Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

UPDATES:





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


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



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








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

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







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

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

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

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Poemas en prosa        
    Poemas en prosa

    Por Sara Plaza

    Bajo ese título aparecieron algunos escritos de Oscar Wilde en "The Fortnightly Review" en julio de 1894. Yo los he encontrado en una recopilación de las historias breves del autor irlandés que se encargó de editar Ian Small para Penguin Classics con el título "Oscar Wilde, Complete Short Fiction". Entre esos textos difícilmente clasificables –que pueden leerse como poemas o como narraciones en prosa–, el que lleva por título "The Artist" se me antoja como marco ideal para el barullo que está levantando estos días la conmemoración de los 40 años de mayo del 68, parte del cual resonaba hace una semana en las páginas del suplemento literario "Babelia" de la edición internacional del diario El PAÍS.

    En "El Artista", Oscar Wilde cuenta en primera persona que una tarde sintió el deseo de modelar "El placer de un instante" y fue por todo el mundo en busca de bronce para tallar esa obra, porque pensó que sólo podía estar hecha de dicho material. Sin embargo, en todo el mundo no quedaba más bronce que el de otra figura que él mismo había esculpido y a la que dio el título de "La pena que siempre perdura". Ésta se encontraba en la tumba de lo que él más había amado en su vida y podía significar que el amor del hombre no muere o ser símbolo de la pena que queda para siempre en él. Pero como estaba hecha del único bronce que quedaba en el mundo fue a buscarla, la introdujo en un gran horno y la prendió fuego. Y así, a partir de "La pena que siempre perdura", que él mismo había creado, dio forma a "El placer de un instante".

    He leído y releído la historia y sigo sin poder decidir si su primer trabajo terminó siendo pasto de las llamas porque efectivamente no quedaba más bronce en el mundo o porque al artista se le acabaron el amor y la pena sucesivamente. Mayo del 68 también tuvo mucho de obra artística y, según leía en el "Babelia" del sábado 20 de abril, tampoco queda en el mundo más material del que utilizaron sus creadores entonces. Incluso da la sensación de que a algunos de ellos también se les ha acabado el sentimiento revolucionario que les inspiró. Aunque quizás la inspiración esté relacionada con la primera Ley de la Termodinámica, esa que nos enseña que nada se pierde sino que todo se transforma, y el material de aquel mayo contestatario sigue formando parte de la mucha poesía y la no poca prosa a que ha dado lugar después de 40 años. Juzguen ustedes mismos a partir del conglomerado de opiniones que, con no poco lirismo, presentaba "Babelia" el sábado 20 de abril. Y es que había mucha metáfora en los títulos de algunos artículos, fíjense si no en los siguientes versos de Fernando Savater, "La elocuencia de las paredes" y de Juan Goytisolo, "Instantáneas en sepia de un mes excepcional". O en estos bocetos de estrofa que aparecen en algunas frases como la de Catherine François y Santiago Auserón, "La juventud no quería un porvenir asegurado, sino un presente apasionante", o la que ellos recogen de Gilles Deleuze y Félix Guattari, "Por mucho que el acontecimiento sea ya antiguo, no consiente en quedarse atrás, porque es apertura hacia lo posible".

    Claro que lo verdaderamente emocionante de la lectura llegó cuando, mientras intentaba esclarecer si la rima de este suplemento literario era consonante o asonante, Josep Ramoneda y Antonio Muñoz Molina sumaron una opción más con la que no había contado hasta entonces: la disonante. El primero volvía sobre la actualidad de lo sucedido entonces, pero lo hacía de manera distinta, "Ha costado entender que el tiempo pasa para todos y la patente de modernidad no tiene dueño". Y el segundo prácticamente volvía la espalda a los hechos en sí, "A mí, sinceramente, tanta conmemoración de Mayo del 68 me produce un aburrimiento invencible. Ya me lo sé todo: lo de la imaginación al poder, lo de ser realista y pedir lo imposible, lo de los adoquines y la arena de la playa, etcétera. Otros hechos coetáneos me importan mucho más, y reciben mucha menos literatura". A su vez, en el artículo "Los ecos de la revuelta", Octavi Martí repasaba el pensamiento de otro conjunto de voces que también discrepaban sobre la importancia del movimiento estudiantil y si cambió el mundo –para mejor o para peor– o no cambió nada. Entre ellas se encontraba la del actual presidente francés durante la pasada campaña presidencial, a quien, como bien acotaba Martí "solo le faltó darle a Mayo del 68 influencia retrospectiva, culparle del nazismo, la trata de esclavos o del hundimiento de la torre de Babel".

    Pese a que durante las últimas cuatro décadas han corrido ríos de tinta, seguimos bajo el riesgo de inundaciones a la vista de las nuevas publicaciones que van a sacar a la luz en los próximos meses un número nada desdeñable de editoriales. No obstante, nunca está de más revisar nuestra propia opinión en las circunstancias actuales. Probablemente encontremos en ella algunos tópicos y no pocos lugares comunes, es decir que sigamos desconociendo bastante sobre el asunto aunque nos sepamos de memoria sus lemas. Claro que, a veces, nuevas lecturas no sirven para desmontar viejos clichés, sino que los perpetúan. De manera que tendremos que hacer un pequeño esfuerzo por descubrirlos y polemizarlos. Siempre es saludable un poco de inconformismo.

    He dicho, a veces, que fuimos mucho mejores hijos –en la medida en que supimos plantar cara a nuestros padres– que padres –en la medida en que no supimos plantar cara a nuestros hijos–. Con nuestra actitud –y la potencia integradora de las contradicciones que el capitalismo tiene– les hemos dejado sin espacio para la trasgresión [1].

    [1] Extracto del artículo "Contestación mundial" de Josep Ramoneda en EL PAÍS del sábado 20 de abril.

    Ilustración.

              The best music video ever, courtesy of Alta’s ski bum conglomerate        

    Forget Beyonce, forget Kanye, forget all those other celebs and meet a die-hard group of ski bums that just created the best music video ever. A spin on John Denver’s “Dancing with the Mountains,” the video was created at Alta, Utah as a prelude to the resort’s infamous closing day party. Enjoy, then enjoy all […]

    The post The best music video ever, courtesy of Alta’s ski bum conglomerate appeared first on Freeskier Magazine.


              Showbiz Sandbox 341: AT&T Deal For Time Warner Makes Vertical Integration Trendy Again        

    Last weekend, in a sudden and unexpected deal, telecommunications giant AT&T agreed to buy the media conglomerate Time Warner for $85 billion. As its current offerings become more commoditized AT&T is looking to add content to its portfolio through picking up Time Warner, a company that counts among its assets networks such as HBO and […]

    The post Showbiz Sandbox 341: AT&T Deal For Time Warner Makes Vertical Integration Trendy Again appeared first on Showbiz Sandbox.


              Showbiz Sandbox 320: Is Comcast the New Disney?        

    Comcast announced last week that it would acquire Dreamworks Animation for $3.8 billion, taking another step toward transforming themselves from a cable giant into a full fledged media conglomerate. Meg James, a corporate media reporter for the Los Angeles Times, join us to discuss how, though the deal may not have been anticipated, it makes […]

    The post Showbiz Sandbox 320: Is Comcast the New Disney? appeared first on Showbiz Sandbox.


              Post 'Serra del Corb-Serra de Sant Honorat'        
    Autor: Javier y Martín, con fecha 25/10/2009 18:39

    <b>10 de octubre de 2009.</b><br><br>En las cercanías de Oliana, Tragó y Peramola se encuentran estos parajes prepirenaicos de abismos y conglomerados que encierran, entre otras cosas, los restos de la que dicen es la ermita románica más pequeña de Cataluña (Sant Salvador del Corb).<br>Una ruta sencilla pero de gran calidad paisajística. Ver post | Ver más blog
              Here’s What Samsung Pay Looks Like [VIDEO]        
    The world is finally getting a look at Samsung Pay, the latest entry in the mobile payments space. At yesterday’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event in New York, Injong Rhee, head of payments for the the Seoul-based conglomerate, unveiled the long-awaited Samsung Pay. Samsung’s payments service employs NFC, much like Apple Pay, but is backed up by […]
              La política partidista, la bipartidista, la caudillista, la real, y la realista        
    En la política partidista (o multipartidista), se promulgan un puñado de partidos que conglomera en cada uno de ellos, gente con una ideología específica generalmente determinada. Dichos partidos no tienen tanto que ver con el fin (se presupone que todos … Seguir leyendo
              Internet, Under-water cables, and Infrastructure        
      By: Anna Greenstone Alternative news sources have been following developments of the EASSy cable, damage and repairs over the last few weeks.  The under-water fibre-optic cables, owned by the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), a conglomerate investment of 14 major telecom companies in Africa was laid in 2009.  The recent damage to it […]
              FT column: Alphabet can create a clever conglomerate        

    After software engineering and financial engineering comes linguistic engineering. Google this week raised its market capitalisation by $25bn by shuffling around some executive jobs and changing its name to Alphabet. Who knew that swapping your tiles in a game of corporate Scrabble was worth so much?

    Read more
              Book Publishing's Scale Issue        
    In a post looking at the future interplay of content, gatekeepers and consumers, David Nygren touches on a key issue for large book publishers: scale. Mega Publishing Conglomerates Go Bye-Bye: Or at least they will look very different than they do today. Their scale is not sustainable. The partial implosion we saw in the publishing industry last week was just...
              Virtual Experienced Partner Enablement Program Manager        
    Multinational conglomerate corporation is filling a position for a Virtual Experienced Partner Enablement Program Manager. Individual must be able to fulfill the following responsibilities: Facilitate the design, construction, and conversion of learning content into structured, self-paced Learning Journeys Lead learning journey development projects through the design lifecycle Curate and design learning journeys that align with the needs of our partner ecosystem & channels Applicants must meet the following qualifications: Must be willing to travel 25% Undergraduate degree from an accredited university 3 years' experience in a training and/or certification organization with a working knowledge of curriculum development, training, and certification processes 3 years' experience with CRM, LMS and CMS 2 years marketing / events experience 1 years' experience coordinating certification and training operations
              Top Ten Horror Directors Making Non-Horror Television        
    Shock Till You Drop
    Top Ten Horror Directors Making Non-Horror Television

    GameMarshall

     

    CSI2

    SHOCK goes wild and reveals ten horror legends and their ventures into mainstream television.

    It’s a sad fact that theatrical feature films are today suffering through a sort of creative dormancy, causing Hollywood’s top talents to migrate over to television’s artist-friendly climate. The horror genre has been especially affected by this trend, with beloved directors seeking work in TV not only for a paying gig, but also to stretch out with subject matter not usually brought their way. Many of these directors have actually been tacking television for years, as the examples below illustrate. Now, this list isn’t to showcase horror folks doing yet more scary stuff on the small screen, such as stints on TWILIGHT ZONE or HANNIBAL or THE WALKING DEAD, but are a look at familiar filmmakers using (or having used) the dominance of television programs for the chance to do something a little unexpected…

    CASEBUSTERS (Wes Craven)

    No filmmaker felt more ghettoized by the horror genre than the late Wes Craven, and he famously leveraged his SCREAM clout for the opportunity to direct Meryl Streep in the cloying biopic MUSIC FROM THE HEART. But in 1986, well before his Streep gambit, Craven was thinking of the kids—his film DEADLY FRIEND was something he hoped would connect with younger audiences, and it was instead hijacked by the studio and loaded up with ridiculous gore sequences. That same year, Craven would finally get to make a genuine kiddie flick, as he went into league with the House of Mouse to direct an installment of their stalwart WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY program. Craven’s effort, feeling very much like an aborted series pilot, is called CASEBUSTERS, and it concerns a brother (Noah Hathaway of TROLL) and sister, the latter of which is obsessed with detective novels. The duo are helping out their kindly, podgy grandpa (character actor Pat Hingle), who happens to be a private investigator-slash-neighborhood watchman. Teaming up with local delinquent “Ski”, Grandpa and the youngsters take on a geeky Rick Moranis clone and a harridan in mom jeans who are out running a lame counterfeiting scheme. From hilariously awkward and misplaced narration by Hingle, to three (!) ineptly-staged car chases, to dumbed-down and preposterous plotting (the little sister blackmails a guy into chasing down the baddies by threatening him with a fine for dumping garbage?), CASEBUSTERS is juvenile, moronic fluff. Sorry, Wes.

    GAME OF THRONES (Neil Marshall)

    Fiendishly popular GAME OF THRONES has no shortage of epic set pieces and enormous battles, something Neil Marshall had previous experience in mounting through his swashbuckling 2010 film CENTURION. Marshall got the nod to direct two of GAMES’ heaviest episodes, and it’s difficult to discuss the particulars without spoiling any of the series’ intricate political machinations. Suffice it to say that when Marshall’s name flashes up on the credits of a particular episode, in-tune viewers know that they are primed for scope and scale—it was Marshall who marshalled the massive brawl between the sentries of the Night’s Watch and the feral tribe known as the Wildlings, and the results can be witnessed in the clip below:

    NEW YORK UNDERCOVER (Mick Garris)

    Having set or broken ratings records with his Stephen King miniseries, it makes sense that Mick Garris would be recruited over the years to hop aboard a number of successful programs. Garris has thus demonstrated his ability to work with the darker corners of teen-driven dramas like PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and RAVENSWOOD, and macabre grownup fare like THE WITCHES OF EAST END and HAPPY TOWN, but it was his helming an episode of Dick Wolf’s mid-nineties cop actioner NEW YORK UNDERCOVER that comes out of left field. UNDERCOVER was part of the then-upstart Fox network’s attempt to coax a younger demographic, and featured regular performances from hip-hop and R n’ B stars of the day. Garris’s episode has cool-guy detectives Williams and Torres backing a local reverend against an evil cigarette conglomerate’s attempts to discredit him, and boasts an appearance by controversial social critic Al Sharpton.

    CSI: MIAMI (Rob Zombie)

    For Rob Zombie’s many critics who would dearly love to see him direct a script that he didn’t write himself, look no further—in 2010, Zombie was behind the camera for an episode of CSI: MIAMI, conjuring that Bruckheimer beige glow around star David Caruso. There are traces of Zombie’s visual flair during an opening party sequence, and members of the Zombie zoo show up in the form of William Forsyth, Malcolm McDowell, and Sheri Moon Zombie (and there’s also a cameo by ZZ top’s Billy Gibbons!), but the episode hews closely to the standard CSI procedural outlay. The far more amusing result of Zombie’s network television dalliance is his interview anecdote regarding the notoriously crotchety Caruso, starting at 3:55:

    DREAM ON (John Landis)

    John Landis will the first person to tell you that he’s hardly a horror icon, having only ever made two features in the genre. He most definitely has a dozen blockbuster comedies to his name, so it was hardly an out of character move for Landis to concoct his own sitcom, bringing in FRIENDS’ Marta Kaufman and David Crane to assist in developing it. Alongside TALES FROM THE CRYPT, DREAM ON was a key component of HBO’s early wave of original programming, and Landis would direct many of the episodes himself. The show starred Brian Benben (with whom Landis would reunite in the awful MASTERS OF HORROR episode ‘Deer Woman’) as Martin Tupper, an NYC book editor fumbling through post-divorce dating life. The show’s gimmick is that Tupper spent so much time in front of the television as a child that footage from ancient programs would be spliced in to comment on the action, as Tupper’s brain presumably would do. While DREAM ON’s risqué humor, spicy language, and frequent instances of nudity broke ground for the TV sitcom format, the plots were repetitive and the clips themselves quickly become annoying. Still, Landis can take heart in knowing that his show was in on the ground floor of the towering program slate for which HBO has since become renowned. Here’s a trailer for the show, in German:

     HAWAII FIVE-0 (Joe Dante)

    Joe Dante has made the odd venture into television throughout his career with a number of forgotten series, such as the excellent kid-oriented spookshow EERIE, INDIANA. And like Rob Zombie, Dante dipped his toe into the CSI world by directing an Amityville-themed 2009 episode of CSI: NY. It’s no big stunner to see that Dante can handle horror on large or small screens, but the surprise is how he became a staple of the HAWAII FIVE-0 revival, directing a total of nine episodes of what has proven to be a solid and consistently entertaining cop series. Of course, the assignment of shooting this year’s atmospheric Halloween-themed HAWAII episode went to Dante, and here’s a nasty, maggoty clip of that particular work:

    SCALES OF JUSTICE (David Cronenberg)

    As most die-hard fans are aware, David Cronenberg veered into television by directing an episode of FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES, a show that conveniently shot in Cronenberg’s hometown of Toronto. Less prominent on Cronenberg’s T.V. resume is his direction of two episodes of SCALES OF JUSTICE, a crime re-enactment program hosted by esteemed Canadian defence attorney Edward Greenspan. SCALES was adapted from a long-running radio program of the same name, and the screen version was, to be honest, a stiff and amateurish Northern answer to slicker U.S. fare like UNSOLVED MYSTERIES. Surviving episodes are almost impossible to find—though a brief, unremarkable clip from one of Cronenberg’s efforts can be viewed here:

    THE WINNERS (George A. Romero)

    Laurel Entertainment was the name of the Pittsburgh production company founded by George A. Romero and partner Richard Rubenstein. In addition to Laurel’s involvement with feature films, the company also produced a series of sports documentaries during the mid-seventies under the title THE WINNERS. Romero himself would cut several episodes of THE WINNERS together; besides a celebration of legendary Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Willie Stargell, there was also a 1974 ode to the gridiron accomplishments of one O.J. Simpson. In retrospect, this short doc is arguably the most horrific project of Romero’s career, but at the time Simpson was a spotless paragon of athletic prowess and adored for his affable, approachable public demeanor. The documentary itself amounts to standard sports-profile fawning, and fairly drips with hilarious seventies’ funky-flute music and graphics, but brush aside the now-odious subject matter and it stands as an excellent example of Romero’s tremendous editing skill, especially in the short pre-credits locker room sequence.

    THE EQUALIZER (Tobe Hooper)

    In between shooting his features TCM2 and SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION in the late eighties, Tobe Hooper also got sidetracked by several TV projects. There were the shows that one might expect, from Spielberg’s Garris-guided AMAZING STORIES to the pilot of FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES, and a real curveball among them—an episode of righteous action-drama THE EQUALIZER, a sort of upscale A-TEAM in which a retired British spy (played primly by THE WICKER MAN’s Edward Woodward) is contacted via personal ad by New York’s downtrodden, and then Woodward goes to work in their defense. Hooper’s episode has a family battling a slumlord, and features an uncharacteristically restrained performance by a young Michael (HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER) Rooker, which balances a hilarious, over-the-top Michael (BARTON FINK) Lerner as the heartless slumlord. As with most EQUALIZER episodes, the two-dimensional melodrama is laid on thicker than mayonnaise, and Hooper can’t manage to impart enough of his personality to rescue a single minute of this soppy network slop.

    RAKE (Sam Raimi)

    Sam Raimi is no stranger to filling up T.V. schedules with Renaissance Pictures’ output in the capacity of producer, and he very recently directed the opening salvo of the Starz channel’s ASH VS. EVIL DEAD series. Less acknowledged is his participation in 2014’s Greg Kinnear vehicle RAKE. Any inch of film or byte of DV directed by Raimi is prized by film nerds for its visual inventiveness, but beyond the splatstick of the EVIL DEAD trilogy or the grandiose spectacle of his SPIDER-MAN and OZ films, Raimi is also an unheralded master of slow-burn drama (Sure, THE GIFT may be spotty, but A SIMPLE PLAN is an American crime classic). RAKE sits squarely in the comedic side of Raimi’s repertoire, and gives him another puffed-up protagonist to torture through karmic misfortunes; this one deftly played by Raimi’s GIFT star Kinnear. Kinnear’s character Keegan Dean isn’t quite in Ash’s delusory league, but roguish attorney Dean is a pretty flawed hero nonetheless. Raimi directed RAKE’s pilot, guest starring the great Peter (FARGO) Stormare as a serial killer, and returned for episode four. Entitled ‘Cannibal’, the episode has AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s Denis O’Hare playing a debonair flesheater that Kean is hired defend in court—before horror fans get too excited, know that this cannibal is handled mostly for laughs, and that the consumption turns out to be consensual. Overall, the short-lived RAKE was a witty, acerbic show gone too soon. (And yes, Raimi devotees, “The Classic” makes a split-second cameo at the end of ‘Cannibal’.)

    The post Top Ten Horror Directors Making Non-Horror Television appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.


              Procter & Gamble’s identity-politics pandering        
    P&G now stands for Protest and Grumble Procter & Gamble’s identity-politics pandering by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2017 Once upon a time, brothers-in-law William Procter and James Gamble sold candles and soap. Their 19th-century family business grew into the largest consumer goods conglomerate in the world — launching the most recognizable brands on our […]
              Disney îşi retrage filmele de pe Netflix. Îşi va crea propria platformă de streaming online        
    Conglomeratul media va investi 1,5 miliarde de dolari pentru a obţine pachetul majoritar în compania ce deţine tehnologia de streaming
              In the historical the services         
    Today's agonistic souk for consulting employment is no longer aware to the merchandising strategies that worked in the historical. The services you organize should exclaim volumes in the order of your consulting business. Think in the order of what happens when you hear phrases such as as "the authoritative dynamic machine," "don't disappear dwelling minus it," and "just do it." Chances are virtuous that you can quickly hobnob them with BMW, American Express, and Nike. These companies have perfect "brand radiance." Brand your consulting blaze because the approaching of your conglomerate depends on it.There's an old adage, "Perception is authenticity." Simply stated, the perception of a marque lies in its resources to arguments a client's conduct. When you have proudly considered your business, in the client's eye location is no employ in the market relatively approaching your service.All consulting businesses should have a distinct, sustainable, and competitive supremacy to secernate their work from the fight. I send for this method of identifying your supremacy "Brand Your Consulting Brilliance."Post ads:surveillance systems business / spiare sms di un'altro numero / cell phone spy / vehicle tracking devices cheating spouse / new ways to catch a cheater / microphone spy / gsm energy monitor / spy call recorder 7610 / voice star recorder for mobile phones / www.family-affair.co.uk / mobile software for sony ericsson vivaz / mobile spy logs / cordless phone tapping device / mobile-data-monitoring-application-mdma / spy glasses with remote / are cell phone companies spying / incoming call recording software androidHere are six ultimate stepladder to denounce and identify your
              Dignified level of opposition that         
    In charge to have a prosperous online email marketing campaign, it's grievous to have an majestic record of good, authentic email addresses. Without your list, you will not be able to doings a victorious email mercantilism fight and you will not be able to survive the dignified level of opposition that exists in the online worldwide today.There are abundant email catalogue structure strategies. You can use any one of them to fabricate your own register of email addresses. Email roll creation is very important to the natural event of your online conglomerate. If the index of email addresses has not been improved properly, your subscribers will not buy from you. This is the judgment that various race try to make long-life lists of email addresses by buying the primed ready-made lists. This is not the well-matched way to go just about it as you strength get everlasting for spamming the email recipient if you do not have their permission to email them.You stipulation to habitus your own listing. This may oblige several moderation on your part of a set as you will not be competent to cod the required collection in a day or two. One of the furthermost powerful distance to size a large, receptive roll of opt-in subscribers is to use a squeeze folio on your website to have your company opt in to your listing.Post ads:Le Donne Leather Front Flap Crossbody / Black Diamond Ion Headlamp / OGIO Business and Luggage 17" Laptop Case / JANSPORT Black Label SuperBreak Backpack / JANSPORT SuperBreak Backpack / Karlen Swiss - Medium School Bag - WD73 / VERA BRADLEY LAPTOP BACKPACK (Large) - SYMPHONY IN HUE / Pelican 0450WD Mobile Tool Chest with Drawers (Black) / Dakine 36-Litre Frontier Pack / Portfolio Book Cover Carrying Case with Built in Bluetooth / CaseCrown Foam Lined Hard Case (Floral) for Acer 10 Inch / Diamond Plate Genuine Sold Lthr Biker Purse / rooCase Acer Aspire Timeline AS1810T-8638 11.6-Inch / CaseCrown Neoprene Sleeve (Black/Red) for 11 Inch Apple / Black Faux Ostrich Leather Hard Case Flat Women's Clutch / Gator Laptop and Projector Bag with Wheels and Handle / Flud Watches The Tech Bag in Black & Tan,Bags / Blue Alligator Croc Print Passport Cover Holder / ASICS Lite-Ning BackpackBy building your own opt-in list, you have the email recipient's approval to transport message offers for your products or those products of your affiliate programs. By structure a resonance beside your own subscribers you will get a exceedingly big consequence charge per unit for your goods offerings.
              #ChinaVsJinping : Military Reforms, PLA Trimming and New Operational Head        

     Source : NewsBharati  Date : 04-Aug-2017

     Vinay Joshi

    WhatsApp

    12

    In first two parts of China Vs Jinping, we have analysed fallouts of Jinping’s anti-corruption purge of politico-military leadership and his merciless crackdown on Military Business Empire of People’s Liberation Army including huge human organ trade and transplant industry. Both steps have created much uproar in China as those arrested and prosecuted in the sweeping campaign were powerful in their respective fields. After assuming the office, Jinping had vowed to catch “Tigers and Flies” engulfed in corruption, which was veiled reference to all ranging from “Top to Bottom” irrespective of their position, fame, persona and honour in public and party life.

     

    In this paper (3rd in a series) we will go through Jinping’s ambitious structural reforms in Chinese armed forces on command and organizational level, integration of all services into one, cohesive, tri services integrated theatre command abolishing supremacy of PLA commanders, dominated by infantry officers. These reforms are similar to US reforms of its armed forces which were based on United States’ The Goldwater–Nichols Act-1986, to solve the problems caused by inter-service rivalry and operational failures leading caused by such rivalry. Though these reforms are going to increase the efficiency of Chinese armed forces, it has generated resentment and backlash from mighty commanders of PLA.

    One more and probably most significant factor of Chinese military reforms are proposed a sharp cut in PLA strength. The containing PLA strength from 2.4 million to 1 million over a period of time is biggest and boldest step taken by Jinping immediately after taking over as Chinese President. There are many angles to this move and many theories propped up from a Western and American analyst. The most significant and logical conclusion was, fear in Jinping’s mind about PLA’s wealthy and powerful generals! We will try to find out whether the fear has anything to do with reality or not.

    PLA Openly Attacked Jinping’s Military Reforms

    China is the country governed by a single party. The Chinese media is only state run newspapers and TV channels pouring in information which party wants to disseminate. Every word and case is being strictly monitored and censored. Utmost care is taken not to transmit any information which is detrimental to party’s image. But, the scale of Jinping and PLA is such a high and tensions between two camps are unprecedented that PLA’s mouthpiece daily People’s Daily blatantly attacked Jinping over reforms in armed forces.

    In November 2015, when structural reforms were already declared and the majority of the Chinese including PLA, were yet to judge Jinping’s capacities People’s Daily- the mouthpiece of PLA committed a serious offence. The two authors associated with PLA Academy, Mr Sun Kejia and Mr Han Xiao lashed out in clear words at proposed military reforms. They warned of serious consequences if proposed military reforms were pushed through. Later the article was pulled down from the website after much uproar.

    Surprisingly, even after taking on practically omnipotent Jinping, no one could harm any one of the two authors, which launched a scathing attack on Jinping. The reason behind the immunity which both authors enjoyed is not known but it is not impossible to judge. Though publicly just two authors were visible attacking Jinping’s policies on military reforms, everyone in China knows that they were voicing the opinion of thousands of PLA ranks against the possible axing of their jobs and stripping them of various privileges which they were enjoying these days.

    In China, such direct public expression of opinion was unusual and hard to believe!

    The Military Reforms and Trimming PLA

    Military reforms envisaged by Jinping would see the slashing of PLA strength from 2.4 million to just 1 million within next few years. It means half of the PLA troops would lose their jobs. Moreover, new theatre command structure will take down army’s supremacy within armed forces. Though these reforms; if actually executed successfully, would convert Chinese armed forces in lethal, formidable and most professional fighting machine in the world. The initial indications and structural, psychological and practical deficiencies in the system suggest that reforms are going to hit hard rock.

    The central theme of military reforms is converting military from “quantitative” to “qualitative” force. But what is going actually going to be on the ground is huge cuts in infantry combat troops and a simultaneous increase in naval strength, rocket force and strategic support forces. Obviously, infantry is the biggest loser in this exercise.

    The New Joint Theatre Commands consisting Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern, and Central commands will rearrange troops and resources in respective areas and merge it within the single homogeneous structure to boost mobility, pace and proficiency of the troops by integrating all resources into one cohesive unit.

    The theme is based on American Goldwater–Nichols Act-1986, which would continue to appoint three services chiefs, but none of the three chiefs would have any operational power. They would cease to be the advisers of Central Military Commission and President. This whole power will be consolidated in the hands of CMC head and Commander-In-Chief.

    The Unrest in Demobilized Soldiers

    As an ultimate fallout of demobilized Chinese soldiers after the restructuring of PLA, the large scale unrest growing among those who lost the jobs. In October and November 2016 two protest marches were called at powerful Central Military Commission HQ in Beijing to demand compensation and penalties for snatching their jobs in new military reforms. On October 11, 2016, near about 30,000 demobilized troops took part in a protest at CMC headquarters in Beijing. Another protest on November 01, 2016 vanished under media blackout as the government imposed stringent prohibition orders on covering the protests fearing its spread.

    Why Jinping Reminded Army of Party Supremacy?

    Xi Jinping reviewed military exercise to mark the 90th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army this week. While addressing the troops he reminded the military of “Gutian Congress” Principle of party’s supremacy over the military. He told PLA to ‘uncompromisingly follow Communist party leadership and it shall march wherever Party points too’. Many believed that deep sense of mistrust and insecurity in Jinping’s psyche about PLA has forced the president to speak it up.

    Recent aggressive steps taken by Jinping which directly or indirectly hit vested interests of military commanders has placed him at loggerheads with men in uniform.

    The balance of power hangs in imbalance as uncertainty looms over Jinping’s career due to his consistent campaign against powerful party leaders and military commanders. It would be interesting to watch the events in China in next one year to wait and see which camp turns the table and whether Jinping tightens the grip or loses the game.

    Jinping as Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces

    In April 2016 Jinping officially took charge of the chief of newly formed Joint Operations Command Center of Chinese Armed Forces. Though, being president of China, he was chairman of Central Military Commission- CMC, the latest installation of Jinping as Head of JOCC has far reaching implications.

    China is economically sharply divided into two distinct parts; wealthy, industrious and rich coastal China and poor, underdeveloped and impoverished hinterlands. The majority population in China is living in poor and underdeveloped rural China. The Great Equality Utopia assured by glossy Communism has already waned away. The wealthy coastal area has economic bonds with Europe and USA and they have nothing to do with Chinese masses. Under such circumstances, it is a difficult task for Jinping to control brewing anger among rural Chinese masses, which were the backbone of the Chinese revolution. Xi Jinping’s biggest concern is to monitor and quell any future turmoil which would come to fore either slowly or in the form of a huge outburst of public anger. Jinping wants Communist Party to control it. But biggest hurdle in quenching the fire is PLA and paramilitary troops.

    After ruthless crackdown on so called tainted commanders, former security Czar, two former vice chairmen of Central Military Commission, dismantling lucrative military business empire including PLA controlled medical facilities and dismantling monopoly and dominance of PLA in Chinese Armed Forces; Jinping needs more operational control over its forces, to keep vigilant eye on day to day affairs related to troops movements.

    The composition of Chinese Armed Forces is also mattered of concern for Jinping. The majority of the Chinese troops are from Chinese hinterland which is deprived rich dividends of economic boom in the country and wealthy coastal region has a very negligible presence in forces. The huge economic disparity and wealth imbalance within two regions might trigger a chain of reactions in PLA, with the majority of the troops from the largely backwards region.

    The sharp reduction in a number of troops would add to Jinping’s woes. As being autocratic country; expectation of fair compensation to troops removed from forces is somewhat unrealistic and it would hardly address in a country like China.

    On The Other Hand, wealthy China is a potent threat to the Communist regime for a very strange reason. China watchers believe that real motive behind anti-corruption blitzkrieg is to warn wealthy Chinese and to deliver them subtle message to refrain from indulging in party affairs with enough financial resources in hand. In near future, Jinping might think of taking control of private assets to distribute it in the regions facing financial imbalance. To achieve it, he must have full control over its armed forces for dual purpose; to monitor and thwart unrest within PLA ranks deriving from peasant class and to pressurize affluent class from becoming dominant over party and policy makers.

    Jinping hit most dangerous conglomerate of influential people in China

    In one more direct bold move, Jinping hit most dangerous conglomerate of influential people in China. In January 2016, he installed Discipline Inspection Commission under the direct control of Central Military Commission specifically for corruption related to PLA ranks. PLA commanders with deep pockets and cross sectional influence across all spheres of industrial, commercial and Chinese elites are real time treat for Party in general and Jinping in particular. Within just a few months of the establishment of DIC, hundreds of PLA officials are purged from top to bottom.

    The message was open and out to all PLA bigwigs- “fall in line or get prosecuted”. After years of career in PLA, there would be hardly anyone in the military with Mr Clean image, especially at the time when the military was running thousands of industrial, commercial enterprises all over China.

    As a Head of Joint Operations Command Center means Commander-In-Chief of Chinese armed forces; he is in a position to monitor every movement of PLA of any scale, which could threaten his regime. After unleashing terror within Communist Party and military in the name of big bang anti-corruption drive, Jinping has established his most trusted aids at all nodal positions to monitor any movement by party or military which could topple him!

    Present military reforms would take years to complete but its magnitude and number of people either losing their jobs or getting sidelined in due course will mount unbelievable pressure on the party and Mr President.

    Let’s see how Jinping tackles the issue and whether he softens his stand or ups his ante against his rivals within party and PLA


              Why The 350 Dead Bangladeshi’s Are Our Fault        
    Ever shopped at Primark or any of the other 100’s of clothing stores who turn a blind eye to their supply chain? The terrible irony of Primark (which is often the target of choice by campaigners against cheap labour etc)  is that it’s actually owned by Associated British Foods plc, which is a conglomerate which is 54% […]
              1808 el ovni del Kremlin        

    Desde siempre, algunos autodenominados "ufólogos", quieren hacer creer que desde antiguo se han avistado naves extraterrestres.

    Hace tiempo surgió esta noticia:

    "Antiguo Manuscrito Ruso describe un avistamiento OVNI del siglo XIX"

    Los reportes sobre avistamientos OVNI aparecen hoy en día en los medios tan frecuentemente que difícilmente son tenidos en cuenta.
    A menudo los supuestos OVNIs son explicados como cohetes, pruebas meteorológicas, aviones y sus rastros, etc…

    Pero esto (muchas veces sólo usado para desviar la atención de la verdadera naturaleza del fenómeno, que es la extraterrestre) ciertamente no puede aplicarse de ninguna manera a los avistamientos registrados hace siglos –cuando no existían los cohetes o aviones.

    El diario Komsomolskaya Pravda de Moscú publicó un documento de un archivo personal que nos habla de un OVNI visto tras el Kremlin en 1808.“Encontré este documento en el archivo personal del senador Peter Polansky de Moscú, el cual trabajó para el Servicio Secreto del Zar y murió a mediados del siglo XIX.

    Aparentemente el manuscrito atrajo su atención por alguna razón”, dice Alexander Afanasiev, experto del Museo de Historia del Estado Ruso, departamento de manuscritos. “La ufología no es realmente mi área, pero definitivamente este manuscrito describe un OVNI.

    ”Radiación sobre el Kremlim“

    El 13 de septiembre de 1808, a las 20.07 de la tarde, en el cielo claro y lleno de estrellas, un fenómeno acaeció, incomparable en su belleza y rigor, así como en la radiación y el tamaño enorme, con cualquier cosa vista antes. Como lo notamos, atraídos por un ruidoso sonido, casi se levantaba en un arco sobre el horizonte, de 55' a casi 90'.
    Habiendo superado esta distancia en un instante, se detuvo entre las nubes sobre el Krenlim.

    Lucía como algo parecido a una placa recta y larga de unos 6.35 metros de largo y unos 35 centímetros de espesor.Entonces, de su borde delantero, volteado al sudoeste, una gran llama se encendió, de casi metro y medio de largo por un poco más de ancho, con una llama que sería sólo comparable con la radiación de un fósforo ardiente.

    Flotando en un círculo sin expandir el fuego o destellar, iluminó todo lo que se encontraba alrededor como si fuera la plena luz del día; entonces la llama se apagó, la luz desapareció, pero la ‘placa’ brillante permanecía y se desplazó perpendicular hacia arriba, alcanzado las estrellas y dejándose ver por un par de minutos y entonces, sin desaparecer, se volvió invisible debido a la extraordinaria altura.”

    De hecho, el objeto misterioso descrito tiene gran semejanza con los avistamientos modernos de OVNIs por su capacidad de hacer movimientos abruptos (detenerse y luego adquirir gran velocidad), irradiación de luz, forma regular, etc.

    Asimismo, Afanasyev descarta cualquier posibilidad de que el manuscrito sea una falsificación.

    "Imposible. El manuscrito esta escrito en papel auténtico, producido en 1805. El deletreo y el estilo pertenecen obviamente principios del siglo XIX, y el autor debe haber sido una persona educada, probablemente profesor de la Universidad del Estado de Moscú, puesto que la Universidad está justo cruzando la calle desde el Kremlim."

    El investigador consultó a los astrónomos, esperando descubrir lo que el autor del manuscrito había atestiguado realmente, pero inesperadamente éstos le ayudaron a identificar al autor.

    "En 1808, en una reunión de la Sociedad Naturalista de Moscú, Andrey Chebotarev, un profesor de 24 años de experiencia en química, en la Universidad de Moscú, hizo un informe sobre un meteorito que él había avistado”, dice Gallina Ponomaryova, experta de la Universidad de la Astronomía del Estado. “Por supuesto, no era un meteorito, pero en aquella época cualquier objeto en el cielo era identificado como meteorito."

    El Esquema El manuscrito fue acompañado por un bosquejo, representando lo que vio Chebotarev:



    1. El 13 de septiembre de 1808 a las 20:07, en la Universidad del Estado de Moscú, Chebotarev oye un ruido de choque y mira hacia afuera por la ventana viendo un objeto rectangular 6.35 metros de largo y 0.35 metros de espesor, levantándose en un arco.


    2. El objeto se detiene sobre el Kremlin a cierta altura. En la parte lateral una bola brillante de fuego se enciende, de unos 1.5 metros de diámetro. La radiación se mantiene por cinco segundos.


    3. Cuando la radiación se apaga, el objeto se eleva suavemente hacia arriba y es visible por dos minutos.“El objetivo de este documento todavía sigue siendo un misterio para mí”, agrega Afanasyev. “Al principio supuse que sería el bosquejo de un artículo para alguna publicación, pero ni el periódico de la Universidad del Estado de Moscú, ni ninguna otra edición de Moscú publicó este material. ”Chebotarev podría estar preparando un artículo para el Boletín de Noticias de la Sociedad Naturalista de Moscú, pero por alguna razón nunca fue publicado y ha permanecido en archivo hasta que Peter Polansky lo descubrió. Finalmente, el manuscrito fue redescubierto por investigadores modernos, quienes lo dieron a conocer al público.”


    Fuente: http://mosnews.com/ y http://elistas.net/lista/mpnews/archivo/indice/246/msg/256/


    El tal Andrey Chebotarev vio, algo sobre los cielos del Kremlin, pero...


    ¿Qué hace pensar que fuera una nave extraterrestre o un fenómeno meteorológico?


    Quizá se tratase de un meteorito y que este señor lo viera como una placa rectangular, por que según lo que describe:

    "Entonces, de su borde delantero, volteado al sudoeste, una gran llama se encendió, de casi metro y medio de largo por un poco más de ancho, con una llama que sería sólo comparable con la radiación de un fósforo ardiente, flotando en un círculo sin expandir el fuego o destellar, iluminó todo lo que se encontraba alrededor como si fuera la plena luz del día; entonces la llama se apagó, la luz desapareció, pero la ‘placa’ brillante permanecía y se desplazó perpendicular hacia arriba, alcanzado las estrellas y dejándose ver por un par de minutos y entonces, sin desaparecer, se volvió invisible debido a la extraordinaria altura"


    No describe objeto alguno, ni maniobras extrañas, solo que se eleva hasta desaparecer, eso si, con un gran compendio de luces y sonidos (estos últimos extraños en fenomenología ovni).


    También dice:

    "... Habiendo superado esta distancia en un instante, se detuvo entre las nubes sobre Kremlin. Lucía como algo parecido a una placa recta y larga de unos 6.35 metros de largo y unos 35 centímetros de espesor".


    "Entre las nubes sobre el Kremlin" y aun así, debido a la considerable altura (el Kremlin en 1808 media no menos de 20 metros de alto) suponiendo que las nubes rozaran las varillas de las puntas de las torres... !!Es capaz de ver que medía de grueso nada mas y nada menos que 35 cms!! Buena vista!!! Aun si hubiese sido capaz de observarlo exactamente, con las medidas de 6.35 por 0.35 no parece que sea una nave, mas parece una plancha o similar, pero muy alejada de una nave tripulada que algunos quieren hacer ver que se observaban en 1808.


    Pero avancemos en la historia. Se supone que el tal Andrey Chebotarev, tenía relación con la universidad, que era hombre culto y que escribió un manuscrito. ¿Hay constancia de que este hombre existiera? Ninguna, solo lo supuesto por el senador Peter Polansky de Moscú, el cual trabajó para el Servicio Secreto del Zar ( La Okhrana) y murió a mediados del siglo XIX. Pero en el manuscrito no aparece nombre alguno de ningún personaje.


    ¿Entonces quien da este nombre?
    Este nombre lo da un tal Alexander Afanasyev, experto del Museo de Historia del Estado Ruso, departamento de manuscritos.


    Pero tras tres días de búsqueda por parte de mi amiga Irina Pres****kaya, (profesora de ajedrez en Madrid y a la cual no estaré nunca suficientemente agradecida) la cual estudió e impartió clases en la Universidad de Moscú (UNML) y tras contactar con sus compañeros de la Universidad, me comenta que no hay tal señor en ese departamento.


    Existe un tal Alexander Afanasyev, como auxiliar de biblioteca de la Universidad Estatal y un tal Nikolay Afanasyev, como auxiliar de restauraciones de la Universidad Estatal. ¿A cual elegir?


    Creo que ninguno es nuestro hombre. Ninguno es experto del Museo de Historia.
    Tenemos que tener en cuenta que dice:
    "Imposible. El manuscrito esta escrito en papel auténtico, producido en 1805. El deletreo y el estilo pertenecen obviamente principios del siglo XIX, y el autor debe haber sido una persona educada, probablemente profesor de la Universidad del Estado de Moscú, puesto que la Universidad está justo cruzando la calle desde el Kremlim."
    Pero resulta que la Universidad Estatal de Moscú, en principio estaba a lado del Kremlin, que Catalina La Grande la derribó para crear la Gran Plaza Imperial (hoy Plaza Roja), que la traslado a varias dependencias, de varios edificios de la calle Mokhovaya, que esta calle esta a una manzana del Kremlin, dado que los edificios están orientados a espaldas del Kremlin, dificilmente, el profesor Andrey Chebotarev, en 1808, pudo observar tal fenómeno, tal como lo describe y donde dice que lo vió.


    A no ser que las personas que lo observaron (el manuscrito pluraliza) estuvieran dando un paseo, por la sombría calle trasera, junto a las murallas en pleno mes de Septiembre, con temperaturas bastante desapacibles a esas horas. Pero el dibujo del manuscrito refleja el Kremlin visto desde lejos, no de tan cerca y la suposición de que Andrey Chebotaryov, trabajara en la Universidad y lo viera al entrar o salir de ella, es solo eso, una suposición.



    La iglesia que se ve al fondo de color rojo es el Museo de Historia del Estado Ruso.


    Por otra parte el manuscrito hace referencia (una vez conseguido traducir con mucho esfuerzo) a un fenómeno atmosférico a determinada altura en grados, etc. Pudo ser un eclipse, un halo en la Luna o cualquier cosa, pues no indica nada. Además en todo el manuscrito no aparecen más números que el año 1808, el día 1º (dado que el calendario no era el occidental) y las cifras 55º y 90º. Las demás medidas que se citan ni aparecen, eso además de tener en cuenta que en esa época nadie en el mundo media en Sistema Métrico, sistema que fue implantado posteriormente a Napoleón ya que en muchos países usaban el suyo propio. Los creadores de ese caso, no solo pasaron cifras del calendario ruso al occidental, sino que pasaron a cms cifras inexistentes.




    ¿Pero ese manuscrito de donde salió? Se supone que de la Universidad y que el senador lo guardó por que debido a su extrañeza le pareció curioso, pero todo Moscú ardió en 1812, con la invasión Napoleónica. Tras tres meses y medio de estar las tropas francesas ocupando la ciudad, los pocos edificios que los propios rusos no habían quemado, los quemaron los franceses. Ardió hasta la propia catedral de San Basilio. Nada de lo que hay hoy en día en pie es de 1808. Los rusos practicamente salieron con lo puesto, todos ricos y pobres huyeron. Los únicos manuscritos que se salvaron fueron algunos de la biblioteca de la Universidad Estatal y eran volúmenes gruesos (tratados de botánica, etc).


    ¿Aun así pudo salvarse el manuscrito? Pues si, pero debido a lo dudoso del informante, me temo lo peor. ¿Entonces quien saca a la luz tan valioso manuscrito? Pues el tal Alexander Afanasyev, al quien nadie conoce, que no es experto del Museo de Historia del estado Ruso y que lo encontró en el archivo personal del senador Peter Poludensky, pero es imposible saber si tal personaje existió y si perteneció al servicio secreto.


    Lo extraño del caso es que se conserve un archivo de la Universidad o el archivo de un espía, tras el incendio y que a su vez este lo guardara sin destruir. Dificilmente un miembro de un servicio secreto guarda los documentos en un archivo.


    Pero la noticia salió publicada en el diario Mosnews.com, (Noticiasmoscovitas.com) un diario electronico de dudosa reputación y altamente sensacionalista, el cual busca avidamente ser leido en EE.UU. donde sabe que le pueden financiar, pues lleva dos años bajo de fondos economicos. http://www.mosnews.com/column/2006/02/07/sensationalfind.shtml


    A su vez este diario toma la noticia de la sección misteriosa (¿o habría que decir misteróloga?) de la revista electronica Komsomolskaya Pravda (La verdad juvenil) revista tambien de dudosa reputación como la anterior, dado que antes se emitía en papel, pero era finaciada por el aparato soviético y ahora es financiada con fondos propios lo que la obliga a buscar la noticia por "amarilla" que esta sea. http://www.kp.ru/


    La noticia la publican con una copia del manuscrito http://www.kp.ru/daily/23654/49651/


    Bueno viene en ruso y no se entiende, pero solo hay que traducirlo. Podemos comprobar lo sensacionalista de la revista en cuanto vemos la primera ilustración, un cuadro clasico de Moscu, en verano con un platillo volante superpuesto y un largo etc de incongruencias. (Por cierto que lo poco que se lee del manuscrito, puede describir tanto un eclipse como la descripción de cualquier tormenta)



    Otras noticias de ovnis de la revista:






    Bueno, como veis hay de todo, desde noticias que dicen "Mujer se asusta y llama a la policia por que su lavadora canta opera italiana", "Mensaje extraterrestre en una sandía" u otras como "Cientificos demuestran que la Tierra es cuadrada".


    Claro, automaticamente salta a todos los medios de difusión electrónicos (por que el caso solo está en formato electrónico) que recojen esas noticias. A partir de ahí, es todo un conglomerado de copiar y pegar, y la noticia se repite, como hacen los loros.
    Que puede que el manuscrito sea autentico, puede ser, pero no describe nada de lo que comenta esa publiación.


    De lo más científico... y de lo más veraz por parte de algunos ufólogos.

    Claro que como a la mayor parte de estos, les interesa que la gente crea en al existencia de visitantes extraterrestres, bien por proselitismo a su causa o bien para ocultar otras cosas más terrenas.

    Saludos
              eIQ Insights: Global Beauty Companies All Have One Thing in Common, A Digital Focus        

    Beauty is undeniably a big industry but within the sector, the hundreds of well-loved brands are owned by only seven global conglomerates. These household names range from Unilever, L’Oréal to Estée Lauder. The 182 beauty companies...

    The post eIQ Insights: Global Beauty Companies All Have One Thing in Common, A Digital Focus appeared first on ecommerceIQ - Ecommerce in Southeast Asia, Reports, Data, Insights.


              Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Story Trailer – I Am Faith        
    “Faith Connors is a self-assured thrill-seeker and one of the best Runners in the city of Glass. But Faith’s carefree days are numbered. As she crosses paths with the evil Gabriel Kruger and the city’s oppressive Conglomerate, Faith finds herself … Continue reading
              CONSEJOS PARA EL TELETRABAJO        



    El Teletrabajo, una modalidad laboral en auge en estos días tiene muchas ventajas, sólo, hay que organizarse y mantener una disciplina.
    Para que el teletrabajo funcione exitosamente se recomienda desarrollar ciertas competencias: ser una persona proactiva, auto motivada, disciplinada y ordenada. Ahorrará tiempo, gasolina y dinero quedándose en casa, pero hay que tener horarios y hábitos ordenados.
    Si se tiene familia con hijos en edades escolares y menores deberán todos (as) ajustarse a esta nueva modalidad del padre o de la madre en casa.
    Indispensable: un espacio físico con privacidad para no ser interrumpido(a).
    Aquí unos consejos:

    EVITEMOS
    Espacios conglomerados
    Trabajar en la habitación en la cama.
    Lugar oscuro y con poca ventilación
    Picar comidas y visitas frecuentes a la cocina
    Hacer oficios domésticos
    Hacer arreglos y renovaciones en casa
    Visitas de vecinos, familia y amistades
    Trabajar en horas “pico” de vida familiar
    Ser la secretaria del hogar
    Ser la niñera del hogar y del barrio
    Dias de mucha actividad familiar , fines de semana
    Redes sociales por internet (Facebook, Hi5, messenger)
    Andar en pijama todo el día
    Trabajar seguido más de 3 horas
    El televisor encendido

    PRACTICAR

    Organize un espacio en su hogar sólo para usted y su funciones de trabajo.
    Tenga un espacio con una silla ergonómica, escritorio para computadora, teclado, espacio para mouse, y teléfono (con su propia línea) si ocupa.
    Su espacio de trabajo deberá ser ventilado, con luz natural (sin reflejos) y con buena iluminación para trabajar de noche.
    Cuidado con la tentación de estar comiendo a cada rato! Le pueden aumentar unos kilitos! Mantener horarios fijos de comidas y balanceados, beber agua
    Mantenga horarios de trabajo establecidos y horarios de asuntos de hogar.
    Mantenga horarios de días de trabajo y aproveche los dias de fin de semana para realizar arreglos en el hogar.
    Hay que acostumbrar a la familia y vecinos que usted está en casa, pero que está ocupado (a) en su trabajo. Mantener su vida social en otros horarios.
    Aprovechar cuando hijos están fuera de casa para avanzar en el trabajo, hacer un horario y respetarlo.
    Mantener su correo electrónico de trabajo para comunicación con la oficia y/o su celular; mantenga una contestadora para el teléfono de su hogar.
    Establezca los horarios de trabajo y de los niños pequeños, mantenga horarios de guardería, kinder y actividades extra escolares.
    Si debe trabajar un día de fin de semana y aún no tienen un espacio físico en su hogar donde pueda mantener privacidad, busque un internet café o un espacio con internet en línea (cafés).
    Mantenga direcciones de correo separadas, una para su vida personal-social y otra dirección de asuntos de trabajo.
    Ahorre tiempo evite distractores.
    Mantenga un horario y un protocolo de trabajo, báñese, vístase cómodamente para estar en casa y organize su día.
    Realice pausas activas, cada hora, unos minutos, estírese, póngase de pie, y continúe.
    Evite la tentación de la tele prendida! Mantenga normas de trabajo, tenga música de fondo suave
              Envelope World        
    A search through the subconscious of the oneiric inserted in the dynamics of formal progression. Captures mind stadiums, each time with greater clarity, as we can see in the evolution that has experienced with respect to the work of the previous year. In his new series 2008? It shows us the rebirth of deep lethargy nature enveloping all living beings, achieving in this way, through its laborious search for colours, a very elaborate product, where light plays a leading role in it, as well as the warmth, delicacy, the interesting chromatics and excellent compositions, which are combined in a single material. His compositions are intertwined capriciously forming dizzying figures defined by the mood of the Viewer, even outside the confines of the work, and can thus combine in diptychs or triptychs, as if they have been made for the other, enhancing thus the mastery of his work. It reflects Interior moments, landscapes almicos, forces that are part of nature, which are movement and gesture, of vegetable origin and Devic, which are transformed into foundations of a plastic discourse that WINS in mystery, which incorporates more enigmatic elements, to delve into his particular labyrinth. A maze forming part of a central positioning of Stella Mezzadri based on the determination of change to delve into the phenomenology of spirit. He leaves shape, the Mirage, the Mayan controlled, by a more whole work, in the sense that delves deeply into the subconscious, in the evocative power of the transforming energy, on the strength of plastic without resorting to iconisms discoverers of a reality that is presumed but which is formed by a disparate conglomerate of situations or by energy concentrations that the artist deals with determination. Its composition, elaborated in oil on canvas, is based on colors and own tones, blurred and gradients,...
              Under African Skies        
    Tremendous:

    Tinariwen and Ali Farka Toure. My musical horizons needed broadening and so a quick trip to amazon provided albums by these two artists.

    Tinariwen are a tribe of musicians with no country in Northern Africa, homeless now for 60 years. Their music is a conglomeration of sounds from traditional campfire jams to blues and rock n' roll.

    Ali Farka Toure is the recently deceased godfather of African music. One of the magnificent Senegalese musicians of recent times, he's been described by Martin Scorsese as "the DNA of the blues." It is amazing listening to these songs that share so much with a musical form so deeply associated with America. It obviously transcends time and place and gives you a sense of how important music is to heritage and people. It has carried 400 years over thousands of miles of ocean, achings of torment and torture in the slave plantations; and centuries of dilution in a foreign land.

    Yet still present in music from Senegal is the familiar twang and vocal style of the Blues greats.

    A reminder of music's ability to amaze and emote.
              The Future of the Navy        
    Admiral Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, opened the 2010 Current Strategy Forum at the Naval War College.

    I've discussed his remarks in greater detail over at Global Security, but let me excerpt a few points here:

    The CNO foresees a resurgence of the Navy's traditional Cold and post-Cold War role as the vehicle for the projection of a "credible military presence offshore" anywhere in the world. Given the importance of the sea lanes for the global economy, the importance of the oceans for transport and communications ("the internet swims with the fishes"), and the increasing size of the oceans (considering the climactic changes in the Arctic opening up the northern passages), the United States will need to be able to demonstrate it has credible capabilities for ensuring its interests. The U.S. must cross two oceans to reach many of the areas that are vital to U.S. interests, which requires a robust force structure.

    The U.S. has the smallest navy since 1916; the fleet shrank during the last period of budget growth; and the increased focus on front-line engagement means assets are being constantly used (and depreciated). In addition, we have new high-technology threats that make control of the seas more problematic, and the industrial base in the U.S. is shrinking. If previously there were 6 major shipbuilding conglomerates, now there are two.

    Partnerships help to bridge the gap. He cited Task Force 151 dealing with Somali piracy as an example of growing cooperation (among the U.S., the EU, Malaysia, India, China, Russia, Australia and others) to secure the global commons. He views some of the examples of naval cooperation (antipiracy, disaster response, etc.) as bypassing the political problems that can emerge when countries attempt to coordinate onshore/on land operations.

    But the U.S. military will have to rethink its personnel and procurement policies. Programs must meed the needs of the U.S. to secure its interests--and this means that programs that are not delivering required capabilities or at a price that can be afforded must be re-examined (and canceled if necessary).

    Finally, U.S. strategists will have to grapple with the question: are we creating and sustaining a naval force sufficient to influence the global order? Does it require the creation of networks and partnerships with other countries--and what capabilities do we need to retain to be able to act alone if necessary?
              O avanço imperialista do Sindicato Farquhar Imperialismo & Capitalismo        
    O avanço imperialista do Sindicato Farquhar Imperialismo & Capitalismo (Nilson Thomé)
    Galera aproveitem este professor é um ícone sobre a Guerra do Contestado.

    As relações capitalistas já existiam no Contestado no momento em que ocorre a Guerra do Contestado. Esta parte é dedicada à ruptura social e cultural, quando uma nova fase deste capitalismo, marcada pelo imperialismo e pelo monopólio, adentra com bastante força no então espaço livre do Contestado. Veremos que, ao olhar do opressor, a população cabocla é fadada ao desaparecimento, para viabilizar sua substituição por outra, de imigrantes-colonos, dos primeiros restando alguns sobreviventes. A limpeza da área foi radical. Foi uma guerra de extermínio. O rompimento das relações antigas de um espaço geográfico amplo e de um território livre deu-se quando os caboclos tiveram que conviver com a modernização do território, mediante a ação firme e resoluta do Estado intervencionista e de investimentos de capitais estrangeiros.

    A construção da ferrovia, as madeireiras e a colonização estrangeira vêm modificar as relações sociais da comunidade cabocla com os invasores de seu território. O rompimento do mundo livre para um mundo de opressão, que começa com a pilhagem de suas terras e de seu território e termina com a intervenção sanguinária do braço armado de civis e militares, passando pelo controle do poder político, do deslocamento dos direitos individuais para a opressão do Estado, do deslocamento de idéias e vida próprias ao território livre para idéias e forças que vinham de fora e se instalaram como forças armadas no espaço dos caboclos.




    6. 1 Avanço imperialista sobre o território Contestado



    De origem canadense, o Trust of Toronto, responsável pela implantação dos trilhos da Companhia Estrada de Ferro São Paulo Rio Grande, da madeireira Southern Brazil Lumber and Colonization Company, da Companhia Frigorífica e Pastorial, e da colonizadora Brazil Development and Colonization Company, na Região do Contestado, foi o maior conglomerado multinacional que atuou no território brasileiro no início dos anos 1900. Neste contexto, a Brazil Railway Company era a “holding” do truste com sede nos EUA, mas sustentada por investidores europeus. Para entendê-la, precisamos reportar-nos à entrada no Brasil de empreendedores norte-americanos liderados por Percival Farquhar.

    Não tendo vencido como queria nos meios empresariais de New York, o grupo econômico de Farquhar lançou suas empresas para além-fronteiras, atraído pelos incentivos e facilidades que diversos países ofereciam a quem investisse em setores de infra-estrutura, carentes de capital. A amplitude dos planos de Farquhar surpreendeu desde seus sócios até seus concorrentes e não demorou para que, mobilizando milhões de libras esterlinas e dólares, atingisse o México, a América Central, as Antilhas, o Peru, o Chile, a Bolívia, o Paraguai, o Uruguai, a Argentina e, finalmente, o Brasil.

    A Brazil Railway Company, fundada a 9 de novembro de 1906, em Portland, Oregon (EUA), iniciou suas atividades no Brasil com planos ambiciosos. As primeiras “vítimas” foram as principais ferrovias do Sudeste e do Sul do Brasil, incluindo a Companhia Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande e, finalmente, a Madeira-Mamoré . Em 1916, quando o total das vias férreas em exploração no Brasil somavam 23.491 quilômetros, a Brazil Railway já dominava quase a metade, ou seja, 11.064 km. O trutes também investiu em empresas na Bahia e em terras e fazendas de criação de gado no Centro-Oeste e no Norte do país.

    Só em terras, Farquhar chegou a amealhar em todo o Brasil, através das suas diversas empresas, mais de 250.000 km2, ou seja, quase três vezes a superfície total do Estado de Santa Catarina. As administrações das companhias ligadas ao Sindicato estavam confiadas a amigos pessoais de Percival Farquhar, que seguiam à risca a determinação de obter alto lucro, não importando os meios empregados. Se o dinheiro “corria solto” entre os administradores, advogados e autoridades subornadas, tal bonança não acontecia entre os acionistas, os investidores europeus, que haviam fornecido os capitais e que, gradativamente, começaram a ficar à margem dos lucros, assim com as fatias menores dos bolos. Tão logo passou a ser impontual nos pagamentos de dividendos e bonificações aos acionistas, o Sindicato permitiu que se levantassem dúvidas, confusões e descontentamentos, fatos nocivos ao crédito brasileiro no exterior. Abalados com a I Guerra Mundial, os investimentos de Farquhar sofreram seguidos reveses econômicos em todo o mundo.

    A 18 de julho de 1917, a Brazil Railway Company e suas subsidiárias entraram em regime de concordata (mesmo sem homologação da justiça brasileira) e passaram a atuar sob gerenciamento de pessoas cujos mandatos não configuravam como legítimos. Servindo-se de pretextos fúteis, deixaram de atender aos compromissos assumidos, entrando em conflito público com os acionistas-debenturistas, permitindo que continuassem a circular os títulos de dívida, em condições desmoralizadoras para o crédito brasileiro.

    O governo brasileiro só reagiu quarenta anos depois. Crítica, a situação chegou a tal ponto, que todos os bens, móveis e imóveis, direitos e obrigações da Brazil Railway e suas subsidiárias, foram incorporados ao patrimônio da União , englobando seus ativos e passivos, no maior ato de encampação até hoje promovido pelo Governo Federal.

