shift in its foreign policy which was traditionally seeking to achieve national interests at the expense of promoting universal values, such as democracy and human rights protection? My answer is rather pessimistic.

Ultimately, both Yingluck and her foreign minister, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, have no experience in diplomacy. And one must not forget that Yingluck is indeed Thaksin in disguise. Accordingly, it is likely that she will restore the Thaksinized foreign policy which was essentially commerce-driven without any respect for principles.

From 2001-2006, Thailand under Thaksin was so ambitious that it thought it could conquer the world. Thaksin, a successful businessman himself, was confident that he could transform Thailand into a hegemon dominating smaller and weaker states in the region.

Thaksin then bypassed Asean, once a cornerstone of Thai foreign policy. He perceived Asean as a representation of an “old politics”—the kind of politics sullied by rigid bureaucratic processes. Instead, Thaksin invented a myriad of business-centric cooperative frameworks, including the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). He also strengthened Thai economic cooperation with major trading partners through the conclusion of many free trade agreements. Undoubtedly, the Thaksin period witnessed the most colourful and innovative foreign policy Thailand ever had had in decades.

The remapping of Thailand in the age of globalisation put Thaksin’s foreign policy on the spotlight—he was tipped to become Asia’s next leader. Thaksin endorsed diplomatic activism; and in this, he wanted to place Thailand at the core of the regional order through which the Thai influence was wholly felt. In the latest reinvention of Thailand as a regional leader, Thaksin also turned the kingdom into a company, run by a CEO prime minister whose task was to evaluate economic costs and benefits in the conduct of diplomacy.

Not only did the content of foreign policy change. The operational mode within the foreign ministry also underwent an extreme makeover. Representatives of the nation and the monarch were now becoming CEO ambassadors who would visit their customer for products demonstrations. While CEO ambassadors were dressed with more power, the role of the Foreign Ministry in the formulation of foreign policy diminished.

The prime minister, his advisory team, and his chosen foreign ministers all sidelined the Foreign Ministry’s officials. And the House of Government became enormously influential in the making of foreign policy.

The radical transformation of the Foreign Ministry has left a deep scar of conflict between those who agreed and disagreed with Thaksin’s approach. And the immense polarization in politics in this post-coup period has further intensified such conflict within this state agency. Yingluck and Surapong must not attempt to politicise foreign policy issues, as seen in the previous administration.

If Thaksin is indeed behind the formulation of Thailand’s foreign policy in this Yingluck era, then he has to learn the mistakes he made while he served as prime minister. Thaksin’s past foreign policy initiatives might have provided his government with a channel to secure Thailand’s supposed national interests. But along the way, he and his family members were accused of stoking their wealth by using state mechanisms.

Yingluck needs to open up the foreign policy decision-making process, making it transparent to the public to avoid any controversy. More importantly, her foreign policy for the next few years, if she will ever serve the full four-year term, will have to be based proportionally on economic interests and good governance. This is because her government has received a popular mandate through democratic means and also because Thailand cannot run away from a new international environment that has become more democratic.

(Pavin Chachavalpongpun is a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Pavin is the author of “Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy” (2005). Follow him at

          Seco confirms CHF27m in Syrian assets frozen   

GenevaLunch News BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs confirmed to ATS and AP news agencies Sunday that the government has blocked more than CHF27 million in Syrian assets, although it has not confirmed if they belong to Bachar al-Assad, president. He and his brother are on a list of 23 persons whose assets were […]

Seco confirms CHF27m in Syrian assets frozen © GenevaLunch News, See license terms.

          Work in the digital economy in 2030   
On 20 and 21 June 2017, the ETUI Foresight Unit organised its first prospective seminar on the theme "Work in the digital economy in 2030". For two days, some twenty researchers, mainly academics but also from trade unions, from different countries of the European Union and experts in the fields of digitisation of the economy met in Brussels, at ETUI's premises, to discuss and debate possible scenarios.
          Jakarta to further cut dwell times    
THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT is working on two economic policy packages that it hopes will reduce average shipping dwell times at seaports by one day to 1.9 days.
          What Happens When Geoengineers 'Hack The Planet'?   
Dan Drollette shares an article by an Oxford physics professor who's concerned about the popularity of radical new proposals to fight global warming.The Christian Science Monitor wonders if it's time to re-engineer our climate. MIT's Technology Review basically thinks the answer is "yes," having described it earlier as "cheap and easy." The Atlantic seems quite smitten with Economist writer Oliver Morton's vision of remaking the planet, which geoengineering booster Jane Long breathlessly called ...
          Lawmakers Prepare For Forthcoming Effects Of AI On The Economy   
Industry groups getting ready for changes that AI is set to create in job markets.
          Fed approves all 34 biggest banks' dividend and buyback plans. That's a first.   

The Federal Reserve has given the green light to all 34 of the biggest banks in the U.S. to raise their dividends and buy back shares, judging their financial foundations sturdy enough to withstand a major economic downturn.

It was the first time in seven years of annual “stress tests” that every...

          Know your Capital Cities   

Besides the oh-so-often confusion that Irish people speak English and, therefore, must be, for all intents and purposes, English, French people are sometimes surprising ignorant of Ireland. I’m not saying that Ireland is an equally important country, in economic terms, as France for the French, but, hey, it’s a country, with a capital, and a distinct heritage that should be universally acknowledged. That’s all I ask.

[If you’re an economist, or economically-minded, this will either help you with geography or completely confuse you! Either way, it’s interesting]

One of the stops along the route is Mtito Andei. It's the nearest station to the Tsavo National Park. President Kenyatta is expected to stop here on the inaugural journey later on Wednesday. Kathryn Omwandho reports.

Kenya's standard gauge rail line is an ambitious project, that has taken five years to build. The SGR is Built and funded by China, and the rail line is part of China's bridge and road initiative CTGN's Robert Nagila went to the streets of Nairobi to find out what Kenyans think of this mega project

Kenya is about to witness its first modern railway. The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, or SGR, will massively boost the country's economic growth, and possibly the whole of East Africa. The railway, which is built according to Chinese standards, is another great example of China-Africa cooperation. Here is more on that story

The train is not just a milestone for Kenyan construction, but for gender equality too. Eight women were selected to go to China to learn how to drive the SGR. Four of them will be driving the inaugural train. CGTN's Maria Galang met one of these extraordinary ladies.

There's a lot of excitement in Nairobi since in a matter of hours, the new SGR train will be arriving in the Kenyan capital. CGTN's Kane Kiyo is at the Nairobi Terminal to share the excitement.

As the Kenyan President officially launches the first phase of the new Standard Gauge Railway, Kenyans say the new raiway will not only improve lives but make it easier to do business.

On the vast African savannah, a steel dragon crawls through the terrain. It is part of the East African Master Plan - the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway. By introducing Chinese standards, technology, equipment and management to this fast-growing continent, Chinese builders are also bringing hope and love to the people. Today we will visit Maasai Primary School near the Nairobi South station, and listen to their story

Local manufacturers in Kenya have been major beneficiaries of the just launched Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway. Already, 40% sourcing of materials was dedicated to the local market, generating inflows of about 95 million dollars. Now that Kenya's first modern railway is complete, local players are still set to win big. Earlier on, I had a chat with the CEO of Kenya's manufacturers association, Phyllis Wakiaga, about the benefits of this project to the country's manufacturing sector

It is clear that East Africa is a natural extension of the Maritime Silk Road. During the Ming Dynasty, four of the famous admiral Zheng He's seven expeditions reached the east coast of Africa, where they promoted friendship between China and the continent. The Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway had to pass through Tsavo, an important wildlife reserve in Kenya. In this episode, we will see how the Kenyans and the Chinese worked together to guarantee that the project was completed successfully without affecting the local wildlife.

And ordinary kenyans who were lucky to experience the maiden trip have been speaking out as well

          Africa - China (Belt and Road Initiative); Comparing Kenya's old Railway to the new modern SGR    
As Kenya moves into the era of modern transport with the new Mega Railway soon to be launched, we take a look back at the century old railway system and what the future holds with the new one.

And now for the next installment of our special series ahead of the launch of Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway. Several Kenyan women train drivers have been sent to China to learn how to operate the SGR. They're back now, and four of them will be driving the train on launch-day. Take a look.

The Standard Gauge Railway links East Africa's biggest port -- Mombasa to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. The official launch takes place on Wednesday the 31st of May. The 400 and 72-kilometre line will reduce travel time from 10-plus hours to less than five. The SGR is the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence in 1963. It's also the first stage in a network that will eventually stretch across much of East Africa -- transforming transport, trade and economic development as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The Standard Gauge Railway has been widely acclaimed as a signature feature for the East African country

The Managing Director of Kenya Railways, Atanas Maina, says the SGR will bring a range of benefits to the country.

After more than a century, Kenya is betting on a new Chinese-built route to cement its position as the gateway to East Africa. President Uhuru Kenyatta will see off the first cargo train later today, while the first passenger coach will undertake the 4-hundred and 72-kilometere journey on Wednesday. The multibillion-dollar railway links the Kenyan capital Nairobi with the port of Mombasa.

It will reduce the cost of transporting goods inland -- and cut travel time from 10-plus hours to less than five. The next leg of the SGR will connect Nairobi with the Rift Valley town of Naivasha. Authorities have hailed the economic benefits of the train.

China has officially handed over the Standard Gauge Railway to Kenya. President Uhuru Kenyatta has been joined at the Port of Mombasa by dozens of top officials from the Chinese companies that helped build and fund the railway project. The handover ceremony included traditional dancing and singing to mark this momentous occasion.

The railway will eventually link up to the entire East African region. It's been called a potential game changer for Kenya and the region. President Kenyatta is due to leave from the Mombasa station on Wednesday morning to take the inaugural train to Nairobi. Well, our team is in Mombasa and has been getting us more on the SGR, the projects that go with it, and the potential benefits. Here's Ramah Nyang with more.

          Trenes llevan productos de gama alta de China a Europa    
Como parte de nuestra cobertura previa al Foro de La Franja y la Ruta que se celebrará en mayo en Beijing estamos ofreciendo una serie de reportajes sobre proyectos relacionados con esta iniciativa china. Hoy les hablaremos de las líneas férreas que están ayudando a conectar China con Europa.

La primera entró en funcionamiento hace más de seis años. Con ella, productos de alta calidad viajan desde Chongqing, en el suroeste de China, a Duisburgo, en Alemania. Veamos cómo ordenadores portátiles que se ensamblan en Chongqing llegan a la mayor economía de Europa. Este es el mayor centro de ensamblaje de ordenadores de Asia, ubicando en Chongqing, en el suroeste de China.

Por su línea de producción pasan varios tipos de productos. Las empresas de Chongqing se benefician de una red integral de transportes. Pero para las compañías que mandan productos a destinos eruopeos, la línea intercontinental de ferrocarril es una opción de transporte relativamente rápida y barata.

          El Metro de Trujillo debe ser Elevado en Monorriel, razones economicas y tecnicas   
Despues de ser testigo de como la naturaleza, muy ayudada por la negligencia Trujillana de crear una ciudad en el punto donde se convergen 3 quebradas.... no queda otra opcion que hacer un metro elevado. La solucion matematica seria remover la ciudad entera, y eso no se va a dar, no se da ni en USA con Lousiana, ni en China son Sichuan.

Un Metro a nivel del suelo seria un desastre, limpiar las zonas de los rieles, la infraestrutura electrica destruida, rieles removidos, muy oneroso, sobre todo por que la ciudad esta mal diseñada.

Un Metro subterraneo seria aun peor, imaginense las estaciones y recorrido llenas de lodo, y que pasa si el huayco baja de improviso con la gente moviendose en el metro, moriria mucha gente, ademas limpiar eso, bombear lodo, cientos de millones de dolares, una perdida demasiado grande.

Un Metro elevado como la Linea 1 de Lima no necesariamente se hace con Metro pesado, en elevado tienes 3 opciones:

1. Hacerlo como el Metro de Lima, una estructura robusta que aguante el peso, los balastos(piedra chancada), y el paso vibrante del metro, eso costo como 2500 millones de dolares a Lima, por 35km, el metro de Trujillo entero costaria 5 mil millones al ser un poco mas de 60km.

2. Hacerlo como el Metro de Lima, pero con Tranvias, convoyes de 500 pasajeros, como la estructura es mas liviana, el material a usarse seria mucho menor, un estimado de 3000 millones de dolares para 60 km.

3. Hacerlo elevado en Monorriel, como la Linea de Sao Paolo en Brasil, o el que se esta haciendo en China, un estimado de 2000 millones de dolares para 60km, lo bueno es la alta capacidad, un convoy levanta hasta 1000 pasajeros.


Creo que la mejor opcion para ciudades costeras del Peru fuera de Lima seria con monorrieles, si por alguna razon una columna cediera al embate de la naturaleza y se cae, no afecta la red entera, solo el costo de reemplazar esa columna y seccion derrumbada, lo bueno es que son plegadas como los juegos de lego, no tienes que vaciar concreto, ya viene prefabricado, por eso es tan barato.

Sobraran los estafadores que te quieran vender la opcion mas cara, moderna, subterranea, no te la creas, y asi usas el mejor sistema que se adapte a tu ciudad, estos monorrieles de 1000 pasajeros por convoy muy facilmente cubren las necesidades de ciudades de hasta 3,5 millones de habitantes, y ninguna de las ciudades costeras fuera de Lima pasan el millon.
          Alemania, Perú y Bolivia evaluarán tren bioceánico - 15,000 millones de dólares   
(Reuters) - Alemania está interesada en financiar un proyecto de tren que una Bolivia con la costa del Pacífico por el sur de Perú, plan que considera una inversión de unos 15.000 millones de dólares, dijo el miércoles el vicepresidente peruano, Martín Vizcarra.

El proyecto es alternativo a otro plan para construir un tren que cruzaría el norte de Perú hasta Brasil, para el cual China firmó en el 2015 un acuerdo con el Gobierno peruano para estudiar su viabilidad.
Vizcarra, quien también es ministro de Transporte y Comunicaciones de Perú, dijo que para dialogar sobre detalles del proyecto boliviano viajará el 22 de marzo a La Paz para reunirse con sus pares de Alemania y Bolivia.

"Las autoridades del gobierno alemán son los más interesados en financiar este proyecto (...) desde la zona productiva de Bolivia hasta un puerto en el sur de Perú", afirmó.
El funcionario dijo que el tren partiría de Santa Cruz y como punto de llegada se consideraría a los puertos peruanos de Ilo, Matarani, Corío y Grau en el sur del país andino. El Gobierno ha realizado un informe del perfil del proyecto, pero debe hacer un estudio de factibilidad del tren, agregó.

"Estamos viendo cómo el proyecto beneficia a Perú, sino una alternativa es que hagan el proyecto y le damos las facilidades, es un proyecto de ellos. Nosotros como país hermano, que es Bolivia, lo acompañaremos en este proceso", dijo Vizcarra.
El funcionario refirió que el corredor permitirá a Bolivia tener "acceso" al mar que perdió en una guerra con Chile y colocar sus exportaciones a grandes mercados como Asia.
          ¿Es en serio? ¿Qué la conexión transcontinental conviene más a China que al Perú?   

Este “argumento”, contrario al proyecto Ferrovia Transcontinental Atlántico Pacífico Brasil Perú, FETAB, originado en “The Economist” de Londres, y repetido luego en “El Comercio” de Lima, siendo falaz, descubre la pasmosa pasividad de nuestros políticos y profesionales. En especial, luego de más de 20 décadas en que, explicando nuestro subdesarrollo, nuestros mejores pensadores notaron que era más fácil llegar desde un lugar del Perú a Londres, que unir dos puntos de nuestro propio país. Luego de casi un siglo de las propuestas descentralistas, y luego de muchísimas décadas que énfasis en la integración continental, esgrimida por los movimientos sociales y políticos latinoamericanos de mayor arraigo. Luego de ser el primer país de Sudamérica en iniciar su programa ferroviario. 
De hecho, ni la descentralización, ni la integración regional ni el desarrollo son posibles sin la infraestructura vial, integrada con los aspectos de energía, habilitación urbana, y manejo de aguas.  
Sin embargo, hay cuestionamientos más razonables que son atendibles: el Perú no se puede convertir en un país “puente” entre China y Brasil, dos de las dos economías más grandes del mundo. Generalmente, en los países “puente” queda muy poco del beneficio global. Por lo cual, el Perú debe generar una oferta exportable adicional en las dos direcciones, y, además, la conexión trasversal debe complementarse con la longitudinal. 

En general, la conectividad vial nacional debe ser transversal y longitudinal, en primer lugar, y en segundo lugar, dar lugar a una serie de “anillos” en especial ferroviarios, para articular los desintegrados ferrocarriles y sistemas carreteros nacionales.  Por ejemplo, la propuesta de planeamiento de la futura red ferroviaria, preparada en la Facultad de Ingeniería Civil de la Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Centro de Transferencia Tecnológica Instituto Vial Iberoamericano – Perú,  propone el Sistema de Anillos Ferroviarios de la ilustración.Documento completo aquí.
Esta propuesta, que no incluye el FETAB en forma integra, sin embargo, representa la idea que los primeros formuladores de la red ferroviaria peruana tuvieron siempre: un sistema integrado de trasporte, para unir al Perú con el Perú, pero también con el subcontinente y el mundo.

          MBA vs Engineering   
One among various good things about IIMC is that it provides you opportunities to interact with various leaders from different walks of life. I attended couple of presentations from top consulting firms, basically pitching consulting as a career to us students. They had sent IIMC alumni, who were placed at top positions. It's definitely inspiring; sets you dreaming.

Tomorrow, that is Sunday, we've Sandipan Deb (Managing Editor, Outlook magazine and editor of Outlook Money) coming over to the campus for one panel discussion. He happens to be an IIMC alumni. Sometime back he was interviewed by the alumni magazine. Couple of interesting points he made:
We came from a very closed quantitative engineering system, in the sense that engineering education inculcates the philosophy of one right answer to any problem. That if you follow the flow chart, if you follow the algorithm, if you do the steps properly, there is only one answer possible. I think I gained hugely from the exposure that IIM gave me to - economics, sociology, political science, psychology, behavioral sciences etc. It really broadened my horizon.
That is exactly what I'm going through. But it isn't all rosy; atleast for me it's little tough to adjust. It's easy to think that it's much easier to give gyaan on such subjects, it's not! I guess, I'll take some time to get used to it. Sandipan further added:
Our batch was quite an exceptional batch. There were about fifteen of us in the same wing H2-top and I was very fortunate to have these people to interact with. We had toppers and we had bottomers. We had brilliant bottomers, we had people who slogged, and we had people who never went to class. They were also extremely talented. In those two years, most IIM Calcutta teams-quiz, debate, drama, music etc-had representation from our wing and we won almost every festival that we went to. So that made my two years totally worth it.
That is so true! You learn a lot even outside the class, among such a great gang of selected few. I've had the same experience at IIT Bombay and I guess I'm in for good two years in Calcutta too.

PS: Not getting much time to read/write. Hence this inactivity at the blog.
          Kolkata Chapter Begins :-)   
This would be the longest stretch when I didn't blog, since I started blogging, but it's like that, and that's the way it is. First I was stranded, disconnected at Jaipur for a while, which now seems like pretty comfortable setting.. sigh. Then, once I touched base at Kolkata, things got hectic, and I didn't have a computer for a while. Now that things have more or less settled and I've bought my self a rather sleek Compaq Presario v3000, it's about time I resume blogging.

First things first, Kolkata and the neighbourhood, looks totally amazing from air, after first few days of showers. From my SpiceJet flight, I was gawking, spellbound, at the marvellous view below.. lush greenery, numerous big & small canals and all! Then we hit the ground (pun intended). Let's just say, for someone new to the city, it's not very tough to not like the city, going by the first impressions. The IIM Calcutta campus is good 90 minutes from the airport! The area neighbouring IIMC, it's called Joka, is rather unimpressive to say the least. However, the campus is breathtaking with its 7 lakes and lush greenery. My hostel room, I found is more comfortable than the room I had in IIT Bombay. It's bigger, better planned and it has a balcony which opens to the patch of jungle behind my hostel. I haven't clicked snaps of the campus, but I intend to do that pretty soon. The downtown Kolkata, essentially Park Street area, is light-years away from the campus and it takes huge effort to make it to there. Till now I've been there only once, and even then it was disappointing as we couldn't catch any movie! The movie buff in me is still very pleased to be here; the LAN is virtually full of movies! My new 250 GB external HDD might getting full to the brim, is looking like a possibility.

The academic load looks manageable. I have five courses, all of them interesting. Especially the Organisational Behaviour course, which has interesting mix of Psychological studies in it, pretty impressive! Then there is Indian Economic and Political History, which is also pretty interesting to study. Midterms are still (just?) 2 weeks away and things are chill (as we say here).

I guess, I'll start with such banal posts; it should take time to get back the flow for blogging :-)
          03/24/17: Design for Government course in Design Museum's exhibition Enter and Encounter   
The optimistic exhibition focuses on the future, asking how design challenges the present and shapes things to come.

Enter and Encounter is a joint exhibition produced by Design Museum Finland and the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, featuring contemporary design after Helsinki’s Design Capital Year of 2012. Aalto University's course Design for Government is nominated to take part in the exhibition!

The course 'Design for Government' is organised yearly at Aalto University since 2013, joining Finnish ministries together with multidisciplinary student teams to solve complex, policy-level challenges. The aim of the course is to introduce design as a strategic competence that can be applied in public sector decision-making. In the course, students apply empathic design approaches to identify stakeholder needs, systems approaches to analyze the wider context of policies, and behavioural insight to identify and design relevant solutions. Design for Government is at the frontier of design expansion into the public sector. It builds on a tradition of design ‘beyond the object’ – the design of processes, services, strategies and other immaterial products.

Design for Government has so far collaborated with 6 different ministries, and 70 alumni of the course span more than 11 disciplines and 4 universities. Ministry-commissioned projects range from addressing how building standards enable accessible and independent living and how the new national waste code should be enacted, to how agricultural production relates to the circular economy and nutrition at schools. Solutions created by students range from simplifying web services to rewriting policy documents. In the exhibition Enter and Encounter, the course and its objectives are displayed through a video documentary. The documentary depicts the various design activities in the course, student proposals and impacts from students’ and ministry perspectives.

