Director of Budgeting        
NC-Wilmington, Definition: To perform a variety of professional level duties and responsibilities involved in performing complex statistical analysis, developing budgets and fiscal reporting systems, and to perform various related activities in support of the financial planning function. Exercises general supervision over staff in the payroll operations and budget areas. Minimum Required Education/Training/Exper
          FINANCIAL OFFICER        
PA-Philadelphia, The Federal Community Defender Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania is seeking to fill the newly created position of Financial Officer. The person appointed to fill this position will be responsible for all aspects of financial management and analysis, accounting systems and controls, budget development, projections, and day-to-day financial operations. The Financial Officer will oversee human
by Shrutee K/DNS

New Delhi – AIS (Asahi India Glass Ltd.), India’s leading integrated glass Company announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended    30th June, 2017 at its Board Meeting.

The consolidated financial performance highlights for the quarter ended 30th June, 2017 are as follows -

Sales (inclusive of Excise Duty) at Rs. 670.98 crores, reflected an increase of 8.60% over the previous period (Rs. 617.84 crores).

Operating EBIDTA i.e. Operating Earnings before Interest, Depreciation, Taxes and Amortisation was recorded at Rs. 109.85 crores registering an increase of 7.89% over the corresponding figure of Rs. 101.82 crores for the previous period.

Cash profit increased by 19.94% from Rs. 66.65 crores in Q4 FY 2016 to Rs. 79.94 crores in Q4 FY 2017.

PBT increased by 25.67% from Rs. 46.08 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 57.91 crores in Q1 FY2018.

PAT increased by 38.33% from Rs. 28.33 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 39.19 crores in Q1 FY2018.

The table below gives the details of the financial performance both on standalone and consolidated basis –  

AIS – Financial Results for the first quarter ended 30th June, 2017
(Rs. Lakhs)
Change (%)
Change (%)
Operating EBIDTA
Cash Profit
Profit Before Tax
Profit after Tax

We have also implemented some operational upgrades in our float glass plant at Roorkee leading to productivity increases from the next quarter. We also welcome the new regulations & standards from the government for architectural glass which shall be beneficial to everyone in the long term. As required by law, we have migrated to the new IndAS method of accounting and therefore, our results have been restated this quarter with minor upside on PAT coming from positives in depreciation.  Overall, we continue to look forward to consistent growth in auto and architectural segments as well as a stable macro environment.”

About AIS:
Asahi India Glass Ltd. (AIS) is a joint venture between the Labroo family, Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. of Japan, and Maruti Suzuki India Limited. AIS began operations in 1987.
AIS, today, is a leading integrated glass company in India, manufacturing a wide range of international quality automotive safety glass, float glass and architectural processed and value added glass. AIS operates under three strategic business units (SBUs), namely, Auto Glass, Architectural Glass and Consumer Glass.
Auto Glass is India's largest manufacturer of world class automotive safety glass and is, in fact, one of the largest in the field in Asia. It is the sole supplier to almost all the OEMs and has a market share of approx. 77 per cent in the Indian passenger car industry.
Architectural Glass is formed as a result of management merger of Float & Glass Solutions (Processed Glass) SBUs. This SBU manufactures quality float glass and deploys an extensive network of 4 zonal offices and over 1000 distributors. It also markets a wide range of AGC products in India as its distribution partner.
Consumer Glass SBU is Company’s interface with end users for its range of automotive and architectural glass offerings. Impeccable, customized and consumer centric solutions is the key differentiator of Consumer Glass SBU. It includes GlasXperts – a retail initiative in the Architectural Glass segment and Windshield Experts which is India’s only automotive glass repair & replacement specialist.

          Union Bank of India Announces Excellent Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017         
Highlights  of  Union Bank of India's Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017  

CASA     25.1 per cent YoY
Non Interest Income      `  ` 1414 crore  (up 36 per cent YoY) 
Savings Deposit     27.6 per cent YoY
Operating Profit     ` ` 2057 crore (up 26.5 per cent YoY) 
CASA Share      35.5 per cent 
Net Profit        ` 117 crore (up 7.3 per cent QoQ) 
RAM* Sector      14.8 per cent YoY
CRAR       12.01 per cent 
RAM* Share       55.4 per cent
Tier I      9.24 per cent 

 The growth in Deposits was driven by Savings Deposits, which grew by 27.6 per cent on YoY basis.
 Cost to income ratio improved to 43.79 per cent against 48.28 per cent on YoY basis.