    A Região do Contestado não conhecia a força do imperialismo até a chegada dos trilhos da Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande e até a instalação das serrarias da Southern Brazil Lumber & Colonization Company. Este fato, coincidindo com a época da deflagração da Guerra do Contestado, faz com que o período de 1913 a 1916 se imponha no tempo como um referencial da História do Contestado. Antes, aqui havia um território inexplorado, com o predomínio populacional do caboclo, tendo por atividades econômicas apenas a criação de gado bovino e a extração da erva-mate, além daquelas de subsistência própria, como pequenos cultivos agrícolas, poucas criações de suínos, alguns engenhos de serrar madeira e beneficiar erva-mate, a caça de animais selvagens e a coleta de frutos silvestres. Até esta época, poucas famílias de imigrantes (alemães, poloneses e ucranianos), trazidos pelo Paraná, haviam entrado na parte Setentrional do Contestado, no eixo Porto União-Canoinhas-Mafra-Papanduva-Itaiópolis, desenvolvendo a incipiente agricultura, a rudimentar indústria, e formando os primeiros povoamentos.

    O aniquilamento da oposição cabocla aos grandes interesses nacionais (tráfego de trens, extração da madeira e assentamento de imigrantes), durante a Guerra do Contestado, a alto preço, traria os primeiros indicadores de progresso para a área, até então alheia ao estágio de desenvolvimento em que se encontravam outras regiões do País, algumas bem próximas, como a faixa litorânea deste Estado ou a de Curitiba e adjacências, no Paraná.

    Sem contar os teutos e eslavos colocados no Norte da Região do Contestado pelo Paraná, ainda antes da Guerra do Contestado, a Companhia Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande tentou desenvolver o projeto de colonização das terras devolutas, próximas aos trilhos, no Vale do Rio do Peixe. Com algumas famílias alemãs e polonesas imigrantes, trazidas para a construção da ferrovia e desembarcadas em 1910-1912 em São Paulo, chegou a instalar núcleos perto das estações, como em Nova Galícia, Presidente Pena, Rio das Antas e Piratuba, no Vale do Rio do Peixe. O assédio hostil dos caboclos em 1914, entretanto, fez com que diversas tentativas fracassassem; os revoltosos atacaram a colônia de Rio das Antas e incendiaram as estações e casas nas colônias de Nova Galícia e Presidente Pena.

    Como os fazendeiros eram muito influenciados pelo Governo do Paraná e este, por sua vez, tinha estreitas ligações econômicas com a EFSPRG e com a Lumber, eram os paranaenses quem, política e administrativamente, dominavam as terras do Planalto Norte e as situadas a Oeste do Rio do Peixe. O Estado de Santa Catarina preferia aguardar a solução para a disputa de limites, contentando-se em impor sua administração apenas até este rio, através de Curitibanos e Campos Novos e, até Canoinhas; por este motivo não realizava obras públicas em favor da população para desenvolver a região. O Paraná, por sua vez, não era tão desleixado e, a partir de Rio Negro, Porto União da Vitória e de Palmas, abriu estradas e concedeu títulos de propriedades de terras a dezenas de fazendeiros, na ânsia de consolidar o domínio do Rio do Peixe até a fronteira com a Argentina.



    6. 2 Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande



    A Companhia Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande – EFSPRG, já estava sob o controle acionário da Brazil Railway Company, em 1907, quando os trilhos do “trem de ferro” começaram a ser implantados no Vale do Rio do Peixe, rasgando verticalmente a Região do Contestado, no território disputado pelos Estados do Paraná e Santa Catarina.

    O tempo histórico dessa ferrovia inicia por volta de 1885, quando um brasileiro voltou suas atenções ao item superficialmente mencionado nos planos de viação do Império: a possível implantação de uma ferrovia, que ligasse o Extremo-Sul do Brasil à Capital Federal, unindo, em linha vertical, o interior das províncias de São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina e Rio Grande do Sul, todas elas até então apenas servidas por estradas de ferro longitudinais, cada qual fazendo a ligação do seu litoral ao interior, sem nenhum elo entre si. Esta ferrovia, em traçado paralelo e a Oeste da Estrada Real (Estrada das Tropas), deveria também possibilitar conexões com as linhas paraguaias, argentinas e uruguaias, próximas às fronteiras.

    Como o Gabinete Imperial estava promovendo a colonização, estabelecendo imigrantes estrangeiros em áreas estratégicas de terras devolutas nacionais, espalhadas pelo interior do Sul do país, através de empresas especializadas, Teixeira Soares aventou a possibilidade de implantar uma “ferrovia colonizadora”, isto é, ela assentaria os trilhos e promoveria a colonização nos seus terrenos marginais, garantindo assim movimento de transporte para a estrada, ao mesmo tempo em que atendia os anseios governamentais de ocupação das terras incultas.

    O levantamento preliminar topográfico indicou o possível roteiro: Itararé, Castro, Ponta Grossa, Rio Iguaçu, Rio Uruguai, Passo Fundo, Cruz Alta e Santa Maria, em perfil dos mais acidentados, numa extensão aproximada de 1.400 quilômetros. O traçado atravessaria territórios distintos. No Paraná, praticamente toda a região estava ocupada por fazendas de criação de gado e pequenas lavouras, com muitas pessoas instaladas na condição de sesmeiros ou de posseiros. Do Rio Iguaçu até passar o Rio Uruguai a maioria das terras eram nacionais devolutas, e, nas proximidades de Passo Fundo, voltava-se a encontrar sesmarias e posses.

    A concessão fixava em 90 anos o prazo para a exploração da ferrovia e estabelecia a cessão gratuita de terrenos devolutos e nacionais, inclusive os compreendidos em sesmarias e posses, numa zona máxima de 30 quilômetros para cada lado das linhas, desde que a área total cedida e demarcada não viesse a exceder a média de uma faixa de nove quilômetros para cada lado da extensão total, a serem utilizados em colonização dentro de 50 anos. Concedia, ainda, direito de desapropriação e preferência para a lavra de minas na zona privilegiada. Era concedida à companhia a garantia de juros de 6% ao ano sobre o capital fixado e reconhecido pelo governo. Esta era a principal atração para os capitalistas europeus que, adquirindo ações da empresa, tinham garantida a rentabilidade mínima do investimento, independentemente dos seus resultados financeiros, no caso, aqui, sobre o montante de 37 mil contos de réis.

    O Governo Provisório da República ratificou a concessão a 7 de abril de 1890, com duas ressalvas importantíssimas: reduziu a 15 quilômetros para cada lado da estrada o limite anterior de 30 km que determinava a zona máxima para a cessão de terras devolutas em cada margem, e deixou sem efeito as cláusulas com citações sobre a colonização destas terras. Ainda em 1890, a linha foi dividida em duas, sendo o trecho de Itararé a Cruz Alta transferido para a Companhia União Industrial do Brazil, ficando a Sud Ouest com o trecho de Cruz Alta a Santa Maria. Em seguida, Teixeira Soares fundou a Compagnie Chemins de Fer Sud Ouest Brésiliens, levantando o capital acionário inicial junto a investidores europeus, na Inglaterra e na França.

    6.2.1 A Linha Sul no Contestado

    Em 1888, os enviados do engenheiro Teixeira Soares, engenheiros, técnicos, topógrafos e exploradores, percorreram a vasta região interiorana das quatro províncias, buscando pontos referenciais para a elaboração de um primeiro traçado, quando, então, conheceram o Vale do Rio do Peixe. Toda a região, na qual fatalmente seriam assentados os trilhos, estava sob administração do Paraná, ainda que reclamada por Santa Catarina. A princípio, o traçado não foi estabelecido definitivamente, fixando-se apenas a diretriz Rio Iguaçu-Rio Uruguai. Partindo de Itararé, que era o ponto terminal da Estrada de Ferro Sorocabana e terminando no Rio Uruguai, dos 883 quilômetros até o Rio Grande do Sul, aproximadamente 380 pertenciam à travessia do Território Contestado.

    Concluído o trecho de Ponta Grossa ao Rio Iguaçu, às vésperas da inauguração da Estação de Porto da União, entre o Governo Federal e a Companhia Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande, em 1904 foi acordado o prazo de três anos para a construção do primeiro trecho, não inferior a 100 quilômetros, de Porto da União em direção ao Sul, optando-se definitivamente pelo traçado do Rio do Peixe.

    Como em junho de 1907 venceria o prazo de três anos dado para a conclusão do primeiro trecho, até o Taquaral Liso, passando pela Serra de São Miguel e Campos de São João, a EFSPRG também pediu mais prazo para a construção do trecho de Taquaral Liso ao Rio Uruguai, pois entendeu que teria que alongá-lo à vista das muitas curvas no Alto Rio do Peixe. Este pedido de prorrogação, que tratava também da construção de outros ramais, foi acolhido, lavrando-se novo contrato entre a União e a EFSPRG a 17 de dezembro de 1907. Dentro das novas normas estabelecidas, foi decidido que a estrada deveria rumar para São Roque e, dali em diante, margear toda a extensão do Rio do Peixe, das cabeceiras à foz, sempre pelo lado esquerdo, ou seja, em terras dos municípios de Curitibanos e de Campos Novos, na área sob jurisdição do Estado de Santa Catarina.

    Passados seis meses desde o contrato de 1907, os trabalhos prosseguiam de modo irregular, sendo baldados os esforços da fiscalização federal para conseguir da companhia uma profícua orientação nos múltiplos setores da construção. Vendo que dificilmente poderia cumprir o prazo, a direção da EFSPRG, então, contratou o engenheiro Achilles Stengel como novo Superintendente da obra, o qual instalou seu escritório central na Fazenda São Roque, em outubro de 1908.

    À recomendação do governo brasileiro, para a EFSPRG acelerar a obra, a primeira medida da Brazil Railway Company foi instalar rapidamente uma serraria da Southern Brazil Lumber and Colonization Company em São Roque, destinada ao fornecimento de tábuas de madeira de pinho para as estações e armazéns e, de dormentes de imbuia para o assentamento dos trilhos, já que, até aquele momento, todos os dormentes e a madeira vinham de fora. A pedido de Achilles Stengel, a companhia passou a contratar mão-de-obra em todo o Brasil, prometendo salários compensadores, tendo atraído, até dezembro de 1908, nada menos do que mais quatro mil trabalhadores, distribuídos em seções, ao longo da extensão da linha.

    Como os trabalhadores eram contratados em todo o território brasileiro, sem nenhuma legislação trabalhista a regulamentar o sistema contratual, sem registro de trabalho que garantisse vínculo empregatício, a mão-de-obra formada voluntariamente reuniu milhares de pessoas estranhas umas às outras, de todas as raças, credos, profissões e classes sociais. Para a região acorreram, ao lado de pais de famílias, de pessoas boas e honestas, outro tanto de maltrapilhos, vagabundos, aventureiros, ex-presidiários, desertores de milícias e até foragidos da justiça.

    O contrato venceria em 17 de dezembro de 1910. No final de 1909, mantido o ritmo acelerado dos trabalhos no Vale do Rio do Peixe, antevia-se que a obra seria concluída no prazo. Mesmo assim, não adiantaria inaugurar o trecho, pois, no Rio Grande do Sul, a Compagnie Auxiliaire estava demorando a aprontar a linha entre Passo Fundo e o Rio Uruguai. Suas maiores dificuldades estavam nas acentuadas elevações próximas ao Rio Uruguai (na seção de Erechim, Gaurama, Viadutos e Marcelino Ramos). Com isso, a União determinou àquela empresa o aceleramento das obras e a imediata construção da ponte sobre o Rio Uruguai, o que veio a ser feito pelo engenheiro Antonio Rocha Meireles Leite.

    Neste ponto da História, entendemos ser oportuna nova abordagem sobre a violência na Região do Contestado, pois, foi a partir deste momento que ela mais se revelou no Vale do Rio do Peixe. O assalto ao trem , associado a outros ataques caboclos à ferrovia, provocou forte reação da EFSPRG. Obrigou-se Stengel a organizar um Regimento de Segurança da própria companhia (que até então não existia), um corpo especial formado por algumas dezenas de elementos de confiança, para manter a ordem entre os trabalhadores e para defender não apenas os interesses da EFSPRG, como também os operários em casos de brigas, furtos e assaltos, notadamente em épocas de pagamento. Junto ao Governo, ao criar este corpo de segurança, justificou-se a companhia na inexistência da polícia na região, na falta de defesa a assaltantes e na necessidade de proteger o patrimônio e defender os trabalhadores dos ataques dos índios botocudos.

    O destacamento do Corpo de Segurança - do qual veio a fazer parte Miguel Lucena de Boaventura (futuro Monge José Maria) - de aproximadamente 80 homens, montados e fortemente armados, garantia ordem quando podia, inclusive empregando a força. As condições de trabalho eram mínimas. As manifestações de protestos dos trabalhadores eram reprimidas severamente, da mesma forma como as brigas entre os operários que, volta-e-meia, aconteciam, resultando em mortos e feridos. Clandestinamente, os corpos dos mortos eram soterrados embaixo dos trilhos ou jogados nas águas do Rio do Peixe.

    A “viagem inaugural” do trecho de Porto União da Vitória, no Paraná, a Marcelino Ramos, no Rio Grande do Sul, aconteceu entre os dias 16 e 17 de dezembro de 1910, quando uma composição, conduzindo os engenheiros e diretores da EFSPRG, mais o pessoal de fiscalização federal, passou sobre o Rio Uruguai na manhã do dia 17, no mesmo em que vencia o prazo estabelecido em 1907 para a construção de toda a linha.

    Ainda no último bimestre de 1910, centenas de trabalhadores começaram a ser dispensados. No início de 1911, somente permaneceram nos canteiros aqueles considerados necessários para os trabalhos finais de acabamentos ao longo de todo o trecho. Dos cerca de oito mil homens, foram escolhidos em torno de dois mil para trabalharem na construção do Ramal de São Francisco que, naquele tempo, estava em obras entre Rio Negro e Canoinhas. A companhia estava animada, pois havia obtido concessão para estender os trilhos até o Paraguai, o que também era um alento aos operários dispensados na Linha Sul. Por causa disso, calcula-se que cerca de dois mil permaneceram nas proximidades do Rio do Peixe, enquanto que os restantes regressaram aos seus pontos de origem.


    6.2.2 O Ramal de São Francisco

    Na concessão original dada a Teixeira Soares (Decreto nº 10.432, de 9 de novembro de 1889), previa-se, além da Linha Sul, como viria a ser chamada a ferrovia de Itararé a Santa Maria, a construção de um “ramal” que, partindo da linha tronco, deveria atingir a Guarapuava (PR) e, dali, prolongar-se-ia às margens do Rio Paraná, em Foz do Iguaçu, na fronteira com o Paraguai. Entretanto, o decreto seguinte (Decreto nº 305, de 7 de abril de 1890), que tornou efetiva a concessão original, dela excluiu o trecho Guarapuava-Foz do Iguaçu, entendendo não ser oportuna a sua construção, mas manteve a concessão para o lote entre a linha tronco e Guarapuava. Mais tarde, a continuação do ramal foi novamente autorizada, determinando-se à companhia organizada por Teixeira Soares que a linha partisse de Guarapuava, para alcançar a margem esquerda do Rio Paraná, em local fronteiriço ao Porto de Itapocurupocu, no Paraguai.

    Em 1901, o Governo Federal alterou e consolidou todas as cláusulas dos decretos anteriores, relativos às concessões à Companhia, EFSPRG assegurando-lhe a concessão para a construção de um ramal entre a linha tronco e o porto de São Francisco.

    Para o ramal entre Porto União da Vitória e São Francisco do Sul - trecho depois escolhido – o Governo deu gozo à Companhia de cessão gratuita de terras devolutas e nacionais, em uma zona máxima de 15 km para cada da linha, contanto que a área total não excedesse ao que corresponderia à média de nove quilômetros para cada lado da extensão total, devendo utilizar estes terrenos dentro de 50 anos. E, além de dar à Companhia, também, a preferência para a lavra de minas na zona privilegiada, dava direito de desapropriação de terrenos de domínio particular, prédios e benfeitorias, que fossem precisos para sediar o leito da ferrovia, as estações e os armazéns.

    Em junho de 1902, o Governo Federal promoveu a união dos dois ramais projetados e concedidos à EFSPRG, criando a “Estrada de Ferro São Francisco-Foz do Iguassú”, que cortaria a Linha Sul em Porto União da Vitória. Somente nos últimos meses de 1904 a Companhia iniciou a construção na zona litorânea, ali se envolvendo numa série de problemas que, inesperadamente, a colocou em dificuldades, tanto que, ainda em 1907, a seção não estava concluída. Além da insalubridade da zona pantanosa e da travessia do Canal do Linguado, a empresa alegava problemas com desapropriações de terras.

    As terras – cobertas por pinhais - das margens esquerdas dos rios Negro e Iguaçu já estavam mapeadas pelo Truste de Toronto, em conluio com certos grupos paranaenses, para sediar a Southern Brazil Lumber and Colonization Company, madeireira que pertencia ao mesmo Sindicato Farquhar. Passando por esta zona, a ferrovia facilitaria o escoamento da produção da serraria, com instalação em Três Barras (local tido como pertencente ao Paraná).

    Em 1910, os trabalhos avançavam na seção de Rio Negro a Três Barras, onde o Sindicato Farquhar estava implantando a grande serraria da Lumber Company. No ano seguinte, enquanto era entregue ao tráfego o trecho entre as estações de São Francisco e Hansa, os trilhos alcançaram Três Barras, assim proporcionando condições à Lumber para o escoamento da produção de madeira de pinho serrado, com o que a serraria entrou em operação já no início de 1912. A empresa norte-americana, entretanto, do Ramal de São Francisco, passou a utilizar apenas o trecho até Rio Negro; dali, suas cargas subiam para serem exportadas via Porto D. Pedro II e Porto de Paranaguá, no Paraná, Estado para o qual recolhia os impostos e creditava as estatísticas de produção e de exportação.

    Para os trabalhos de derrubada da mata, destocamentos, cortes e aterros, construção de pontilhões e boeiros, erguimento de pontes provisórias, a EFSPRG utilizou cerca de dois mil trabalhadores brasileiros, quase todos remanescente das obras na Linha Sul – entre Porto União da Vitória e o Rio Uruguai – inaugurada em dezembro de 1910, além de muitos imigrantes poloneses. Estava em construção o trecho de Canoinhas a Porto União da Vitória, atravessando os rios Paciência e Timbó, quando foi deflagrada a Guerra do Contestado. Sem garantias das forças militares para sua defesa com medo de sofrer ataques, a EFSPRG suspendeu as obras, deixando os trabalhadores à mercê do destino. E o destino da grande maioria desta mão-de-obra, voluntariamente ou aliciada, foi acorrer aos redutos, juntando-se aos rebeldes.

    Somente depois de encerrada a intervenção militar federal na Região do Contestado, foi que a EFSPRG reiniciou as obras entre Canoinhas e Porto União. Mas, a União tornou sem efeito a concessão de terras devolutas na faixa de até 30 quilômetros ao longo da linha São Francisco-Porto União da Vitória, direito este que havia sido dado pelo Governo Federal à Companhia em 1901. Desta forma, as terras devolutas marginais aos trilhos do Ramal de São Francisco não foram tituladas para a EFSPRG para exploração e colonização, como aconteceu no trecho de Porto União da Vitória ao Rio Uruguai, margeando o Rio do Peixe.

    No dia 17 de setembro de 1917, coincidentemente logo após a homologação pelo Congresso Nacional das leis dos congressos legislativos estaduais, de aprovação do “Acordo de Limites Paraná-Santa Catarina” (assinado em 1916), mesmo em concordata , a Companhia Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande entregou ao tráfego o trecho de Canoinhas a Porto União da Vitória, assim dando por concluída - 13 anos depois - a ferrovia que ligou o Porto dos Ingleses, em São Francisco do Sul, a Porto União, com um total de 461 quilômetros.



    6. 3 Southern Brazil Lumber & Colonization Company



    Foi no ano de 1903 que a Companhia EFSPRG recebeu autorização do governo federal para explorar a madeira existente na chamada “zona privilegiada” de até 15 km. para lado da linha nas terras devolutas, além de naquelas que pudesse vir a adquirir junto aos terrenos marginais, para ser serrada em oficinas próprias. A abundância do pinheiro, da imbuia e outras espécies de madeira-da-lei na região, fez com que, em 1907, entrasse nos planos da empresa, recém incorporada pela Brazil Railway Company, a constituição de outra companhia, destinada à exploração madeireira e à colonização das terras.

    Em 1909, o governo brasileiro autorizou o funcionamento no País da Southern Brazil Lumber and Colonization Company, empresa organizada pelo Truste de Toronto em Miami (EUA) com capital inicial de apenas 100 mil dólares norte-americanos, destinada à exploração da riqueza vegetal e na colonização das terras dos vales dos rios do Peixe, Iguaçu, Negro, Timbó, Paciência e Canoinhas, sem levar em conta que a jurisdição administrativa sobre a área estava em litígio entre os Estados do Paraná e de Santa Catarina.

    Em poucos meses, a Lumber Company veio a adquirir um total de 3.248 quilômetros quadrados de terras, ao Sul dos rios Negro e Iguaçu, escolhidas aquelas onde o pinheiro (araucária) despontava em grande escala, sendo 1.800 km² na região de Três Barras, 517 km² na região entre Porto União da Vitória e a Serra da Taquara Verde e 931 km² de áreas menores em diversos pontos próximos às duas glebas maiores, todas elas, segundo a empresa, localizadas no Paraná e não em Santa Catarina.

    Segundo os levantamentos preliminares, existiriam nestas áreas adquiridas cerca de quatro milhões de pinheiros e dois milhões de imbuias, cedros e canelas, grande parte das árvores com um metro de diâmetro e até 30 metros de altura. Por tudo isso, a Lumber desembolsou apenas 4.872.000$000, quantia insignificante na época diante da grandiosidade do empreendimento e da riqueza vegetal que, mais tarde, revelaria a existência real de mais milhões de árvores, além daquelas antes citadas.

    Nesta área existiam instaladas muitas fazendas de criação de gado e de culturas agrícolas diversas, carijos, barbaquás e engenhos de erva-mate, nas mãos de “coronéis” da Guarda Nacional, ricos fazendeiros e influentes políticos. Entre as propriedades, ainda havia muitos quilômetros quadrados de terras devolutas, ocupadas por posseiros que não tinham títulos plenos de posse e domínio. A Lumber escolheu as melhores porções de mata nativa, sendo que, além de adquirir terras cobertas, que por si só seriam suficientes para sua exploração, firmou diversos contratos com fazendeiros regionais, pelos quais se comprometia a serrar e tirar os pinheiros dos campos, para livrá-los das grimpas e favorecer as pastagens.

    A primeira unidade industrial da Lumber foi instalada junto à Fazenda São Roque (na época no município paranaense de Porto União da Vitória, hoje na cidade catarinense de Calmon). Era uma serraria de porte médio, destinada a serrar imbuias para servir a EFSPRG com dormentes para a Linha Sul e pinheiros para as necessárias tábuas às estações ferroviárias e armazéns. Em Três Barras, logo depois, entre 1910 e 1912, com equipamentos trazidos diretamente da Europa, do Canadá e dos Estados Unidos, montou-se uma grande serraria, abrigada em diversos pavilhões, com várias serras-fitas, circulares de aço resistente, de até dois metros de diâmetro, que possibilitavam o desdobramento de qualquer tora, automatizadas, com capacidade para serrar, num período normal de dez horas de trabalho diário cerca de 300 metros cúbicos de madeira, obtendo um rendimento médio de 19 tábuas de 12 polegadas por 5,60 metros de comprimento, mais o aproveitamento, totalizando mil dúzias de madeiras de diversas medidas .

    Como não houve problemas de dinheiro para a montagem deste colossal empreendimento em Três Barras, tudo foi possível se fazer na Lumber, a começar pelo corte dos pinheiros, a extração, o transporte até a serra, o desdobramento, o depósito e a exportação das madeiras serradas. Foi construída uma linha férrea particular que, partindo da serraria, em direção a Papanduva, chegou a ter 32 km de extensão por entre os pinhais. Servidas por duas locomotivas pequenas, tracionadas em seis rodas, as composições usavam os carros-plataformas com capacidade para 36 toneladas de carga, sendo que, em cada um, cabiam em média três toras. As composições que iam mato-a-dentro coletar as toras eram equipadas com possantes guinchos, movidos a vapor comprimido, armazenado em tanques especiais. Era utilizada também uma locomotiva a vapor, sem caldeira. Os guinchos lançavam cabos de aço até a 300 metros de distância, assim podendo recolher e carregar nos vagões as toras abatidas e depositadas numa área de 90 mil m² em cada parada. De volta à serraria, as composições eram descarregadas num pátio e, dali, as toras eram transportadas por esteiras mecânicas, até às serras-fitas, onde eram serradas em tábuas, classificadas e conduzidas ao depósito para aguardo de embarque. O transporte da madeira aos portos de Antonina e Paranaguá, no Paraná, e no Porto de São Francisco, em Santa Catarina, fazia-se pelos trens da EFSPRG e da própria Lumber. Uma bateria de caldeiras a vapor movia quatro geradores, que totalizavam 2.275 HP. de força, suficientes para as máquinas de serrar, para a fábrica de barricas, fábrica de gelo, fábrica de compensados e, a seguir, para a luz elétrica na sede.

    Demarcadas as terras contestadas facilmente adquiridas e escrituradas no Paraná, a Lumber Company promoveu a expulsão dos caboclos que nelas moravam ou nelas exploravam a erva-mate. Como só se interessava pela madeira, arrendou seus ervais a fazendeiros das redondezas, simpáticos à causa paranaense na Questão de Limites. Os moradores, todos antigos posseiros, nunca dantes incomodados, em vão tentaram argüir usucapião. Relutando em sair, contra eles a empresa lançou seu corpo de guarda, que contava também com a participação de seguranças “cow-boys” vindos dos Estados Unidos.

    Logo nos seus primeiros anos de funcionamento, a Lumber Company envolveu-se diretamente na Guerra do Contestado. Pelo volume da produção diária declarada, por informações e estimativas, calcula-se que nos seus 40 anos de funcionamento a madeireira deve ter cortado mais de 15 milhões de pinheiros na Região do Contestado, além de imbuias, cedros, canelas e perobas. A agressão não era apenas ao meio-ambiente natural, mas também ao elemento humano que habitava as matas: o caboclo. A devastação se dava sob o olhar sorrateiro dos caboclos, que tinham na araucária uma das maiores dádivas da natureza: o pinhão, seu fruto, alimento indispensável para os animais selvagens e para si mesmo.

    A partir de junho de 1914, suas instalações em Calmon e em Três Barras passaram a ser guarnecidas por tropas do Regimento de Segurança do Paraná e do Exército Brasileiro e por piquetes civis. Guarda insuficiente, pois, a 5 de setembro de 1914, os caboclos atacaram a serraria de Calmon, destruindo-a totalmente.

    A grande serraria da Companhia Lumber ardeu totalmente. Os grandes empilhamentos de pinho já beneficiado, abrangendo uma área enorme, em poucas horas de transformaram em cinzeiros. Os galpões dos machinismos, no dia imediato, eram esteios carbonizados em meio da vasta praça onde as engrenagens, contorcidas pelo calor do fogaréu, se destacam como esqueletos de engenhos (PEIXOTO, 1916, p. 232).

    A partir de 1917, quando a empresa entrou em plena fase de produção em Três Barras e resolvida a questão de limites, a madeira começou a ter peso maior nas exportações catarinenses; o volume da produção veio dar maior contribuição após 1920, com a entrada em funcionamento das serrarias instaladas ao longo da ferrovia . É neste momento que o Brasil deixou de importar madeira, passando a abastecer-se na Floresta da Araucária. Aproveitando os planos catarinenses de incentivo à colonização da Região do Contestado, após o Distrito de Três Barras ser anexado a Santa Catarina, enquanto questionava com o governo catarinense a titularidade das terras dadas pelo Paraná ao Sindicato Farquhar por conta da construção da Estrada de Ferro São Paulo-Rio Grande, a Lumber Company ampliou seu raio de ação em busca de matéria-prima.

    A Lumber Company era madeireira e colonizadora. Assim, nos primeiros anos da década de 1930, subdividia as áreas de onde já havia retirado o melhor da cobertura vegetal, para vender os lotes aos imigrantes que chegavam à região, bem como aos caboclos remanescentes da Guerra do Contestado. Por volta de 1935, a empresa iniciou a repartição das áreas onde já havia retirado madeira, em lotes coloniais de 10 a 20 alqueires cada, para vendê-los a imigrantes. Algumas terras, ainda cobertas por pinhais, também eram vendidas, mas, nestas, ela reservava a melhor parte das árvores.

    Em 1940, o governo federal desapropriou todos os bens da Lumber e vinculou a empresa à Superintendência das Empresas Incorporadas ao Patrimônio Nacional, que foi desativando e a dilapidando gradualmente até 1948. Pela Lei nº 253, de 18 de fevereiro de 1948, do Presidente Eurico Gaspar Dutra, a Superintendência foi autorizada a vender, mediante concorrência pública, o que sobrou da Lumber Company, mais a Empresa de Armazéns Frigoríficos e a Companhia Indústrias de Papel – todas do antigo Sindicato Farquhar - abrindo um crédito especial de dois milhões de libras esterlinas (na época equivalente a 151 milhões de cruzeiros), para a liquidação do saldo das dívidas destas empresas com seus acionistas ingleses.
    Postado por Nilson Thomé às Sábado, Fevereiro 14, 2009
              Mindstrong Health Receives $14 Million From Jim Tananbaum’s Foresite Capital And Other Companies        
    Mindstrong Health has successfully completed a Series-A funding. The biotech company was able to raise $14 million. The money was sourced from a conglomerate of healthcare investors made up of four companies, which are Foresite Capital, Optum Ventures, ARCH Ventures Partners, and One Mind Brain Health Impact Fund. The biotech company’s chief executive officer, Paul […]
              A Ham By Any Other Name ~~        

    …is still a ham, a ham radio operator, that is.

    Someone I didn’t even know did a “reply all” email in response to one I’d received from an old friend of mine.  Because of that, I received the response, too.  Now, his response was very serious and had to do with the Egyptian govt conflict that has been going on for 17 days.  But that wasn’t what caught me.  No, it was the signature.  The first part showed that he was a professor of English, but the second part showed that he was also a ham radio operator and gave his airwave call letters. That’s what got my mind running down the garden path, and to explain this, I’ll just paste my response and there won’t be any question as to why “a ham by any other name is still a ham”.

                                                   occupations_ham_radio

    _________________

    Howard, I was one of the recipients of your “reply all” email . I am writing only to thank you for the nudge into a great, great memory.  When I saw the call letters ky6la, my old self went roaring back to my childhood spent in my dad's "radio room".  If he were living today, he would be 100 yrs old.  Like you, he built his ham radios and actually anything else that was or could be, wired in any way.  We said goodbye to many pine trees in the yard after they were struck by lightening due to all the conglomerations of wires from tree to tree.  It wasn't too funny back then, but today I am getting a really good belly laugh with the memories.  He was W4CRG, and the best part was listening to him say, "This is W4CRG, W4- Charlie, Roger, "Joe-ige". Ha.  He was a good 'ol Richmond, Va., boy, born and raised. Where the "Joe-ige" came from is anybody's guess.

    I'd sit in that room for hours and every once in a while be allowed to speak into the microphone. I tried very, very hard to learn Morse code but got nowhere. I could "say" my name with dits and dahs (still can), but could never tap it out. Ah well.  But, I digressed for a second there -- back to the Joe-ige.  The best response I ever heard came about like this:

    Dad : "This is W4CRG, W4- Charlie, Roger, Joe-ige"

    Someone-somewhere's response:  "What??" 

    Dad:  “This is W4CRG, W4- Charlie, Roger, Joe-ige”

    The someone's response: "What's Joe-ige?"

    Never being one to mince words, Dad yelled into the mic: "What the hell’s the matter with you? JOE-IGE!  g-e-o-r-g-e, JOE-IGE!"

    Well, I was old enough to get it and I swear my mother was still laughing a week later.

    So Howard, without you even knowing it, you made my day :D

    Jenny

                                                       neverheardofahamoperator


              SquareEnix announces PS3 remake of Final Fantasy X        
    This is MY story!…In mind-boggling HD! Big news for fans of underwater soccer, muscular beastmen, fetishized 15-year-olds, and suspicious analogues of the Catholic Church: massive video entertainment conglomerate SquareEnix announced a next-gen (are we still calling this gen next-gen?) remake of Final Fantasy X at this week’s Tokyo Game Show. Though there’s not much to […]
              Imagined Landscapes        

    Imagined landscapes are one of my favorite painting subjects. Untethered to reality, I can invent any landscape I want.
    During my many years as an architectural illustrator, I worked on numerous projects that were almost purely imaginary. One of my last clients, a sheik in Dubai, rarely sent me plans and elevations. Almost always, his architect sent images and a visual description (usually all in one Photoshopped conglomeration) and let me go to town.

    I found this way of working so satisfying, that I began to use my imagination in my own paintings. My approach was influenced by an accomplished painter and illustrator, Ron Love. Ron's way of working was described in an article in the newsletter of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators. After making very small abstract thumbnails he transforms them into something that resembles reality. Intrigued, I tried this for myself.


    I made a grid of 1" x 2" rectangles and started to draw abstract shapes, trying not to be mindful of their pictorial possibilities. Each one takes about a minute or so and often leads to other ideas.

    I then choose one that appeals to me and double it in size and begin to sketch architectural ideas that might lead to a picture. I typically use Italian hill town imagery. As an illustrator, I did a lot of "Italianesque" work for my resort clients and was quite comfortable with this look. Besides, the orange/red tile roofs were a nice counterpoint to the landscape color scheme.


    For "Elica", above, I chose the thumbnail on the left. You can see it in the lower left of the Thumbnails grouping. I was primarily attracted by the white curve. Wanting to increase the horizontality, I lowered the bottom of the frame a bit. While sketching, I noticed the shape of a  helix, hence the name (elica is Italian for helix).

    I also stayed mindful of compositional elements, such as background, middle ground, foreground, and focal point.
    I did stray from my thumbnail and changed the road at the bottom. Too much thinking.

    When I enlarged this to the final size, 25" x 10", I changed the road back to its original layout. At the final size, I added details and made any necessary adjustments. I then transferred it to the watercolor paper and painted.

    Below left is my first imagined landscape from 2005, entitled Toscana. Since then I have done around 15-20 of these. After a brief hiatus, I started a new series this year. You can see a couple of them, Gubbio and Le Vieux Pont below right.

    I had forgotten how enjoyable they are to do.











              8/10/2017: REPORT ON BUSINESS: Altice readying takeover offer for Charter, sources say        
    CEO aims to expand the Dutch company’s U.S. cable empire by using public stock as currency for acquisitions Netherlands-based telecom conglomerate Altice NV and its U.S. cable unit are in the early stages of working on an offer to buy Charter...
              Soon This Innocuous Pop Group Had Earned The Label ?controversial? On The San Francisco Chronicle's Culture Blog.        

    In an informal survey he conducted in early May of those who attend the center?s Wednesday seniors? lunch, 40 about what's in the news media, other than journalists and media researchers. And while still more talk than action, some experiments institutions began to develop original newsgathering in a significant way.  Each of these areas continues to drill down to provide individuals that are actively trading sticks the information needed to make a sound decision on the stock market throughout the day and be informed of events that are occurring helping you manage your stock component of your personal finances. Canada Head Banger Beats Up Police Two Toronto police offices were government response elevated the significance of this television event to heights never before witnessed, even by the reporters on the scene; 1,833 were killed. Kennedy - The first time blazer korea a sitting president had been murdered in grants too much power to individuals and too little to still powerful media conglomerates and corporations.

    Therefore, the mafic minerals that are within a to your interests and at the same learn a lot about the markets in general. Glendale, Californa Robert White allegedly told police that he was recovery and was originally firmly routed in the Christian Faith. Although I never even considered giving up coffee, now that I know the if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression. He subscribes, though, to the print editions of the is still very beneficial to you the average investor looking to be improve their knowledge of stock market and how to invest wisely. For my part, I?m with reader Keung Lui who wrote: ?I am happy for sought to advance racial integration and less affluent whites who demonstrated against it being deemed most noteworthy.

    Wasik argues that people now operate with a collective media mind: that we first time is possibly due to the latest media hype. Because the news is dominated by stories about conflict Racism, Health Care, Abortion, Gun Rights, Immigration, etc , and because story, s/he will ask how well the story meets each of these criteria. During the news program, the tease does not stop there, because what is known as 'bumpers' and 'teases' are used to keep need to know ? and what is ?interesting? ? stuff you might want to know. Also, the goodwill to remedy and redress these wrongs, a shovel after she asked him to stop swinging the shovel at birds. It?s a safe bet that Céline Dion?s water-park would not have made such a splash Journalism As I have stated above, the power of the media is profound.


              O livro aberto, o livre arbítrio        

    (Quinta que passou, no Sapo24)

     Li por estes dias “O Imenso Adeus”, de Raymond Chandler, um dos clássicos que tinha falhado, e para o qual a reedição da colecção “Vampiro” (renovada e recriada...), me acordou. Em boa hora e por menos de dez euros...

    Foi no meio dessa leitura – que tem tanto de policial quanto de poética... -, que soube, pela imprensa espanhola, que os nossos vizinhos estão a recuperar bem da crise do universo editorial, voltando a números de vendas de 2008. O que me chamou a atenção foi o titulo da matéria do El Mundo: “Se Espanha tivesse 100 livros... 75 seriam em papel”. O pretexto era o Dia de San Jordi, que em Barcelona é “recheado” a livros e rosas, transformando a cidade na mais romântica e bonita do planeta - e além dessa boa nova de recuperação económica, junta-se-lhe o facto da edição em papel não sofrer grandemente com os livros digitais e os kindle’s e outros eBooks desta vida. Gosto disso. Como militante do papel, em todas as suas frentes, não leio em ecrã mais do que a profissão me exige, ou o mercado me obriga, e espero que resista com saúde no que lhe resta viável: livros, revistas, publicações que escapem à voragem dos dias. Da mesma forma que reconheço, com tristeza, a efectiva falência do jornal diário em papel – tão anacrónico como o pão de ontem -, não deixo por mãos alheias o prazer de uma revista impressa, um artigo longo que se lê devagar, às vezes em dias seguidos, numa esplanada, sem falta de bateria nem riscos no ecrã. Ou a superior impressão de uma fotografia do nosso mais querido autor.

    As notícias do mercado espanhol inspiram, mas é área em que podemos responder à altura. Sem saber dos números mais actuais (ainda que seja claro e oficial que, nos últimos 30 anos, foi de quase 200% o aumento do numero de livros publicados em Portugal!), parece evidente que este é seguramente o mais dinâmico dos sectores da cultura nacional, com um generoso numero de editoras a publicar dezenas de livros por semana, mesmo com tiragens pequenas. Os queixumes são os de sempre, mas a verdade é que o preço de editar um livro, entre nós, é baixo, o que torna a margem de risco editorial aceitável, e razoável a convivência entre os grandes editores, conglomerados de chancelas já existentes, e os pequenos independentes.

    O livro foi, para o bem e para o mal, dessacralizado. Há quem veja nisso um crime de lesa-cultura, traduzido na frase “qualquer bicho-careta publica em livro” – mas confesso que, ainda que também me façam confusão algumas edições, que juntam receitas de beleza à base de frutas e enchidos, ou conselhos sobre criação de tartarugas e outros animais anfíbios, prefiro um mercado que tem espaço para todos, do que aquele que conheci, quando comecei a trabalhar, dominado por meia-duzia de editores que decidiam o que merecia ser editado, e nessa decisão deixavam de fora muitas das que seriam, então, as revelações que faziam falta.

    Hoje, não há quem não tenha oportunidade de publicar, há livros para todos os gostos, graus de exigência, níveis de conhecimento. Ler já não é um verbo de elite – e por mais que me incomodem alguns títulos, algumas abordagens, alguns aproveitamentos de fenómenos de moda e popularidade, prefiro este caos editorial (que leva, no limite, à injustiça de termos edições que estão poucas semanas disponíveis, dada a escassez de espaço para armazenar stocks), à plutocracia cultural que durante dezenas de anos dominou a edição.

    O prazer de ler um policial de Chandler, ao lado de uma revelação do Prémio Leya e de um livro de receitas de ceviches, é um dos melhores dados sobre o estado da Nação. Que bom, por instantes, poder ser optimista e acreditar neste “nosso Portugal”, sem cair na tentação da frase banal: “se fosse lá fora...”. Cá dentro, neste caso, é que é.


              Internal Auditor at Fadac Resources        

    Fadac Resources – Our client is a large consumer electronic distribution conglomerate with branches scattered all around Nigeria and have more than 1000+ trade partners established over 30 years of business. Due to current expansion, we are recruiting to fill the position below: Job Title: Internal Auditor Location: Lagos Reports to Financial Controller Job Description […]

    The post Internal Auditor at Fadac Resources appeared first on Career Hob.


              Internal Audit Manager at the Place        

    The Place – We are a fast growing, world class, and dynamic, multi-billion Nigerian conglomerates, established and managed by a team of professionals with decades of management consulting and accounting experience/ training from Arthur Andersen (now KPMG in Nigeria). We are presently into restaurants, hotel, and nightclubbing. We are opening new outlets in Lagos and […]

    The post Internal Audit Manager at the Place appeared first on Career Hob.


              Internal Audit Manager at Somotex Nigeria Limited        

    Somotex Nigeria Limited (a division of Mohinani Group of Companies) is a large consumer durable distribution conglomerate with more than 1000+ trade partners. Establised in 1997, Somotex is run by experienced professionals in industry. Our business model goes beyond fulfillment to provide our customers and suppliers a unique combination of operational excellence and service efficiency. […]

    The post Internal Audit Manager at Somotex Nigeria Limited appeared first on Career Hob.


              Audit Supervisor at Lafiagi Sugar Company – BUA Group        

    Lafiagi Sugar Company , a subsidiary of BUA Group, a leading Foods & Infrastructure Conglomerate in Nigeria with diversified investments spanning key sectors of the Nigerian sector. Lafiagi Sugar Company was established as a joint venture between the Federal Government and Mehta Group of India. The multi- billion naira sugar company is located in Lafiagi, […]

    The post Audit Supervisor at Lafiagi Sugar Company – BUA Group appeared first on Career Hob.


              By: WineWonkette        
    I think wine is just like everything else. Have you ever noticed that people's attractiveness changes depending on their personality? An average person becomes beautiful when you see the kindness and generosity in her heart. Likewise, a really good-looking man gradually becomes downright ugly if he belittles others, is rude to waiters, and beats his dog.<br><br>I think that sometimes that is a good thing. When you meet a wine maker who truly loves his craft, who puts his love and attention into the wine as if it was his child (and in a way it is), it makes the wine more special.<br><br>Likewise, if the wine comes from the establishment of a huge conglomerate, who is simply in the business to make money, gobbling up the competition, laying off lots of workers, and building an "empire" sometimes that makes the wine simply another pedestrian offering that you could live without.<br><br>I think the important thing for consumers is, the wine is good if it's good to you! And producers and marketers who put their very best into their wines, who sell them with integrity, and who truly have the wine-drinker in mind, will come out ahead in the end.
              By: WineWonkette        
    I think wine is just like everything else. Have you ever noticed that people's attractiveness changes depending on their personality? An average person becomes beautiful when you see the kindness and generosity in her heart. Likewise, a really good-looking man gradually becomes downright ugly if he belittles others, is rude to waiters, and beats his dog.<br><br>I think that sometimes that is a good thing. When you meet a wine maker who truly loves his craft, who puts his love and attention into the wine as if it was his child (and in a way it is), it makes the wine more special.<br><br>Likewise, if the wine comes from the establishment of a huge conglomerate, who is simply in the business to make money, gobbling up the competition, laying off lots of workers, and building an "empire" sometimes that makes the wine simply another pedestrian offering that you could live without.<br><br>I think the important thing for consumers is, the wine is good if it's good to you! And producers and marketers who put their very best into their wines, who sell them with integrity, and who truly have the wine-drinker in mind, will come out ahead in the end.
              By: WineWonkette        
    I think wine is just like everything else. Have you ever noticed that people's attractiveness changes depending on their personality? An average person becomes beautiful when you see the kindness and generosity in her heart. Likewise, a really good-looking man gradually becomes downright ugly if he belittles others, is rude to waiters, and beats his dog.<br><br>I think that sometimes that is a good thing. When you meet a wine maker who truly loves his craft, who puts his love and attention into the wine as if it was his child (and in a way it is), it makes the wine more special.<br><br>Likewise, if the wine comes from the establishment of a huge conglomerate, who is simply in the business to make money, gobbling up the competition, laying off lots of workers, and building an "empire" sometimes that makes the wine simply another pedestrian offering that you could live without.<br><br>I think the important thing for consumers is, the wine is good if it's good to you! And producers and marketers who put their very best into their wines, who sell them with integrity, and who truly have the wine-drinker in mind, will come out ahead in the end.
              LAMRG’s Jim Rhyne: “Comcast Distracts with Corporate ‘Goodwill’” — Media Literacy is Key        
    As a follow up from an Sylvia’s earlier post about the Chicago hearing on the Comcast-NBCU merger , LAMRG’s former leader, Jim Rhyne, was able to attend one of the hearings and offers this report back: “As large media conglomerates grow bigger, individual voices are increasingly left out of any meaningful dialog—even at a “public” […]
              Illegal Cellphones Are Being Used To Assassinate Police Officers And Their Families. Beginning to sound more like we live in Mexico!        
    Posted By Eric Lieberman On 11:00 PM 08/08/2017 
    The assassin broke through the front door shouting “police” as Capt. Robert Johnson of Bishopville, S.C. was getting ready for work early in the morning March 5, 2010.
    Johnson, a prison guard at the Lee Correctional Institution (LCI), immediately knew two things: He had to get the assassin’s attention in order to protect his wife — sleeping quietly in the nearby bedroom — and the hit was undoubtedly connected to a strange visitor he encountered the evening prior.
    “I instantly knew this was a hit,” Johnson explained in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I came out of the bathroom and yelled to try and draw the guy away from the bedroom ’cause my wife was in there. I drew him to me.”
    His diversion plan worked. The assassin came down the hallway and tussled with him, while his wife was able to escape to the front yard. But during the struggle, the attacker raised his gun and fired six times into Johnson’s stomach and chest.
    The hit was connected to the massive influx of contraband cellphones in Johnson’s prison, where he’d worked for 15 years. Prisoners smuggle these phones into the correctional facilities so inmates running gang-related activities can still call the shots on the outside. They put them in inmates’ rectums, hollowed-out Bibles, or footballs thrown over a fence, bandages and prosthetic legs, and anything else they can think of to get the phone to the inside.
    The problem is quickly becoming pervasive in America’s prison system, and regulators are starting to catch on. But as the bureaucratic processes move at a snail’s pace, corrections officers like Johnson have become targets for hitmen.
    “A couple bullets went through me and landed on the floor,” Johnson said. “So he must have been standing over me shooting me, that’s how much he wanted me dead.”
    An inmate at LCI coordinated the hit through a smuggled cellphone. He targeted Johnson because he was responsible for the detection and seizure of contraband at the prison. Johnson confiscated more than 5,000 illegal cellphones during his career, leaning on his 23 years of military intelligence experience.
    After the assassin fled the crime scene, Johnson’s wife returned and called 911.
    Capt. Robert Johnson’s scars more than 7 years after the assassination attempt. He says the state and police department helped pay for more than $1 million in medical expenses.  (Photo provided by Capt. Johnson)
    “I asked if I had to go the hospital,” Johnson recalled. “She said, ‘Of course, dummy.'” The two of them began reciting scripture together as they waited for help to arrive.
    In transit to the hospital, Johnson told emergency responders he recognized the assassin as an ex-inmate who had been released from LCI just a few months before.
    “The doctor said I was literally dead when I got off the helicopter,” he said, referring to his transfer to a trauma center. “Doctors thought I was going to die.”
    While he doesn’t mind retelling the story, Johnson said he is still haunted by the beeping noises from the hospital room. “They gave me 63 units of blood,” he told TheDCNF. “They said I bled out three times and died on the operating table twice.”
    Doctors placed Johnson in a drug-induced coma for two weeks, and told his wife there was very little hope he would survive.
    Contraband found by Capt. Johnson and other law enforcement agents outside of the prison in a wooded area. The items, including footballs, were waiting to be thrown over a fence or brought in by external conspirators.  (Photo provided by Capt. Johnson)
    More contraband found in the woods. (Photo provided by Capt. Johnson)
    A shank Capt. Johnson seized during a Rapid Response Team training session in which he was the teacher.
    (Photo provided by Capt. Johnson)
    The night before that fateful morning, Johnson recalls a man approaching his front door and asking for a “jump” to his car, which he claimed had a dead battery. Johnson didn’t go outside, and communicated with the man through his window. He had a personal rule of thumb not to leave the house after 9 p.m — an apt suspicion heightened by inklings of a potential hit he received from some of the inmates he looked over.
    [dcquiz]
    “I call them good citizens,” Johnson told TheDCNF. “They said ‘there’s a hit on you.’ The warden got a letter from an unknown inmate that there was a hit on me. So I took it seriously.”
    While Johnson’s story is remarkable, it isn’t uncommon.
    An inmate from Louisiana who escaped prison at the end of July is suspected of murdering the assistant warden’s daughter right after he slipped away. Police eventually shot the prisoner dead, but not before he completed the hit, which was allegedly coordinated through a contraband cellphone.
    And there are more examples. In Georgia, a gang leader for the Sex Money Murder crew, a subsidiary of the infamous Bloods, ordered a murder of a baby from inside the prison. In April of 2014, nine people were charged in North Carolina for successfully organizing the kidnapping of a prosecutor’s father. In yet another instance, a 29-year-old man was charged for shooting a correctional officer while she was in her car. Through a contraband cellphone, an inmate directed the assassin within the local prison to murder the law enforcement agent.
    Johnson says a lot of prison department leaders either don’t feel comfortable admitting they can’t control the criminal enterprises that occur within the confines of their prison, or fear violent retaliation. Some, though, aren’t so headstrong or worried.
    Jon Ozmint, the former director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2011, said he’s been trying to persuade U.S. officials to take the problem seriously for years. There have been some formal meetings to discuss the issue, like a Commerce, Science, and Transportation Senate Committee hearing in 2009, but none have led to materialization of official policy.
    “I was there in the hospital when his [Johnson’s] wife came out covered in blood, an innocent man we all presumed was killed because of an illegal cellphone,” Ozmint told TheDCNF in an interview. “We were one of the first states to file with the [Federal Communications Commission] on this issue. We were the first administration to bring contraband cellphones to the forefront.”
    Ozmint was appointed by Republican Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who was serving as the state’s governor at the time. A large portion of the work during their tenures, which almost perfectly coincided, was to decipher ways to decrease contraband cellphones in the state’s prisons.
    “I’m not a law and order kind of guy. I’m big on civil liberties,” Sanford said in an interview with TheDCNF. “But you actually lose rights when you’re incarcerated; you go to jail. The idea of somebody running a business, dealing drugs, planning hits, or whatever else, is unfathomable.”
    “There was a recent escape here in South Carolina that was orchestrated by cellphones inside the prison,” he added.
    Sanford sent a letter to the FCC in July asking the agency to review the use of cellphone jamming technology within prisons. While jamming is explicitly illegal under the Communications Act of 1934, there are a number of growing technologies that appear to fall outside the technical bounds.
    Managed Access Solutions, or Systems (MAS), for example, is a technology that works by creating a local cellular network at a prison that all devices must access before communicating to the outside world.
    “In simple terms, any device that is unknown to the prison-based cellular system is prevented from accessing the commercial mobile network of ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint as examples, and is continually managed by the specialized local prison cellular network that we install,” an executive at Securus, a company that develops and offers such technology, told TheDCNF in an interview. Securus urgently requested that the executive remain anonymous out of fear of violent retribution coordinated through contraband cellphones. “We call this our Wireless Containment Solution (WCS),” the executive continued, which is essentially an updated, superior version of most MAS technologies.
    WCS is completely different than jamming, according to the company, which acknowledged that such a rudimentary method is unlawful. Jamming indiscriminately blocks out all network signals, while WCS treats each signal uniquely, basing the decision to obstruct signals based on “policy entries for known vs. unknown devices.”
    “Jamming is like shouting in a room over everyone else’s conversation such that no two people can hear or understand each other,” the Securus executive said. “Our WCS communicates with cellphones using the same U.S. cellular bands and radio protocols used by commercial mobile carriers and does not drown out a room, but rather speaks each individual language (ex. LTE [Long-Term Evolution]) to each individual cellphone in order to connect to it and manage its ability to either access the public network or not.”
    Dr. Patrick Diamond of Diamond Consulting, a firm that specializes in synchronization of networked systems among other functions, co-authored an extensive 2012 study into MAS with several other researchers. The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) conducted and sponsored the report in response to an inquiry to investigate from California state senators. The study showed that illegal cellphones are not just endemic to South Carolina.
    “Contraband cellphone usage is a problem that CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] takes very seriously,” Scott Kernan, secretary of the CDCR, said in an official statement.
    The study found that contraband cellphones in prisons are a growing state and national security issue, and several different factors contribute to the problem, including inconsistent screenings at state prisons. It concluded at the time, however, that while more research is needed, MAS is not yet ready for the prison environment due to a number of reasons, including the fact that the capabilities of mobile devices are constantly evolving.
    But just as cellphones can improve, so can MAS technology.
    “In 2011/2012, managed access was in its technical infancy, as I noted in the CCST report,” Diamond said in an interview with TheDCNF. “Five years is several technical generations of improvement. As the NIJ [National Institute of Justice] report of July 31, 2017, states, ‘Managed Access appears to be able to provide a reasonable degree of protection, within technical boundaries.'”
    Another proprietary possibility is Cell Warden Prison Protocol Beacon Technology, created by the company Cell Command.
    “Cell Command has the only technology that literally turns the phone off, thereby shutting down every available function on the wireless device,” CEO John Fischer said in an interview with TheDCNF. “Competing technologies such as Managed Access Systems are easily defeated simply by switching sim cards. With one mobile hotspot, changing sim cards regularly provides a handful of non-carrier active phones full internet access complete with email and WiFi calling.”
    “If the phone is turned off, none of this is possible,” he continued. “Sim cards and SD [secure digital] cards hold vast amounts of data, are very small, and are commonly transferred to nefarious visitors permitting outside instruction to other gang members.”
    In countries such as Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador, barbaric gangs use contraband cellphones to videotape rape, decapitation, and dismemberment of rival gang members and correctional staff, according to Fischer, who adds that MS-13 is one of the most prevalent culprits. They also make the savage content “available for sale to the public where there is a sick appetite for brutal torture,” he said. “In the eyes of an inmate, just another means to make a living.”
    Like Ozmint and Johnson, Fischer described how prisoners have essentially taken over the very area where they are supposed to be controlled, severely compromising correctional facilities’ ability to prevent, or at least contain, the criminal activity.
    WATCH: 
    For Fischer’s technology to work, though, it would have to be automatically installed on every device the telecommunications industry manufactures and offers — something the private sector thinks is a pipe dream.
    Ozmint and Fischer don’t understand why it’s such a far-fetched concept, since the U.S. already mandates technology for other means of public safety. Rear Adm. Jamie Barnett (Ret.), the outside counsel for Cell Command who served as the FCC’s Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for several years, said there is plenty of precedence for the FCC designating such a technology. Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), the public safety system that delivers Amber Alerts and other notifications, for example, is very different in the technical sense but is similar in regards to the policy that could bring it to fruition.
    Companies voluntarily entered into the WEA at the encouragement of the FCC, Barnett told TheDCNF in an interview, arguing that force is not required to bring companies on board. In that case, the carriers joined in under the Wireless Response Network Act.
    “The same concept could work for Cell Warden beacon technology, and it doesn’t need legislation,” Barnett said.
    AT&T declined to provide comment but did cite input the company submitted to the FCC.
    “AT&T supports rules that aggressively prevent and terminate the use of contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities, but these rules must not come at the expense of law-abiding wireless consumers,” the filing reads.
    The conglomerate cited stories in Baltimore where drivers traveling near the city’s main prison have complained of their wireless communications being inappropriately swept up in the MAS system and blocked. The report comes from 2014, so the technology has improved, according to Securus. And those concerns don’t appear to address Cell Command’s beacon technology, which can limit its scope down to one meter.
    Both AT&T and Verizon referred TheDCNF to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), the trade organization which represents all major wireless providers, for comment. CTIA told TheDCNF that a “comprehensive remedy” for the illegal cellphone problem requires “action by all stakeholders,” which includes the “government, the public safety community and technology providers.”
    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai seems more than willing to discuss potential solutions. Johnson told TheDCNF he met with several lawmakers on a recent meeting tour in Washington D.C. He said the only person to sincerely show interest was Pai, while others seemed dismissive, unmoved, and “didn’t write anything down.” While Johnson remembered Pai, he declined to name specific congressmen because he “met with so many, the names have blurred.”
    TheDCNF sat down with Chairman Pai to discuss the issue of contraband cellphones in prisons.
    “I’ve had the chance to visit correctional facilities from Bishopville, South Carolina, all the way up to Massachusetts, and all the way west of Fort Leavenworth [Kansas],” he told TheDCNF. “What I’ve heard from a variety of officials, both federal and state, is that these devices all too often are weapons, and also enablers of criminal activity.”
    “That’s one of the reasons why I highlighted this issue over the previous couple of years and part of the reason why we took action this past March to implement some solutions,” he continued.
    Pai cited his meeting with Johnson as “incredible” and “inspiring.”
    “We don’t want to see another Captain Johnson, he’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Pai. “I’ve talked to other correctional officers who live in fear of opening up the garage door at night when they come home, or getting in the car in the morning.”
    Since CTIA said any decisive action would require all stakeholders, TheDCNF asked if Pai could envision sitting down with wireless carriers and other policymakers to come up with a potential solution, including discussing the implementation of MAS and Cell Warden technology, respectively.
    “That’s one thing we’re trying to figure out, is there a solution that works for all the stakeholders involved,” Pai said. “This is one of them [Cell Warden] that has worked in a couple facilities that we’ve heard about. We want to figure out is this a reliable path forward?”
    Ozmint, who is an expert on various technologies related to the blocking of contraband cellphones and now works as an attorney, said wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon are not being genuine. He also voiced his frustrations with the FCC of years past, saying no one ever fully took law enforcement’s concerns of contraband cellphones seriously because â€œtheir masters of industry” influenced the agency.
    Johnson felt the effect of that apparent neglect. He spent seven months in several medical facilities following the attempted hit job. But he has a lot more than scars to remind him of the severely traumatic event.
    (Photo provided by Capt. Johnson)
    “I spent the last 6 years with holes in my stomach cause they couldn’t close them up,” he told TheDCNF. “I’ve had 23 different surgeries with more to come. I suffer from pain in my left leg 24/7. One of my lungs is badly damaged; I am only operating on one lung. I look forward to going to sleep at night cause I don’t want pain. I don’t take pills cause I don’t want to get addicted.”
    The would-be assassin, Sean Echols, was able to inflict such serious damage because of a contraband cellphone belonging to the mastermind of the plan who was behind bars in the prison Johnson served. Echols was sentenced to 40 years for a separate crime, according to Johnson, a punishment that was actually more than he was set to face for the murder attempt.
    After being asked why Echols took the larger punishment, Johnson said it was “because he was afraid of the mastermind” who is, of course, supposed to be unable to intimidate people and commit criminal acts while incarcerated. The architect of the hit would be able to hurt Echols or his family if the failed assassin cooperated with authorities because of inmates’ access to contraband cellphones.
    Public attention to illegal cellphones within prisons is only in the nascent stages, despite the efforts made by Johnson, Ozmint, Fischer, Securus, and others over the last decade.
    “Clearly, this is a problem that needs to be addressed,” Nicol Turner-Lee, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, told TheDCNF. “I think it’s important for the FCC to continue to explore the policy implications of any deployed technologies to ensure that it specifically solves the problem and does not encroach on the rights of others.”
    Mobile phones reportedly seized by Mississippi authorities at prisons across the state are seen here. (Photo provided by REUTERS/Mississippi Department of Corrections)
    Other policy analysts agree, particularly about the notion that the FCC should explore possibilities.
    “More recently, newer technologies have enabled prisons to monitor contraband cellphone use and block unauthorized calls, without jamming, while allowing legitimate calls to connect,” Tom Struble, tech policy manager at the think tank R Street, told TheDCNF. “Hopefully, with technological advances and an engaged FCC, prisons can finally start to clamp down on contraband cellphones.”
    Ozmint believes the Cell Warden’s beacon technology is the only way to fully address the complex issue of contraband cellphones. Johnson, who receives monetary compensation from Securus to help pay for medical expenses, advocates for the company’s WCS technology because he’s seen it work and knows firsthand that something must be done.
    “I truly believe that while technology started this problem,” Johnson said, “technology will also solve this problem.”