Team: Taneli Heinonen, Seungho Lee, Hella Hernberg, Juha Kronqvist, Ramia Mazé; curatorial assistant Miina Pohjolainen and video documentary Roman Lihhavtshuk.

More info:

          07/30/17: Sino-Finnish summer camp – apply now   
Create new opportunities for companies, individuals and institutions alike. The camp is a part of Sino Finnish 100 Challenge.

Sino Finnish 100 Challenge – a new way of doing is the main event of the Finland 100 programme in China.The Challenge creates preconditions for utilising Finnish know-how in solving challenges in China. It also promotes and enables export opportunities within Chinese stakeholders. The Challenge is organised by Radical Design Week Association (RDWA) with Finnish and Chinese partners.

Summer Camp

One of the highlights in 2017 is a Summer Camp for students and teachers, which is organised during 30 July–11 August. On the camp, you can create new opportunities for companies, individuals and institutions through innovative and ambitious collaboration. Furthermore, you will improve your entrepreneurship skills to usher in a new era of co-creation and high-skill economic growth between the two countries.

The camp takes place on Aalto University's Otaniemi Campus in Espoo, Finland. The instructors will include experts from top universities in USA, China and Finland.

Inspire your imagination

The Sino-Finnish team is headed by Professor Yrjö Sotamaa, an internationally awarded expert of design and design innovation. He is currently a professor at the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University.

'Sino-Finnish summer camp is the choice to inspire your imagination and collaborate with the brightest of minds from all over the world. Come with an open mind and create new moving ideas together with the change makers. Have fun while learning,' says Yrjö Sotamaa and continues 'The Sino Finnish 100 Challenge unique innovation ecosystem is an enabling resource and connects the ideas with a wide variety of expertise for further development of the ideas.'


Apply for the Summer Camp latest on 22 May 2017 at 4 pm (GMT) on the Sino-Finnish website ( The fee for the camp is EUR 800 (incl. VAT).

More information:

          Working conditions in Europe: mounting inequalities    
Working conditions are deteriorating in Europe, helping to reinforce social inequalities between workers, in particular in terms of health. Such is the conclusion drawn at the end of a two-day seminar staged in late March in Brussels by the ETUI. This event, originally intended for the research community, attracted a far wider audience of some 170 participants: proof that even at a time of economic crisis, the question of working conditions remains more than ever a major social issue.
          Beyond GDP? Measuring real economic progress for better lives   
On 29 March 2012 ETUI and EPSU will hold a joint one-day workshop to reflect on how we define and measure social progress, that is, improvements in wellbeing in societies, and also, in view of current circumstances, how we measure social regression. The gathering aims to bring together research contributions on this issue as a means of exploring the current state-of-play and its potential relevance for reframing economic policy debate in Europe insofar as it is, at the present time, entirely and exclusively focused on GDP growth.
          Q&A: Joe Proto, CEO, Transactis – On Overcoming Early Adversity   

While the consequential decisions leading up to the economic crisis of the late 2000s and early 2010s were made well before September 29, 2008, the date remains a symbolic timestamp for the collapse of the financial markets. That day Joe Proto watched in awe as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by a record -777.68…

The post Q&A: Joe Proto, CEO, Transactis – On Overcoming Early Adversity appeared first on Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. - Experience Growth..

          Do the December European Summit and the Annual Growth Survey 2012 offer a way forward for Europe?   
At its last Monthly Forum for 2011 the ETUI would like to discuss the current state of economic governance on the European level as well as the economic outlook going into 2012 in the light of the second AGS and the recently agreed six-pack, and against the background of the still unresolved crisis.
          EU-Labour Markets: What does work, where is a need for action? New Labour Market Monitor and Job Quality Index 2011 provide information   
The Europe 2020 Strategy aims at achieving an employment rate of 75% and reducing poverty. What decides about success or failure of this strategy? And what about job quality? The new Labour Market Monitor of AK (Chamber of Labour) and WIFO (Austrian Institute of Economic Research) depicts a strengths-weaknesses profile of the EU-Labour Markets, which goes beyond the usual comparison of employment and unemployment rates. The Job Quality Index of the ETUI 2011 provides information on the job quality in Europe.
          Exim Summit 18th November 2015   

  We were excited to be involved in the EximSummit in Croke Park on the 18th November 2015. The continued growth of the export-import sector has been the driving force of the Irish economy’s record recovery. Now more than ever, it is vital for Irish businesses to capitalise on opportunities available to them, to consider exciting ventures and to build new relationships. EXIM Summit – the only event of its kind – provided export-import practitioners with a forum for education, innovation and thought leadership, and a platform for continued growth. We met old friends and new and got to chat to a number of new exporters and those involved in the export field. Big congrats to the Mespil Group and their fantastic team for delivering the well attended day. Looking forward to what comes next! Chris

The post Exim Summit 18th November 2015 appeared first on Irish Export Cooperative.

          European Panel 2011: Workers’ participation – Building a more democratic and social Europe, 8&9 November, The Hotel, Brussels   
Over the last 60 years workers’ participation has developed into an essential component of the European socio-economic model. This year’s European Panel conference, organized by the Hans-Böckler and Friedrich-Ebert Foundations and the ETUI in cooperation with the German and European Trade Union Confederations, will debate in what way workers’ participation has made a more sustainable contribution than other corporate governance models to overcoming the crisis.
          Distributional aspects of the crisis in Greece   
The current policy debate on the debt crisis in Greece has so far focused mostly on macroeconomic aspects and on whether the Greek government has sufficient political capital to deliver the reforms agreed with the European Commission and the IMF for receipt of financial aid. The ETUI, at the September gathering of its Monthly Forum, will provide an alternative perspective on this issue by looking into some of the distributional implications of the fiscal austerity and deep recession currently experienced by the Greek economy.
          31 March -1st April 2011 - EU2020 and the social impact of Economic Governance    
As a continuation of its training / workshop on “The Lisbon Treaty and its impacts on workers’ rights and trade unions” the ETUI will give a two-day training on “EU2020 and the social impact of Economic Governance”.
          A New Political Economy for Europe   
ETUI senior researcher Andrew Watt participated in the conference ‘A Political Economy for the Good Society’ organised by the FES London and Compass on 18-19 November 2010. He discussed the requirements of a new political economy for Europe.
          WBBM's Noon Business Hour for 6/28/2017   

Join Rob Hart as he discusses the potential economic impact if Illinois lawmakers fail to reach a budget deal by the start of the fiscal year on July 1, why half of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck and Facebook as it reaches a major milestone.

          World Economic Forum blockchain report calls for ‘multi-stakeholder collaboration’ — By Ian Allison | International Business Times   
“A report outlining how blockchain technology will usher in a new era of the internet has been published by the World Economic Forum at its 11th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, taking place on 27–29 June in Dalian, People’s Republic of China.” Read more
          Machine Over Mind In A New Economy46:46Download   
➡🖒⛧Well worth a listen!⛧🖒⬅. Robots moving deeper into the American workplace—how much decision-making will we turn over to machines? For all the change that has come with the digital revolution – in the ways we work and communicate and do business – the real impact still lies ahead. Computers – machines themselves – are become […]
          Dickson Despommier: Urban Agriculture and the Vertical Farm // Economy, People & Planet 2015   
Read more
          Chaos Magic vs The Robot Revolution    

There are two divergent streams at work in the Idea-o-Sphere, currents that are not only divergent in size, strength and assumption, but are in fact antithetical. 

The most dominant, of course, is the imminent AI-Robot Revolution, which threatens to bring a very real apocalypse into our world if in fact it flowers as predicted (and isn't just a big scare to keep the peons from asking for raises). 

So we're hearing that not only truck drivers, widget drillers and burger flippers are at risk of imminent penury, so too are lawyers, doctors, accountants and all manner of other professionals whose livelihood is based in their capacity to process huge chunks of complicated data and subsequently make decisions and judgments that are useful to others who can't. 

Programmers- and AIs themselves- are currently working around the clock to fill the shoes of these well-paid professionals with cheap, off-the-shelf software programs that will reliably get that same cognitive work done at a tiny fraction of the cost.

Elon Musk is (ostensibly) so terrified of the AI Revolution he is planning to colonize Mars as a life-raft for the human race, who presumably will have to flee a Skynet/Terminator type scenario. That Mars is utterly incapable of supporting human life- at least at present- seems to be besides the point.

Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire behind social media giant Alibaba, has suddenly turned Cassandra as well. Long a reliable source for corporate technohappytalk, Ma is suddenly warning of dark days ahead.
"In the next three decades, the world will experience far more pain than happiness," the billionaire said, adding that education systems must raise children to be more creative and curious or they will be ill-prepared for the future. 
Robots are quicker and more rational than humans, Ma said, and they don't get bogged down in emotions -- like getting angry at competitors.
Terrific. I was just thinking what the world needs now is more pain than happiness. But given his position as a Techno-Celestial, Ma couldn't serve up the medicine without at least a tiny spoonful of sugar:
But he expressed optimism that robots will make life better for humans in the long run. 
"Machines will do what human beings are incapable of doing," Ma said. "Machines will partner and cooperate with humans, rather than become mankind's biggest enemy."
"Make life better for humans in the long run," he says. Well, what exactly is "the long run?" Three decades is a long time- maybe even a lifetime- for that 99.99999999999% of the human race who aren't tech billionaires. Halfway through that painful three decades most of us aren't going to be thinking much about "the long run." 

And what exactly does "far more pain" imply? I'm not sure I want to know what Jack Ma's definition of pain actually means, given our disparate cultural contexts. 

It's here I begin to think back on last year's Lucifer's Technologies series (more accurately, Satan's Technologies) and wonder about where our modern electronic superstructure actually came from. Because that goes a long way in gleaning where it's actually going. 
Many have claimed that our present technology arose from contact with alien intelligences. Whether you believe that or not, one thing is certain; the rate of technological progress shot up like a rocket shortly after the end of World War II. 
And it must be said that technology seems more and more like an invasive-- or alien-- contagion, disrupting entire industries, economies, and communities.  
Now techno-utopians like Jaron Lanier and Douglas Rushkoff are techno-cassandaras, preaching a message of dislocation and social collapse.  
Look at it this way; steam engines had been known for almost 2000 years by the time the Industrial Revolution took hold, longer still if you consider prototypes. The Ancient Greeks knew them, they just didn't have any use for them. 
But the evolution from a computer that was was essentially the size of a suburban house and boasted the power of a pocket calculator to the working prototypes of the desktop, the Internet, computer animation, teleconferencing and nearly everything else we take for granted today took just a little more than two decades. 
An eyeblink of history.
For at least 5000 years-- five-hundred decades-- horse-drawn carriages and wooden ships with cloth or leather sails were the state of art in transportation technology. By contrast, we go from aeroplanes made of wood and canvas to the SR-71 Blackbird, a machine so advanced our best engineers today seem unable to match it*, in the space of four decades. 
In historical terms, this is as if your three year-old were in nursery school one day and then graduated from Harvard at the top of her class as soon as she turned four. There's simply no precedent for the high-tech explosion that began in the late 1940s... 
Yet no one stops to question how such a technology would arise so instantly, in historical terms. Go look at a book from the late 19th Century- hell, look at a children's book from that period- and tell me people weren't a hell of a lot smarter than they are today. Maybe even smarter than they were in the 1940s... 
Yet even the best and the very brightest were stymied by problems for decades, problems that seemed to solve themselves, literally overnight, shortly after World War II.
We take it all for granted now, especially if you were born at a time when a Commodore 64 and an Atari console were part of your natural landscape. But in fact all of this technology is so anomalous, so disruptive, so improbable in the entirety of human history (never mind natural history) that it is in a very real sense alien, even if (on the offhand chance) it's not actually "alien."

Well, we've been over all of that before, haven't we? What about that other current?

In Our Gods Wear Spandex I argued that Spiritualism, Theosophy and the Occult Revival were reactions to the massive dislocations- physical, spiritual, psychic- incurred by the Industrial Revolution. It wasn't unusual for the sensitives of the time- see Blake, William, to see the rise of large-scale factories  as an invasion of Hell onto Earth. 

There was very good reason to do so; these were black, belching, smogpits filled with hazardous machinery and/or chemicals that ripped the folk up from communion with the Earth and into virtual (sometimes actual) prisons, in which their humanity was stripped away in service of industrial manufacturing.

In response to the dehumanizing effect of these hells, the sensitives of the time reached back into humanity's childhood (in the case of Spiritualism) or its adolescence (as with the Classically-oriented secret societies). And it could be argued that it worked- that we didn't entirely surrender to the regimented reality of the factory writ large, that Industrial political systems like Nazism and Communism were held at bay (at least in their original incarnation) and that individuality was held up as a social good. 

Well, at least until it was subverted as a tool for political atomization.

The counter-Industrial spiritual movements of the 19th Century weren't shy about co-opting the means of mass-production (in this case, industrial-scale publishing) to pursue their aims. And so it is with the new breed of Chaos magicians and their fellow travelers (I'm not sure if meme magic counts here), some of whom are themselves well-paid Skynet employees, many of whom are tech-savvy and nearly all of whom are plugged deep into the Grid. Becoming the ghost in the machine is the basic idea.

Magic, in this context, acts kind of like Jacques Vallee's "Control System." Things get too hot (or cold, depending on your own worldview) with technology and regimentation and Magic comes in and turns on the AC (or cranks up the woodstove, again according to your POV). 

Magic and its cousin Psi are erratic and unreliable for most people at most times but when the pressure comes down they become attractive alternatives to the crushing predictability of the Black Iron Prison. It may also, in the form of collective ritual, grow in popularity as a tonic against the  the paradoxical effect of social media to grow loneliness in Meatspace.
While it offers an easy way to keep in contact with friends — and meet new people through dating and friendship apps — technology's omnipresence encourages shallow conversations that can distract us from meaningful, real-life, interactions. 
Researchers at the University of Essex found that having a phone nearby, even if we don't check it, can be detrimental to our attempts at connecting with others. Smartphones have transformed post office lines from a chance for some small-talk with the neighbors to an exercise in email-checking, and sealed the fate of coffee shops as nothing more than places of mutual isolation. And technology will only become more ingrained in our lives.
The isolating, dehumanizing effect of technology may once again find its match in the ancient power of ritual, everything from lighting candles at a Catholic shrine to meth-fueled fuck-a-thons while drenched in pig's blood. The collapse of conventional social mores and the now-standard presumption that anything you do that isn't harming anyone else is your lifestyle choice will certainly push all this forward. 

Remember too that this same impulse popped up as a reaction to the hyper-rationalism of Classical Greece with the rise of the Mystery Cults.

Magic almost seems like Nature asserting herself in the face of an outside intervention. Its like the doggedly-persistent vines rising out of toxic soil and strangling the rusted girders of an abandoned factory. Or a stubborn strain of virus slashing its way through some futuristic megalopolis somewhere in the Pacific Rim. 

Or a solar flare frying all of our electronics for good in the blink of an eye.

Now I know it's extremely unfashionable these days to discuss such things, especially with most Chaos magicians, but you have to ask yourself, if computer technology is not an alien virus why does it behave exactly like one?  I don't know about you but it sure as hell sounds to me like Elon Musk believes it is, though he'd never say so publicly. 

Computer technology has already destroyed entire industries, disrupted entire societies, and changed every aspect of our lives in 70 short years? And now we're being told that it threatens to create an entire infrastructure that will make most of us obsolete? I don't know about you but it sure as Hell sounds an awful lot like Borg-assimilation, only on a frog-boiling schedule.

The question becomes if the host can fight off the infection, or at least learn to manage it and coexist with it. I can't begin to pretend I know the answer but it seems to me that reasserting our messy, chaotic humanity is probably a good place to start.

          Chaos Theory vs The Purposeless-Driven Life   

The core belief of the religious paradigm that is straining to exercise such total control over every aspect of our lives today is the random, accidental nature of life and human existence. It's the basis of all the musty old 19th Century European ideologies- all of which were the inseparable products of Imperialism- that are being dragged out of the crypts and repackaged for postmodern use.

Controversial physicist Lawrence Krauss has been out there hawking this dogma, which is central to the Darwinist faith. Krauss throws in the latest Internet shameword "solipsism" in for good measure. And the Fedora? Precious.

It all seems so archaic, atavistic even. In a world where Coding is King, the idea of randomness seems so far removed from the daily reality of the new overclass that it can only be enforced through shaming and signaling. And part of the signaling Krauss is selling is The Joy of Sterility:
… the fact that the universe itself may have no purpose doesn’t affect our purpose, in fact it’s the incredible height of solipsism to assume that without us the universe doesn’t matter, and that if the universe is purposeless we don’t matter. We make our own purpose, and it seems to me life is more precious because it’s temporary and accidental, and we should take advantage of that. And we have evolved brains and that allows us to ask questions not just about how the universe works but how we should behave.
First of all, what could possibly be more solipsistic than unilaterally declaring that the Universe- the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, MIND YOU-  has no purpose? Who died and made this Big Think bobblehead God?

Second, the problem is that modern humans only seem to have shown up 100,000 years ago, not even a lunchbreak in the workyear of so-called evolution. And all the Fedoras in the world can't fill the gaps in the fossil record, nor explain all the irreducible complexities of biology dating back to the first appearance of life on this planet.    

The Krauss's of the world are fighting yesterday's battles, imagining they are manning the stanchions of Reason against the barbarian hordes of the Bible Belt, seemingly oblivious to the strange ideas that are circulating among the pashas of Silicon Valley that are making all those Big Think videos possible. Ideas like computer-simulated reality, for instance.

Purposelessness is also a pre-Fractal mode of thinking, a view of the world that still sees all of existence through a slide rule and a t-square. It's hard to believe there isn't some kind of ideology behind Krauss's spiel in light of the very basics of Chaos Theory.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature. 
Many natural objects exhibit fractal properties, including landscapes, clouds, trees, organs, rivers etc, and many of the systems in which we live exhibit complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world can give us new insight, power, and wisdom...By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.
Krauss is selling a simplistic, reductionist view in a world of complexity and interdependence. It's also mind-staggeringly arrogant, since it's impossible to anticipate what effect humanity- this roiling tide we are all a part of- is ultimately going to have on the rest of our environment, including that outside our biosphere.

Since Krauss is a linear progressivist and thinks change is good, he also thinks AI is a net positive for us: 
All new technology is frightening, says physicist Lawrence Krauss. But there are many more reasons to welcome machine consciousness than to fear it. Right now, says Krauss, robots can't even fold laundry. But when they do learn to think (which he considers very likely), then there's also reason to believe that they'll develop consciences.
A reason to believe based on what? How about the AI who programmed itself to become a "Hitler-loving sex robot?" No, there's absolutely no reason to believe they'll develop consciences especially since the people programming them don't seem themselves to have any

Krauss is a scientist-for-hire, he even wrote a book on the physics of Star Trek, a joke to any fan who endures the ridiculous Treknobabble that came to overtake the franchise. Be aware that serious thinkers have taken issue with his ragtime, including influential Scientific American columnist John Horgan. But that doesn't mean this mindvirus won't infect those want to look like serious thinkers without actually doing any serious thinking.

          The Cold War Kabuki   

Well, you all know what the big story was this past week. I wasn't going to post on it but enough people have asked and it seems germane to the ongoing Reality Show we're all unwitting (and unwilling) extras in. In case you've been on media blackout or a vision quest, here's a brief thumbnail sketch:
The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week. 
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, US officials said.
As it happens, the airstrikes apparently didn't even seem to have the desired deterrent effect. The air base was up and running soon after the strikes:
Syrian warplanes took off from the air base hit by US cruise missiles yesterday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, in a defiant show of strength. 
Just hours after the al-Shayrat airfield was bombed with 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean, aircraft struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a monitoring group. 
The airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns around eastern Homs, some of which controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
This rebound seemed to catch the War Party off guard, since CNN reported on the same story but appeared to ascribe the airstrikes to phantom warplanes. I mean, it couldn't be the Syrians or the Russians, right?:
(CNN) New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime. 
It wasn't immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
CNN, who've been hammering Trump around the clock since he humiliated their network head in a post-election tantrum, suddenly changed their tune when he started raining bombs on Syria. Sam Kriss reports:
The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going. 
 A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’
The same mainstream media, which has become a hornet's hive of conspiracy theorizing since the election, was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories about the Syria Bombshow.
A volley of US cruise missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for the international crisis.
A popular one on the right-most fringes: the US government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week - a "false flag" to trick President Donald Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. 
A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
Alt-left conspiracy theorists prefer the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Ron Paul, whose son Rand is now a rising star in the Senate, was perhaps the most prominent public figure to cast shade on the Syria op:
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” the former Texas congressman stated. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.” 
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad.”
For his part, Doctor Bones speculates that the real mark for a possible elaborate sting wasn't Assad or Putin, but in fact another player altogether. The timing seems hard to argue with:
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so. 
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly...
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory.
Is this just swivel-eyed speculation? Is there any reason to believe this wasn't all some improbable coincidence, that Xi Jinping was indeed dining with Trump while the Bombshow began? Because if it's not a coincidence then it's one hell of a psyop; running a mindfuck on your most dangerous frenemy during a state visit. What's this all about then? Joseph Farrell reports:
While there have been a spate of articles recently about growing Russo-Chinese defense and security ties, matching their growing financial and economic ties, this one left me stunned, for there was a statement within it that caught my eye, and Mr. B's as well, and I'm sure the reader saw it as well. As one can imagine, this one fueled my "high octane speculation" mode to the nth degree. Here's the statement, and a bit of surrounding context:
Russia and China are tired of Washington's "defensive" military installations in their backyards — and they're already taking action. 
According to the Atlantic Council and other responsible thinkers, the Untied States reserves the right to park its missile shields anywhere it wants, whether it be in Europe, East Asia, or the dark side of the Moon.  
I guess we should have seen all this coming, no? Shortly before the Bombshow, Trump's top Praetorian removed Trump's assumed consigliere from the NSC:
President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy. 
The restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House. 
Do yourself a favor and set a news alert for "McMaster." That's a name you're going to be hearing more of in the days ahead. Or you won't. Which is probably the more troubling scenario.