 Capital Adequacy Ratio (Basel III) improved to 12.01 per cent compared to 10.75 per cent a year ago. * (Retail, Agriculture & MSME share in domestic advances) 

Global Business grew by 10.5 per cent to `670971 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `607280 crore as on June 30, 2016. Domestic business grew by 10.0 per cent to `635233 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `577473 crore as on June 30, 2016.  Total deposit of the bank grew from `338727 crore as on June 30, 2016 to `375796 crore as on June 30, 2017 showing growth of 10.9 per cent. 
Financial Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017 
CASA deposits grew by 25.1 per cent to `133412 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `106604 crore as on June 30, 2016.   CASA share in total deposits improved to 35.5 per cent as on June 30, 2017 compared to 31.5 per cent as on June 30, 2016. Average CASA ratio also increased by 430 basis points (bps) to 33.5 per cent on YoY basis.  Savings Deposit registered YoY growth of 27.6 per cent.  A total of 8.70 lakh CASA accounts were opened during April-June 2017, out of which 8.38 lakh were Savings Bank Accounts (excl. BSBDA/BSBDS accounts).   The Bank’s Global Advances grew by 9.9 per cent (YoY) to `295175 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `268553 crore as on June 30, 2016.  Due to encouraging growth of 14.8 per cent in RAM (Retail, Agriculture & MSME) sector, Domestic Advances increased by 9.4 per cent from `242935 crore as on June 30, 2016 to `265683 crore as on June 30, 2017. 

Financial Performance for the quarter ended June 2017

Domestic Net Interest Margin (NIM) stood at 2.20 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 2.36 per cent for April -June 2016. Global NIM for April -June 2017 stood at 2.06 per cent as against 2.27 per cent for January-March 2017 quarter. It was 2.28 per cent a year ago.    Yield on funds stood at 6.94 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 7.94 per cent for April-June 2016 and 7.35 per cent for January-March 2017.   Cost of funds stood at 5.03 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 5.82 per cent for April-June 2016 and 5.24 per cent for January-March 2017.  Net Interest Income for April-June 2017 increased by 6.7 per cent to `2243 crore from `2103 crore for April-June 2016. It was `2387 crore during January-March 2017.  Non Interest Income for April-June 2017 stood at `1414 crore, showing increase of 36.0 per cent over April-June 2016.   Operating profit increased by 26.5 per cent to `2057 crore during April-June 2017 over `1626 crore during April-June 2016 and was `2134 crore during January-March 2017.  Net Profit for April-June 2017 sequentially increased to `117 crore from `109 crore in January-March 2017.  Cost to income ratio improved to 43.79 per cent for April -June 2017 from 48.28 per cent for April-June 2016 and it was 44.32 per cent for January-March 2017.  Return on average assets (annualised) stood at 0.10 per cent for April-June 2017 as against 0.17 per cent for April-June 2016 and 0.10 per cent for January-March 2017.  Return on equity (annualised) stood at 2.46 per cent in April -June 2017 as against 3.36 per cent for April -June 2016 and 2.27 per cent for January-March 2017.  Earnings per share (annualised) stood at `6.78 in April -June 2017 as against `9.69 for April -June 2016 and `6.33 for January-March 2017.

Asset Quality
Gross NPA stood at 12.63 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 11.17 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 10.16 per cent as on June 30, 2016.   Net NPA ratio stood at 7.47 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 6.57 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 6.16 per cent as on June 30, 2016.  Provision Coverage Ratio stood at 51.13 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 51.41 per cent as on March 31, 2017. It was 49.99 per cent as on June 30, 2016.  

Capital Adequacy

Capital Adequacy ratio of the Bank under Basel III improved to 12.01 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 11.79 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 10.75 per cent as on June 30, 2016 compared to minimum regulatory requirement of 10.25 per cent.  The Tier I ratio as of June 30, 2017 is 9.24 per cent, within which Common Equity Tier 1 ratio is 7.73 per cent compared to regulatory minimum of 6.75 per cent. 

Digital Initiatives

The Bank has been pioneer in taking various digital initiatives and continuously launched various digital products for enhancing the customer services. Following are some of the key achievements during the quarter:
 66 per cent growth in mobile banking users on YoY basis.  U-Mobile transaction volume doubled from June 2016.  90 per cent growth in number of PoS terminals on YoY basis.  7th largest presence in banking industry and 3rd largest presence amongst all PSU banks within short span of time in Social media.  Trendsetter on Social media channels by taking various initiatives like Live streaming, Digital Education Series – #KyaAapJanteHai etc.   67 per cent share of “transactions through digital channels” in “overall transactions”. 

Financial Inclusion:

Under the Pradhan Manrti Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the the Bank has more than 69 lakh accounts having a balance of `1270 crore.   48.91 lakh Rupay Card issued under PMJDY as on June 30, 2017.

Total enrollment under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APJ) increased to 30.1 lakh, 12.8 lakh and 2.21 lakh respectively.  The Bank financed `696 crore in 33433 accounts under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, including an amount of `211 crore to 7964 beneficiaries through a specific scheme for financing of light commercial vehicle during April–June 2017. 


The Bank has 4286 branches as of June 30, 2017 including 4 overseas branches at Hong Kong, DIFC (Dubai), Antwerp (Belgium) and Sydney (Australia). In addition, the Bank has representative offices at Shanghai, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The Bank also operates in United Kingdom through its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd.   Total number of ATMs stood at 7574 including 1685 talking ATMs as of June 30, 2017. ATM to branch ratio stood at 1.77. 