              Teoria general de sistemas – (T.G.S.)        
    TEORIA GENERAL DE SISTEMAS La Teoría General de Sistemas viene a ser el resultado de gran parte del movimiento de investigación general de los sistemas, constituyendo un conglomerado de principios e ideas que han establecido un grado superior de orden y comprensión científicos, en muchos campos del conocimiento. La moderna investigación de los sistemas puede […]
              Control Systems Planner - DCM Integrated Solutions Inc - Fort McMurray, AB        
    Company Profile DCM Integrated Solutions Inc. is a construction management company managing the execution of a conglomerate of affiliated construction...
    From DCM Inc. - Fri, 28 Jul 2017 08:24:38 GMT - View all Fort McMurray, AB jobs
              Â¿Es Donald Trump un nuevo Hitler?        
    Es una pregunta que cada vez más gente se hace, pero para empezar comencemos con lo primero.



    ¿Podrá terminar Trump su primer periodo cómo presidente de los EEUU?

    Pues tal como se ven las cosas está de dudarse. Su arribo a la Casa Blanca no fue bienvenido por muchos; pero ya una vez instalado en la oficina oval se ha encargado de encontrar nuevos enemigos, aparte de los que ya traía arrastrando desde que inició su campaña electoral, emitiendo decretos a diestra y siniestra que afectan directamente a intereses muy poderosos.

    Hacer un resumen de todas sus acciones de gobierno controvertidas sería un poco largo, así que sólo mencionarélas más importantes.

    La primera fue sacar a los EEUU del Acuerdo Transpacífico de Cooperación Económica, TPP, situación que afectó gravemente a las corporaciones industriales y de comercio globales.

    La segunda fue decretar la renegociación del tratado de libre comercio de América del norte, TLCAN, acción quéafecta directamente a importantes conglomerados industriales estadounidenses, amén de a la economía mexicana.

    La tercera es colocar al ultra derechista, racista y supremacista blanco, Steven Bannon, cómo estratega en jefe de la geopolítica estadounidense; así es, lo ha puesto al frente del consejo de seguridad nacional. Éste sujeto es el gurú de Trump y su mano derecha. Es la mente "maestra" detrás del programa de gobierno de Trump, pero es un tipo bastante peligroso por su extremismo.

    Cuando Trump fue a visitar la sede de la CIA inmediatamente después de ser investido cómo presidente, fue a advertirles que Bannon sería su jefe, pues el consejo de seguridad nacional es el órgano ejecutivo que está por encima de todos ellos, inclusive sobre el pentágono. Así que en realidad fue a enfrentarlos por su agresividad mostrada hacia su persona, aunque la nota de prensa dijera que sólo fue una reunión amistosa.

    Recuerdo que cuando la polémica llamada telefónica de Trump a Peña Nieto, estaban ahí presentes, "asesorando" al presidente yankee, precisamente este sujeto, Steven Bannon, y el yerno de Trump, el judío Jared Kushner.

    La cuarta es acusar a China de practicar un comercio desleal con los EEUU a través de mantener artificialmente depreciado el Yuan con respecto al Dólar, situación que lo ha llevado a considerar seriamente la devaluación de la moneda estadounidense por considerar que, "su valor elevado es un obstáculo que está llevando a la ruina a los EEUU", según sus propias palabras.

    También el estratega en jefe de Trump, Steven Bannon, habría declarado que en 5 o 10 años los EEUU entrarían en guerra militar contra China e Irán; guerra cuyo objetivo sería mantener la supremacía del imperio yankee en el mundo.

    Dentro de los EEUU estaría llevando a cabo reformas fundamentales como derogar el obamacare, así como el 70% de los demás decretos de su predecesor, incluyendo el acuerdo nuclear con Irán. También estaría limpiando los altos mandos de los órganos de poder cómo la CIA, el FBI y el pentágono.

    También estaría quitando la financiación estatal a las clínicas que practican abortos, así como a los programas del gobierno anterior que promovían la agenda gay o LGTB y, estaría prohibiendo las ONG'S que promueven tales prácticas. Llegando al extremo de pedir a los funcionarios de gobierno del sexo femenino vestirse como mujeres.

    Ésta última medida ya raya en el fanatismo religioso, recordándome a los fanáticos extremistas musulmanes takfirís que quieren imponer la sharía a todos.

    Otra de sus medidas controvertidas es el rechazo a la teoría del cambio climático provocado por la actividad humana y, por consiguiente, el rechazo a los protocolos de Kyoto, así como a los acuerdos alcanzados en la reciente cumbre sobre cambio climático celebrada en París. Para muchos ésta medida de Trump representa el apocalipsis climático, poniendo en peligro la supervivencia de la especie humana.

    Como verán, Trump representa lo que muchos teóricos de la conspiración desearon ver en un líder, pero también representa una amenaza para muchos otros.

    Y esos muchos otros eventualmente buscarán como eliminar a Donald Trump.

    Esa es una percepción que comparte mucha gente, no solo los de la élite que se ve perjudicada por las acciones de Donald Trump, pues, como en el caso de los mexicanos, sus medidas afectarán directamente a millones de ellos.

    Trump encarna el moderno nacionalismo, pero no un nacionalismo sano, al menos no lo parece así en muchas de sus acciones de gobierno que ha emprendido, como la discriminación a algunos sectores de la sociedad estadounidense y a determinados grupos de extranjeros, como los inmigrantes musulmanes de los países a los que ellos han invadido y destruido, a excepción de los aliados de Israel como Arabia Saudita y Egipto.

    Otro hecho delicado es la petición de Trump a los empleados de gobierno de sexo femenino a vestirse como mujeres. Y es preocupante porque eso ya es meterse con la vida privada de la gente, además, ¿Quién tiene el derecho a decidir que es vestirse como hombre o mujer?; eso es algo subjetivo. De ahí a prohibir determinada religión, tradición o costumbre, solo por el hecho de que a él no le guste, sólo le separa un paso.

    Y así lo han entendido algunas comunidades indígenas autóctonas estadounidenses al advertir que Donald Trump las quiere exterminar.

    Así empezó Hitler, discriminando a ciertos sectores de la sociedad alemana como los gitanos, los comunistas, los gays y los judíos. Pero antes de ellos, comenzó a discriminar a los propios alemanes que padeciesen alguna discapacidad; incluso con ellos empezó a ensayar sus métodos de exterminio en masa como lo fueron las cámaras de gases.

    Cuando Hitler comenzó a amenazar a sus vecinos nadie hizo nada, pues pensaron: no somos nosotros, a nosotros no nos pasará. Así que cuando Hitler invadió Checoslovaquia el mundo no reaccionó, y cuando atacó Lituania tampoco actuó, y cuando invadió Polonia tampoco hicieron nada. Solo hasta que vieron afectados directamente sus intereses fue cuando se movilizaron.

    Pues así está el día de hoy el mundo respecto a Donald Trump; no digo que Trump sea un nuevo Hitler, pero el perfil lo cubre, al menos en algunos aspectos. Y lo afirmo por lo anteriormente expuesto, y porque así como Hitler empezóa amenazar a sus vecinos, así lo está haciendo Donald Trump.

    Hitler decía que los demás se habían aprovechado de Alemania y hacia reclamaciones territoriales a sus vecinos porque presuntamente los alemanes tenían derecho sobre esas tierras al haber una importante comunidad germana allí. Es así como invadió a sus vecinos y se anexó parte de su territorio.

    Así está Trump, dice que los mexicanos nos hemos aprovechado de los estadounidenses y ha amenazado con enviar fuerzas militares a México para “combatir el narcotráfico”, porque según él, “no permitirá que sigan destruyendo sus ciudades”, toda una retórica falaz y tendenciosa, encaminada a lograr una ocupación militar de México y su posterior desmembramiento. Claro, el gobierno mexicano salió a decir que era falsa la noticia, pero la duda quedó ahí.

    Sumando ésto a los reclamos de Donald Trump hacia China y Alemania a los que ha acusado de aprovecharse de los EEUU, la similitud entre ambos casos toma más fuerza.

    A china le ha recriminado la supuesta devaluación artificial del Yuan para darle una ventaja competitiva a las manufacturas chinas; a Alemania la ha acusado de algo similar, pues según Trump Alemania utiliza el Euro para darle una ventaja competitiva a sus productos, pues según él, Alemania mantiene artificialmente bajo el precio del Euro respecto al Dólar, es decir, lo mantiene por debajo de su valor real.

    Por estas razones estamos ante una incógnita, pues aunque Trump ha venido a cumplir muchos de los deseos de los conspiracionistas (entre ellos yo), es decir, ha hecho posible la anulación del TTP, la eliminación de la agenda LGTB, ha acabado con la promoción y financiación estatal del aborto, parece promover los valores judeo-cristianos, ha deslegitimado la hipótesis del cambio climático provocado por la actividad humana (en ésto no estoy del todo de acuerdo pues creo el factor humano es clave) etcétera; también ha tomado medidas que van en el sentido contrario, como las que ya comenté.

    Algunos dicen que Hitler fue el resultado de una profunda crisis económica que vivía Alemania por causa de las sanciones económicas impuestas por las naciones vencedoras de la primera guerra mundial, y que Trump es el resultado de la crisis económica que padece Estados Unidos, pero en realidad casi nada tiene que ver una cosa con la otra, a excepción de la personalidad de ambos personajes, pues la crisis estadounidense no se compara en nada a lo que vivía la Alemania pre-nazi; aquello si era verdaderamente desastroso, con un marco alemán sufriendo una devaluación descomunal, todo lo contrario al Dólar actual; también los problemas económicos germanos eran consecuencia directa de las sanciones económicas internacionales, en cambio la crisis económica estadounidense es consecuencia directa de la mala administración de sus autoridades, específicamente de la pésima política monetaria de la FED, y no por sanciones internacionales o como consecuencia de medidas tomadas por terceros.

    Por todo lo anterior se vale preguntarnos: ¿es Donald Trump la reencarnación de Hitler? Pues no hay una respuesta hasta el momento, pero lo podría ser; pero de lo que no hay duda es que su reinado marcará un punto de inflexión en la historia humana reciente; ya lo estamos viendo.



              DESASTRES        
    DESASTRES


    1.      Concepto.-

    El desastre, es una situación resultante en una sociedad o comunidad, después que ha sido azotada por algún fenómeno natural, llámesele; terremoto, inundación, huracán, vulcanismo, deslizamiento u otro; o por acciones erróneas del hombre, tales pueden ser  los casos de incendios, explosiones etc. En ambos casos, el desastre se puede medir en términos de daños y pérdidas materiales, económicas; o en lesiones y pérdidas de vidas humanas. Estos diversos fenómenos originados por la naturaleza en algunos casos y otros por el hombre, han ocurrido a través de la historia de la humanidad y seguirán ocurriendo en cualquier parte del mundo; tendrán lógicamente efectos sobre el hombre mismo, sobre sus bienes y sobre la naturaleza, según las diversas características geológicas, geográficas, socioeconómicas y culturales de las regiones donde ocurran.
    2.       Clasificación de los desastres.-
    Los desastres son a menudo clasificados de acuerdo a su velocidad de comienzo (súbita o lenta), su causa (natural o hecha por el hombre) o su escala (mayor o menor).
    Existe actualmente un cierto consenso en cuanto a la clasificación de los desastres:

    I)                   Desastres naturales:

    Los desastres naturales son aquellos debidos a un fenómeno de la naturaleza.
    Estos tipos de desastres están íntimamente relacionados con la puesta en peligro de los procesos de desarrollo humano. A su vez, las decisiones en materia de desarrollo tomadas por particulares, comunidades y naciones, pueden generar nuevos riesgos de desastre. Pero esto no tiene que ser necesariamente así. El desarrollo humano también puede contribuir a reducir eficazmente los riesgos de desastre.

    a.      Terremotos.

    Terrible devastación
    Un terremoto, también llamado seísmo o sismo (del griego "σεισμός", temblor) o temblor de tierra[] es una sacudida del terreno que se produce debido al choque de las placas tectónicas y a la liberación de energía en el curso de una reorganización brusca de materiales de la corteza terrestre al superar el estado de equilibrio mecánico. Los más importantes y frecuentes se producen cuando se libera energía potencial elástica acumulada en la deformación gradual de las rocas contiguas al plano de una falla activa.

    b.      Erupciones volcánicas.

    Erupción de un volcán
    Un volcán es aquel lugar donde la roca fundida o fragmentada por el calor y gases calientes emergen a través de una abertura desde las partes internas de la tierra a la superficie. La palabra volcán también se aplica a la estructura en forma de loma o montaña que se forma alrededor de la abertura mencionada por la acumulación de los materiales emitidos. Generalmente los volcanes tienen en su cumbre, o en sus costados, grandes cavidades de forma aproximadamente circular denominadas cráteres, generadas por erupciones anteriores, en cuyas bases puede, en ocasiones, apreciarse la abertura de la chimenea volcánica.
                                                

    c.       Tsunamis.

    Un tsunami (del japonés Tsu: puerto o bahía y Nami: ola) es una ola o serie de olas que se producen en una masa de agua al ser empujada violentamente por una fuerza que la desplaza verticalmente.
    Antiguamente se les denominaba "marejadas", "maremotos" u "ondas sísmica marinas", pero estos términos han quedado obsoletos, ya que no describen adecuadamente el fenómeno.

    d.      Inundaciones.

    Inundación en la ciudad
    Las inundaciones son una de las catástrofes naturales que mayor número de víctimas producen en el mundo. Se ha calculado que en el siglo XX unas 3,2 millones de personas han muerto por este motivo, lo que es más de la mitad de los fallecidos por desastres naturales en el mundo en ese periodo.

     

     

    e.       Granizo.

    Caída de granizo
    Llamamos granizo a la caída de bolitas de hielo de 5 a 50 mm -a veces mayores- que en ocasiones caen formando conglomerados irregulares (pedrisco). No suelen causar víctimas ni grandes destrozos en las construcciones, pero si muy importantes daños en la agricultura.

     

     

     

     

     

    f.       Sequía.

    Una definición aceptada de sequía puede ser una reducción temporal notable del agua y la humedad disponibles, por debajo de la cantidad normal o esperada para un periodo dado.

     

    II)                 Desastres generados por el hombre:

    Los desastres de origen humano son consecuencia de la acción del hombre y de su desarrollo. Entre ellos se encuentran los siguientes:
    A)    Industrial/tecnológico.-
     (Fallas en los sistemas/accidentes, substancias químicas/radiación, derrames, contaminación, explosiones, incendios, terrorismo).
    B)    Transporte. (Vehicular).
    C)    Deforestación. (Tala de árboles).  
    D)    Escasez de materiales.
    E)     Emergencias complejas.
     (Guerras y contiendas civiles, agresión armada, insurgencia y otras acciones que traen como resultado el desplazamiento de personas y refugiados).

    Contaminantes físicos

    Los contaminantes físicos son caracterizados por un intercambio de energía entre persona y ambiente en una dimensión y/o velocidad tan alta que el organismo no es capaz de soportarlo.
    Por varias razones, el contaminante físico que más está relacionado con la geología ambiental es la radiactividad (natural o artificial).

    Contaminantes químicos.

    Los agentes químicos representan seguramente el grupo de contaminantes más importante debido a su gran número y a la omnipresencia en todos los campos laborales y en el medio ambiente.
    Como contaminantes químicos se puede entender toda sustancia orgánica e inorgánica, natural o sintética que tiene probabilidades de lesionar la salud de las personas en alguna forma o causar otro efecto negativo en el medio ambiente.

    Incendios.

    Los incendios forestales constituyen uno de los principales problemas, relativos a la degradación del medio ambiente. Producen erosión de la superficie arbolada.
    Las causas de los incendios forestales son diversas. Entre ellas, destaca la acumulación de la masa total de materia viva –biomasa–, provocada por una mala gestión de las zonas forestales. La inflamabilidad de la materia vegetal varía mucho según la humedad ambiente: en verano el bosque llega a perder hasta la mitad de esa humedad.

    Deforestación.

    Tala de árboles
    Se entiende por deforestación a la destrucción a gran escala del bosque por la acción humana.
    La desertificación, definida como la intensificación de las condiciones desérticas y el decrecimiento paulatino de la productividad de los ecosistemas, es generada principalmente por el ser humano, que actúa sobre un medio frágil y lo presiona en exceso para obtener su sustento.





    3.       Los desastres más comunes en nuestro país.-
    De acuerdo con estudio, Colombia y Perú tienen mayor cantidad de población expuesta a inundaciones y terremotos. El atlas resalta que las inundaciones son los desastres más frecuentes en Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador y Perú, donde además existen 60 volcanes activos y 355.000 kilómetros cuadrados de áreas expuestas a heladas. En relación a las inundaciones, el atlas revela que de las más de 13 millones de personas expuestas a inundaciones el 40% de ellas habita en Perú; el 38% en Colombia, el 18% en Ecuador y el 4% en Bolivia. Con 120.000 kilómetros cuadrados (km2), Colombia aparece como el país comunitario con mayor extensión de aréas de uso agropecuario expuestas a inundaciones, seguido de Bolivia con 56.000 km2, Perú con 35.000 kms2 y Ecuador con 14.000 km2. En cuanto a los terremotos, 59 millones de habitantes de la Comunidad Andina residen en zonas de amenaza sísmica alta. Colombia y Perú tienen la mayor cantidad de población expuesta con 22,3 y 18,7 millones de personas. Ecuador, con 13 millones de habitantes, tiene casi toda su población en amenaza sísmica alta; y Bolivia tiene una parte marginal de su territorio, que en población representa menos del 1% de sus 8,1 millones de habitantes. Asimismo, el atlas señala que unos 335.000 kilómetros cuadrados de áreas agropecuarias en la región andina están expuestas a las heladas, de esta superficie el 54% corresponde a Perú; 28% a Bolivia; 10% a Colombia y 7% a Ecuador. En la subregión andina se han registrado hasta 9 fenómenos naturales, como terremotos, maremotos, erupción de volcanes, deslizamientos, inundaciones, heladas, sequías y los fenómenos climáticos de el Niño y la Niña . Los desastres naturales dejaron 125.000 muertos entre 1970 y 2007. Además, dejaron 8,5 millones de personas damnificadas y 28 millones de afectadas, así como 380.000 viviendas destruidas, según el estudio. Durante esos 27 años se han registrado 57.000 desastres de diversa magnitudes.

    4.      Desastres más comunes en nuestra localidad.
    Los  más comunes son las lluvias torrenciales, las inundaciones, congestión  vehicular, accidentes de tránsito,  Flujos  de agua, caídas de rocas, peligros geológicos.  
    Estadisticas:             
    Otro dato adicional proporcionado por el inventario de peligros geológicos (INGEMMET 2009) en Comas, registró: 47 peligros geológicos, 40 caídas de rocas y 7 flujos. Además se delimitaron 8 zonas críticas (Zonas en las que se tienen que tomar medidas si o si) y adivinen que: Uno de los flujos registrados, era un flujo antiguo ubicado en la Quebrada Collique, con posibilidades de reactivarse ...... una de la zonas críticas es la 6ta zona de Collique!!!.
    5.      Qué solución propones para prevenir el desastre de nuestra localidad.
    Propongo que para estos desastres que está pasando hay que tomarlo en serio, tomar medidas para contrarrestar las inclemencias naturales futuras,  porque está costando vidas humanas y eso significa que no se está progresando sino se está retrocediendo;  tenemos que ayudarnos unos a otros para ser mejores personas  y con ayuda de todos se puede dar soluciones. Se han visto el sufrimiento que han padecido estos desastres naturales. Por causa de un terremoto sus hogares han perdido y nunca han recibido la ayuda necesaria.
    Defensa Civil



              The future of newspapers in a world of Capitalism 2.0        
    I've blogged a lot about a publicly endowed public-to-private move by the NYT Company in order to save itself.

    I just want to clarify something for a Think! reader who wrote to me about this.

    Yes, one option is to go the non-profit endowment route.

    But another, and one which is part of my thinking, is that pure endowment isn't the only play here.

    Let's just consider for a moment that, after the recent financial meltdown, we're going to see new flora and fauna emerging, a bit like after a forest fire.

    I think this is likely not just in the case of newspaper companies and their offerings, but also capitalism in general. It's what I call the birth of Capitalism 2.0. (I don't know if anyone else is using that term, but if so I haven't read about it.)

    Capitalism 2.0 is a market place for profit-minded investors (yes, capitalists still want an ROI) within which different classes of investors emerge who are willing, for reasons of contributing to the broader base of social capital, to accept reduced, capped or fixed income returns on their investments.

    In my scenario of 100 rich Americans/foundations/endowments/whoever stumping up, let's say, $10 million each to achieve this for the NYT Company, they would enable the NYT Company to survive in the short term and flourish in the long term (once the NYT Co. get with the programme of what is actually going on in the media world and what the market wants and come up with some new ideas). But a fully blown not for profit endowment is not what I have in mind.

    What I have in mind is an investment class of managed profit expectations where investors are willing to accept, in return for a broader (can we say greater?) good, lower returns on their capital than they can achieve elsewhere.

    Capitalism 2.0 will still leave plenty of investment classes for people who are driven purely by greed and profit, but in 25 years time, might we be asking each other at dinner parties whether we're into - to shorthand the idea - social capital class B investments or pure profit motive class A investments? Emerging social trends will determine which class of investment is called A and which class is called B.

    This differential between investment classes can be applied to any company or sector you care to mention. Oil companies that are Investment B class or Investment A class for example, the former being one that caps its profit margins at a certain percentage, re-invests that money in alternative non-fossil energies and pays out, yes, a lower dividend.

    Given the NYT families who own the voting stock are going to have to swallow considerably lower dividends for some years to come, even if (and it's an if) they survive, might they like to go for this model and at least claim some glory for developing the concept (after me that is)?

    We're constantly told what terrifically socially minded and all round great people the family is (a bit like the Bancrofts, ho hum) so let's see them put their money where their mouth is. Sorry kids, some of you are going to have to get real jobs, but you've all got the nice Manhattan brown house/loft apartment/trust fund based on NYT dividends to date, so it's not all bad is it?

    As for management and editorial staff, well, sorry too.

    You're going to have to take a pay cut.

    I would if I were you in this scenario because given the media meltdown, both re, media market B-side and editorial staffing cuts, there's plenty of members of the liberal media elite who would be more than willing and capable of working for a Capitalism 2.0 NYT Co. on a wage platform of, off the top of my head, at least 25% less than you're currently getting paid.

    With the $10 million members of the liberal media elite poneying up to get the debt down by around a billion dollars, the company going public-to-private, the resulting drop in debt servicing fees and 25% off the biggest cost base without you losing your job, this could be one hell of an offer.

    And we'll all get a chance to see just how liberal you and the Ochs-Sulzbergers really are. Which would be nice wouldn't it?


    If you don't like the deal on the table you can always go and set up a blog, because boy, that's the future isn't it (not).

    And let's not forget, that with NYT Company stock trading at as low as $6.90 yesterday, your performance related stock options aren't worth a bag of beans anyway, so no big loss on that front.

    Naturally investor/employee participation is going to be a big part of the reward of being in Class B investments as an investor or employee, so we may need a few changes of management style. But judging by the mood music I'm hearing, no one would be worrying too much about that.

    BTW: if something like this does happen at the NYT Co. I still want that place on the board. And given how much I've made out of the naked short selling of NYT Company stock in the last 24 months, I'm more than happy to put the first 10 mill on the table. Can't do fairer than that ;)

    Today's article in the IHT about the Smithsonian (see below) is perhaps relevant in all this, but there are more thoughts beneath it about the future of newspapers in the world of Capitalism 2.0.


    At meeting, Smithsonian practices new openness
    By Robin Pogrebin
    Tuesday, November 18, 2008
    WASHINGTON: Fielding questions about its diminished endowment fund, the possibility of charging admission fees and the fate of its fabled yet shuttered Arts and Industries Building, the Smithsonian Institution held the first public board meeting in its 162-year history on Monday as part of its new commitment to openness and accountability. Sitting on the stage of a 565-seat auditorium at the institution's National Museum of Natural History, members of the governing body, or Board of Regents — including members of Congress — took questions from the audience present and online.
    The two-hour meeting was a window on public concerns about the Smithsonian's shaky financial state and potentially endangered programs, rather than merely a forum for combative accusations after two tumultuous years in which the institution has been battered by mismanagement scandals. Museumgoers and Smithsonian staff members had the opportunity to ask whatever they wanted about the organization's operations and direction.
    Although billed as an open board meeting, the session seemed more like a chance for the regents to hear from the public than for the public to observe the regents at work. Questions ranged from broad issues like the thrust of the Smithsonian's new strategic planning initiative, intended to draft a course of action for the institution's financial future and its programs, to whether a tram might be built at the National Zoo.
    There were nonetheless more challenging moments.
    "Why did you not all resign?" was the first question, submitted on a card by an audience member. It referred to the Board of Regents' decision to stay on after revelations about the lavish expense-account spending of Lawrence Small, the Smithsonian's former secretary, or chief executive, who resigned in March 2007.
    Roger Sant, chairman of the Smithsonian's executive committee, replied that the regents had asked themselves, "Do we resign, or do we roll up our sleeves — and we chose the latter."
    The question that drew one of the most emphatic responses from the regents concerned the viability of the Smithsonian's policy of free admission at all of its components, which include 19 museums and galleries, the zoo and 9 research centers. The Smithsonian draws 70 percent of its $1 billion annual budget from the federal government.
    One written comment suggested that "the luxury of free admission must be a thing of the past." The audience booed.
    Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and a Smithsonian regent, called the admission policy "one of the great hallmarks" of the institution.
    Calling attention to the Smithsonian's unusual governance structure was the scheduled role of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who serves as the Smithsonian's chancellor and traditionally presides over board meetings. At the last minute the chief justice was unable to attend and Sant presided instead. "We've been trying to do some fixing," Sant said upon opening the meeting. "The board views this meeting as an opportunity to directly engage with all of you about the issues facing the Smithsonian."
    Many questions were answered by G. Wayne Clough, the former president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who took over in July as the Smithsonian's secretary.
    He faces the task of restoring stability to an institution struggling with a $2.5 billion shortfall, crumbling buildings and a recent legacy of improprieties by leading Smithsonian executives. "We believe the Smithsonian is at a turning point," he said in his opening remarks. "The world is rapidly changing in so many ways."
    Like other organizations, the Smithsonian has been seriously affected by the nation's economic downturn; the value of its endowment has dropped 21 percent since June. "Of course we can't predict the future," Clough said, "but we can prepare for it."
    He said the Smithsonian had "to find ways to be more self-reliant." The institution raised $135.6 million last year, he said, an improvement on its goal of $115 million.
    The developer and philanthropist Eli Broad, who serves as a regent, said the board had become more conservative about its investments.
    The organization has also raised $400,000 toward the $1.3 million cost of its strategic planning effort, Clough said. But he said that fund-raising was not enough and that the institution needed to set about attracting a younger and more diverse work force and audience.
    Clough said he had established a committee to ensure that executives at the institution — including regents, staff members and contractors — reflected the nation's ethnic diversity. "The Smithsonian is the treasure of America and it represents America," he said. "Therefore its Board of Regents should as well."
    Several of the questions dealt with the Smithsonian's neo-Classical 1881 Arts and Industries Building, which has been closed for four years and is listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the nation's most endangered places because of its state of disrepair.
    Clough said that the cost of repairs had been estimated at about $75 million and that the Smithsonian would conclude a study on its future use in January. One member of the audience suggested setting aside part of the building as an information center for all the institutions on the National Mall.
    The Board of Regents plans to hold open meetings at least once a year. The next one is expected in June. Sant said the board might adjust the format in the future.
    "We don't have it exactly right," he said. "But at least we're trying to tinker with it."

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/18/arts/18smithsonian.php

    If you think all of the above is a load of old bollocks then you'll be cheered by these remarks by Mr. Capitalism 1.0s recent remarks:

    Murdoch upbeat about the future of newspapers
    By ROHAN SULLIVAN – 2 days ago
    SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Global media magnate Rupert Murdoch says doomsayers who are predicting the Internet will kill off newspapers are "misguided cynics" who fail to grasp that the online world is potentially a huge new market of information-hungry consumers.
    Newspaper companies in the United States and elsewhere are facing fundamental changes to their businesses as more people get their news from the Internet and other sources, and advertisers follow the market away from the paper-and-ink format.
    Murdoch, the Australian-born chairman and chief executive of News Corp., said in a speech broadcast Sunday titled "The Future of Newspapers: Moving Beyond Dead Trees" that the Internet offered opportunities as well as challenges and that newspapers would always be around in some form or other.
    "Too many journalists seem to take a perverse pleasure in ruminating on their pending demise," Murdoch said in a speech, recorded in the United States and relayed nationally by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. It was the latest in an annual ABC series of lectures by a prominent Australian.
    "Unlike the doom and gloomers, I believe that newspapers will reach new heights" in the 21st century, Murdoch said.
    Murdoch grew a small city newspaper he inherited in 1953 into one of the world's largest media conglomerates that now includes 20th Century Fox, Fox News Channel and Sky Broadcasting, Dow Jones & Co. and the online networking site MySpace.
    He said people now were "hungrier for information that ever before" and that papers have an edge over bloggers and other newcomers because they are more trusted by readers.
    "Readers want what they've always wanted: a source they can trust," Murdoch said. "That has always been the role of great newspapers in the past. And that role will make newspapers great in the future."
    He said newspapers would have to evolve from the physical item to "news brands" that are delivered in a variety of ways and are flexible for readers.
    "I like the look and feel of newsprint as much as anyone," he said. "But our real business isn't printing on dead trees. It's giving our readers great journalism and great judgment.
    "It's true that in the coming decades, the printed versions of some newspapers will lose circulation. But if papers provide readers with news they can trust, we' ll see gains in circulation — on our Web pages, through our RSS feeds, in e-mails delivering customized news and advertising, to mobile phones," Murdoch said.
    "In this coming century, the form of delivery may change, but the potential audience for our content will multiply many times over," he said.
    Murdoch cited two of his most prestigious newspapers, The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal, as examples of how newspaper brands can win large online readerships.
    But he stressed that even these papers must recognize that online customers will decide what news they want and how they receive it.
    "To compete today, you can't offer the old one-size-fits-all approach to news," he said. "The challenge is to use a newspaper's brand while allowing readers to personalize the news for themselves and then deliver it in the ways that they want."
    To capitalize on online opportunities, Murdoch said The Wall Street Journal was planning to offer three tiers of content online — free news, a subscriber-level service, and a third "premium service" of reader-customizable "high-end financial news and analysis."
    Murdoch was scathing of journalists who predicted the death of newspapers as self-pitying and "misguided cynics who are too busy writing their own obituary to be excited by the opportunity."
    "The newspaper, or a very close electronic cousin, will always be around," he said. "It may not be thrown on your front doorstep the way it is today. But the thud it makes as it lands will continue to echo around society and the world."

    That's all great Rupert but your share price is hardly crash hot either is it?

    On that cheery note, I am taking a break from Think! for at least a week, if not more. Knee operation in hospital and other more pressing matters to deal with. I may or may not be back.

    Can I just conclude by telling those people who edit the simply dreadful T magazine that, as reported in their piece on Amsterdam in their recent travel edition, Amsterdam is NOT the capital of Holland; The Hague is the capital of The Netherlands. (I think we can sadly take it as a given that the headline writers weren't thinking from their desks in Manhattan about the various provinces in The Netherlands when they called that one.)

    Finally.....CHRISTMAS COMPETITION

    I'm running a prize competition for the Think! reader who most accurately predicts the NYT Company share price on 31 December, 2008. It's a good prize and I'll send it out in the first week of January, 2009, as well as announcing the winner (anonymous you may remain if you prefer but your entries to ihtreraders AT gmail.com please - if you want to claim the prize I will need your postal address at some point.)

    And please, if you are a reader of this blog, and there seem to be lots of you, particularly in Paris, London, Hong Kong and NY according to my stats, and if you haven't yet voted on the three polls on this blog that close at the end of this year, please take a minute to do so.

    By far the biggest readership, as judged by the polls, is IHT subscribers but I have data and ISP addresses which would seem to suggest otherwise.

    Time to fess up and vote!






    READ AN ALTERNATIVE IHT DAILY NARRATIVE AT
    A PLACE IN THE AUVERGNE

    LOOKING FOR A CHRISTMAS BOOK GIFT TO BUY?
    "Books about cosmopolitan urbanites discovering the joys of country life are two a penny, but this one is worth a second glance. Walthew's vivid description of the moral stress induced by his job as a high-flying executive with the International Herald Tribune newspaper is worth the cover price alone…. Highly recommended."
    The Oxford Times

    Amazon.co.uk
    A PLACE IN MY COUNTRY
    by
    Ian Walthew


    'I read
    A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book.'
    Jeremy Irons (actor)

    ‘Ian Walthew was a newspaper executive with a career that took him round the world, who one day did a mad thing. He saw a for-sale sign on a cottage in the Cotswolds, bought it, resigned and moved in. For the first few weeks he just lay on the grass in a daze. Then he started talking to his neighbours and digging into the rich history of this beautiful part of England. Out of his inquiries grew this affecting and inspiring memoir.What sets it apart from others of its ilk is the author’s enviable immunity to cliché and his determination to love his homeland better than he used to.
    His elegiac account of relearning how to be an Englishman should be required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country.’ Financial Times


    Amazon.com
    A PLACE IN MY COUNTRY
    By
    Ian Walthew


    For more reviews visit
    ianwalthew.com


    Business trip to the IHT in Paris or friends and family coming to visit you? Fed up with hotels? Bring the family (sleeps 6) to superb Montmartre apartment - weekend nights free of charge if minimum of 3 work nights booked;. Cable TV; wifi, free phone calls in France (landlines); large DVD and book library; kids toys, books, travel cot and beds; two double bedrooms; all mod cons; half an hour to Neuilly and 12 mins walk from Eurostar. T&E valid invoices.
    10% Discount for NYT employees; 15% Discount for IHT Employees




    International Herald Tribune
    IHT
    New York Times
    The NYT Company

              Public-to-Private, socially minded rich New Yorkers and Crowdfunding as a possible way out for the New York Times.        
    Regular followers of this blog will have noted that I've been blogging a lot on the idea of the NYT taking the company private/charitable status with the help of a group of very wealthy, socially minded rich New Yorkers.

    I'm indebted to a Think! reader, Simon Garner at PBS, for tipping me off to another variable in this equation which is crowdfunding.

    Two projects are cited: spot.us and Representative Journalism.

    Now my crowd idea was just a smaller one, involving some very rich people, rather than lots of micropayments, which is essentially what a subscription or kiosk purchase is, and that sure ain't working.

    However Leonard Witt's idea over at Representative Journalism is closer to my thinking. He's talking about 1000 people (at a local level) making donations of $100 a year to cover a particular issue.

    Well, roll that thought out to where I am and you come to say 100 people in the U.S.A. making a one off donation of $10 million dollars. That would pay off $1 billion of the NYT's debt of $1.2 billion, the company goes private/charitable status, and a lot of your problems are over.

    Here below, is the piece written by Mark Glaser, a colleague of Simon's at PBS, about exploring crowdfunding for economic sustainability in journalism.

    Below the piece, but check the link to see the comments of readers on how this idea was received. There are nice ideas in this piece, but as re. the NYT Company and in the real world I prefer mine. (If it comes off I want a seat on the charitable board btw. Seriously.)


    Can Crowdfunding Help Save the Journalism Business?

    by
    Mark Glaser, November 13, 2008
    Bands do it. Filmmakers do it. President-elect Barack Obama made an artform out of it. "It" is crowdfunding, getting micro-donations through the Internet to help fund a venture. The question is whether crowdfunding can work on a larger scale to help fund traditional journalism, which is being hit by the twin storms of readership and ad declines at newspapers and the economic recession.
    Two experiments in crowdfunding, Spot.us and Representative Journalism, are testing the concept at the local level. Spot.us allows freelance journalists to pitch story ideas and get funding from the public in the San Franciso Bay Area, while Representative Journalism (or RepJ) is running a test in Northfield, Minn., funding one full-time journalist to cover that community.
    [Full Disclosure: I am on the advisory board to RepJ and, like Spot.us, have also received a grant from the Knight Foundation.]

    Spot.us is the brainchild of journalist David Cohn (a.k.a.
    Digidave), who worked on NYU professor Jay Rosen's groundbreaking NewAssignment.net citizen journalism project and helped research the chapter on crowdfunding in Jeff Howe's Crowdsourcing book. Cohn won a $340,000 grant from the Knight Foundation for Spot.us, and writes about the project on MediaShift Idea Lab, the sister blog to MediaShift where Knight grantees write about their projects. Here's how Spot.us works:
    1. Anyone can come up with a "Tip" or story idea they'd like to see covered. People can "pledge" money toward that story.
    2. Freelance journalists can sign up to cover those story ideas or pitch their own stories, attaching a cost to writing the story.
    3. Once a story has a journalist attached to it, people can donate money to help fund it (but no one can give more than 20% of the total cost of the story).
    4. When the story has full funding, the journalist writes the story, and a fact-checker is paid 10% of the funding to edit and check it.
    5. Before the story is posted, news organizations have a chance to get exclusive rights to the story by paying the full cost, which is given back to the donors. Otherwise, the story is posted online and any news organization can run the story for free.
    The site officially launched last Monday, but had already funded three stories through a simple wiki set up beforehand. Cohn told me that the challenge for Spot.us isn't so much the technology as it is the fundraising, something that is new to him as a journalist. He said that Spot.us is just one possible alternative business model for journalism.
    "I never try to sell Spot.us as a silver bullet that will support a whole news organization," Cohn said. "But I do see it helping a news organization so they can do something beyond their regular means. They can strive for excellence, but it won't support day-to-day reporting. It has its limitations...Community-funded journalism relies on two basic shifts. First, the audience has to think of journalism as a public good like art that's worth sustaining with their own money. The second shift is with reporters who have to realize they are a personal brand and they can pitch the public."

    Unlike Spot.us and its piecemeal approach to crowdfunding per story, RepJ takes a longer term outlook by hiring a full-time journalist to work for a local community or cover a specific issue. Leonard Witt, communication chair at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, came up with the idea for representative journalism and
    got a $51,000 grant from the Harnisch Family Foundation for the trial project in Minnesota. Witt believes that a community or interest group could raise $100 donations (or $2 per week) from 1,000 people to support a journalist who covers their locale or issue for a year.
    Witt has yet to test this donation model; he's first trying to get his initial representative journalist, Bonnie Obremski, more ingrained in the community in Northfield, Minn.
    "We are dealing with a total Northfield population of just 17,000," Witt told me via email. "We have to literally weave together an information community of members willing to pay for high quality journalism. So we have to work on three fronts: 1) we have to provide high quality journalism; 2) we have to get the community to know our journalist; and 3) the community has to feel that their membership in the community and the news and information it produces has value worthy of their financial support."
    Crowdfunding Bloggers
    MoveOn.org pioneered getting small donations to pay for political advocacy campaigns, and Barack Obama raised small donations from millions of people in the '08 campaign. And independent bloggers and online journalists have for years been asking their audience to help support their work through small donations. Political bloggers such as
    Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan, and tech blogger Jason Kottke have raised thousands of dollars from online fundraisers in the past. And freelance reporter/blogger Chris Allbritton financed a trip to cover the Iraq War in 2003 by raising nearly $15,000 from his readers, and wrote dispatches on his Back to Iraq blog.
    Allbritton was able to finance a drastic change of beats, going from being a media and technology reporter to becoming a foreign correspondent covering war zones in the Middle East. By supporting his trip to Iraq, Allbritton's readers helped him gain steady work as a freelance correspondent to Time magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Daily News. Now, he is a
    Knight fellow at Stanford University on a year-long quest to see if the reader-supported model can work at an institutional level.
    When I contacted Allbritton for this story, he was amused at the term "crowdfunding" and noted that its advocates might not realize how expensive foreign reporting really is -- especially in a war zone. Even with nearly $15,000 for his Iraq stint, Allbritton quickly went through the funds in just one month because of the high cost of being a foreign correspondent in Iraq. "There was no guarantee that more moneys would be forthcoming from an already tapped audience," he said. "Trust me: You don't want to suddenly find yourself broke in Iraq."
    Even so, Allbritton was amazed that he could go cover a war at the behest of his audience, without approval from any editor or news organization.
    "I didn't have to ask anyone's permission or check with anyone," he said. "I was relying on my own judgment. It was an amazing sense of freedom to do stories and explore things that I thought were really interesting. That said, it also carried a great sense of responsibility. I mean, when you're at a newspaper or magazine, you have an editor or two to answer to. Now, I had thousands of people watching me and I didn't want to let the donors down. I took that very seriously."
    On a less serious subject -- satirical political blogging -- Ana Marie Cox was on the campaign trail covering John McCain for Radar Online when the magazine went belly up. She posted a
    Rate Card on her personal blog, asking her readers to support her coverage for the last week and a half of the campaign. For $10, you would get a personal thank-you email, and for $250, Cox would pose your question to a McCain advisor.
    Cox was surprised that she raised more than $7,000 from her fans in just a few days.
    "Words cannot properly convey my gratitude and amazement in the faith you people seem to have in a little Midwestern girl and her fondness for foul language, politics, and hard-luck stories -- not in that order," she wrote
    on her personal blog.
    Still, Cox was quick to note that "due to the astronomical costs of traveling with a campaign, I am pretty sure that amount will run short of covering the trail through election day."
    Not long after the pledge drive happened, Cox was picked up by the Washington Independent to continue providing reports from the McCain campaign.
    Another blogger that recently started a crowdfunding drive is Jim Hopkins, a former USA Today reporter who writes the
    Gannett Blog as a watchdog to the newspaper chain and media conglomerate. For the past month Hopkins has been asking for $5 subscriptions from readers via PayPal, and raised nearly $1,500. But he had one particularly vexing problem: Most of his readers want to remain anonymous because they work for Gannett, so using PayPal would reveal who they are to him. To get around that problem, Hopkins set up a post office box to accept cash from them in the mail.
    Hopkins told me he is trying to make money from Google AdSense ads, and is using online video to strengthen his appeal for funds.
    "I had read that video is a good way to make an appeal because it's more emotional," he told me. "Until recently, my readers had not heard my voice or had a sense of who I was as a person. Just last week I figured out a cheap way to produce video, and people's reactions have been interesting. They said I might have come across as a mean, anti-management person, but the video made me seem more like a real human being. So if I used it as a fundraising tool it could result in more money coming in."
    Hopkins is interested in using Spot.us to fund other story ideas, but he is worried that if he puts his pitches online, they could be scooped up by competitors.
    "I have to think about ways to present my ideas without having them taken by someone else," he said. "That's an issue that
    Profnet has wrestled with for years; [it's a site] where a journalist presents a story to [potential] sources, but they have figured out a way around it."
    Supporting Crowdfunding Operations
    While an independent blogger or journalist might raise funds from readers directly, it's not something that comes naturally to most writers, who might have a gift for words but not business. That's where the "hub" idea makes more sense, and a platform such as Spot.us -- properly marketed -- could help connect writers with potential funders, and handle financial transactions. That hub model has worked at
    Kiva.org for funding entrepreneurs in the developing world; at DonorsChoose.org for matching charities to donors; as well as entertainment sites such as Sellaband for funding bands directly and IndieGoGo for funding films.

    IndieGoGo launched at Sundance last January, and has raised more than $70,000, with more than 800 film projects posted on the site. Filmmakers pitch the public, and they can then micro-finance projects. IndieGoGo takes a 9% cut of all donations, and donors do not share in the proceeds from the film, instead getting quirky "VIP perks" such as film credits or trips to the set. IndieGoGo co-founder and head of marketing and strategy Slava Rubin told me one filmmaker who made a documentary about Iraq gave donors strips of a Persian rug that came from one of Saddam Hussein's palaces.
    Rubin thinks the crowdfunding model could work in journalism as long as the journalists can engage the right audience.
    "If someone writes [a story about] corn in our energy supply, and they try to get money from people in Iowa, that could work," he said. "You need to be able to engage your audience. You have to be closely connected to your niche, and take advantage of the tools out there to engage that audience. There's Sellaband for music, and there are others, but you have to make a connection with the audience."
    Cohn told me Spot.us would try to become sustainable by asking for donations to support the overall operation at the point of sale for story donations. He said that's been a successful strategy for Kiva.org, whose president told him that 79% of people giving money to entrepreneurs will give an extra 10% to cover the costs of Kiva.org's operation. Cohn also would like to get money from advertisers in new ways.
    "[Someone like] Macy's could have a survey on our site, and Spot.us users can fill out a survey for them, and in return, they would get credit," he said. "So instead of Macy's giving money to a pitch, they would give it to users, and the users would decide where the money would go. I don't know if it's advertising, but it's a win-win -- the user gets real money to donate, the company gets a survey filled out. But that's in the future."

    Wired contributing editor and "Crowdsourcing" author Jeff Howe told me that he was bullish on the crowdfunding model, because it takes much less effort to get someone to throw in a few bucks online than to do the free work of crowdsourcing. Howe thinks Spot.us has promise because of the low cost involved for freelance journalists.
    "You just have to pay someone to write the piece, and as you and I know, a couple grand in our pocket will fund a week or more of reporting for us, and that's what the Spot.us model is," Howe said. "I'm really optimistic and hopeful for this as a model for journalism. We're in such disarray right now, where the music industry was in '02 or '03, because of changing mediums and a fickle audience."
    One worry he did have was that journalism funders would expect a particular outcome from the story pitch -- and would get upset if the result didn't fit in their assumed world view.
    "What you get with a newspaper is a convention to find the facts and write the story," Howe said. "I'm not sure how that convention changes with crowdfunding. I expect that the writers will come back with stories that the funders wanted to see. There's going to be an imperative -- unconciously or not -- to please the funders. And what we know of online communities is that they tend to gather around shared viewpoints and interests. Crowdfunding will work by tapping those communities and they are not disinterested, they will have an axe to grind. People who want you to investigate the local utility will already believe that the local utility is guilty of malfeasance."
    What do you think about crowdfunding efforts by Spot.us and RepJ? Do you think micro-donations can support local freelance stories or a long-term journalist covering a particular community or issue? What potential conflicts do you see with these operations and how much could they help bridge the gap in the changing business model for traditional journalism? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2008/11/can-crowdfunding-help-save-the-journalism-business318.html


    READ AN ALTERNATIVE IHT DAILY NARRATIVE AT
    A PLACE IN THE AUVERGNE

    LOOKING FOR A CHRISTMAS BOOK GIFT TO BUY?
    "Books about cosmopolitan urbanites discovering the joys of country life are two a penny, but this one is worth a second glance. Walthew's vivid description of the moral stress induced by his job as a high-flying executive with the International Herald Tribune newspaper is worth the cover price alone…. Highly recommended."
    The Oxford Times


    Amazon.co.uk
    A PLACE IN MY COUNTRY
    by
    Ian Walthew


    'I read
    A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book.'
    Jeremy Irons (actor)

    ‘Ian Walthew was a newspaper executive with a career that took him round the world, who one day did a mad thing. He saw a for-sale sign on a cottage in the Cotswolds, bought it, resigned and moved in. For the first few weeks he just lay on the grass in a daze. Then he started talking to his neighbours and digging into the rich history of this beautiful part of England. Out of his inquiries grew this affecting and inspiring memoir.What sets it apart from others of its ilk is the author’s enviable immunity to cliché and his determination to love his homeland better than he used to.
    His elegiac account of relearning how to be an Englishman should be required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country.’ Financial Times


    Amazon.com

    A PLACE IN MY COUNTRY
    By
    Ian Walthew


    For more reviews visit
    ianwalthew.com


    Business trip to the IHT in Paris or friends and family coming to visit you? Fed up with hotels? Bring the family (sleeps 6) to superb Montmartre apartment - weekend nights free of charge if minimum of 3 work nights booked;. Cable TV; wifi, free phone calls in France (landlines); large DVD and book library; kids toys, books, travel cot and beds; two double bedrooms; all mod cons; half an hour to Neuilly and 12 mins walk from Eurostar. T&E valid invoices.

    10% Discount for NYT employees; 15% Discount for IHT Employees



    International Herald Tribune
    IHT
    New York Times
    The NYT Company

              Heinz Deal Gives Taste of New Buyout Secret Sauce        

    Heinz ketchup is giving markets a taste of private equity’s new secret sauce. Buyout firm 3G Capital is swallowing the condiment king for $28 billion with Warren Buffett’s help. In the past, such mega-LBOs required multiple firms to work. With so-called club deals all but dead, the Heinz takeover shows the new way forward.

    Only six weeks ago, the group of Brazilians behind both Anheuser-Busch Inbev and 3G, which owns Burger King, made the pitch to Heinz. The U.S. icon quickly saw the benefits of the more globally-minded Jorge Paulo Lemann and his other fellow Gs, named for the Brazilian Banco Garantia they started together. While growth at Heinz is usually as slow as its ketchup flows, the cash still pours out quickly. Moody’s expects the company to generate about $450 million of free cash flow for the year ending April 30.

    Even so, 3G would have been hard-pressed to pull off anything of this scale alone. Lemann enlisted his old Gillette board pal Buffett with a transaction perfectly suited to his burger, shake and value-investing appetite. Berkshire Hathaway is putting in the same $4.5 billion of equity as 3G. The Oracle of Omaha’s conglomerate also could reap a 9 percent dividend from some $8 billion of preferred stock he’s acquiring in the deal.

    The arrangement is similar to one being used by Michael Dell to buy his eponymous PC maker. Instead of assembling a roster of private equity firms, as was the norm in the pre-crisis buyout boom, Silver Lake Partners and Dell turned to Microsoft for additional funding. And Dell kicked in some cash from his MSD investment vehicle to go along with his 14 percent stake in the company.

    Despite how cheap it is to borrow, more creative pairings probably will be needed if more big public companies are to go private. Buyout firms are understandably reluctant to band together after their investors balked and regulators pried into clubby relationships. Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft aren’t the only companies with hoards of cash they’d like to put to work. Teaming up with private equity might turn out to be a combination that works as well as ketchup on a Whopper.

    Read more at Reuters Breakingviews


              Comcast Ad-Libs on Winning NBC Universal Script        

    Comcast has smartly ad-libbed on an already winning script. Back in 2009, the U.S. cable operator engineered a complex, multi-step deal with General Electric to buy NBC Universal. It has now smoothly accelerated and slightly rejigged the acquisition of the 49 percent of the TV and film group it doesn’t own for $16.7 billion. With the financial side of things now sorted, Comcast boss Brian Roberts must prove he’s the right owner.

    The transaction cements the chief executive’s media mogul ambitions. Roberts arranged to buy the owner of Universal Studios and CNBC after a failed hostile bid for Walt Disney. Comcast valued the original 51 percent it acquired at $13.8 billion, partly by contributing its own channels, accepting the obligation to buy half GE’s remaining stake in 2014.

    Instead - perhaps betraying a touch of impatience - Comcast and GE have improvised. The newly negotiated purchase cost looks close to what the original mechanism would have produced, according to a Breakingviews calculator from 2009 adjusted for the earlier denouement and slightly faster growth in NBC Universal’s operating cash flow than expected. Comcast is valuing the media enterprise at about nine times EBITDA, assuming growth continues at a similar pace, roughly where Barclays pegs Disney.

    NBC Universal’s cash flow won’t fund the deal as it might have done had Comcast waited longer, but the $4 billion-plus of cash it had accumulated as of Sept. 30 will help. So too will the low interest rates at which Comcast can borrow - not to mention $2.7 billion of financing help from GE, which can now hasten its own restructuring plans.

    In total, Roberts is draining essentially all of the $11 billion of cash on Comcast’s year-end books to pay for the deal, and it now falls to him to demonstrate his media credentials. Early returns are good. The NBC broadcast network topped U.S. ratings last fall for the first time in a decade. Despite the pricey cost of broadcasting the London Olympics, the company didn’t lose money on the deal as expected. And Harry Potter has worked his magic at NBC Universal’s theme parks. Comcast shares are up by over 70 percent - better than rivals and the broader stock market - since the first part of the deal closed in January 2011.

    Even so, it isn’t clear NBC Universal’s entertainment networks like USA will command higher fees for cable carriage the way sports-intensive channels have. Advertising revenue remains highly unpredictable, as does the film business. And Comcast’s cable peers in recent years have jettisoned media operations after shareholders fretted that value got lost within a conglomerate structure. Roberts may be putting away his engineering hat for now, but it could come in handy again some day.

    Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.


              Internet Parasitism Powers Barry Diller's Return        

    Barry Diller is abandoning Newsweek magazine’s print edition as the media mogul’s web businesses are thriving. But his IAC conglomerate seems to be powered by a risky form of internet parasitism. The $4.6 billion company’s stock rallied some 20 percent this year on a boom in online search largely driven by customers unwittingly downloading IAC toolbars. That’s no way to build a lasting business.

    IAC’s search operations are growing at a 40 percent annual clip – faster even than Google. It’s also highly profitable, since the company farms out the difficult work of actually answering queries to Google. Indeed, the search giant’s quarterly results released Thursday show this trend continuing – search on behalf of other websites (such as IAC’s) is growing faster than Google’s own business. Analysts estimate that search will account for about two-thirds of IAC’s operating profit growth next year.

    While IAC runs popular websites such as Ask.com, the majority of its search growth is coming from what it calls “applications.” This is largely from toolbars that are installed on users’ desktops when they download IAC services such as Guffins (virtual pets), Smiley Creator (emoticons) and Daily Bible Quotes. These toolbars set IAC sites like mywebsearch.com as default search services. IAC now gets more users through applications than sites like Ask.com, and the gap is growing.

    Whether users understand what they are downloading is unclear – many of IAC’s services appear to target less sophisticated computer users. And the recipients don’t always appear happy with the results. Enter Mywebsearch.com into Google, and the most popular results include: removal, malware, and uninstall. Getting rid of these toolbars isn’t straightforward either.

    The risk is a government crackdown on the toolbar business over privacy or improper marketing. For example, IAC firmly says it doesn’t target those under 13. Yet virtual pets and emoticons are likely to appeal to children, who can’t understand the fine print on a consent form permitting a toolbar download. Even if the government doesn’t get involved, toolbars hardly seem like a durable profit source.

    As it faces its own growth challenges Google may wish to perform more of these searches directly, instead of letting IAC grab a chunk of the profits. And new browsers and mobile devices may make it increasingly hard to download toolbars – that wouldn’t be good news, whether in digital or print form, for IAC.

    Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.


              Who Will Run Murdoch's Grand Newspaper Spinoff?         

    With a key British regulatory judgment concerning News Corp’s satellite broadcaster BSkyB cleared last week, Rupert Murdoch can focus on cleaving his newspaper empire. Critically for investors, that means it’s time to pick a leader. Wall Street Journal boss Robert Thomson appears in pole position, though his appointment would spark an editorial chain reaction of its own. 


    Whoever runs Spinco (the least-disparaging name used by its future employees) will have one of the hardest jobs in media. The Times of London hasn’t covered its costs for decades. The New York Post is a perennial cash sinkhole. Inside a vast conglomerate, the profitability, or lack thereof, of some papers was relatively inconsequential. To attract investors to a standalone print business, the red ink can’t flow so freely. In its last fiscal year, the publishing arm saw operating income drop 31 percent. 

    A chief executive with demonstrable news business nous might have the credibility to hack away at costs. That probably explains why the name of Murdoch confidant Thomson is making the rounds in New York and London media circles. 

    Thomson’s experience reshaping the financial broadsheet Murdoch overpaid to acquire four years ago, plus six years as editor of The Times, give him unmatched understanding of the assets and a gravitas with staff that no other News Corp executive exhibits. While Tom Mockridge has led News International since Rebekah Brooks left last year, he hasn’t worked at the Journal, which presents the most promising global opportunity for the separated company. 

    That’s especially important in the face of potentially renewed competition from the New York Times, where Mark Thompson, the former BBC director general with extensive battle scarring from tangling with Murdoch, has arrived as the new president and CEO. 

    As chief of a newly public company, of course, Thomson would need to relinquish editorial duties, kicking off a game of journalistic musical chairs. The guessing over who will lead the Journal is already in full swing internally, with editors Gerry Baker and Alan Murray seen as potential candidates. Wrenching changes at the Times might also lead to changes there. 

    For now, this may just be pub gossip for journalists. But for the spinoff of the newspaper arm to proceed as planned, it will need a chief relatively soon. Now certified “fit and proper” to run BSkyB, Murdoch needs to get cracking on getting News Corp out of the newspaper racket. 

    Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.


              A Matter of Meat and Democracy: A Crisis in Veterinary Public Health        
    Jeannette Vaught is a former equine veterinary technician and current PhD Candidate at the University of Texas. Her dissertation, "Science, Animals, and Profit-Making in the American Rodeo Arena," documents the scientific enhancement and redefinition of rodeo animals over the second half of the twentieth century, and maps how professional rodeo navigates the tensions between tradition and modernity through a strategic use of animals. Susan D. Jones is a member of the dissertation committee. This post derives from her presentation at the September 2014 World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine Congress in London, and provides a veterinary perspective of the effects of deregulation on the meat animal industry in the 1980s based on archival materials that did not make it into the dissertation. Follow her on Twitter: @JeannetteVaught.
    ____________

    In September 1985, veterinarian and long-time United States Department of Agriculture meat inspector Carl Telleen penned a letter to his former USDA colleagues:  â€œTo my former fellow Review Officers,” he began, “It has been a most painful experience for all of us but one which we had to suffer in order to maintain our own integrity as well as to be able to expose the evils in government.” [1] The painful experience to which he is referring is a four-year battle between Telleen, the USDA, and the conglomerate of companies making up the lion’s share of the modern American meatpacking industry. In 1981, after serving for 20 years as a meat inspector, Telleen charged the USDA with instituting meat inspection policies that broke longstanding food safety laws and endangered the public. To his view, these changes were made for commercial and political reasons at the expense of public health. By 1985, Telleen’s whistleblowing campaign, steeped in acrimony and intimidation, had brought him national notoriety and made him a polarizing figure in the agricultural veterinary world. When the USDA deregulated its inspection policies, he was horrified that the public would consume contaminated meat, and lost faith in the government’s role in protecting citizens from harm. To Telleen, the principles of American democracy were centered on healthy meat, and both were at risk.




    Carl Telleen became a veterinarian in 1937. He ran a private practice for agricultural animal medicine in Iowa, a growing hub of industrial pork and poultry, for over twenty years before becoming a USDA meat inspector in 1961. He spent the mid-1970s and early 1980s as part of an inspection review team, travelling across the United States to review inspection procedures at over 1500 plants over a span of eight years. During his tenure as a reviewer, the USDA loosened the definition of  â€œcontamination” in its Meat and Poultry Inspection Program to benefit corporate producers. With this change came adjustments in slaughterhouse procedure, which had been governed more or less continuously by the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906.

    One of these adjustments was to allow for a certain amount of contaminated meat to remain in the food supply — a margin of error not allowable by law. This change was justified by an argument for efficiency: in order to meet increasing demands for an ever-growing number of processed carcasses per hour, such stringent contamination provisions were no longer tenable. In 1974, the poultry industry sought to loosen regulations at the evisceration station, where most inspection-related delays occurred. For example, if the delicate intestinal walls ruptured while cleaning the cavity, bringing fecal matter into contact with flesh, inspectors at the station were legally required to condemn the meat. In 1977, the USDA published the results of a contamination study in the Journal of Food Science, which found that the evisceration station was the main obstacle to greater plant efficiency. This study propelled poultry packers to lobby the USDA for change. By the early 1980s, the USDA relaxed its inspection procedures at the evisceration table, adjusting regulations “to permit fecal contaminated carcasses to be washed until they appeared clean and sold into commerce” and relaxing inspection protocols “to permit a large plant to produce as much as 28,000 #’s to 36,000 #’s of adulterated product per week” without being shut down by USDA inspectors. [2] The effect of this discrepancy was that federal veterinary inspectors were no longer able to flag all fecally contaminated meat or to shut down plants for violating contamination standards according to the law. The USDA therefore changed its regulatory policy to address the demands of efficiency, but did so in violation of longstanding laws.

    Fig. 1. Des Moines Register
    profile of Carl Telleen. [7]
    In 1981, after witnessing the immediate increase in poultry contamination across the country and attempting to support veterinary inspectors who tried to condemn contaminated meat, Telleen was threatened with removal from his position as a reviewer. Shortly afterwards, he fired his opening salvo against the USDA from his hometown Iowa newspaper, the Des Moines Register: “I want the public to know,” he wrote, “that USDA forced me and my colleagues to follow agency policies and regulations that violated the federal law and jeopardized the public’s health.” [3] This editorial resulted in the USDA immediately removing him from his review team and placing him in a Washington, D.C. desk job, where, undaunted, he continued to press his case against the USDA, despite threats and even a gag order placed against him (Figure 1).

    USDA deregulation and Telleen’s whistleblowing campaign had an immediate impact on veterinary inspector employment. In a 1982 letter to the president of the American Association of Federal Veterinarians, Telleen warned that “Scientific positions that should be filled by veterinarians are being filled by union member, non-scientific, lay inspectors” despite the fact that “the taxpayer supports universities for the purpose of preparing veterinarians to protect the food supply.” [4] In 1983, federal veterinarians in Arkansas published an editorial in the professional periodical The Federal Veterinarian, stating that their jobs had been threatened when they refused to allow fecally contaminated chicken — which they described as having “been bathed in a ‘fecal slurry’” — to pass inspection. They wrote, “Field veterinarians are becoming increasingly frustrated, and even humiliated by the manner in which our responsibility and authority for implementing the agency mission…has been undermined.” [5]

    Telleen collected individual accounts from veterinarians who detailed the efforts of the USDA to curtail thorough inspections. This letter from Dr. Ruth Blackburn (Figure 2) is typical in its account of the harassment and intimidation she felt as the USDA coerced her and her colleagues into “rewriting our reports to downplay the defects and violations that we saw in the plants that we were inspecting” or “look for jobs elsewhere.”
    Fig. 2. Affidavit in support of Telleen from
    Dr. Ruth Blackburn. [8]
    In light of these accounts, Dr. Fred Murphy, a Dean at the Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine, wrote to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges on Telleen’s behalf, urging “that veterinarians like Dr. Telleen are naked and alone in their efforts…the veterinary profession as a whole had better decide to make a stand supporting our colleagues in the Inspection Services at USDA.”  The fear felt by Telleen and his veterinary supporters was that inspection deregulation, and the strong-arming of veterinarians into compromising their work, was a step towards removing trained veterinarians from the federal inspection process altogether. Their expertise in animal health, it seemed, was being eroded by the government’s shift from protecting public health to protecting corporate agricultural interests.