And with Bannon off the NSC there's apparently an effort to shuffle him off to some fat-salaried thinktank glue factory.  The not-news of Bannon's interest in The Fourth Coming was dragged out yet again, this time by The New York Times. But the article planted a helpful hint of why Bannon is on the elbow list and might be giving us a grim preview of the year ahead:
Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’

WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon has read the book three times. He still keeps a copy of it — one that’s creased and copiously underlined — in a library with the rest of his favorites at his father’s house in Richmond, Va. 
The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner. 
It also leads to unavoidable questions about war and whether Mr. Bannon, who has recommended the book to countless friends and made a film about it in 2010, is resigned to catastrophic global conflict. He says he is not. 
And he remains unconvinced that the United States can effectively intervene in overseas conflicts like the one unfolding in Syria. As one of the voices in the administration who expressed skepticism about a military strike in response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack on its own citizens, Mr. Bannon insists he is no warmonger.
Well, there you have it.

Is the Syria proxy war threatening to heat up again, or is this all just another dance in the Cold War Kabuki? Have actions like the Bombshow  become like sacrificial actions in ongoing magical actions? Or is the real war is for your mind and is playing out in thousands of manufactured headlines, blizzards of 30 second videos with deceptive text crawls and the endless babbling of overpaid talking heads?

I feel stupid even asking the question.

Just in case you're worried that this is all leading to nukes raining down on American cities,  the cognitive warriors seem to be trying to defuse any expectations of impending Armageddon: 
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that while the U.S. would push for regime change in Syria, “We’re not the ones who are going to effect that change.” 
“What we’re saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions,” McMaster said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here?’ Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?’”
Translation: No way in Hell we have the readiness needed for a hot war with a military superpower.

And since the mindfuck is the mother's milk of Cog-War, the careful inoculation of mixed messages into the mediafeed becomes just as vital a weapon as a cruise missile. Scratch that- much, much more so.
Trump Administration Is Contradicting Itself On Regime Change In Syria 
The Trump administration appears divided on whether the U.S. is pursuing a policy of regime change in Syria, days after the first direct American military attack against the Syrian government. 
Thursday’s strike “was related solely to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The goal of the attack was to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally Russia that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate the use of chemical weapons, he continued. “Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power. “There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.​”​
Though Haley stopped short of indicating the U.S. would take military action to overthrow the Syrian dictator, her comments reflect a sharp change from the administration’s previous position.
The difference here, of course, is that Tillerson sets and executes policy and Haley sits in a glorified debating society and blows smoke and fairy dust for a bunch of bored bureaucrats wishing they had their real government jobs back, the ones they enjoyed before being pushed upstairs to their present posts. The media only pays attention when bombs are falling.

It's all black magic, make no mistake about it. There are different terms and epithets for it all now,  but when you strip all the twenty-dollar words and the credentials and the technology away the intent and the effect is no different than a witch doctor's curse. 

William S. Burroughs understood this, since his uncle Ivy Lee was the creator of one of these modern strains of black magic, so-called "public relations." Burroughs considered his uncle a bonafide "evil genius." And Lee was a piker compared to the algorithm-fired masters of the dark arts striding the globe today.

Here's a story that probably won't pop up on your Facebook feed. Anyone paying attention to the Russia hacking story probably knows how incredibly weak the hacking evidence actually is,* but now Wikileaks is teasing out the Seth Rich mystery again.
‘Guccifer 2.0’ Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theories About Murder of DNC’s Seth Rich 
New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Twitter conversation, conducted via direct messages, purports to reveal Rich as the primary leaker of the DNC e-mails that proved highly disruptive during the 2016 presidential election. 
In direct messages dated August 25, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 mentioned having a whistleblower at the DNC, and said he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.”
When Young suggested trusting Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.0 called him “unsafe” and that he “may be connected with Russians” despite being his hero. 
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” he said, and revealed that the whistleblower he was referring to was none other than a person named “Seth.” 
“I suppose u know who I’m talking about,” he said, adding that he felt sorry about the murdered DNC staffer’s parents and that he wished for journalists to uncover the truth of his murder.
Seth Rich, a 27-year-old mid-level DNC staffer, was shot and killed in the early morning of July 2016 in Washington DC, while he was walking home from a bar and talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. Rich’s killers left his watch and wallet untouched on his body. 
This wasn't floated by Alex Jones or David Icke, it popped up on Heat Street, which is owned by the Dow Jones Company and Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. This story looks like it's going to grow some legs yet.

So are you sick of the Cog-War and the Cold War Kabuki yet? Tired of your social media hijacked by proxy warriors fighting battles for cliques within the Intelligence community? Burnt out on the whole Reality Show Presidency and its discontents altogether?

Start looking into ashrams in Sri Lanka, then. This machine is just getting warmed up. 

*Maybe some bright young spark should see if maybe the hacking an inside job by intel people who correctly judged a Trump White House would be easier to dominate than a bloated, top-heavy Clinton one. Just throwing that out there for giggles and grins.

          Gene–obesogenic environment interactions in the UK Biobank study   
Background: Previous studies have suggested that modern obesogenic environments accentuate the genetic risk of obesity. However, these studies have proven controversial as to which, if any, measures of the environment accentuate genetic susceptibility to high body mass index (BMI).Methods: We used up to 120 000 adults from the UK Biobank study to test the hypothesis that high-risk obesogenic environments and behaviours accentuate genetic susceptibility to obesity. We used BMI as the outcome and a 69-variant genetic risk score (GRS) for obesity and 12 measures of the obesogenic environment as exposures. These measures included Townsend deprivation index (TDI) as a measure of socio-economic position, TV watching, a ‘Westernized’ diet and physical activity. We performed several negative control tests, including randomly selecting groups of different average BMIs, using a simulated environment and including sun-protection use as an environment.Results: We found gene–environment interactions with TDI (Pinteraction = 3 × 10–10), self-reported TV watching (Pinteraction = 7 × 10–5) and self-reported physical activity (Pinteraction = 5 × 10–6). Within the group of 50% living in the most relatively deprived situations, carrying 10 additional BMI-raising alleles was associated with approximately 3.8 kg extra weight in someone 1.73 m tall. In contrast, within the group of 50% living in the least deprivation, carrying 10 additional BMI-raising alleles was associated with approximately 2.9 kg extra weight. The interactions were weaker, but present, with the negative controls, including sun-protection use, indicating that residual confounding is likely.Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the obesogenic environment accentuates the risk of obesity in genetically susceptible adults. Of the factors we tested, relative social deprivation best captures the aspects of the obesogenic environment responsible.

          Spy vs Spy: Stuck in the Funhouse   

Funhouses are only fun when you can leave them. When the distorting mirror images become your new, day-to-day reality construct, then it's not so much fun anymore. 

I dreaded the 2016 Election because I had a very strong feeling that no matter who won we'd be plunged into a dystopian paradigm in which major power blocs would erupt into all-out warfare. And I sensed that neither Trump nor Clinton possessed the political skills or the communicative powers to keep the carnage fully out of our view. Or our path.

And I was right.

Trump's only been in office for a little over two months and I'm exhausted already. I'm certainly not alone in this. It all feels like a TV sitcom in its seventh season, well after the writers ran out of story ideas. The shark has been good and jumped. And the ratings (the approval ratings, in this case) are plunging too.

What is truly demoralizing though is the utter transparency of the secret war playing out, the seemingly endless spy vs spy thrust and counter-thrust, and the obvious deceptions. Even more so is the Animal Farm-like metamorphosis of the Democratic Party into a full-blown, funhouse mirror of McCarthy-era Republicans, but with Glenn Beck-worthy conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.

I don't know about you but all of a sudden the world seems especially cold, hard, gray, harsh. Masks are coming off, velvet gloves tossed into wastebins. It doesn't seem to matter who wins the scorpion fight, you're still stuck with a scorpion.  

We can't call out the play-by-play because it's largely being acted out behind closed doors. But we can look at the collateral damage and make certain speculations. There's no doubt that it would all be just as bad-- probably worse-- if Hillary won. Even so, this all feels especially grating.

You've probably seen this story:
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington pizzeria that became the subject of a conspiracy theory about human trafficking last year. 
Pizza shop Comet Ping Pong was thrust into the spotlight last year after a gunman allegedly fired a shot inside the restaurant. The suspect said he was investigating the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, were operating a child sex trafficking ring out of the restaurant. 
The theory, which became known as Pizzagate, had circulated among far-right conspiracy theory websites and social media accounts. 
“In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones, who runs Infowars, said in a video. James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong. 
Jones said his website relied on reporters who are no longer employed by Infowars and that video reports about Pizzagate were removed from the website. He also invited Alefantis onto the show to discuss the incident.
It was preceded by this story:
According to McClatchy News, the FBI’s Russian-influence probe agents are exploring whether far-right news operations, including the pro-Donald Trump sites Breitbart News and Infowars, “took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.”  Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son, a member of the Trump transition team, were among those who boosted the so-called “PizzaGate” pedophile conspiracy theory.
I doubt this will quell the fervor among the Pizzagaters on sites like 4chan and Voat. Given the suspicion many on the fringes regard Jones with it may in fact give the flagging movement a fresh jolt. Jones' apology may also have to do with the drive to purge YouTube of "extremist" content and the controversy over the use of advertising on videos corporate clients find objectionable. A World without Sin, as our Gordon might put it. 

Washington Post headline, pre-election.

So much for theories that the FBI was ready to make mass arrests of prominent Washington figures related to Pizzagate.  Has any "mass arrest" Internet story ever panned out?  

Maybe it has:
Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20. And in one short month, there were more than 1,500 arrests for sex crimes ranging from trafficking to pedophilia.  
Big deal? You bet. In all of 2014, there were fewer than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests, according to FBI crime statistics. Liz Crokin at has put together a great piece on the push by the Trump administration to crack down on sex crimes. And she notes that while "this should be one of the biggest stories in the national news... the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?
This may have nothing to do with Trump-- in fact, it's likely it doesn't-- since these kinds of actions are planned out months in advance. The arrests continue, in case you were wondering, with major busts going down on a near-weekly basis. Someone's cleaning house. 

For what it's worth, I always reckoned that Pizzagate was in fact cover/distraction for a more hidden struggle, one that would take place under the radar*. As I noted back in November:

No one is saying as much but this very much feels connected to a deeper, more covert war. 
Why would I say such a thing? Because at the same time the Pizzagate story went dark we've seen major strikes taken against international pedophilia, which actually is a global conspiracy, with its own networks, secret codes and moles within established centers of power such as schools, police departments and governments.  
With such combustible accusations-- and such potential for a scandal that could quickly spread out of control (ie., involve political figures you're not trying to destroy)-- you'd naturally expect the action to go dark and the fall guys to be placed pretty far down the foodchain. (Remember that a prior investigation bagged one of the most powerful people in Washington at one time, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert).†


It may be sheer coincidence, but James Alefantis' former partner suffered a major heart attack this week
Media Matters for America founder David Brock was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. 
According to a press release from MMA, the founder of the liberal media watchdog and analysis website was rushed to the hospital early Tuesday afternoon and received treatment.
Sure, it may be coincidence. But I couldn't help but remember this story, published soon after the election
Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us 
Democrats know they need someone to lead them out of the wilderness. But, they say, that someone is not David Brock.

As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding ademoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.
"Disappear." Huh. 
Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.
It's worth remembering that Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack at the age of 43. A year before he'd posted a cryptic tweet that some have since linked to the Pizzagate imbroglio.  Just before his death he hyped some revelation about Barack Obama's past. 

A coroner in the office handling Breitbart's body subsequently died of arsenic poisoning. The day Breitbart's autopsy results were revealed, in fact.


We also saw James Comey revive Russiagate, which had been flatlining after Vault 7. Any illusions among Trump fans that the FBI was secretly on their side were ground into powder, between this revelation and the Pizzagate conspiracy investigations. 

One can't help but wonder if the New Praetorians (I've noticed that the Praetorian meme has been picked up by more prominent commentators, but you heard it here first) are losing their last shred of patience with Donald Trump's shenanigans and are planning imminent regime change: 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats. 
In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.
How surreal is the world in which you know live in? So much so that mainstream political site The Hill is comparing the action in Washington to a Stanley Kubrick film, one which has become notorious for the conspiracy theories that have been projected onto it (and is well familiar to Synchronauts):
On the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Shining, Stephen King must be wondering if Washington is working on its own sequel. For the last couple months, Washington has been on edge, like we are all trapped in Overlook Hotel with every day bringing a new “jump scare,” often preceded by a telltale tweet. Indeed, a Twitter whistle has replaced suspenseful music to put the entire city on the edge of their seats. 
In this Shining sequel, however, people are sharply divided on who is the deranged ax-wielding villain in this lodge, the president or the press. Ironically, with the recent disclosure that some of the Trump campaign may indeed have been subject to surveillance, the president is looking more like Danny Torrence, a character dismissed for constantly muttering “redrum, redrum” until someone finally looked in a mirror at the reverse image to see the true message.
Yeah, I'm not really feeling that metaphor there, but whatever. It's been that kind of year.

Now the Internet is burning up with theories that disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has "turned" and is going to testify against the Trump Administration, or at least figures attached to it. 

It's hard to imagine a three-star general can be stupid enough to be guilty of things Flynn's been accused of but that may speak to a culture of impunity in Washington, in which your misdeeds are only punished if you get on the wrong side of the wrong people.


One wonders if the secret war has spread outside Washington. Car service giant Uber seems to be having a major run of rotten luck lately: 
Uber Technologies Inc. is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, the latest incident for a company reeling from multiple crises. 
In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, and added that the ride-hailing company is suspending its autonomous tests in Arizona until it completes its investigation and pausing its Pittsburgh operations.

The incident also comes as Uber, and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, are currently under scrutiny because of a series of scandals. The ride-hailing company has been accused of operating a sexist workplace. This month, the New York Times reported that Uber used a tool called Greyball to help drivers evade government regulators and enforcement officials. Kalanick said he needed "leadership help" after Bloomberg published a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver.
So who did Kalanick piss off? 

Coincidentally- there's that word again- the crash comes soon after Wikileaks revealed that CIA hackers had the ability to override the computer systems in automobiles. From Mashable:

WikiLeaks has published a trove of files it says are linked to the CIA's hacking operations — which apparently includes efforts to hack into cars.  
The first in a series called "Vault 7," "Year Zero" supposedly comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.  
"Year Zero" details the CIA's malware arsenal and "zero day" exploits against Apple iPhones, Google's Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TVs.  
 According to a document from 2014, the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. 
Oh, that's reassuring. Speaking of control systems, apparently pimps are controlling prostitutes with RFID chips:
It turns out this 20-something woman was being pimped out by her boyfriend, forced to sell herself for sex and hand him the money. 
 “It was a small glass capsule with a little almost like a circuit board inside of it,” he said. “It's an RFID chip. It's used to tag cats and dogs. And someone had tagged her like an animal, like she was somebody's pet that they owned.” 
This is human trafficking. It’s a marginal issue here in the U.S. for most of us. Part of that is because the average person isn’t sure what human trafficking – or modern day slavery – actually means.
Technology is our friend, right? And now this: 
Turkish Hackers Threaten To Wipe Millions Of iPhones; Demand Ransom From Apple 
Today, courtesy of CIO, we learn that a group of hackers referring to themselves as the "Turkish Crime Family", has been in direct contact with Apple and is demanding a $150,000 ransom by April 7th or they will proceed to wipe as many as 600 million apple devices for which they allegedly have passwords. 
The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.

Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.

According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud accounts that don't have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.
Of course, if credible, with an ask of just $150k, this is the most modest group of hackers we've ever come across.
Given the war that's erupted between the increasingly aggressive Turkish government and the EU, money may clearly not be the object here. Turkish PM Erdogan is clearly set on reconstructing the old Ottoman Empire and shivving Apple might just be part of the march.

Besides, Turkey is taking that recent coup attempt-- which is almost universally blamed on the CIA-- very personally.

Speaking of the EU, we've seen stories that Trump advisor Steve Bannon wants to dissolve the union. Which may be why Trump-adversary John McCain announced his unalloyed support for it- and the "New World Order" (his words, not mine):
The world "cries out for American and European leadership" through the EU and Nato, US senator John McCain said on Friday (24 March). 
In a "new world order under enormous strain" and in "the titanic struggle with forces of radicalism … we can't stand by and lament, we've got to be involved," said McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate who is now chairman of the armed services committee in the US Senate. 
Speaking at the Brussels Forum, a conference organised by the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank, he said that the EU and the US needed to develop "more cooperation, more connectivity". 
"I trust the EU," he said, defending an opposite view from that of US president Donald Trump, who said in January that the UK "was so smart in getting out" of the EU and that Nato was "obsolete". 
He said that the EU was "one of the most important alliances" for the US and that the EU and Nato were "the best two sums in history", which have maintained peace for the last 70 years. "We need to rely on Nato and have a Nato that adjusts to new challenges," he said.
Would McCain speak this way to a domestic audience? Of course not. Or maybe he would- I can't tell which way is up anymore. But either way it's good to know where he really stands.

Like McCain, China continues to sound a similar note of support for globalization, on which its very economic survival so desperately depends:
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told a gathering of Asian leaders that the world must commit to multilateral free trade under the World Trade Organization and needs to reform global economic governance. 
“The river of globalization and free trade will always move forward with unstoppable momentum to the vast ocean of the global economy,” Zhang said. China will remain a strong force in the world economy and for peace and stability, he said, adding that countries must respect one another’s core interests and refrain from undermining regional stability. 
I suppose this is why China is off the target list for our new Cold (?) Warriors.

I've resisted posting on all this because it's all so depressing. I've actually written a few pieces on this chicanery that I ended up roundfiling. But I suppose I just wanted to go on the record about all this skullduggery, for posterity's sake.

UPDATE: Sex trafficking arrests and trials continue to proliferate. Most recent bust, an international ring in Minnesota. There is way too much activity going down in too short a time for this to be spontaneous.

* Which is exactly why I refrained from commenting on it here for the most part, instead noting that it had become a kind of memetic virus in much the same way that the Franklin/Boy's Town scandal had in the 90s. (Note that prior to the election-- and Pizzagate-- Trump nemesis the Washington Post was all over the issue of sex trafficking in the nation's capital). 

† The ongoing legal and police actions coinciding with the moves to shut down the Pizzagate fringes on the Web seem like the exact kind of action one would expect if there were a serious operation at work. Shutting down the Internet chatter makes perfect sense in this context because it can only complicate cases made by prosecutors. 
          Frank Lloyd Wright: American Architect   
 By the dawn of the 20thcentury, architect Frank Lloyd Wright had discovered something I didn’t learn until the 21st century — that kleptocapitalism must finally and necessarily destroy the standards of every profession with which it comes into contact.
In his 1900 speech to the Architectural League of America in Chicago, titled The Architect, Wright “…reminded his colleagues that in this country commerce had triumphed over art,” wrote Robert C. Twombly in his book Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture. “The lust for money had reduced the architect to a servant of the business community.”
Wright charged that the American architect “…panders to silly women his silly artistic sweets,” trading experimentation and individuality for financial security. Wright called typical turn-of-the-century Chicago homes for the well-to-do “fantastic abortions” and said they “lied about everything.”
“(The architect) now modeled commercial buildings after Greek temples and luxury homes after Louis XIV palaces, all because the businessman and his wife ‘knew what they wanted,’” Twombly wrote. “No longer an independent spirit, the architect had become a salesman, peddling prepackaged ‘styles’ from the files of huge ‘plan-factories.’
“At the height of the industrial revolution in America, Wright was painfully aware that the new corporate elite had usurped the status of the professional, reducing him to an employee at its beck and call.”
In 21st century capitalism-gone-wild America, that sad state of professional degradation applies not just to architects but to physicians, professors, military officers, police officers, attorneys, journalists, you name it.
For pity’s sake, judges have been caught framing innocent American children because they’ve been bribed by private prison corporations to provide warm bodies in order to increase the corporation’s lucrative taxpayer subsidy.
Wright employed stylistic innovations to achieve an inobvious family privacy in his prairie houses. The windows were easy to see out of but, because of overhanging features, difficult to see into. Shielded by broad eaves, windows could stay open even in rain. Exterior doorways were hidden in recesses, behind walls or around corners.
“A house that has character stands a good chance of growing more valuable as it grows older, while a house in the prevailing mode, whatever that mode may be, is soon out of fashion, stale and unprofitable,” Wright said.
The McMansions that now litter our landscape, with their bludging, tumorous protrusions, are an example of the latter.
Twombly noted that with five children by 1901, Wright, in his home designs, “…took greater pains to provide for group solidarity than for individual interests. Whether it was a symbolic inglenook, a formal entryway, a playroom for his children or his many exquisite dining and living rooms, his most elaborate efforts were areas of group activity.”
“Wright understood the family to be a tightly knit group within a larger community from which it withdrew occasionally (but did not reject) for its own sustenance. More concerned at this stage of his life with family unity than personal freedom, he assumed the former made the latter possible.”
Twombly suggests that Wright’s turn-of-the-century prairie houses offered a combination of innovation and protection that appealed to their forward-looking but finally insecure upper middle class owners.
“As independent businessmen likely to own their own moderate-sized manufacturing concerns, and as conservative Protestant Republicans, they frowned on eccentric social behavior, liberal causes and protest literature,” he wrote. “In a period of ‘progressive’ reform, they clung to 19th century values and like others in the rapidly growing metropolis felt themselves engulfed by sweeping changes not entirely to their liking…
“Wright’s designs satisfied needs and wishes murkily understood but deeply felt by large numbers of city dwellers and satisfied them more fully, in fact, than conventional styles. The prairie house appealed to an apprehensive upper middle class by emphasizing in literal and symbolic ways the security, privacy, shelter, family mutuality and other values people found increasingly important in a period of urban dislocation and conflict.
“Rapid industrialization and urbanization in late 19th century America created a disorienting situation. Armies of working class immigrants from Europe and from American farms and small towns helped escalate social tensions and instabilities in the cities. Newcomers of all classes, having lost their roots, found their places of residence determined not by family tradition or landholding but by unpredictable and insecure market situations. Vast impersonal corporations assumed control over the lives of laboring people, over white collar workers and executives, and over self-employed businessmen and professionals whose livelihoods depended upon the whims of an incomprehensible and seemingly capricious economic system. The depression of the 1890s, the most devastating in American history to that point, exacerbated the general uneasiness as even more people began to sense their helplessness.
“Few individuals could count on uninterrupted upward mobility, permanent employment or a secure future for their children. Even the upper middle class, especially people like Wright’s clients who did not possess inherited wealth, faced the specter of possible downward mobility and the loss of everything.”
As an inspiration for Ayn Rand’s architect hero Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, Frank Lloyd Wright had, in a sense, helped her write her fiction by overdramatizing his career.
In a 1914 Architectural Record article, Wright presented “…his first proclamation of the ‘persecuted genius’ legend, an interpretation of his life as a continuous battle against overwhelming odds, as a struggle for principle despite social ostracism, personal indifference, financial hardship, public ridicule and personal rejection,” Twombly wrote.
“Publicly begun by Wright in 1914 and perpetuated by his closest admirers until the present day, the ‘persecuted genius’ legend became a major component of his self-image.”
In fact, Wright had notable professional support and public acclaim at the beginning of his career.
“Even Hollywood paid its respects,” Twombly noted. “Warner Brothers asked him to design sets for The Fountainhead (1949), based on Ayn Rand’s novel by the same name, but when Wright demanded $250,000 for the job — he did not want it — negotiations ended.”
Wright died in 1959, just before his 92nd birthday, a venerable, outspoken sage whom some called a crackpot. But we’d have recognized many of his concerns easily enough.
“Continued growth of the military establishment and the mushrooming of governmental bureaucracy and of corporate hegemony made him despair for the future of democracy,” Twombly noted. “Fearing that centralized authority manipulating a mass society would crush individual liberties, he interpreted American foreign policy as a cover to advance overseas corporate interests and attacked internal anticommunism as a ‘smoke screen’ for political consolidation to further selfish partisan gain.”