Awards & Accolades during FY 2017-18 (April-June)

Skoch Award 
Skoch Order of merit Award – Operational Customer Relationship Management (OCRM)
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Unified Payment Interface(UPI)
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Green PIN solution for Debit cards 
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Union Digi Gaon
Skoch Financial Inclusion Award for Financial Inclusion

          BPCL awards its prestigious microsites design & implementation contract to Octaware Technologies        
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 10, 2017: Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), a leading software and business solutions development company, is pleased to announce that they have been awarded the prestigious contract from BPCL for the design and implementation of their loyalty and brand microsites. Octaware was one of the bidders and was awarded the contract, post evaluation and presentation of efficient solutions and capabilities to the evaluation committee.

The scope of work under the contract includes design and implementation of microsites for BPCL’s loyalty programs – SmartFleet & PetroBonus and other brands - Speed and In & Out. The engagement includes a period of 3 months for implementation of microsites and an additional three years of support and maintenance. Octaware Technology Limited’s expertise in the areas of online portals & enterprise systems helped them win the contract.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Aslam Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Octaware Technologies Limited, said, “We are extremely delighted to have won the prestigious contract from BPCL, our first major win in the Indian PSU sector, post our IPO in April 2017. The fact that it falls under one of Octaware’s key focus verticals of governance, demonstrates our consistent and steady inroads in the Indian market, surpassing some of the strong players in the region. We look forward to a long-term business association with BPCL”.

About Octaware Technologies Limited:
Incorporated in 2005, Octaware Technologies Ltd is a software development company providing a range of information technology solutions. The company designs, develops, and maintains software systems and solutions. Company's services include custom software development, ECM/portal solution, ERP and CRM implementation, mobile platform solution, RFID solution, cloud and IT infrastructure services, consulting services and geospatial services.
Octaware provides specialized software application and product development services and solutions in the areas of healthcare, finance, and e-government industry. The company has proprietary products for domestic, as well as international markets, such as PowerERM – Human Capital Relationship Management, Hospice – Healthcare and Citizen Services solution, and iOnAsset – Inventory management and tracking System etc. These products are available as packaged products as well as software-as-a-service model integrated with legacy system.
Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), got listed on the BSE –SME platform on April 3, 2017 and was oversubscribed by 148%, providing testimony to the faith, the investors have reposed in the company.

          Indian girl’s finish 4th in Asian Rugby 7s        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 7: The Indian Girls’ Under-20 rugby team performed creditably well to clinch the fourth position at the Asia Rugby U-20 Girls Sevens Series which was held at the Kings Park Stadium, Hong Kong, China on August 4 & 5, 2017. The team participated under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and was supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India. The tournament was played on a round-robin league basis.
Playing against heavyweights, the Indian girl’s put up some impressive performances winning three of the six matches and finished among the top 4 from out of the 7 participating countries, namely China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, India and hosts Hong Kong. The formidable and more experienced Chinese girls were crowned champions.
The Rugby India Girls played well but came up short against some stiff competition on the first day. They lost the opening match against Thailand (0-36) but won the second defeating Malaysia (10-0). The Indian girls suffered two more defeats, losing to China (0-32) and Hong Kong 0-39).
After a tough start to the tournament, the girls turned things around on the second day, registering two successive victories. Both matches went down to the wire but the girls handled the pressure well. First the Indian girls overcame Singapore 10-5 and later beat Uzbekistan 22-15.
We are extremely proud of the team’s performance at this tournament. It just goes to show that the future of women’s rugby in India is in safe hands.
The India team: RuchiShetty – Captain (Maharashtra), GargeeWalekar (Maharashtra), NeelamPatil (Maharashtra), RiaBisht (Delhi), Rajani Sabar (Odisha), BasantiPangi (Odisha), Manjulata Pradhan (Odisha), KabitaKasturi (Odisha), Chanda Oraon (West Bengal), Swapna Oraon (West Bengal), Suman Oraon (West Bengal), Punam Oraon (West Bengal).
The final Rankings: 1. China, 2. Thailand, 3. Hong Kong, 4. India, 5. Singapore, 6. Malaysia, 7. Uzbekistan
Performance of the Indian U20 Girls Rugby Team
Day One –4th August, 2017
Day Two- 5th August, 2017


Rugby India
Rugby India
Rugby India
Rugby India
Rugby India

Rugby India
Hong Kong

About Rugby India : Rugby India, founded in 1998, is the sole governing body for the sport of Rugby in India. Recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport, Govt. of India, Rugby India is a full member of World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The body is responsible for the growth & development of the sport of Rugby across the country from the grassroots to the high performance level.
IRFU is the sole governing body of all formats of the sport of Rugby in India for all genders and ages. The formats included are as follows: Rugby Union, Fifteen-a-Side Rugby, Seven-a-Side Rugby, 10-a-Side Rugby, 12-a-Side Rugby, Touch Rugby, Non-Contact Rugby - Tag Rugby, Flag Rugby, Beach Rugby, Snow Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby, Underwater Rugby.
Rugby has been included in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) for all age-groups (U14, U17 & U19 boys & girls) and the National University Games for both Men & Women, under the aegis of the Associationof Indian Universities (AIU), The sport is also a part of the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) and played by the Paramilitary & Police Forces.
Rugby in India has a rich history and heritage and dates back to 1872. However, only over the last decade has the sport seen a major rise in following and Rugby India has been instrumental in garnering this interest across the country. There has been a significant growth and increase in participation numbers and currently, within India, over 120 Rugby Clubs are affiliated to our State and Districts Associations with competitive Rugby, for both Men & Women, being actively played across 24 States in India.