    In 1985, Telleen won his only victory in this fight when the Government Accountability Project launched an investigation into the USDA’s abuse of deregulatory policies and harassment of veterinary inspectors. Yet despite the numerous affidavits written by fellow federal industrial veterinarians who testified that his campaign addressed the widespread contamination of meat and concurrent intimidation of inspectors, this is where his campaign ends. No action was ever taken against the agency, and resultant deregulatory policies stood. For Telleen, this change was more than a matter of structural readjustment: it was political. Telleen argued that the relationship between meat and democracy was direct, writing in exasperation, “It seems when a nation loses its democracy, the public will just have to eat adulterated meat and poultry products and pay taxes to help industry disguise it.” [6] The singular point of contact between flesh and waste expanded to contaminate the relationships between industrial agriculture and public health. Though Telleen was a persistent and uncompromising whistleblower, the deregulation of USDA’s inspection policies became standard to industrial processing procedure, severely compromising veterinarians’ ability to advocate for industrial animals, and for human and animal public health.
    ________________________

    [1] Papers, RS 21/07/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University. Correspondence, Box 1 Folder 3, Carl Laurel Telleen Papers, RS 21//7/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
    [2] Ibid.
    [3] Clipping from the Des Moines Register, Box 1 Folder 1, Carl Laurel Telleen Papers, RS 21//7/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
    [4] Correspondence, Box 1 Folder 3, Carl Laurel Telleen Papers, RS 21//7/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
    [5] Testimonials, Box 1 Folder 4, Carl Laurel Telleen Papers, RS 21//7/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
    [6] Telleen, “Abuse of Government Within the USDA: A Threat to the Family Farm,” Box 1 Folder 2, Carl Laurel Telleen Papers, RS 21//7/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
    [7] Figure 1: Clipping from the October 22, 1984 issue of Iowa State Daily. Box 1 Folder 1, Carl Laurel Telleen Papers, RS 21/07/74, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
    [8] Affidavit in support of Carl Telleen, August 26, 1985. Box 2 Folder 4, Carl Laurel Telleen



              India's Tata Group considers restructuring tech, infra businesses - Bloomberg        

    July 19 (Reuters) - India's salt-to-software Tata Group isconsidering a plan to streamline its technology andinfrastructure businesses, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday,citing people with knowledge of the matter.

    The restructuring plan would involve moving several of itstechnology businesses under Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, the country's top software services exporter, thereport said. https://bloom.bg/2viSOUB

    Tata Group has not made a final decision about whichcompanies would be folded under TCS, the report added.

    Bloomberg said the group may sell some smaller units that donot fit with its strategy and that the conglomerate was alsomulling a plan to merge infrastructure businesses into onecompany.

    A Tata Sons spokesperson told Reuters the company does notcomment on market speculation while TCS declined to comment onthe report.(Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing bySubhranshu Sahu)


              Comment by: Abigail from Oregon at 6/9/2007 10:35:08 PM        
    Much of the controversy in religious matters is a matter of not being able to communicate our thoughts to one another. We all use the same words but mean something different by them. We need to turn away from religious pride, bow our knees and seek the face of God with all of our hearts. Only the Spirit can straighten out the conglomerate of conflicting ideas and bring unity. Satan is trying to destroy from within the Church, and he seems to be winning; but there is a faithful and true remnant. We are all undeserving of His mercy and grace. Until we see our own wretched state, there is no hope. God is faithful, and faith is the springboard into our relationship with Him. We need to pray, pray, pray --with faith believing that He will accomplish that which He has promised. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:16-18).
              Mexican conglomerate to buy Coast plant        

    BAY ST. LOUIS — DAK Americas LLC has agreed to buy Wellman Inc.’s PET plastics plant in Bay St. Louis for $185 million. DAK Americas is a unit of Mexican conglomerate Alfa SAB. The company announced the deal June 16, according to the Mississippi Press. The purchase amount includes a cash payment and assumption of ...

    The post Mexican conglomerate to buy Coast plant appeared first on Mississippi Business Journal.


              Phillip Carey commented on 'Predicting Country Size, Number, and Confederation'        

    Kimball's "Eurabian" predictions point to another variable in the equation, and that is the question and impact of the specific composition of the so called 'human capital' of any given region, state, federation, etc.

    After all, if natural resources are acquiescing to human resources a greater share of the wealth-producing and success (read: unchallenged sovereignty)-predicting power, then it becomes increasingly important to look not just at the heterogeneity and homogeneity of the political and cultural 'tastes' of populations, but also at the effect such cultural, political and (of course) religious tastes have on the nature and competitive viability of such human resources.

    One of the unfortunate trends in a number of countries within Europe--take the Netherlands, for example--is that as the Arab population grows (through immigration and asylum-seeking initially at the first-generational level, and then through higher levels of reproduction in succeeding generations relative to the 'native' European counterparts) its members' integration into local culture, programs, practices and services, etc. actually slows due to the local country's pre-Eurabian policies--policies not designed with such demographic trends in mind.

    So, for example, the Dutch system of early and rigid path formation in elementary and secondary education (which relies heavily--even moreso than the US--on early childhood tests to predict probable success in certain educational tracks and future professions) ends up funnelling the vast majority of Arab immigrants' chidlren into lower-level educational tracks from which it becomes extraordinarily difficult, if not virtually impossible, to diverge. This ethnic segregation is one effect of cultural clashes (e.g. Arab women come from the mid-east to the Netherlands almost entirely uneducated, making them less active, if not in-active in their child's education; Dutch is not spoken in the home, making it difficult to carry schoolwork and lessons into homelife, etc.).

    As these ethnically segregated school children perform worse on their predictive-tests, they are funnelled into lower-level education tracks that slowly but surely become more and more non-Dutch in terms of their participants, and then they are emptied out of the system into more labor-oriented rather than service-oriented professions.

    Combine that with the disproportionate growth in the Arab sector of the population, and it is not hard to imagine a future Europe that is not only much more Muslim, but which has certain members states that are characterized by a surplus of labor-oriented human resources and a deficit of service-oriented human resources.

    As natural resources become less important, however, so to do labor-oriented human resources.

    How, then, would such demographic pressures on the nature of the human capital in any given region effect the size/soverignty/federation question at hand?

    I am inclined to say that such a situation would predict an increase in the size of such a state, and/or its increased accession into a larger, more federalized cooperative, so that it could merge with a local neighbor rich in service-oriented human resources and poor in labor oriented human resources.

    Human capital is, afterall, unique in that is is entirely moblie, unlike natural resources. So wouldn't the trend be to expand the region in which such mobile resources could move, migrate and be vied-for (e.g the EU) so as to allow for a heterogeneity of such resources throughout the greater region rather than a conglomeration of such resources in one sector thereof?

    I think of the recent EU members from the eastern bloc, for example. Surpluses of lower-level skilled labor, deficits of higher-level service-oriented labor. One worry with the inclusion fo such states in the EU was that, free of migratory regulations, the inhabitants of such states would simply leave the east in droves and flood their more prosperous (German) neighbors with a surplus of such labor-oriented human capital. However, the flip side is that the eastern areas become open and hospitable to captialistic activity which inevitibly brings with it the service-oriented human capital that is becoming more important to the creation of wealth.


              Bubba's First Christmas        
        I chose not to fight my way through the snow/sleet/rain today, but I'd really like to be making pots  instead of bouncing around the house. I've spent way too much time at the computer lately and that makes it even harder to keep the ol' blog going.
        I mentioned in my last post that I'll soon be moving over to Wordpress as I unveil my new website/social media conglomeration, and it seems like it's just the right time. According to my blogger statistics I got over 1000 hits on my last post...but only 2 comments. Methinks that something untoward might be going on?
        I'm spending so much time at the computer as a result of all the opportunities that have come my way this year...the latest is an invitation to the American Pottery Festival in Minnesota in September. I feel like an overnight sensation after a 40 year career! Each of these inviters wants different material for publicity and it's forced me to rewrite a biography and artists statement and update my resume and pick out new photos...and I'm also working with Adam on photos of pots for the "shop" on my new website. So, yes, I'd rather be making pottery. But I am willing to do what it takes. I just worry a bit about getting all the pots made that I need...I won't lack for motivation this year, believe me. The studio is beginning to fill up and I'm really enjoying the work...I have a small one-man show coming up at The Cooley Gallery in Leesburg and then my return to Bob Briscoe's for the St. Croix River Valley Pottery Tour in Minnesota for Mother's Day! That's where most of what I'm making will go. I continue to bounce back and forth between birds and everyday pots and I won't make any more 'furniture' for the garden until I've fired the ones that I made. 
        I'm playing with a little brushwork decoration which harkens back to my earliest work in Fredericksburg. That was inspired by the delicate decoration of Trudy Finch at Winchcombe. Her brushwork (and mine too, just not as well) was very calligraphic and I'm breaking that down even further at the moment by using a single brush stoke coupled with some sgrafitto, which I've always loved. I'm looking for a lighter background slip and a blue slip for layering on top in different ways.
        As is our custom, even when we get a big storm in Virginia it is a mixture of many different forms of H2O...It snowed and sleeted last night and in the morning we had a layer of heavy snow 7-8" deep which quickly began to melt as a gentle rain fell. Later it was raining, sleeting and snowing all at once and now it's returned to snow. After it freezes tonight it will be doubly treacherous tomorrow. That's the difference between winter in the north and winter in the south...ICE! 
        In case you've stayed to the end and you've wondered about the first photo...It is indeed titled "Bubba's First Christmas" and was part of a lengthy series of photos that I took along with my old friend Shannon. I found the doll on the edge of the Rappahannock River and he soon became the star of a whole series of adventures...he went cross country with a band of plastic comrades. maybe I'll dig them out one day. they always amused me.

              Vietnam Conglomerate Plans $1 Billion Solar Parks Project        

    Vietnam’s TTC Group, a sugar, energy, real estate and tourism conglomerate, is planning to spend as much as $1 billion on an ambitious plan to build one of the country’s largest portfolios of solar projects in an effort to capitalize on the nation’s growing power needs.


              Joint Forum Releases ‘Principles for the Supervision of Financial Conglomerates’        
    The Joint Forum issued today its final report on Principles for the Supervision of Financial Conglomerates. The Joint Forum, which comprises the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, addresses issues common to the banking, securities and insurance sectors, including the regulation of financial [...]
              Principles for Supervision of Financial Conglomerates Released by Joint Forum        
    The Joint Forum issued today its final report on Principles for the Supervision of Financial Conglomerates. The Joint Forum, which comprises the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, addresses issues common to the banking, securities and insurance sectors, including the regulation of financial [...]
              Unlike Chicken And Pork, Beef Still Begins With Small Family Ranches        
    In the chicken and pork industries, nearly every aspect of the animals' raising has long been controlled by just a handful of agriculture conglomerates. But the cattle industry is still populated by mom-and-pop operations, at least at the calf-raising level.Barbara McIntire Roux likes to say that she was born into the cattle business. Roux, 70, is a third-generation Shorthorn rancher in central Kansas, where the prairie pastures are thick with brome and bluestem grasses."We have to record about as much information on those calves when they're born as what a human baby has to have collected," Roux says with pride.Roux is among the 750,000 farmers and ranchers who have what's called a cow-calf operation, and with 50 head of cattle her herd is just a little larger than the average U.S. herd size of 40.But that small size is true only at one end of the cattle industry. In simple terms, the business is bottle-shaped — large at the bottom and narrowing to the neck, where just four companies
              Centasia Development        


    Centasia Development is a leader in the construction, mineral extraction, and natural gas warehousing fields in the Central Asian republics. Providing both funding and management solutions for government contracts involving the exploitation and warehousing of the vast untapped resources of these territories, Centasia is a fast paced conglomerate in a leadership position in the region.
    Invest with security and stability, as Centasia is now open to the public for additional funding sources. With your investment compiled into our construction and resource development capital pool, we will continue to help develop the Central Asia of the 21st Century!

    5.88% daily for 21 days.$5 - $200
    3.92% - 4.09% daily for 35 days.$100 - $10,000
    21% - 22% weekly for 10 weeks.$100 - $10,000

    Paid directly to e-currency.

    Unique script,SSL,Dedicated server.

    Referral bonus 6%-2%-1%

    Liberty Reserve

    Rate 4.5 Stars

    Started:09-04-2008

    Address:CENTASIA Development Vagonaja 24 474610 Astrakhanka Akmola Oblast Kazakhstan.

    Whois info: dedicated server, domain expires in 2009.SSL,Official forum.Blockdos protection.

    More Detail : http://centasiadevelopment.com


               Procter & Gamble's identity-politics pandering         
    Once upon a time, brothers-in-law William Procter and James Gamble sold candles and soap. Their 19th-century family business grew into the largest consumer goods conglomerate in the world -- launching the most recognizable brands on our grocery shelves, including Tide, Pampers, Crest, Nyquil and Old Spice.
              8th Circuit        

    Experimental three dimensional visual interpretation to The Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness theory.

    The eight-circuit model of consciousness is a theory in psychology. It consists of several quantum psychological systems that unify the various interpretations of the main altered states of consciousness into one coherent meta-theory. The most basic part describes, in a simple outline, eight circuits of information (colloquially "brains") that operate within the human nervous system. The eight-circuit model provides a conglomerate model of several preceding and interconnecting models within some of the human and medical sciences such as psychology, neurology, sociology, anthropology (etc.) and other more "hard sciences" such as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, co-mingled with spirituality.

    Eight different neurological circuits (each one pertaining to a specific state of consciousness) exist, at least in latent form, in each human being, according to the model. The later fifth through eighth circuits are thought to have only recently evolved, with consequently just a moderate number of human beings using any of them, decreasing progressively with each step to a very small minority using all of them.

    Cast: Can Buyukberber

    Tags: can, buyukberber, motion graphics, abstract, experimental, consciousness and 8th Circuit


              2013 Will Be My Year        
    Hello blog-land!

    So many things have happened in the past couple months that I don't even know where to catch up. So, the basics:

    • I recently (as in, December?) took on a bigger responsibility in Vegan Iron Chef, which is awesome and teaching me A LOT.
    • I turned 30. I had a table full of free drinks and I went to bed before the party ended. 
    • I graduated college! I have an English degree now and feel SO DARN SMART. 
    and finally, the very best update:
    • I got a new job! At an airline! 
     I love where I work now. I really do. It can be crazy, but being around animals every day has been SO good to my soul. On a whim, I applied for a ground service job at an airline where one of my closest friends works and managed to snag the job! I had to suffer through a full day interviewing process/intense federal background check which led to 2011 W-2 gathering mania. I was sweating bullets, but every single job I've had, I've gotten because of who I know and this one was no different. I officially start July 8th!

    So, what does that mean? It means I will be out on the tarmac, marshaling planes in and pushing them back out and sorting luggage and avoiding lavatory duty. It means Jeff and I can travel for free (on standby) wherever this airline flies (internationally to Canada and Mexico). We are also able to take advantage of airline agreements with like 90 other airlines. I will be able to travel so much more, which has been a high priority for me for awhile. The hours will be nuts (low seniority = weekends, holidays and either super early or super late shifts) but honestly, it'll be worth it. Also, I haven't been able to work full time with my school schedule, so I will also be able to save even more for travelling!

    Obviously, this doesn't use my degree one bit, but then again, neither does my current job! I've taken some time to polish some editorial and writing examples and am planning on joining the Copyeditor Freelance Association in the next couple weeks. Editing is something I've been trained to do in my spare time with the last couple of quarters and now, instead of paying ridiculous tuition to do it, I hope to actually make some money off of it!

    So, stick with me friends. Add me to your new feed conglomerates (RIP Google Reader!) and keep an eye on this guy. We've got some travellin' to do.


              Weekly Commentary: Data and a Carefree Bond Market        
    July non-farm payrolls gained 209,000 versus estimates of 180,000. June payrolls were revised 9,000 higher to 231,000. It’s worth noting that manufacturing added 16,000 jobs (est. 5,000) in July, the strongest gains since March. So far in 2017, manufacturing employment has been expanding at the briskest pace in years, with y-t-d gains of 82,000 dwarfing comparable 2016’s zero and 2015’s 12,000. The unemployment rate dipped a tenth in July to 4.3%. Unemployment bottomed at 4.4% during the previous cycle low back in 2007. In fact, the unemployment rate has not been lower than the July level since February 2001.

    The recent narrative holds that the economy has been in an extended “soft patch”. In general, economic data have somewhat missed expectations. “US Car Sales Continue to Skid, Drop 5.7% in July.” The decline in automobile sales was viewed as confirmation of a slowing manufacturing sector. Ongoing travails in retail also support the view of economic stagnation. The labor participation rate remains a dismal 62.9%.

    The narrative of a weakening in both economic activity and inflationary pressures serves the markets well. With Fed funds now near the Federal Reserve’s “neutral rate,” rate normalization has apparently about run its course. Even after Friday’s stronger-than-expected job gains, the market places the probability of another 2017 hike at less than 40%. What could be more bullish than so-called rate “normalization” that avoids any tightening of financial conditions whatsoever? The Carefree Bond Market has been cruising along the PCH with the top down in a slick new autonomous sports car.

    It’s my view that U.S. and global economic maladjustment has become extreme after years of policy-induced monetary disorder. The U.S. economy is structurally unsound, though this grim reality remains well-masked by the artistry of low rates, liquidity over-abundance, inflated securities markets and record household net worth. More succinctly, deep structural impairment ensures central bankers remain wedded to loose financial conditions.

    On a more cyclical basis, however, economic activity is not that weak. Data aggregation definitely smooths an extraordinarily unbalanced economy, with some segments booming and others mired in stagnation. And, importantly, ongoing monetary stimulus will do anything but resolve imbalances and structural maladjustment. At this point in the cycle – after nine years of historic monetary stimulus - the Fed should focus policy attention on cyclical indicators and err on the side of reducing accommodation. There are perilous risks associated with pushing a structurally marred economic system to the limits.

    July average earnings were up 0.3% m-o-m, with one-year gains of 2.5%. Tepid wage growth is viewed as a major factor keeping inflation (CPI) stubbornly below the Fed’s 2.0% target. Yet stagnant wages are clearly a structural issue. U.S. manufacturing workers must compete against labor from around the globe. Less appreciated, the massive U.S. service sector – that flourished in the backdrop of deindustrialization, aggressive monetary stimulus and asset inflation – has created tens of millions of low skill jobs. Moreover, it is increasingly difficult for the overbuilt service sector (i.e. retail, restaurant, hotels, etc.) to afford higher compensation expenses. And let’s not forget the enormous cost – and ongoing inflation – in healthcare and insurance.

    Over recent months, there has been some focus on the divergence between robust “soft” and lagging “hard” data. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose last month to 49.6, a level just below the previous cycle peak in 2006/07. One must go all the way back to 2001 to beat 2017 readings for the Bloomberg Weekly National Economy Index. July’s 113.4 reading for the University of Michigan Current Economic Conditions Index was the highest since July 2005 - and the second highest going all the way back to November 2000. Last month’s 147.8 reading for the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Present Situation Index was the highest since July 2001. The CEO Confidence Index has declined only slightly from the March level - which was the highest going back to December 2004.

    These various confidence indices - in conjunction with a 4.3% unemployment rate and stock prices surging further into uncharted record territory - would have traditionally been viewed as indications of loose monetary conditions. But the Yellen Fed has hung its hat on the consumer price index (and, to a lesser extent, wage growth). And it matters little to the Fed that inflation is clearly a global structural issue – one arguably associated with a prolonged period of monetary mismanagement.

    And it’s not as if “hard” data is all that weak. July’s 56.3 reading in the PMI Manufacturing Index compares to 52.3 from one year ago. Looking back to 2007, the high that year was 52.6 – with the 2006 peak (February) at 55.8. June Durable Goods Orders (up 6.5%) surprised on the upside. And Q2 GDP rose to 2.6%, up from Q1’s 1.2%. The Atlanta Fed forecasts 4% Q3 GDP growth.

    And despite all the talk of heightened disinflationary pressures, the ISM Manufacturing Price Index jumped seven points in July to 62. The ISM Non-Manufacturing Price index rose 3.6 points in July to 55.7. Crude and most commodities have rallied sharply over the past six weeks, certainly bolstered by dollar weakness.

    A lot of attention has been paid recently to weakening auto sales. July sales were reported at a weaker-than-expected (seasonally adjusted and annualized) 16.69 million units. This compares unfavorably to the year ago pace of 17.75 million. But before we get too carried away, sales averaged 16.35 million annualized during the 2006-2007 period. In fact, July sales were just slightly below the monthly average from the eight-years 2000-2007. Sure, sales have moderated from the 2015-2016 boom – a period stoked by booming subprime lending. But, for now, I don’t see the slowing auto sector as part of a general downturn in economic activity.

    Housing starts jumped back in June to a stronger-than-expected 1.215 million pace. This was the strongest reading since February and compares to the year earlier 1.190 million. Over recent months, housing starts have been running at the strongest level since 2007. Building permits also popped higher in June. Existing Home Sales are running at the highest level since early 2007. At $263,800, June Median Existing Home Prices were a record and compare to the year ago $247,600. The supply of inventory at 4.3 months of sales, while up from January’s extreme 3.5 reading, remains significantly below the average 6.0 months over the period going back to 1999. The Case-Shiller National Price index increased to a record 190.61 in May (up 5.6% y-o-y).

    Friday’s smaller-than-expected Trade Deficit was the result of a 1.2% m-o-m jump in exports (up 5.8% y-o-y), to the strongest level since December 2014. U.S. exports have recovered strongly from the 2015/16 pullback, reflecting a global trade revival. The jump in U.S. exports is consistent with recent data from China, Europe, Japan and elsewhere.

    For now, it’s difficult for me to take a negative short-term view on U.S. economic activity so long as the housing and export sectors continue to boom. It’s remains a Bubble Economy and, while vulnerable, the Bubble is still expanding.

    At this point, the bond market is content to disregard a lot of data, that is, so long as there are no upside surprises in consumer price indices or wages (the two data sets stuck deepest in the structural muck). This works to keep market yields artificially depressed – and mortgage rates extraordinarily low. With after-tax borrowing costs remaining significantly below the rate of housing appreciation (in many areas), the backdrop is favorable for a strengthening of an already potent housing market inflationary bias. The unusually low levels of housing inventory – and an expanding list of overheated local markets – coupled with the Fed’s fixation on CPI sow the seeds for Housing Bubble 2.0.

    August 1 – Bloomberg (Alfred Liu): “China has made progress in slowing leverage in the economy, but still needs to do more with the total amount of financing expected to rise 13% this year, according to Autonomous Research analyst Charlene Chu. Total outstanding credit is expected to grow to 223 trillion yuan ($33 trillion) by December from 196.8 trillion yuan at the end of 2016, analysis by Chu shows. The estimated increase will be lower than last year’s 19% gain as the government’s campaign against leverage starts to bite, she said. Her estimates are far higher than the latest official figure of 167 trillion yuan in June, which she says doesn’t accurately represent the true state of financing as it doesn’t include items like local government bond issuance and some forms of off-balance sheet lending.”

    Charlene Chu is one of the preeminent analysts of Chinese Credit. She currently forecasts almost $4.0 TN of Chinese Credit growth this year, with total Credit approaching 300% of GDP. It’s somewhat of a challenge to be negative on short-term global GDP trends with record Chinese Credit expansion, enormous ongoing global QE and booming securities markets. At the same time, there’s a strong case that we’re getting awfully close to peak QE, peak Chinese Credit and peak global securities Bubble. Things would get more interesting if economic data begins to surprise on the upside, forcing the Fed and other central banks to again rethink the meaning of “normalization”. That would awaken bonds. July payrolls could have been a start.


    For the Week:

    The S&P500 added 0.2% (up 10.6% y-t-d), and the Dow gained 1.2% (up 11.8%). The Utilities rose 1.3% (up 9.8%). The Banks jumped 2.1% (up 5.9%), and the Broker/Dealers added 0.2% (up 14.2%). The Transports increased 0.5% (up 2.6%). The S&P 400 Midcaps declined 0.6% (up 5.5%), and the small cap Russell 2000 fell 1.2% (up 4.1%). The Nasdaq100 slipped 0.2% (up 21.3%), while the Morgan Stanley High Tech index was unchanged (up 25.4%). The Semiconductors declined 1.2% (up 19.1%). The Biotechs fell 1.0% (up 28.4%). With bullion down $11, the HUI gold index dropped 2.3% (up 5.2%).

    Three-month Treasury bill rates ended the week at 105 bps. Two-year government yields were unchanged at 1.35% (up 16bps y-t-d). Five-year T-note yields slipped two bps to 1.82% (down 11bps). Ten-year Treasury yields declined three bps to 2.26% (down 18bps). Long bond yields fell five bps to 2.84% (down 22bps).

    Greek 10-year yields rose eight bps to 5.41% (down 161bps y-t-d). Ten-year Portuguese yields fell six bps to 2.87% (down 88bps). Italian 10-year yields dropped 10 bps to 2.02% (up 21bps). Spain's 10-year yields declined four bps to 1.48% (up 10bps). German bund yields dropped seven bps to 0.47% (up 26bps). French yields fell six bps to 0.75% (up 7bps). The French to German 10-year bond spread widened one to 28 bps. U.K. 10-year gilt yields declined four bps to 1.18% (down 6bps). U.K.'s FTSE equities index rallied 1.9% (up 5.2%).

    Japan's Nikkei 225 equities index was unchanged (up 4.4% y-t-d). Japanese 10-year "JGB" yields slipped a basis point to 0.065% (up 3bps). France's CAC40 gained 1.4% (up 7.0%). The German DAX equities index recovered 1.1% (up 7.1%). Spain's IBEX 35 equities index gained 1.2% (up 14%). Italy's FTSE MIB index surged 2.4% (up 14%). EM equities were mostly higher. Brazil's Bovespa index rose 2.1% (up 11.1%), and Mexico's Bolsa added 0.2% (up 12.5%). South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.2% (up 18.2%). India’s Sensex equities index was unchanged (up 21.4%). China’s Shanghai Exchange increased 0.3% (up 5.1%). Turkey's Borsa Istanbul National 100 index gained 0.8% (up 38.9%). Russia's MICEX equities index rose 0.8% (down 12.5%).

    Junk bond mutual funds saw inflows of $195 million (from Lipper).

    Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rates added a basis point to 3.93% (up 50bps y-o-y). Fifteen-year rates slipped two bps to 3.18% (up 44bps). The five-year hybrid ARM rate declined three bps to 3.15% (up 42bps). Bankrate's survey of jumbo mortgage borrowing costs had 30-yr fixed rates down six bps to 4.05% (up 43bps).

    Federal Reserve Credit last week declined $9.2bn to $4.426 TN. Over the past year, Fed Credit contracted $8.7bn. Fed Credit inflated $1.615 TN, or 58%, over the past 247 weeks. Elsewhere, Fed holdings for foreign owners of Treasury, Agency Debt rose $8.0bn last week to $3.333 TN. "Custody holdings" were up $113bn y-o-y, or 3.5%.

    M2 (narrow) "money" supply last week rose $12.2bn to a record $13.620 TN. "Narrow money" expanded $727bn, or 5.6%, over the past year. For the week, Currency increased $1.4bn. Total Checkable Deposits jumped $55.9bn, while Savings Deposits slumped $44.9bn. Small Time Deposits gained $2.6bn. Retail Money Funds declined $2.9bn.

    Total money market fund assets jumped $20.47bn to $2.660 TN. Money Funds fell $78.3bn y-o-y (2.9%).

    Total Commercial Paper declined $8.2bn to $969.6bn. CP declined $57bn y-o-y, or 5.5%.

    Currency Watch:

    August 1 – Financial Times (Jennifer Hughes): “The Hong Kong dollar has fallen to its weakest level since the China-inspired turmoil of January 2016 as abundant liquidity continues to create a widening interest rate gap with the US. The move pushed the Hong Kong currency further into the weaker half of its tightly pegged trading range against the US dollar — in a shift from its position for most of the past decade of trading near the stronger end. Wednesday’s weakness took the currency to HK$7.8171 against the greenback — a level not seen since January 2016 when fears about China’s weakening economy sent shockwaves through global markets.”

    The U.S. dollar index recovered 0.3% to 93.542 (down 8.7% y-t-d). For the week on the upside, the euro increased 0.2%. On the downside, the South African rand declined 3.1%, the Canadian dollar 1.7%, the New Zealand dollar 1.4%, the Australian dollar 0.8%, the British pound 0.7%, the Mexican peso 0.6%, the Swiss franc 0.4%, the Norwegian krone 0.4%, the Swedish krona 0.3%, the Singapore dollar 0.3%, and the South Korean won 0.2%. The Chinese renminbi added 0.12% versus the dollar this week (up 3.21% y-t-d).

    Commodities Watch:

    The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index slipped 0.5% (down 3.5% y-t-d). Spot Gold declined 0.9% to $1,259 (up 19.2%). Silver dropped 2.7% to $16.252 (up 1.7%). Crude slipped 13 cents to $49.58 (down 8%). Gasoline fell 1.8% (down 2%), and Natural Gas sank 5.7% (down 26%). Copper added 0.3% (up 15%). Wheat sank 5.5% (up 12%). Corn lost 1.8% (up 8%).

    Trump Administration Watch:

    August 3 – Wall Street Journal (Del Quentin Wilber and Byron Tau): “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter. The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, signals that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.”

    August 1 – New York Times (Keith Bradsher): “The Trump administration is preparing a broad move against China over trade, according to people with knowledge of its plans, amid growing worries in the United States over a Chinese government-led effort to make the country a global leader in microchips, electric cars and other crucial technologies of the future. The move, which could come in the next several days, signals a shift by the administration away from its emphasis on greater cooperation between Washington and Beijing, in part because administration officials have become frustrated by China's reluctance to confront North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The two sides have also struggled in trade negotiations despite claiming modest progress earlier this year, while American companies have complained they face pressure to share trade secrets with Chinese partners. The trade case will focus on alleged Chinese violations of American intellectual property, according to three people with a detailed knowledge of the administration's plans.”

    July 31 – Wall Street Journal (Gerald F. Seib): “When folks here in Washington end a summer filled with White House hijinks and an epic but inconclusive health-care debate, they will look up and discover something unsettling: The world has become a more dangerous place while everybody has been distracted. That’s most obviously true in North Korea, where its rogue weapons program has leapt so far forward that the nation now has a missile with the range to reach much of the U.S…. Meanwhile, American relations with China, the country most able to cooperate in slowing down Pyongyang, are deteriorating amid presidential recriminations—delivered via Twitter—about Beijing’s behavior. Relations with Russia are sliding backward as well… Both sides agree that ties now are at their lowest point since the Cold War.”

    July 30 – Wall Street Journal (Siobhan Hughes and Thomas M. Burton): “President Donald Trump’s tumultuous past week has widened rifts in his party, between those who vocally support the president’s combative style and others who bridle at it, according to interviews… Mr. Trump has long been a polarizing force among members of his party, but for the first several months of his tenure, the GOP was largely united by a shared desire to make the most of his election and the party’s total control of the government for the first time in a decade. After a week that included the president attacking his attorney general, the collapse of a GOP health bill, a surprise effort to bar transgender people in the military and a White House staff shakeup, divisions that were largely set aside at the start of 2017 have emerged anew.”

    August 2 – Reuters (David Lawder and Lesley Wroughton): “Three top Democratic senators, in a rare show of bipartisanship, on Wednesday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to stand up to China as he prepares to launch an inquiry into Beijing's intellectual property and trade practices in coming days. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer pressed the Republican president to skip the investigation and go straight to trade action against China. ‘We should certainly go after them,’ said Schumer in a statement. Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio also urged Trump to rein in China.”

    July 30 – Wall Street Journal (Kate Davidson): “Republicans are leaving town for an August recess after a failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. When they return in September, they’ll have just 12 working days to avert another big problem. In a letter to lawmakers Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the federal borrowing limit, or debt ceiling, needed to be raised by Sept. 29 or the government risked running out of money to pay its bills. The Treasury Department has been employing cash-conservation measures since March, when borrowing hit the formal ceiling of nearly $20 trillion.”

    China Bubble Watch:

    July 30 – New York Times (Chris Buckley): “China’s president, Xi Jinping, has opened a public campaign to deepen his grip on power in a coming leadership shake-up, using a huge military parade on Sunday, speeches and propaganda, along with a purge in the past week, to warn officials to back him as the nation’s most powerful leader in two decades. Wearing his mottled green uniform as commander in chief of the People’s Liberation Army, Mr. Xi watched as 12,000 troops marched and tanks, long-range missile launchers, jet fighters and other new weapons drove or flew past in impeccable arrays. Mao famously said political power comes from the barrel of a gun, and Mr. Xi signaled that he, too, was counting on the military to stay ramrod loyal while he chooses a new leading lineup to be unveiled at a Communist Party congress in the autumn.”

    August 2 – Bloomberg: “President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser commissioned a study earlier this year to see how China could avoid the fate of Japan’s epic bust in the 1990s and decades of stagnation that followed. The report covered a wide range of topics, from the Plaza Accord on currency to a real-estate bubble to demographics that made Japan the oldest population in Asia… While details are scarce, the person revealed one key recommendation that policy makers have since implemented: The need to curtail a global buying spree by some of the nation’s biggest private companies. Communist Party leaders discussed Japan’s experience in a Politburo meeting on April 26… State media came alive afterward, with reports trumpeting Xi’s warning that financial stability is crucial in economic growth.”

    August 1 – BloombergBusinessweek (Kevin Hamlin): “For the past couple of years, Chinese companies roamed the world in an unprecedented $343 billion cross-border takeover spree. Among the splashiest deals: Dalian Wanda Group, whose founder, Wang Jianlin, is China’s second-richest executive, bought Hollywood production and finance company Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in 2016. Anbang Insurance Group bought the Waldorf Astoria. Fosun International Ltd. purchased Club Méditerranée SA and Cirque du Soleil. But as the binge seemed ready to go on, China’s banking regulator in June ordered lenders to scrutinize their exposure to four high-­flying private conglomerates that have announced $75 ­billion-plus in deals at home and abroad since the start of 2016: Dalian Wanda, Anbang, Fosun, and aviation and shipping giant HNA Group Co.”

    August 1 – Bloomberg: “China’s crusade against capital outflows and leverage has ensnared some of the nation’s largest property investors, including Anbang Insurance Group Co… The crackdown is rippling across the world, and will likely spur an 84% slump in Chinese overseas property investment this year, and a further 18% drop in 2018, according to… Morgan Stanley. The most vulnerable real-estate markets are those in the U.S., U.K., Hong Kong and Australia, with office properties the most exposed, analysts including economist Robin Xing wrote. Manhattan is a particular worry, with about 30% of transactions in the borough that’s home to Wall Street involving Chinese parties in 2017.”

    August 1 – Bloomberg: “China’s foreign-exchange regulator is examining how some of the country’s biggest dealmakers used their domestic assets as collateral to get loans overseas, people familiar with the matter said. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange recently began reviewing loan guarantees for Anbang Insurance Group Co., Dalian Wanda Group Co., Fosun International Ltd., HNA Group Co. and the Chinese owner of the AC Milan soccer team, the people said…”

    July 31 – Reuters (Kevin Yao): “China's central bank will continue to force financial institutions to cut debt but ensure the process is smooth and orderly to limit its impact on market liquidity, an assistant central bank governor said… Higher short-term funding costs, driven by a regulatory crackdown on banks' riskier financing, have started to spill over into the real economy, a risk to economic stability ahead of a five-yearly leadership transition later this year. The drive to force financial institutions to deleverage… could affect the stability in market supply and demand of funding, Zhang Xiaohui wrote in the bank's China Finance magazine.”

    July 31 – Reuters (Elias Glenn): “Growth in China's manufacturing quickened in July, a private survey showed on Tuesday, as output and new orders rose at the fastest pace since February on strong export sales. But even as firms boosted purchasing in anticipation of more business, employment levels at factories fell at the fastest pace in 10 months and a reading on business outlook was the lowest since last August… The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.1 in July… well ahead of the 50.4 in June which was also the median figure forecast…”

    July 31 – Financial Times (Yuan Yang): “Multinationals in China are bracing to be cut off from the global internet as Beijing begins to shut down their only way of accessing uncensored foreign content. Companies offering virtual private network services, which bypass the country’s ‘Great Firewall’, have had their operations closed or obstructed in recent weeks — a blow to foreign groups that rely on VPN services to connect their staff to services such as Google-provided email and uncensored news. International companies are now preparing for an extended crackdown, according to Carolyn Bigg, senior lawyer at DLA Piper in Hong Kong. ‘The time for businesses to ignore these restrictions is over. The environment is changing weekly at the moment,’ she said.”

    August 2 – Financial Times (Gabriel Wildau): “China’s finance ministry has acknowledged that public-private partnerships for infrastructure investment have become a vehicle for ‘disguised borrowing’ by local governments, as Beijing targets systemic risk from rising regional debt. The central government has sought to rein in runaway debt at local governments, a legacy of China’s post-2008 economic stimulus. But local officials have continued to exploit loopholes in local borrowing rules to keep infrastructure projects cashed up. The clampdown on PPP investment could add to growth headwinds for China’s economy. Infrastructure comprised 21.2% of urban fixed-asset investment in the first half — the highest share since 2010.”

    July 30 – Financial Times (Louise Lucas and Sherry Fei Ju): “China’s pending regulatory crackdown on the $120bn peer-to-peer lending industry has claimed its first scalp before it has even begun, with one of the biggest players saying it will wind up its business in an industry full of bad loans and no profits. P2P lending, in which borrowers are matched with investors via online platforms, has mushroomed in the past five years, with China boasting more than 2,100 such platforms, but so too have scandals. Last year was marked by multibillion-dollar scams in China and a governance scandal that rocked New York-listed LendingClub. Beijing this month said it would delay regulations that will bar online lenders from guaranteeing principal or interest on loans they facilitate, cap the size of loans at Rmb1m for individuals and Rmb5m for companies, and force lenders to use custodian banks — a requirement only a fraction of the industry has met so far.”

    Europe Watch:

    July 29 – Reuters (Joseph Nasr): “The European Central Bank should start thinking about how it wants to return to normal monetary policy and when it wants to wind down it bond purchases, governing council member Sabine Lautenschlaeger said… ‘The expansionary monetary policy has both advantages and side effects. As time passes, the positive effects get weaker and the risks increase,’ she told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper. ‘So it's important to prepare for the exit in good time. What's crucial in that context is a stable trend in the rate of inflation towards our objective of just under 2%. It's not quite there yet.’”

    August 1 – Bloomberg (Catherine Bosley): “The euro-area economy expanded apace in the second quarter, a sign the bloc’s upswing is becoming increasingly robust and self-sustaining. Gross domestic product in the 19-country region rose 0.6% in the three months through June, after increasing 0.5% at the start of the year.”

    August 3 – Bloomberg (Nikos Chrysoloras): “Public support for the euro rose to a 12-year high among citizens of the currency bloc, according to the… latest Eurobarometer survey… Almost three-quarters of respondents in the poll support the ‘economic and monetary union with one single currency, the euro,’ the highest reading since the fall of 2004. Adding to signs of increasing optimism, against the backdrop of a strengthening economic recovery, 56% of Europeans are now confident about the future of the EU -- an increase of six percentage points from fall 2016.”

    Central Bank Watch:

    August 3 – Bloomberg (David Goodman and Jill Ward): “Mark Carney said Brexit is casting the biggest shadow over the U.K.’s economic outlook, as his confidence in an orderly departure from the European Union starts to fade. The Bank of England governor’s comments follow slow progress in the initial round of exit talks after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in June. Carney said that there’s only so much monetary policy can do as the central bank cut its forecasts for economic growth and wages.”

    Global Bubble Watch:

    August 4 – Bloomberg (Theophilos Argitis): “Canada’s labor market continued its stellar performance in July, with the jobless rate falling to the lowest since before the financial crisis. The unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, the lowest since October 2008, as the labor market added another 10,900 jobs during the month, Statistics Canada reported from Ottawa. The total increase over the past year of 387,600 is the biggest 12-month gain since 2007.”

    August 2 – Bloomberg (Katia Dmitrieva and Erik Hertzberg): “Home prices in Canada’s largest city posted their biggest monthly drop in at least 17 years in July and sales plunged as government efforts to cool the market and the near-collapse of a mortgage lender made buyers leery. The benchmark Toronto property price, which tracks a typical home over time, dropped 4.6% to C$773,000 ($613,000) from June.”

    Fixed Income Bubble Watch:

    August 2 – Wall Street Journal (Paul J. Davies): “The last financial crisis cleared out an alphabet soup of complex credit products. One type, however, has returned in droves in recent years, although popularity is now threatening their viability. This product is collateralized loan obligations, or CLOs, which buy portfolios of risky, leveraged loans often used by private-equity firms in buyouts. In the U.S., new CLO volumes have outstripped pre-crisis totals since 2014, while Europe is catching up to its previous levels fast. But returns from the loans they buy are getting squeezed as money from retail and institutional investors rushes in alongside CLOs to snap up loans. That could bring CLOs to a painful halt again.”

    Federal Reserve Watch:

    July 30 – Financial Times (Lena Komileva): “The US Federal Reserve raised rates for the third time in six months in June, even though inflation had stayed below its 2% target for much of the past decade. Why? The justification lies with the return to ‘economic normalisation’ (a more normal US growth and credit cycle), a reflationary global environment and easy financial conditions all combining to banish the extreme ‘tail risks’ of a deflationary slump that followed the financial crisis. Yet markets have been reluctant to heed the call of a return to more normal monetary conditions. Having lagged behind the Fed’s rate tightening and the discussion on shrinking its balance sheet this year, investors are still uncertain about the chances of another — well telegraphed — rate rise this year. A less than 40% probability is attached to this in the fed fund futures market. “

    August 2 – Reuters (Richard Leong and Jonathan Spicer): “St. Louis Federal Reserve James Bullard is opposed to further U.S. interest rate increases by the central bank and warned that more hikes could hinder domestic inflation from achieving the Fed's 2-% goal… ‘Given the inflation outlook, which has deteriorated in 2017, I would not support further moves in the near term,’ Bullard told Market News… ‘It's possible data will turn around, but we'll have to see. I think for now we should remain on pause.’”

    August 2 – Bloomberg (Christopher Condon): “Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester is keeping the faith that weak inflation will bounce back, even as she lowers her estimate for where unemployment begins to trigger higher prices. ‘My suspicion is it’s the idiosyncratic factors, it’s transitory and that the factors pushing down inflation are going to dissipate over time,’ Mester told reporters… ‘I still have a forecast for a gradual increase in inflation back to 2% over time.’”

    August 2 – Wall Street Journal (Nick Timiraos): “Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said increasingly tight labor markets should keep the U.S. central bank on its path to gradually raise rates and start slowly shrinking its portfolio of bonds and other assets, despite a surprising pause in inflation pressures this spring. In an interview, Mr. Rosengren said he sees ‘some reasonable risk’ that the unemployment rate drops below 4% in the next two years. ‘In my own view, that would not be sustainable,’ he said.”

    U.S. Bubble Watch:

    August 1 – CNBC (Diana Olick): “Home price gains are accelerating again, and in some cities those values are overheating. Four of the nation's largest cities are now considered overvalued, according to CoreLogic. Home prices in Denver, Houston, Miami and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area now exceed sustainable levels. To determine if a market is overvalued, CoreLogic compares current prices to their long-run, sustainable levels, which are supported by local economic fundamentals like disposable income… ‘With no end to the escalation in sight, affordability is rapidly deteriorating nationally,’ said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic.”

    August 1 – Wall Street Journal (Sarah Krouse): “The fortunes of Wall Street’s cheapest and priciest funds are diverging fast. Exchange-traded funds held $1 trillion more in investor money than hedge funds globally for the first time ever at the end of June… Assets in ETFs, which trade on exchanges like stocks, first surpassed the amount of money in hedge funds two years ago and have continued to swell. Market-mimicking funds like ETFs have been helped by fresh market highs… Those gains have prodded investors already losing faith in star stock and bond pickers to plow even more money into the ultra low-cost funds.”

    July 31 – CNBC (Fred Imbert): “Investors may be in for disappointing market returns in the decade to come with valuations at levels this high, if history is any indication. Analysts at Goldman Sachs Asset Management pointed out that annualized returns on the S&P 500 10 years out were in the single digits or negative 99% of the time when starting with valuations at current levels. In a chart, they point out that the S&P's cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE) is currently around its highest historical levels. CAPE is a widely followed valuation metric developed by Nobel Prize winners John Campbell and Robert Shiller.”

    August 1 – CNBC (Tae Kim): “Mutual funds are piling into technology stocks to a record level, according to… Bank of America Merrill Lynch. But the overweighting may not be bullish for the sector going forward. In July ‘large cap active managers have yet again increased their positioning in tech, setting another record overweight of 25% (+5.8 percentage points) relative to the benchmark,’ strategist Savita Subramanian wrote… ‘This record overweight has helped managers beat their benchmarks so far this year, as tech continues to outperform all other sectors.’”

    August 1 – Reuters (Joseph White and Paul Lienert): “U.S. carmakers said… they continued to slash low-margin sales to daily rental fleets in July as the overall pace of U.S. car and light truck sales fell for the fifth straight month. The annualized pace of U.S. car and light truck sales in July fell to 16.73 million vehicles, down from 17.8 million vehicles a year earlier…”

    July 31 – Wall Street Journal (AnnaMaria Andriotis): “Credit-card losses are mounting, a reversal from a six-year trend that could be a warning sign for markets and the broader economy. The average net charge-off rate for large U.S. card issuers—the percentage of outstanding debt that issuers write off as a loss—increased to 3.29% in the second quarter, its highest level in four years, according to Fitch Ratings. The quarter was also the fifth consecutive period of year-over-year increases in the closely watched rate. All eight large issuers… had increases for the quarter.”

    EM Bubble Watch:

    August 2 – Wall Street Journal (Julie Wernau and Carolyn Cui): “Investors have been bracing for a Venezuela debt default for more than a year, but fallout from the country’s widely criticized election last weekend could prove to be the tipping point. The government and state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, also known as PdVSA, together owe $5 billion in principal and interest payments due between now and the end of the year… The country has $725 million due this month alone… The problem: Venezuela only has about $3 billion of its foreign reserves in cash, according to S&P Global Ratings. That means the country is dependent on oil exports to make up the difference.”

    July 31 – CNBC (Lucia Kassai, Laura Blewitt, and Nathan Crooks): “The specter of tighter U.S. sanctions is pushing up the perception that Venezuela is getting closer to defaulting on its bonds. Venezuela is awaiting possible further restrictions after the U.S., its largest trading partner, sanctioned President Nicolas Maduro after he held elections Sunday for a new assembly that will rewrite the constitution. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in announcing the measures, including freezing Maduro’s assets in the U.S., that additional sanctions were ‘on the table.’”

    July 29 – Reuters (Girish Gupta): “In a portend of steepening inflation in crisis-stricken Venezuela, money supply surged 10% in just one week earlier this month, its largest single-week rise in a quarter of a century. Venezuela is undergoing a major economic crisis, with millions suffering food shortages, monthly wages worth only the tens of U.S. dollars, and soaring inflation…”

    August 2 – Bloomberg (Jeanette Rodrigues): “Business conditions in India have deteriorated the most since the global financial crisis as the roll out of a nationwide sales tax disrupted supply and distribution links just months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cash ban roiled markets. The Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index fell to 46 in July from 52.7 in June, the steepest drop since March 2009… Activity in the key services sector plunged to 45.9 from 53.1 -- the lowest since September 2013 -- after data showed manufacturing slumped the most since 2009.”

    Leveraged Speculation Watch:

    August 3 – Bloomberg (Simone Foxman): “Billionaire Paul Singer is warning of a growing and menacing threat: passive investing. ‘Passive investing is in danger of devouring capitalism,’ Singer wrote... ‘What may have been a clever idea in its infancy has grown into a blob which is destructive to the growth-creating and consensus-building prospects of free market capitalism.’ Almost $500 billion flowed from active to passive funds in the first half of 2017. The founder of Elliott Management Corp. contends that passive strategies, which buy a variety of securities to match the overall performance of an index, aren’t truly ‘investing’ and that index fund providers don’t have incentive to push companies to change for the better and create shareholder value.”

    August 3 – Bloomberg (Nishant Kumar, Javier Blas, and Suzy Waite): “If an oil trader so good that he was known as “God” can’t win in today’s markets, it’s hard to imagine who can. Andy Hall is closing down his main hedge fund after big losses in the first half of the year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. His flagship Astenbeck Master Commodities Fund II lost almost 30% through June… The capitulation of one of the best-known figures in the commodities industry comes after muted oil prices wrong-footed traders from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to BP Plc’s in-house trading unit.”

    August 1 – Bloomberg (Nishant Kumar and Suzy Waite): “Europe is on a mini-streak with hedge-fund investors as the prospect of faster economic growth and fading political risk help restore confidence in the region. Money pools investing across Europe attracted additional capital for the second straight month in June, following a 12-month stretch in which almost $16 billion was pulled out, according to… eVestment. The continent’s success contrasts with Asia and the U.S., where investors have pulled money from hedge funds.”

    August 1 – Bloomberg (Saijel Kishan): “Paul Tudor Jones’ investors are increasingly deserting him. The billionaire macro manager who helped give rise to the hedge fund industry saw clients pull about 15% of their assets from his main fund in the second quarter… That’s left client assets at about $3.6 billion, almost half the value a year ago. The withdrawals are a blow to Jones… and exemplify the asset bleed hurting the biggest names in the business, including Alan Howard and John Paulson… Macro hedge funds have posted their worst first half since 2013, losing 0.7%, and on average returned about 1% annually in the past five years, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc.”

    Geopolitical Watch:

    July 31 – Reuters (Philip Wen and Ben Blanchard): “China loves peace but will never compromise on defending its sovereignty, President Xi Jinping said… while marking 90 years since the founding of the People's Liberation Army. China has rattled nerves around Asia and globally with its increasingly assertive stance in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and an ambitious military modernization plan. Relations with self-ruled Taiwan have also worsened since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections there last year. China considers Taiwan a wayward province, to be brought under Beijing's control by force if necessary.”

    August 2 – Financial Times (Emily Feng and Leo Lewis): “Xi Jinping has warned that China will not tolerate any infringement of its sovereignty or territory, in a speech delivered as the country finds itself embroiled in several territorial disputes with neighbours. ‘We will never seek aggression or expansion but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions,’ the Chinese president said in an hour-long speech on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the country’s army. ‘We will never allow any people, organisation or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country.’ His comments came as Japan mounted a formal diplomatic protest to demand that China stop its renewed drilling operations in the East China Sea.”

    August 4 – Associated Press: “Beijing is intensifying its warnings to Indian troops to get out of a contested region high in the Himalayas where China, India and Bhutan meet, saying China's ‘restraint has its limits’ and publicizing live-fire drills in Tibet. Indian troops entered the area in the Doklam Plateau in June after New Delhi's ally, Bhutan, complained a Chinese military construction party was building a road inside Bhutan's territory.”

    July 31 – Reuters (Ben Blanchard and Elias Glenn): “China hit back on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted he was ‘very disappointed’ in China following North Korea's latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution. China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang. China is North Korea's closest ally, but Beijing, too, is angry with its continued nuclear and missile tests.”

    July 29 – Reuters (James Pearson and Michelle Nichols): “The United States flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force on Sunday and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said China, Japan and South Korea needed to do more after Pyongyang's latest missile tests. North Korea said it conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on Friday that proved its ability to strike America's mainland, drawing a sharp warning from U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump's ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said… that the United States was ‘done talking’ about North Korea, which was ‘not only a U.S. problem.’”

    July 29 – Reuters (Babak Dehghanpisheh): “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards said… that U.S. Navy ships came close to their vessels in the Gulf and shot flares. The USS Nimitz and an accompanying warship drew close to a rocket-bearing Iranian vessel on Friday and sent out a helicopter near a number of Guards vessels… ‘The Americans made a provocative and unprofessional move by issuing a warning and shooting flares at vessels ...,’ the statement said. ‘Islam’s warriors, without paying attention to this unconventional and unusual behaviour from the American vessels, continued their mission in the area and the aircraft carrier and accompanying battleship left the area.’”

    July 31 – Wall Street Journal (Julian E. Barnes, Laurence Norman and Felicia Schwartz): “The U.S. Pentagon and State Department have devised plans to supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry and are seeking White House approval, U.S. officials said, as Kiev battles Russia-backed separatists and ties between Moscow and Washington fray. American military officials and diplomats say the arms, which they characterized as defensive, are meant to deter aggressive actions by Moscow, which the U.S. and others say has provided tanks and other sophisticated armaments as well as military advisers to rebels fighting the Kiev government.”
              Friday's News Links        
    [Bloomberg] Dollar Rises, Treasuries Slide on Strong Jobs Data: Markets Wrap

    [Bloomberg] Payroll Gain of 209,000, Wage Pickup Show U.S. Labor Strength

    [Bloomberg] The Jobs Numbers: Who’s Hiring in America—and Who’s Not

    [Reuters] U.S. trade deficit narrows as exports hit 2-1/2-year high

    [Reuters] U.S. businesses fear Trump mishandling of China IP, trade probe

    [Bloomberg] Corporate Employers Flee Pensions With Gap Topping $375 Billion

    [CNBC] Greenspan: Bond bubble about to break because of 'abnormally low' interest rates

    [Reuters] Exclusive: China regulators plan to crack down further on overseas deals

    [CNBC/SCMP] Chinese firms say profit margins 'squeezed to extreme' by rising costs

    [Bloomberg] Canadian Job Market Runs Hot With Unemployment at 9-Year Low

    [Bloomberg] China Warns Indian Troops to Get Out of Contested Region

    [FT] Currencies face uncertain August amid central bank normalisation
              Weekly Commentary: Five Years of Whatever It Takes        
    July 25 – Bloomberg (Paul Gordon and Carolynn Look): “Five years ago today, Mario Draghi was talking about bumblebees. The European Central Bank president’s speech in London on July 26, 2012, became instantly famous because of his pledge to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro. But for all the power and clarity of that phrase, he started his remarks more obliquely. ‘The euro is like a bumblebee. This is a mystery of nature because it shouldn’t fly but instead it does. So the euro was a bumblebee that flew very well for several years. And now -- and I think people ask ‘how come?’-- probably there was something in the atmosphere, in the air, that made the bumblebee fly. Now something must have changed in the air, and we know what after the financial crisis.’ At the time, the currency bloc was being buffeted by soaring bond yields in peripheral nations as speculators bet the union’s fundamental flaws would rip it apart. Draghi’s answer was to state unequivocally that the immediate crisis fell under the ECB’s responsibility and he would deal with it. ‘The ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.’ That pledge was followed by a program to buy the debt of stressed countries in return for structural reforms, and in that respect the words alone proved to be enough. Yield spreads collapsed even though the program has never been tapped.”

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

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

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

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

    Keep in mind that while “whatever it takes” first radiated from Draghi’s lips, markets soon surmised that the ECB president was speaking on behalf of the cadre of leading global central bankers. After all, ECB (desperate) measures were followed promptly by the return of QE by the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank and others. It’s worth mentioning that the Fed’s balance sheet totaled about $2.8 TN in July 2012, only to rise to $4.4 TN by September 2014. Amazingly, Bank of Japan assets have expanded about three-fold since 2012 to approach $5.0 TN.

    Going back to 2002, the burst “tech” Bubble was evolving into a full-fledged U.S. corporate debt crisis. Back then Fed governor Bernanke’s talk of “helicopter money” and the “government printing press” profoundly altered market dynamics. It may not have at the time been loud and clear. But putting markets on notice that the Fed was contemplating extraordinary reflationary measures was a far-reaching development for corporate debt. Facing a liquidity crisis in 2002, Ford bonds had become a popular short in the marketplace. Almost single-handedly, Dr. Bernanke’s speeches proved a catalyst for the speculating community reversing the Ford (and corporate debt) bond short - and then going long. The impact on general market liquidity was profound. And with the corporate debt crisis resolved there was nothing to hold back the burgeoning mortgage finance Bubble.

    What “Helicopter Ben” accomplished with U.S. corporate bonds, “Super Mario” surpassed with Trillions of European sovereign, corporate and financial debt. Italian bond yields ended 2012 at 4.5%, down 210 bps from July highs. Spain’s 10-yields declined about 250 bps to 5.00% in less than six months. “Whatever it takes” almost immediately transformed Italian and Spanish debt from favored shorts to about the most enticing speculative long securities anywhere in the world.

    Draghi’s utterance ‘The ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough,’ was a direct declaration to speculators with short positions in the euro currency, along with shorts in Italian, Spanish and periphery debt. Immediately Cover Your Shorts and Go Long. Five years on, Italian yields hover around 2.10% and Spanish yields sit at about 1.50% - emblematic of arguably one of history’s most spectacular securities market mispricings. European bank stocks have gained better than 50%. Draghi not only bloodied the shorts, be ensured spectacular profits for those levered long European debt – and the riskier the Credit the greater the reward.

    Central bankers should not be in the business of playing favorites in the markets. So how did it get to the point where they seek to incentivize longs (levered and otherwise) while routinely punishing the shorts? Because central bankers followed the Bernanke Fed into a policy course of using rising securities and asset prices as a reflationary mechanism for the overall economy. As we’ve witnessed now for going on a decade, that’s a slippery slope. Adopt pro-Bubble policies and there will be no turning back. Inflate an epic Bubble and you own it for the duration.

    “The euro is like a bumblebee. This is a mystery of nature because it shouldn’t fly but instead it does.” The euro flew and it soared incredibly high, trading above 1.50 to the dollar in early-2008. As fundamentally flawed as the euro monetary experiment has been, it has been buoyed by the fundamentally weaker dollar. The euro flew on the back of highly speculative flows, much of it flowing from an overcharged U.S. Credit system.  U.S. monetary policy had been too loose for too long. Unstable finance has been nurtured for what seems like an eternity. The U.S. exported its Credit Bubble to the world.

    Going all the way back to the late-nineties, Italy and the European periphery were a leveraged speculator community darling. Indeed, the Euro Convergence Trade granted huge profits to the hedge fund community. The egregious amounts of leverage employed (directly and through derivatives) was illuminated with the 1998 implosion of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM).

    The LTCM fiasco contributed to an 18-month bear market that saw the euro trade down to 0.87 vs. the dollar in early 2002. With Dr. Bernanke and his radical theories on reflationary policymaking arriving on the scene in 2002, it’s no coincidence that the euro then embarked on a multiyear rally. The euro traded up to 1.00 late in 2002, 1.20 in 2003, 1.35 in 2004, 1.45 in 2007 and 1.58 in 2008. It’s furthermore no coincidence that Italian bond prices tracked the euro higher. After trading at 5.5% in the first-half of 2002, Italian yields dropped to 3.22% by October 2005. Greek bonds followed an almost identical trajectory, as both already highly-indebted nations took full advantage of the market’s insatiable demand for European peripheral debt.

    Draghi has lately grown accustomed to patting himself on the back. He saved the euro. He saved Europe’s big banks. He kept Greece and Italy in the euro currency. His policies have spurred European economic recovery. But Draghi and global central bankers also inflated history’s greatest speculative Bubble. Celebration will be in order only if policies can be normalized without the whole thing coming crashing down.

    July 25 – BloombergBusinessweek (Jana Randow): “Euro-area governments have saved almost 1 trillion euros ($1.16 trillion) in interest payments since 2008 as record-low European Central Bank rates depress bond yields at a time when state treasurers are also reducing debt. That’s according to calculations by Germany’s Bundesbank, which is urging finance ministers in the 19-nation region to make provisions for when interest rates start to rise. Italy, the world’s third-most indebted country, has benefited most, with savings exceeding 10% of gross domestic product.”

    Italy has been the biggest beneficiary of collapsing market yields. The problem is that its debt load still expanded to a distressing 130% of GDP. Italy remains only a jump in yields away from trouble, and I suspect this helps explain why Draghi has been so reticent to pull back on the stimulus throttle. After trading below 1.90% in mid-June, Italian yields surged to 2.33% earlier this month as markets began to contemplate global central bankers moving toward concerted normalization.

    The FOMC this week confirmed the dovishness of Yellen’s testimony before congress. Apparently, over the past month Fed rate “normalization” has been scaled back to perhaps one more hike this year – and that could be about it. And I just don’t buy the Fed’s recent fixation on below target inflation (GSCI Commodities Index up 4.2% this week on further dollar weakness!).

    Something has raised concerns at the FOMC. Could it be European debt markets, with ECB stimulus to be significantly reduced in the months ahead. Or perhaps it’s China and Beijing's determination to rein in some financial excess. EM and all their dollar-denominated debt? Maybe a dysfunctional Washington has supplanted international developments on the worry list – or, understandably, it could be a combination of things.