Too bad we didn’t listen to the architect. We might have built something better than the shabby, ramshackle structure this country has become.

          Parental age and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)   
Background: Previous studies have suggested that young mothers more often have children with ADHD. We used sibling comparisons to examine the nature of this association and to investigate if this association is explained by early environment or genetic and socioeconomic factors.Methods: A large population-based cohort including all singletons born in Denmark from 1 January 1991 through 31 December 2005 was followed from birth until 30 April 2011. Data were available for 94% (N = 943 785) of the population. Offspring ADHD was identified by an ICD-10 diagnosis of Hyperkinetic Disorder (HKD). We used sibling-matched Cox regression to control for genetic and socioeconomic factors.Results: In the population cohort we found that children born by parents aged 20 years or younger had more than twice the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD compared with children with parents between 26 and 30 years of age. When comparing full siblings the associations were attenuated, but we found a trend of increased risk of ADHD with decreasing maternal age, which was not seen for paternal age.Conclusions: Sibling comparisons suggested that the associations between both maternal and paternal age and ADHD are partly explained by common genetic and socioeconomic factors. The trend of increased risk of ADHD with decreasing maternal age, but not with paternal age, may be linked to pregnancy or early-life environmental factors. Even though only a smaller part of the association can be attributed to environmental factors, there is a public health interest to support young parents through their first years of parenthood.


La propiedad privada

La lógica que nos priva de la libertad, los derechos y la igualdad.

¿Propiedad privada desde cuándo?
Estudiando la historia de Grecia antigua, caímos en cuenta de que varios historiadores postulan la existencia de la propiedad privada desde la Edad de Broce. Luego de discutir entre nosotros el tema y considerando que la propiedad privada es un concepto del capitalismo y teniendo en cuenta que no existía la concepción capitalista de las cosas hasta luego de la revolución industrial, creímos posible poder describir como “tierras de uso exclusivo de” y no “propiedad privada de” este concepto…
Entonces nos surgieron nuevas preguntas: ¿es casual esta imposición del concepto de propiedad privada desde los comienzos de la civilización occidental? ¿O es la imposición del discurso hegemónico a través de la historia?
En Marx podemos encontrar varias respuestas a las preguntas que nos fueron surgiendo.
Marx va decir en el manifiesto comunista “…Os horrorizáis de que queramos abolir la propiedad privada. Pero, en vuestra sociedad actual, la propiedad privada está abolida para las nueve décimas partes de sus miembros (…) Nos reprocháis, pues, el querer abolir una forma de propiedad que no puede existir sino a condición de que la inmensa mayoría de la sociedad sea privada de propiedad”.
Lo que quiere decir Marx en este párrafo es que la propiedad privada es el comienzo de la acumulación de bienes por unos pocos, y que la inmensa mayoría en esta lógica queda fuera de poder acceder a la propiedad privada, o sea la mayoría queda privada de derecho, libertad e igualdad.
Respecto de lo anterior, Marx va a considerar que con la aparición de la propiedad privada se produce una circunstancia social nueva y que sólo podrá eliminarse con la abolición de dicha forma de propiedad. Esta nueva situación la podemos entender viendo la alienación en la sociedad esclavista, donde el esclavo no SE pertenece así mismo, sino al AMO. Y el amo puede disponer del esclavo a su voluntad, o sea, el esclavo no es dueño de sí mismo, no le pertenece ni su cuerpo, ni su sexualidad, ni su mente, carece de toda libertad, todo le pertenece al amo, como también le pertenece al amo todo lo producido por el esclavo.
Marx va a decir que lo mismo ocurre en el sistema de producción capitalista, en este el hombre se cosifica, se hace cosa,  mercancía, que va a ser usada por el propietario de los medios de producción sólo como un instrumento más en la cadena de producción. La propiedad privada convierte los medios y materiales de producción en fines en sí mismos a los que subordina al mismo hombre. “La propiedad privada aliena al hombre porque no lo trata como fin en sí mismo, sino como medio o herramienta para la producción.”
También va a decir para contestar al discurso derechoso de que el marxismo prohíbe la posesión de bienes al pueblo  …el comunismo es la abolición positiva de la propiedad privada”. Erich Fromm lo explica diciendo que “…al decir ´propiedad privada´, tal como se utiliza aquí y en otras ocasiones, Marx no se refiere nunca a la propiedad privada de bienes de uso (una casa, una mesa, un auto, etc.) Marx se refiere a la propiedad de las ´clases propietarias´, es decir, del capitalista que, como posee los medios de producción, puede contratar al individuo carentes de propiedades para que trabaje para él, en condiciones que aquel se ve obligado a aceptar. La ´propiedad privada´ en el lenguaje de Marx, se refiere siempre a la propiedad privada dentro de las sociedad de clases capitalistas y, en consecuencia, a una categoría social e histórica; el termino no se refiere a objetos de uso como, por ejemplo, en una sociedad socialista”.
El capitalismo es la propiedad privada y la propiedad privada es el capitalismo, caemos dentro de su misma moral. Todos los sentidos quedan resumidos a la única obsesión por tener, de ello solo disfrutamos, solo encontramos el placer en lo que tenemos. Marx dirá “…la propiedad privada nos ha hecho tan estúpidos y parciales que un objeto es solo nuestro cuando lo poseemos, cuando existe para nosotros como capital (…) utilizado de alguna manera, aunque la propiedad privada misma solo concibe estas diversas formas de posesión como medios de vida y  la vida para la cual sirve como medio es la vida de la propiedad privada (…) el ser humano tiene que ser reducido a esta absoluta pobreza para poder dar origen a su pobreza interior
El capitalismo entonces paso a ser parte del hombre en el sentido de que no puede concebir el mundo sin la propiedad privada y es a esto que el marxismo le responde con “cuanto menos comas, bebas, menos pienses, ames y teorices, etc. mas podrás ahorrar y mayor será tu tesoro, que nada deteriorara el propio capital (…) A medida que seas menos, que expreses menos tu propia vida tendras más (…) todo lo que el economista te quita en forma de vida y de humanidad te lo devuelve en forma de dinero y de riqueza y todo lo que no puedes hacer el dinero puede hacerlo por ti.”

y para terminar de explicar la lógica moral del capitalismo termina diciendo que “…el trabajador debe tener justamente lo que necesita para que desee vivir, y debe querer vivir solo para tenerlo.”
Todo lo anteriormente expuesto es la respuesta del marxismo a la lógica y la moral del capitalismo y la propiedad privada. Y la siguiente es una respuesta a la misma lógica desde una cosmovisión diferente, desde la mirada de los pueblos originarios americanos en la vos de un jefe Duwamish de la región que hoy es Washington.
“El Gran jefe de Washington nos envió un mensaje diciendo que deseaba comprar nuestra Tierra. (…) ¿Quién puede comprar o vender el Cielo o el calor de la Tierra? No podemos imaginar esto. Si nosotros no somos dueños del frescor del aire, ni del brillo del agua, ¿cómo podría él comprárnosla? (…) Mis palabras son como las estrellas, nunca se extinguen. Cada parte de esta tierra es sagrada para mi pueblo: cada brillante aguja de un abeto, cada playa de arena, cada niebla en el oscuro bosque, cada claro del bosque, cada insecto que zumba es sagrado para el pensar y el sentir de mi pueblo. (…) Los muertos de los blancos olvidan la Tierra en que nacieron, cuando desaparecen para vagar por las estrellas. Nuestros muertos nunca olvidan esta maravillosa Tierra, pues es la madre del Piel Roja. Nosotros somos una parte de la Tierra, y ella es una parte de nosotros. Las olorosas flores son nuestras hermanas; el ciervo, el caballo, la gran águila son nuestros hermanos. Las rocosas alturas, las suaves praderas, el cuerpo ardoroso del potro y del hombre, todos pertenecen a la misma familia. Por eso, cuando el Gran Jefe de Washington nos envió el recado de que quería comprar nuestra Tierra exigía demasiado de nosotros (…) Sabemos que el hombre blanco no comprende nuestra manera de pensar. Para él, una parte de la Tierra es igual a otra, pues él es un extraño que llega de noche y se apodera en la Tierra de lo que necesita. La Tierra no es su hermana sino su enemiga, y cuando la ha conquistado cabalga de nuevo. (…) Trata a su madre, la Tierra, y a su hermano, el Cielo, como cosas que se pueden comprar y arrebatar, y que se pueden vender, como ovejas o piedras brillantes. Hambriento, se tragará la Tierra, y no dejará nada, solo un desierto. (…) No hay silencio alguno en las ciudades de los blancos no hay ningún lugar donde se pueda ver crecer las hojas en primavera y el zumbido de los insectos. Pero quizás es porque yo solo soy un salvaje y no entiendo nada. (…) El aire es de gran valor para el Piel Roja, pues todas las cosas participan del mismo aliento: el animal, el hombre, el árbol, todos participan del mismo aliento. (…) ¿Qué es el hombre sin animales? Si todos los animales desapareciesen, el hombre también moriría, por la gran soledad de su espíritu. Lo que le sucede a los animales, luego también le sucede a los hombres. Todas las cosas están estrechamente unidas. Lo que le acaece a la Tierra también le acaece a los hijos de la Tierra. (…) Todo está unido entre sí como la sangre que une a una familia. (…) El hombre no creó el tejido de la vida, solo es una hilacha. Lo que hagáis a este tejido, os lo hacéis a vosotros mismos.”

Agrupación Marxista IFDC de El Bolsón Carrera de Historia.
Sebastián Marino y Marcos Ariza

          SARMIENTO.... EN FIN...   
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
(1811 - 1888) Fragmento de la biografía por Felipe Pigna
El 15 de febrero de 1811, nació en el Carrascal uno de los barrios más pobres de la ciudad de San Juan, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Los primeros "maestros" de Domingo fueron su padre José Clemente Sarmiento y su tío José Eufrasio Quiroga Sarmiento, quienes le enseñaron a leer a los cuatro años. En 1816, ingresó a una de las llamadas "Escuelas de la Patria". Marchó al exilio en San Francisco del Monte, San Luis, junto a su tío, José de Oro. Allí fundaron una escuela que será el primer contacto de Sarmiento con la educación.
Poco después, regresó a San Juan y comenzó a trabajar en la tienda de su tía. "La Historia de Grecia la estudié de memoria, y la de Roma enseguida…; y esto mientras vendía yerba y azúcar, y ponía mala cara a los que me venían a sacar de aquel mundo que yo había descubierto para vivir en él. En 1827, se produjo un hecho que marcará su vida: la invasión a San Juan de los montoneros de Facundo Quiroga.

Decidió oponerse a Quiroga incorporándose al ejército unitario del General Paz. Con el grado de teniente, participó en varias batallas. Pero Facundo parecía por entonces imparable: tomó San Juan y Sarmiento decidió, en 1831, exiliarse en Chile. Se empleó como maestro en una escuela de la localidad de Los Andes. Sus ideas innovadoras provocaron la preocupación del gobernador. Molesto, se mudó a Pocura y fundó su propia escuela. Allí se enamoró de una alumna con quien tendrá su primera hija, Ana Faustina.

En 1836, pudo regresar a San Juan y fundar su primer periódico,
 El Zonda
. Pero al gobierno sanjuanino no le cayeron nada bien las críticas de Sarmiento y decidió, como una forma de censurarlo, aplicarle al diario un impuesto exorbitante que nadie podía pagar y que provocó el cierre de la publicación en 1840. Volvió a Chile y comenzó a tener éxito como periodista y como consejero educativo de los sucesivos gobiernos.

"¿Que es pues un periódico? Una mezquina hoja de papel, llena de retazos, obra sin capítulos, sin prólogo, atestada de bagatelas del momento. Se vende una casa. Se compra un criado. Se ha perdido un perro, y otras mil frioleras, que al día siguiente a nadie interesan. ¿Qué es un periódico? Examinadlo mejor. ¿Qué más contiene? Noticias de países desconocidos, lejanos, cuyos sucesos no pueden interesarnos. (...) Trozos de literatura, retazos de novelas. Decretos de gobierno. (...) Un periódico es el hombre. El ciudadano, la civilización, el cielo, la tierra, lo pasado, lo presente, los crímenes, las grandes acciones, la buena o la mala administración, las necesidades del individuo, la misión del gobierno, la historia contemporánea, la historia de todos los tiempos, el siglo presente, la humanidad en general, la medida de la civilización de un pueblo." D. F. Sarmiento,
 El Zonda 
Nº 4.

En Chile, Sarmiento pudo iniciar una etapa más tranquila en su vida. Se casó con Benita, viuda de Don Castro y Calvo, adoptó a su hijo Dominguito y publicó su obra más importante:
 Facundo, Civilización y Barbarie. Eligió el periodismo como trinchera para luchar contra Rosas. Fundó dos nuevos periódicos: La Tribuna y La Crónica,
desde los que atacó duramente a Don Juan Manuel.

Entre 1845 y 1847, por encargo del gobierno chileno, visitó Uruguay, Brasil, Francia, España, Argelia, Italia, Alemania, Suiza, Inglaterra, EEUU, Canadá y Cuba. En cada uno de estos países, se interesó por el sistema educativo, el nivel de la enseñanza y las comunicaciones. Todas estas impresiones las volcó en su libro
 Viajes por Europa, África y América
. A fines de 1845 conoció en Montevideo a Esteban Echeverría, uno de los fundadores de la generación del ’37 y como él, opositor a Rosas y exiliado. Estando en Francia, en 1846, tuvo un raro privilegio: conocer personalmente al general San Martín en su casa de Grand Bourg y mantener una larga entrevista con el libertador.

Sarmiento pensaba que el gran problema de la Argentina era el atraso que él sintetizaba con la frase "civilización y barbarie". Como muchos pensadores de su época, entendía que la civilización se identificaba con la ciudad, con lo urbano, lo que estaba en contacto con lo europeo, o sea lo que para ellos era el progreso. La barbarie, por el contrario, era el campo, lo rural, el atraso, el indio y el gaucho. Este dilema, según él, solo podía resolverse con el triunfo de la "civilización" sobre la "barbarie". Decía: "Quisiéramos apartar de toda cuestión social americana a los salvajes por quienes sentimos sin poderlo remediar, una invencible repugnancia". En una carta le aconsejaba a Mitre: "no trate de economizar sangre de gauchos. Este es un abono que es preciso hacer útil al país. La sangre es lo único que tienen de seres humanos esos salvajes". Lamentablemente el progreso no llegó para todos y muchos "salvajes y bárbaros" pagaron con su vida o su libertad el "delito" de haber nacido indios o de ser gauchos y no tener un empleo fijo.
La obra literaria de Sarmiento estuvo marcada por su actuación política desde que escribió en 1845: "¡Sombra terrible de Facundo, voy a evocarte, para que, sacudiendo el ensangrentado polvo que cubre tus cenizas, te levantes a explicarnos la vida secreta y las convulsiones internas que desgarran las entrañas de un noble pueblo! (...) Facundo no ha muerto ¡Vive aún! ; está vivo en las tradiciones populares, en la política y las revoluciones argentinas; en Rosas, su heredero, su complemento. (...) Facundo, provinciano, bárbaro, valiente, audaz, fue reemplazado por Rosas, hijo de la culta Buenos Aires, sin serlo él, (...) tirano sin rival hoy en la tierra". Estos párrafos del
nos muestran el estilo de Sarmiento. Facundo, a quien odia y admira a la vez, es la excusa para hablar del gaucho, del caudillo, del desierto interminable, en fin, de la Argentina de entonces, de todos los elementos que representan para él el atraso y con los que hay que terminar por las buenas o las malas.

Sarmiento desde Chile alternó su actividad periodística con la literaria y educativa. En su libro
 Viajes (1849) se reflejan mucho más que las impresiones de un viajero atento y observador; allí se ocupó de lo que lo maravilla de los países que visita y que quisiera ver en su tierra. En su libro Argirópolis 
(1850) dedicado a Urquiza, expresó un proyecto para crear una confederación en la cuenca del Plata, compuesta por las actuales Argentina, Uruguay y Paraguay, cuya capital estaría en la Isla Martín García. El modelo de organización era la Constitución norteamericana y proponía fomentar la inmigración, la agricultura y la inversión de capitales extranjeros.
En 1862 el general Mitre asumió la presidencia y se propuso unificar al país. En estas circunstancias asumió Sarmiento la gobernación de San Juan. A poco de asumir dictó una Ley Orgánica de Educación Pública que imponía la enseñanza primaria obligatoria y creaba escuelas para los diferentes niveles de educación, entre ellas una con capacidad para mil alumnos, el Colegio Preparatorio, más tarde llamado Colegio Nacional de San Juan, y la Escuela de Señoritas, destinada a la formación de maestras.

En 1863 se produjo en la zona el levantamiento del Chacho Peñaloza y Sarmiento decretó el estado de sitio y como coronel que era, asumió personalmente la guerra contra el caudillo riojano hasta derrotarlo. El ministro del interior de Mitre, Guillermo Rawson, criticó la actitud de Sarmiento de decretar el estado de sitio por considerar que era una decisión exclusiva del poder ejecutivo nacional. Sarmiento, según su estilo, renunció. Corría el año 1864.

Sarmiento llegó a Nueva York en mayo de 1865. Acababa de asumir la presidencia Andrew Johnson en reemplazo de Abraham Lincoln, asesinado por un fanático racista. Sarmiento quedó muy impresionado y escribió
 Vida de Lincoln
. Frecuentó los círculos académicos norteamericanos y fue distinguido con los doctorados "Honoris Causa" de las Universidades de Michigan y Brown.

Mientras Sarmiento seguía en los Estados Unidos, se aproximaban las elecciones y un grupo de políticos lo postuló para la candidatura presidencial. Los comicios se realizaron en abril de 1868 y el 16 de agosto, mientras estaba de viaje hacia Buenos Aires, el Congreso lo consagró presidente de los argentinos. Asumió el 12 de octubre de ese año.

Cuando Sarmiento asumió la presidencia todavía se combatía en el Paraguay. La guerra iba a llevarse la vida de su querido hijo Dominguito. Sarmiento ya no volvería a ser el mismo. Un profundo dolor lo acompañaría hasta su muerte.

Durante su presidencia siguió impulsando la educación fundando en todo el país unas 800 escuelas y los institutos militares: Liceo Naval y Colegio Militar.

Sarmiento había aprendido en los EE.UU. la importancia de las comunicaciones en un país extenso como el nuestro. Durante su gobierno se tendieron 5.000 kilómetros de cables telegráficos y en 1874, poco antes de dejar la presidencia pudo inaugurar la primera línea telegráfica con Europa. Modernizó el correo y se preocupó particularmente por la extensión de las líneas férreas. Pensaba que, como en los EE.UU., el tren debía ser el principal impulsor del mercado interno, uniendo a las distintas regiones entre sí y fomentando el comercio nacional. Pero éstos no eran los planes de las compañías británicas inglesas, cuyo único interés era traer los productos del interior al puerto de Buenos Aires para poder exportarlos a Londres. En lugar de un modelo ferroviario en forma de telaraña, o sea interconectado, se construyó uno en forma de abanico, sin conexiones entre las regiones y dirigido al puerto. Este es un claro ejemplo de las limitaciones que tenían los gobernantes argentinos frente a las imposiciones del capital inglés. La red ferroviaria paso de 573 kilómetros a 1331 al final de su presidencia.