          How healthcare systems can reduce financial risk with developer-owned hospitals        
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          'Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.' (no replies)        
'..America's pension crisis is a big part of the $400 trillion pension time bomb threatening the global economy and it is deflationary and bond friendly.'

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

'BIS Deflation Study

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)

'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

          '..the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens plan to banish diesels from their city centres by 2025.' (no replies)        
'In Germany, for example, Deutsche Post has started building its own electric vans and will soon start selling them to other companies..'

'The clock may be ticking for petrol and diesel-powered cars, but it's vans, trucks and buses that are driving the electric vehicle revolution on the world's roads.

This week the UK government followed France in announcing it would ban the sale of such vehicles by 2040, while the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens plan to banish diesels from their city centres by 2025.


In Germany, for example, Deutsche Post has started building its own electric vans and will soon start selling them to other companies. Meanwhile, in the US, the city of Los Angeles plans to make its entire bus fleet emissions-free by 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that keeping global temperature rises below 2C by the end of the century will in part depend on the electrification of some 600 million vehicles worldwide.


Frost & Sullivan's Ananth Srinivasan says it it easier for freight fleet owners to justify investment in electric vehicles because "when they look at the cost for miles travelled over, say, two years with an electric van versus one powered by petrol or diesel", the financial benefits are obvious.'

- Chris Baraniuk, Electric trucks and vans cut pollution faster than cars, 28 July 2017


Team Solid: Metal Fuels

' get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025..' - Britain bans gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040

'..wood burning is the single largest source of hazardous particle pollution during winter, creating even more particle pollution than vehicles and industry.'

          (2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..' (no replies)        
'..But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.'

'June 27 – Reuters (William Schomberg, Marc Jones, Jason Lange and Lindsay Dunsmuir): “U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she does not believe that there will be another financial crisis for at least as long as she lives, thanks largely to reforms of the banking system since the 2007-09 crash. ‘Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?’ Yellen said… ‘You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be,’ she said.”

While headlines somewhat paraphrased Yellen’s actual comment, “We Will not see Another Crisis in Our Lifetime” is reminiscent of Irving Fisher’s “permanent plateau” just weeks before the great crash of 1929. While on the subject, I never bought into the popular comparison between 2008 and 1929 – and the related notion of 2008 as “the 100-year flood”. The 2008/09 crisis was for the most part a private debt crisis associated with the bursting of a Bubble in mortgage Credit – not dissimilar to previous serial global crises, only larger and somewhat more systemic. It was not, however, a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929, which was characterized by a crisis of confidence in the banking system, the markets and finance more generally, along with a loss of faith in government policy and institutions. But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.

As such, it’s ironic that the Fed has branded the banking system cured and so well capitalized that bankers can now boost dividends, buybacks and, presumably, risk-taking. As conventional central bank thinking goes, a well-capitalized banking system provides a powerful buffer for thwarting the winds of financial crisis. Chair Yellen, apparently, surveys current bank capital levels and extrapolates to systemic stability. Yet the next crisis lurks not with the banks but within the securities and derivatives markets: too much leverage and too much “money” employed in trend-following trading strategies. Too much hedging, speculating and leveraging in derivatives. Market misperceptions and distortions on an epic scale.

Compared to 2008, the leveraged speculating community and the ETF complex are significantly larger and potentially perilous. The derivatives markets are these days acutely more vulnerable to liquidity issues and dislocation. Never have global markets been so dominated by trend-following strategies. It’s a serious issue that asset market performance – stocks, bond, corporate Credit, EM, real estate, etc. – have all become so tightly correlated. There are huge vulnerabilities associated with various markets having become so highly synchronized on a global basis. And in the grand scheme of grossly inflated global securities, asset and derivatives markets, the scope of available bank capital is trivial.

I realize that, at this late stage of the great bull market, such a question sounds hopelessly disconnected. Yet, when markets reverse sharply lower and The Crowd suddenly moves to de-risk, who is left to take the other side of what has become One Gargantuan “Trade”? We’re all familiar with the pat response: “Central banks. They’ll have no choice.” Okay, but I’m more interested in the timing and circumstances.