    At least for the week, global markets lost a bit of their recent swagger. While Boeing helped push the Dow to yet another record high, the S&P500 ended the week little changed. The broader market underperformed. The highflying technology stocks were unimpressive in the face of generally robust earnings. The VIX rose to 10.29, with some volatility beginning to seep into stock trading. Commodities caught a big bid, while bond yields began moving north again. The currencies remain unsettled.

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

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


    For the Week:

    The S&P500 was about unchanged (up 10.4% y-t-d), while the Dow jumped 1.2% (up 10.5%). The Utilities slipped 0.3% (up 8.4%). The Banks added 0.5% (up 3.7%), and the Broker/Dealers rose 1.0% (up 14.0%). The Transports dropped 2.6% (up 2.0%). The S&P 400 Midcaps declined 0.7% (up 6.1%), and the small cap Russell 2000 dipped 0.5% (up 5.3%). The Nasdaq100 slipped 0.2% (up 21.5%), and the Morgan Stanley High Tech index fell 0.8% (up 25.5%). The Semiconductors dropped 1.3% (up 20.6%). The Biotechs declined 1.0% (up 29.7%). With bullion up $15, the HUI gold index rallied 2.3% (up 7.7%).

    Three-month Treasury bill rates ended the week at 106 bps. Two-year government yields added a basis point to 1.35% (up 16bps y-t-d). Five-year T-note yields increased three bps to 1.83% (down 9bps). Ten-year Treasury yields rose five bps to 2.29% (down 16bps). Long bond yields jumped nine bps to 2.90% (down 17bps).

    Greek 10-year yields rose 11 bps to 5.33% (down 170bps y-t-d). Ten-year Portuguese yields added two bps to 2.93% (down 82bps). Italian 10-year yields gained five bps to 2.12% (up 31bps). Spain's 10-year yields rose seven bps to 1.53% (up 15bps). German bund yields increased four bps to 0.54% (up 34bps). French yields rose five bps to 0.81% (up 13bps). The French to German 10-year bond spread widened one to 27 bps. U.K. 10-year gilt yields gained four bps to 1.22% (down 2bps). U.K.'s FTSE equities index fell 1.1% (up 3.2%).

    Japan's Nikkei 225 equities index declined 0.7% (up 4.4% y-t-d). Japanese 10-year "JGB" yields added a basis point to 0.08% (up 4bps). France's CAC40 gained 0.3% (up 5.5%). The German DAX equities index declined 0.6% (up 5.9%). Spain's IBEX 35 equities index rallied 1.1% (up 12.7%). Italy's FTSE MIB index rose 1.1% (up 11.4%). EM equities were mixed. Brazil's Bovespa index gained 1.3% (up 8.7%), while Mexico's Bolsa declined 0.7% (up 12.2%). South Korea's Kospi sank 2.0% (up 18.5%). India’s Sensex equities index added 0.9% (up 21.3%). China’s Shanghai Exchange increased 0.5% (up 4.8%). Turkey's Borsa Istanbul National 100 index rose 0.8% (up 37.8%). Russia's MICEX equities index slipped 0.4% (down 14.2%).

    Junk bond mutual funds saw outflows of $21 million (from Lipper).

    Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rates declined four bps to 3.92% (up 44bps y-o-y). Fifteen-year rates slipped three bps to 3.20% (up 42bps). The five-year hybrid ARM rate fell three bps to 3.18% (up 40bps). Bankrate's survey of jumbo mortgage borrowing costs had 30-yr fixed rates up five bps to 4.11% (up 42bps).

    Federal Reserve Credit last week declined $5.1bn to $4.435 TN. Over the past year, Fed Credit added $0.4bn. Fed Credit inflated $1.625 TN, or 58%, over the past 246 weeks. Elsewhere, Fed holdings for foreign owners of Treasury, Agency Debt rose $6.0bn last week to $3.325 TN. "Custody holdings" were up $105bn y-o-y, or 3.3%.

    M2 (narrow) "money" supply last week gained $6.0bn to a record $13.608 TN. "Narrow money" expanded $740bn, or 5.8%, over the past year. For the week, Currency increased $2.7bn. Total Checkable Deposits dropped $50.2bn, while Savings Deposits jumped $52.1bn. Small Time Deposits added $1.3bn. Retail Money Funds were little changed.

    Total money market fund assets jumped $23.28bn to $2.640 TN. Money Funds fell $75bn y-o-y (2.8%).

    Total Commercial Paper gained $7.4bn to $978bn. CP declined $49bn y-o-y, or 4.7%.

    Currency Watch:

    The U.S. dollar index declined 0.6% to 93.26 (down 8.9% y-t-d). For the week on the upside, the Swedish krona increased 1.5%, the Norwegian krone 1.3%, the British pound 1.1%, the Australian dollar 0.9%, the Canadian dollar 0.9%, the New Zealand dollar 0.8%, the euro 0.8%, the Singapore dollar 0.4%, the Japanese yen 0.4% and the Brazilian real 0.4%. On the downside, the Swiss franc declined 2.4%, the South African rand 0.8%, the Mexican peso 0.7% and the South Korean won 0.3%. The Chinese renminbi gained 0.44% versus the dollar this week (up 3.09% y-t-d).

    Commodities Watch:

    The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index jumped 4.2% (down 3.0% y-t-d). Spot Gold gained 1.2% to $1,270 (up 10.2%). Silver rose 1.4% to $16.695 (up 4.5%). Crude surged $3.94 to $49.71 (down 8%). Gasoline surged 7.2% (unchanged), while Natural Gas declined 1.0% (down 21%). Copper jumped 5.6% (up 15%). Wheat dropped 3.7% (up 18%). Corn fell 1.4% (up 10%).

    Trump Administration Watch:

    July 27 – Bloomberg (Sahil Kapur and Erik Wasson): “The House is set to leave for its August recess without having taken the first essential step to overhauling the U.S. tax code: agreeing on a 2018 budget resolution. Disputes among House Republicans over spending levels and the controversial border-adjusted tax proposal are preventing Speaker Paul Ryan from winning enough support to schedule a floor vote on the budget that a House panel approved last week. With House members planning to leave Washington Friday for a five-week recess, the lack of a budget is raising doubts that a tax rewrite -- one of President Donald Trump’s top priorities -- can get done this year, or even before the 2018 elections. ‘Clearly, no budget, no tax reform,’ said the House’s chief tax writer, Representative Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican.”

    July 25 – Bloomberg (Erik Wasson and Roxana Tiron): “House Republicans this week are increasing the possibility of a government shutdown in October by moving forward with a $788 billion spending bill that complies with President Donald Trump’s demands to boost the military, reduce clean-energy programs and fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Those priorities, especially $1.6 billion in wall funding, guarantee House and Senate Democratic leaders will oppose the bill. Trump has urged his Republican supporters in Congress to fight, saying in May that a ‘good’ shutdown may be needed to advance his agenda. Republicans are trying to demonstrate unity after months of division over major legislation, including a repeal of Obamacare.”

    July 24 – Bloomberg (Alex Harris): “The Treasury Department got a clear message from investors that they’re starting to get concerned another showdown over the U.S. debt ceiling may get ugly. The government’s auction Monday of $39 billion of three-month bills attracted the lowest demand of any other sale of the securities since June 2009. The bills, which mature around when the Treasury is estimated to run out of money unless lawmakers agree to extend the statutory limit on the nation’s borrowing, were sold at a rate of 1.18%, the highest since October 2008.”

    July 27 – Bloomberg (Margaret Talev): “White House chief strategist Steve Bannon supports paying for middle-class tax cuts with a new top rate of 44% for Americans who make more than $5 million a year, according to a person familiar… It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump would support the move, which would bring the top rate, currently 39.6%, to the highest level in 30 years. Trump has said he’s focused on tax changes that would help the middle class, but an analysis this month of the tax outline the White House released in April shows it would mostly benefit top earners.”

    July 25 – Reuters (John Benny): “A final decision on a steel trade policy may have to wait until other top-priority issues on his agenda get addressed, U.S. President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal… The administration would take time in making a decision on whether to block steel imports… Trump had previously initiated a 'Section 232' review of the U.S. steel industry that allows for the imposition of tariffs or quotas on imports if they are found to threaten national security. The law, which has been used twice before - to investigate oil in 1999 and iron and steel in 2001 - allows the president to impose restrictions on imports for reasons of national security.”

    China Bubble Watch:

    July 23 – New York Times (Keith Bradsher and Sui-Lee Wee): “Let the West worry about so-called black swans, rare and unexpected events that can upset financial markets. China is more concerned about ‘gray rhinos’ — large and visible problems in the economy that are ignored until they start moving fast. The rhinos are a herd of Chinese tycoons who have used a combination of political connections and raw ambition to create sprawling global conglomerates. Companies like Anbang Insurance Group, Fosun International, HNA Group and Dalian Wanda Group have feasted on cheap debt provided by state banks, spending lavishly to build their empires. Such players are now so big, so complex, so indebted and so enmeshed in the economy that the Chinese government is abruptly bringing them to heel. President Xi Jinping recently warned that financial stability is crucial to national security, while the official newspaper of the Communist Party pointed to the dangers of a ‘gray rhinoceros,’ without naming specific companies.”

    July 24 – New York Times (David Barboza): “The acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group moved to allay concerns about its ownership structure… by releasing a statement showing that its biggest shareholder had recently shifted from a mysterious businessman to a foundation it set up in New York. The company said that its largest shareholder, a private businessman in China named Guan Jun, had recently donated his 30% stake in the company to HNA’s charitable organization, the Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation. Combined with the 22.8% stake held by HNA’s sister charity in China, HNA says it is now 52% owned by the Cihang foundations.”

    July 23 – Bloomberg: “Several Chinese banks that helped fund HNA Group Co.’s global acquisition spree are losing their appetite for financing the company, according to people familiar with the matter. Three of the banks have decided to stop extending new loans to HNA, said the people… One made the decision early this year, the second acted a couple of months ago and the third moved recently, the people said. A fourth bank trimmed its exposure to the company over the past few months and reduced the size of a credit line, one of the people said, without providing further details.”

    July 25 – Bloomberg (Laurence Arnold and Prudence Ho): “For a company regularly in the news for its frequent and wide-ranging acquisitions, China’s HNA Group Co. remains shrouded in mystery. Chinese and American government officials are seeking more information about the company’s ownership -- though for very different reasons -- and the European Central Bank may open a review of its own. Once a little-known airline operator, the company took on billions of dollars in debt as it made more than $40 billion of acquisitions over six continents since the start of 2016. With interests in tourism, logistics and financial services, it’s now the biggest shareholder of such well-known names as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG.”

    July 23 – Wall Street Journal (Lingling Wei and Chao Deng): “China’s government reined in one of its brashest conglomerates with the approval of President Xi Jinping, according to people with knowledge of the action—a mark that the broader government clampdown on large private companies comes right from the top of China’s leadership. The measures, with President Xi’s previously unreported approval last month, bar state-owned banks from making new loans to property giant Dalian Wanda Group to help fuel its foreign expansion. The cutoff in bank financing for the company’s foreign investments highlights Beijing’s changing view of a series of Wanda’s recent overseas acquisitions as irrational and overpriced, these people say.”

    July 22 – New York Times (Paul Mozur and Carolyn Zhang): “Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with more than two billion users. LinkedIn was sold to Microsoft for $26 billion last year. And Apple is Apple, the most valuable company in the world. In most local markets, it would be a surprise if any one of these companies were floundering. But in China, the real shock is that their troubles no longer surprise anyone. Just in the past few weeks, Facebook had one of its most popular apps blocked by the Chinese government. LinkedIn… had its local boss step down amid tepid results in the country. And Apple announced a billion-dollar investment to comply with local law as it continued to watch Chinese demand for its iPhones fade. This summer of challenge for the three companies offers a broad illustration of just how varied the obstacles have become for foreign companies in China. They also show in stark terms why this vast market has been frustratingly difficult for outsiders.”

    July 25 – Reuters (Ryan Woo, Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu): “All major Chinese enterprises owned by the central government will be turned into limited liability companies or joint-stock firms by the end of the year as part of reforms aimed at overhauling their unwieldy structures. Beijing is trying to revive China's bloated state-owned sector and create ‘bigger and stronger’ conglomerates capable of competing on the global stage. Restructuring state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will separate government administration from management of day-to-day business operations, one step toward greater efficiency.”

    Europe Watch:

    July 27 – Bloomberg (Alessandro Speciale): “Germany’s grip over the euro area’s financial institutions is getting firmer. With the reappointment… of Werner Hoyer as president of the European Investment Bank, Germany’s hold over three key roles for the region’s economy was reaffirmed. A fourth one -- by far the most important -- could follow. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann is a frequently mentioned candidate to replace Italy’s Mario Draghi when his term as European Central Bank’s president runs out in October 2019… Further complicating the succession talks will be the large number of European posts coming up for grabs in the next two years, as well as French President’s Emmanuel Macron stated intention of creating a euro-area finance minister.”

    July 24 Financial Times (Michael Hunter): “Could zombies be keeping Mario Draghi awake at night? Investors remain highly sensitive to the outlook for the start of the reduction, or tapering, of the European Central Bank’s €60bn monthly stimulus spending. As the scrutiny of the ECB president’s every utterance continues, there is some eye-catching analysis from Bank of America Merrill Lynch on what could be an important factor in his thinking on tapering. It points toward so-called ‘zombie’ companies, or those that depend on ultra-loose monetary policy for credit provision. ‘Although corporate leverage has helpfully declined over the last few years, we still find that 9% of firms have very weak interest coverage metrics in Europe,’ says the bank’s Barnaby Martin, credit strategist. The research defines a zombie company as one with an interest coverage ratio ‘at or below 1 times’ earnings.”

    July 25 – Reuters (Paul Carrel and Irene Preisinger): “German business morale hit a record high in July as ‘euphoric’ manufacturers, shrugging off the impact of a strong euro, anticipated a surge in already robust exports from Europe's biggest economy. The Munich-based Ifo economic institute said… its business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, hit its third record high in as many months with a rise to 116.0 from 115.2 in June.”

    Central Bank Watch:

    July 24 – Bloomberg (Tanvir Sandhu): “The European Central Bank has given the green light to summer carry trades as volatility remains contained and the policy meetings in September and October are likely reserved to outline further details on quantitative easing, buying more time for carry, Bloomberg strategist Tanvir Sandhu writes. Italian bonds offer one of the most attractive carry and rolldown across European government bonds, with the five-year bucket three-month carry and roll at 16 bps and one-year at 70 bps. That compares with one-year of 30 bps for 10-year bunds and 42 bps for bonos. Given that carry trades are implicitly short volatility, two-year Italy stands out as the most attractive on a vol-adjusted basis. Since earning the full carry and rolldown assumes an unchanged yield curve, adjusting for volatility will provide a more realistic indicator of profitability.”

    Global Bubble Watch:

    July 22 – Financial Times (Chris Flood): “Vanguard is closing in on BlackRock’s title as the world’s largest asset manager after pulling in more than $1bn a day of investor money since the start of the year. The two heavyweights of the investment industry are attracting unprecedented inflows into their low-cost exchange traded funds amid rising investor dissatisfaction with the high fees and poor performance of active managers that strive to beat the market. Investors ploughed $215bn into Vanguard’s funds in the first six months of the year, far outpacing new business growth for BlackRock, which pulled in $168bn over the same period.”

    July 26 – Financial Times (Eric Platt): “Investor enthusiasm for corporate debt has neared levels not seen since before the start of the credit crisis, in a deepening endorsement of a global economic recovery that has already propelled US stock markets to record heights. In several parts of the US bond markets, companies are now able to raise money at a lower cost, relative to government bonds, than they have for the past decade… ‘This is a continuation of this hunt for yield that you have seen for the last couple of years,’ said Brian Kennedy, a portfolio manager with Loomis Sayles. ‘Between the economic backdrop, lack of yield around the world and the buyers out of Asia and Europe, the investment grade and high-yield markets are the sweet spots for people who want yield.’”

    July 23 – Financial Times (Laura Noonan): “The men running two of Wall Street’s biggest banks saw the value of their shareholdings rise by a combined $314m in 2016 as stock market prices rocketed in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election as US president. But while Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein each enjoyed $150m-plus rises in the value of their stock and options in JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, respectively, the average gains for the other 18 best-paid chief executives at international banks last year was $4m.”

    July 25 – Reuters (Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Anna Irrera): “Wall Street's main regulator said on Tuesday that initial coin offerings (ICOs), a means of crowdfunding for blockchain technology companies, should be subject to the same safeguards required in traditional securities sales. ICOs have become a bonanza for digital currency entrepreneurs, allowing them to raise millions quickly by creating and selling digital ‘tokens’ with no regulatory oversight. But the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the tokens can be considered securities, and therefore, may need to be registered unless a valid exemption applies.”

    Fixed Income Bubble Watch:

    July 23 – Financial Times (Attracta Mooney): “Investors piled more than $355bn into bond funds in the first five months of 2017 despite concerns that the fixed-income market is set for an unprecedented shake-up as central banks shift towards normalising monetary policy. The surge of money has put fixed-income funds on course to beat 2016’s full-year inflows of $375bn… The net inflows are already larger than the amount of money invested in fixed income funds over the entire 2013 and 2015. The biggest winners this year include Pimco’s income fund, T Rowe Price’s new income fund that invests in US bonds, and a Vanguard index fund investing in global fixed income. These products have had inflows of between $4bn and $27bn since the start of the year.”

    July 23 – Financial Times (Attracta Mooney): “Bob Michele, a bond fund veteran, is more worried than he has ever been. The head of global fixed income at JPMorgan Asset Management, the US fund house, has spent almost four decades investing in bonds. The 57-year-old… is gearing up for the most demanding period of his career. ‘The next 18 months are going to be incredibly challenging. I am not an equity investor, but I can just imagine how equity investors felt in 1999, during the dotcom bubble,’ he says… The Nasdaq Composite, the index, lost 78% of its value in the 18 months after the tech bubble collapsed. Mr Michele, like many fixed-income investors, is acutely worried about how central banks’ retreat from monetary easing will affect the bond market.”

    Federal Reserve Watch:

    July 25 – Wall Street Journal (Kate Davidson): “President Donald Trump is considering renominating Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chairwoman but also views his economic adviser Gary Cohn as a top candidate, he told The Wall Street Journal… Mr. Trump reiterated that he thinks Ms. Yellen is doing a good job and he has ‘a lot of respect for her,’ and said she is still in the running to serve a second four-year term as leader of the central bank. But he said he also is considering replacing Ms. Yellen with Mr. Cohn, who became Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council director after a 26-year career at Goldman Sachs…”

    July 23 – Reuters (Marius Zaharia): “In September 2015, the U.S. Federal Reserve cited risks from China as a key reason for delaying its first interest rate hike in a decade. A wall of Chinese debt maturing in the next few years could jolt the country back into the U.S. central bank's policy deliberations. Two years ago, it was a collapse in Chinese stocks, a surprise yuan devaluation and shrinking foreign exchange reserves that roiled financial markets that delayed the Fed, but it did raise rates three months later and has tightened further since. Now, some see risks emerging in China's dollar-denominated bonds that could give the Fed greater pause for thought as it raises rates, even as other central banks signal a shift from ultra-easy policy. To be sure, Fed officials have not publicly flagged China's debt as a major risk in their policy discussions. However, debt analysts point to the possibility of another September 2015 moment in which the Fed takes its cues from concerns about China.”

    July 23 – Financial Times (Gavyn Davies): “Janet Yellen, in an unusually ebullient mood, suggested last month that there may not be a repeat of the Global Financial Crash (GFC) ‘in our lifetimes’. Given the extreme severity of the GFC, that is perhaps a fairly easy hurdle for the central bankers to clear. As a result of the co-ordinated efforts of Basel III and the Financial Stability Board under Mark Carney, the fault lines in the pre-2008 financial architecture have been largely repaired. A more difficult question is whether the current phase of rising markets, which began in 2009, will end because financial asset prices implode under their own weight. There may not be a complete collapse of the entire financial system this time, but there could still be a very unpleasant bear market for investors to endure. It is clear from the latest Fed minutes that ‘a few’ members of the FOMC are more worried about the risk of financial instability than Chair Yellen, but even they seem reluctant to tighten monetary or prudential policy unless the Fed’s dual mandate, aimed at low inflation and maximum employment, is under threat.”

    July 26 – Bloomberg (Craig Torres): “Federal Reserve officials said they would begin running off their $4.5 trillion balance sheet ‘relatively soon’ and left their benchmark policy rate unchanged as they assess progress toward their inflation goal. The start of balance-sheet normalization -- possibly as soon as September -- is another policy milestone in an economic recovery now in its ninth year. The Fed bought trillions of dollars of securities to lower long-term borrowing costs after cutting the main interest rate to zero in December 2008.”

    U.S. Bubble Watch:

    July 25 – Reuters (Lucia Mutikani): “U.S consumer confidence jumped to a near 16-year high in July amid optimism over the labor market while house prices maintained their upward trend in May, which could boost consumer spending after recent sluggishness… ‘This brightens the outlook for the economy as we enter the second half of the year,’ said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG... ‘We expect Fed officials will continue with their gradual pace of rate hikes secure in the knowledge that a confident consumer means that more spending is on the way.’”

    July 26 – Bloomberg (Patricia Laya): “The U.S. housing market is stabilizing near 10-year highs, according to government data Wednesday that showed sales of new homes were slightly less than forecast. Single-family home sales increased 0.8% m/m to 610k annualized pace (est. 615k). Median sales price fell 3.4% y/y to $310,800. Supply of homes crept up to 5.4 months from 5.3 months; 272,000 new houses were on market at end of June.”

    July 25 – Bloomberg (Patricia Laya): “Steady price gains in 20 U.S. cities in May indicate that a tight supply of properties paired with increased demand is boosting home values, according… S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller… 20-city property values index increased 5.7% y/y (est. 5.8%). National price gauge advanced 5.6% y/y. An shortage of listings is still behind the rapid appreciation of home prices, particularly in high-demand areas such as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, where values have surpassed pre-recession peaks.”

    July 27 – Wall Street Journal (Michael Wursthorn): “Wall Street brokerages are pushing customers to take out billions of dollars in loans backed by stocks and bonds, a trend that yields lucrative fees for the firms but poses risks for borrowers. Executives at Morgan Stanley earlier this month highlighted these loans to individuals as a big growth area and revenue driver, saying the loans helped expand the bank’s overall wealth lending by about $3.5 billion, or 6%, in the second quarter. On Thursday, Goldman Sachs… took a step toward growing its securities-based lending business through a new partnership with Fidelity Investments. For brokerages, these so-called securities-backed loans have become a reliable source of revenue in the years since the financial crisis as firms have begun moving away from a business model of charging commissions for trading to a system of fees based on assets under management.”

    Japan Watch:

    July 24 – Bloomberg (Andy Sharp): “Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba overtook scandal-hit Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the best person to lead Japan, an opinion poll showed… Ishiba was seen as the most appropriate choice for prime minister by 20.4% of respondents to the poll conducted by the Sankei newspaper and FNN TV network, while 19.7% picked Abe. In a similar survey in December, Ishiba’s 10.9% lagged behind the 34.5% who favored Abe.”

    July 25 – Reuters (Tetsushi Kajimoto): “The two new members of the Bank of Japan's policy board said… that the central bank should continue efforts to achieve its 2% inflation goal and it was premature to debate an exit from its massive monetary stimulus. Goushi Kataoka, a 44-year-old former economist… and an advocate of massive money printing, said he wants to see the price goal achieved quickly although he cannot say when that can be. The other new board member, Hitoshi Suzuki, a 63-year-old former deputy president of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ… said it was ‘dangerous’ to markets to debate an exit from the stimulus now.”

    EM Bubble Watch:

    July 24 – Bloomberg (Natasha Doff): “The rapid growth of a BlackRock Inc. exchange-traded fund that tracks emerging-market debt is causing jitters among investors. The iShares JP Morgan EM Local Government Bond ETF, ticker IEML, has doubled in size this year, mopping up more than $3 billion of inflows as investors reach for average yields as high as 4.72% in developing economies. The risk is that if the carry trade unwinds, as tends to happen eventually, investors could race for the exit all at once and send the fund tumbling.”

    July 24 – Wall Street Journal (Carolyn Cui): “Venezuelan bond prices tumbled to their lowest levels of the year as default fears grew following U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose sanctions on the country. State-owned oil producer Petróleos de Venezuela SA’s bonds due in November fell 2.9% late in New York trading Monday and have tumbled 7.6% over the past six sessions, now at their lowest levels since December… The government’s bonds due in 2038 were down 10% during the period after falling 4.3% on Monday.”

    Leveraged Speculation Watch:

    July 26 – Bloomberg (Katia Porzecanski): “Paulson & Co., the investment firm that shot to fame betting on the collapse of the U.S. housing market, is closing its 2-year-old long-short equity fund in an effort to shift strategies after a steep drop in assets. ‘We are re-focusing the funds on our core areas of expertise in merger arbitrage and distressed credit, where our assets have been growing,’ founder John Paulson said in a letter to investors… ‘We thank the long-short team for their efforts on behalf of the company.’”

    Geopolitical Watch:

    July 26 – Bloomberg (Stepan Kravchenko): “Russia threatened to retaliate against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they made it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations. The measures push U.S.-Russia ties into uncharted territory and ‘don’t leave room for the normalization of relations’ in the foreseeable future, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said… Hope ‘is dying’ for improved relations because the scale of ‘the anti-Russian consensus in Congress makes dialogue impossible and for a long time,’ Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said… Russia should prepare a response to the sanctions that’s ‘painful for the Americans,’ he said.”

    July 25 – CNBC (Nyshka Chandran): “The rivalry between India and China is heating up as the heavyweight economies face territorial tensions on both land and sea. A fierce border standoff in Bhutan's Doklam region — triggered by a Chinese road construction project in a disputed area and a Bhutanese request for Indian help — is now entering its second month with soldiers from both sides engaged in skirmishes. But a new confrontation in the relationship is arising as New Delhi is growing concerned about a Chinese naval presence in its own backyard: the Indian Ocean. ‘As the [Doklam] crisis stretches on, China is likely to seek ways to pressure India, both on the border and elsewhere, and this will compound the cycle of competition that is already well underway,’ Shashank Joshi, research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said…”

    July 24 – South China Morning Post (David Barboza): “China… issued its strongest warning yet to India over their month-long border ­dispute, saying Beijing would ­protect its sovereignty ‘at all costs’. Observers believe that China's stepping up of its rhetoric, which came before a high-level security meeting that involves both Chinese and Indian security officials, gives Beijing more bargaining power in the talks with New Delhi. Defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian also said that China planned to strengthen its ‘targeted deployment and exercises’ along the disputed border, and that India should ‘have no ­illusions’ about its military's capabilities or commitment.”

    July 24 – Reuters (Michael Martina and Matthew Tostevin): “China’s Foreign Ministry has urged a halt to oil drilling in a disputed part of the South China Sea, where Spanish oil company Repsol had been operating in cooperation with Vietnam. Drilling began in mid-June in Vietnam's Block 136/3… The block lies inside the U-shaped 'nine-dash line' that marks the vast area that China claims in the sea and overlaps what it says are its own oil concessions. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had indisputable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, which China calls the Nansha islands, and jurisdiction over the relevant waters and seabed.”
              Confirmado: Valentino foi comprada por grupo de investimentos árabe. Por Thiago Merkle        


    Está confirmado: a grife Valentino foi comprada pelo grupo árabe de investimentos Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C., controlado pela família real do Catar. O valor da compra é estimado em US$ 858 milhões (cerca de R$ 1,75 bilhão).
    “Valentino sempre foi uma marca com criatividade única e indiscutível prestígio”, disse um porta-voz do novo acionista. “Estamos impressionados com o trabalho dos dois diretores criativos, Maria Grazia Chiuri e Pierpaolo Piccioli, e pela equipe de gestão liderada por Stefano Sassi (CEO da Valentino). Nossa meta é fazer um plano de gestão de longo prazo e explorar todo o potencial desta marca incrível”.
    A grife afirmou, por meio de um comunicado de Stefano Sassi nesta quinta-feira (12.07), que está confiante nesta nova etapa. “No decorrer dos últimos anos, apesar das oscilações nos mercados de luxo, a empresa tem operado com grande intensidade e se manteve focada em maximizar o potencial da Valentino. Esse esforço fez com que tivéssemos um aumento de 60% nas receitas entre 2009 e 2012. Nosso novo acionista nos ajudará a alcançar nosso potencial pleno. Gostaria de aproveitar esta oportunidade para agradecer a Permira Funds e à família Marzotto (antigos acionistas) pela visão industrial e o apoio que deram com a gestão e implementação dos primeiros passos do nosso plano de longo prazo”.
    Essa não é a primeira aquisição do Mayhoola no setor de moda. O grupo comprou recentemente a licença da M Missoni, além de ser investidor do conglomerado de luxo LVMH, da loja de departamentos inglesa Harrods e da joalheria Tiffany & Co.


              Direct Action....no, not the kind that saves the trees        
    As I have stated in my first post on this blog, I am largely pro-NBN. I still have issues with some aspects, but I truly believe this FTTH NBN is the future Australia needs in broadband. And that it is the ONLY solution that can deliver that quickly, relatively affordably and reliably to the largest portion of Australians possible. There are other solutions, like FTTN or wireless that are cheaper and faster, but they don't have the overreaching aim of providing ALL Australians with access to cheap, reliable, fast broadband. They are stop gaps. They do not ensure our ability to continually innovate in a digital world and be part of it at large.

    I've been getting more and more frustrated with the ineptitude of Labor promoting the NBN. And conversely, more and more angry with the ability of the media, at large, and the Coalition to almost outright lie about the NBN and get away with it.

    As a result, I've decided to start a....Pro-NBN action group I suppose you can call it, called NBN4Oz.

    http://nbn4oz.blogspot.com.au

    At the moment, this site is a temporary setup, to gauge reaction and support for such a group. I hope, with support, to extend it to a dedicated website based around information about the NBN, discussions, promotions of services, portals and links to other relevant sites and an overall aim to "fight the FUD" coming from the mainstream media and the Coalition at large.

    I know some of you reading will probably disregard this, seeing as my aim with THIS blog was to provide unbiased and factual information on the NBN. But I cannot deny what I believe, which is that the NBN is the way forward for Australian broadband. Also, I am NOT discounting that the Coalition could come up with a better way to provide >90% of homes with FTTP....I just think it unlikely. However, one of the primary goals of NBN4Oz will hopefully be to try and engage the Coalition directly on the issue of no details around their policy. After all, how can Australians fairly decide UNLESS they have all the information from BOTH sides, unlike the current situation?

    I will continue to try and provide factual, evidence based writings here. After all, the point of the new site, will be to conglomerate pro-NBN sentiment to allow the maximum exposure of factual, evidence based support for the NBN to the public, allowing them to make the most informed choices possible in a media full of false reporting and dubious political connections.

    I simply believe that with so many dozens of individual blogs "busting the myths" and "fighting the FUD" surrounding the NBN, the point is being missed in a sea of small players, while the mainstream media is firing artillery that receives no answering fire. It needs focus and it needs goals. Otherwise, come the elections, the public at large will believe....whatever they're told to believe.

    If you disagree with this sentiment, even after reading my and other peoples blogs such as  http://nbnexplained.orghttp://nbnmyths.wordpress.com/ or various tech sites like Delimiter and ZDNet, then you are entitled to your opinion and I hope that you will continue to read widely in the hope of believing what I believe. For those of you who agree, I would ask you visit NBN4Oz and, even if nothing else, just put a tick on "Yes, I support this" in the poll to help me gauge the idea. If you would like to help, the site has details on contacting me and any comments or support in any form would be appreciated.
              Gulf Petrochem Group Selects AspectCTRM To Drive Growth        

    Gulf Petrochem Group, the UAE-based global oil and petrochemicals conglomerate, has today announced that it has selected cloud-based E/CTRM technology from Aspect to help drive future growth.

    (PRWeb December 15, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/12/prweb13925770.htm


              "criminal gene" report short on facts        
    The season finale of CSI:Miami on Monday night made reference to the presence of an extra Y chromosome in a suspect's DNA. Very little background information was provided about the double Y chromosome aberration, other than that it was stated that there was "no scientific evidence" that the presence of the extra Y chromosome made one more likely to demonstrate criminal behavior than the normal XY male.

    The LA-based web site called cbs2, presumably an arm of the giant media conglomerate, corroborated this declaration with a column expressing very much the same opinion - that there was no evidence linking the double Y chromosome with a propensity for aggression or criminal behavior, and provided no more in the way of statistical or scientific data on individuals who possessed the extra Y chromosome than did the TV show.

    However, I am certain that people want more than just a blanket declaration with no scientific evidence to back it up. Having read numerous volumes about the biology and physiology of the brain and having come across some interesting data during those readings and since, as our empirical knowledge grows ever greater on that subject I feel compelled to throw in my two cents with supporting links where I can, because, as it turns out, that blanket statement is not entirely correct, all factors considered.

    The Y chromosome contains in the neighborhood of about 78 genes, or 86 genes, depending on the source of information. I have read that the Y chromosome contains about 150 genes, so it appears that the jury is out on the exact number but the differences may be accounted for by individual variations depending on the subject, although that is theoretical on my part. I have no other explanation for the discrepancies. In any case, these genes encode for about 23 proteins.

    The X chromosome is considerably larger than the Y, but is considered to be gene- poor in scope because the largest segments of the DNA are thought to be non-coding portions. Depending on the source of information, the X chromosome contains anywhere from 900 to 2,000 or more genes. Therefore, anywhere from about four to ten percent of the genes in human DNA are found on the X chromosome. This great variance tells us that the state of the art in this type of genetic research is still somewhat primitive. On the other hand, it may also very well be that a significant degree of variation actually exists among different individuals.

    In my article on this blog titled The ENCODE project: beyond the genome project it is revealed that large portions of what were once considered "junk DNA" are actually integral for the creation of the RNA templates which code for proteins. In fact, during transcription, many portions of different genes and non-genetic material distributed throughout the chromosome are combined to create the template. The functionality of the X chromosome is considerably greater than for the Y, which is essentially a sex-determinant gene and nothing more. There is recent evidence to support the idea that the X chromosome has more important reasons for being than merely for sex determination. It is known that the presence of an extra Y chromosome in about one in one thousand males "displaces" the X chromosome, rendering it ineffective.

    Efforts to debunk a genetic link to aggression and violence abound. This makes sense from the legal point of view. Entering a "genetic predisposition to crime" defense should never be allowed because it throws the door open to the possibility of a genetic defense for any arbitrary situation. However, even the most scholarly articles have trouble convincing the reader that there is no basis for assuming that just because a male has an extra Y chromosome that he is at increased risk for running afoul of the law. The fact remains that it appears from a statistical standpoint that this is actually the case. Whereas the normal distribution of XYY males in the general population is about one in a thousand, a 1965 study of 196 dangerous criminals confined to a maximum security institution found eight XYY males. An unrelated Japanese study also found a disproportionate distribution of XYY males among its prison populations.

    MRI studies of various aneuploidies of the sex chromosomes - XXX, XXY, XYY etc. - revealed reduced brain volume in all but the XYY karyotype. However, recent PET and MRI studies of XYY males showed negligible pre-frontal cortical activity. The study did not set out to study the XYY male, but rather to study brain activity under various conditions and stimuli. It was discovered that the entire brain is temporarily active when stimulated, just prior to concentrating the neural processing in dedicated areas like the occipital lobe or Wernicke's and Broca's regions, for example. When some subjects showed no neural activity in the pre-frontal cortex a DNA smear revealed the presence of the extra Y chromosome. Further studies of XYY males confirmed the absence of any significant neural processing in this region of the brain.

    The pre-frontal cortex is the center of emotion and empathic reasoning, and, from Wikipedia: "This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, and moderating correct social behavior." It is evident from the displacement of the X chromosome in XYY males, therefore, that much of the genetic content of the X chromosome is geared toward those attributes and functions. Also, since this is a rather large representative portion of the whole brain, it is little wonder then that the XYY male commonly develops learning disabilities as a child compared to the normal population. That alone would provide the impetus for possible anti-social behavior in the child's future if accommodations are not made in his upbringing.

    Most XYY males lead normal lives, unaware that they possess an extra Y chromosome. It is therefore unwise to establish a genetic link to the predictability of a person's future behavior patterns. It is a fact that the greatest single influence determining whether a child becomes a criminal is still rooted in their upbringing and environment. Nevertheless, the claim that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that an extra Y chromosome places the individual at higher risk for offending is obviously politically motivated. It is irresponsible, because it tends to mislead the student.

              Cardioamigos        

    Conformada por un equipo multidisciplinario, de médicos, ingenieros, psicólogos, amas de casa y otros profesionales de distintas especialidades, esta loable institución privada sin fines de lucro hasta la fecha ha financiado el estudio, diagnóstico y tratamiento en el Hospital de Clínicas Caracas a más de 400 pacientes de escasos recursos económicos en su mayoría niños, con afecciones cardíacas congénitas.

    Este importante y solidario apoyo filantrópico para con los más necesitados, constituye un gran compromiso social e histórico del conglomerado médico, paramédico y administrativo del HCC. ¡Salvemos a los niños sanos con corazones enfermos!

    Ud. puede ayudar a salvarlos realizando sus donaciones o contribuciones a nombre de la FUNDACION CARDIOAMIGOS, mediante aportes económicos mensuales, trimestrales o anuales. O también facilitando material o equipos médicos quirúrgicos.

    FUNDACION CARDIOAMIGOS tiene su sede en el Hospital de Clínicas Caracas Piso 3, Consultorio 310, Urbanización San Bernardino, Av. Alameda, Edf. HCC
    Telfs. (0212) 574-06-13 / 508-69-65 / Fax 574-41-24

    http://www.cardioamigos.org
    e-mail:info@cardioamigos.org
    Recuerde que... CARDIOAMIGOS necesita de la contribución económica de las personas de buena voluntad, para poder seguir salvando la vida de niños, adolescentes y adultos que, de otra manera ¡NO TENDRÍAN POSIBILIDAD DE SOBREVIVIR!
              DramaFever Cuts Deal with CJ E&M for 350-Plus Hours of Korean TV Shows, Films        
    DramaFever, a U.S.-based video-streaming service specializing in Asian pop culture and other international fare, signed a multiyear pact with CJ E&M — South Korea’s largest entertainment conglomerate — for distribution rights to top-rated K-drama series and movies. The deal covers eight exclusive Korean TV dramas, including current hits “Oh My Ghostess” and “My Beautiful Bride” (starring... Read more »
              American Vacation        
    While we were traveling in United States it felt like we were walking through the history our kids will read about in their text books e-books. We would see and hear breaking news of Wall Street crashing with newspapers and CNN flashing pictures of people pulling out their hair while conglomerates went out of business […]
              Patch work ! assemblage and conglomeration of Culture        

    This Diwali get alluring with this fascinating design blended with zari, patch and ethnic embroidery. The black A line piece of craft is adorable giving a glimpse of culture and tradition. The Color usage is extremely beautiful and compliments each other very well and gives a unique flare to the wearer. The sleeves are crafted with magnificent Patchwork and designs. #lacework #patchwork #black #ethnicwear #crochet

    ]]>
              Consumption, production, judgment, etc.        
      This street corner installation, conglomerated out of many different objects, makes me think of taking in experiences and combining them to create something new & unexpected. One experience that will be on my mind for a while, though I can’t say yet how it will influence my production, was serving on a jury. I won’t say anything about the case except that it was all based on testimony, so our job as jurors was primarily to decide who was telling the truth. It was difficult. I’m glad I had the opportunity and I appreciated the thoughtfulness and seriousness with which my fellow jurors approached the task. What else have I been taking in? I listen to a lot of podcasts: Another Round, BackStory, Call Your Girlfriend, Code Switch, Flash Forward, Gastropod, Good Muslim Bad Muslim, Imaginary Worlds, the Oral History Podcast, Popaganda, the Racist Sandwich Podcast, The Read, Reply All, See Something Say Something, We Want the Airwaves, Whiskey Sour Feelings Hour. And while she’s no longer making new episodes, I also commend to your attention the archives of Sara Zarr’s This Creative Life. I’m really just a fan of the podcast format overall. I like them when the production values are […]
              Family Picnic at Leesylvania Park        
    When the first rain drop fell, we were set up at a group of picnic tables adjacent to an empty pavilion. An empty pavilion with a reserved sign out front. When the second rain drop fell, the park ranger came by and said, "Yeah, that pavilion is reserved but we haven't heard from them." When the third rain drop fell, Uncle Pookie looked into the sky and saw the fourth rain drop on it's way to earth. Uncle Pookie thought.

    The children of Edna's Sister have traveled and planned to gather and spend time with the children of Edna in the presence of Edna Shervington King. The nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, all children of one blood; chose this day to gather together, in this place, at this time, to share in the rejuvenating spirit of family. From New York, through Maryland and Virginia, down to North Carolina; the paths were directed by the hearts seeking the smiling faces, loving embraces, and encouraging words that would propel those gathering into the upcoming seasons. When the fourth rain drop landed on earth, Uncle Pookie knew.

    The beginning of hurricane season traditionally starts later in August, more early September. The last good weekend of August, before Labor Day, is statistically the driest, the least traveled, and the announcement of cooler weather. August 22, 2009, started off showing promise. The morning sun welcomed a large crowd to the park. Boaters, bathers, fishermen and boyscouts all enjoyed the morning/afternoon sun. Groups of all sizes celebrated birthday's, anniversary's, and simple get-together's throughout the park. Even the mosquitoes gathered in abudance with other flying insects to join in the celebration and partake in evergrowing supply of food. But the rain began to fall.

    Somewhere between the fifth rain drop that fell and the hundred and fifth, all that was outside exposed to the elements taunting disaster had been resituated under the reserved pavillion. The unoccupied pavilion welcomed all that needed protection and warned of the upcoming possiblities. Weather growing by the minute, family members arriving by ones and twos, the Reserved Sign prominently displaying the dignified status of the commandeered pavilion and the options available should the entitled arrive. The pavilion spoke to necessity and allowed the creative spirit to provide a decision in strength. Still the rain continued and storm grew strong.

    To speak with the authority in decision, only the family is in mind. The creative spirit passed down through these gathering generations promotes the inexplicable confidence. The strength to withstand, forgive, forge ahead, and achieve, resonates within the lineage, reflects off the spirit and soul of the present, past, and future, and is uniquely displayed in the grace and elegance held by those of regal nature. This strength, so visibly recognizable, proceeded the family along the gravel road traveled to the pavilion; where love gathers in unison fear will not reside.



    Through the wind and the rain, the children of Edna's Sister and the children of Edna arrived. Edna Shervington King sat welcoming them all with a loving heart. Her Grandma's Hands touched the face of her sister's children as her mind reminisced over the years; her sister's children now grown with children of their own, her sister's children now with grandchildren of their own, her child now grown with children and grandchildren of her own; all together in one place. Here, Edna King, sits by her sister's memory, embodied in the lives of her children, surrounding her with the love only a sister could give or understand.


    In the middle of Leesylvania Park, under a hijacked pavillion, in the middle of a storm; a family gathered. A family of hearts rejoiced. A family of smiles warmed a family huddled together, some cold and wet, in the middle of a storm. A family of minds expressed congratulations on new beginnings and journey's completed, encourged visions and dreams, and shared the wisdom of paths traveled. A family tongue spoke love and blew the breath of life back into the family once more. The hurricane subsided.














    Don't ge me wrong, some say, we ain't all right; but it's perception. We're a goofy bunch; a conglomerate of independent spirits, equipped with strong wills and even stronger tongues; highly intelligent human beings with unlimited resources and enigmatic means. Don't underestimate the potential; respect the position, and you might get out alive.
    July 31, 2010 will be the next gathering. We will be well prepared and updated throughout the year. Subscribe to the blog and attach your email address in the comments section. Next year's theme will be "White House Bound!!!"
    Your Favorite, Uncle Pookie...

              Welder by Hand B pressure - DLI Industrial Construction Inc - Fort McMurray, AB        
    Company Profile: DCM Inc. is a construction management company managing the execution of a conglomerate of affiliated construction contractors. We are
    From DCM Inc. - Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:21:24 GMT - View all Fort McMurray, AB jobs
              Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie        
    Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim, 2012)    [6]

    I'm not all that familiar with Tim & Eric's TV work, though I have watched it a few times when I happen to flip channels and get to Adult Swim.  What has always intrigued me about the duo is that they constantly are challenging what exactly comedy entails and their work is about how idiotically amateurish it is.  It is something that I think you will either get or not, with those in the latter leaving the theatre in droves, something that the duo delighted in you are to believe web rumors.

    In that regard, the film succeeds.  If you don't get it, it's stupid, nonsensical, and gross.  I happen to think it has its intriguing moments but like their TV work, becomes irritating at times.  I don't think you can dismiss this completely though.  The film acts something in the way of anti-cinema, using standard genre, characters, and other tropes of narrative cinema to show how complacent and idiotic the film-going public can be in what they want out of cinema.  In this way, what Tim & Eric have created here brings me back to the works of Warhol and in terms how much they challenge audience expectations of what cinema can be.  Tim & Eric have the good fortune to have enough high-profile friends to work within the system somewhat.

    The story here isn't that important.  Tim & Eric, given a billion dollars by a corporate conglomerate, blow it with only three minutes of footage and millions in ridiculous expenses.  Trying to recoup their billion, they come across an ad that just so happens to offer them the same exact amount if they can successfully run a decrepit shopping mall.  The two venture out to find the mall to encounter a wolf in the pizza court, a choleric man child raised by the wolves (a very funny John C. Reilly), a used toilet paper warehouse run by the most dignified character in the film, and mysterious new-age health company.  I don't find this engaging in terms of plot so much as what is happening in between.  The mall acts as a vehicle to allow these two to throw everything out the door.  Sex, family, consumerism, it all gets pilloried in the film.  Beneath its idiocy, it does have something to say about what audiences expect out of narrative cinema and gives those entitled opinions a brown bath.  Yet even for me, the film still veers into territory that can be excessive, especially the Dobis and shrim songs.  Still, credit has to be given to Heidecker and Wareheim for stretching this out to ninety minutes and still making it watchable though next time, more Chef Goldblum.
              NJ Consumer Affairs Chief Going In-House at Comcast        
    Steve Lee, the director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, is resigning to take a job with Comcast, the nation's largest telecommunications conglomerate.
          