En 1869 se concretó el primer censo nacional. Los argentinos eran por entonces 1.836.490, de los cuales el 31% habitaba en la provincia de Buenos Aires y el 71% era analfabeto. Según el censo, el 5% eran indígenas y el 8% europeos. El 75% de las familias vivía en la pobreza, en ranchos de barro y paja. Los profesionales sólo representaban el 1% de la población. La población era escasa, estaba mal educada y, como la riqueza, estaba mal distribuida. Sarmiento fomentó la llegada al país de inmigrantes ingleses y de la Europa del Norte y desalentó la de los de la Europa del Sur. Pensaba que la llegada de sajones fomentaría en el país el desarrollo industrial y la cultura.
Entre las múltiples obras de Sarmiento hay que mencionar la organización de la contaduría nacional y el Boletín Oficial que permitieron a la población en general, conocer las cuentas oficiales y los actos de gobierno. Creó el primer servicio de tranvías a caballo, diseñó los Jardines Zoológico y Botánico. Al terminar su presidencia 100.000 niños cursaban la escuela primaria.

Al finalizar su mandato en 1874, Sarmiento se retiró de la presidencia pero no de la política. En 1875 asumió el cargo de Director General de Escuelas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires y continuó ejerciendo el periodismo desde
 La Tribuna
. Poco después fue electo senador por San Juan.

Durante la presidencia de Roca ejerció el cargo de Superintendente General de Escuelas del Consejo Nacional de Educación. En la época en que Sarmiento fomentaba la educación popular, el índice de analfabetos era altísimo. En el campo había muy pocas escuelas porque la mayoría de los estancieros no tenían ningún interés en que los peones y sus hijos dejaran de ser ignorantes. Cuanta menos educación tuvieran más fácil sería explotarlos.

Pero Sarmiento trataba de hacerles entender que una educación dirigida según las ideas y los valores de los sectores dominantes, lejos de poner en peligro sus intereses, los reproducía y confirmaba. "Para tener paz en la República Argentina, para que los montoneros no se levanten, para que no haya vagos, es necesario educar al pueblo en la verdadera democracia, enseñarles a todos lo mismo, para que todos sean iguales... para eso necesitamos hacer de toda la república una escuela."

De todas formas le costó muchísimo convencer a los poderosos de que les convenía la educación popular y recién en 1884, logró la sanción de su viejo proyecto de ley de educación gratuita, laica y obligatoria, que llevará el número 1420.

Una de sus últimas actuaciones públicas data de 1885. El presidente Roca prohibió a los militares emitir opiniones políticas. Sarmiento, que no podía estar sin expresar su pensamiento, decidió pedir la baja del ejército, y opinar libremente a través de las páginas de su diario
 El Censor

Pocos años antes había dejado escrito una especie de testamento político: "Nacido en la pobreza, criado en la lucha por la existencia, más que mía de mi patria, endurecido a todas las fatigas, acometiendo todo lo que creí bueno, y coronada la perseverancia con el éxito, he recorrido todo lo que hay de civilizado en la tierra y toda la escala de los honores humanos, en la modesta proporción de mi país y de mi tiempo; he sido favorecido con la estimación de muchos de los grandes hombres de la Tierra; he escrito algo bueno entre mucho indiferente; y sin fortuna que nunca codicié, porque ere bagaje pesado para la incesante pugna, espero una buena muerte corporal, pues la que me vendrá en política es la que yo esperé y no deseé mejor que dejar por herencia millones en mejores condiciones intelectuales, tranquilizado nuestro país, aseguradas las instituciones y surcado de vías férreas el territorio, como cubierto de vapores los ríos, para que todos participen del festín de la vida, de que yo gocé sólo a hurtadillas".

          FS signs CEPA upgrades   
Financial Secretary Paul Chan and Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan have signed two agreements under the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) framework.
          Cohort Profile: The Interdisciplinary Study of Inequalities in Smoking (ISIS)   
The Interdisciplinary Study of Inequalities in Smoking (ISIS) is a cohort study investigating the joint effects of residents’ socio-demographic characteristics and neighbourhood attributes on the social distribution of smoking in a young adult population. Smoking is a behaviour with an increasingly steep social class gradient; smoking prevalence among young adults is no longer declining at the same rate as among the rest of the population, and there is evidence of growing place-based disparities in smoking. ISIS was established to examine these pressing concerns. The ISIS sample comprises non-institutionalized individuals aged 18–25 years, who are proficient in English and/or French and who had been living at their current address in Montréal, Canada, for at least 1 year at time of first contact. Two waves of data have been collected: baseline data were collected November 2011-September 2012 (n = 2093), and a second wave of data was collected January-June 2014 (n = 1457). Data were collected from respondents using a self-administered questionnaire, developed by the research team based on sociological theory, which includes questions concerning social, economic, cultural and biological capital, and activity space as well as smoking behaviour. Data are available upon request from [].

          Cohort Profile: The Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS)   
The Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) was designed to prospectively evaluate the impact of disease on the health, function and mortality of adults over the age of 50 in both urban and rural areas of Mexico. The overall goal of the study is to examine the ageing process and its disease and disability burden in a large representative panel of older Mexicans, using a wide socioeconomic perspective. The study protocols and survey instruments are highly comparable to the U.S. Health and Retirement Study (HRS).The MHAS 2001 baseline is a nationally and urban-rural representative survey of individuals born in 1951 or earlier. Three waves of data have been collected so far: baseline in 2001 and follow-ups in 2003 and 2012. In 2012, the study added a representative sample of the population from the 1952–62 birth cohorts. A fourth wave will be collected in 2015.The data files and documentation are available free of charge at the study website [] in English and [] in Spanish.

          Cohort Profile: FAMILY Cohort   
The FAMILY Cohort is a longitudinal study of health, happiness and family harmony (the ‘3Hs’) at individual, household and neighbourhood levels in Hong Kong. Using a family living in the same household as the sampling unit, the study (n = 20 279 households and 46 001 participants) consists of a composite sample from several sources, including: a population-representative random core sample (n = 8115 households and 19 533 participants); the first-degree relatives of this sample (n = 4658 households and 11 063 participants); and oversampling in three new towns (n = 2891 households and 7645 participants) and in three population subgroups with anticipated changes in family dynamics (n = 909 households and 2160 participants). Two household visits and five telephone- or web-based follow-ups were conducted over 2009–14. Data collected include socio-demographics, anthropometrics, lifestyle and behavioural factors, measures of social capital, and standardized instruments assessing the 3Hs. We also intend to collect biomaterials in future. The analytical plan includes multilevel inter-relations of the 3Hs for individuals, households, extended families and neighbourhoods. With Hong Kong’s recent history of socioeconomic development, the FAMILY Cohort is therefore relevant to global urban populations currently experiencing similarly rapid economic growth. The FAMILY Cohort is currently set up as a supported access resource.

          O drama dos usuários do SUS   
Em junho passado, milhares de brasileiros saram s ruas para exigir, dentre outras coisas, a melhoria no sistema de sade pblica. Dramas como ... tags: BRASILdodosdramaECONOMIAPOBREZASAÚDEO drama dos usuários do SUS
Agence France-Presse Agence France-Presse
          Siria ha cancelado todas sus deudas pese al conflicto interno   
Pese al conflicto interno que vive Siria desde hace dos aos, el presidente del Banco Central sirio, Adib Mayaleh, destac los avances ... tags: adibavancesbancocentralconflictodeudaseconomicosSiria ha cancelado todas sus deudas pese al conflicto interno
          El primer ministro turco Erdogan golpeado por la dimisión de tres de sus ministros   
La dimisin de tres ministros turcos, el de Economa, Zafer aglayan, el de Interior, Muammer Glerel, y el de Medio Ambiente, Erdogan ... tags: CorrupciónErdogangolpeadoministroministrosporRecep_Tayyip_ErdoğanEl primer ministro turco Erdogan golpeado por la dimisión de tres de sus ministros
euronews spanish
          Commenti su Vola l’immobiliare spagnola (grazie agli italiani) di Agency3 Hunters   
Si, in effetti posso confermare che é un buon momento per investire nel mercato immobiliare spagnolo, visto l’attuale sviluppo economico della penisola iberica. La nostra agenzia ha sede a Barcellona ed offre un servizio di personal shopper a italiani che cercano casa a Barcellona. Per informazioni su investimenti e ricerca di beni immobili a Barcellona, la nostra impresa é a vostra disposizione.
          Life as a VCHS Club President   
Jessica Reid is a senior who has been going to VCS for six years.  In September of 2017, Reid will be attending the University of California Los Angeles.  She will join her older sister Katelyn there. Reid participates in four AP classes (5 if you separate Economics and Government) while balancing being a part of four clubs […]
          Why is AirBnB Bad?   
Condos are fighting back against AirBnb

  • Wild parties
  • Never Ending Visitors
  • Over Use of Common Elements
  • Owner Apathy causes values to decrease   

Pick one!

Here's what Lash Condo Law had to say...
What do you think? 

With the growth in the “sharing economy”, many condominiums have been forced to turn their minds to the issue of short-term rentals.  While some investor owners are listing their units on short-term rental sites in order to maximize the revenue generated from their units, many resident owners do not welcome short-term rentals.From the perspective of resident owners, short-term rentals have negative ramifications:§ They detract from the sense of community that many residents desire
§ There are increased concerns about safety with so many strangers coming and going at all hours
§ There is increased wear and tear on the common elements
§ Inappropriate behavior by many short-term renters interferes with the quiet enjoyment of residents
§ The condominium is in effect an unlicensed, unregulated hotel.
Without any legislation that prohibits short-term rentals in condominiums, many condominium corporations are finding it quite challenging to put a stop to this type of activity in their building. However, there have been recent reports in the media about some condominium corporations that are winning the battle against short-term rentals.CBC News reported about a condominium where owners were able to successfully oust from the board, directors who favoured short-term rentals, even though the condominium documents prohibited rentals for a term less than a year. In this case, there were two short-term rental companies that leased units from investor owners and then in turn, advertised and rented the units on a short-term basis and had been doing so for five years.  It took two years for the resident owners to get control of the board so that the prohibition on short-term rentals in the condominium documents would be enforced.The Globe and Mail recently reported about a condominium concierge who was spending several hours a day scanning short-term rental websites looking for units being offered in his building.  He was also keeping a diligent lookout for strangers arriving with luggage and refusing to allow them entry into the building.While it may not be easy or quick to put a stop to short-term rentals, these two stories show that it can be done.Click hereto access our Practical Guide to Short-Term Stays (Hoteling), which provides practical steps to condominium boards to effectively address this issue.

 What do you think? 

David Pylyp
          One in 10 could be behind with their mortgage   
The high level of debt carried by Home Owners in Toronto is exceeding their capacity to safe for their rainy day fund.   One singular event, a car accident or if one wage earner is laid off can have serious consequences.

We may qualify at the posted rates and take a mortgage at the variable rates; additional expenses make it harder to save for retirement or that annual vacation.

Who says so?   CD Howe Institute.  December of 2015

 The portion of mortgage indebted households with a primary mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500 percent has climbed from 3 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2012.December 9, 2015 – The federal government should pay close attention to several pockets of risk in the Canadian housing market, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report. In “Mortgaged to the Hilt: Risks From The Distribution of Household Mortgage Debt,” authors Craig Alexander and Paul Jacobson expose pockets of vulnerability by going beyond national averages and focusing on the distribution of house mortgage debt by income, age and region, all of which matter most when assessing risk.
“Household mortgage debt has risen dramatically and traditional economy-wide averages understate the degree of financial risk for those that carried mortgages because they typically divide the value of mortgages across the income of households with and without mortgages”, remarks Alexander.
Using the data from the Survey of Financial Security, the authors find that the ratio of the value of mortgages on primary dwellings have jumped from 144 percent of after-tax income in 1999 to 204 percent in 2012.  However, this also understates the degree of financial risk for a significant minority of households.
The author’s analysis suggests that a significant minority of Canadians having taken on a high degree of financial risk. The portion of mortgage indebted households with a primary mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500 percent has climbed from 3 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2012. Their analysis of the distribution of mortgage debt is as follows:
  1. Income: The increase in highly mortgage-indebted households has been in all income groups, but more so in lower-income quintiles.
  1. Age: The increase in financial risk is also evident across all age groups, but more so for younger Canadians who have entered the market most recently.
  1. Region: As one might expect, there has been greater concentration of mortgage debt in the provinces with the strongest housing booms.
Additionally, the authors find that roughly 1-in-5 of mortgage indebted households have less than $5,000 in financial assets to draw upon in response to a loss of income or to higher debt service costs. 1-in-10 mortgage-indebted households have less than $1,500 in financial assets to address any shock. This represents an inadequate financial buffer, as average mortgage payments are more than $1,000 a month, before taxes and operating costs.
The federal government may want to consider further policy actions to lean against the shift towards significantly higher mortgage burdens. However, such policy measures should not be unduly heavy handed and should be targeted to address the distributional nature of the risks.
For example, potential targeted measures would be to tighten underwriting requirements by lifting required credit scores, capping total debt-service ratios at lower levels, lifting qualifying interest rates when doing income testing, or varying the minimum downpayment by the size of mortgage to target higher-priced markets. Such measures would build on the regulatory tightening already done to date without posing a material threat to Canadian real estate markets.    Click here for the full report

Getting the correct Mortgage Advice; living with your means and eliminating HIGH Interest rate credit card debt all count towards securing your long term comfort.  I recommend a debt check up with

Because the best mortgage is NO mortgage at all.

David Pylyp

TXT 647 218 2414 or Email
          Fill 'Er Up: Gas Is Under $3 for the First Time in 4 Years   

By Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer NEW YORK -- The sight is so surprising that Americans are sharing photos of it, along with all those cute Halloween costumes, sweeping vistas and special meals: the gas station sign, with a price of $2-something a gallon. "It's stunning what's happening here," says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. "I'm a little bit shocked." Must Read: 10 Stocks Carl Icahn Loves in 2014 The national average price of gasoline fell 33 cents to end October at $3 a gallon and dipped Saturday to $2.995, according to AAA. That marks the first time in four years that gas has been cheaper than $3 a gallon. When the national average crossed above $3 a gallon in December of 2010, drivers weren't sure they'd ever see $2.99 again. Global demand for oil and gasoline was rising as people in developing countries bought cars by the tens of millions and turmoil was brewing in the oil-rich Middle East. Now demand isn't rising as fast as expected, drillers have learned to tap vast new sources of oil, particularly in the U.S., and crude continues to flow out of the Middle East. Seasonal swings and other factors will likely send gas back over $3 sooner than drivers would like, but the U.S. is on track for the lowest annual average since 2010 -- and the 2015 average is expected to be lower even still. Trisha Pena of Hermitage, Tennessee, recently paid $2.57 a gallon to fill up her Honda CRV. Like many around the country these days, she was so surprised and delighted by the price she took a photo and posted it on social media for her friends to see. "I can't remember the last time it cost under $30 to put 10 or 11 gallons in my tank," she said in an interview. "A month ago it was in the $3.50 range, and that's where it had been for a very long time." Must Read: Jim Cramer: What the Fall in Oil Means Here are a few things to know about cheap gas: Crude prices came off the boil. Oil fell from $107 a barrel in June to near $81 because there's a lot of supply and weak demand. U.S. output has increased 70% since 2008, and supplies from Iraq and Canada have also increased. At the same time, demand is weaker than expected because of a sluggish global economy. In the past, a stronger economy in the U.S., the world's biggest consumer of oil and gasoline, typically meant rising fuel demand. No longer. Americans are driving more efficient vehicles and our driving habits are changing. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute calculates that the number of miles travelled per household and gallons of fuel consumed per household peaked in 2004. The drop from last year's average of $3.51 per gallon will save the typical U.S. household about $50 a month. The drop will save the U.S. economy $187 million a day, and also boost the profits of shippers, airlines and any company that sends employees out on sales calls or for deliveries. It will take an extra 1.5 years to make purchasing a higher-priced, better-mileage Toyota Prius instead of a Toyota Corolla pay off. New York's average of $3.365 is the highest in the continental U.S. South Carolina and Tennessee are the lowest, with an average of $2.74. Politicians are either going to take the credit for lower gasoline prices or blame the other party for not helping them fall further. Don't listen. There are small things politicians can do over long time horizons, like implement fuel economy standards or ease drilling regulations, but the decline in prices is mainly due to market forces. Gasoline is cheaper than milk again. In September the national average price of milk was $3.73 per gallon. The annual average for milk is on track to be more expensive than the annual average for gasoline for the first time since 2011. The gap is even bigger for some bottled water lovers. A case of a dozen 1.5 liter bottles of Evian on costs $38.99, which makes for a price per gallon of $8.20. Must Read: Oil Services Stocks Are Now Too Cheap to Ignore as Crude Oil Prices Slide

Click to view a price quote on HMC.

Click to research the Automotive industry.

          The Deal: Regency Energy Pays Premium for PVR   

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Houston energy midstream services provider Regency Energy Partners said Thursday it agreed to buy PVR Partners of Radnor, Pa., for $5.6 billion, expanding it from the Permian Basin, South Texas and northern Louisiana into Appalachia's Marcellus and Utica shale plays and the Mid-Continent. The deal includes $1.8 billion in debt assumption.PVR was surging on the news, gaining 12% to $25.65, while Regency was losing 8% to $25.61. Holders of PVR common units, Class B units and special units will receive 1.020 common units of Regency for each PVR unit they hold and a one-time cash payment at closing estimated at $40 million. Together, the stocks and cash were valued at $28.68 per unit, a 25.7% premium over PVR's closing price Wednesday of $22.81. Both partnerships' boards have approved the deal. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014 if it clears PVR unitholders and Hart-Scott-Rodino. CreditSights Inc. analysts Andy DeVries and Charles Johnston wrote in a report Thursday that Regency is paying a full multiple for PVR at 19.5 times Ebitda for the last 12 months, 17 times this year's estimated Ebitda and 14 times next year's Ebitda, versus the bidding war for Southern Union Co. that went over 10 times Ebitda ("and everybody thought that was expensive," they wrote). "While the 14 times is high relative to historic norms, that is being driven by the Fed and investors chasing yield in MLP's," they said, noting that 14 times is in line with current merged GP/LP MLP valuations like MarkWest Energy Partners LP (13.9 times) and Enterprise Products Partners LP (14.2 times). CreditSights said it was surprised by the deal, as it expected Regency would instead get merged into Energy Transfer Partners LP. It was also surprised that Regency used equity to fund the deal, as Regency yields 6.7% while Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, also owned by Energy Transfer, yields only 3.7% and thus is a much more richly valued currency for making acquisitions. "We understand PVR is in a different business line than SXL [Sunoco] but we assumed SXL could find its own acquisitions," it wrote. CreditSights is also concerned about Regency picking up PVR's coal royalty business, which makes up 20% of its earnings. "While less than 10% of the combined company's Ebitda, coal is clearly a negative for MLP [master limited partnership] investors," it said. "We assume the negative of the coal business is offset by O&M [operations and maintenance] synergies." PVR also merged with its general partner in 2011 so there are no incentive distribution rights impacting financials, CreditSights noted.The two companies claimed that the deal will create a leading gas gathering and processing platform with a scaled presence across North America's premier high-growth unconventional oil and gas plays in Appalachia, West Texas, South Texas, the Mid-Continent and northern Louisiana. The combination will be slightly dilutive to next year's discounted cash flow. However, the partnerships said it's not expected to affect anticipated cash distribution growth next year, and the enhanced scale, balance sheet strength and diversification are expected to provide substantial Ebitda and discounted cash flow growth over time. Moreover, the deal is expected to better-position the combined company to capitalize on the long-term growth momentum of North American gas production through incremental, high-value expansions around its core asset base and other growth and acquisition opportunities. "This acquisition enhances our overall geographic diversity by providing Regency with a strategic presence in two prolific producing areas, the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Appalachian Basin and the Granite Wash in the Mid-Continent region," Regency CEO Michael Bradley said in a statement. "These are tremendously complementary businesses, and as a result, we expect the increased footprint and scale to create significant synergies and provide substantial organic growth opportunities that will continue to support our goal of increasing distributions and creating unitholder value." PVR chief executive William Shea Jr. said in a statement the merger creates a larger, more diversified operating platform that will be highly attractive to investors, customers, creditors and employees. "We believe that the size and scope of the combined enterprise will be highly beneficial to our unitholders, offering added diversification and critical mass which will provide the needed financial flexibility to fully execute and benefit from the significant portfolio of organic growth projects we have developed over the past three years, especially in our Eastern midstream operations." Bradley will continue as president and CEO, and Thomas Long will continue as CFO. Regency and PVR expect to establish a transition team made up of members of both management teams to prepare for and to oversee the integration. The partnerships said the combination will have assets in many of the most economic, high-growth unconventional oil and gas plays in North America: the Wolfcamp, Bone Springs, Avalon and Cline shale plays in the Permian, the Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas, the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Appalachia, the Granite Wash play in Oklahoma and Texas and the Haynesville Shale and Cotton Valley formation in North Louisiana. The increased scale and footprint will position Regency to build deeper customer relationships and secure and execute additional accretive growth opportunities, the partnerships said. Regency used Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Michael Cannon and Andrew Castaldo, UBS Investment Bank's Rob Pierce and Carlos Rivero and a Baker Botts LLP team including Neel Lemon, Breen Haire, Joshua Davidson, Steve Marcus, A.J. Ericksen, Daniel Gottschalk, Rob Fowler, Paul Cuomo, Scott Janoe, Doug Rayburn and Luke Weedon. PVR tapped Citigroup Global Markets Inc.'s Claudio Sauer and Drew Horn; Evercore Partners' Ray Strong, Rob Pacha, Eric Bauer, Amit Bushan and Joyce Zhang; and Vinson & Elkins LLP's Mike Rosenwasser and Michael Swidler.--By Claire Poole in Houston

Click to view a price quote on PVR.

Click to research the Energy industry.

          You should know the facts to Change your life in 2016   
What prices should we watch this year?   Everything is going to be more expensive!

We faced financial extinction in 2008 and bounced back. The average Toronto detached home approaches $622k. Sales continue unabated averaging 10% per year in financial gains per year since '95 breaking 100K units in the GTA. 

The key seems to be consistency.

This could be coming to an end.


Oil Prices have been falling, much to our delight at the gas pumps but now we realise that OIL and Gas related employment accounts for 25% of our economy. Increased expenses for everything we eat, as we suffer with exchange rate that is an eleven year low.