Central bankers are now signaling their desire to proceed with normalization, along with noting concerns for elevated asset prices. As such, I suspect they will be somewhat more circumspect going forward when it comes to backstopping the markets - than, say, back in 2013 with Bernanke’s “flash crash” or with the China scare of early-2016. Perhaps this might help to explain why the VIX spiked above 15 during Thursday afternoon trading. Even corporate debt markets showed a flash of vulnerability this week.'

- Doug Noland, Weekly Commentary: The Road to Normalization, July 1, 2017

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

'Unsound Finance gets to the heart of the issue.'

'..Like monetarists, Keynes held no capital theory .. the role time plays..' - Jesús Huerta de Soto

'..Loose financial conditions and record debt issuance..'

'..investors’ fear of missing out is looking increasingly desperate..'

'..a giant passive 'beta' bubble .. This may be the Mother of all beta bubbles..'

'..The same combination prevailed at the 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2007 market peaks..'

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

          '..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets..' (no replies)        
'..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.'

'The Fed is not blind. They monitor stock prices and corporate debt issuance; they see residential and commercial real estate market values. Years of ultra-low rates have inflated Bubbles throughout commercial real estate – anything providing a yield – in excess of those going into 2008. Upper-end residential prices are significantly stretched across the country, also surpassing 2007. They see Silicon Valley and a Tech Bubble 2.0, with myriad excesses that in many respects put 1999 to shame. I’ll assume that the Fed is concerned with the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.


The Fed collapsed fed funds from 6.50% in December 2000 to an extraordinarily low 1.75% by the end of 2001. In the face of an escalating corporate debt crisis, the Fed took the unusual step of cutting rates another 50 bps in November 2002. Alarmingly, corporate Credit was failing to respond to traditional monetary policy measures (despite being aggressively applied). Ford in particular faced severe funding issues, though the entire corporate debt market was confronting liquidity issues. Recall that the S&P500 dropped 23.4% in 2002. The small caps lost 21.6%. The Nasdaq 100 (NDX) sank 37.6%, falling to 795 (having collapsed from a March 2000 high of 4,816). No financial instability?


I revisit history in an attempt at distinguishing reality from misperceptions. Of course the Fed will generally dismiss the consequences of Bubbles. They’re not going to aggressively embark on reflationary policies while espousing the dangers of asset price and speculative Bubbles. Instead, they have painted the “housing Bubble” as some egregious debt mountain aberration. And paraphrasing Kashkari, since today’s stock market has nowhere as much debt as housing had in 2007, there’s little to worry about from a crisis and financial instability perspective.

Well, if only that were the case. Debt is a critical issue, and there’s a whole lot more of it than back in 2008. Yet when it comes to fragility and financial crises, market misperceptions and distortions play fundamental roles. And there’s a reason why each bursting Bubble and resulting policy-induced reflation ensures a more precarious Bubble: Not only does the amount of debt continue to inflate, each increasingly intrusive policy response elicits a greater distorting impact on market perceptions.

I doubt Fed governor Bernanke actually anticipated that the Fed would have to resort to “helicopter money” and the “government printing press” when he introduced such extreme measures in his 2002 speeches. Yet seeing that the Fed was willing to push its monetary experiment in such a radical direction played a momentous role in reversing the 2002 corporate debt crisis, in the process stoking the fledgling mortgage finance Bubble. And the Bernanke Fed surely thought at the time that doubling its balance sheet during the 2008/09 crisis was a one-time response to a once-in-a-lifetime financial dislocation. I’ll assume they were sincere with their 2011 “exit strategy,” yet only a few short years later they’d again double the size of their holdings.


Despite assertions to the contrary, the bursting of the “tech” Bubble unleashed significant financial instability. To orchestrate reflation, the Fed marshaled a major rate collapse, which worked to stoke already robust mortgage Credit growth. The collapse in telecom debt, an unwind of market-based speculative leverage and the rapid slowdown in corporate borrowings was over time more than offset by a rapid expansion in housing debt and the enormous growth in mortgage-related speculative leverage (MBS, ABS, derivatives).


I’ve never felt comfortable that Chinese authorities appreciate the types of risks that have been mounting beneath the surface of their massively expanding Credit system. Global markets seemed attentive a year ago, but have since been swept away by the notion of the all-powerful “China put” conjoining with the steadfast “Fed put.” These types of market perceptions create tremendous inherent fragility.'

- Doug Noland, Discussions on the Fed Put, March 25, 2017

'It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures..'

'The problem today is that years of ultra-loose monetary conditions have ensured everyone is crowded on the same bullish side of the boat. Tipping the vessel at this point will be chaotic, and the Fed clearly doesn’t want to be the instigator. Meanwhile, timid little baby-step increases only ensure more problematic market Bubbles and general financial excess.

It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures. And the longer the accommodative backdrop fuels only more precarious Bubble Dynamics, the more certain it becomes that central bankers will approach monetary tightening timidly. Yellen confirmed to the markets Wednesday that the Fed would remain timid – still focused on some theoretical “neutral rate” and seemingly oblivious to conspicuous financial market excess. The fixation remains on consumer prices that are running just a tad under its 2% target. Meanwhile, runaway securities market inflation is completely disregarded.'