              penalizacion para Tati        
    LA PENALIZACIÓN DE LOS DELITOS FINANCIEROS Y BURSÁTILES
    Clausura del seminario "LA PENALIZACIÓN DE LOS DELITOS FINANCIEROS Y BURSÁTILES"
    Néstor Humberto Martínez
    Gerente Martínez Neira Abogados Consultores Ltda
    Seguramente nada de lo que a estas alturas del día pueda aportar va a resultar novedoso, pero de alguna manera recoge un testimonio de quien ha hecho vida pública, ha contribuido en la formulación de la política criminal del país, y al mismo tiempo, desde el sector académico y de la práctica profesional, encuentra la necesidad de que se construya entre nosotros un adecuado orden penal económico.
    Me declaro profundamente frustrado por la forma en que entre nosotros hemos abordado el tema de la criminalidad económica, porque este es un tema realmente importante, la sustracción de unos pesos por un ladrón, constituye un delito muy grave, pero la percepción en el ideario colectivo de una sociedad, es que la estafa de varios millones de pesos por una organización económica, en ocasiones constituye un acto audaz.
    ¿Se justifica un orden penal económico?. La lujuria económica tiende a desbordar los mínimos que dicta la ética, las conveniencias sociales, las conveniencias económicas, y porque no, las mismas conveniencias políticas. Por ello creo que se justifica en grado sumo la existencia de un orden penal económico.
    ¿Qué sería lo ideal en un sistema cultural muy maduro, en donde haya ponderación desde el punto de vista del ejercicio del lucro?. Que existan normas adecuadas, que establezcan claramente las fronteras en las cuales el hombre de negocios puede actuar, pero que al mismo tiempo exista un sistema estatal preventivo y eficaz, para evitar que se conculquen derechos colectivos, para evitar que se lleguen a perfeccionar conductas criminales que deterioran la confianza del público en sus propias instituciones, incluidas las económicas.
    Sin embargo, si ese es el escenario de lo ideal, unas normas claras, adecuadas, con buenas fronteras y un sistema de actuación del Estado que sea muy eficaz en lo preventivo, tenemos que decir que lamentablemente no tenemos el mejor sistema legal para evitar que se conculquen derechos de la sociedad, en primer lugar, por la mutación permanente de las reglas de comportamiento, que conducen a lo que en la teoría de la sociología jurídica se denomina la anomia jurídica; el propio empresario en Colombia no sabe cómo debe comportarse, en tanto, en cuanto, las reglas de desempeño cambian regular y permanentemente.
    Un estudio que hicimos en 1995, sobre demografía de las normas en Colombia, muestra que mientras a comienzos del siglo pasado, las normas se duplicaban cada 80 años, a mediados del mismo siglo se duplicaban cada 40 años, y para 1995 las normas se duplican cada 8 años.
    Eso hace que los referentes normativos del empresario, finalmente no le determinen un modus en su comportamiento por falta de conocimiento del ambiente legal. Es tan complejo el ambiente legal entre nosotros, que creo que la proliferación de normas, más que la exención de impuestos, es el estímulo, es el beneficio del Estado al desarrollo de la industria editorial en Colombia.
    Por esa misma circunstancia, y en la medida en que se conculcan derechos colectivos por el quehacer económico, sería necesario ahondar en un sistema estatal mucho más eficaz en la prevención de las conductas contravencionales y punibles a través de la supervisión del Estado, porque finalmente el derecho criminal no ofrece un carácter reparador en estas materias, su carácter reparador es absolutamente precario. Si uno mira en la historia, varios lustros atrás, las pocas condenas que se han producido en estos ambientes contenciosos frente al Estado por conductas punibles, de los fondos, los auto préstamos del Banco de Colombia del año 82, los del Banco Nacional, el Grupo Santa Fe, el Grupo de la Roche, no han logrado la reparación del daño colectivo a la sociedad.
    De tal suerte que lo ideal sería un sistema mucho más eficaz en lo preventivo, pero en la medida en que no exista, necesitamos un orden penal y económico eficiente. En tal sentido, se exige un imperativo social que determine un mínimo de conducta empresarial, un mínimo de conducta en la ética de los negocios, y es al mismo tiempo un imperativo económico, para poder desarrollar el mercado financiero y el mercado de capitales.
    Todos los que estamos aquí presentes sabemos que las posibilidades del desarrollo se alejan para una nación como Colombia, cuando no tiene la capacidad de formar ahorro a través de la profundización de sus mercados financiero y de capitales, y cuando la sociedad desconfía del comportamiento de los agentes económicos, cuando la sociedad desconfía de lo que ocurre en ese mercado, de la actitud del Estado. Finalmente hace uno una actitud aprehensiva para tomar posiciones en el mercado de capitales o financiero.
    Las malas prácticas ahuyentan el ahorro, y desde los años 60 hasta nuestros días, lamentablemente tenemos que decir que hemos venido evidenciando comportamientos empresariales que han lesionado, que han deteriorado la confianza pública en nuestros mercados, al punto que eventualmente la depresión del mercado de títulos de renta variable pueda tener origen en alguna medida en esa aprehensión colectiva frente a las inversiones en estos papeles, por el futuro de las mismas, derivado de muchas circunstancias. Podríamos hacer el inventario, cómo nos apropiamos de las empresas a través del sistema de los poderes de ventanilla, cómo por la vía de las reservas acumuladas de las sociedades que cotizaban en Bolsa, accedimos a la propiedad de esas empresas, para pagarla no con recursos propios, sino con la reservas acumuladas de esas compañías que se compraron en los años 70, el desplume, que caracterizó e identificó en sus libros, en sus memorias el doctor Hernán Echavarría Olózaga en los años 80, el deshuese de instituciones que cotizan en los mercados públicos, en donde participaciones muy importantes de las sociedades se escinden en beneficio de los accionistas y queda el hueso en detrimento de los acreedores.
    Las relaciones de intercambio en las cuales el Estado optó en los procesos de fusión y de integración empresarial, en un momento en que el conglomerado, la modernización económica conducía a fortalecer mucho más los procesos de integración, el Estado asumió la posición de Pilatos, para no comprometerse en las relaciones de intercambio. Lo que ocurrió en el año 93 con el sector financiero es inenarrable en la historia del derecho bancario latinoamericano, cuando el Estado tenía que comprometerse sobre la justeza, sobre la realidad de las relaciones de intercambio, se optó en la Ley 35 de 1993, frente a procesos de fusión inminentes, por delegar, por privatizar esta responsabilidad de Estado en cabeza de firmas de valoración económica, impidiendo de esta manera un compromiso directo del Estado en este tipo de comportamientos.
    Sí, se requiere de un sistema penal, que proteja los bienes jurídicos que pueden comprometer el ahorro o la confianza en el desarrollo de los mercados y la propia estabilidad de los mismos. Pero la eficacia, como en todo derecho criminal, depende de dos elementos fundamentales: de una parte, la capacidad punitiva del Estado, la capacidad de persecución del Estado para imponer sanciones condignas, y de otra, en la proporcionalidad de la pena. De lo contrario, ese derecho sancionatorio en el orden de lo criminal, no va a tener ningún poder disuasivo y es allí donde justamente ha hecho crisis el derecho penal entre nosotros, los ejercicios de mera calistenia de aumentar las penas, verbigracia la ley del secuestro, donde aumentamos las penas al máximo posible, no produjeron ningún resultado, sencillamente por la circunstancia de que el Estado carece de capacidad operativa real para imponer estas sanciones.
    Esos dos elementos que son los que determinan el carácter disuasivo de la norma penal y que justifican su propia existencia, son los que en mi entender, con absoluto respeto, muestran los grandes defectos de la legislación penal en materia económica; en primer lugar, porque hay una limitada capacidad de persecución y sanción del delito penal económico entre nosotros. De un lado, porque el poder acusatorio, ahora residente en la Fiscalía General de la Nación, se tropieza con una limitada capacidad técnica, si bien se percibe el mejor de los ambientes, uno reconoce las angustias de los fiscales en la investigación del delito económico, para acompañarse de algo que en alguna reforma del Código Penal se llamaban los asesores, o expertos, para poder conducir sus propias investigaciones. Reconoce uno las angustias de los fiscales pidiendo peritos que no se encuentran en el cuerpo técnico, en el CTI de la Fiscalía General de la Nación. Hay una limitada capacidad técnica para investigar, para acusar estos delitos.
    Frente a esa limitación de la capacidad del ente acusador, en algunos sistemas jurídicos se ha propuesto entonces, no suplir, complementar, la capacidad investigativa y de conducción de los procesos de investigación, a través de la acción de las autoridades administrativas, para nuestro caso, a través de la acción de las Superintendencias que ejercen control y vigilancia, a quienes en ocasiones se les otorga funciones de policía judicial, para que todo el recaudo probatorio que hagan esas entidades tengan un valor en los procesos criminales correspondientes.
    El paradigma de cómo se puede complementar el poder de investigación en materia de delito económico, es el del Cantón de Zurich, desde 1996, en donde se ha echado mano de una autoridad administrativa muy idónea, con los mejores contadores, banqueros de inversión, etc, para perseguir lo que llamó Sutherland, el delito de cuello blanco.
    Entre nosotros, ¿cuál es esa autoridad administrativa corrientemente?. ¿A quién invoca en auxilio el fiscal que está investigando una conducta criminal?. A la Superintendencia de turno, pero allí se choca con una realidad que el propio fiscal no entiende, y es que como todos lo sabemos, estos delitos tienen varios efectos y uno de ellos es su carácter sistémico, el delito económico, un auto préstamo de un banco, un uso indebido del ahorro del público, tipificado como delito desde el estatuto Orgánico del Sistema Financiero y ahora en el Código Penal, tiene un problema de crisis de confianza en el mercado, lo que conduce inmediatamente a que el supervisor actúe de una manera demasiado prudente, no necesariamente contribuyendo en la búsqueda de la verdad, sino preservando el valor superior al cual él debe servir, que es la confianza pública en el sistema.
    El supervisor, en consecuencia, no es el mejor aliado de la investigación penal, porque su responsabilidad por ejemplo, para el caso del superintendente Bancario, es que no haya una corrida de depósitos al sector financiero y entiende que la configuración de tipos penales, porque la historia así nos lo ha señalado, genera corridas de depósitos en el sistema.
    Entonces sería necesario considerar la existencia, si queremos fortalecer la capacidad de persecución del delito económico entre nosotros, sería indispensable fortalecer estructuras administrativas o al interior de los organismos de acusación, que pudieran llevar a lograr efectividad en estas investigaciones.
    Por otro lado, el carácter abstracto del perjudicado, el ahorrador, los accionistas, los inversionistas, hace muy difícil la presencia de la parte civil promoviendo este tipo de investigaciones. Felizmente, el Código de Procedimiento Penal ha abierto la posibilidad de la acción civil de grupo en las investigaciones criminales y apenas empiezan a abrirse paso también en los procesos que se llevan en la Fiscalía.
    Por otro lado, el segundo elemento, el poder retributivo de la pena, la sanción condigna, en muchos casos no aparece, nos quedamos con una penas, Klidgart (¿) dice que frente a los casos de criminalidad de cuello blanco, las penas deben ser realmente ejemplares, sin embargo, nos hemos quedado con un nivel de penas, entre los dos y los seis años, por lo general para el delito económico, que distan mucho de las sanciones de delitos mucho más corrientes y que no pueden tener el significado y el impacto de estos comportamientos empresariales. Mientras el peculado da una pena de 15 años a lo sumo, un auto préstamo, o la toma de control accediendo al ahorro del público, puede dar hasta 6 años de penas. En el cohecho pasa un poco lo mismo, el soborno da una pena de 10 años, pero tomarse una institución financiera con el ahorro del público a lo sumo da 6 años de prisión.
    En segundo lugar, en este tipo de delitos, por la dosimetría penal que utilizó el nuevo Código Penal, no hay detención preventiva, consecuencialmente no es obligatorio definir la situación jurídica de los implicados, es decir, un llamamiento a la prescripción de la investigación penal, y el sentido de la oportunidad es muy limitado, las condenas por lo general, las condenas frente a los delitos financieros que hemos vivido en los últimos cinco o seis lustros, terminan siendo testimonios históricos que traen a la mente viejos episodios de la historia económica del país.
    Mucho más preocupante que la pena, la sanción pierde su poder disuasivo e la medida en que pierda su carácter público. En el proyecto de ley que el gobierno ha radicado sobre reforma al sector financiero, que no es una reforma estructural, se acusa claramente el interés actual del Estado, de que las sanciones en el sector bancario, cuando puedan ofrecer riesgo sistémico, tengan el carácter de sanciones totalmente reservadas, lo plantea así el proyecto de reforma, con lo cual, el poder disuasivo de la pena, propio del derecho penal, del derecho sancionatorio, se pierde inequívocamente.
    Yo les decía que me declaro ampliamente frustrado por la capacidad disuasiva del derecho penal económico, porque si bien es cierto que desde el punto de vista académico, a nosotros nos pueden mencionar la existencia de unos tipos penales, la verdad es que en la práctica no existen o poco existen. Es un poco lo que le pasa al niño cuando le invocan al fantasma, o al coco, si no asume determinado comportamiento al interior de la familia, que finalmente no lo asume y el coco nunca aparece, se pierde el poder persuasivo de la admonición.
    Creo haber cometido la osadía o la responsabilidad de haber incurrido en un tipo penal la mayor cantidad de verbos rectores de un comportamiento criminal en el lavado de activos...el que adquiera, resguarde, invierta, transporte, transforme, custodie, administre bienes....no hay un tipo penal que tenga más verbos rectores para tratar de que todos los comportamientos del lavado de activos puedan capturarse a través de la tipicidad del artículo 323, que la primera vez que se consagró en Colombia fue con la Ley 190 del 95.
    Ustedes saben que los resultados son lamentables. Hay más, si mi memoria no me falla, por los informes que ha hecho la unidad de lavado de activos del Ministerio de Hacienda, hay más de 20 mil informes en la Fiscalía General de la Nación. Yo no conozco ninguna condena hasta la fecha, estamos hablando de un tipo penal de hace 7 años, de tal manera que, qué poder disuasivo puede tener la ley penal.
    Para colmo de males, creo que las reformas que le aportó el nuevo Código penal a la materia, no son las más favorables. Empiezo por decirles que en el capítulo de los delitos contra el sistema financiero, se incluyeron unos elementos en los tipos penales del decreto 2920 del 82, cuya aplicación va a ser realmente muy difícil y las reformas que se introdujeron en la ley. Por ejemplo, en materia de la utilización indebida de fondos captados del público, se había planteado desde el decreto 2920 del 82, que el delito consistía, protegiendo el bien jurídico de la intangibilidad del ahorro en las tomas de control que no se accediera al mercado financiero, porque se refería en el decreto 2920 del 82 a las instituciones vigiladas por la Superintendencia Bancaria, a tomar recursos del público en las captaciones para abocarse a tomas de control.
    Este era el resultado de lo que las notas editoriales de agosto del 82 estaban reflejando sobre lo que estaba ocurriendo en el país, aquí podemos hablar con nombres propios porque la historia la conocemos todos, por aquel entonces las instituciones financieras venían asumiendo pasivos para con el público de una manera exhorbitante, justamente para tomar posiciones de control dentro del propio sector financiero y con relación a las empresas del sector real, y se consideró dañino para la sociedad, porque por esa vía se concentraban demasiado los riesgos, que se accediera al ahorro del público para tomar control.
    Esa norma, aunque no recuerdo un caso en que se haya aplicado hasta la fecha, tenía unos limitantes conceptuales evidentes. Era el acceso al ahorro del público vía la captación de los intermediarios financieros. Con la incorporación que hace el artículo 314, a las entidades vigiladas por la Superintendencia de Valores y de Economía Solidaria, extiende el concepto del ahorro a ese universo conceptual que fue el que determinó tantas frustraciones en la aplicación del ordinal 14 del artículo 120 de la Constitución de 1968, donde todo era ahorro y el viejo salvamento de Manuel Gaona sobre el particular qué es ahorro, para determinar cuál era el ámbito de aplicación. Muchas de las empresas que vigila la Superintendencia de Valores y la de Economía Solidaria, por ejemplo las cooperativas multiactivas, las cooperativas de primer grado de distribución o comercialización agrícola, no acceden a los mercados públicos captando recursos del ahorro y eso va a dar lugar lamentablemente a unos desarrollos equívocos desde el punto de vista doctrinario, en la medida en que el legislador trató de abarcar de tal manera el espacio de tipo penal en la utilización indebida de fondos captados del público, que puede generar nuevas y mayores frustraciones.
    Pasa lo mismo con el delito de utilización indebida de información privilegiada. En esa materia la legislación era supremamente clara, decía el Estatuto Anticorrupción del año 95, que consagró un tipo penal autónomo en el artículo 148 del antiguo Código Penal, que el funcionario público, o el servidor privado que obtuviese provecho para sí o para un tercero, a partir de información privilegiada, incurriría en unas determinadas sanciones. El nuevo Código acabó con el delito de la información privilegiada en su concepción prístina, por el prurito de hablar del delito de información privilegiada como un delito contra la administración pública y el delito de información privilegiada en materia privada.
    Les voy a demostrar, en el caso de los funcionarios públicos, que el nuevo Código penal tiene una noticia de advenimiento, los funcionarios públicos sí pueden abusar de la información privilegiada. A pesar de que la ley 190 del 95 decía claramente que el servidor público incurría en esta conducta criminal, el artículo 431 de los delitos contra la administración pública, establece que el que habiéndose desempeñado como servidor público durante el año inmediatamente anterior, utilice en provecho propio o de un tercero, información obtenida en calidad de tal, es decir, el particular que utiliza información que conoció como servidor público un año atrás, puede incurrir en el delito, pero nunca el servidor público en ejercicio de sus funciones. Esto es una atrocidad!
    Esto es memoria histórica que pueden ustedes confrontar en la Gaceta del Congreso. Cuando en el debate del Congreso tratábamos de implantar esta norma, era fundamentalmente para los servidores públicos y no para los particulares. Allí, el senador Roberto Gerlein dijo que por qué teníamos que seguir insistiendo en que los corruptos eran los servidores públicos, que también en el sector privado había corruptos, entonces extendió el tipo del servidor público a funcionario particular. Pero el ejemplo que dábamos es del servidor público que en una junta directiva accede a una información, o el representante legal, de un nuevo yacimiento petrolero, de la necesidad, y lo dije con nombres propios, de la Empresa de Acueducto de Bogotá de acceder al agua por la vía del Sumapaz y los funcionarios de la empresa empiezan a comprar las tierras para generar una plusvalía en su propio beneficio, a partir del conocimiento de información privilegiada.
    Pero el sujeto calificado por antonomasia de este tipo penal, era el servidor público, hoy, por concesión graciosa del nuevo Código Penal, el único que no comete este delito en Colombia es el servidor público, más sí el funcionario privado, ¡no puede ser!
    Esto igualmente, dada la especialidad y el carácter calificado del sujeto activo, si el servidor público en un sistema donde el 50% de los activos financieros, hoy, puede estar en manos de la administración de servidores públicos, de entrada nos quiere decir que el abuso de información privilegiada por parte de esos actores del mercado, no tiene una connotación penal en la tipificación al menos del artículo 431 del Código. Una gran frustración. Cercenó pues la posibilidad de aplicar a los servidores públicos y para los privados, parte de la base el artículo 258, en una limitada tipificación dice el artículo correspondiente, que se incurre en este delito el que como empleado, directivo o miembro de una junta u órgano de administración de cualquier entidad privada, con el fin de obtener provecho para sí o para un tercero, haga uso indebido de información que haya conocido por razón o con ocasión de su cargo y que no sea objeto de conocimiento público. No toda información debe ser objeto de conocimiento público, de tal manera que lo que termina siendo la conducta anti jurídica es que se haya violentado el orden legal porque cierta información debe ser de conocimiento público, como aquella que se refiere a los hechos subsecuentes en el mercado público de valores, o las que determina de vieja data la famosa circular 7 de la Superintendencia de Valores, en fin, en que hay la obligación de hacer el reporte y el servidor particular, el ciudadano, no lo efectúa, de otra manera no está haciendo una utilización indebida de esa información, porque no está llamado a ponerla en conocimiento del público en general, lo que hace a mi modo de ver que este sea un tipo penal en blanco que tiene que complementarse con todo el régimen de disclosure, que se ha venido desarrollando en la legislación colombiana, particularmente a partir del quehacer de la Superintendencia de Valores.
    Uno de los tipos penales que creo que debe haber suscitado mayor interés entre ustedes, es el del artículo 317, sobre manipulación fraudulenta de especies inscritas en el Registro Nacional de Valores. Yo entiendo la finalidad de la disposición penal, pero anticipo mi frustración para expresar que muy difícilmente esta norma va a poder ser aplicable entre nosotros, porque empieza por tipificar la conducta penal manifestando que el que realice transacciones con la intención de producir una apariencia de mayor liquidez respecto de determinada acción, valor o instrumento inscrito en el registro Nacional de Valores.
    Mucho me temo que toda negociación en el mercado público de valores afecta la liquidez del instrumento, porque la liquidez no es cosa distinta que la expresión de la rotación de los valores en el mercado público correspondiente y una extensión de esa magnitud haría absolutamente inaplicable el tipo penal respectivo.
    Además, se dice allí que también es punible la conducta del que realice transacciones, efectuando maniobras fraudulentas con la intención de alterar la cotización de los valores. Si estamos hablando de mercado público, y el precio en mercado público es que se asigna como resultado de una oferta pública en el mercado, ¿hasta qué punto puede llegar a decirse que ese no es el precio del activo que se ha negociado, en la medida en que ha habido una oferta pública?.
    Ahora, si hay conductas engañosas previas a la oferta, yo creo que las mismas pueden estar involucradas en otro tipo de comportamientos y es allí donde seguramente la frustración puede ser mucho más alta, porque el fiscal o el juez penal, al momento de calificar estas conductas, pueda optar por sancionar más bien las conductas previas, engañosas y que puedan inscribirse en otro tipo de comportamientos penales.
    Creo que por ejemplo, efectuar maniobras fraudulentas con la intención de alterar la cotización en el mercado, nos puede llevar a la calificación de cuándo una calificación es o no representativa, es decir, pone en la misma complejidad de discusión que hay con relación a las sanciones por operaciones representativas o no del mercado, que le compete al señor Superintendente, pone en la misma discusión al fiscal en cuanto que está llamado a determinar si las mismas son o no representativas.
    En el caso de operaciones representativas o no del mercado, entiendo yo que la tipicidad de las mismas imponen que ex ante se haya definido, como se hace en muchas legislaciones, cuáles son aquellas que su configuración, su forma de expresarse, de desarrollarse, realmente no terminan siendo el resultado del libre juego de la oferta y de la demanda, lo cual las termina haciendo punibles.
    Este delito en cuanto al que realice transacciones, puede ser referido a una persona jurídica y en ese sentido, el Código Penal trae una innovación que a mi modo de ver es muy interesante. En el artículo 29 establece para la responsabilidad penal de las personas jurídicas, que si no se puede tipificar la conducta en cabeza de la persona jurídica porque esta no es sujeto pasivo de la sanción penal, el que realizó la transacción fue una persona jurídica, la persona jurídica no puede responder penalmente, el responsable sea, dice el artículo 29 del Código Penal, la persona natural cuya representación voluntaria detente o el miembro u órgano de representación autorizado de la respectiva persona jurídica, lo cual, y en los primeros escritos que empiezan a desarrollarse entre nosotros, tiene un incipiente traslado de la responsabilidad, que podría llegar a afectar al individuo pro reo, como ocurre en el caso del delito relativo al enriquecimiento ilícito.
    En el delito del enriquecimiento ilícito, se parte de la responsabilidad penal sobre la base de que el Estado confronta los ingresos del sujeto, los ingresos declarados, con su patrimonio y le formula cargos por enriquecimiento ilícito, en la medida en que no hay una ecuación entre sus ingresos legítimos y su patrimonio, pero no le demuestra el Estado que el origen de ese incremento patrimonial proviene de recursos ilegítimos, de dineros sucios, lo que en la práctica le traslada la carga de la prueba al sindicado, no para que él demuestre que hay una presunción en su contra, para que demuestre que el incremento patrimonial obedece a dineros de buena procedencia.
    Aquí puede ocurrir otro tanto, porque en el caso de la responsabilidad de la persona jurídica, responde el gerente, a menos que demuestre que no tuvo participación en los hechos respectivos. Empieza a desarrollarse en la academia en esta materia y va a ser muy importante en lo que se desarrolle de aquí en adelante, en el proyecto de ley que la Superintendencia de Valores ha preparado.
    Ya sobre el delito contable hay desarrollos todavía mucho más trascendentes, que tendrán que fortalecerse en la práctica con la opinión de la doctrina y por supuesto de la propia jurisprudencia.
    Todo esto para concluir sencillamente que estamos haciendo unos esfuerzos deshilvanados, para tipificar ciertas conductas punibles que afectan el orden económico de la Nación y que deberíamos comprometernos en un esfuerzo que permita a todos contar con un sistema penal realmente persuasivo, que contribuya a consolidar el concepto de la ética en el ejercicio de la actividad privada.
    Mientras sigamos haciendo escaramuzas de reformas con los resultados que a todas luces se presentan con el uso abusivo de la información privilegiada para el caso de los servidores públicos, un flaco servicio le estamos prestando al desarrollo de la Nación.
              penalizacion para Tati        
    LA PENALIZACIÓN DE LOS DELITOS FINANCIEROS Y BURSÁTILES
    Clausura del seminario "LA PENALIZACIÓN DE LOS DELITOS FINANCIEROS Y BURSÁTILES"
    Néstor Humberto Martínez
    Gerente Martínez Neira Abogados Consultores Ltda
    Seguramente nada de lo que a estas alturas del día pueda aportar va a resultar novedoso, pero de alguna manera recoge un testimonio de quien ha hecho vida pública, ha contribuido en la formulación de la política criminal del país, y al mismo tiempo, desde el sector académico y de la práctica profesional, encuentra la necesidad de que se construya entre nosotros un adecuado orden penal económico.
    Me declaro profundamente frustrado por la forma en que entre nosotros hemos abordado el tema de la criminalidad económica, porque este es un tema realmente importante, la sustracción de unos pesos por un ladrón, constituye un delito muy grave, pero la percepción en el ideario colectivo de una sociedad, es que la estafa de varios millones de pesos por una organización económica, en ocasiones constituye un acto audaz.
    ¿Se justifica un orden penal económico?. La lujuria económica tiende a desbordar los mínimos que dicta la ética, las conveniencias sociales, las conveniencias económicas, y porque no, las mismas conveniencias políticas. Por ello creo que se justifica en grado sumo la existencia de un orden penal económico.
    ¿Qué sería lo ideal en un sistema cultural muy maduro, en donde haya ponderación desde el punto de vista del ejercicio del lucro?. Que existan normas adecuadas, que establezcan claramente las fronteras en las cuales el hombre de negocios puede actuar, pero que al mismo tiempo exista un sistema estatal preventivo y eficaz, para evitar que se conculquen derechos colectivos, para evitar que se lleguen a perfeccionar conductas criminales que deterioran la confianza del público en sus propias instituciones, incluidas las económicas.
    Sin embargo, si ese es el escenario de lo ideal, unas normas claras, adecuadas, con buenas fronteras y un sistema de actuación del Estado que sea muy eficaz en lo preventivo, tenemos que decir que lamentablemente no tenemos el mejor sistema legal para evitar que se conculquen derechos de la sociedad, en primer lugar, por la mutación permanente de las reglas de comportamiento, que conducen a lo que en la teoría de la sociología jurídica se denomina la anomia jurídica; el propio empresario en Colombia no sabe cómo debe comportarse, en tanto, en cuanto, las reglas de desempeño cambian regular y permanentemente.
    Un estudio que hicimos en 1995, sobre demografía de las normas en Colombia, muestra que mientras a comienzos del siglo pasado, las normas se duplicaban cada 80 años, a mediados del mismo siglo se duplicaban cada 40 años, y para 1995 las normas se duplican cada 8 años.
    Eso hace que los referentes normativos del empresario, finalmente no le determinen un modus en su comportamiento por falta de conocimiento del ambiente legal. Es tan complejo el ambiente legal entre nosotros, que creo que la proliferación de normas, más que la exención de impuestos, es el estímulo, es el beneficio del Estado al desarrollo de la industria editorial en Colombia.
    Por esa misma circunstancia, y en la medida en que se conculcan derechos colectivos por el quehacer económico, sería necesario ahondar en un sistema estatal mucho más eficaz en la prevención de las conductas contravencionales y punibles a través de la supervisión del Estado, porque finalmente el derecho criminal no ofrece un carácter reparador en estas materias, su carácter reparador es absolutamente precario. Si uno mira en la historia, varios lustros atrás, las pocas condenas que se han producido en estos ambientes contenciosos frente al Estado por conductas punibles, de los fondos, los auto préstamos del Banco de Colombia del año 82, los del Banco Nacional, el Grupo Santa Fe, el Grupo de la Roche, no han logrado la reparación del daño colectivo a la sociedad.
    De tal suerte que lo ideal sería un sistema mucho más eficaz en lo preventivo, pero en la medida en que no exista, necesitamos un orden penal y económico eficiente. En tal sentido, se exige un imperativo social que determine un mínimo de conducta empresarial, un mínimo de conducta en la ética de los negocios, y es al mismo tiempo un imperativo económico, para poder desarrollar el mercado financiero y el mercado de capitales.
    Todos los que estamos aquí presentes sabemos que las posibilidades del desarrollo se alejan para una nación como Colombia, cuando no tiene la capacidad de formar ahorro a través de la profundización de sus mercados financiero y de capitales, y cuando la sociedad desconfía del comportamiento de los agentes económicos, cuando la sociedad desconfía de lo que ocurre en ese mercado, de la actitud del Estado. Finalmente hace uno una actitud aprehensiva para tomar posiciones en el mercado de capitales o financiero.
    Las malas prácticas ahuyentan el ahorro, y desde los años 60 hasta nuestros días, lamentablemente tenemos que decir que hemos venido evidenciando comportamientos empresariales que han lesionado, que han deteriorado la confianza pública en nuestros mercados, al punto que eventualmente la depresión del mercado de títulos de renta variable pueda tener origen en alguna medida en esa aprehensión colectiva frente a las inversiones en estos papeles, por el futuro de las mismas, derivado de muchas circunstancias. Podríamos hacer el inventario, cómo nos apropiamos de las empresas a través del sistema de los poderes de ventanilla, cómo por la vía de las reservas acumuladas de las sociedades que cotizaban en Bolsa, accedimos a la propiedad de esas empresas, para pagarla no con recursos propios, sino con la reservas acumuladas de esas compañías que se compraron en los años 70, el desplume, que caracterizó e identificó en sus libros, en sus memorias el doctor Hernán Echavarría Olózaga en los años 80, el deshuese de instituciones que cotizan en los mercados públicos, en donde participaciones muy importantes de las sociedades se escinden en beneficio de los accionistas y queda el hueso en detrimento de los acreedores.
    Las relaciones de intercambio en las cuales el Estado optó en los procesos de fusión y de integración empresarial, en un momento en que el conglomerado, la modernización económica conducía a fortalecer mucho más los procesos de integración, el Estado asumió la posición de Pilatos, para no comprometerse en las relaciones de intercambio. Lo que ocurrió en el año 93 con el sector financiero es inenarrable en la historia del derecho bancario latinoamericano, cuando el Estado tenía que comprometerse sobre la justeza, sobre la realidad de las relaciones de intercambio, se optó en la Ley 35 de 1993, frente a procesos de fusión inminentes, por delegar, por privatizar esta responsabilidad de Estado en cabeza de firmas de valoración económica, impidiendo de esta manera un compromiso directo del Estado en este tipo de comportamientos.
    Sí, se requiere de un sistema penal, que proteja los bienes jurídicos que pueden comprometer el ahorro o la confianza en el desarrollo de los mercados y la propia estabilidad de los mismos. Pero la eficacia, como en todo derecho criminal, depende de dos elementos fundamentales: de una parte, la capacidad punitiva del Estado, la capacidad de persecución del Estado para imponer sanciones condignas, y de otra, en la proporcionalidad de la pena. De lo contrario, ese derecho sancionatorio en el orden de lo criminal, no va a tener ningún poder disuasivo y es allí donde justamente ha hecho crisis el derecho penal entre nosotros, los ejercicios de mera calistenia de aumentar las penas, verbigracia la ley del secuestro, donde aumentamos las penas al máximo posible, no produjeron ningún resultado, sencillamente por la circunstancia de que el Estado carece de capacidad operativa real para imponer estas sanciones.
    Esos dos elementos que son los que determinan el carácter disuasivo de la norma penal y que justifican su propia existencia, son los que en mi entender, con absoluto respeto, muestran los grandes defectos de la legislación penal en materia económica; en primer lugar, porque hay una limitada capacidad de persecución y sanción del delito penal económico entre nosotros. De un lado, porque el poder acusatorio, ahora residente en la Fiscalía General de la Nación, se tropieza con una limitada capacidad técnica, si bien se percibe el mejor de los ambientes, uno reconoce las angustias de los fiscales en la investigación del delito económico, para acompañarse de algo que en alguna reforma del Código Penal se llamaban los asesores, o expertos, para poder conducir sus propias investigaciones. Reconoce uno las angustias de los fiscales pidiendo peritos que no se encuentran en el cuerpo técnico, en el CTI de la Fiscalía General de la Nación. Hay una limitada capacidad técnica para investigar, para acusar estos delitos.
    Frente a esa limitación de la capacidad del ente acusador, en algunos sistemas jurídicos se ha propuesto entonces, no suplir, complementar, la capacidad investigativa y de conducción de los procesos de investigación, a través de la acción de las autoridades administrativas, para nuestro caso, a través de la acción de las Superintendencias que ejercen control y vigilancia, a quienes en ocasiones se les otorga funciones de policía judicial, para que todo el recaudo probatorio que hagan esas entidades tengan un valor en los procesos criminales correspondientes.
    El paradigma de cómo se puede complementar el poder de investigación en materia de delito económico, es el del Cantón de Zurich, desde 1996, en donde se ha echado mano de una autoridad administrativa muy idónea, con los mejores contadores, banqueros de inversión, etc, para perseguir lo que llamó Sutherland, el delito de cuello blanco.
    Entre nosotros, ¿cuál es esa autoridad administrativa corrientemente?. ¿A quién invoca en auxilio el fiscal que está investigando una conducta criminal?. A la Superintendencia de turno, pero allí se choca con una realidad que el propio fiscal no entiende, y es que como todos lo sabemos, estos delitos tienen varios efectos y uno de ellos es su carácter sistémico, el delito económico, un auto préstamo de un banco, un uso indebido del ahorro del público, tipificado como delito desde el estatuto Orgánico del Sistema Financiero y ahora en el Código Penal, tiene un problema de crisis de confianza en el mercado, lo que conduce inmediatamente a que el supervisor actúe de una manera demasiado prudente, no necesariamente contribuyendo en la búsqueda de la verdad, sino preservando el valor superior al cual él debe servir, que es la confianza pública en el sistema.
    El supervisor, en consecuencia, no es el mejor aliado de la investigación penal, porque su responsabilidad por ejemplo, para el caso del superintendente Bancario, es que no haya una corrida de depósitos al sector financiero y entiende que la configuración de tipos penales, porque la historia así nos lo ha señalado, genera corridas de depósitos en el sistema.
    Entonces sería necesario considerar la existencia, si queremos fortalecer la capacidad de persecución del delito económico entre nosotros, sería indispensable fortalecer estructuras administrativas o al interior de los organismos de acusación, que pudieran llevar a lograr efectividad en estas investigaciones.
    Por otro lado, el carácter abstracto del perjudicado, el ahorrador, los accionistas, los inversionistas, hace muy difícil la presencia de la parte civil promoviendo este tipo de investigaciones. Felizmente, el Código de Procedimiento Penal ha abierto la posibilidad de la acción civil de grupo en las investigaciones criminales y apenas empiezan a abrirse paso también en los procesos que se llevan en la Fiscalía.
    Por otro lado, el segundo elemento, el poder retributivo de la pena, la sanción condigna, en muchos casos no aparece, nos quedamos con una penas, Klidgart (¿) dice que frente a los casos de criminalidad de cuello blanco, las penas deben ser realmente ejemplares, sin embargo, nos hemos quedado con un nivel de penas, entre los dos y los seis años, por lo general para el delito económico, que distan mucho de las sanciones de delitos mucho más corrientes y que no pueden tener el significado y el impacto de estos comportamientos empresariales. Mientras el peculado da una pena de 15 años a lo sumo, un auto préstamo, o la toma de control accediendo al ahorro del público, puede dar hasta 6 años de penas. En el cohecho pasa un poco lo mismo, el soborno da una pena de 10 años, pero tomarse una institución financiera con el ahorro del público a lo sumo da 6 años de prisión.
    En segundo lugar, en este tipo de delitos, por la dosimetría penal que utilizó el nuevo Código Penal, no hay detención preventiva, consecuencialmente no es obligatorio definir la situación jurídica de los implicados, es decir, un llamamiento a la prescripción de la investigación penal, y el sentido de la oportunidad es muy limitado, las condenas por lo general, las condenas frente a los delitos financieros que hemos vivido en los últimos cinco o seis lustros, terminan siendo testimonios históricos que traen a la mente viejos episodios de la historia económica del país.
    Mucho más preocupante que la pena, la sanción pierde su poder disuasivo e la medida en que pierda su carácter público. En el proyecto de ley que el gobierno ha radicado sobre reforma al sector financiero, que no es una reforma estructural, se acusa claramente el interés actual del Estado, de que las sanciones en el sector bancario, cuando puedan ofrecer riesgo sistémico, tengan el carácter de sanciones totalmente reservadas, lo plantea así el proyecto de reforma, con lo cual, el poder disuasivo de la pena, propio del derecho penal, del derecho sancionatorio, se pierde inequívocamente.
    Yo les decía que me declaro ampliamente frustrado por la capacidad disuasiva del derecho penal económico, porque si bien es cierto que desde el punto de vista académico, a nosotros nos pueden mencionar la existencia de unos tipos penales, la verdad es que en la práctica no existen o poco existen. Es un poco lo que le pasa al niño cuando le invocan al fantasma, o al coco, si no asume determinado comportamiento al interior de la familia, que finalmente no lo asume y el coco nunca aparece, se pierde el poder persuasivo de la admonición.
    Creo haber cometido la osadía o la responsabilidad de haber incurrido en un tipo penal la mayor cantidad de verbos rectores de un comportamiento criminal en el lavado de activos...el que adquiera, resguarde, invierta, transporte, transforme, custodie, administre bienes....no hay un tipo penal que tenga más verbos rectores para tratar de que todos los comportamientos del lavado de activos puedan capturarse a través de la tipicidad del artículo 323, que la primera vez que se consagró en Colombia fue con la Ley 190 del 95.
    Ustedes saben que los resultados son lamentables. Hay más, si mi memoria no me falla, por los informes que ha hecho la unidad de lavado de activos del Ministerio de Hacienda, hay más de 20 mil informes en la Fiscalía General de la Nación. Yo no conozco ninguna condena hasta la fecha, estamos hablando de un tipo penal de hace 7 años, de tal manera que, qué poder disuasivo puede tener la ley penal.
    Para colmo de males, creo que las reformas que le aportó el nuevo Código penal a la materia, no son las más favorables. Empiezo por decirles que en el capítulo de los delitos contra el sistema financiero, se incluyeron unos elementos en los tipos penales del decreto 2920 del 82, cuya aplicación va a ser realmente muy difícil y las reformas que se introdujeron en la ley. Por ejemplo, en materia de la utilización indebida de fondos captados del público, se había planteado desde el decreto 2920 del 82, que el delito consistía, protegiendo el bien jurídico de la intangibilidad del ahorro en las tomas de control que no se accediera al mercado financiero, porque se refería en el decreto 2920 del 82 a las instituciones vigiladas por la Superintendencia Bancaria, a tomar recursos del público en las captaciones para abocarse a tomas de control.
    Este era el resultado de lo que las notas editoriales de agosto del 82 estaban reflejando sobre lo que estaba ocurriendo en el país, aquí podemos hablar con nombres propios porque la historia la conocemos todos, por aquel entonces las instituciones financieras venían asumiendo pasivos para con el público de una manera exhorbitante, justamente para tomar posiciones de control dentro del propio sector financiero y con relación a las empresas del sector real, y se consideró dañino para la sociedad, porque por esa vía se concentraban demasiado los riesgos, que se accediera al ahorro del público para tomar control.
    Esa norma, aunque no recuerdo un caso en que se haya aplicado hasta la fecha, tenía unos limitantes conceptuales evidentes. Era el acceso al ahorro del público vía la captación de los intermediarios financieros. Con la incorporación que hace el artículo 314, a las entidades vigiladas por la Superintendencia de Valores y de Economía Solidaria, extiende el concepto del ahorro a ese universo conceptual que fue el que determinó tantas frustraciones en la aplicación del ordinal 14 del artículo 120 de la Constitución de 1968, donde todo era ahorro y el viejo salvamento de Manuel Gaona sobre el particular qué es ahorro, para determinar cuál era el ámbito de aplicación. Muchas de las empresas que vigila la Superintendencia de Valores y la de Economía Solidaria, por ejemplo las cooperativas multiactivas, las cooperativas de primer grado de distribución o comercialización agrícola, no acceden a los mercados públicos captando recursos del ahorro y eso va a dar lugar lamentablemente a unos desarrollos equívocos desde el punto de vista doctrinario, en la medida en que el legislador trató de abarcar de tal manera el espacio de tipo penal en la utilización indebida de fondos captados del público, que puede generar nuevas y mayores frustraciones.
    Pasa lo mismo con el delito de utilización indebida de información privilegiada. En esa materia la legislación era supremamente clara, decía el Estatuto Anticorrupción del año 95, que consagró un tipo penal autónomo en el artículo 148 del antiguo Código Penal, que el funcionario público, o el servidor privado que obtuviese provecho para sí o para un tercero, a partir de información privilegiada, incurriría en unas determinadas sanciones. El nuevo Código acabó con el delito de la información privilegiada en su concepción prístina, por el prurito de hablar del delito de información privilegiada como un delito contra la administración pública y el delito de información privilegiada en materia privada.
    Les voy a demostrar, en el caso de los funcionarios públicos, que el nuevo Código penal tiene una noticia de advenimiento, los funcionarios públicos sí pueden abusar de la información privilegiada. A pesar de que la ley 190 del 95 decía claramente que el servidor público incurría en esta conducta criminal, el artículo 431 de los delitos contra la administración pública, establece que el que habiéndose desempeñado como servidor público durante el año inmediatamente anterior, utilice en provecho propio o de un tercero, información obtenida en calidad de tal, es decir, el particular que utiliza información que conoció como servidor público un año atrás, puede incurrir en el delito, pero nunca el servidor público en ejercicio de sus funciones. Esto es una atrocidad!
    Esto es memoria histórica que pueden ustedes confrontar en la Gaceta del Congreso. Cuando en el debate del Congreso tratábamos de implantar esta norma, era fundamentalmente para los servidores públicos y no para los particulares. Allí, el senador Roberto Gerlein dijo que por qué teníamos que seguir insistiendo en que los corruptos eran los servidores públicos, que también en el sector privado había corruptos, entonces extendió el tipo del servidor público a funcionario particular. Pero el ejemplo que dábamos es del servidor público que en una junta directiva accede a una información, o el representante legal, de un nuevo yacimiento petrolero, de la necesidad, y lo dije con nombres propios, de la Empresa de Acueducto de Bogotá de acceder al agua por la vía del Sumapaz y los funcionarios de la empresa empiezan a comprar las tierras para generar una plusvalía en su propio beneficio, a partir del conocimiento de información privilegiada.
    Pero el sujeto calificado por antonomasia de este tipo penal, era el servidor público, hoy, por concesión graciosa del nuevo Código Penal, el único que no comete este delito en Colombia es el servidor público, más sí el funcionario privado, ¡no puede ser!
    Esto igualmente, dada la especialidad y el carácter calificado del sujeto activo, si el servidor público en un sistema donde el 50% de los activos financieros, hoy, puede estar en manos de la administración de servidores públicos, de entrada nos quiere decir que el abuso de información privilegiada por parte de esos actores del mercado, no tiene una connotación penal en la tipificación al menos del artículo 431 del Código. Una gran frustración. Cercenó pues la posibilidad de aplicar a los servidores públicos y para los privados, parte de la base el artículo 258, en una limitada tipificación dice el artículo correspondiente, que se incurre en este delito el que como empleado, directivo o miembro de una junta u órgano de administración de cualquier entidad privada, con el fin de obtener provecho para sí o para un tercero, haga uso indebido de información que haya conocido por razón o con ocasión de su cargo y que no sea objeto de conocimiento público. No toda información debe ser objeto de conocimiento público, de tal manera que lo que termina siendo la conducta anti jurídica es que se haya violentado el orden legal porque cierta información debe ser de conocimiento público, como aquella que se refiere a los hechos subsecuentes en el mercado público de valores, o las que determina de vieja data la famosa circular 7 de la Superintendencia de Valores, en fin, en que hay la obligación de hacer el reporte y el servidor particular, el ciudadano, no lo efectúa, de otra manera no está haciendo una utilización indebida de esa información, porque no está llamado a ponerla en conocimiento del público en general, lo que hace a mi modo de ver que este sea un tipo penal en blanco que tiene que complementarse con todo el régimen de disclosure, que se ha venido desarrollando en la legislación colombiana, particularmente a partir del quehacer de la Superintendencia de Valores.
    Uno de los tipos penales que creo que debe haber suscitado mayor interés entre ustedes, es el del artículo 317, sobre manipulación fraudulenta de especies inscritas en el Registro Nacional de Valores. Yo entiendo la finalidad de la disposición penal, pero anticipo mi frustración para expresar que muy difícilmente esta norma va a poder ser aplicable entre nosotros, porque empieza por tipificar la conducta penal manifestando que el que realice transacciones con la intención de producir una apariencia de mayor liquidez respecto de determinada acción, valor o instrumento inscrito en el registro Nacional de Valores.
    Mucho me temo que toda negociación en el mercado público de valores afecta la liquidez del instrumento, porque la liquidez no es cosa distinta que la expresión de la rotación de los valores en el mercado público correspondiente y una extensión de esa magnitud haría absolutamente inaplicable el tipo penal respectivo.
    Además, se dice allí que también es punible la conducta del que realice transacciones, efectuando maniobras fraudulentas con la intención de alterar la cotización de los valores. Si estamos hablando de mercado público, y el precio en mercado público es que se asigna como resultado de una oferta pública en el mercado, ¿hasta qué punto puede llegar a decirse que ese no es el precio del activo que se ha negociado, en la medida en que ha habido una oferta pública?.
    Ahora, si hay conductas engañosas previas a la oferta, yo creo que las mismas pueden estar involucradas en otro tipo de comportamientos y es allí donde seguramente la frustración puede ser mucho más alta, porque el fiscal o el juez penal, al momento de calificar estas conductas, pueda optar por sancionar más bien las conductas previas, engañosas y que puedan inscribirse en otro tipo de comportamientos penales.
    Creo que por ejemplo, efectuar maniobras fraudulentas con la intención de alterar la cotización en el mercado, nos puede llevar a la calificación de cuándo una calificación es o no representativa, es decir, pone en la misma complejidad de discusión que hay con relación a las sanciones por operaciones representativas o no del mercado, que le compete al señor Superintendente, pone en la misma discusión al fiscal en cuanto que está llamado a determinar si las mismas son o no representativas.
    En el caso de operaciones representativas o no del mercado, entiendo yo que la tipicidad de las mismas imponen que ex ante se haya definido, como se hace en muchas legislaciones, cuáles son aquellas que su configuración, su forma de expresarse, de desarrollarse, realmente no terminan siendo el resultado del libre juego de la oferta y de la demanda, lo cual las termina haciendo punibles.
    Este delito en cuanto al que realice transacciones, puede ser referido a una persona jurídica y en ese sentido, el Código Penal trae una innovación que a mi modo de ver es muy interesante. En el artículo 29 establece para la responsabilidad penal de las personas jurídicas, que si no se puede tipificar la conducta en cabeza de la persona jurídica porque esta no es sujeto pasivo de la sanción penal, el que realizó la transacción fue una persona jurídica, la persona jurídica no puede responder penalmente, el responsable sea, dice el artículo 29 del Código Penal, la persona natural cuya representación voluntaria detente o el miembro u órgano de representación autorizado de la respectiva persona jurídica, lo cual, y en los primeros escritos que empiezan a desarrollarse entre nosotros, tiene un incipiente traslado de la responsabilidad, que podría llegar a afectar al individuo pro reo, como ocurre en el caso del delito relativo al enriquecimiento ilícito.
    En el delito del enriquecimiento ilícito, se parte de la responsabilidad penal sobre la base de que el Estado confronta los ingresos del sujeto, los ingresos declarados, con su patrimonio y le formula cargos por enriquecimiento ilícito, en la medida en que no hay una ecuación entre sus ingresos legítimos y su patrimonio, pero no le demuestra el Estado que el origen de ese incremento patrimonial proviene de recursos ilegítimos, de dineros sucios, lo que en la práctica le traslada la carga de la prueba al sindicado, no para que él demuestre que hay una presunción en su contra, para que demuestre que el incremento patrimonial obedece a dineros de buena procedencia.
    Aquí puede ocurrir otro tanto, porque en el caso de la responsabilidad de la persona jurídica, responde el gerente, a menos que demuestre que no tuvo participación en los hechos respectivos. Empieza a desarrollarse en la academia en esta materia y va a ser muy importante en lo que se desarrolle de aquí en adelante, en el proyecto de ley que la Superintendencia de Valores ha preparado.
    Ya sobre el delito contable hay desarrollos todavía mucho más trascendentes, que tendrán que fortalecerse en la práctica con la opinión de la doctrina y por supuesto de la propia jurisprudencia.
    Todo esto para concluir sencillamente que estamos haciendo unos esfuerzos deshilvanados, para tipificar ciertas conductas punibles que afectan el orden económico de la Nación y que deberíamos comprometernos en un esfuerzo que permita a todos contar con un sistema penal realmente persuasivo, que contribuya a consolidar el concepto de la ética en el ejercicio de la actividad privada.
    Mientras sigamos haciendo escaramuzas de reformas con los resultados que a todas luces se presentan con el uso abusivo de la información privilegiada para el caso de los servidores públicos, un flaco servicio le estamos prestando al desarrollo de la Nación.
              trabajo de seguridad social        
    respuesta pregunta 6)


    Esta reforma, conlleva a la pérdida de beneficios, derechos y reivindicaciones pensionales de los trabajadores obtenidos a través de convenciones o laudos, que se perderán a partir del 31 de julio de 2010, salvo para quienes alcancen a jubilarse antes de esa fecha, ya que los derechos adquiridos son inmodificables.El sistema es más exigente respecto de la enfermedad, que de accidentes (en este caso, se trata de accidentes de origen común, no de accidentes de origen profesional).El requisito de fidelidad al sistema es sencillo de establecer para cada persona e impone una clasificación de riesgo, de tal manera que hay algunos afiliados cuyo riesgo sería muy alto de asumir y por lo tanto, el sistema les niega beneficios en caso de que no tenga una cantidad significativa de aportes.

    El sistema de seguridad social tiende a eliminar la selección adversa, bajo la cual el sistema no le da beneficios a los miembros del grupo familiar de una persona que se afilie a partir del momento en que por ejemplo, se entera que tiene una enfermedad terminal y alcance a cotizar durante muy poco tiempo. Para que el sistema cumpla la función de un seguro, se requiere que existan reservas adecuadas para los riesgos que cubre.
    La reforma pensional propuesta, busca una mayor equidad, solidaridad y viabilidad financiera de un nuevo sistema que le de un trato igualitario a todos los colombianos, mediante la eliminación, entre otros mecanismos, de los privilegios que actualmente gozan algunos sectores por estar exceptuados de la ley 100 de 1993 o por razón de disposiciones especiales del régimen de transición, como el presidente de la República, los Congresistas, los Magistrados de las Altas Cortes, las FFMM y la Policía Nacional, los docentes públicos y los trabajadores de empresas del estado como Ecopetrol, quienes representan una minoría frente al conglomerado de los trabajadores colombianos.
    El nuevo proyecto tal y como se comprometió el presidente Uribe, respeta las expectativas de las personas próximas a pensionarse, los derechos adquiridos y se ajusta a las condiciones fiscales del país, promoviendo mayor solidaridad y equidad para todos los colombianos.

    respuesta pregunta 7
    Por un lado, incrementa los pasivos pensionales en la medida en que haya mayores sobrecostos, dado que el ISS puede no llegar a compartir la mesada 14. Ahora bien, dado que los pactos convencionales pierden vigencia a partir de 31-VII-2010, en la medida en que se deba excluir personal de los cálculos actuariales por este motivo, los pasivos tienden a disminuir.

    El acto legislativo número 1 de 2005 por su parte, puso fin a los Regímenes convencionales a partir de su vigencia (julio 22 de 2005) en este orden de ideas, todo lo estipulado en convenciones, laudos, acuerdos, etc estará vigente por el término estipulado para la misma, en todo caso estarán vigentes hasta el treinta y uno (31) de julio de 2010. A partir de la vigencia de este acto legislativo, cualquier acuerdo convencional, no podrá otorgar mayores beneficios pensionales a los otorgados por la Ley. Sin embargo, el fin de los regimenes convencionales no es tan definitivo, ya que si el afiliado a partir de la vigencia del acto legislativo número 1 de 2005, acredita 750 semanas o su equivalente en tiempo de servicios ( 15 años), los efectos del régimen de transición se extenderan hasta el año 2014.
              Social Worlds of the Information Society: Lessons from the Calumet Region        
    by
    John Monberg
    2003-08-29

    Rhetoric heralding the information society promises a shiny new world. This rhetoric draws on cultural values powerful in America: technology as a means to social progress, an emphasis on individualism, and a belief in the dynamism of free markets. This rhetoric is powerful because the information society is both new and abstract. But what kind of social world and workplace are information technologies likely to actually create when they are shaped by unfettered corporate imperatives? Similar social promises were made at the beginning of the twentieth century when U.S. Steel planned the creation of Gary, Indiana, in the heart of the Calumet Region, on the shore of Lake Michigan, southeast of Chicago: advanced technologies would transform a frontier into a global village, create a wealthy workforce, a clean environment, and exciting social spaces.

    What social worlds emerged from U.S. Steel’s plans over the course of the twentieth century? Richard Dorson, a leading oral historian, conducted an exhaustive analysis of the Calumet Region. He summarized his findings in describing the self-produced myth of the Calumet Region as “a cultural desert peopled by blue-collar workers living in the midst of polluted skies, garbage dumps and violent ghettos.” (Dorson 235) This self-produced myth is perhaps the most succinctly stated vision of the most dystopian kind of social world one could imagine. It is also, at the same time, profoundly true and profoundly false. Cultural desert, blue-collar workers, polluted skies: each of the claims is supported and denied by massive physical, social, and environmental evidence of monumental scale. The Calumet Region offers scenes of a uniquely beautiful duneland environment and desolated urban waste sites, one of the most economically productive facilities in the world and bitter impoverishment. Why did the Calumet Region evolve the way it did over the course of the twentieth century? Early decisions diminished a distinctive ecology, permanently scarred the urban form of the area, and resulted in racial divisions that continue to cause great suffering even today. All of these consequences of power are manifestly visible in the Calumet Region, even as they remain invisible in many analyses of the information age. Corporate imperatives drove the brutal simplification of a complex ecological system and prevented the social solidarities that could challenge corporate power through unionization and community action.

    The logics driving the America Online-Time Warner merger are eerily similar to the forces shaping the Calumet Region’s history. Again, a technologically advanced, capital-intensive corporation with a dominant position in its industry restructures sets of social relations through a calculating rationality. America Online-Time Warner is producing audiences instead of steel, measuring and grading the demographic, psychological, and web-browsing activities of individuals as raw materials in the production process, but the logic it employs is the same logic that U.S. Steel employed one hundred years ago. The lessons of the Calumet Region experience debunk many of the myths surrounding the information age.

    Changes in media technology change patterns of social interaction, and changing patterns of social interaction have political consequences. Given the rapid advancement of communication technology and the wide range of novel uses to which this technology has been put, calls to assess the democratic potential of new communication technologies have become increasingly common. The Calumet Region offers lessons from one hundred years of social planning and experimentation that can be used to critique today’s promise of a more democratic information society. Why choose the Calumet Region as an object of comparison? It is the geographic location where the largest industrial concentration in the United States confronted both a natural environment with more species per acre than any area in the United States, and a social environment with unprecedented racial and ethnic diversity.

    Like computer-communication technologies of the present era, steel was a technology that had pervasive consequences for the America of its time. Steel changed the way people lived, worked, traveled, and fought wars (Misa, A Nation of Steel, passim). Cheap steel gave rise to railroads, skyscrapers, automobiles, battleships, armored tanks and most of the other items, technologies, and institutions we associate with modern, industrialized societies. The Calumet Region was at the heart of the transformation of American society, and was itself a product of it. The Calumet Region was home to the largest concentration of industrial production in the United States, and perhaps the world. Writers sponsored by the Works Projects Administration provided an overview of the Region in 1939:

    Today, with a population of 260,000, the Calumet has become, in only three decades, one of the greatest industrial centers of the world. Nowhere else in America is there such a concentration of diversified industrial operations. Dominated by the heavy industries - the manufacture of steel, railroad equipment, and chemicals, and the refining of oil - the region possesses 221 various companies which manufacture 1,217 different products. Represented in this group are several plants - a steel works, a rail mill, a cement plant, and a generating unit - which top the list of their category as the world’s largest. One of the five large oil refineries is the largest departmentalized refinery in the world (Calumet Region 3).

    The region underwent its most significant expansion when United States Steel calculated that it would be the optimal location for its largest steel making facilities. United States Steel was a more significant economic and political force for its time than any corporation today, including Microsoft, IBM, or Oracle.

    Even discounting the hyperbole inherent in the writing style of the time, Herbert Casson’s dramatization painted a striking image of the unique power of United States Steel:

    The biggest business fact in the world is the United States Steel Corporation. It has more stockholders than the population of Nevada; more employees than there are voters in Maine; more profits, in a good year than the revenue of the city of New York. Above all ordinary corporations it towers like the Great Pyramid of Cheops above the sand mounds of the desert (Casson 1).

    Like today’s information technologies, steel was the most advanced expression of science and technology in its era. U.S. Steel’s Gary facility was the first example of the deliberate application of the principles of scientific location for industry. There were no retraced steps, extra movements, or reheatings of intermediate products. The plant was designed for efficient flow of materials, was the first designed so as to take advantage of the benefits of electrification (Greer 60), and became a model for the most advanced production facilities of Germany and the Soviet Union.

    The glossiest promises of information society futurists like Bill Gates and Nicholas Negroponte merely echo the words of Will Moore, a U.S. Steel booster:

    Every advance known to science and industry will have its mark on these steel mills, destined to be soon the most extensive in the world in the manufacture of steel and the making of everything in which steel is the prime factor. I hereby submit a statement of facts that will surprise you. It is about the wonderful-amazing conditions, present and prospective, at Gary, Ind. - a business enterprise unequaled in combined size, speed and permanency in the world’s history (Moore 7).

    Many analysts argue that the interconnections of the information age will transform the world into a global village. Unlike the screen-deep interconnections of Webcams and Web pages today, the large number of immigrants who came to the Calumet Region in search of employment created a global village of physically close neighborhoods. They came primarily from eastern and southern Europe - Poles, Czechs, Russians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Croatians, Serbians, Slovaks, Turks, Greeks, and Italians. Immigrants from fifty-two separate nationalities made their home in Gary by 1920, and the proportion of foreign stock (foreign-born, or native with at least one immigrant parent) reached 60.5 percent of the city’s entire population (Mohl and Betten 5).

    The business pages were, at millennium’s end, abuzz with stories of millionaires made rich by Internet initial public offerings. Similarly, in the turn of the century steel industry, “Every young officer who served under General Carnegie was either a millionaire or a physical wreck in a few years. No system has ever made so many men so wealthy in so short a time” (Casson 24). The social, political, and economic dominance of the Calumet Region in general and Gary in particular were expressed by Hammond, Indiana mayor Tom Knotts in 1910, who called Gary the “prophet”of the national and even global future (Lane 34). Contemporaries dubbed Gary the “Magic City.” Corporate planners for U.S. Steel shaped the urban form of Gary, Indiana according to the dictates of short-term profit as they implemented a strictly functional form of rationality. Because the social system was shaped to meet the requirements of the corporation, public participation in planning was almost nonexistent and the social spaces that would have allowed for deliberation and collective action were purposefully eliminated from the urban form. Gary’s largely immigrant population was already splintered along the lines of ethnicity, race, and class. U.S. Steel’s urban planning efforts exacerbated these divisions and lead directly to the social and environmental problems that continue to plague the Region today. A divided population, without access to direct or mediated communication, was unable to effectively resist US Steel’s imperatives.

    America Online, Time Warner, and the Information Society

    The AOL-Time Warner merger resulted in a $147 billion media conglomerate controlling the pipelines and information flows that connect most of the homes of the information society. If U.S. Steel’s efforts to maximize corporate profits shaped the Calumet Region during the twentieth century, AOL-Time Warner’s efforts to gain an advantage from advanced interactive communication technologies will likely shape the social structure of the information age during the twenty-first century. What will be the process by which publics are constituted through the efforts of Time Warner? The largest and most technologically advanced of these efforts were the Full Service Network, an interactive cable television system, and Pathfinder, Time Warner’s umbrella site on the World Wide Web.

    Such interactive efforts are worthy of attention. The world’s leading media and entertainment company, Time Warner has interests in cable television, movies, recorded music, book publishing, magazines, and theme parks. The company has revenues of more than $20 billion a year, including $4 billion of international revenue. Time Warner is also viewed within the media industry as a technological pioneer. It created the first national cable channel, Home Box Office, only made possible by an innovative use of satellite distribution facilities. Financial clout, breadth of content, and technical initiative are hallmarks of the company, allowing it to form a template of media products and services that have been widely adopted by the rest of the industry. Time Warner has aggressively deployed the most sophisticated technology in the area of interactive media. Its interactive initiatives include the Full Service Network, an advanced cable television network in Orlando, Florida and Pathfinder, one of the most extensive and prominent sites on the World Wide Web. These initiatives constitute an ongoing experimental effort to determine whether or not interactive media will be commercially viable on a large scale.

    Time Warner’s interactive efforts can be understood as a technical capability. The Full Service Network was the world’s first digital, interactive television network, and provided customers in Orlando, Florida on-demand access to a variety of entertainment and informational services. It was also, at the time, the most technically sophisticated commercial information service ever delivered to the consumer, self-described as the “Cadillac” of interactive-television tests. From the time of the system’s inception in 1992, over $700 million dollars were required in order to make it operational on December 14, 1994.

    The Full Service Network required advances in each of many sophisticated technical components as well as their coordination into a functioning system. Each technical component is produced by a different company or companies, develops at a different rate, and is subject to different regulatory barriers and business opportunities. Time Warner’s efforts are frequently symbolized in terms of heralding in a utopian future. The theme of “digital convergence” among software, hardware, communication, and entertainment industries is a staple of the business press and technological futurists. The perception created is that this field is a high risk/high reward activity. The promise of technology in shaping a new future is often framed in religious terms, as when the Full Service Network was described in Time magazine, “This is the holy grail of interactive television: true video on demand” (Elmer-Dewitt 125).

    In these narratives, the future is not a static vision on the horizon; it is hurtling toward us at an ever-increasing rate. Gerald Levin described the relationship between technological momentum and corporate initiatives vividly:

    Sooner or later, every significant player in the information and entertainment industry is going to have to understand the implications of broadband digital interactivity. Except as every competitor in the cable industry already knows, sooner isn’t only better, it’s often everything. The FSN will drive home this lesson with unforgiving velocity. The introduction of the FSN is an irreversible step across the threshold of change (Elmer-Dewitt 126).

    The Full Service Network was really an attempt to fulfill the promise that technological advances hold out. Even if the purpose of the Full Service Network is vague, the reasoning seems to be that technological change is so fast and so powerful that inevitably some way will be found to make use of emerging new technologies. Anything more than a cursory perusal of Gerald Levin’s speeches and position statements makes clear that he views technological advance, in and of itself, as a world-historical force. For example, in a shrilly argued piece, he stresses the watershed nature of interactive technology, “The same kind of minds that denounced Galileo as a heretic, ridiculed Edison’s notion of an electric-powered light and dismissed the Wright brothers’ ideas as a crackpot scheme have turned their sights on the new medium of interactivity” (Shapiro, B1). The idiom of today’s business journal is the language of early twentieth century industrial boosterism.

    The stridency of Levin’s language is as much a gauge of his beliefs as it is a gauge of the skepticism he must work to overcome. His statements reiterate the theme of technology in the service of corporate destiny. And in settling the frontier of the future, Levin frequently calls on metaphors with quasi-religious overtones. Connie Bruck observed that “Levin has long maintained that he has been compelled by something far less mundane, almost mystical: a sense of obligation to divine and bring to fruition the `manifest destiny’ of Time Inc. And now Time Warner” (Bruck 55). In such rhetorical strategies, the future is at once a time, a place, a corporate prize, and an inevitable outcome of technological development. There is no place in this rhetoric for arguments about technological choice. There is no room for public debate in narratives of linear technical progress. Access to communication channels, and the uses to which these technologies are put, are taken out of history, struggle, and politics. Ironically, these most advanced, most widespread channels of interactive capability may allow little space for a truly public social dialogue.

    Like the Calumet Region, information technology-based publics all lay at a key juncture, an identifiable point at which economic, cultural, and social forces intertwine. These technologies blur fixed distinctions between originator/message/audience and product/advertisement/community as complex chains created for a given purpose by one set of groups are adopted and modified over time by other groups. Planned urban streets no longer separate social classes; here relevant social categories may be as explicit as the data fields coded into marketing databases or as implicit as the global audience for a popular World Wide Web site. This analysis is sympathetic to and complements media studies efforts that trace the multiple, ongoing ways that the cultural technologies of media situate audiences.

    The forms of life congruent with the adoption of the printing press, highways, and similar technological orders were unforeseen and certainly not chosen by any of the actors involved in some sort of rational decision-making process. As James C. Carey’s analysis has demonstrated, with the adoption of the telegraph formerly bounded communities became much more strongly affected by distant economic, political, and cultural centers. These connections dramatically revised existing notions of journalistic style, conceptions of objectivity, common sense, and perceptions of time and space. The economic model of rational actors pursuing their individual ends through an efficient market is a poor model for the intelligent social shaping of advanced media technologies. The most profound and consequential impacts are often felt diffusely and only over the long term; they are not easily be measured in economic terms, and they may be outside the control of any particular actor.

    Or so shows the experience of the Calumet Region. The promise of steel was also held at one time to promise the creation of the kind of social worlds we most would want to inhabit. Capturing this trace of an alternative future has been the aim of photojournalist Jose Camilo Vergara. He spent several decades in Detroit, the Bronx, Chicago, and Gary, coming to understand the places left behind when the economic and industrial forces that promise so much move on. Vergara rejects the demands that these places are worthless and should be bulldozed, pleading that

    There is something inspiring about ruins. As witnesses of the urban condition, they urge us to ask: Is there no choice but to stand by and watch the destruction of our cities? Stripped down to their essences, leftover buildings and discarded spaces form cityscapes of great power. While they last, we have our ruins and the immense longings they instill in us. Even at risk of bodily harm, we need to hear the elemental chant that comes from our skeletal neighborhoods. The `City of the Broad Shoulders,’ and `Steel City,’ sing about the shortness of life, the awesome beauty of our creations, and our abject failure to create a just society. With their chant they beckon us to come home and perhaps try again (Vergara 197).

    My purpose has been to make metaphoric use of the ruins. They yet have work to do. If we listen to their chant we may build an information society that does not simply repeat the failures of the steel society. What framework is most useful for identifying the critical new aspects of these electronic social spaces? How does power function, as social differences are inscribed into systems, mobilized, and fed back into the circuits used to shape the social worlds of those who are enmeshed within such systems? At the moment, this problem area remains underdeveloped. If we are going to live in an “information society,” broad and deep perspectives ought to be brought to bear on specific projects, in order to illuminate and reimagine policy alternatives, and the implications these policies have for just what kind of society the “information society” might be.

    Works Cited

    Bruck, Connie. “Jerry’s Deal,” The New Yorker, February 19, 1996: 55-69.

    The Calumet Region Historical Guide. Compiled by the workers of the Writer’s Program of the Works Projects Administration, Indianapolis: Garman Printing CC, 1939.

    Carey, James W. Communication as Culture. London: Routledge, 1989.

    Casson, Herbert N. The Romance of Steel, The Story of a Thousand Millionaires. New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1907.

    Dorson, Richard M. Land of the Millrats. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.

    Elmer-Dewitt, Phillip. “Ready for Primetime?” Time, December 26, Volume 144, No. 26, 1994: 125-126.

    Greer, Edward. Big Steel: Black Politics and Corporate Power in Gary, Indiana. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979.

    Lane, James B. “City of the Century”: A History of Gary, Indiana. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978.

    Misa, Thomas J. A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865-1925. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

    Mohl, Raymond A. and Neil Betten. Steel City Urban and Ethnic Patterns in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1950. New York: Holnes and Meier.

    Moore, Powell A. The Calumet Region: Indiana’s Last Frontier. Reprinted with an afterword by Lance Trusty 1977. Indiana Historical Bureau, 1991.

    Moore, Will H. `If I Had Known’ about Gary in 1909. Chicago: Barnard & Miller Print, 1911.

    Shapiro, Eben. “Time Warner’s Orlando Test to Start - Finally,” Wall Street Journal, December 7, 1994, B1.

    Vergara, Camilo Jose. The New American Ghetto. Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1995.


              Andrew Puzder Named CSU’s 2016 Commencement Speaker        

    Has served as CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent of Carl’s Jr and Hardees, since 2000

    Andrew Puzder, president and chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees fast food franchises, will be the 2016 morning commencement speaker for Cleveland State University. Considered a leading innovator in the food service industry, Puzder is largely credited with turning around the Hardee’s brand and transforming CKE into an international conglomerate with nearly 3,700 restaurants in 38 countries with over $4 billion in sales. Puzder is a native of Cleveland and earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Cleveland State in 1975.

    “Andrew Puzder has helped to turn around and expand two iconic American brands and is one of the top executives in the food service industry,” said Ronald M. Berkman, President of CSU. “He is also one of CSU’s most successful alums, and our students will benefit greatly from his ideas on how to be successful in international business.”

    "As an alum of CSU, I am extraordinarily honored to be asked to deliver the commencement address. I hope my career path and success can serve as a positive example for the next generation of business leaders," Puzder said.

    Andrew Puzder joined CKE in 1997 as executive vice president and general counsel and was named President and CEO in 2000. Previously, he served as executive vice president and general counsel for Fidelity National Financial and CEO of Santa Barbara Restaurant Group. Prior to this, Puzder, who earned his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, was a partner with the law firm Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth. He is a frequent author and commentator on economic, political and legal issues in a host of national outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes and Fox News.

    CSU honored Puzder with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association awarded him the 2010 Silver Plate Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to the foodservice industry.

    Cleveland State’s 2016 spring commencement ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 14 at the Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Center on the CSU campus.

    ###

     


              DFX Audio Enhancer Plus 12 – [Crack + Serial Key + Full Version] – Latest Free Download        

    Downloading of DFX Audio Enhancer Plus 12 Latest Crack Version Till the time clarity in the music is not achieved, Quality type conglomeration of sound, music and voice can’t be achieved. This is why, it is necessary for the user or the concerned person to first of all download a perfect tool. DFX Audio Enhancer […]

    The post DFX Audio Enhancer Plus 12 – [Crack + Serial Key + Full Version] – Latest Free Download appeared first on serialkeysunlimited.


              â€œAll of today’s DNA, strung through all the cells of the earth, is simply an extension and elaboration of [the] first molecule”*…        
      The first biological teleporter sits in a lab on the lower level of the San Diego building that houses Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), looking something like a super-sized equipment cart. The device is actually conglomeration of small machines and lab robots, linked to each other to form one big machine. But this one can […]
              Taboo or Not, Journalists Have a Duty to Report the Full Truth about 9/11        
    What is the full truth of 9/11/2001? It is, quite simply, to tell all sides of the story. It means weaving together all the known facts, unanswered questions, significant actors and conflicting viewpoints into a single complex narrative that gives fair weight and context to all the relevant perspectives. It means writing the news - and the analysis of that news - independent from government, advertising, corporate, and cultural pressures.

    Very few journalists, sadly, have done this, or are capable of this. But I believe it remains the duty of all good journalists to feature critical perspectives on 9/11. They should be prepared to do this regardless of the political cost or potential loss in support this may cause. Once a journalist or citizen becomes aware of the legitimate and unreported aspects of this story, it is simply the right thing to do.

    Of course, all of this hinges on the question of credibility.

    All serious journalists must acknowledge that if there is credible, verifiable information which supports a critical view of the government's story, that voice deserves fair representation. To side-step this moral dilemma, a majority of the media would have the reader believe that there are no valid questions or facts that deserve your attention, and so almost universally we see writers attacking 9/11 skeptics with ridicule and straw man arguments without ever giving context to their claims. 

    But the truth is, there are dozens of news-worthy stories that contradict or muddy the official narrative, the facts of which have even been verified and reported on by mainstream outlets. But these stories are almost always buried or insulated from related stories which obscure their significance.