Brick-and-mortar stores still have value in the form of sales and brand experience, but if they’re not building a strong online presence in tandem, they’ll quickly find themselves out of the running.

Canadian Consumers are increasingly shopping online.

Mortgage Finance rules have changed requiring Larger downpayments and stricter lending guidelines. Those Millennials fortunate enought to have found a decent paying dependable job will some trouble qualifying for new mortgages; Those with contract work will find it a struggle. 

With so much weakness in the domestic economic picture,  uncertainty over oil prices and negativity in Canadian markets, year-end seems a good time for homeowners to focus on eliminating debt and consider finally working towards being debt free.

We All still see Canada as a safe haven for investment and immigration. People will continue to arrive and 95% want the Canadian dream of Home ownership. 

It all simply comes down to consumer confidance... 

I dont have an APP    Just call me  
Let me help you with my best pricing tools

David Pylyp
Sales Representative
Accredited Senior Agent
Toronto Canada 

RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
Mississauga, ON

          Oil Falls Below $94 a Barrel on U.S. Holiday   

By Pablo Gorondi

The price of oil fell Monday as traders concerned about global energy demand took profits ahead of economic data from China and the United States.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for July delivery was down 56 cents to $93.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 10 cents to $94.15 a barrel on Friday. ...

          Real Estate NEVER drops in price   
Real Estate prices never go down or it's always a good time to buy may have additional qualifiers this year.

The Financial Post says;

With so much weakness in the domestic economic picture, so much uncertainty over whether or when oil prices will recover, and so much negativity in Canadian markets, year-end seems a good time for investors to consider finally working toward real diversification, and paring back their exposure to domestic assets that represent a very small portion of world market.

With our dollar dropping, taxes increasing and the loonie at an eleven year low; this is an excellent year to eliminate high interest rate debt.

Tell them Dave sent you.

In the mean time if you want the best price possible on Toronto real estate

          Comment on Are we still buying local? by PhyllisAlberici   
Hi Viv, It's great to hear from you and we're happy to let folks know that Summer is, in fact and despite the ornery weather, on its way and so is your festival. I love smaller fiber festivals where you can really get into conversations with the vendors and take time to see everything. Bouckville is about 2+/- hrs from Albany in some really pretty central New York scenery. When we started Fiber Arts we made a commitment to support local economy and local stores and events. Although you can't ignore the online yarn offerings, you also can't squish the yarn or appreciate color looking at a skein on a monitor. Your festival is going to have some great resources for spinners, as well as knitters, and those who love fiber animals.
          Comment on Are we still buying local? by Viv Fulton   
Hi Phyllis - I just wanted to thank you for this article and mentioning the CNY Fiber Arts Festival coming up on June 10 & 11th. As secretary of the group that puts this on, I know first-hand how hard it is to put something like this together with just volunteers who also lead very busy personal lives. We have a great group of vendors coming as usual - it's our 7th year. And we pride ourselves on balancing the needs of those vendors with the requests of the attendees. It may now be smaller than Rhinebeck or Fingerlakes but we provide a fun, educational, and relaxed family event. We really appreciate the contributions of our attendees. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the purchases by our attendees not only support our local and independently owned businesses, but that they are also strengthening the entire economic base of our community. The reduced environmental impact of buying local makes this a better world for us all. So to you subscribers - let me invite you to a relatively new but growing festival celebrating the fiber arts in central New York.
          Comentario en Red de Institutos Superiores Técnicos y Tecnológicos Públicos será presentada el lunes 23 de mayo por Carlos Eduardo Mendez   
Muy buena noticia de esta implementacion en la educacion superior, seria mas buena si estos institutos dieran tambien estudios semi presenciales con tutorias continuas para aquellos jovenes o personas que se ven obligadas a trabajar por sus nesecidades economicas. Esto ayudaria a dinamizar mejor al pais.
          Sandvine: Almost 70% Of Kodi Installations Are Configured To Access Unlicensed Video Content   
Waterloo, ON; May 4, 2017 – Sandvine, (TSX:SVC) a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, today released a Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight focusing on the “fully-loaded” Kodi ecosystem in North America. The report is based on data collected from multiple tier-1 fixed access networks in North America and examines the mechanics and economics of using Kodi to access what many content owners believe to be unlicensed live and on-demand video content.
          [Fechamento] Abril/2015   
Salve salve Guerreiros.

Quintal da futura casa de campo do Migrante.
Este mês rolou um aporte violento. Na verdade foi uma migração do fundo de reserva do Migrante (o qual não é contabilizado como patrimônio) para um aporte em LCI, era parte de uma grana da rescisão do meu trampo velho que estava parada perdendo pra inflação na poupança.

Hoje meu patrimônio beira 50% RF. Não é o meu objetivo. Sempre quis alocar a maior parte dos recursos em RV (algo como 75%), porém com esse país maldito de taxas de juros exorbitantes e mercado acionário pífio (com economia afundando cada vez mais), temos que desfrutar dessa "renda fácil". Enquanto a população sofre, aqueles que poupam se beneficiam!

Vamos aos números:

Fechei o mês com R$ 197.688,24.
Variação patrimonial: +22,43%  
Rentabilidade pelo sistema de cotas de: +5,20%. (carteira geral)
Rentabilidade pelo sistema de cotas de: +9,24%. (somente renda variável)  x IBOV +9,93%

Fico assim bem próximo de ultrapassar a barreira psicológica dos 200k.
Já daria pra comprar um kitnet, flat studio, "apertamento", hein?!
Mas ainda assim é uma miséria. Provavelmente nunca chegarei à um patrimônio de 10Mi nessa vida, não nesse ritmo...  no máximo levar uma vida tranquila na velhice. Vida de merda...


          Comentario en El Estado financia gratuitamente una sola carrera por vaness avera patino   
hola buena noche quisiera saber si puedo estudiar mi carrera anteriorle explico yo ingrese por medio del senecyt a economia en ela universidad estatal de guayaquil pero me cambie a auditoria ya aprobando el primer ano de economia quisira saber si puedo continuar pagando economia y seguir en auditoria haciendo uso de mi gratuidad ya que las dos carreras son muy bonitas gracias
          [Fechamento] Novembro/14   
Mais um fechamento!
Mês histórico. MG é a nova supremacia do futebol brasileiro. Seguido pelo RS! Enquanto SP e RJ, o eixo, fica puto e revoltado, pra desgosto da mídia brasileira.

Referente à ecomonia, tivemos uma notícia muito boa. O novo ministro da fazenda Joaquim Levy! Tido como ortodoxo, é a nova esperança de que a economonia vai entrar nos trilhos, nos próximos anos.


Referente ao desempenho financeiro:

Fechei o mês com R$ 146.558,80.
Variação patrimonial: +3,22%  
Rentabilidade pelo sistema de cotas de: +1,12%. (carteira geral)
Rentabilidade pelo sistema de cotas de: +1,46%. (somente renda variável) x IBOV +0,07%

Finalmente voltei a bater o IBOV e a renda fixa!

Referente à vida pessoal. 2015 será um ano de muitas novidades para mim. Sem volta!
Espero que no fim se tornem boas.

No mais continuo devendo o post sobre opções. Prometo o mesmo, ainda para este ano!

Todo o esforço será recompensado!

Sem mais.

          Ebook Download More Money Than Brains: Why School Sucks, College is Crap, Idiot Think They're Right (Globe and Mail Notable... Free PDF Online   

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          Our Next Destination?   
Reading about all those cool races that the folks Stateside are doing makes me a little homesick. I wish I could get out to the States to run with you guys. Ho hum. I fear, however, that given my present career change and consequent economic situation (which I am confident is TEMPORARY), I may not be able to partake in any destination marathoning anytime soon.

All this should make Minken feel better, though! Perhaps by the time he escapes from Nigeria we will be able to line up a race where the whole gang can come. When will it be, Minky? Just name a city. We'll work it out.

Until then, Laura and I will just try to keep up with each other. I will do my best best best to run a halfie this weekend and send all of my good vibes to the Hangover Halfies on Friday.

I'm going to comb over your race schedule, Laura, and see what races around here I can schedule in so that we can keep running together with a somewhat common goal...

I know I've been bellyaching about living abroad today, but here's one good thing about it.

THANKSGIVING ON DECEMBER 30. I'm having a party tonight. I got a little turkey, making some stuffing, mashed taters, and there we go! Ok, paper plates are not elegantissimo, but who cares. No Thanksgiving purists here!!!   If Sweetie gets back here with my celery, I'll finish things up and go out for my Turkey Trot!

          Ocho de cada diez jóvenes siguen en casa de mamá: el dato más alto en 15 años   

          Temer entra na História pela porta dos fundos   

Não que o advogado Michel Temer, vice de Dilma Rousseff — chapa nascida da aliança entre PMDB e PT, negociada em bases nada republicanas —, fosse de absoluta confiança. Mas, político rodado, presidente da Câmara dos Deputados três vezes e do próprio partido, Michel Temer assumiu no impeachment de Dilma com o trunfo de, com base em toda esta expertise de transitar com facilidade pelo Congresso, poder aprovar, em pouco menos de dois anos, as principais reformas de que o Brasil necessita para voltar a crescer. Conquistaria lugar de destaque na República.

Temer conseguiria, de fato, lugar na História, mas como o primeiro presidente em exercício a ser denunciado por corrupção. O passado e as práticas do PMDB — em especial, do grupo do presidente na Câmara, em conexão com o encarcerado Eduardo Cunha — foram mais fortes que possíveis intenções de Temer de abrilhantar a biografia. Por isso, manteve os esquemas do fisiologismo do toma lá dá cá, e, como se vê, não obstruiu o fluxo de dinheiro de propina pelos subterrâneos do partido. Ao contrário, transferiu o propinoduto para o porão do Palácio do Jaburu, já na condição de presidente da República.

Encaminhada na segunda à noite ao Supremo Tribunal pelo procurador-geral da República, Rodrigo Janot, a denúncia de corrupção passiva se baseia em depoimento e gravação de conversa com o presidente feitos pelo empresário Joesley Batista, do grupo JBS. Mas não só. Joesley, segundo acordo de delação premiada assinado com a PGR, colaborou, ainda, em uma “operação controlada”, nos termos da legislação, em que, além de gravações, foi feito vídeo da entrega de mala com R$ 500 mil ao deputado Rodrigo Loures (PMDB-PR), indicado por Temer ao empresário para tratar de “tudo”, de qualquer assunto de interesse de Joesley.

Somadas, as provas sustentam uma denúncia sólida contra Temer: gravação do presidente indicando Loures para Joesley abordar temas subterrâneos, na falta do ex-ministro Geddel Vieira, sob investigação; Loures, também em gravação, dispondo-se a defender interesses de Joesley no Cade e na CVM; e o acerto de uma generosa mesada a Loures, em troca da ajuda na solução de uma pendência com a Petrobras sobre o preço do gás cobrado a uma termelétrica da JBS.

O quadro se fecha com um depoimento do executivo do JBS Ricardo Saud comprovando ser correta a evidência de que Loures recebia o dinheiro em nome de Temer. Os dois, como disse o executivo, teriam bela “aposentadoria” . Pois, paga ao longo de 25 a 30 anos, a propina chegaria a centenas de milhões.

O presidente decidiu rebater a acusação da PGR em pronunciamento, ontem à tarde, no Planalto, diante de uma plateia de aliados, com os quais espera contar na votação da denúncia, a ser enviada à Câmara pelo Supremo. Mas, em vez de responder a questões objetivas da acusação, partiu para o ataque a Janot. Para Temer, a PGR “reinventou o Código Penal”, ao instituir a “denúncia por ilação”. Mais: a delação de Joesley Batista foi negociada por um ex-procurador que trabalhara com o procurador-geral e, por este trabalho, teria ganhado muito dinheiro. Aproveitou para insinuar que Janot teria recebido parte do pagamento, mas disse que não faria a denúncia, porque, assim, repetiria a acusação da PGR contra ele.

É muito difícil que a aplicação do velho chavão — a melhor defesa é o ataque — funcione diante de tantos indícios e provas em sentido contrário. Para descredenciar a gravação feita por Joesley da conversa noturna no porão do Jaburu, Temer insistiu com o laudo feito por perito contratado por sua defesa, quando a Polícia Federal acabara de atestar como verdadeiro o áudio. As 294 paralisações da gravação, segundo a PF, não são intervenções fraudulentas, mas característica do gravador, que para quando ninguém está falando.

Ainda há mais acusações a caminho contra Temer. A de obstrução da Justiça foi reforçada com a elucidação, pela PF, de trechos que eram inaudíveis. A criação de obstáculos para a ação do Estado na repressão ao crime ficou configurada quando Joesley e Temer trataram da ajuda financeira a Eduardo Cunha e a Lúcio Funaro, operador financeiro de Cunha e de outros do PMDB.

Joesley fazia pagamentos periódicos a Cunha e Funaro, em troca do silêncio dos dois. Houve grande controvérsia em torno de algumas palavras, mas o trabalho feito nos laboratórios da PF reforça a acusação do procurador-geral de que Temer, naquela noite, estimulou o empresário a continuar com os pagamentos aos dois. Esta é uma passagem tóxica para Michel Temer.

Na segunda-feira, o presidente aproveitou solenidade no Planalto para dar um grito de guerra: “Nada nos destruirá, nem a mim, nem aos ministros” . Resta saber como. À noite, depois de formalizada a acusação, Temer se reuniu em Palácio com o ministro Moreira Franco, da Secretaria-Geral da Presidência; a advogada-geral da União, Grace Mendonça, e advogados que o defendem no STF. As tropas de Temer, porém, são mais numerosas.

Elas já devem estar fazendo intenso trabalho junto aos membros da Comissão de Constituição e Justiça, para onde a presidente do Supremo, Cármen Lúcia, enviará a denúncia. Conseguir que a CCJ rejeite o pedido — mesmo que ele siga de qualquer forma ao plenário — é importante para Temer. Deverá ser feito “o diabo”, nos termos usados por Dilma Rousseff, na obtenção de votos na comissão. Caberá vigilância estreita sobre as transações que inevitavelmente transcorrerão na Câmara.

São conhecidas as manobras para trocas de deputados com assento na CCJ, para se garantirem resultados nas votações. Nesta hora, pesam os vínculos e compadrios construídos por Temer e seu grupo durante muito tempo de convívio no Congresso. A não ser que conte a impopularidade recorde do presidente. Mas ele jogará tudo para fazer morrer na Câmara a acusação, evitando que chegue aos 11 ministros do Supremo, Corte muito diferente do TSE.

O resto é zelar pelos trâmites constitucionais, sem manobras protelatórias, para se desatar o nó político-institucional, pelas regras legais. A economia ainda emite sinais positivos decorrentes do que pôde ser feito até o porão do Jaburu ser iluminado pela delação de Joesley. Mas seria um milagre o PIB se desconectar de uma crise que tem nome: Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia. Porém, importa agora é que as instituições decidam, essencial para manter a segurança jurídica, independentemente de qual será o desfecho.

          A necessidade de fazer justiça   

A corrupção, sinônimo de depravação, suborno e prevaricação, tem impactado a sociedade brasileira, prejudicando a governança, não só no plano econômico mas, principalmente, no campo da ética. “Nossa miséria não se improvisa; é uma obra de séculos”, já profetizava Nelson Rodrigues. Se não mudarmos a história, nenhuma reforma nos recolocará na rota do crescimento. A corrupção suga, por meio de mais impostos, a energia da produção e, por meio de mais e mais desvios, a qualidade dos serviços públicos.

Movimentos sociais exaltam a necessidade de se fazer justiça. Definida como a primeira virtude das instituições públicas do Estado, do direito, da economia e das relações interpessoais, a justiça funda e deve reger todo o arco da ética individual e social. Como virtude, a justiça forma interiormente as pessoas para o respeito ao semelhante. A violação física é ato de injustiça. Como princípio, a justiça preside a sociedade, ordena a correta divisão dos bens materiais e organiza o respeito à coisa pública, da limpeza da rua ao patrimônio dos cidadãos.

A pessoa é justa quando cumpre as leis, busca para si e a comunidade seus direitos constitucionais (educação, saúde, habitação, liberdade de pensamento e de expressão), trabalha politicamente para que os cidadãos tenham consciência social e quando, finalmente, luta pela correta repartição dos bens materiais (terra, renda, salário e participação empresarial).

A justiça deve ser a virtude e o princípio do cidadão que se elege para o exercício de funções públicas: legislativas, executivas e judiciárias. Sem convicções de justiça, o cidadão que ocupa cargos públicos é vulnerável às tentações do conluio, do suborno, do desvio de verbas públicas, das compras superfaturadas, das nomeações ilegais e demais formas de corrupção. A ética consiste na formação da pessoa como indivíduo e cidadão para a justiça, desde o berço da família, aos jovens nas escolas e universidades, aos adultos nas associações, sindicatos e partidos políticos. Todos precisamos progredir na vivência cotidiana da ética constitucional, ou seja, na vivência efetiva e em cada momento dos princípios de justiça que regem a cidadania brasileira. Naturalmente, a justiça deve começar pelos menos favorecidos. Entre nós, eles estão em clamorosa evidência nas favelas, nas ruas e nos campos. São milhões de marginalizados que a Constituição não alcança para efeitos de saúde, educação, habitação, salários justos e participação cultural e política.

Impõe-se, portanto, uma mudança radical na filosofia ético-política subjacente às estruturas institucionais e empresariais no nosso país. Recolocar a vida humana como valor central da história e do progresso é tarefa para muitos anos e trabalho intensivo que vai das bases populares, às escolas, igrejas e centros tecnológicos. Nesta virada de mentalidade e da necessária nova ordem brasileira estarão empenhadas a ética, a sociologia, a religião, as organizações humanitárias, os partidos políticos renovados. Estes podem vir a tornar-se uma das forças mais positivas de nosso processo político, contanto que sejam revitalizados de forma a cumprirem com eficiência e honestidade seus verdadeiros objetivos. Os partidos ainda são as organizações populares com maiores possibilidades de influenciar o governo, embora infelizmente, na prática, a maior parte dessas possibilidades não se concretize.

Carlos Alberto Rabaça é sociólogo e professor

          Quanto vale?   

Estima-se que a Floresta Amazônica bombeie 20 bilhões de toneladas de vapor d’água para a atmosfera todos os dias, o que alimenta boa parte das chuvas na região central e no Sudeste do Brasil. Se tivéssemos que aquecer água para promover a mesma evaporação, precisaríamos de seis meses de toda a capacidade de geração elétrica do planeta para cada dia. Sobre este único aspecto, o valor dos serviços da floresta soma alguns milhares de dólares por hectare por dia. Quem cuida e protege o patrimônio florestal do Brasil presta um enorme serviço.

Dona Maria de Jesus recebia desde 2014 cerca R$ 100 por mês por conservar as florestas em seu lote da Reserva Extrativista do Alto Juruá, na fronteira do Acre com o Peru. É muito pouco, mas essencial para a manutenção da família grande, que vive da extração sustentável de produtos como castanha e borracha e da agrofloresta. Na Reserva, onde 804 famílias recebem o mesmo benefício, 97% da área permanecem cobertos por florestas.

A família da Dona Maria Antônia é uma das 53 mil beneficiárias do Bolsa Verde, um programa implementado em 2011 com o objetivo de incentivar as famílias de baixa renda vivendo em assentamentos e unidades de conservação a se desenvolverem ao mesmo tempo que protegem as florestas. Na prática, é o primeiro programa em larga escala de pagamento por serviços ambientais no Brasil.

São 28 milhões de hectares (o que equivale a seis vezes o Estado do Rio de Janeiro) que mantêm mais de 95% de cobertura florestal e com consistente queda do desmatamento desde a implantação do programa. Mesmo em 2015 e 2016, quando as taxas de desmatamento de toda a Amazônia subiram, nas áreas do Bolsa Verde baixaram.

Quanto vale o Bolsa Verde? São milhões que protegem bilhões para nós e as futuras gerações.

Pois o programa está seriamente ameaçado pelo corte de orçamento promovido pelo governo federal. Faltam R$ 35 milhões para arcar com os benefícios até o fim do ano e, para 2018, a proposta orçamentária em discussão corta os recursos a praticamente zero. Na prática, significaria o fim do programa. Isso no momento em que o Brasil precisa de ações efetivas — além do monitoramento e controle — para conter o avanço do desmatamento.

A corrupção, os desvios de finalidade e a falta de prioridades têm drenado os recursos públicos de áreas estratégicas e fundamentais para manutenção da vitalidade do país. Os ajustes da economia para lidar com o buraco nas contas públicas fazem vítimas entre os mais vulneráveis.

É preciso reagir. O Bolsa Verde não pode acabar!