- Doug Noland, Another Missed Opportunity, March 18, 2017

'..In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.'

'The unprecedented amount of system-wide debt is so enormous that the annual percentage gains no longer appear as alarming. Non-Financial Debt expanded 4.7% in 2016, up from 2015’s 4.4%. Total Household Debt expanded 3.6%, with Total Business borrowings up 5.6%. Financial Sector borrowings expanded 2.9% last year, the strongest expansion since 2008.

Securities markets remain the centerpiece of this long reflationary cycle. Total (debt and equities) Securities jumped $1.50 TN during Q4 to a record $80.344 TN, with a one-year rise of $4.80 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Total Securities increased to 426% from the year ago 415%. For comparison, Total Securities peaked at $55.3 TN during Q3 2007, or 379% of GDP. At the previous Q1 2000 cycle peak, Total Securities had reached $36.0 TN, or 359% of GDP.

The Household Balance Sheet also rather conspicuously illuminates Bubble Dynamics. Household Assets surged $6.0 TN during 2016 to a record $107.91 TN ($9.74 TN 2-yr gain). This compares to the peak Q3 2007 level of $81.9 TN and $70.0 TN to end 2008. Q4 alone saw Household Assets inflate $2.192 TN, with Financial Assets up $1.589 TN and real estate gaining $557bn.

With Household Liabilities increasing $473bn over the past year, Household Net Worth (assets minus liabilities) inflated a notable $5.518 TN in 2016 to a record $92.805 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Net Worth rose to a record 492%. For comparison, Household Net Worth-to-GDP ended 1999 at 435% ($43.1 TN) and 2007 at 453% ($66.5 TN). Net Worth fell to a cycle low 378% of GDP ($54.4TN) in Q1 2009. In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.


UBS analysts forecast (above) $3.3 TN of 2017 Chinese Total Social Financing (TSF). And with TSF excluding national government deficit spending, let’s add another $300bn and presume 2017 Chinese system Credit growth of around $3.6 TN. As such, it’s possible that China and the U.S. could combine for Credit growth approaching an Unparalleled $6.0 TN. There are, as well, indications of an uptick in lending in the euro zone, and Credit conditions for the most part remain loose throughout EM. Importantly, the inflationary biases that have gained momentum in asset and securities markets and, increasingly, in consumer prices and corporate profits provide a tailwind for Credit expansion.'

- Doug Noland, Unparalleled Credit and Global Yields, March 10, 2017


'..the S&P 500 is now far more overvalued than in 2000, 2007, or indeed in any prior point in history..'

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

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)

'..a crippling national debt..'

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

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

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

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


'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Christmas Truce of 1914

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love

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

Economics in One Lesson

          European Banking System on Verge of Collapse (no replies)        
'..doubt that European banks still had a viable business model.'

- 'Europe’s banks .. a “very fragile situation”..'

'..Monte dei Paschi, Italy’s third largest bank and oldest bank in the world is insolvent in any realistic scenario.


The Financial Times discusses the Vanishing Market Value of European Banks.

“The key to us is understanding this is a profitability issue versus an insolvency issue,” says Hani Redha, a portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments, regarding the sector’s performance.”

I suggest (as does the market) the entire European banking system is on the verge of collapse.'

- Mike "Mish" Shedlock, European Banking System on Verge of Collapse; Market Votes “No Confidence” in Italian Bank Rescue, August 2, 2016

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

'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians in the 21st century.'

'Monte Paschi .. should be put into resolution, not bailed out.'

'..Like monetarists, Keynes held no capital theory .. the role time plays..' - Jesús Huerta de Soto

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Comment on Five Steps You Can Take to Help Improve Your Credit Score and Creditworthiness by The Top Four Reasons Your Credit Score Is Important        
[…] credit score is an important part of your financial picture. Lenders combine your credit score with the information in your credit report to assess your risk as a borrower. If your score is […]
          Improve your nonprofit’s account security with 2-step verification        

While online accounts allow nonprofits to easily communicate with partners, volunteers and donors across the world, this shared network can also leave your account vulnerable to intruders. As your nonprofit continues to grow its online presence, it’s crucial to keep confidential information (e.g., finances or donor’s information) safe. While passwords have historically been the sole guardian for online account access, research from Google has shown that many passwords and security questions can easily be guessed. That's why we strongly recommend that all nonprofits using GSuite for Nonprofits, or Google products like Gmail, use 2-Step Verification (2SV) as an additional protection on their account(s). 

Account hijacking—a process through which an online account is stolen or hijacked by a hacker—constitutes a serious threat to your nonprofit’s operations. Typically, account hijackings are carried out by phishing attempts or hackers who guess weak passwords. Because of this, it’s especially important for your nonprofit to maintain strong and unique account passwords to keep sensitive data safe.