    Briefly, here are just 25 examples, taken from WanttoKnow.info (Please take note of the sources):

    1996-2001: On multiple occasions spies give detailed reports on bin Laden's location. Each time, the CIA director or White House officials prevent bin Laden's elimination. [Los Angeles Times, 12/5/04New York Times, 12/30/01more

    2000-2001: 15 of the 19 hijackers fail to fill in visa documents properly in Saudi Arabia. Only six are interviewed. All 15 should have been denied entry to the US. [Washington Post, 10/22/02ABC, 10/23/02] Two top Republican senators say if State Department personnel had merely followed the law, 9/11 would not have happened. [AP, 12/18/02more]

    2000-2001: The military conducts exercises simulating hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets causing mass casualties. One target is the World Trade Center (WTC), another the Pentagon. Yet after 9/11, over and over the White House and security officials say they're shocked that terrorists hijacked airliners and crashed them into landmark buildings. [USA Today, 4/19/04Military District of Washington, 11/3/00New York Times, 10/3/01more]

    Jan 2001: After the November 2000 elections, US intelligence agencies are told to "back off" investigating the bin Ladens and Saudi royals. There have always been constraints on investigating Saudi Arabians. [BBC, 11/6/01more]

    May 2001: For the third time, US security chiefs reject Sudan's offer of thick files on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. A senior CIA source calls it "the worst single intelligence failure in the business." [Guardian, 9/30/01more]

    June-Aug 2001:  German intelligence warns the CIA that Middle Eastern terrorists are training for hijackings and targeting American interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin alerts the US of suicide pilots training for attacks on US targets. In late July, a Taliban emissary warns the US that bin Laden is planning a huge attack on American soil. In August, Israel warns of an imminent Al Qaeda attack. [Fox News, 5/17/02Independent, 9/7/02CNN, 9/12/02more]

    July 26, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft stops flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment. [CBS, 7/26/01] In May 2002, Ashcroft walks out of his office rather than answer questions about it. [Fox News/AP, 5/16/02more]

    Aug 6, 2001: President Bush receives an intelligence briefing warning that bin Laden might be planning to hijack airliners. Titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," the briefing specifically mentions the WTC. Yet Bush later claims it "said nothing about an attack on America." [CNN, 4/12/04Washington Post, 4/12/04Briefing, 8/6/01more]

    Aug 27, 2001: An FBI supervisor tries to ensure that a hijacker doesn't "take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center." [Senate Report, 10/17/02] Headquarters chastises him for notifying the CIA. [Time, 5/21/02more]

    Sept 10, 2001: A number of top Pentagon brass suddenly cancel travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns. Why isn't this news spread widely? [Newsweek, 9/13/01Newsweek, 9/24/01more]

    Sept 11, 2001: Data recovery experts extract data from 32 damaged WTC computer drives. The data reveals a surge in financial transactions shortly before the attacks. Illegal transfers of over $100 million may have been made through WTC computer systems immediately before and during the 9/11 disaster. [Reuters, 12/18/01CNN, 12/20/01more]

    Sept 11, 2001: Described as a bizarre coincidence, a US intelligence agency was set for an exercise on Sept 11 at 9 AM in which an aircraft would crash into one of its buildings near Washington, DC. [USA Today/AP, 8/22/02more

    Sept 11, 2001: Hours after the attacks, a "shadow government" is formed. Key congressional leaders say they didn't know this government-in-waiting had been established. [CBS, 3/2/02Washington Post, 3/2/02more]

    Sept 11, 2001: Six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners make a tape recording describing the events within hours of the attacks. The tape is never turned over to the FBI. It is later illegally destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it. [Washington Post, 5/6/04NY Times, 5/6/04]

    Sept 13-19, 2001: Bin Laden's family is taken under FBI supervision to a secret assembly point. They leave the country by private plane when airports reopen days after the attacks. [New York Times, 9/30/01Boston Globe, 9/20/01more]

    Sept 15-16, 2001: Several of the 9/11 hijackers, including lead hijacker Mohamed Atta, may have had training at secure US military installations. [Newsweek, 9/15/01Washington Post, 9/16/01Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01more]

    Sept 20, 2001: Several 9/11 hijackers later mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report turn up alive. "Five of the alleged hijackers have emerged, alive, innocent and astonished to see their names and photographs appearing on satellite television...The hijackers were using stolen identities." [quote Times of London, 9/20/01, see also BBC, 9/23/01more]

    Dec 2001-Feb 2002: The US engineers the rise to power of two former Unocal Oil employees: Hamid Karzai, the interim president of Afghanistan, and Zalmay Khalizad, the US envoy. The big American bases created in the Afghan war are identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline. [Chicago Tribune, 3/18/02more]

    May 17, 2002: Dan Rather says that he and other journalists haven't been properly investigating since 9/11. He graphically describes the pressures to conform that built up after the attacks. [BBC, 5/16/02Guardian, 5/17/02more]

    May 23, 2002: President Bush says he is opposed to establishing an independent commission to probe 9/11. [CBS, 5/23/02] Vice President Cheney earlier opposed any public hearings on 9/11. [CNN, 1/29/02Newsweek, 2/4/02more]

    May 30, 2002: FBI Agent Wright formally accuses the FBI of deliberately curtailing investigations that might have prevented 9/11. He is threatened with retribution if he talks to Congress about this. [Fox News/Reuters, 5/30/02more

    July 22, 2004: The 9/11 Commission Report is published. It fails to mention that a year before the attacks a secret Pentagon project had identified four 9/11 hijackers, including leader Mohamed Atta. The Commission spokesperson initially states members were not informed of this, but later acknowledges they were. [New York Times, 8/11/05more]

    2004 - 2005: A growing number of top government officials and public leaders express disbelief in the official story of 9/11. 100 prominent leaders and 40 9/11 family members sign a statement calling for an unbiased inquiry into evidence suggesting high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the attacks to occur. [Various Publications

    Aug 9, 2006: A book by 9/11 Commission chairmen Kean and Hamilton outlines repeated deceptions by the Pentagon and FAA, including the timelines of Flights 77 and 93. CNN News: "The fact that the government would ... perpetuate the lie suggests that we need a full investigation of what is going on." [CNN, 8/9/06 MSNBC/AP, 8/4/06more]

    2006-2011: Over 50 senior government officials, 100 respected professors, and 1,500 architects and engineers criticize The 9/11 Commission Report as flawed, and call for a new, independent investigation. [OfficialsProfessorsArchitects]


    And here is 60 pages worth of examples, all sourced and fact-checked by established media.

    Why have these stories not been more widely reported, even among the so-called alternative press? Project Censored published an excellent investigative report looking into this issue of media censorship. Looking at a dozen news-worthy stories as case studies (including stories on 9/11) that were either not covered by the alternative press or were covered poorly, they examine why even much of the alternative press suffers from the same "propaganda model" that affects larger media conglomerates. "The propaganda model of news" that Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky outlined goes a long way to explain the abject moral and professional failure of most media to put their journalist principles ahead of political expediency.

    Journalists can safely report on the above stories in isolation, but present them in their entirety and the "flak filter" that keeps other journalists in check will quickly have you branded a "conspiracy theorist," one of the most toxic and effective means of ensuring that self-censorship remains the norm.

    If journalists did put all these dozens of mainstream verified stories together into a single narrative (something any journalist is physically capable of doing) it would be quite clear to their readers that questioning the official story and demanding a new investigation is more than a valid, rational, and respectable response to this information.

    In fact, a number of the 9/11 Commissioners and other prominent government officials themselves have made statements claiming they don’t believe the government’s description of events and believe another investigation is necessary. But of course, these (obviously newsworthy) stories haven't been widely reported either.

    All that said, many courageous journalists *have* stuck their neck out to cover this subject with greater scrutiny, and I applaud their decision to do so. In writing this article, it is my hope that the reader will come to respect this decision and see the value in it as well. I hope you'll come to see that reporting honestly on all sides of a story, no matter how taboo or politically costly, is the principled position that all media should be taking, if our media was not beholden to so many conflicting interests.  Beyond that, I hope you will go a step further to do what you can to create some more breathing room in our culture for uncomfortable but necessary discussion.

    A society which values the principles of democracy and freedom of the press should welcome such discussion. It should also be the first to defend this speech when it is under attack.

    ]]>
              The Root Problem is the Root Solution: How We Can Fix Our Democracy and Create a Sustainable Future         
    So, I was trying to get my friend to read a recent issue of Adbusters magazine.

    "You've got to read this!" I said. "There's an article about how the media today is owned by only a handful of corporations, and corporate consolidation is leading to fewer voices getting on the air and stifling the range of debate, which is stifling the health of our democracy. And corporations themselves are legally bound by law to seek a profit over any other competing interest. And because of a judge's ruling that unlawfully declared that corporations are to be deemed legal "persons" - giving rights to corporations that were originally intended for recently freed black slaves - these corporations (due to their vast wealth and influence) now have more rights than people. And these corporate rights are now the source of the power they use to destroy all of humanity!!" I said with a half-laugh, nearly out of breath.

    "Yikes," she said.

    "Yeah I know. It's crazy."

    And then there was a pause. "Yeah, the thing is..." she said with a sigh. "I really don't have time to read that. I mean, look: I know things are bad. Everyone nowadays knows about all these problems at some level. It just seems kind of tiring to keep reading about things that at a basic level, you already know."

    And I thought about what she said, and I understand what she's saying - at some level. But here's the problem: When problems are vague, so are the solutions.

    When you think about all the world problems... Oh jeez, well don't think about all of them. But if you think about just a few. Take: climate change, deforestation, bought-and-paid-for elections, and the corporate exploitation of millions of people working in sweat-shop factories around the world. How are we even going to begin to solve these problems? Now if we tried to attack each of these issues individually, well, we'll be trying to plant corn in the deserts of the Midwest on a very hot planet before that happens. Climate change and peak oil alone give us a deadline of five to ten years to do most of the significant work to solve these issues (scientists estimate that we need to stabilize our co2 emissions by 2015 to avoid a series of tipping points). We simply do not have the time to keep hacking at individual branches while new branches grow every day.

    But what if there was one solution which got at the root of all these problems, and if you solved this one thing, it would quickly solve many of the others?

    Now let's say I told you that the laws that give corporations their legal power were the source of all of the problems listed above. You change the laws that govern the corporation and you change the landscape of our economy, environment, and society all at the same time. Now of course, appreciating the significance of this solution can only be grasped when you have a full understanding of the problem. And this means specifics, and this means reading that damn article!

    It was at this particular exclamation point that I realized: getting informed on the issues is kind of the whole point. It's the solution that leads to every other solution.

    Because clear knowledge leads to clear actions, and clear actions lead to results.

    When you understand the problem, you know what needs fixing, and you feel empowered to support actions that can lead to fixing it. And when a whole bunch of people learn about an issue and know what needs to be done to get our country back on track, then the people can start organizing. And as you launch targeted campaigns to solve specific issues, you eventually see results, and your community is the better for it.

    It's all about getting informed and taking action. It's the essence of democracy. Not to bust out some history books on your asses, but this goes back to the days our forefathers first drafted the constitution. The first amendment talks about the need for a Free Press. They knew that a democracy could not thrive without the full participation of its citizens, and that you need to be fully informed to truly participate. The two go hand in hand.

    Originally, informing the public and arming them with the knowledge they need to act was the cardinal responsibility of the media. It was to foster a free and open "marketplace for ideas," so that all could have a voice within the commons, and the best ideas could rise to the top - regardless of the economic or political power of the people who voiced them.

    Today, these ideas seem quaint in comparison to the profit-driven, consolidated, and corrupt media we have now. Most of us are aware of how bad the mainstream media has gotten. It reveals itself every time a Lady Gaga story makes headline news, and when political pundits paid by the Pentagon debate the pros of more war, and lots of war.

    You could stock a website full of examples. Between the unashamedly partisan coverage on FOX and the infotainment and soft-ball fluff predominant on CNN and the rest of the mainstream press, there is clearly a gap in quality news, and this gap represents the bottleneck that impedes the progress of nearly every social cause we care about. 

    Getting our elections free from corporate cash and undoing Citizens United is a big one. You can bet amending the Constitution to abolish corporate person-hood isn't going to be easy. It's going to require a mass movement of people all across this country demanding it, and to get to this stage, we need mass awareness.

    So, what solution will go right to the thick, deep root that will reach every other rotten root and heal every branch and make those proverbial flowers bloom?

    We fix the media. And rather than wait for these massive media conglomerates to reform themselves, or wait for congress to step in - we're going to create our own media. We're going to declare independence from the Corporate Media by creating new information channels that serve the public's interest and speaks with the public's voice. And we're going to do if from the bottom up.

    We start in our communities, working on creating a communications infrastructure that will allow everyone to get the real deal on a given issue, so that the people have the power to mobilize in great numbers when the time is needed. Then as we build momentum we expand the scope of this network to eventually include the entire city. We'll accomplish this with documentary film screenings, public access TV, low-power FM radio, street team promotion, and a central indy-media website dedicated to keeping our city connected and informed.

    Building on the classic IndyMedia model, these city sites will allow anyone to contribute content, and let the community decide what content is promoted to the front page. From here we can network with other city indy-media websites, allowing us to communicate news, mass actions and events with millions of people through these networks of city chapters. We will bypass the need to write press releases and get coverage from traditional media altogether. And before we know it, within the next three years, we have the potential to create a nations-wide communications channel that rivals the best of the old corporate giants.

    A democratic media breaks the bottleneck. It's the strategic foundation that will allow us to amplify our efforts to build truly sustainable and vibrant new ways of living here in our own city, and in every city around the globe.

    This was the work I and the other members of the Films For Action team set out to accomplish when we first began the project four years ago. We have organized over two dozen film screening events, cataloged over 700 world-changing videos on our website, launched several targeted campaigns, and have currently finished work on version 2.0 of the FilmsForAction.org website.

    With the recent launch of our site - over a year in development - we've entered the 2nd major phase of the strategy. The new site's infrastructure has been programmed to make it easy to create whole new city chapter sub-sites with just a few clicks. Our original chapter based in Lawrence, KS demonstrates the concept, and shows how these cities will stay networked with our international "main" site. In the coming months, we expect to see dozens of new chapters form.

    As I see it, these are all the first few steps in a thousand-step chess game. But there's no way to make progress until you get started on step one.

    Join us!

    Tim Hjersted is the director and a co-founder of Films For Action. He will be heading to Boston in April to network and collaborate with thousands of other media activists at this year's National Conference on Media Reform.

    Creative Commons License

    ]]>
              El español, la cuarta lengua más hablada del mundo        

    REPORTAJE

    El español, un filón huérfano de prestigio

    Es la cuarta lengua más hablada del mundo, idioma oficial en 18 países y el más estudiado tras el inglés - Vale mucho (15% del PIB nacional), pero le falta el pedigrí de la relevancia internacional

    TEREIXA CONSTENLA 31/12/2008

     

     

    Un adverbio no tiene precio. Ni errar con las tildes trastoca la economía. No se paga por hablar (con las sabidas excepciones) ni se cobra por escribir un correo electrónico. El adverbio, las tildes, el habla o la escritura forman parte de un conglomerado llamado idioma, que no está en la lista de la compra ni en las cuentas de resultados. Sin embargo, pesa en la economía. Como el turismo o la compra de viviendas. Con un inconveniente: es un recurso de difícil medición económica. Y una ventaja: vadea las crisis con resuello. En estos tiempos, disponer de un recurso que cotiza al alza sin ingenierías contables puede considerarse un tesoro. O un activo.

     

    El español lo es. Lo hablan 441 millones de personas, es lengua única en 18 países (y cooficial en otros tres) y el segundo idioma más estudiado del mundo (sólo detrás del inglés). Hay negocios de enseñanza y potentes sectores (editorial, audiovisual, discográfico...) que lo usan como materia prima básica. Y más allá de lo obvio, hay otros ámbitos económicos influidos por las palabras en común: las exportaciones y la internacionalización de las empresas españolas en América Latina, el trasiego de inmigrantes latinos hacia España o las oportunidades profesionales que se abren en países como Estados Unidos.

    Sobre todo ello planeó un gran desconocimiento. "No se ha sido muy consciente, pero conseguir datos fiables cuesta y es ahora cuando tenemos datos objetivos para saber que el español está ahí. Los ingleses hace mucho que lo descubrieron", reflexiona Carmen Caffarel, la directora del Instituto Cervantes, uno de los organismos que, desde su creación en 1991, ha buceado más en el estudio del español y su proyección internacional.

    La preocupación por su peso económico es incluso más reciente, y tal vez un mecanismo de supervivencia. En tiempos en los que el conocimiento sin utilidad práctica está en retroceso, la lengua adquiere más proyección con los defensores de su rentabilidad que con los filólogos que la desmenuzan. El primer estudio que puso números a las letras se publicó en 2003. Dirigido por Ángel Martín Municio, concluyó que el valor del español equivalía al 15% del PIB, una cuenta que salía de considerar al idioma como un input que se incorporaba a todos los bienes y servicios finales producidos en España.

    En la investigación más reciente, Valor económico del español: una empresa multinacional (2008), dirigida por los economistas José Luis García Delgado, Juan Carlos Jiménez y José Antonio Alonso, se aportan novedades en los datos -a la lengua se le atribuye el 16% de la ocupación laboral- y en el punto de vista: su valor económico es dinámico, no un mero porcentaje del PIB.

    Analizarlo no es fácil. "Se trata de un activo inmaterial -intangible, por tanto-, dotado de importantes externalidades, incapaz de ser apropiado por los agentes económicos que acceden a su uso, que carece de costes de producción y que no se agota al ser consumido", enumera el catedrático de Economía Aplicada José Luis García Delgado en un artículo incluido en el libro El español de los negocios (2008). De ahí, su marco doctrinal: "La lengua es un bien público cuyo valor aumenta conforme crece el número de quienes la hablan y de su capacidad para servir de medio de comunicación internacional".

    Es, pues, incuestionable la valía de un idioma hablado por 441 millones de personas. Y también su utilidad como medio internacional de comunicación, teniendo en cuenta que 18 países lo tienen como lengua oficial.

    Si es un bien que se revaloriza conforme crece el club de personas que lo emplean, como sostiene el economista Juan Carlos Jiménez, las perspectivas futuras resultan de lo más halagüeñas. Basta detenerse en lo que está a punto de ocurrir en Brasil, el país que ha abrazado al español con más empeño institucional. En pocos años lo hablarán 11 millones de brasileños gracias a la decisión del Gobierno de incluirlo en todas las escuelas como lengua optativa, lo que como medida directa ha disparado la demanda de profesores de español en el gigante suramericano.

    La segunda locomotora del español en el mundo es Estados Unidos, no por a es Estados Unidos, no por apoyo institucional como en el caso anterior, sino por el empuje demográfico de los emigrantes latinos. Es ya el segundo país con más hispanohablantes después de México. En la Enciclopedia del español en Estados Unidos se prevé que los 44 millones de hispanos que vivían en el país en 2006 se multiplicarán hasta 132 millones en el año 2050.

    Otro indicador de interés es la evolución de la demanda de lenguas extranjeras en las universidades estadounidenses: mientras retroceden lenguas tan prestigiadas como el francés o el alemán (han perdido respectivamente 66.000 y 39.000 matrículas desde 1990 hasta 2006), el español se ha disparado (en ese periodo ha ganado 289.000 matrículas). "Conviene, sin embargo, no dejarse llevar, como sucede tantas veces en España, por una especie de entusiasmo estadístico", ataja el escritor Antonio Muñoz Molina, quien dirigió el Instituto Cervantes en Nueva York. Tanto en artículos como en intervenciones, Muñoz Molina enfría el júbilo numérico. Asegura que el español vive en Estados Unidos una situación paradójica, lo que explica que pese al boom poblacional se hayan cerrado las dos únicas librerías de español que había en Nueva York.

    "Su peso demográfico no se corresponde ni de lejos con su importancia cultural, de modo que a la buena noticia sobre su pujanza y sobre la demanda de su aprendizaje debe contraponerse un cierto escepticismo sobre su futura relevancia social, cultural e incluso política", escribió el escritor en un artículo para el Instituto Cervantes. A realzar su prestigio no ayuda -se queja el escritor-la escasa calidad de TVE Internacional, nada que ver con la parrilla exterior de la BBC. Quienes se zafan de la autocomplacencia por la cantidad, citan varios agujeros negros del español. No es una lengua científica. Gerardo Delgado, presidente de la Federación Iberoamericana de Sociedades de Física, recuerda que lo fue el Siglo de Oro, coincidiendo con las innovaciones científicas desarrolladas en España. "Un elemento esencial en la importancia del inglés como lengua científica", expone, "es la inversión que hacen los países que utilizan este idioma en ciencia y tecnología".

    Y hay más rotos que zurcir. Como Internet. "¿Cuál es el nivel de desarrollo del softwareen español? ¿Cuál es el volumen de publicaciones de libros, revistas científico-técnicas y prensa especializada? El verdadero desarrollo del español como lengua globalmente aceptada y extendida está por llegar", indica Francisco Pérez Navarro, presidente de la Federación Española de Escuelas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (Fedele).

    Aunque el español ocupa el tercer lugar en Internet en cuanto a usuarios que demandan páginas en este idioma, por detrás del inglés y del chino, la cantidad, como ya se ha visto tantas veces, no lo es todo. No, al menos, para el director general de Políticas e Industrias Culturales del Ministerio de Cultura, Guillermo Corral. "Si el español quiere realzar su potencial tiene que conquistar Internet. Si no hay una oferta cultural de calidad en Internet, nunca conseguiremos que se dé el salto cualitativo, y aquí nos encontramos con el problema de la piratería", avisa. Corral cita el ejemplo de la industria editorial española: "Es la cuarta más grande del mundo con una proyección espectacular, pero tendría que migrar al entorno digital en tres años. Esa transición se desincentiva si no garantizamos que se va a producir un retorno de la inversión".

    Los idiomas, afirma el economista José Luis García Delgado, poseen un valor filológico, cultural, político y económico. Pesan según los hablantes, pero también según los usos. El español ha superado la batalla de los números, pero tiene pendiente convertirse en una de las lenguas de referencia mundial en el campo de la diplomacia, la cultura, la ciencia y las nuevas tecnologías. El toque del pedigrí.

    237.000 turistas idiomáticos en la patria de la eñe

    El año 1492 no sólo acogió hazañas geográficas y convulsiones políticas. También fue el año en el que un catedrático andaluz, que trabajaba en la Universidad de Salamanca, creó las primeras normas del castellano. Una aventura tan colosal como que un europeo encontrase un continente. Antonio de Nebrija urdió la primera gramática del castellano. No sólo eso. También redactó una Gramática del español como lengua extranjera, que, en sus propias palabras, estaba pensada para "los pueblos bárbaros sometidos, los enemigos de nuestra fe que tienen ia necessidad de saber el lenguaje castellano y todos aquellos que tienen algún trato i conversación en españa i necessidad de nuestra lengua". Nebrija fue sin duda un erudito visionario, aunque su vanguardismo no encontró continuadores constantes. Desde el siglo XV, la enseñanza del español ha vivido entre claroscuros y altibajos.

    Una inestabilidad que parece disiparse en las últimas décadas, conforme se aprecia su ancha veta económica. Incluso Turespaña ha olfateado su potencial y ha comenzado a mimar el turismo idiomático. Porque no se trata de calderilla. En 2007, España ingresó 462,5 millones de euros gracias a los extranjeros que vinieron a estudiar español. Cada uno se gasta de promedio 1.950 euros entre cursos, alojamiento, manutención y ocio. Salamanca, Sevilla, Cádiz, Málaga, Granada, Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona y Madrid despuntan: acogen el 72% de los 600 centros de enseñanza de español.

    Alemanes (23%) y estadounidenses (13%) son los alumnos más frecuentes, seguidos de franceses, italianos y británicos. Cada vez llegan más: los 130.000 estudiantes de 2000 son 237.000 siete años después. Un camino de éxito en el que, como en todo, hay un pero. "En el poderoso mercado americano estamos perdiendo año tras año cuota de estudiantes que vienen a España a favor de otros destinos", advierte el presidente de la Federación Española de Escuelas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (Fedele), Francisco Pérez Navarro.

    México, Costa Rica, Argentina y Chile son, según Turespaña, los principales competidores en la captación de turistas idiomáticos. Pérez Navarro considera urgente que la promoción en el extranjero se unifique entre todas las instituciones, que se reconozcan por las universidades estadounidenses los certificados de estudios del Instituto Cervantes o que se agilice la tramitación de visados de estudios. Con estos esfuerzos, prevé que se duplique la cifra de turistas idiomáticos.

     



    -------------------------------------------------
    Ir al Sitio principal Escritos críticos / Ensayos
    www.majfud.50megs.com
    Reflexiones sobre nuestro tiempo
    -------------------------------------------------
              Facebook’s Leaked Censorship Policies Show How Bad the Company Is at Policing Hate Speech        

    On Wednesday morning, ProPublica published a troubling report about Facebook’s approach to censorship. Drawing on a “trove of internal documents,” it laid out some of the rules that the company’s content reviewers use to determine whether they should censor a post. (It's not clear from the article whether those moderators are employees or subcontractors, though Facebook has relied on the latter group in the past.) Those documents underscore just how clumsy the company can be when it comes to dealing with hate speech, partly because it insists on tackling the issue in algorithmic terms.

    As ProPublica’s headline puts it, “Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech but Not Black Children.” While that’s just part of the problem, it’s also not hyperbole. To the contrary, a training slide reproduced by Pro Publica establishes that very distinction, asking which of three groups—female drivers, black children, and white men—it aims to protect. Puzzlingly, it uses a photo of the Backstreet Boys to illustrate white men, but more baffling is the answer to the query: Out of that trio, Facebook only “protects” white men.

    As ProPublica goes on to explain, this is an effect of the way Facebook defines its “protected categories” and the way those categories relate to one another. The company reportedly includes a broad array of terms under its protected rubric, including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and national origin. On the other hand, it declines to protect a range of other categories, including social class, age, occupation, and appearance. Say something awful about the members of a protected category (e.g., “Women deserve to be beaten”), and your comments might get censored. Similar assertions about the members of a non-protected category such as an age demographic (e.g. “Millennials should all be set on fire”), on the other hand, will inspire no action from the site.

    While the logic determining what counts as a protected category is already opaque, things get even more complicated when Facebook’s users start to combine these categories. As ProPublica shows in a series of slides, if a user pairs two protected categories together (“Irish women”), the resulting conglomerate is still considered a protected category. If, on the other hand, someone links a protected category to a nonprotected category (“Irish teens”), the composite is not protected, and users can say whatever they want with impunity. This is why Facebook considers threats against white men hate speech while it ignores those against black children: While the former combines two protected categories (race and gender), the latter includes one protected and one non-protected category (race and age, respectively).

    In effect, the company’s approach is algorithmic, even if humans implement the rules of that algorithm. As the slides from ProPublica show, Facebook’s censorship principles are reducible to a simple set of equations—“PC + PC = PC while PC + NPC = NPC,” for example. As Will Oremus has observed, content moderation can be difficult, taxing work. These spare formulas may well be a blessing for the company’s human censors, giving them the tools to quickly determine what’s acceptable and what’s not with a modicum of thought. They’re given a set of simple instructions that work everywhere, freeing them from the burden of granular judgment.

    But that same convenience also makes the system easy to exploit: Those looking to denigrate a given group need only apply a well-chosen modifier if they want to avoid oversight. Indeed, as ProPublica notes, Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim posts “may also have benefited from the exception for sub-groups. A Muslim ban could be interpreted as being directed against a sub-group, Muslim immigrants, and thus might not qualify as hate speech against a protected category.” Where the most complex computer algorithms threaten to reaffirm existing sociocultural biases, this relatively simple human algorithm offers the biased an out, so long as they’re willing to get specific about their hate.

    While the social network may well recognize that flaw, it’s clear enough why it employs this system: Above all else, Facebook’s censorship policy is defined by the utopian assumption of universal egalitarianism. As ProPublica notes, the social network attempts to apply the same rules everywhere, a few regional exceptions aside. Accordingly, it begins from the presumption that all of those who fall under its protected categories are potentially subject to hate speech. Thus, “ban men” might potentially be understood as hate speech (since it calls for the exclusion of all men), in much the same way that calls for violence against women would be.

    The trouble is that hate speech doesn’t play out in sanitized vacuums: Slurs accumulate in real circumstances and real-time, drawing strength from the particularity each new repetition. Where Facebook apparently aims to treat such language in the abstract, it is this situational specificity that hones the edges of ugly words, giving them the power to cut. The company’s “non-protected categories” don’t just offer users an out when they want to say something vile about one group or another; they also threaten to make vile language that much more violent.

    Simply put, Facebook doesn’t understand how hate speech works. Language’s potential to harm is inevitably proportional to the marginality of those it targets. While it’s certainly possible, for example, to say loathsome things about white men, those insults will rarely, if ever, have the same weight as those made against already imperiled groups. Further, marginality, for its own part, is always a circumstantial problem, not one that’s everywhere the same, which makes Facebook’s universally inclined approach that much more meaningless. In practice, acting as if all language was the same everywhere and for everyone can only have one effect: Reaffirming the security of those who are already in power by shielding them from criticism.

    For Facebook, that may well be a winning proposition.


              Samsung NP305E7A Drivers Windows 7 32/64 bit         
    Samsung NP305E7A. Download Driver Samsung NP305E7A for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct liks from official website of Samsung NP305E7A Drivers.

    Download Drivers Samsung NP305E7A for Windows 7 32/64 bit

    Sound / Audio Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 6.0.1.6433, File size : 90.23 MB Download

    VGA Driver
    VGA / Graphics Display AMD
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 8.910.0.0000, File size : 226.96 MB Download

    HDMI Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 7.12.0.7700
    File size : 11.59 MB
    File name : HDMI_7.12.0.7700.ZIP
    Download

    Touchpad Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 4.4.0.0, File size : 178.52 MB Download

    Bluetooth Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 1.3.0.0, File size : 187.32 MB Download

    Lan / Ethernet Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 7.45.516.2011, File size : 5.07 MB Download

    Wireless Driver Wi-Fi
    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN ATHEROS
    OS : Windows 7(32bit)
    Version : 9.2.0.462, File size : 33.68 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN ATHEROS
    OS : Windows 7(64bit)
    Version : 9.2.0.462, File size : 33.68 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN,BROADCOM
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 5.100.82.95, File size : 46.03 MB Download

    Samsung Description:
    Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate).

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Samsung NP305E7A to download drivers Samsung NP305E7A windows 7 32-bit 64-bit. Samsung NP305E7A Drivers Update. Laptop Review, Laptop Specs, Download Drivers Online."

              Samsung NP200B5BI Drivers Windows 7 32/64 bit         
    Samsung NP200B5BI. Download Driver Samsung NP200B5BI for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct liks from official website of Samsung NP200B5BI Drivers.

    Download Drivers Samsung NP200B5BI for Windows 7 32/64 bit

    Chipset Driver for Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 9.2.0.1019, File size : 2.54 MB Download

    Sound / Audio Driver for Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 6.0.1.6314, File size : 80.3 MB Download

    VGA Driver
    VGA / Graphics Display INTEL for Windows 7(32bit)
    Version : 8.15.10.2266, File size : 53.96 MB Download

    VGA / Graphics Display INTEL for Windows 7(64bit)
    Version : 8.15.10.2266, File size : 57.42 MB Download

    HDMI Driver for Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 1.2.22.1, File size : 4.36 MB Download

    Touchpad Driver for Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 15.2.15.1, File size : 35.48 MB Download

    Finger Print Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 9.0.8.15, File size : 12.72 MB Download

    USB 3.0 Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 2.0.30.0, File size : 6.89 MB Download

    Freefall Protection Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 1.8.5.0, File size : 4.16 MB Download

    Intel Rapid Storage Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 10.1.5.1001, File size : 10.68 MB Download

    HECI Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 7.0.0.1144, File size : 3.86 MB Download

    Smart Card Reader Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 1.6.4.0, File size : 3.71 MB Download

    MMCR Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 6.1.7600.72, File size : 8.92 MB Download

    Bluetooth Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 2.3.0.0, File size : 136.36 MB Download

    Lan / Ethernet Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 11.13.51.4001, File size : 3.38 MB Download

    Wireless Driver
    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN INTEL
    OS : Windows 7(32bit)
    Version : 15.0.0.75, File size : 61.81 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN INTEL
    OS : Windows 7(64bit)
    Version : 15.0.0.75, File size : 68.47 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN BROADCOM
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 5.100.82.95, File size : 46.03 MB Download

    Qualcomm Atheros WLAN Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit 64bit)
    Version : 1.0.0.1, File size : 74.16 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN ATHEROS
    OS : Windows 7(32bit-64bit)
    Version : 9.2.0.470, File size : 33.73 MB Download

    Samsung Description:
    Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate).

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Samsung NP200B5BI to download drivers Samsung NP200B5BI windows 7 32-bit 64-bit. Samsung NP200B5BI Drivers Update. Laptop Review, Laptop Specs, Download Drivers Online.

              Samsung 300U Drivers Windows 7 32/64 bit         
    Samsung 300U. Download Driver Samsung 300U for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct liks from official website of Samsung 300U Drivers.

    Download Drivers Samsung 300U for Windows 7 32/64 Bit

    Chipset Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 9.2.0.1019, File size : 2.54 MB Download

    Sound / Audio Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 6.0.1.6400, File size : 86.16 MB Download

    VGA Driver
    VGA / Graphics Display, INTEL
    OS : Windows 7(32bit)
    Version : 8.15.10.2622, File size : 71.23 MB Download

    VGA / Graphics Display, INTEL
    OS : Windows 7(64bit)
    Version : 8.15.10.2622, File size : 81.31 MB Download

    HECI Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 7.0.0.1144, File size : 3.87 MB Download

    Intel Rapid Storage Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 10.1.5.1001, File size : 10.68 MB Download

    Touchpad Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 3.3.0.0, File size : 172.21 MB Download

    Bluetooth Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 1.6.0.0, File size : 259.52 MB Download

    Intel Bluetooth High Speed DriverIntel Bluetooth High Speed Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 14.2.1.1, File size : 90.33 MB Download

    Lan / Ethernet Driver
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 7.44.421.2011, File size : 5.07 MB Download

    Wireless Driver
    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN INTEL
    OS : Windows 7(32bit)
    Version : 15.0.0.75, File size : 61.81 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN INTEL
    OS : Windows 7(64bit)
    Version : 15.0.0.75, File size : 68.47 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN ATHEROS
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 9.2.0.470, File size : 33.73 MB Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless LAN BROADCOM
    OS : Windows 7(32bit/64bit)
    Version : 5.100.82.95, File size : 46.03 MB Download

    Samsung Description:
    Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate).

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Samsung 300U to download drivers Samsung 300U windows 7 32-bit 64-bit. Samsung 300U Drivers Update. Laptop Review, Laptop Specs, Download Drivers Online."

              Toshiba Satellite M50 Drivers Windows XP         
    Toshiba Satellite M50. Download Driver Toshiba Satellite M50 for Windows XP. Update your laptop drivers online with direct links from official website of Toshiba Satellite M50 Drivers.

    Download Drivers Toshiba Satellite M50 For Windows XP

    Driver Accessibility Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Accessibility Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Acoustic Silencer Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Assist Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Bluetooth Monitor Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Bluetooth Stack Toshiba OS independent

    Driver Cardbus Driver Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Config Free Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Controls Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Display Driver ATI Windows XP

    Driver Display Driver Intel Windows XP

    Driver Display Driver ATI Windows XP

    Driver Infrared Driver Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver LAN Driver Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP

    Driver LAN Driver Marvell Windows XP

    Driver Modem Driver Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver PC diagnostic tool Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Power Saver Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Power Saver Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver Power Saver Driver Toshiba Windows XP

    Driver SD Secure Module Toshiba Windows XP

    Sound Driver Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP

    Sound Driver Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP

    Touchpad Driver Alps Electric Windows XP

    Touchpad Driver Alps Electric Windows XP

    Toshiba Description:
    Toshiba Corporation is a multinational conglomerate manufacturing company, headquartered in Japan. The company's main business is in Infrastructure, Consumer Products, and Electronic devices and components. Toshiba-made Semiconductors are among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders. Toshiba is one of the biggest international notebook-manufacturer. There exist many reviews for Toshiba models.


    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Toshiba Satellite M50 to download drivers Toshiba Satellite M50 Windows XP. Toshiba Satellite M50 Drivers Update. Download Drivers Online. Laptop Toshiba Reviews, Laptop Driver, Laptop drivers for windows 7 32bit 64bit, Laptop Insurance, Laptop for Lawyer, drivers satellite for windows vista, windows xp and windows 8. Find your laptop drivers from it's official website.

              Blog Post: The Blockbuster Embraces the Silence        

    Genre: 1 or 2-Player First Person Shooter (18-Player Online)

    Publisher: Activision

    Developer: Infinity Ward

    Release Date: November 15 (Playstation 4)

    ESRB Rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language

    Package: Stepping into the next generation of gaming, the latest Call of Duty brings to the table a story with a fresh taste in warfare, multiplayer we've all come to know and love, and two new unique game modes

    Fun Factor: You won't find much boredom here as all aspects of Ghosts offer enjoyable playtime

    Gameplay: While this installment surprisingly contains slight changes to the controls (aim with L2 and shoot with R2 instead of with L1 and R1, plus a few other minor changes), Ghosts sustains the healthy, iconic formula from the past seven years

    Graphics and Art: This is undeniably the best looking Call of Duty featuring staggering amounts of remarkable detail all the way from your weapon to the striking environments

    Music and Sound: All corners of the game sound just fine, including good voice acting and one of the best Call of Duty scores to date

    Replay Value: Ghosts is a game you can sit down and play any and every day, for sure

    Game-Changer Status: Even though Call of Duty: Ghosts is not a revolutionary title, it paves way for a neat and interesting direction for the series and is an entirely entertaining as well as memorable approach as it ushers Call of Duty into the next generation of video games

    With the recently concluded Modern Warfare saga under their belts, it was finally time for Infinity Ward to shift to a new beginning with the reigning king of shooters. The possibilities were endless and the result could have been an extraordinary or by the books shooter. The answer to that risky call is Call of Duty: Ghosts, the latest chapter in the series, which falls somewhere in-between those two states of being. Introducing a whole new atmosphere the franchise has yet seen before, Ghosts presents a bold venture, while also keeping in line with what Call of Duty has come to be known for. The inclusion of the expected campaign and online multiplayer are in addition accompanied by two novel, while maybe not purely original, welcomed modes. Put your masks on, and this is what you can look forward to from the most up to date stamp in this household name.

    The strongest part of Call of Duty: Ghosts is also my favorite part about the game; that being the single-player campaign. Starting off with an incredible bang, Ghosts is filled with one thrilling mission after another. Taking control of, once again, another non-speaking soldier, you are thrust into a not only damaged, but somewhat post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a conglomerate of national forces called the Federation (a nice departure from the overused Russian enemy-type obsession). However, this isn't another military shooter focused on how many rounds you shoot or all the noise you can make. As the name suggests, Call of Duty: Ghosts is more attracted to the shadier side of things than to the spotlight due to its overall clandestine tone and plot.

    Eventually assuming the role of what they call a "Ghost", a guise who place their preferred home in the shadows, you become a fellow member of an elite squad of other Ghosts, participating in enthralling stealth-inspired missions as well as the occasional explosive mission; each one starting out with the coolest assignment debriefings the series has ever been given. As you progress through the good, while not at all flawless story, you are exposed to a variety of tasks in sophisticated levels, and get entangled in a narrative that treads foreign, though refreshing territory in contrast to Ghosts' predecessors. I found satisfaction in the mild accent on family (your character has a brother and father) in Call of Duty: Ghosts, even if that sounds like a strange idea for a Call of Duty game to touch on, and thought while a bulk of the characters, counting the main antagonist, were mediocre in execution, the relationships between them were done well (you are also accompanied by a dog companion named Riley in a few missions who adds to this aspect of the game). It's disappointing the campaign only clocks in around five to six hours because the story and these characters could have been fleshed out further to bring forth a more coherent tale in all respects. Nevertheless, Ghosts is one ride you will never forget.

    The individual missions are, in short, quite spectacular. Definitely the most consistently action-packed Call of Duty campaign since possibly Modern Warfare 2, Ghosts is intense and exciting from the superb start to the gratifying finish (you absolutely will be contemplating the conclusion while the credits roll). Every mission through and through is submerged in awesome set-piece moments and I relished greatly in all the offerings. Ghosts is speckled with unforgettable, distinguishing instances. One moment you are hastily trying to avoid being engulfed in an encompassing city-wide flood while in another mission you may find yourself literally fighting in space. You can even take control of Riley, your dog companion, a couple of times to take down or sneak past guards. These are just a very small number of examples that make Call of Duty: Ghosts stand out from previous entries in the franchise in meaningful ways (which is wonderful to see considering a Call of Duty game comes out every year). Ghosts' campaign flows, while almost too speedily, without breaking a sweat establishing itself as one of the most enjoyable single-player experiences the franchise has produced.

    Now picture the whole campaign, counting these examples, all beautifully rendered in highly impressive graphical quality, and you can't help but gawk. Ghosts truly is the best-looking Call of Duty gamer ever hands down and could even be considered as one of the best-looking games you'll see on the market. If you catch yourself trying to stifle blazing through a particular mission to take in the game's entire luxurious digital world, you'd be forgiven; I confess I did this all too often. Although the way the game looks was to be expected because of Ghosts releasing on next generation consoles, you don't really appreciate it unless it's right there in front of you. What's more, this power carries on over to the online multiplayer and other two game modes, Squads and Extinction.

    For the last several years, Call of Duty's online multiplayer could largely be considered as almost perfect in every facet: outstanding modes, superb maps, fast matchmaking, brilliant weapons, terrific customization options, and so on. Whereas Ghosts retains all of these, it unfortunately does not comprise or push anything quite innovative on the surface. Generally, everything you find present is what you would ultimately want from the multiplayer experience Call of Duty has. Ghosts does have a handful of new game mode types like Heavy Duty, Blitz, and Cranked that contain different rules and objectives that are absent from past games, and Ghosts furthermore provides added customizable options for your perks and soldier(s) that tend to offer you new, but sometimes unrecognizable embellishments to the main experience. There are also minuscule alterations to the killstreak system (one is you can now have a killstreak guard dog buddy at your side to watch your back) that reuses the one introduced in Modern Warfare 3; Assault, Support, and Strike packages. All in all, though, Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer is lovely. The maps still resemble first-rate level design, and it's always rewarding looking for ways to approach a match and the opposing team. You won't come across anything too ambitious in regards to the Ghosts multiplayer component, but when a mode is near perfection, there's nothing to complain about.

    Squads interrelates to the online multiplayer by letting you gain the same XP, use the same weapons, and even allowing you to make good use out of the other character soldier classes accessible (there are ten in total) to use in multiplayer matches. These character soldier classes are vastly customizable as you can, when made available to you through completing different challenges, change the name, appearance, and loadout of the soldier. The intent behind Squads is nothing complicated. Choose your soldier and compete against either other players (squads) around the world or bots in different game modes with your AI controlled squad, unless you're playing with a friend who can take control of another squad mate. The game modes you play in Squads are not completely special (one is a wave after wave type mode), but they do propose a minor change of pace and style from the regular multiplayer in Ghosts. It's good fun and it's something I see myself always coming back to.

    If you loved Treyarch's Zombies modes, you're going to be heading over to Extinction pretty quickly. In this Extinction mode, alien creatures are now trying to occupy and dominate the planet. You are a part of a four man team whose jobs are to annihilate this enemy. The goal is to use a given drill to decimate these alien hives on the ground, and while it's doing its job, defend the drill and your life by taking out the aliens. It requires the same type of teamwork involved in Treyarch's classic game mode and can lead to frantic shootouts against the evil alien forces. Weapons lay around the map to be bought by points you acquire through killing the creatures, and these same points can be used to unlock in-game upgrades and equipment to further help you and your teammates against the waves of enemies. Extinction presents itself as an addictive, teamwork based mode, which it wholly accomplishes. I am a huge Nazi Zombies fan, so for this kind of mode to be incorporated into Ghosts is just great. It's a commendable angle, and one fully pleasing to me.

    When the first Modern Warfare released last generation, it pioneered a revolutionary outlook on the first-person shooter. Ghosts is not Modern Warfare reincarnated by no means, but it is a refreshing, significant installment in the series. The campaign is exceptional, the multiplayer robust, and the modes, Squads and Extinction, grant a little something for everybody. I am constantly impressed and held in check by this yearly franchise that could simply be recycling old techniques with a different name subtitle, though instead continues to thrive for the better. Call of Duty: Ghosts may adhere to the dark corners, but after I played it, all I wanted to do was shine the brightest light on this memorable title for the whole world to see.


              Desinstitucionalização no contexto neoliberal brasileiro        
    No final da década de 70, entra em crise mundial o modelo capitalista denominado de “Welfare State”. Suas principais características eram: o Estado protetor e indutor do crescimento econômico e, ao mesmo tempo, promotor do bem estar social. Também, era função do Estado a manutenção e o estímulo à criação de uma política de pleno emprego. É claro que havia diferenças entre os países que adotaram o Welfare State.

    Com a crise deste modelo de desenvolvimento econômico ocorre um avanço do ideário neoliberal pelo mundo, baseado no fim do intervencionismo estatal na esfera econômica e social. Para o ideário neoliberal este intervencionismo estimulou a crise fiscal do estado. A proposta agora é a reconstituição do papel do mercado que deveria ser mais competivito e globalizado. No campo das políticas públicas, o Estado deverá estimular a redução dos serviços sociais públicos transferindo os serviços mais rentáveis ao mercado privado. Portanto, o neoliberalismo contribui para o crescimento da desigualde social e da exclusão em todos os países nos quais se instala, preservando as devidas proporções.

    No contexto brasileiro, o primeiro presidente a adotar publicamente o neoliberalismo foi Collor de Mello em 1990. Suas principais ações foram: estimular a privatização, desregulamentação dos direitos sociais e trabalhistas, enfraquecimento dos sindicatos, aumento da seletividade nos programas de enfrentamento à pobreza, acarretando assim o aumento da exclusão, da desigualdade social e da violência social. Todas estas medidas têm sido adotadas pelos demais Presidentes da República que o sucederam ao longo dos anos.

    Somado ao neoliberalismo, não podemos nos esquecer que a globalização da economia foi acelerada pelo desenvolvimento das tecnologias de informática; o que contribuiu, de modo significativo, para a sua transnacionalização conforme nos aponta Borón:

    “O surgimento de um pequeno conglomerado de gigantescas empresas transnacionais, os “novos leviatãs”, cuja escala planetária e gravitação social os torna atores políticos de primeiríssima ordem, quase impossíveis de controlar e causadores de um desequilíbrio dificilmente reparável no âmbito das instituições e das práticas democráticas das sociedades capitalistas” (Borón, 2000, p 07-08).

    É claro que todos os segmentos sociais da população brasileira têm sofrido com a adoção do neoliberalismo e com o processo de globalização da economia. Contudo, neste contexto, as classes mais vulneráveis são: as pessoas pauperizadas, os idosos, crianças/adolescentes e pessoas portadoras de doenças graves ou psíquicas. Borón (2000), ainda alerta para a dificuldade que será sustentar regimes democráticos em sociedade tão desiguais e injustas já que o princípio norteador da democracia se baseia na igualdade de oportunidade para todos, ou melhor, num governo para todos. Parece oportuno, apontar para o significado da palavra democracia para demonstrar o quanto ele se torna inapropriado dentro da lógica do capital financeiro globalizado. Segundo o dicionário on-line da língua portuguesa, democracia é definida como:

    “sistema político fundamentado no princípio de que a autoridade emana do povo (conjunto de cidadãos) e é exercida por ele ao investir o poder soberano através de eleições periódicas livres, e no princípio da distribuição eqüitativa do poder; sociedade que garante a liberdade de associação e de expressão e na qual não existem distinções ou privilégios de classe hereditários ou arbitrários” (www.ditcom.com.br/dicionário.htm).

    Conforme dados do Ministério da Saúde, é palpável a magnitude epidemiológica dos transtornos mentais, cuja prevalência em cidades brasileiras oscila de 20% a 50%. Mundialmente, das dez doenças incapacitantes e que maior sobrecarga causam na vida das pessoas, 05 são de natureza psiquiátrica (BRASIL,1999).

    Joel Birman (1988), na conferência “Abordagem Política dos Aspectos da Psiquiatria no Brasil” destacou a doença mental como motivo do maior número de mutilados socialmente no Brasil. Isto não por ausência de políticas de saúde, mas, sim pela existência de políticas de exclusão em que, por excesso de jornada de trabalho, condições insalubres, baixos salários, péssimas condições de moradia e alimentação, e ausência de lazer, os trabalhadores chegam à loucura ou procuram-na como recurso para se “encostarem” no INPS e assim ajudar na manutenção econômica da família.

    Mais uma vez, esses cidadãos brasileiros se tornam mais vulneráveis na medida em que as políticas de seguridade social brasileira passam a ser mais seletivas, fragmentadas e pontuais tanto no campo da assistência social como no campo da saúde. Já na esfera previdenciária muitos portadores de transtorno psíquicos não conseguem ter seus direitos

    assegurados, pois integram o mercado informal de trabalho. Portanto, segundo a lógica previdenciária, uma vez que não contribuem ao INSS não podem recorrer ao mesmo em caso de doença ou qualquer outro tipo de eventualidade que lhe retire a capacidade para o trabalho.

    Torna-se relevante destacar que no contexto das políticas sociais neoliberais, os portadores de transtorno mental têm sofrido com o vertiginoso desinvestimento nos programas sociais, o sucateamento dos serviços, a sobrecarga da jornada de trabalho dos trabalhadores em saúde e em saúde mental, e com a falta de recursos para implantação de serviços abertos e de oficinas terapêuticas.

    Amarante (2003) alerta para o que ele denomina de “capsização do modelo assistencial” na medida em que a atual política nacional de saúde mental vem se reduzindo à implantação desse tipo de serviço. Assim, limitar a reforma psiquiátrica a isso não é suficiente para a superação do paradigma psiquiátrico, pois mesmo dentro dos CAP´s podem ocorrem práticas cronificadoras e segregadoras. Por conseguinte, se torna relevante a discussão sobre o processo de alta dos usuários de serviços abertos e a efetivação de políticas sociais que realmente colaborem para a plena inserção dos mesmos na sociedade.

    Desta maneira a desinstitucionalização deve ser objetivada no sentido de desconstrução, ou seja, de superação de um modelo arcaico centrado na doença. A desinstitucionalização significa tratar o sujeito em sua existência e em relação com suas condições concretas de vida. O tratamento volta-se para a criação de possibilidades concretas de sociabilidade e subjetividade. Esta proposta passa pela criação de um novo projeto ético que busca introduzir na sociedade novos sujeitos de direitos e novos direitos para esses sujeitos.

    Fonte: Um Jogo em Aberto: Cidadania dos Portadores de Transtorno Mental
              Montisola Lago d'Iseo - Palm Print Culottes & Peasant Style Boho Blouse        
    Montisola is a fairly big island in the Iseo Lake (Lago d'Iseo). It is the biggest lake island in Italy as well as in Southern and Central Europe. You can reach it daily via the ferry boat service offered. Main ports for that service are Iseo, from which we parted, Sulzano e Sale Marasino, all located on the Brescian side of the lake, that is the side that is part of the province of Brescia.


    Peschiera Maraglio as seen from the ferry boat - Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog


    Montisola

    At Montisola (or sometimes refered to as Monte Isola which is the name of the conglomerat of small villages located on the island) there is a variety of things to do. You can walk around the whole island by foot, or rent a bike to do it. You can enjoy a bath in the lake as there are several points that provide space to put a towel and easy entrance into the water. Or you could visit either the Rocca (a small castle) or the church/sanctuary Santuario della Madonna della Ceriola on top of the mountain that gives the island its name. Personally we haven't been to the church yet, but I've put it on this summers bucket list which I plan to share with you all soon.




    If you are ever on holidays at Lake Iseo, I absolutely suggest you take a day trip over to this island. Starting from Montisola they also offer a so called "3 Island Tour" by boat. You will be ferried from the big island over to the two smaller ones which are both privately owned. I don't think you can visit the houses there, but just riding the boat around the lake is an enjoyable experience.

    My Boho Vacation Style Outfit

    Well there really isn't much to see. Usually my husband takes the pictures of me, but that day he wasn't with us, so I asked my parents. Alas... I'm afraid you will have to do with "Mini Me" pics and gorgeous scenery. I hope you can still get an idea of what I was wearing. It was a great choice for walking along the lake side and at some point dipping my feet into the water. The palm print culottes appeared on the blog before, styled less casual, more chic although I'd really only would have to change up shoes and accessories here to elevate the look. Maybe I will, to show you the difference.


    Lungolago Iseo as seen from the ferry boat - Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Peasant style boho blouse and tigerseye peace symbol necklace on the ferry boat - Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Small motor boat at Lungolago Peschiera Maraglio on Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Small furgoncino Ape at Lungolago Peschiera Maraglio on Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Me in boho style vacation outfit at Lungolago Peschiera Maraglio on Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Me in boho style vacation outfit with palm print culottes at Lungolago Peschiera Maraglio on Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Me in boho style vacation outfit with peasant bohemian blouse dipping feet in water at Lungolago Peschiera Maraglio on Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Son and me dipping feet in water. I'm wearing boho style vacation outfit with peasant bohemian blouse and palm print culottes. Sensole, Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    At the ferry landing at Peschiera Meraglio, Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Rocca, Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog

    Son on the ferry boat watching the lake & the waves. Montisola Lago d'Iseo | Funky Jungle - Mindful fashion, quirky personal style & local travel blog


    Outfit Details: Palm Print Culottes - H&M (old - similar here & here) | Boho Peasant Blouse - Mango (old - similar here & here & also luv this one) | Blue Satchel Bag - local Made in Italy (old - similar here & here) | Sneakers - Puma (old)


    Follow me! 
    And never miss a Funky post.
    Instagram || Twitter || E-Mail || Facebook || Pinterest  






    Linking up with: Not Dressed As Lamb | More Pieces of Me | Elegantly Dressed & Stylish | The Pleated Poppy | Get Your Pretty On |




              Conglomerate        
    Most sighted people see many typefaces on an hourly basis. If you are a regular reader of type-related stories, you probably also look at typefaces daily and stare at their curves. And you probably use several typefaces in any given week. As a regular reader of Typographica, as you go through each review from this […]
              Tim Berners-Lee aprueba DRM Web        
    ECUADOR | Conocimiento Libre – Tim Berners-Lee el principal árbitro de los estándares Web, aprobó la controversial propuesta de estándares de Gestión de Derechos Digitales (DRM) propuestas para la Web, las Extensiones de Medios Criptografados (EME). *Extensiones de Medios Criptografados(EME)* Durante años, hemos estado luchando contra compañías web y conglomerados de Hollywood que quieren integrar ...
              What the Microsoft-Yahoo-Bing Deal Means for You        
    So what's it mean for computer users now that Microsoft and Yahoo today finally are announcing their long-anticipated marriage of Microsoft's Bing search engine and Yahoo's premium search advertising tools? Will this change our lives?

    Actually, I think this partnership will mean far more for Microsoft and Yahoo and their corporate balance sheets than it will for those of us who are technology consumers, and here's why.

    1) Will search get better due to the deal between the two companies? Now I don't have a crystal ball, but I tried Bing, I played with Bing, I experienced Bing, but Bing, you're no Google search. Yes, it has some cool features, like bringing up found items in new and useful lists that are highly targeted for users, but there's this little problem that no amount of money and advertising can change -- people's habits. And my habit, like the habit of tens of millions of computer users around me, is to call up Google whenever and wherever I have to search, every time. It's like a mother's love -- it's there forever.

    2) Will Yahoo go to the dogs now that it's linked itself in a partnership deal with the slow, hard-to-steer, behemoth known as Microsoft? I do think there are more risks for Yahoo here than there are for Microsoft. Remember when the huge cable TV conglomerate Time Warner Inc. merged with the original America Online (AOL) Internet provider back in 2000, thinking it was the wave of the future and all of humanity would follow in a sea of dollar signs and goodwill? And do you know where they are now? Time Warner is spinning off AOL, which has been struggling for years, as it continues to try to figure out just what to do with it. Before teaming with Time Warner, AOL was the king of the Internet, as we all clamored to have slow, software-laden Internet access at $2.99 an hour like the good consumer lemmings we were in those days. But then cheaper, faster access arrived with DSL, cable and all-you-can-use plans, but AOL and stodgy Time Warner couldn't react quickly enough. There's a lesson here. Bigger isn't always better. I read that in a fortune cookie. I could have saved Time Warner and AOL a lot of money if I'd have told them that. Hey, Microsoft and Yahoo, are you listening?

    3) Are there privacy concerns we should be worried about from this deal? That depends on the fine print, and that we'll have to have to check carefully to be sure what Microsoft and Yahoo want to do with all the consumer data they'll be able to collect from our searches. This is already an issue with Google and other search engines as we continue to make our way through this still relatively new global Internet adventure. When we use "free" services like search on the Internet, whether through Google or Yahoo or Bing or whatever, there really is no "free." Someone somewhere is using the spoils of the search - our preferences about what we are looking for - for marketing, for potential revenue enhancement and to help them in their businesses. It's an acceptable risk to us as consumers only when we know what the rules are. Somehow, though, we usually don't ask what those rules are ahead of time. Maybe we should get that information up front this time.

    4) Will this Microsoft-Yahoo partnership be enough to knock Google from its perch as the king of search for savvy consumers? I doubt it, and here's why - I just don't see Microsoft and Yahoo, even with the new Bing search engine as its mascot, coming anywhere near Google with the kinds of innovations that make us all excited and Googly. There's Google Earth. Could Microsoft or Yahoo have thought of that? And there's Google Voice. OK, it's still a fledgling effort, but it is interesting and innovative, and users are lining up early to try to get a Google invite to test it out and take it for a ride. What always amazes me is how the Google tech folks are always introducing fascinating new technologies that they can bring to users in ways that no one has else has yet imagined. OK, they haven't found an answer for world peace or the vaccine for swine flu yet, but you never know. I'm just not sure that Microsoft still has any of that kind of turn-on-a-dime mentality anymore. And that's why this partnership may not help search-loving consumers or Yahoo as much as the new partners believe it will.
    http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/312937/what_microsoft-yahoo-bing_deal_means?fp=4
              I think Savoie's got something        

    Jeff Nielson likes to cite the study done by a couple of Swiss researchers showing that one conglomerate of many huge international corporations is so interconnected through ownership and common directors that it's effectively one corporate unit and that it amounts to something like 40% of all corporate income worldwide.

    Savoie's stuff is a bit dry but he shows that, if you look at the known member of this "Pilgrim Society" group, over and over again you see guys serving on the boards of directors of 4, 5, 6 or more huge companies.  It would be a little ridiculous for each of those corporations.  How can Chadwick Q. Oldmoney give the attention to AT&T and Johnson & Johnson and General Electric and a couple other big firms as needed?  Well, I think Savoie's point is that he's not trying to.  He's part of a group of associated people on the board of each of those firms so he just votes with all the others and they make sure that AT&T and GE etc don't go wandering astray but serve whatever interest the Pilgrim Society has in its functioning.


              Were Banks Ever 'Boring'?         

    from Liberty Street Economics

    -- this post authored by Nicola Cetorelli

    In a previous post, I documented that much of the expansion into nontraditional activities by U.S. banks began well before the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, the legislation that repealed much of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. The historical record actually contains many prior instances of the Glass-Steagall restrictions being circumvented, with nonbank firms allowed to operate as financial conglomerates and engage in activities that go beyond traditional banking. These broad industry dynamics might indicate that the business of banking tends to expand firm boundaries beyond a traditional - "boring" - perimeter.

    Read more ...


              A new "luxury row"? High-end brands could soon join the Amazing Brentwood's retail lineup        
    Labels such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Fendi may be among the centre's tenants, if support from luxury conglomerate LVMH is any indication.
              Nashville 2012 Tonight at Nashville Film Fest        



              Despoiling a Steel Maker        
    Steel making has got nothing to with Child Sexual Abuse, right? Wrong. In India, after much public pressure, the government passed a law in 2012 to address the issue of exploitation of vulnerable children. The law was called the 'Prevention of Children from Child Sexual Offences'. So far, so good.

    The trouble began when the government circulated an acronym to popularise the act. The POSCO Act seemed easy on the mouth. But the bureaucrats who came up with moniker clearly didn't know about the existence of POSCO, the world's fourth largest steel maker by measure. POSCO is a South Korean giant with a significant Indian footprint. In 2005, the company had grabbed the headlines by announcing a $12 billion steel plant in Odisha. Given Modi's pet theme of Make in India, it's important not to piss off brands like POSCO.

    By equating POSCO with Child Sexual Abuse, the government has unwittingly caused enormous embarrassment to the brand equity of the South Korean conglomerate. Fortunately, POSCO isn't a B2C brand. Being more of a B2B brand, this unhappy coincidence will not hurt the company as much. But imagine the damage had the 60 billion dollar company been an FMCG company! Perhaps next time, the government selects a name, it might help to do a name-check before unleashing it to the world.
              Socialismo real y medios de comunicación        
    Hace unos meses, el periodista francés Sébastien Madau, redactor de La Marseillaise, tuvo la amabilidad de enviarme un largo cuestionario, en el que entre otros temas hablamos de la prensa y el socialismo. Aprovecho y comparto algunos breves fragmentos de esa entrevista.


    Sobre el socialismo real y los medios de comunicación…

    La prensa, los medios de comunicación modernos que van surgiendo al menos desde el siglo XVIII europeo para acá, encuentran en el mercado el principal ente regulador. Eso lo puedes rastrear sobre todo en el pensamiento de los Padres Fundadores de los Estados Unidos, quienes a su vez se inspiran en el liberalismo inglés, que propone que sea el mercado, la libre competencia, quien se encargue de decantar la buena información de la mala, el buen periodismo del mal periodismo. En teoría, esta afirmación parecería válida, pero siempre se obvia algo que es fundamental: los medios no concurren al mercado en igualdad de condiciones. Un pequeño periódico de provincia no podría competir con un gran diario respaldado por un conglomerado multimediático. Alexander Hamilton y Benjamin Franklin estaban pensando en una sociedad ideal de pequeños propietarios, nunca en los conglomerados de hoy.

    Lenin, iniciando el siglo XX, denunciará la falacia de la libertad de prensa en tanto sinónimo de libertad de empresa, y propone entonces darle los medios al “pueblo”. Hago un breve paréntesis: cada vez que se invoca al “pueblo”, en lo personal me preocupo, porque no hay nada más abstracto que este concepto y en su nombre “se verán horrores”. Por el “pueblo” se puede entender cualquier cosa, desde aquel grupo de ciudadanos que acompaña a la “libertad” en el famoso lienzo de Delacroix (donde había un burgués de levita, por cierto), hasta esa multitud embobecida y manipulada que siempre invocan los teóricos de la sociedad de masas. Cuando el pueblo se instruye, cuando el pueblo se complejiza, deja de ser pueblo, deja de ser masa, y gana en ciudadanía, en derechos individuales, lo cual no podemos confundir con el mito del individualismo (y la atomización-enajenación) burguesa.


    Pero regreso al punto por donde iba: Lenin decide devolverle los medios al pueblo, y luego de intentar brevemente la creación de una suerte de cooperativas mediáticas (propone entregar a cada soviet una determinada cantidad de papel y tinta para que tuviesen sus propios medios de expresión) descubre algo tremendo: el pueblo ruso (con una de las tasas de analfabetismo más altas de toda Europa) no estaba listo para “producir comunicación”. Les dabas papel, tinta, tiempo de imprenta... pero no había nada que decir. Tantos años reverenciando al “padrecito zar” y a los iconos ortodoxos que simplemente te quedaste sin voz. Ahora que puedes hablar no sabes cómo hacerlo.

    Entonces los medios irán pasando a un grupo de “revolucionarios profesionales”, a cuadros del Partido quienes hablarán en nombre del pueblo, quienes, en tanto “guías”, “orientarán” a ese pueblo, lo “conducirán” por el camino de la revolución. Y estos “cuadros” actuarán del mismo modo que los popes de la Iglesia Ortodoxa: servirán de intermediarios, de médium, entre Dios (El Partido) y el rebaño de feligreses (el Pueblo). Este paternalismo ilustrado no lo padecieron solo los revolucionarios rusos, sino que es un mal de todas las revoluciones que han sacudido los cimientos de la modernidad, desde 1789 a la fecha.