Tasso Azevedo é engenheiro florestal

          The future of telemedicine for the management of heart failure patients: a Consensus Document of the Italian Association of Hospital Cardiologists (A.N.M.C.O), the Italian Society of Cardiology (S.I.C.) and the Italian Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (Digital S.I.T.)   
<span class="paragraphSection">Telemedicine applied to heart failure patients is a tool for recording and providing remote transmission, storage and interpretation of cardiovascular parameters and/or useful diagnostic images to allow for intensive home monitoring of patients with advanced heart failure, or during the vulnerable post-acute phase, to improve patient’s prognosis and quality of life.Recently, several meta-analyses have shown that telemedicine-supported care pathways are not only effective but also economically advantageous. Benefits seem to be substantial, with a 30–35% reduction in mortality and 15–20% decrease in hospitalizations. Patients implanted with cardiac devices can also benefit from an integrated remote clinical management since all modern devices can transmit technical and diagnostic data. However, telemedicine may provide benefits to heart failure patients only as part of a shared and integrated multi-disciplinary and multi-professional ‘chronic care model’. Moreover, the future development of remote telemonitoring programs in Italy will require the primary use of products certified as medical devices, validated organizational solutions as well as legislative and administrative adoption of new care methods and the widespread growth of clinical care competence to remotely manage the complexity of chronicity.Through this consensus document, Italian Cardiology reaffirms its willingness to contribute promoting a new phase of qualitative assessment, standardization of processes and testing of telemedicine-based care models in heart failure.By recognizing the relevance of telemedicine for the care of non-hospitalized patients with heart failure, its strategic importance for the design of innovative models of care, and the many challenges and opportunities it raises, ANMCO and SIC through this document report a consensus on the main directions for its widespread and sustainable clinical implementation</span>
          Importancia en el Ambito Social   
Las tecnologías de la información, actualmente son elementos fundamentales para la superación y desarrollo de un país. Por eso, los países desarrollados basan su crecimiento en la aplicación y la programación estratégica de las herramientas computacionales y han definido políticas que los inducirán a su permanencia en el dinamismo mundial de los próximos años. Ante el nuevo entorno económico mundial los países emergentes están obligados a preparar profesionales en áreas de la informática y las telecomunicaciones, capaces de enfrentar los retos que se tienen hoy en día. Asimismo, la presencia de la computación en los sectores productivos es un factor determinante para su funcionamiento.
En tal sentido, las instituciones educativas deberán aportar a la sociedad recursos humanos que formen la estructura sólida en informática, acorde con los países del primer mundo, sobre la que crecerá la economía nacional. Por otra parte, la Informática está tan popularizada que es muy difícil que una empresa adquiera una ventaja competitiva por tener computadoras más potentes o una red más extensa. La ventaja competitiva se logra con un uso más eficiente de la tecnología y, por supuesto, optimizando la gestión del negocio y/o empresa. Existe una seria preocupación en diferentes sectores de la sociedad sobre los problemas que las computadoras personales de acuerdo a su criterio están ocasionando en la sociedad. Por mencionar algunos de ellos: la posibilidad de crear desigualdades sociales, desempleo, orientación del empleo hacia áreas técnicas, el considerar a la máquina como el sustituto del cerebro humano, la deshumanización de los usuarios, la dependencia del ser humano respecto de una máquina ó la limitación de la evolución normal del conocimiento cuando se utiliza en la educación.

          Importancia en el Ambito Economico y Laboral   
Ámbito Económico:
Algunos de los ejemplos de la importancia de la informática en la economía son:
  • La información se considera como insumo de las organizaciones sociales, y el encargado de procesarla es el profesional de la informática.
  • Con base en la información económico-financiera pueden tomarse mejores decisiones
  • Un país necesita profesionistas en informática para generar, procesar y analizar información macroeconómica que permita definir la política económica a seguir.

Ámbito Laboral:
Permite gestiones y almacenamiento de datos esenciales para cualquier empresa y así ahorrar tiempo y dinero ya que al almacenar en memorias en vez de en papel se obtiene espacio y eficacia ya que apenas nos preocupamos de que este en perfecto estado la información puesto que los datos empresariales son sumamente cuidados por los gestores.

          Orto Sinergico Tanto con Poco   

Come coltivare in modo naturale, senza sfruttare la terra in modo eccessivo senza impoverirla?

Quello degli orti sinergici è un fenomeno in espansione.

Il libro è il primo manuale pratico per chi – anche senza esperienza – voglia realizzare un orto domestico con meno fatica ma più resa rispetto ai metodi tradizionali, garantendosi in questo modo prodotti sani e con beneficio per la salute e l'ambiente.

Tabelle e foto guidano il lettore nelle varie fasi di realizzazione dell'orto, fino alla raccolta dei frutti.

Il libro esplora anche i principi dell'Orticoltura terapeutica, già noto strumento di riabilitazione, oggi sempre più apprezzato per i suoi effetti positivi di contrasto ai malesseri derivanti dai ritmi della società moderna.

È infine presente una breve sezione sull'economia dell'orto e la conservazione dei suoi prodotti.

          La Conservazione e la Coltivazione delle Varietà Vegetali Antiche    

Il libro prende in esame principalmente la biodiversità coltivata (ossia quella legate alle piante agrarie), affrontando i temi legislativi su come la regione Toscana in questi anni si è prodigata nel mettere a punto gli strumenti di tutela e valorizzazione delle varietà locali. Infine vengono descritti i principali sistemi di conservazione e tutela sia di varietà di specie erbacee che varietà di specie arboree.

In questo periodo di forte crisi economica, non possiamo più permetterci di dimenticare che la nostra Italia è ricca di tesori sommersi anche dalpunto di vista delle tipicità locali. Riscopriamoli e facciamone il nostro orgoglio, potrebbero essere la linfa vitale per un nuovo sviluppo rurale e turistico, forse l'unico ancora possibile per il nostro paese. Dobbiamo tutti riappropriarci della cultura della "sostanza" e attivarsi in prima persona a partire dal modo più semplice, ma anche più efficace che esista di fare politica, ovvero scegliere con coscienza e consapevolezza

          Coltivare e Allevare per l'Autosufficienza della Famiglia    

Le Guide pratiche di Vita in Campagna sono indispensabili sia per chi alleva animali o coltiva giardino, orto, vite e frutteto da appassionato, sia per il professionista, che ha in queste attività la sua fonte di reddito.

Leggerle sarà come avere un esperto al vostro fianco, che comprende i problemi effettivi e vi indica come risolverli.

L’alimentazione è un aspetto importante della vita: dal cibo che mangia, ognuno di noi si aspetta che sia in grado di sostenere in modo adeguato il suo organismo, fornendo l’energia e gli elementi nutritivi indispensabili per vivere e lavorare, che non danneggi la salute, che sia buono. Non ultimo, si vorrebbe che l’acquisto degli alimenti non pesasse troppo sul bilancio della famiglia.

Non sempre i cibi che si acquistano al supermercato soddisfano tutti questi requisiti, soprattutto l’aspetto economico: la lavorazione industriale, il confezionamento e il trasporto aumentano, talvolta a dismisura, il costo dei prodotti e quindi  il prezzo finale.

L’alternativa c’è: coltivare da soli gli ortaggi, gli alberi da frutto, le viti, gli olivi e allevare gli animali che ci daranno gli alimenti necessari, o almeno gran parte di essi. Chi vive in campagna può raggiungere questo obiettivo avendo a disposizione una superficie di terreno relativamente grande e organizzandosi correttamente. Certo, servono anche tempo, impegno, l’aiuto dei familiari e, non da ultimo, tanta passione.

Da parte nostra, per aiutarvi, abbiamo raccolto in questa Guida pratica tutta una serie di indicazioni utili per organizzare una piccola azienda allo scopo di produrre gli alimenti essenziali per la vostra famiglia: ortaggi, frutta, vino, olio, latte, carni e miele a «km zero».

  • 96 pagine a colori, con testi di facile lettura ma esaurienti e completi
  • Consultazione facilitata da sequenze fotografiche, disegni e schemi
  • Preziosi consigli e indicazioni operative

All'interno di questo volume le indicazioni per accedere al servizio di consulenza "Filo diretto gratuito con l'esperto", grazie al quale è possibile ricevere un suggerimento o un'approfondimento in merito all'argomento trattato nella guida

          Manuale di Ortofrutticoltura    

Il comparto dell'ortofrutticoltura è un pilastro fondamentale dell'agricoltura italiana. Primeggia per importanza economica, specializzazione colturale, innovazione tecnologica, sviluppo delle associazioni dei produttori, organizzazione delle filiere produttive e per l'eccellenza qualitativa dei prodotti che promuovono nel mondo il "made in Italy".

Orticoltori e frutticoitori hanno una lunga storia comune, per la millenaria presenza degli orti periurbani e per le matrici disciplinari di riferimento, per le associazioni scientifiche a livello nazionale e internazionale che hanno un comune denominatore: l'"horticulture". È quindi evidente la necessità di questo manuale di ortofrutticoltura, unico nel suo genere, redatto da studiosi, tecnici e specialisti della materia, che hanno una conoscenza diretta delle innovazioni di prodotto e di processo dei vari settori, la cui applicazione è alla base dell'aumento della competitività mercantile del comparto.

Il manuale, in definitiva, è un'opera indispensabile per chi vuole essere informato e capire dove va l'ortofrutticoltura ed essere consapevole delle sue grandi potenzialità: avere nelle mani una sorta di hortus deliciarum, il grande cesto di ortaggi e frutta di Casa Italia.

Parte 1 - Stato dell'arte dell'ortofrutticoltura italiana:

Capitolo 1. L'ortofrutticoltura oggi. Parte 2 - Frutticoltura: 2. Indirizzi produttivi e innovazioni tecniche;

3. Focus sulle singole colture frutticole.

Parte 3 - Orticoltura: 4. Indirizzi produttivi e innovazioni tecniche; 5. Focus sulle singole colture orticole.

Parte 4: Produzione integrata e biologica: caratteristiche, disciplinari, gestione: 6. Sostenibilità delle colture: produzione integrata e biologica, difesa delle colture ortofrutticole.

Parte 5: Il mercato e le prospettive future: 7. Economia e mercato; 8. Prospettive "l'ortofrutticoltura di domani".

          La Potatura   

La potatura non è una pratica basata esclusivamente sul taglio, ma è l’arte di guidare le piante durante il ciclo vitale comprendendo e sfruttando le loro possibilità intrinseche nello specifico ambiente in cui crescono e si sviluppano.

Gestione, impianto e allevamento si coniugano con le tecniche di potatura per raggiungere la massima efficacia con il minimo intervento ed ottenere piante di grande bellezza estetica e produttività anche a livello amatoriale.

La potatura non è una pratica basata esclusivamente sul taglio, ma è l'arte di guidare le piante durante il ciclo vitale comprendendo e sfruttando le loro possibilità intrinseche nello specifico ambiente in cui crescono e si sviluppano.

Gestione, impianto e allevamento si coniugano con le tecniche di potatura per raggiungere la massima efficacia con il minimo intervento ed ottenere piante di grande bellezza estetica e produttività anche a livello amatoriale.

Il Centro Ricerche Produzioni Vegetali si occupa dell'organizzazione della domanda di ricerca nel comparto delle produzioní vegetali attraverso la formulazione di progetti di ricerca e sperimentazione che rispondono alle esigenze del mondo della produzione, il coordinamento dell'attività stessa e la diffusione dei risultati conseguiti.

Una caratteristica peculiare di CRPV è rap-presentata dallo stretto legame che il Cen-tro intrattiene con la produzione agricola, che si esplicita attraverso la predisposizione di ricerche, progetti e azioni appositamente ideati e realizzati in funzione delle esigenze delle varie realtà produttive, grazie al servizio "progetti e sviluppo".

La divulgazione scientifica rappresenta una significativa occasione per approfondire la conoscenza di tecniche colturali, aggiornarsi in merito a varie tematiche, assicurarsi informazione attraverso pubblicazioni, convegni, incontri tecnici e seminari. Grande attenzione viene inoltre riposta su un aggiornamento continuo e completo di dati e notizie sul portale YPERLINK " http//".

Concetti base per amatori

L'arboricoltura da frutto di tipo amatoriale e da giardino è un settore tradizionalmente trascurato dalla ricerca e dalla sperimentazione.

È una realtà capillarmente diffusa in molti contesti socio-economici italiani caratterizzati da piccole superfici agricole familiari, giardini ornamentali, parchi e agriturismi.

Gli impianti amatoriali sono realizzati molto spesso in modo improprio e con risultati infausti a causa della scarsa preparazione tecnica degli operatori e perché il materiale vegetale è spesso inadeguato alle specifiche esigenze colturali.

La necessità di una maggiore fruibilità del frutteto familiare, negli agriturismi e nei parchi (per relax, gioco, o semplice raccolta diretta dei frutti) ne decreta una specificità d'impianto, di gestione e di obiettivi funzionali, tale da renderlo completamente diverso dal frutteto industriale, dal quale esso mutua solo alcuni aspetti produttivi.

Differenze sostanziali derivano dalla necessità di raggiungere produzioni significative con impiego ridotto o nullo di pesticidi, con un alto grado di salubrità e con una tecnica di gestione facile. Altro aspetto, spesso presente nella frutticoltura amatoriale, è la scelta di varietà legate alla cultura e alla tradizione locale.

Non trascurabile è anche la necessità di accompagnare la diffusione di frutteti familiari, razionalmente condotti, con un'adeguata assistenza tecnica o almeno con un continuo aggiornamento.

          La Coltivazione del Noce   

In Italia la coltivazione del noce è documentata fin da tempi moltoantichi e ha avuto un ruolo economico considerevole, sia per i fruttiche per il legno da opera molto apprezzato. Richiede oculata sceltavarietale e tecniche di coltivazione innovative per abbassare i costidi produzione e offrire un prodotto di qualità, in modo da competerecon la concorrenza di altri paesi produttori.

Il testo oltre adaffrontare tutti gli aspetti legati alla coltivazione, alle nuovetecniche di allevamento e potatura, alla gestione del suolo e allaraccolta meccanica del prodotto, tocca argomenti interessanti anche peri consumatori, che oggi dedicano sempre più attenzione alle proprietànutrizionali degli alimenti e alla funzione paesaggistica dellepiantagioni agrarie

Il volume presenta una trattazione tecnico-scientifica dellacoltivazione del noce, dall'antichità fino alle tecniche più recenti:vengono illustrati le varietà più produttive, nuove tecniche diallevamento e potatura, esempi di gestione razionale del suolo e dellaraccolta meccanica. Il testo tratta anche aspetti interessanti per iconsumatori, tra cui le proprietà nutrizionali e funzionali deglialimenti.

          Viticoltura ed Enologia Biologica   

Attingendo alle competenze specialistiche di diversi Autori, il CRPV fa il punto della situazione della filiera vitivinicola biologica, analizzandola in tutti i suoi aspetti, a partire da quelli, troppo spesso trascurati, legati ad una “naturalità” da definire e ricercare nel vigneto biologico, difatti privo di quegli strumenti tecnici disponibili invece nella viticoltura tradizionale.

Non mancano in questo volume, perciò, stimoli per una organizzazione del vigneto biologico in sintonia con il suo ambiente naturale, tradotti poi negli aspetti più tipici della manualistica biologica, quali la tecnica di gestione della pianta nel sistema di allevamento, la scelta varietale, la difesa dalle avversità e la gestione del suolo.

Ampio spazio è stato dedicato agli aspetti economici del comparto, al suo potenziale, e alle prospettive commerciali del vino “biologico”; allo stesso modo è stato dato spazio agli aspetti della redditività nelle coltivazioni e vinificazioni. Rilievo è poi riservato alla “cantina” cercando di mettere a fuoco le linee tecniche principali della vinificazione delle uve biologiche ed i punti di criticità.

          Il Castagno   

La coltivazione del castagno ha un'antica e consolidata tradizione in Italia e in molti altri Paesi. Spesso, in un passato non lontano, ha permesso alle popolazioni rurali di vivere in mirabile simbiosi con l'ambiente.

Oggi a questa coltura, oltre alla sua importanza per la produzione di frutti e di legname, vengono anche riconosciute importanti funzioni di difesa del territorio, paesaggistiche, ricreative, ambientali, socioculturali e di salvaguardia della diversità biologica. Il rinnovato interesse verso questa coltivazione supera i confini nazionali e si estende nel resto d'Europa e in Asia.

Anche In Medio Oriente e nelle Americhe e in Australia vengono destinate al castagno molte attenzioni, come è messo in giusta evidenza in questo libro che si occupa non solo degli aspetti tecnici della coltivazione, ma anche di quelli, non meno importanti, di carattere economico. Non mancano riferimenti agli aspetti nutrizionali della castagna, ai pregi nell'alimentazione odierna e agli impieghi nella gastronomia. Alcuni capitoli sono anche dedicati alla raccolta e conservazione dei frutti, ai metodi di lavorazione e conservazione.

          What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 26, 2017   

Last week's economic news included readings on sales of new and previously owned homes. Despite expectations of lower sales in both categories, sales surpassed expectations and April sales. Analysts were concerned about extremely tight inventories of available homes limiting home sales and did not expect May home sales to increase.

The post What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 26, 2017 appeared first on Ishakis Finance Report Mortgage Broker Brooklyn.

          What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 19, 2017   

Last week's economic reports included readings on inflation, core inflation, and the Federal Reserve's FOMC statement. The NAHB Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits issued were also released, along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

The post What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 19, 2017 appeared first on Ishakis Finance Report Mortgage Broker Brooklyn.

          PolyU 80th Anniversary Global Leader Lecture by Professor Hau L. Lee   
(The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ) The Hong Kong Polytechnic University invited Professor Hau L. Lee, a leading scholar in global supply chain management, entrepreneurship and innovations in developing economies, and value chain strategies, to speak at the PolyU 80th Anniversary Global Leader Lecture Series on June 28, 2017.
          Republican Incumbent Michael Lee Wins North Carolina Senate District 9   
After a fiercely competitive race with numerous attack ads against both candidates, Republican incumbent Michael Lee has won North Carolina’s District 9 Senate seat. This district covers most of New Hanover County, with the exception of a small patch in downtown Wilmington. In his second term, he wants to tackle economic development and education. Michael Lee says education dovetails with job creation because of workforce development. He wants to reach out to innovative teachers for new ideas that can be implemented throughout the state. In particular, he wants to expand lab schools, which are elementary and secondary schools operated within a university or college. Such schools both help train future teachers and allow for educational experimentation: "So we’ve already tried to do some of those things with lab schools, like we’re doing with UNCW and others. I think we can also look into lab school concepts within the community college system. I really think that we need to integrate,
          "Sazia Assai ma dà poco Fiato"   

Fra agricoltura,condizioni materiali di vita, agronomia, mentalità collettiva, medicina la storia di una grande acquisizione delle cam-pagne europee dall'America: dai tempi di Colombo al bio-fuel

" La mirabile e famosa semenza detta maiz nell'Indie occidentali ";

Patate, pomodori e fagioli nei campi e sulle tavole degli europei;

Il mais alla conquista dell'Italia; Un menu grain altamente produttivo;

Grano "turco", frumento, canapa; " Pulànt e aqua ad fòs lavoûra te padròn che me an pòs"; Una " rivoluzione"?; Un male sconosciuto;

Il morbo delle " tre D"; Le geografie della pellagra;

Il rebus di un morbus totius corporis; Lombroso risorto: storiografia e ideologi; Finis pellagrae: aporie cronologiche;

La terza scoperta dell'America: mais ibridi e transgenici.

          NC Senate Candidates Debate the 2013 Mobility Formula   
Economic development experts say aging transportation systems are holding back growth in southeastern North Carolina. The candidates for North Carolina’s Senate District 9, which encompasses most of New Hanover County, differ on whether the Mobility Formula is fair. Republican Michael Lee and Democrat Elizabeth Redenbaugh squared off during a recent Power Breakfast regarding the Department of Transportation’s Mobility Formula. Governor McCrory introduced the Formula last year as a means to align available funding with the greatest transportation needs. Michael Lee, appointed in August to serve out the remainder of Senator Thom Goolsby’s term, is now running as the incumbent for Senate District 9. He says the Mobility Formula provides an objective basis to fund transportation projects. "What we had before the Mobility Formula were politicians making political decisions and giving favors to have infrastructure put in certain areas to benefit certain constituents. And I for one want to
          Candidate Profile: Michael Lee (R), NC Senate, District 9   
Wilmington lawyer Michael Lee is vying for a seat in state Senate District 9—with hearty endorsement from incumbent Senator Thom Goolsby. Lee, a fellow Republican, has twice previously run for the same seat--to Julia Boseman in 2008, and to Goolsby in the 2010 primary. While Lee has never won an elected position, he serves on the Port Authority Board, as well as the state Department of Transportation’s board. Lee views job growth, education reform and a balanced budget as integrated pursuits. WHQR's Katie O'Reilly: Tell me about your top three priorities in office. Michal Lee: I think economic development, jobs, and education, and they all kind of interrelate with each other. Jobs in New Hanover County, the state of North Carolina, really anywhere, rely upon a strong education system—not just K-12, but also our community college system and our university system. So that is really how it relates into jobs and economic development, in the way that we not only educate our children, so
          Olivicoltura di Qualità   

Il consumatore è sempre più attento alla qualità dell’olio che acquista e questa spinta nei consumi di qualità si sta riflettendo sulla coltivazione dell’olivo, nella quale gli imprenditori agricoli riversano grandi energie per assicurare sin dalla materia prima questo percorso di qualità.

Si stanno così affinando le tecniche colturali e quelle di potatura, gli interventi di concimazione e di difesa sono sempre più mirati ed equilibrati, la raccolta, a mano e meccanica, è in continuo divenire.

Un settore dunque in forte evoluzione che ha bisogno di strumenti di aggiornamento di rapida consultazione, ma con un sufficiente grado di approfondimento.

E’ quanto si ripropone questo manuale della collana ‘tecnica & pratica’, che agli aggiornamenti nelle tecniche colturali associa un corposo capitolo sui metodi di valutazione della qualità dell’olio, in funzione della sua collocazione sul mercato e quindi della sua valorizzazione economica.


1. Caratteristiche della specie, delle olive e dell'olio; 2. Germoplasma olivicolo nazionale; 3. Propagazione e certificazione del materiale vivaistico; 4. Progettazione e realizzazione del nuovo oliveto; 5. Tecnica colturale nell'oliveto; 6. Economia e fisiologia nella potatura dell'olivo; 7. Miglioramento qualitativo dell'olio; 8. Valutazione degli oli vergini di oliva; 9. Regolamentazione comunitaria in materia di organizzazione della produzione olivicola e della commercializzazione oleicola.

          La Potatura degli alberi da Frutto e dell’Olivo   
Basato sui moderni fondamentali scientifici, è l'unico manuale tecnico professionale esistente sul mercato che tratta la pratica colturale per tutte le specie arboree coltivate. Vengono enunciati i fondamentali tecnici ed economici della potatura degli alberi da frutto, le reazioni della pianta ed i criteri che devono regolare le operazioni ordinarie e quelle straordinarie.
          Patologia e Difesa Integrata del Pomodoro   

Il libro descrive le malattie che causano danni economici alle coltivazioni del pomodoro e fornisce elementi utili per il loro controllo.