But 2SV goes beyond just a strong password. It's an effective security feature that combines "something you know" (e.g., a password) and "something you have" (e.g., a text, a prompt, or a Security Key) to protect your accounts. Think of this like withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine: You need both your PIN and your debit card.

Google Authentication app.png
Our free Google Authenticator app is available for Android and iOS devices, which generates a code for you each time you want to sign in to your account.

Now that you know what 2SV is, head over to our Help Page to start improving your nonprofit’s online security now. (Quick tip: Remember to keep your account settings up to date and configure backup options to use if your phone is ever lost or stolen). Stay safe, nonprofits!  

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

          Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication        

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

“It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or  if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page),” said Adrienne Perez.

MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family’s ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is  picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it’s often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive’s tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share — it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

“Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost,” stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.


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

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.

          A nonprofit's guide to online security: So you want to learn the lingo?        
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web becoming publicly available. For many of us, this is a reminder of just how much the Internet has transformed our daily lives. This rings true for nonprofits too: The Internet has revolutionized the way that nonprofits communicate, fundraise, and recruit volunteers. It has enabled nonprofits like yours to share their mission with a global audience. To raise awareness. And to change the world. 

But the power of the Internet also comes with great responsibility -- namely the need to keep information safe and secure. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to keep up with online security, especially when terminology seems complicated. Yes, you might have heard of terms like “phishing” or “cookies,” but what do they mean?

Today, you can find the answers to your questions with our quick & easy to guide to online security terminology. In less than five minutes, you’ll be well on the way to helping keep your nonprofit safe on the Internet. 

Let’s get started! Here’s a quick guide to familiarize yourself with common lingo and learn how to distinguish terms that are friends vs foes in the online security realm. 


  • Advanced Fee Fraud (419 scams): A technique which tricks users into sending or paying money to fraudsters on the promise of receiving greater rewards afterwards. It is most commonly associated with Nigeria, and 419 is the section of the Nigerian legal code that covers this fraud.
  • Botnet: A network of computers that are infected with malicious software without users’ knowledge, used to send viruses and spam to other computers.
  • Malware: Malicious software with the purpose of infecting devices and systems, gathering personal information, gaining access to systems or disrupting the operations of the device or systems. Essentially, any software that maliciously alters or compromises the system or device.
  • Phishing / Social Engineering Attack: An attempt by hackers who pose as trustworthy individuals or businesses in order to get your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial information.
  • Trojans: Malicious programs posing as or bundled with legitimate ones, which are designed to compromise your system. They are usually installed on computers from opening attachments in scam emails or by visiting infected websites. The term comes from the Trojan Horse in Greek mythology.

How to avoid social engineering attacks


  • [Internet] Cookie: A piece of data from a visited website and stored in the user's web browser in order to remember information that the user has entered or engaged with such as items in a shopping basket on an e-commerce site.
  • Encryption: The process of encoding data, messages, or information, such that only authorized parties can read it.
  • Firewall: A security system used to block hackers, viruses, and other malicious threats to your computer. It does this by acting as a barrier, acting on predetermined rules, which allows trusted traffic but blocks untrusted or non-secure traffic. 
  • HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): is the protocol for secure communications over a computer network used on the Internet. It essentially provides authentication of the website and the web servers associated with it. 
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): TLS is a protocol that encrypts and delivers mail securely, both for inbound and outbound mail traffic. It helps prevent eavesdropping between mail servers – keeping your messages private while they're moving between email providers. 
  • Two Factor Authentication / Two Step Verification: A method of using an additional process to verify your identity online. It combines both ‘something you know’ (like a password) and ‘something you have’ (like your phone or security key) — similar to withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine, where you need both your PIN and your bank card.

That’s a wrap for now! Pass on these tips to your nonprofit partners to stay safe and secure online, so you can focus on what matters most: changing the world. 


To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

          Bella Communities: Utilizing technology & Google tools to drive "volunteer-ship"        

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

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

Which role does technology play in Bella Communities?

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

Do you think technology has changed the way you work?

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

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

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

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

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

How are you measuring the success of this program?

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

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

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

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

          Senior Analyst FP&A (Sales) - Metaswitch Networks        
Los Altos, CA - Senior Analyst FP&A (Sales), Los Altos, CA

Merced Myking
June 16, 2017 at 2:12 PM

JOB DESCRIPTION ? Senior Analyst FP&A (Sales)

The FP&A Role supporting Sales Organization

This is a key management role within the Finance organization of Metaswitch
          Billing Support Specialist - Bullhorn        
Boston, MA - Finance/Accounting
Boston, MassachusettsFull time