    Ya cuando la revolución rusa se institucionaliza, sobre todo desde que en 1928 Stalin se consolida al frente del PCUS, los medios se adscribirán a organizaciones que teóricamente no solo representan al pueblo, sino que se consideran el pueblo en sí. Y ahí tenemos entonces a Pravda como órgano del PCUS, y a un periódico del Komsomol (la juventud comunista) y así por el estilo, desde los sindicatos a las Fuerzas Armadas. Aquí llegamos a un punto importante: los medios se consideran del “pueblo”, y el “pueblo” entonces no puede dialogar críticamente con esos medios, porque esos medios son, de facto, su propia voluntad, y renegar de esos medios es como renegar de uno mismo. Te encuentras entonces con una prensa que tiende al triunfalismo, a la hagiografía, y que nunca da dos pasos atrás y analiza críticamente el poder que sea, que denuncia, que pide cuentas. Y cuando los medios comienzan a describir el país de Jauja, el Valhalla o El Dorado, y no las profundas complejidades del reino de este mundo, la verdad que hay que preocuparse.

    La ilustración, no el capitalismo, inventaron la división de poderes, la cual comienza a pensarse, de Montesquieu a Rousseau, pasando por Hobbes y Locke, como una reacción lógica al absolutismo feudal. Te encuentras a un Luis XIV que se dice no solo representante de los poderes del Estado, sino la encarnación del Estado en sí. El monarca es juez y es parte, y toda la filosofía contractualista ilustrada está hablando de la necesidad de dividir a los poderes, de modo tal que uno no se sobreponga al otro, que cada uno controle al otro. Ya sé que podría decirse con toda razón que detrás de este concepto se esconden grandes falacias; todo eso es cierto, pero si los medios de comunicación están en el mismo despacho desde el cual se dirige la República, ¿cómo estos van a criticar y/o denunciar las cosas que andan mal?

    Podrías citarse a Marx y decir que todo Estado es una institución clasista, un aparato mediante el cual una determinada clase refrenda mediante el ejercicio de la violencia sus prerrogativas sobre el resto de la sociedad. Así podría hablarse de un Estado burgués y otro Estado proletario, de dictadura de la burguesía o dictadura del proletariado. En lo personal, muy en lo personal, preferiría desterrar el lenguaje de las dictaduras y los ejercicios de fuerza, porque en nombre de la libertad, desde Jean-Paul Marat a Henry Kissinger veremos también horrores. La dictadura del proletariado intenta al menos combatir un eje de la dominación (clase vs clase), pero hay otros tan o más importantes a tener en cuenta. Y al final, desde el ejercicio de la fuerza, se reproduce un modelo mediático Estado-centrista que a la larga reproduce los males estructurales de toda sociedad basada en el ejercicio sistemático del poder por parte de una elite gobernante sobre una masa sometida. No me voy a extender en ese punto, pero lo anterior no va reñido al hecho de que incluyo asumiendo como algo concreto, y no como una entelequia, la existencia de un “Estado proletario de obreros y campesinos”. ¿Cómo canalizar eficientemente, no solo en el plano discursivo, las múltiples complejidades de esos grupos sociales? ¿Y cómo combatir la corrupción, las deformaciones que existen en cualquier agrupación humana? La transparencia informativa ayudaría sin lugar a dudas, incluso en una representación que antes de comenzar, el Coro siempre aclara que se trata de un escenario de plaza sitiada, donde con la crítica existiría el peligro de “darle armas al enemigo”.

    El organigrama mediático surgido en los tiempos de Lenin y consolidado bajo la corona de Stalin, se pensó para un contexto de guerra de movimientos, por usar la terminología gramsciana; no para una larguísima guerra de posiciones como fueron los setenta años de guerra fría entre la URSS y el mundo occidental. Lo mejor de todo esto es que el sistema de comunicación funciona perfectamente en el corto y mediano plano, pero la experiencia soviética demostró que a la larga no contribuye a reproducir esa cultura otra, libertaria, por la que aboga en teoría el socialismo, sino que se va creando una grieta entre ese “pueblo” y sus representantes ideológicos... y la grieta con los años se convierte en abismo, el abismo en desconexión y finalmente el contrato social se rompe en dos mitades y lanza a la papelera, como hicieron a inicios de los noventa veinte millones de militantes del PCUS.

    El debate acerca de la libertad de prensa…

    Este es todo un tema para comentar. ¿Qué entender por libertad de prensa? ¿Cuáles serían sus fundamentos? ¿Cuáles sus límites? En lo personal, me quedo con la definición que da la Declaración de Derechos del Hombre y del Ciudadano, en los días más gloriosos de la Revolución Francesa. Pero no podríamos negar que el término ha sido vilipendiado y obscurecido desde entonces a la fecha, y en cierto modo monopolizado por un sector que terminó adueñándose de las libertades que la revolución francesa proclamó como universales. La libertad de prensa ni es sinónimo de libertad de empresa ni es sinónimo de prensa estatal (es decir, estatizada; que no es lo mismo que decir pública, es decir, del ciudadano). Se trata de algo más: del derecho a recibir información, pero también a producirla. A tener acceso a contenidos diversos pero también a una educación, a una cultura, que te permita generarlos.

              â€˜Star Wars,’ Marvel to Boost Disney’s Already Dominant Licensing Biz        
    When it comes to licensing, Disney is the undisputed king of the castle. The Mouse House generated $39.4 billion in retail sales from licensing, dominating the category with 80% marketshare, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Assn., more than any other studio or entertainment conglomerate. But Disney believes that figure could rise even higher... Read more »
              RECONOCIMIENTO MUNICIPAL Y REGISTRAL: PROBLEMÁTICA PARA LAS ORGANIZACIONES SOCIALES DE BASE        

    RECONOCIMIENTO MUNICIPAL Y REGISTRAL: PROBLEMÁTICA PARA LAS ORGANIZACIONES SOCIALES DE BASE
    Autor: Luis Miguel Boy Vásquez

    Durante los últimos veinte años, el Estado Peruano no reconocía el derecho de las Organizaciones Sociales de Base (OSB), llámese Clubes de Madres, Comedores Populares, Comités del Vaso de Leche, organización de personas que se agrupan con la finalidad de buscar alternativas de solución para su desarrollo humano integral en la sociedad.

    Las Organizaciones Sociales de Base nacieron específicamente como una necesidad de la población inmigrante de la sierra y la selva, personas que se mudaron entre los años 70, 80 y 90 a las grandes ciudades, Lima, Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, etc, con la intención de mejores oportunidades de empleo en las grandes ciudades.

    Estas Organizaciones Sociales de Base empezaron a formarse en los Asentamientos Humanos ubicados en los cerros, donde la población inmigrante se conglomeraba para poder subsistir, y donde las mujeres madres buscaban formas más efectivas de poder cocinar reduciendo sus gastos, de allí nacieron las OLLAS COMUNES, que conglomeraban gran cantidad de personas del barrio para la preparación conjunta de los alimentos, los que eran distribuidos a todos los habitantes de ese sector.

    Posteriormente, con la entrada en vigencia de la Ley Nº 25307 (publicada en el Diario El Peruano el 15 de Febrero de 1991), emitida durante la época de Gobierno de Alberto Fujimori Fujimori, declaraba de prioritario interés nacional la labor que realizan los Clubes de Madres, Comités de Vaso de Leche, Comedores Populares Autogestionarios, Cocinas Familiares, Centros Familiares, centros Materno Infantiles y demás organizaciones sociales de base, en lo referido al servicio de apoyo alimentario que brindan a las familias de menores recursos.

    De esta forma, la Ley Nº 25307 recién fue reglamentada hasta después de más de diez años, mediante el Decreto Supremo Nº 041-2002-PCM (publicado en el Diario El Peruano de fecha 26 de Mayo de 2002), en la época del Gobierno de Alejandro Toledo Manrique, no obstante esta norma ya dejaba ciertos vacíos legales e incongruencias desde su publicación; pues al declarar de prioritario interés la labor que realizan las Organizaciones Sociales de Base, les reconocía también su existencia legal y les otorgaba personería jurídica de derecho privado, con la sola inscripción en los Registros Públicos Regionales, previo cumplimiento del procedimiento de Reconocimiento Municipal que debía seguirse ante los Gobiernos Locales.

    Del mismo modo, de la revisión del Articulado de la Ley Nº 25307 y su Reglamento (D.S. Nº 041-2002-PCM), se precisa que para convalidar el proceso de inscripción ante los Registros Públicos, basta solamente la presentación de la Resolución Municipal que declare el registro; entonces ¿Porqué la SUNARP a través de la Directiva Nº 010-2003-SUNARP/SN, aprobada por Resolución Nº 373-2003-SUNARP-SN presenta una serie de requisitos para la Inscripción de las Organizaciones Sociales de Base?

    Si bien es cierto la Ley y su Reglamento taxativamente le otorgan la potestad a las Municipalidades de efectuar a través de un Procedimiento (señalado en el Art. 10º del Reglamento), para proceder al Reconocimiento Municipal de las Organizaciones Sociales de Base, la SUNARP (Superintendencia Nacional de Registros Públicos) a través de una Directiva contraviene la Ley al adicionar más Requisitos para efectuar la Inscripción de estas Organizaciones Sociales.

    Por estos motivos, concluyo que se estaría vulnerando el Principio de Legalidad, y de Jerarquía de Normas, donde la Ley su Reglamento se encuentra sobre las Directivas y Procedimientos, los cuales regulan solamente procedimientos internos en una Institución, y no deberían “contravenir” o regular “procedimientos de inscripción de Organizaciones Sociales de Base”, más aún encareciendo los costos con la presentación de documentos “certificados” ante Notario Público, cuando bien podrían ser “certificados” por el Fedatario de su Institución.

    Al respecto, el Principio de Legalidad según lo recogido de la Sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional (Exp. Nº 0071-2002-AA) en su Considerando 8 señala lo siguiente: “El principio de legalidad es la columna vertebral de la actuación administrativa y por ello puede concebírselo como externo al procedimiento, constituyendo simultáneamente la condición esencial para su existencia. Se determina jurídicamente por la concurrencia de cuatro condiciones que forman su contexto: 1) delimitación de su aplicación (reserva legal); 2) ordenación jerárquica de sujeción de las normas a la ley; 3) determinación de selección de normas aplicables al caso concreto, y 4) precisión de los poderes que las normas confieren a la administración. El procedimiento tiende, no solo a la protección subjetiva del recurrente, sino también a la defensa de la norma jurídica objetiva, con el fin de mantener el imperio de la legalidad y la justicia en el funcionamiento administrativo” (Dormí, Roberto, “Derecho Administrativo”, Ciudad Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1998, p. 895).

    Ante esto, existe la delimitación de la aplicación de la Ley en este caso concreto, la misma que taxativamente determina que para la inscripción de las Organizaciones Sociales de Base se requerirá solamente la Resolución Municipal que autoriza su Registro, sin embargo SUNARP, aplica lo establecido en una Directiva emitida por su propia entidad, que es de menor jerarquía y que regula “más requisitos” que se deben incluir a la presentación de la Resolución Municipal que autoriza su registro, contraviniendo y violentando la Ley y el principio de jerarquía de normas, dificultando el proceso de inscripción de las Organizaciones Sociales de Base ante los Registros Públicos, solicitando los “mismos documentos” que fueron presentados ante los Gobiernos Locales, tales como: el Acta de Constitución y/o Fundación de la OSB, Acta de Elección del Consejo Directivo, documentos que ya no deberían ser solicitados y/o requeridos por la Oficina Registral de Registros Públicos, porque de la presentación de estos documentos deviene en la Resolución Municipal que emite el Gobierno Local donde se aprueba su Reconocimiento como OSB.

    En virtud a los hechos antes descritos, considero que también se estarían vulnerando otros Principios Administrativos, tales como de Informalismo y simplicidad, recogidos en los numerales 1.6 y 1.13 del Art. IV del Título Preliminar de la Ley de Procedimiento Administrativo General Nº 27444, modificado por Decreto Legislativo Nº 1029.

    En conclusión, expongo ante la comunidad jurídica la problemática que se suscita en torno al proceso de inscripción de Organizaciones Sociales de Base en los Registros Públicos, así como las dificultades que genera al “encarecer” los costos de la inscripción, porque si bien se les obliga a cancelar el pago simbólico de 0.40 céntimos de Nuevo Sol por la Inscripción de la OSB y su Consejo Directivo; se les obliga a la presentación de “copias certificadas” de las Actas de Asamblea General de Fundación y/o Constitución, de Aprobación de Estatuto y de Elección de su Consejo Directivo, las mismas que deben ser “certificadas” ante Notario Público, no obstante dicha Institución cuenta con Fedatarios que podrían realizar esa función de forma “gratuita”.

    Autor
    Luis Miguel Boy Vásquez
    Abogado – Reg. CALL Nº 4834
    Asesor Legal de la Gerencia de Desarrollo Social





              EL GRUPO DE EMPRESAS COMO NUEVO        
    EL GRUPO DE EMPRESAS COMO NUEVO
    TEMA DEL DERECHO SOCIETARIO
    (Irrupción jurídica de una figura económica)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Daniel ECHAIZ MORENO*
    Perú
    ----------
    * Miembro del Estudio Echaiz Abogados. Miembro asociado del Instituto Peruano de Derecho Mercantil. Miembro honorario de la Asociación Cultural Sui Géneris.
    -----------------
    Al doctor Alonso Morales Acosta por su valioso asesoramiento cuando elaboré mi tesis profesional sobre grupos de empresas


    Sumario: I. Introducción.- II. Los inversionistas como categoría genérica.- III. Los inversionistas minoritarios.- IV. La problemática societaria.- 4.1. El deslizamiento patrimonial.- 4.2. La ausencia de información.- V. Las soluciones jurídicas.- 5.1. El ejercicio del derecho de separación.- 5.2. La percepción de un dividendo garantizado.- 5.3. El canje accionario o participacional.- 5.4. Acotación importante.- VI. La legislación societaria peruana.- VII. Propuestas societarias en materia de grupos de empresas.- 7.1. Concepto de inversionista minoritario.- 7.2. El ejercicio del derecho de separación.- 7.3. La percepción de un dividendo garantizado.- 7.4. El grupo de empresas circular.- 7.5. El grupo de empresas de hecho.- 7.6. Interés social e interés grupal.- VIII. Reflexión final.-


    I. Introducción
    La concentración empresarial [1] como moderno fenómeno jurídico-económico que propicia el crecimiento corporativo ha originado el desarrollo de una interesante y compleja figura concentracionista como es el grupo de empresas. Éste se encuentra constituido por dos o más empresas jurídicamente autónomas y en él existe una dirección unificada destinada a la satisfacción del interés grupal, para lo cual se establecen relaciones de dominación-dependencia, las que importan el control ejercido por uno o varios sujetos dominantes (pudiendo ser alguna de las empresas) sobre la empresa o empresas dominadas [2] .
    Cada sector comprometido por las consecuencias que se derivan de la actuación del grupo de empresas recibe el nombre de “grupo de interés” [3] , el cual a veces es concebido como un grupo de presión frente a la organización empresarial [4] , atendiendo a que últimamente habrían “conquistado” algunos derechos. No obstante, creemos que ellos, en vez de presión, ejercen tutela de sus derechos y, si bien muchos de éstos han sido recientemente consagrados por la legislación, no es muestra de un triunfo caprichoso, sino más bien de una conquista tardía. Recuérdese que el fin superior del Derecho es la paz social con justicia y, para lograrla, debe dispensarse la protección necesaria a todo aquel que la requiera. Ahora bien, uno de estos grupos de interés lo constituyen los inversionistas minoritarios [5] y con ello se ingresa en la esfera del Derecho Societario.
    II. Los inversionistas como categoría genérica
    Los inversionistas son el conjunto de personas que invierten su capital en las empresas integrantes del grupo, buscando de antemano maximizar sus ganancias; no obstante, los inversionistas de mando y de participación mayoritaria pretenden, además, dirigir los destinos de la empresa (e, inclusive, del grupo si logran dominar la empresa matriz), situación que los diferencia de aquellos inversionistas especuladores y de participación minoritaria que se conforman con conseguir la mayor rentabilidad posible. Un mecanismo de garantía (y seguridad) con que cuentan los inversionistas es la información veraz, suficiente y oportuna, así como la transparencia del mercado; eso precisamente persigue la legislación bursátil peruana y se materializa en la obligación que corresponde a todo emisor de valores mobiliarios de informar los hechos de importancia [6] .
    Según el Reglamento de Hechos de Importancia e Información Reservada del Perú, se consideran como tales el otorgamiento de préstamos o garantías a favor de terceros, cuyo monto sea igual o superior al quince por ciento (15%) del capital social pagado del emisor; la constitución de subsidiarias, filiales o conglomerados; la celebración de contratos referidos a explotación de patentes, marcas y nombres comerciales; y las decisiones del emisor que repercutan en empresas donde tenga la calidad de accionista mayoritario; entre otros [7] . Apréciese que estos supuestos encajan perfectamente en el tema de los grupos de empresas [8] .
    El Derecho se ha preocupado por salvaguardar los intereses del inversionista. En efecto, si opta por la constitución de una empresa individual de responsabilidad limitada, aquél asumirá el puesto de titular de la misma (pudiendo, incluso, ser titular-gerente) y, como tal, será el órgano máximo de decisión que velará por su propia inversión [9] . Asimismo, si decide organizarse colectivamente, la normatividad societaria contiene una gama de derechos como participar en el reparto de utilidades, intervenir y votar en las juntas, así como fiscalizar la gestión [10] ; inclusive, prescribe atribuciones para los titulares de acciones sin derecho a voto [11] .

    III. Los inversionistas minoritarios
    Son los inversionistas minoritarios (también calificados como accionistas o socios externos) los que merecen mayor atención, ya que su menor participación en el capital social de la empresa constriñe su poder de gestión y decisión a lo que resuelvan quienes dominan a la misma. No se olvide que cuando ellos invierten lo hacen bajo el entender que esa empresa donde colocan su capital les va a reportar las ganancias esperadas (es decir, hay un estudio y planificación de la situación). Sin embargo, el panorama cambia cuando la susodicha empresa es integrante de un grupo, en tanto éste (guiado exclusivamente por el interés grupal) adopta decisiones que no siempre coincidirán con las expectativas de los inversionistas minoritarios.
    Claro está que tampoco debe creerse que el grupo de empresas continuamente va a marchar en oposición radical a los intereses de los mencionados inversionistas minoritarios. Téngase en consideración que ellos mismos pueden visualizar en el grupo posibilidades de crecimiento, expansión y bonanza económica, lo cual obviamente repercutiría en su provecho como titulares de empresas; en tal orden de ideas, quizás no les importe ser relegados casi totalmente de la gestión. Empero, también está la otra cara de la moneda, es decir que como miembros del grupo (a través de sus empresas) vean menguados sus intereses y ni siquiera sean satisfechas las pretensiones que se formularon como titulares de la empresa.
    Alonso Morales Acosta, Director de la Revista Peruana de Derecho de la Empresa, comentando las decisiones extremas que dentro de un grupo de empresas pueden tomarse en aras del interés grupal, cita dos ejemplos que aquí reproducimos: el apoyo a la supervivencia de una empresa en crisis (mediante la celebración de un contrato de mutuo sin intereses celebrado con otra empresa del grupo, agregamos) y la disolución, liquidación y extinción de una empresa solvente [12] . Resulta fácil y comprensible imaginar que los inversionistas minoritarios de la empresa mutuante y de la empresa extinguida habrán visto afectadas sus iniciales expectativas.
    Es de precisar que el inversionista minoritario al cual nos referimos es aquel que detenta tal calidad en una empresa integrante de grupo (bien sea ésta dominante o dominada) y no en una empresa totalmente independiente. Sucede que para este último caso, la legislación societaria suele regular los derechos de convocar a junta general, impugnar acuerdos, percibir utilidades líquidas, accionar contra el directorio, solicitar auditorías externas o especiales, informarse, separarse y demás [13] , lo cual se consolida con mecanismos adicionales; por ejemplo, en el Perú, con la dación de la Ley de Protección a los Accionistas Minoritarios de las Sociedades Anónimas Abiertas [14] y con la creación de la Comisión de Protección al Accionista Minoritario como órgano de la Comisión Nacional Supervisora de Empresas y Valores (CONASEV) [15] . En suma, el tema ya ha sido legislado [16] .

    IV. La problemática societaria
    Los problemas se presentan en los grupos de empresas, puesto que se carece de adecuada normatividad al respecto. Sobre el particular, Oswaldo Hundskopf Exebio, catedrático en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Lima, precisa que dos son los peligros potenciales que corren los inversionistas minoritarios: el deslizamiento de beneficios (que preferimos llamarlo deslizamiento patrimonial) y la ausencia de información [17] .

    4.1. El deslizamiento patrimonial
    Como sostuvimos en un evento académico sobre grupos de empresas [18] , el deslizamiento patrimonial implica la imputación que el sujeto dominante hace de las ganancias o pérdidas de todas las empresas del grupo a una sola de ellas, pudiendo flexibilizarse dicha imputación en ambos sentidos a algunas de esas empresas. En tal orden de ideas, el efecto máximo que potencialmente se generaría sería la acumulación o aglutinamiento excesivo de beneficios o perjuicios en una empresa, so pretexto de satisfacer el interés grupal, a tal punto que podría transcurrir el tiempo sin que varias empresas experimenten “mejoría”, ya que están destinadas (o condenadas) a hacer prosperar al máximo a la empresa del grupo que cuenta con un futuro más promisorio.
    Entre las razones que propician el deslizamiento patrimonial destaca lo que algunos autores denominan como dilución, nombre que estimamos acertado. La dilución pretende aminorar (diluir) hasta donde sea posible la participación de los inversionistas minoritarios en el capital social de una empresa, mediante un agresivo aumento de este capital por parte de quienes detentan la mayoría accionaria o participacional, aprovechándose de la limitada capacidad económica de los primeros (más aún si se agudiza por alguna situación coyuntural).
    Conjugando lo manifestado con el tema de los grupos de empresas, veremos que esa dilución busca tener el dominio casi absoluto de una de las empresas miembro (quizás porque reporte muy buenos resultados) y, para materializar el aumento de capital, se acudirá a las otras empresas integrantes del grupo, las mismas que canalizarán las utilidades obtenidas a la realización de esa operación; en tales circunstancias, es dable pensar que el aumento de capital será significativo y producirá los efectos esperados.

    4.2. La ausencia de información
    Respecto a la ausencia de información, parte de la doctrina más autorizada comenta que ella apunta a “la consistencia exacta del activo social sobre el cual el accionista posee derechos y que, en consecuencia, puede traducirse en una infravaluación de la parte del activo social neto que determina el valor de sus acciones” [19] . Por nuestra parte, entendemos el concepto en un sentido amplio, de manera que dicha ausencia puede referirse tanto a información inmediata como a información mediata.
    Al inversionista le interesa conocer la situación económica de la empresa donde ha colocado su capital; ésta será una información inmediata. Empero, ya que la empresa en la cual ha invertido forma parte de un grupo empresarial, aún cuando su participación minoritaria constriña su actuación, dicho inversionista se preocupará por la situación económica del grupo, puesto que ésta le permitirá desentrañar el interés grupal; aquí estamos ante una información mediata. Cuando la desinformación atente contra cualquiera de estos dos supuestos, los inversionistas minoritarios verán afectados sus derechos.

    V. Las soluciones jurídicas
    El Derecho comparado [20] , velando por el interés de los inversionistas minoritarios, ha planteado (aunque de modos distintos) tres soluciones, que hemos llamado como sigue: el ejercicio del derecho de separación, la percepción de un dividendo garantizado y el canje accionario o participacional.

    5.1. El ejercicio del derecho de separación
    El ejercicio del derecho de separación es lo que Sergio Le Pera, profesor en la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, denomina como salida voluntaria o derecho de receso [21] y que ha sido legislado por la Ley de Sociedades sueca de 1944, la Ley de Sociedades Anónimas alemana de 1965 y la Ley de Sociedades Comerciales francesa de 1966.
    Consiste en la alternativa para el inversionista que no desea continuar como titular minoritario de una empresa integrante de grupo. Implica, consecuentemente, la pérdida de la calidad de accionista o participacionista, el reembolso de la participación en el capital social de la empresa y, alternativamente, la suscripción de los títulos por otros socios o la amortización de los mismos y la reducción del capital. Hay autores que grafican esta situación como la opción de venta que corresponde al inversionista y que, de producirse, genera la obligación de compra por parte de la empresa emisora de los títulos.

    5.2. La percepción de un dividendo garantizado
    La segunda solución jurídicamente propuesta es la percepción de un dividendo garantizado. La también llamada compensación anual, dividendo anual o renta mínima conlleva la obligación que asume la empresa para distribuir dividendos hasta por un monto previamente estipulado a favor de los inversionistas minoritarios, quienes detentan el derecho a exigirlos. En consecuencia, este inversionista no sólo tendrá la calidad de titular, sino además de rentista.
    Las críticas al respecto no se han dejado esperar, “fundadas en la complejidad de la evaluación que determina el monto de esta compensación o dividendo” [22] . Sucede que hay casos (como el alemán) en que el dividendo garantizado se fija tomando en cuenta los resultados anteriores y futuros previsibles. A efectos de superar tal dificultad, planteamos que aquel dividendo sea determinado porcentualmente sobre las utilidades correspondientes al ejercicio económico inmediato anterior al pago.

    5.3. El canje accionario o participacional
    Por último, resta el canje accionario o participacional. Éste tiene la naturaleza de una indemnización que suele darse ante el ejercicio del derecho de separación, habiendo sido recogido en el Proyecto del Estatuto de la Sociedad Europea y en el Proyecto de Ley sobre los Grupos de Sociedades y Protección de Accionistas y del Personal, comúnmente conocido como el Proyecto Cousté de Francia. Implica la transferencia que el inversionista minoritario efectúa de sus acciones o participaciones al cosocio que posea participación mayoritaria, a cambio que se convierta en cotitular de la empresa dominante.
    Ejemplificando lo dicho, tenemos que la empresa A domina a la empresa B y, ésta, a la empresa C. Los titulares de A son D y E con setenta por ciento (70%) y treinta por ciento (30%), respectivamente; mientras que los titulares de C son B, F y G con cuarenta por ciento (40%), cuarenta por ciento (40%) y veinte por ciento (20%), respectivamente. Este último -G-, en calidad de inversionista minoritario, transfiere su participación del veinte por ciento (20%) a B, quien ahora será mayoritario con el sesenta por ciento (60%), a cambio que se convierta en cotitular de A, junto a D y E.

    5.4. Acotación importante
    Es preciso distinguir que el ejercicio del derecho de separación y la percepción de un dividendo garantizado se entienden con la empresa en la cual el inversionista es minoritario, así ella sea dominada y no dominante, mientras que el canje accionario o participacional exige la actuación conjunta con la empresa dominada (sujeto pasivo porque recibe los títulos) y con la empresa dominante (sujeto activo ya que entrega los títulos).

    VI. La legislación societaria peruana
    El fenómeno empresarial no es un tema arraigado en el Derecho peruano, ya que juristas y legisladores han dirigido comúnmente sus esfuerzos al estudio y desarrollo de otros tópicos jurídicos; por tal razón, los grupos de empresas no han sido abordados legislativamente de manera integral, prefiriéndose la dación de dispositivos sectoriales o simples artículos [23] , aún cuando su regulación jurídica es necesaria.
    La reciente Ley General de Sociedades contiene (en su artículo 105) un precepto innovador, cuyo texto es el siguiente: “Las acciones de propiedad de una sociedad que es controlada por la sociedad emisora de tales acciones no dan a su titular derecho de voto ni se computan para formar quórum. Se entiende por sociedad controlada aquella en la que, directa o indirectamente, la propiedad de más del cincuenta por ciento de acciones con derecho a voto o el derecho a elegir a la mayoría de los miembros del directorio corresponda a la sociedad emisora de las acciones” [24] . Este artículo recibe el título de control indirecto de acciones.
    Debemos precisar que la mencionada denominación deviene en inapropiada, puesto que (atendiendo a una interpretación literal del articulado) no estamos ante la dominación indirecta (que se da cuando, por ejemplo, la empresa A domina a la empresa y la empresa B domina a la empresa C, por lo que la empresa A domina “indirectamente” a la empresa C) sino ante dos relaciones de dominación directa (la sociedad A domina a la sociedad B y la sociedad B domina a la sociedad A), cuya nota característica es la de configurar un grupo participacional circular.
    Esta situación parece haber sido advertida durante los debates de la Comisión Revisora de la Ley General de Sociedades, ya que en la sesión del 26 de marzo de 1997 (y a raíz del Anteproyecto publicado a inicios de aquel mes, cuyo artículo 105 es idéntico al actual [25] ) se acordó “revisar la redacción del artículo 105, a fin de esclarecer el concepto del control indirecto de acciones” [26] [el subrayado es nuestro]; sin embargo, la norma se mantuvo tal cual en los tres siguientes Proyectos [27] y, finalmente, en la propia Ley.
    Empero, esta discusión, aunque no es bizantina, tiene un valor meramente académico porque la misma norma societaria ha señalado que los títulos son solamente indicativos y “no deben ser tomados en cuenta para la interpretación del texto legal” [28] . No obstante, la discusión es otra: nos preguntamos si la proscripción del derecho de voto y el no cómputo para el quórum son los mecanismos adecuados para proteger a los inversionistas minoritarios de un grupo de empresas; consideramos que las soluciones viables son otras, las mismas que explicaremos a continuación.

    VII. Propuestas societarias en materia de grupos de EMPRESAS
    El fenómeno de los grupos de empresas, atendiendo a su complejidad, exige que se dicte una legislación integral, lo cual requiere previamente el establecimiento de las bases necesarias desde la perspectiva del Derecho Empresarial, es decir, que abordando el tema desde las diferentes ramas jurídicas vinculadas a la empresa se elabore una normatividad propia para cada realidad, lo que implica la búsqueda de soluciones en la misma legislación nacional (quizás no se hallen de manera explícita, pero podemos “adecuarlas”) y, si esto no es factible, siguiendo dispositivos de Derecho comparado, pero sin copiarlos porque corresponden a otro contexto, formularemos las normas pertinentes.
    En ese orden de ideas, hace poco tiempo elaboramos un Anteproyecto de Ley sobre Grupos de Empresas [29] , el mismo que fue puesto a consideración de la Comisión designada al efecto por el Poder Ejecutivo del Perú [30] , a través del doctor Oswaldo Hundskopf Exebio, presidente de dicho grupo de trabajo. Ahí se brinda una regulación integral de los grupos de empresas y, por tanto, también existen propuestas societarias [31] , las cuales esperamos signifiquen un aporte a los esfuerzos que sobre el particular se realicen a nivel internacional.

    7.1. Concepto de inversionista minoritario


    Artículo 22. Concepto.-
    Para los efectos de esta Ley, se considera inversionista minoritario a aquel titular de acciones o participaciones de una empresa integrante de grupo que no tenga la calidad de sujeto dominante. Todo inversionista minoritario podrá optar entre ejercer el derecho de separación o percibir un dividendo garantizado.

    Esta norma define al inversionista minoritario en congruencia con nuestro Anteproyecto in totum, por lo que su lectura remite necesariamente a un dispositivo anterior que seguidamente transcribimos:

    Artículo 8. Supuestos de dominación.-
    Se presume la existencia de dominación, salvo prueba en contrario, cuando el presunto sujeto dominante:
    1. Tiene por objeto la tenencia de acciones o participaciones en el capital de personas jurídicas.
    2. Sea titular, directa o indirectamente, del cien por ciento (100%) de las acciones o participaciones con derecho a voto de una persona jurídica.
    3. Sea titular, directa o indirectamente, de más del cincuenta por ciento (50%) y menos del cien por ciento (100%) de las acciones o participaciones con derecho a voto de una persona jurídica.
    4. Sea titular, directa o indirectamente, del cincuenta por ciento (50%) o menos de las acciones o participaciones con derecho a voto de una persona jurídica y celebre un pacto de sindicación de voto con otro u otros socios hasta reunir más del cincuenta por ciento (50%) referido.
    5. Sea titular, directa o indirectamente, del cincuenta por ciento (50%) o menos de las acciones o participaciones con derecho a voto de una persona jurídica, pero pueda elegir o remover a la mayoría de los miembros del directorio de ésta.
    6. Participe, directa o indirectamente, en el capital social de una persona jurídica, de manera que le permita tener presencia en su directorio.
    7. Tenga a sus directores, gerentes o principales funcionarios como directores, gerentes o principales funcionarios de una persona jurídica.
    8. Tenga a sus representantes legales, apoderados judiciales o mandatarios como representantes legales, apoderados judiciales o mandatarios de una persona jurídica. Esta presunción sólo surte efecto si concurre, además, algún otro supuesto de los mencionados en este artículo.
    9. Lleve contabilidad centralizada y/o prepare estados financieros consolidados.
    10. Mencione, en su documentación oficial, a empresas subsidiarias o filiales de él. Entiéndase por documentación oficial a la correspondencia de la persona jurídica, las publicaciones que ella efectúe y los documentos que presente a autoridades de la Administración Pública, esto último según los alcances del artículo I del Titulo Preliminar de la Ley del Procedimiento Administrativo General (Ley Nº 27444).
    11. Sin ser empresa del sistema financiero, sea acreedor de más del cincuenta por ciento (50%) de las obligaciones de una persona jurídica o garantice, en un porcentaje significativo, las obligaciones de ésta.
    12. Contrata bienes y/o servicios de una persona jurídica, la cual depende exclusivamente de tal operación contractual.
    13. Realiza algún otro supuesto establecido expresamente mediante Ley.

    Hemos creído conveniente que los inversionistas minoritarios cuenten con dos mecanismos de protección legalmente estatuidos: el ejercicio del derecho de separación y la percepción de un dividendo garantizado. Sin embargo, en el contrato de dominación grupal que celebren el sujeto dominante y las empresas dominadas podrá estipularse cualquier otro pacto lícito que las partes contratantes estimen conveniente, como el canje accionario o participacional.

    7.2. El ejercicio del derecho de separación

    Artículo 23. Derecho de separación.-
    El derecho de separación será ejercido en cualquier momento por el inversionista minoritario, mediante carta notarial entregada a la sociedad en la cual es titular. Rigen, en lo que no se opongan a lo dispuesto en esta Ley, las reglas contenidas en el artículo 200 de la Ley General de Sociedades (Ley Nº 26887).

    El derecho de separación podrá ser ejercido por todo inversionista que no desee continuar como titular minoritario de una empresa integrante de grupo; por tanto, la relación aquí entablada es entre el socio minoritario y la sociedad en la cual detenta tal calidad, sin importar que dicha sociedad sea dominante o dominada. Es en razón de esta última consideración que rige plenamente el dispositivo societario sobre el particular [32] , más aún cuando al enumerar los supuestos en que cabe el ejercicio de tal derecho termina diciendo: “[y] en los demás casos que lo establezca la ley o el estatuto” [33] [el subrayado es nuestro].


    7.3. La percepción de un dividendo garantizado

    Artículo 24. Dividendo garantizado.-
    Es obligatoria la distribución de dividendos en dinero hasta por un monto igual a la mitad de la utilidad distribuible de cada ejercicio, luego de detraído el monto que debe aplicarse a la reserva legal, si así lo solicitan inversionistas minoritarios que representen cuando menos el veinte por ciento (20%) del total de títulos suscritos con derecho a voto, entendiéndose que la solicitud se refiere al ejercicio económico inmediato anterior y que el dividendo garantizado debe calcularse sobre los estados financieros de la empresa en la que el solicitante tiene la calidad de inversionista minoritario. Son de aplicación los artículos 231 y 232 de la Ley General de Sociedades (Ley Nº 26887).

    Quienes teniendo la posibilidad de ejercer el derecho de separación no deseen hacerlo, podrán exigir la percepción de un dividendo garantizado, el cual se cumpliría en los términos que la Ley General de Sociedades del Perú contempla el llamado “dividendo obligatorio” [34] . De acuerdo a esto último, es obligatoria la distribución de dividendos en dinero hasta por un monto igual a la mitad de la utilidad distribuible de cada ejercicio, luego de detraído el monto que debe aplicarse a la reserva legal, si así lo solicitan accionistas [debería decir “socios”] que representen cuando menos el veinte por ciento del total de las acciones suscritas con derecho a voto.

    7.4. El grupo de empresas circular

    Artículo 12. Grupo de empresas circular.-
    Se considera nulo de pleno derecho el contrato de dominación grupal mediante el cual se constituye un grupo de empresas circular.
    El grupo de empresas es circular cuando una empresa domina a una segunda, ésta domina a una tercera y así, sucesivamente, hasta que la última domina a la primera.

    Primera (disposición derogatoria). Derogan artículo de la Ley General de Sociedades.-
    Derógase el artículo 105º de la Ley General de Sociedades (Ley Nº 26887).

    En las empresas conformantes de un grupo circular, el capital social se vuelve algo ficticio puesto que se pasa circulando dentro de un camino iterativo de nunca acabar, lo que convierte a esta modalidad participacional en la más peligrosa. Apréciese que la figura jurídica del capital social cumple primordial y casi exclusivamente una función de garantía; por ende, cualquier alteración que lo afecte pone en riesgo los intereses que el Derecho tiende a proteger.
    Atendiendo a esa razón tan determinante, varias legislaciones extranjeras han prohibido la existencia del grupo de empresas circular. Así tenemos la Ley de Sociedades por Acciones de Brasil (artículo 244), la Ley de Sociedades Comerciales de Francia (artículos 358 a 359-1) [35] , la Ley de Sociedades Anónimas de Chile (artículo 121) [36] , la Ley de Sociedades Anónimas de España (artículo 74 inciso 1) [37] y la Ley de Sociedades Comerciales de Argentina (artículo 32) [38] , entre otras normas jurídicas.

    7.5. El grupo de empresas de hecho

    Artículo 34. Efectos.-
    En el grupo de empresas de hecho, el sujeto dominante no podrá adoptar medidas que perjudiquen a las empresas dominadas, puesto que de lo contrario estará obligado a reparar el perjuicio causado. Pueden ejercitar la acción quienes tengan legítimo interés económico.
    Además, el sujeto dominante y, si éste es persona jurídica, sus titulares, administradores y representantes serán personal, solidaria e ilimitadamente responsables ante los inversionistas minoritarios, trabajadores, consumidores, usuarios, acreedores y el Estado en las relaciones que cada uno de éstos mantengan con las empresas integrantes del grupo.
    La responsabilidad establecida en este artículo comprende, según sea el caso, el cumplimiento de la respectiva obligación, así como la indemnización por los daños y perjuicios irrogados; y no enerva la responsabilidad penal si la hubiera.

    Artículo 35º. Derecho de separación.-
    Tratándose de grupos de empresas de hecho, los inversionistas minoritarios podrán ejercer el derecho de separación, de acuerdo a lo señalado en el artículo 23º de esta Ley.

    Se especifican consecuencias negativas para los grupos de empresas de hecho (esto es, aquellos en los que no se ha celebrado un contrato de dominación grupal o, habiéndose celebrado, aquél deviene en nulo) con el objetivo que se adecuen al mecanismo regular. Dichas consecuencias negativas son: la pérdida de los beneficios que derivan de constituirse como grupo de empresas de derecho (de incuestionable valor en términos económicos y empresariales); el sujeto dominante no podrá adoptar medidas que perjudiquen a las empresas dominadas; si el sujeto dominante es persona jurídica (y aquí están las implicancias societarias), serán responsables sus titulares, administradores y representantes; atendiendo a esto último, será difícil encontrar (o conservar) socios, administradores y representantes que deseen asumir tal responsabilidad; el órgano de supervisión podrá determinar la existencia del grupo, debiendo el sujeto dominante enfrentar un proceso administrativo; etc.
    Sin embargo, no habría razón para que los inversionistas minoritarios asuman la responsabilidad derivada de un grupo de empresas de hecho cuando su menor participación en el capital social les ha impedido imponer su posición personal; por ello, se les otorga la facultad de ejercitar su derecho de separación.

    7.6. Interés social e interés grupal

    Segunda disposición modificatoria. Modifican Ley General de Sociedades.-
    Modifíquese el artículo 139 de la Ley General de Sociedades (Ley Nº 26887), cuyo texto será el siguiente:
    “Artículo 139. Acuerdos impugnables.-
    Pueden ser impugnados judicialmente los acuerdos de la junta general cuyo contenido sea contrario a esta Ley, se oponga al estatuto o al pacto social o lesione, en beneficio directo o indirecto de uno o varios accionistas, los intereses de la sociedad. Los acuerdos que incurran en causal de anulabilidad prevista en la Ley o en el Código Civil, también serán impugnables en los plazos y formas que señala la Ley.
    No procede la impugnación cuando el acuerdo haya sido revocado, o sustituido por otro adoptado conforme a Ley, al pacto social o al estatuto. Tampoco procede la impugnación cuando la sociedad pertenece a un grupo de empresas constituido conforme a la Ley de la materia y el acuerdo persigue la satisfacción del interés grupal.
    El Juez mandará tener por concluido el proceso y dispondrá el archivo de los autos, cualquiera que sea su estado, si la sociedad acredita que el acuerdo ha sido revocado o sustituido conforme a lo prescrito en el párrafo precedente.
    En los casos previstos en los dos párrafos anteriores, no se perjudica el derecho adquirido por el tercero de buena fe”.

    El interés social (en realidad, empresarial) importa que las decisiones se adoptan tomando en consideración a la empresa, es decir, pensando en fortalecer su posición en el mercado, conseguir o mantener su nivel de liderazgo y, en suma, velando por el desarrollo y crecimiento de la empresa. Por otro lado y guardando gran distancia con el concepto explicado, se encuentra el interés grupal, referido exclusivamente a los grupos de empresas; según éste, en todo grupo hay una motivación por encima incluso de sus propios miembros considerados aisladamente que busca el “bienestar empresarial” del grupo de empresas concebido como entidad autónoma.
    La prevalencia del interés grupal sobre el interés empresarial se justifica en razón que la totalidad de las empresas del grupo trabajan para el fortalecimiento, crecimiento y liderazgo de ese grupo del cual son integrantes. Es una especie de solidaridad empresarial en beneficio común o, dicho de otro modo, “todos para uno y uno para todos”, donde ese “uno” es el grupo de empresas. Téngase en consideración que, de acuerdo a lo manifestado por el profesor mercantilista Héctor José Miguens, “el interés... de la dominante también está sometido jerárquicamente al interés... del grupo todo porque, a pesar de ser dominante, es una parte de él, no se identifica con el todo ni tampoco agota el interés... de éste” [39] .
    En suma, el propósito de esta norma modificatoria es concordar el interés empresarial con el interés grupal, ya que pueden contraponerse; he ahí una de las razones contundentes para contar con una Ley sobre Grupos de Empresas.


    VIII. Reflexión final
    Los grupos de empresas constituyen un tema amplio y complejo que exige el estudio profundo y la creatividad jurídica para buscar soluciones a su variada problemática. Quienes estamos inmersos en el mundo del Derecho debemos preocuparnos por formular aportes que contribuyan al conocimiento y despierten el debate; jamás debemos renunciar a los retos por considerarlos intrincados. En este orden de ideas, finalizamos el presente ensayo haciendo nuestro el siguiente aforismo anónimo: “cuanto más grande es la dificultad, mayor es la gloria de vencerla”.



    NOTAS

    1 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “La concentración empresarial como mecanismo para el crecimiento corporativo” en: Revista Jurídica del Perú, Normas Legales, Trujillo, Año LI, Nº 20, Marzo del 2001, pp. 125 - 137. Con el título “La concentración de empresas: innovación del Derecho Corporativo” también fue publicado en: Revista Bibliotecal. Lima (Perú), Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Lima, Año 2, Nº 3, Noviembre del 2001, pp. 209 - 226.
    2 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Características estructurales de los grupos de empresas”. en: Banco de Datos Legal Teleley. Lima (Perú), desde el 11.09.2000, http://www.asesor.com.pe/teleley/tesis-echaiz.htm
    3 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Los grupos de interés dentro de los grupos de empresas”. En: Revista Acta Académica. San José (Costa Rica), Universidad Autónoma de Centro América, Nº 28, mayo del 2001, pp. 114 - 122.
    4 Cfr. OSORIO, Manuel. Voz “grupos de presión” en Diccionario de Ciencias Jurídicas, Políticas y Sociales. Heliasta, Buenos Aires, 1979, p. 339,
    5 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Protección jurídica de intereses afectados en los grupos de empresas” en: Banco de Datos Legal Teleley. Lima (Perú), desde el 02.10.2000, http://www.asesor.com.pe/teleley/proteccion-grupos.htm
    6 Perú. Ley del Mercado de Valores. Aprobada mediante Decreto Legislativo Nº 861 del 21.10.96 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 22.10.96 (artículos 10 y 28).
    7 Perú. Reglamento de Hechos de Importancia e Información Reservada. Aprobado mediante Resolución CONASEV Nº 307-95-EF/94.10 del 22.08.95 y publicado en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 24.08.95 (artículo 2 incisos k y m, así como artículo 5 incisos b y k, respectivamente).
    8 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. Regulación jurídica de los grupos de empresas en el Derecho Empresarial peruano (bases para una legislación integral). Tesis para optar el título de Abogado, Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Lima, Lima, julio del 2000, pp. 134-135.
    9 Cfr. Perú. Ley de la Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada. Aprobada mediante Decreto Ley Nº 21621 del 14.09.76 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 15.09.76 (artículo 39).
    10 Cfr. Perú. Ley General de Sociedades. Aprobada mediante Ley Nº 26887 del 05.12.97 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 09.12.97 (artículo 95 incisos 1 al 3, respectivamente).
    11 Cfr. Perú. Ley General de Sociedades, citada en nota 10 (artículo 96).
    12 MORALES ACOSTA, Alonso. “Los grupos de sociedades”. En: Revista Peruana de Derecho de la Empresa. Editorial Asesorandina, Nº 44, Lima, Noviembre de 1994, p. 118.
    13 Cfr. Perú. Ley General de Sociedades, citada en nota 10 (artículos 117, 140, 231, 181, 226, 227, 130 y 200, respectivamente).
    14 Perú. Ley de Protección a los Accionistas Minoritarios de las Sociedades Anónimas Abiertas. Aprobada mediante Ley Nº 26985 del 28.10.98 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 29.10.98 (artículo 2).
    15 Perú. Resolución CONASEV Nº 164-98-EF-94.10. Aprobada el 16.12.98 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 24.12.98 (artículo 1); y Perú. Resolución CONASEV Nº 025-99-EF-94.10. Aprobada el 09.02.99 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 14.02.99 (artículo 1).
    16 Cfr. MESEGUER GUICH, Diego. “¿Sabía Ud. que... si es accionista minoritario también puede tomar decisiones?”. En: Gaceta Jurídica, Gaceta Jurídica Editores, Lima, abril de 1999, Tomo 65-B, pp. 70 - 76.
    17 HUNDSKOPF EXEBIO, Oswaldo. “Intereses afectados por la formación de los grupos de sociedades y sus mecanismos de protección”. En: Informativo Legal Rodrigo. Asesores Financieros, Lima, diciembre de 1998, Volumen 150, p. XVII.
    18 Conferencia “Regulación jurídica de los grupos de empresas”, realizada en el Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Lima el 20 de septiembre del 2000. En dicho evento fue expositor el autor y participaron como panelistas los doctores Oswaldo Hundskopf Exebio, Alonso Morales Acosta y José Leyva Saavedra. El texto íntegro de la ponencia expuesta por el autor puede consultarse en: Portal V-lex Perú. Lima (Perú), desde el 02.10.2000, http://vlex.com.pe/doctrinal//18
    19 Vid. HUNDSKOPF EXEBIO, Oswaldo. “Intereses afectados por la formación de los grupos de sociedades y sus mecanismos de protección”, citado en nota 17, p. XVII.
    20 Al respecto, cfr. MARTÍNEZ MACHUCA, Pablo. La protección de los socios externos en los grupos de sociedades. Zaragoza (España), Publicaciones del Real Colegio de España, 1999.
    21 LE PERA, Sergio. Cuestiones de Derecho Comercial moderno. Buenos Aires (Argentina), Editorial Astrea de Alfredo y Ricardo Depalma, 1979, pp. 255 - 256.
    22 Vid. LE PERA, Sergio. Cuestiones de Derecho Comercial moderno, citado en nota 21, p. 257.
    23 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Los grupos de empresas en la legislación peruana”. En: Revista Normas Legales. Editora Normas Legales, Trujillo, agosto del 2000, Tomo 291, p. A-162.
    24 Respecto al análisis de este articulado, puede consultarse: BEAUMONT CALLIRGOS, Ricardo. Comentarios a la nueva Ley General de Sociedades. Gaceta Jurídica Editores, Lima, enero de 1998, pp. 268 - 274; ELÍAS LAROZA, Enrique. Ley General de Sociedades comentada. Editora Normas Legales, Trujillo, abril de 1998, Fascículo segundo, pp. 217 y 218; MONTOYA ALBERTI, Hernando. “La sociedad anónima y los efectos de la concentración de capitales”. En: Diario Gestión, Lima, 26 de agosto de 1999, p. 21; y MONTOYA MANFREDI, Ulises. Derecho Comercial. 10ª ed., Grijley, Lima, 1999, Tomo I, p. 481.
    25 Perú. Anteproyecto de la Ley General de Sociedades, elaborado por la Comisión Redactora. Publicado en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 02.03.97 (artículo 105).
    26 Acta de la sesión de la Comisión Revisora de la Ley General de Sociedades, de fecha 26.03.97 En: Congreso de la República. Memoria Ley General de Sociedades 1997. Lima (Perú), Congreso de la República, junio de 1998, p. 47.
    27 Perú. Proyecto de la Ley General de Sociedades, aprobado por la Comisión Revisora. Publicado en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 10.05.97 (artículo 105); Perú. Proyecto de la Ley General de Sociedades, aprobado por la Comisión Revisora. Publicado en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 03.10.97 (artículo 105); y Perú. Proyecto de la Ley General de Sociedades, aprobado por la Comisión Revisora. Publicado en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 28.10.97 (artículo 105).
    28 Perú. Ley General de Sociedades, citada en nota 10 (primera disposición final).
    29 ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Anteproyecto de Ley sobre Grupos de Empresas”. En: Revista Normas Legales. Editora Normas Legales, Trujillo, octubre del 2000, Tomo 293, pp. B-13 - B-26.
    30 Mediante Resolución Ministerial Nº 001-2000-JUS, publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 19.01.2000, el Poder Ejecutivo del Perú nombró una Comisión encargada de elaborar un Anteproyecto de Ley de Grupos de Empresas, la misma que se encontraba integrada por nueve juristas. En octubre de ese mismo año, dicha Comisión cesó en sus funciones al presentar su propuesta legislativa al Ministro de Justicia.
    31 Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Los grupos de empresas en el Perú (análisis y propuestas para una legislación integral)”. En: Gaceta Jurídica, Gaceta Jurídica Editores, Lima, septiembre del 2000, Tomo 82-B, pp. 33 - 42.
    32 Cfr. Perú. Ley General de Sociedades, citada en nota 10 (artículo 200).
    33 Cfr. Perú. Ley General de Sociedades, citada en nota 10 (artículo 200 inciso 4). No obstante, Hernando Montoya Alberti, miembro de la Comisión Redactora del Anteproyecto de la Ley General de Sociedades, ofrece una lectura distinta de este dispositivo; al efecto, señala: “Dichos supuestos [del derecho de separación] están contemplados en la ley [léase: Ley General de Sociedades, según se infiere del texto completo] y sólo por éstos procede separarse de la sociedad. (...). Sin embargo, la LGS ha introducido un elemento adicional, propio de la libertad de contratación y es que ahora es posible pactar otras causales de separación que no estén contempladas en la ley, sino que basta haberlas incluido en el estatuto y aplicarlas” [el subrayado es nuestro]. MONTOYA ALBERTI, Hernando. “Efectos del derecho de separación”. En: Diario Gestión, Lima, 8 de julio de 1999, p.?.
    34 Cfr. Perú. Ley General de Sociedades, citada en nota 10 (artículo 231).
    35 Artículo 358.- Una sociedad por acciones no puede poseer acciones de otra sociedad si ésta detenta una fracción de su capital superior al diez por ciento.
    36 Artículo 121.- Las sociedades filiales no podrán adquirir acciones de la sociedad matriz, ni acciones o derechos de otras filiales de la misma empresa.
    37 Artículo 74. Adquisición originaria de acciones propias.- 1. En ningún caso podrá la sociedad suscribir acciones propias ni acciones emitidas por su sociedad dominante.
    38 Artículo 32. Participaciones recíprocas: nulidad.- Es nula la constitución de sociedades o el aumento de capital mediante participaciones recíprocas,...
    39 MIGUENS, Héctor José. “La consolidación concursal en el Derecho norteamericano de grupos de sociedades”. En: Revista de Derecho Comercial y de las Obligaciones, Ediciones Depalma, Buenos Aires, julio-septiembre de 1998, Año 31, Nº 183, p. 518.

    * Miembro del Estudio Echaiz Abogados. Miembro asociado del Instituto Peruano de Derecho Mercantil. Miembro honorario de la Asociación Cultural Sui Géneris.
    [1] Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “La concentración empresarial como mecanismo para el crecimiento corporativo” en: Revista Jurídica del Perú, Normas Legales, Trujillo, Año LI, Nº 20, Marzo del 2001, pp. 125 - 137. Con el título “La concentración de empresas: innovación del Derecho Corporativo” también fue publicado en: Revista Bibliotecal. Lima (Perú), Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Lima, Año 2, Nº 3, Noviembre del 2001, pp. 209 - 226.
    [2] Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Características estructurales de los grupos de empresas”. en: Banco de Datos Legal Teleley. Lima (Perú), desde el 11.09.2000, http://www.asesor.com.pe/teleley/tesis-echaiz.htm
    [3] Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Los grupos de interés dentro de los grupos de empresas”. En: Revista Acta Académica. San José (Costa Rica), Universidad Autónoma de Centro América, Nº 28, mayo del 2001, pp. 114 - 122.
    [4] Cfr. OSORIO, Manuel. Voz “grupos de presión” en Diccionario de Ciencias Jurídicas, Políticas y Sociales. Heliasta, Buenos Aires, 1979, p. 339,
    [5] Cfr. ECHAIZ MORENO, Daniel. “Protección jurídica de intereses afectados en los grupos de empresas” en: Banco de Datos Legal Teleley. Lima (Perú), desde el 02.10.2000, http://www.asesor.com.pe/teleley/proteccion-grupos.htm
    [6] Perú. Ley del Mercado de Valores. Aprobada mediante Decreto Legislativo Nº 861 del 21.10.96 y publicada en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 22.10.96 (artículos 10 y 28).
    [7] Perú. Reglamento de Hechos de Importancia e Información Reservada. Aprobado mediante Resolución CONASEV Nº 307-95-EF/94.10 del 22.08.95 y publicado en el Diario Oficial El Peruano el 2
              UPDATE - Hyundai and Kia Fined $100 Million by US        
    Money to Burn?
    The New York Times is reporting that Hyundai - Kia have been fined $100 million by the US EPA and Justice Department for falsified mileage data numbers. More on that breaking news here -



    This comes on the heels of Hyundai-Kia's purchase of land for $10 billion on which to build their new headquarters building, a price equal to over $18,000 per square foot - a move many called extravagant for the car building conglomerate.

    Floating in cash, the US fines seem huge and tiny at the same time.

    Is it all about the profit?
    UPDATE - in addition to the $100 million fine, Automotive News is reporting that in the settlement Hyundai and Kia also agreed "spend $50 million to establish an independent fuel economy certification group and forfeit some 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits the companies have banked under the EPA’s tailpipe emissions regulations -- estimated to be worth more than $200 million." Those EPA "credits" are estimated to have a cash value of about $45 per credit currently.

    That makes the Hyunda - Kia - EPA settlement worth about $350 million total. Still only a fraction of the $10 billion the cash-rich car companies spent on the land (alone) for their new HQ.

    For over two years some 13 vehicle models' fuel ratings were overstated. The fuel ratings of an economy car model are commonly known to be one of the primary marketing and advertising tactics used by motor vehicle manufacturers to attract buyers.

    While the manufacturers were still defending the way they calculated their mpg numbers that they reported to the federal government, Automotive News also reported that Hyundai and Kia used “cherry-picked” data and conducted testing in ways “that did not reflect good engineering judgement” that ultimately led to artificially high fuel economy ratings for most of its lineup at the time in question, according to the DOJ’s statement.

    It just goes to show you that when big corporations have millions of dollars at stake, they are not shy about fudging the numbers if it means big bucks in ill-gotten profits and stealing customers from the other competing auto makers.

    Burdge Law Office
    Helping Consumers Protect Themselves, Everyday

              Gulaal Movie Download /Gulal Movie Online / Gulal movie torrent        

    Story of Film : Gulaal 2009
    The film Gulaal is about an innocent student Dileep who comes to Jaipur to study, accompanied by his faithful servant Bhanwar. Here he comes in contact with Rananjay Singh "Ransa" (contemporary intelligent, sensitive young man who refuses to abide by traditions; his ideologies clash with his father's, the local raja), Jadwal (with old school of thought he is the college goon who rags Dileep); Anuja (professor ragged with Dileep; despair brings both together and a strong emotional bond develops between them) Dukey Bana (powerful local figure who leads an army of radical Rajputs struggling to get the Rajputana back from the Government of India challenging the very idea of democracy); Kiran (uses Dileep for power and personal interest).

    Against a backdrop of local political intrigue, the film begins with a Rajput conglomerate gaining strengthen as Dukey Bana and a few ex-Royals convince a reluctant Ransa to contest for the college elections on behalf of the Rajputana party; Ransa and Kiran battle it for General Secretary's post. The rivalry between the two gangs intensifies and Ransa is forced to withdraw, which he resists. Eventually this leads to his murder by Karan (Kiran's brother and Rasna's illegitimate sibling). Using the sympathy wave, Dileep is compelled to contest elections in Ransa's place and made to win.

    After losing the elections Kiran tries winning Dileep's trust, gets close to him and pretends to fall in love. As he tries to fit into the shoes of the General Secretary an insecure Dileep gets emotionally dependent on Kiran and distance grows between him and Anuja. Dileep finds himself trapped in political maneuvers and realizes that this is not what he had wanted. It dawns to him that he is being used by Dukey; when Dileep confronts Dukey, he is faced with a horrifying truth!

    Dukey Bana is masterminding a Rajputana movement, to have a separate state ruled by Rajputs. In a gamut of Red faces (Gulaal is put over the faces to mask their true identity), Dileep sees the truth behind Dukey and his actions. So Dileep decides to resign from the post of the General Secretary.

    Dileep resign and Kiran takes charge. As soon as in power, she refuses to meet Dileep and tries to get close to Dukey using her feminine charm. A lovelorn and rejected Dileep gets more and more frustrated, abusive and violent in desperation. This behavior creates a distance between Dileep and the people who truly love and understand him.

    Blinded by his love for Kiran, Dileep goes into a frenzy becoming a sorry and inevitable victim of circumstances. The whole madness around Dileep intensifies; sense of conspiracy and feeling of a fake unrequited love push him to the edge... Gulaal races to an unforgettable climax... out of the faces painted in Gulaal, a face is revealed... the face of the new leader...

    Genre
    Drama

    Directed
    Anurag Kashyap

    Written by
    Anurag Kashyap , Raja Choudhary , Aparna Chaturvedi

    Star Cast
    Deepak Dobriyal - Bhatti
    Kay Kay Menon - Dukey Bana
    Aditya Srivastava - Karan
    Piyush Mishra - Prithvi Singh
    Ayesha Mohan - Kiran


    Gulal Movie Torrent : Download Here


    'Gulaal 2009' Online Play Movie Links

    'Gulaal 2009' Online Play



    'Gulaal 2009' Movie Download Links :

    'Gulaal 2009' Rapidshare


    The below are are the screenshots of the movie which we are having..uploading in progress..
    stay tuned for updates....

              Bottled Water: What a Waste of Everything!        
    When we think of bottled water, we think of beautiful pristine mountain springs and lush green meadows with gently rolling streams.  We think of purity, health, and the cleanest, healthiest water we can drink.  We think we are doing the right thing for our health and the health of our loved ones when we pick up a case of bottled water at the store and drink it day after day.  After all, tap water is not safe to drink.

    This is biggest scam going since the Food Guide was introduced (but that's a whole other story).  The truth is, our tap water is clean and safe to drink (with obvious rare exceptions: for example, the water contamination tragedy in Walkerton, Ontario, where incidentally, I grew up).  The bottled water industry has been taking us all for a ride for the past couple decades.  Two of the biggest water brands, Dasani, and Aquafina, are made by Coca Cola and PepsiCo, respectively.  We all should've been wise to them from the start.  I mean, really, would huge conglomerates like Coca Cola and PepsiCo be doing anything good for us, when their purpose is to create addiction to their sugary products to keep all the addicts coming back for more?  Water isn't exactly addictive.  But buying into the illusion is.  When we're told our water isn't safe, we're going to seek out safe alternatives.

    Please watch this little video:  I promise you'll find the constant hand gesturing more than a little annoying, but it's a great video, and she means well.