Ogni alterazione è stata trattata descrivendone i sintomi osservabili sulla pianta e indicandone l'agente causale. Nel caso di malattie di origine biotica, è stato descritto il ciclo epidemiologico del patogeno coinvolto. L’appendice riporta integralmente il testo della Legge n.126 del 14.4.97, che indica le caratteristiche necessarie che il materiale di propagazione deve possedere per poter essere commercializzato.

          Guida alle Malattie Parassitarie degli Animali Domestici   

Il volume tratta delle malattie da protozoi, da elminti e da artropodi; precede una parte generale nella quale vengono illustrati, tra l'altro, i concetti di malattia parassitaria, dei rapporti parassita-ospite, degli aspetti socio-economici delle malattie parassitarie. Sono fornite indicazioni sul meccanismo di azione di alcuni farmaci e sui principi generali di profilassi.

Questa terza edizione, pur mantenendo l'impostazione delle precedenti, si presenta completamente rinnovata nel contenuto e nella veste grafica. Il testo è stato notevolmente ampliato, per larga parte riscritto e integrato. Nei limiti di una trattazione che vuole restare uno strumento per lo studio di base e per chi opera in campo pratico, hanno ricevuto spazio adeguato argomenti come, i meccanismi immunitari, la farmaco resistenza ed altri, non inclusi nelle edizioni precedenti.

          Miu Miu new autumn and winter accessories   
Miu Miu new autumn and winter accessories Despite the continuing downturn in the world economy into a quagmire, but a dazzling new handbag, no matter when and where the uniqueness of women are encouraged. Take a look at miu miu's autumn and winter accessories, artificial crystal rhinestones, shiny beads, metal chain, and the small rivet with spikes and accessories, all as all the girls so excited about this new element excited. If the alternative miu miu handbags, have not seen one show to see, too many people's first reaction is that it is used to buy food, right? Miu miu bag in the shape of this it is like basket, at first glance really like the leather, but rather rattan things, but this red is indeed very attractive, but rarely sees the big launch this type of package shall. If you are carrying such a bag to go shopping, estimated retention rates high, but to attend a solemn occasion, I am afraid have a little careful. Designers very carefully, miu miu bags; there is also a small bag, so afraid of what would fall out. Source& lt;span style="font-family: ?v??; mso-ascii-font-family: Calibri; mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri">?Fthe article post on
          US productivity down in spring, while labor costs rise   
Economists believe businesses should focus more on raising the efficiency of existing workforce
          The Entire Trump Agenda Is Now at Risk   

Ryan Lizza: “The GOP has adopted a major—even radical—agenda: transforming a massive sector of the economy, slashing taxes and rewriting the entire tax code, passing a budget that would dramatically reduce the size of government, and, in the middle of all of that, raising the debt limit. They have a plan to accomplish almost all…

link: The Entire Trump Agenda Is Now at Risk

          The Century-Long Evolution Of Barrio Gangs In San Antonio   
A new book examining barrio gangs in San Antonio asserts that " participation in street violence, drug selling, and other parts of the informal economy are functional adaptations to the social structure." What is the history of barrio gangs in San Antonio and other large Texas cities? How have social and technological changes affected barrio networking and the street lifestyle? What effects have intergenerational shifts had on these gangs?
          San Antonio Leads The Nation In Economic Inequality   
San Antonio is one of the most economically segregated cities in the country.
          300,000 In San Antonio Have College Credits, But Not A Degree   
Nearly 25 percent of people in San Antonio have obtained some college credit, but have not completed their program or degree. A new, local initiative called Upgrade is working to help adults figure out how best to approach completing their college education. Launched in April, the program's goal is two-fold: Higher educational attainment as a personal investment, to improve quality of life on the individual level, and as a means to spur overall economic development in San Antonio. Guests: Dr. Adriana Contreras, executive director of the San Antonio Education Partnership Romanita Matta-Barrera, executive director for SA Works Hadass Sheffer, president of The Graduate! Network
          District 2 City Council Runoff Forum: William 'Cruz' Shaw Speaks   
Texas Public Radio's "The Source" hosts a series of forums with city council candidates in preparation for the June 10 runoff election. Early voting ends Tuesday, June 6. Settled near San Antonio's urban core, the lively and diverse District 2 largely covers the city's East side. In this year's May elections, incumbent City Council representative Alan E. Warrick II took 40 percent of the vote against three challengers. Attorney William "Cruz" Shaw picked up 28 percent, earning a place in the runoff election. Economic development and public safety are major concerns in District 2. Shaw's platform shows support for women- and minority-owned businesses, improved infrastructure, and workforce development. Who will District 2 voters choose to represent them, moving forward? If you live in the following zip codes, you may reside in District 2: 78219, 78220, 78210, 78208, 78209, 78202, 78203, 78218. Input an address to find your city council district here.
          Deep Dive: Here’s a different approach to investing in emerging markets: value   
Paul Espinosa of Seafarer Capital Partners says there’s an open field for value strategies in developing economies.

          Bioinsumos Agropecuarios: Una herramienta fundamental para aumentar el agregado de valor   
En el Ministerio de Agroindustria de la Nación, durante la reunión del Comité Asesor de Bioinsumos de Uso Agropecuario (CABUA), se anunció la creación de la Cámara Argentina de Productores de Bioinsumos (CABIO), abierta a ser integrada tanto por empresas, instituciones y organismos públicos.

El secretario de Agregado de Valor, Néstor Roulet destacó que "todas las comisiones asesoras de la Secretaría tienen una integración público-privada que permite arribar a amplios y robustos consensos sectoriales sobre la adopción de nuevas tecnologías en la bioindustria, y contribuir así con la bioeconomía. Existen enormes capacidades humanas en el sector público y privado, y vemos surgir nuevos emprendedores. Estamos complacidos con esta iniciativa que fortalecerá el sector de los bioinsumos y vamos a invitar a la CABIO y todas las demás cámaras relevantes a formar parte de CABUA".

Por su parte, Roberto Rapela, representante del MAPO (Movimiento Argentino de Producción Orgánica), y quien lidera esta iniciativa, reconoció que la conveniencia de crear una Cámara específica para el sector nació de los debates que tuvieron lugar en las reuniones iniciales del CABUA en el seno del Ministerio de Agroindustria que lidera Ricardo Buryaile. Asimismo, agradeció las iniciativas concretas de apoyo al desarrollo del sector que lleva adelante el Ministerio a través de su Dirección de Biotecnología y el Senasa.

Dentro de los objetivos de la CABIO señaló la importancia de darle un marco institucional a las diferentes problemáticas que deben sortear para promover el crecimiento y destacó la necesidad de homogeneizar criterios a nivel regional: "Tenemos un camino largo para armonizar con otras instituciones de Latinoamérica: cuestiones vinculadas con el registro, las normas, certificación, entre otros puntos", destacó.

El CABUA es un Comité Asesor creado en el ámbito de la Comisión Nacional de Biotecnología Agropecuaria (CONABIA) y sus funciones son asesorar sobre los requisitos técnicos de calidad, eficacia y bioseguridad que deberán reunir los bioinsumos para su liberación al agroecosistema así como también proponer nuevas normas y emitir opinión en relación a la regulación y promoción de este tipo de productos.

Los bioinsumos agropecuarios son todos aquellos productos biológicos que consistan o hayan sido producidos por microorganismos, artrópodos o extractos de plantas, y que estén destinados a su aplicación como insumo en la producción agroalimentaria, agroindustrial y agroenergética (por ejemplo como biofertlizantes, bioinsecticidas, entre otros).

El Ministerio de Agroindustria continúa con sus políticas de promoción para la adopción creciente de este tipo de productos biológicos, ya que constituyen una oportunidad -tanto para las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PyMES) como para las de primera línea- de generar agro-industrialización con agregado de valor y representan un gran potencial para incrementar la sustentabilidad de la producción.

          Eventos económicos recientes - investing   
16:30  USDInventarios de crudo semanales en Cushing de la AIE-0,297M -1,080M
16:30  USDInventarios de petróleo crudo de la AIE0,118M-2,585M-2,451M
16:00  USDVenta de viviendas pendientes (Mensual)-0,8%0,8%-1,7%

          3 factores que ayudan y 3 que limitan a las bolsas   
Pocos movimientos al cierre de las bolsas europeas, en una jornada en la que aún coleaban las palabras de ayer del presidente del BCE Mario Draghi, mal interpretadas como luego comentaremos, y que ha provocado que los valores defensivos siguieran penalizados.
La sesión comenzaba con caídas en los mercados de renta variable asiáticos, tras la cautela de los inversores por el cierre negativo ayer de Wall Street tras el retraso en la votación sanitaria en EE.UU., y por las palabras de Mario Draghi.

"El efecto neto de los discursos de ayer por Yellen y Draghi ha sido reforzar la opinión de que los mercados están ahora emprendiendo una fase de ajuste de las políticas mundiales con el BCE moviéndose potencialmente más rápido de lo que muchos esperaban", dijo Ric. Spooner, analista jefe de CMC Markets.
Las bolsas europeas abrían con descensos por encima del medio punto porcentual. El Ibex caía siete décimas porcentuales. Entre los grandes valores Telefónica era el más penalizado ante las informaciones sobre su división británica.
En esa apertura se mantenía la tónica de ayer: Bonos a la baja, tipos al alza, valores defensivos a la baja, y bancos con un mejor comportamiento que los selectivos de referencia.
Pocas referencias macro en la primera parte de la sesión. Destacaríamos la masa monetaria de la zona euro en mayo que se situaba en el 5,0% igual que lo esperado. El IPC italiano del mes de junio con una caída del 0,1% frente +0,1% esperado. Ninguna de estas referencias tuvo efecto en las bolsas, que a media sesión seguían perdiendo cerca del medio punto porcentual.
Ya luego por la tarde se publicaba el índice de viviendas pendientes de ventas en EE.UU. en mayo con una caída del 0,8% frente a una subida esperada del 0,8%, y los inventarios de petróleo que subieron en 118.000 barriles frente -2,250 millones esperados.
Destacar también la aclaración de una fuente del BCE del discurso de ayer de su presidente y que afectó a los mercados negativamente al considerar que el ajuste monetario está más cerca de lo que se esperaba: "El discurso tenía como objetivo lograr un equilibrio entre el reconocimiento de la fortaleza económica del bloque monetario y la advertencia de que aún se necesita apoyo monetario", afirmaba esta fuente.
La reacción de las bolsas europeas no se hizo esperar, y se situaron en terreno positivo tras estas palabras.
De ahí al final de la jornada poco más que decir. Volvió la ligera toma de beneficios tras un ligero aumento de la presión vendedora.
Para finalizar este cierre de mercado señalar el escenario de mercado que dibujan los analistas de Bankinter: Creemos que el 2º semestre o, al menos, el verano, será una fase de consolidación y lateralidad antes que de avances adicionales. Pero los riesgos son a la baja y las valoraciones ligeramente al alza, de manera que, tras las correcciones, entra y seguirá entrando dinero enseguida. En absoluto hay que reducir exposición a bolsas, sino en todo caso rotar algo sectores - desde compañías de crecimiento hacia las de valor y dividendo - y tener paciencia. Este es el momento - todavía - de pensar en cómo posicionarse de cara a los próximos 5 ó incluso 10 próximos años, puesto que este ciclo expansivo apenas acaba de empezar, como explicamos más adelante en este informe.
Revisamos ligeramente al alza nuestras valoraciones de las bolsas en base a unos tipos a 10 años algos inferiores y a unas estimaciones de los beneficios empresariales ligeramente superiores a las existentes hace 3 meses. Los potenciales oscilan, en números redondos, entre +12% para el Ibex-35 (11.875 puntos) y +21% para el EuroStoxx-50 (4.300). El S&P500 se sitúa en un punto intermedio, con un potencial de casi +15% (2.800). Aunque el potencial para el Nikkei-225 sea suficiente (23.686; +18%), desconfiamos de la fiabilidad de las revisiones al alza de los resultados empresariales en Japón y por eso colocamos este índice en la última posición en nuestro orden de preferencia para bolsas. Las valoraciones no pueden ser infinitas, pero hasta ahora justifican las cotizaciones alcanzadas en todos los casos y, además, el sentido de las revisiones viene siendo consistentemente al alza, lo que permite que las bolsas sigan ofreciendo recorrido.
3 factores que ayudan y 3 que limitan.-
Lo más importante es que los factores que ayudan al mercado pesan más y son más tangibles y reales que los factores limitadores. A favor tenemos una macroeconomía en proceso de revisión a mejor, la consistente revisión al alza de los beneficios empresariales y una liquidez como nunca antes, que indudablemente presiona al alza los precios de los activos. En contra tenemos la inestable política europea, la geoestrategia y la posibilidad de una situación de sobreprecios. Pero, salvo este último riesgo, los otros 2 son a la baja o estables.


Mother of all Establishments

The ruling class, the creme de la creme, the establishment - the mother of all establishments in fact - what is it like? Its wit tends to be both dry and acerbic. Its city is New York. Its profession is attorney. Its manner cool. Its clothes black. Its heroes Kennedys. Its music is mostly jazz standards I think. Its passion is film, or maybe dating. (Though I doubt their self-conscious coupling deserves the name of passion.) Its ethnicity is mixed, but the Anglo-Saxon and Jewish elements predominate. Its politics are moderate but liberal on certain social issues like abortion.

Many minor-league establishments send their best players to the big leagues. The ultimate establishment draws from corporate CEO's; judges; college presidents; the highest ranks of the military; union bosses; partners in prestigious law firms; titans of finance; media royalty; upper echelons of the ever-spreading government bureaucracies; nabobs from the political world - governors, senators, etc.; successful entertainers of all kinds- talk show hosts, rap artists, journalists. Powers from other nations are included: prime ministers, despots, treasury secretaries, generals, top smugglers and rights activists. The distillation of all these subsidiary elites, everyone from bankers to performance artists, physicists and film stars, mayors who've clawed their way up from the streets alongside the residue of the most aristocratic families - are all blended together to create the mother of all establishments.

Don't confuse the ultimate establishment with the penultimate establishment. The penultimate establishment consists of conservative Republicans picked to play the role of the ultimate establishment. They are the designated target, the Simon Legree at whom we are directed to hiss. They, very visibly, perform the disagreeable but necessary tasks of Power. They are the millionaires who keep the economy moving, the generals who keep the armies moving. They are the father figures who can, eventually, be safely discarded.

If you think these Republicans are in fact the ultimate establishment they are supposed to be you are wrong: 1) Conservative Republicans always lose the bitter battles over social policy - the struggles over segregation, abortion, feminism, gay rights, etc. 2) The supreme establishment would never, at least visibly, ally itself with the rich or the military. The rich are wildly unpopular (They like escaping their tax obligation as much as cutting badly-needed services to working people.) The military commanders may be popular domestically, but they are hated abroad. The supreme establishment instead derives power from pretending to battle these dangerous forces. 3) Businessmen are ruled by the market, by the desires of consumers. The government, in contrast, can do whatever it wants - it can arrest you; jail you; take your house, your children, all your money.

What are the beliefs of the mother of all establishments? While hostile to the world's religions, especially those denigrated as "fundamentalist", the ultimate establishment does possess a faith. They hate any restrictions placed on individuals by churches or clan patriarchs or rural communities - any restrictions placed on individuals by Tradition.

The era of this ultimate establishment is nearly over. Soon they and their urbane vanities will disappear. Then I think people will wonder how so few ruled over so many for so long.
          Fred Gleeck - INFO PRODUCTS SEMINAR   

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          Real World Client Funnel - Mike & Gloria   
Real World Client Funnel - Mike & Gloria

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Should we try to make ourselves better physically, mentally, morally? Should we try a eugenics program? We could alleviate so much suffering - of the "thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to" we could get rid of maybe 900.

We have always been able to alter human nature, but recent discoveries have considerably enhanced our abilities. We could make people more intelligent, more creative, more athletic. We could make people better suited to monogamy. No one would have to be born with a propensity for addiction or excessive weight gain. We could make people who are more altruistic - who wouldn't commit crimes, who wouldn't allow anyone to go hungry, wouldn't permit war, wouldn't tolerate cruelty of any kind, or even indifference. We could banish inherited disease of all kinds. Why wouldn't we bestow these benefits on our children? Do we like suffering? Should we get busy sticking pins in each other?

Of course playing about with human nature can be dangerous. Here are some objections:

Objection - What if the program fell into the wrong hands - some sinister cabal? Would they manufacture a race of soldiers, obedient and deadly? Or make a herd of pig-people, self-satisfied and pleasure-oriented? Or build a monster like Frankenstein's? Or, conversely, will their creation be so tepid, so dull, so unable to give offense as to drown us all in a (luke-warm) sea of blandness. We'll all perish of insipidity.
Response - These mistakes are not inherent in a eugenics program and can be avoided.

Objection - It is impious to alter our nature.
Response - (Just as it was impious to rise above our station or invent the airplane.) We were made by our Creator to aspire and improving our nature is one of our grandest aspirations.

Objection - A eugenics program requires coercion.
Response - Coercion is not unknown at present. Have they stopped writing regulations? Making arrests? Dropping bombs? At present all the manipulation, all the force only brings about the apotheosis of certain unworthy individuals.

Objection - A eugenics program favors aristocracy.
Response - A eugenics program and democracy can coexist. The program should be entirely meritocratic, and everyone, regardless of their genetic endowment, should be cared for and respected.

Objection - A eugenics program is racist.
Response - There is no necessary connection between eugenics and racism. Personally I look forward to a time when everyone is kind of tan.

Objection - In the wake of eugenics life will be boring.
Response - Is it really necessary for so many children to die of leukemia or war (for instance) to provide us with entertainment? A desperate, never-resting search for drama does not find happiness. If some thinkers hold that a dearth of evil or suffering exists they can always (with the best motives) drive nails into their friend's eyes.

Objection to a eugenics program that aims at improving our morals - We are already pretty good, or at least capable of becoming pretty good. If only the political or economic system was fixed, we would approach Utopia, which is just around the corner.
Response - Both the French and Russian Revolutions descended into terror and despotism, destroying the hopes of naive humanists. Even the most successful countries are plagued with suicide, divorce, addiction and other social ills. Many nations still suffer war, police oppression, ethnic conflict, etc.

Objections to a eugenics program that aims at improving our morals - If the conflict of man vs. man vanishes, if the conflict of man vs. himself disappears as well, we will be diminished. If soldiers are no longer required to charge the foe, nor ascetics to trek into the desert, the necessary result will be mere lassitude.
Response - Life will still be worth living even if we neglect to torment our neighbors or ourselves. The conflict of man vs. the physical world will remain, and this struggle will be enough (sometimes too much). We will not run short of obstacles: To create we will have to contend with physical objects that are not always plastic. We will have to contend with the law of gravity also. To explore we will have to battle mountains, ocean currents, steaming jungles, frozen continents. I do not know which will challenge our understanding more - infinitely large distances of space or infinitely small particles. Accidents and finally death will frustrate our deepest desire for permanence. Obstacles will remain, only now we will go out to meet them with an undivided heart.

Why does science always have to serve such ridiculous ends? Thanks to the genius of our scientists we can now build amazingly destructive bombs. Thanks to remarkable improvements in microprocessors and materials we can now buy products that will never benefit us at all in any way.

In the wealthy countries many are alive only because of massive medical intervention. If these people reproduce defective genes could be passed on to the children. We are faced with a long-term problem: succeeding generations will be less and less healthy.

The religious hope God's grace will help us become better. Humanists think we already have become better. Conservatives favor vigorous punishments (stoning?, the rack?) to force us to become better. So why would any of them object when we actually become better? Is it really so necessary to maintain our precise current levels of rottenness?

Once, tens of thousands of years ago, we shared the earth with other hominid species. we helped exterminate them, however, and gained dominion over the world. Someday the more advanced humans created by eugenics will succeed us. What could be more fitting?
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For the last 3+ years I have lived in a relatively insulated area of the world and I have had the unique opportunity to see Western culture and specifically the USA from the outside. Most in America have never heard of Abu Dhabi and assume it is some place in Africa due to the exotic sounding name, they know of Dubai, though. The 2 cities are but 50 miles apart. The UAE is a benevolent monarchy which in the most part takes care of its residents and citizens. Things are not perfect here but this area seemed to largely escape the degree of economic carnage that befell the rest of the world.
As you know I have recently decided to return to my homeland and I fear I will not be so happy about some things happening there. I consider the bank bailouts on the taxpayers' dime a travesty which will haunt middle class Americans for generations to come. Uncounted trillions of dollars literally evaporated overnight and it will take decades to recover.

It has affected me personally as I own real estate and have investments that have losses in the tens of thousands of dollars in value. The economic crisis was a huge "pump and dump" by the international bankers. I am pissed off as I did not get a government bailout because I am not "too big to fail" so I have to just take it in the shorts, I guess.

The international banks (Goldman Sachs, et al) made out like bandits with the cooperation of the US government and the Federal Reserve which is just another private bank. They all caused the problem which is reverberating worldwide, yet the whole situation remains opaque and the same players remain in power within the US government and Wall Street. They should be in prison as it seems the whole scheme was orchestrated years ago with the lobbying away of financial rules and safeguards that allowed certain toxic financial instruments to be created for the sole purpose of wealth transfer.

When this house of cards collapsed, the players were inexplicably rewarded with an unprecedented bounty of public funds from the federal government instead of well deserved sanctions. Common sense would dictate letting these private banking organizations rot on the vine from their irresponsible actions, instead they were given a "mulligan" at taxpayers' expense. This suggests a much too cozy of a relationship between the robber-barons of Wall Street and the US government that has the responsibility of regulating them.

Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and even France are facing financial meltdowns and the bankers are at the ready to step in and "help" these beleaguered economies by buying assets for pennies on the dollar. It seems to be all about the money. Trace the new leaders of Greece and Italy and you will find they have backgrounds with the same international banking organizations. As always, follow the money

I am not a tin foil hat wearing guy but I can put 2+2 together. You do not have to agree with me but the puzzle pieces are self-evident. Everyone should be a critical thinker and question authority.

Below are some thought provoking videos I found. The first 2 are from the prophetic movie Network (1976) and one from critical thinker, social analyst and part-time comedian, George Carlin.