Job Description

Bullhorn is the leading provider of CRM software to relationship-driven businesses. Serving over 350,000 users across its suite of products, Bullhorn is seeking the best talent to continue building its world
          Accounts Receivable Specialist-B2B VIP Accounts - Travel Holdings        
Altamonte Springs, FL - Location: Altamonte Springs, FLDepartment: Accounting and FinanceType: Full TimeMin. Experience: Entry Level
Responsible for managing B2B accounts that require special attention due to their VIP status and the high volume of manual work they generate on reconciliation. This
          Here I go        
Hello all. Since I had to give up my Mac when I switched jobs, I haven't been blogging at all and that has made me so sad! I decided to re-enter the world of creepy diaries on the interwebz mostly because I want to chronicle a very new and important part of my life. My boy and I are getting a dog! This is a surprising, scary and exciting turn of events and I want to make sure I capture every minute of it.
Surprising, you say? Don't most people plan ahead and know that a dog is coming to them? Wouldn't it be the responsible thing to do to research a responsible breeder or apply to the humane society? How can one be "surprised" by dog ownership. Well it turns out the answer is simple.
Step 1) You get a new place where there is a fenced in backyard and they allow pets.
Step 2) Your boyfriend mentions to his mother that you are thinking about getting a dog and have started researching what it takes to acquire one from the local animal shelter.
Step 3) Your boyfriend and you have a discussion about waiting at least a couple months to get settled in both physically and financially before you get a cute fuzzy friend.
Step 4) Your hopefully-someday-mother-in-law calls her son and tells him that she just rescued a 3 and 1/2 month old puppy of unknown breed or origin from certain death at the kill shelter known as her local pound and is gifting it to you and your beloved.
*Important* This must all be done within a time frame of 3-6 days. We did in 3 just to be on the safe side.
So there you have it. Surprising yourself with a dog in 4 easy steps.
In all seriousness, I am very excited to meet the little pup. I hope to have more information, news and pictures soon.
          Six Questions With Steven Anthony, Founder/Managing Partner of Global Sports Management        
Steven Anthony is an accomplished Senior Executive, Entrepreneur and Board Member, with more than fifteen years success across the banking, finance, and hospitality industries. Anthony is a graduate of Dillard University where he received his B.A. in Business Administration & Management and he also holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University in Real Estate. He and...
          Credit Report Monitoring Service - Get Your Free Credit Report And Score And Get Some Peace Of Mind! are a credit report monitoring service. You can obtain FREE access to your credit report and even your credit score. You are are able to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of 3 credit reference agencies - Equifax, Experian and TrasUnion. However, getting your credit score is not as easy! allow you sign up for a membership which includes the professional monitoring of your credit file and reports. You can sign up to receive automatic e-mails and text alerts should there be any activity whatsoever on your credit file. Perhaps an existing lender may have carried a credit search on you to see if you are eligible for a new mortgage or loan product. However, were you aware that excessive activity on your credit file can be detrimental to your credit score?

Did you know that identy theft costs millions of people and financial institutions billions of dollars every year! By having an efficient credit report monitoring service in place, you can detect the signs of identity theft early. Most people are blissfully unaware that someone may have stolen their social security number and their identity. Many thieves set about opening accounts either to launder money or borrow against your good name. This can take months or even years to notice and can ruin your good name and cost you plenty of money as well. NOT if you have access to a credit report monitoring service. offer a free trial period for you to test their credit report monitoring service. Once you order your free credit report you will automatically be enrolled into your free trial of credit monitoring. You will then receive automatic notifications of any changes made to your credit report. Should you wish to continue using the credit report monitorng service once your trial period has ended you will be billed $14.95 a month. However, there is absolutely no obligation to continue using the service after your free trial period has finished - You can cancel your membership at any time.

Click Here To See Your Free Credit Report And Credit Score
          How Barack Obama's Modification of Your Mortgage Can Really Help Those Suffering Financially        
The New Mortgage Loan Modification Programs were introduced by the Obama administration in March 2009. For those of you struggling to meet your monthly repayments and with the threat of possible foreclosure hanging over you, this could be just the thing you are looking for.

With the agonizing recent recession and slump in housing prices, this has had a huge effect on millions of Americans. The Obama Loan Modification process has been introduced to help you through these hard times.

So what help is the government offering exactly?

Should you own and live in your mortgaged property and have a loan balance of below $729,750 you may be eligible. The government are looking to streamline your payments for up to five years. This may involve lowering the interest rate or extending the term of your mortgage.

For those of you suffering financial hardship and wishing to participate in this plan, you will be required to write and sign a letter stating such and if your overall debts are above 55% of your income, you will have to agree to take part in credit counseling. The final criteria to be eligible is that you must haven taken your loan out prior to January 1st 2009.

The process is a very rigorous form of verification, involving proof of ownership, proof of income and expenditure, through supplying relevant documents. Many industry experts believe that if these plans had been brought in a few years ago, then perhaps the current housing crisis could have been avoided altogether.

There are many companies who can help you through the legal and financial aspects for the Modification of your mortgage.

However, some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the procedures on their own. To learn how you can complete this process yourself Click Here.
          How to Improve My Credit Score After a Default?        
Firstly, it is great that you are looking to improve your credit rating. We can all be irresponsible with our money at times. The trick is to learn from your mistakes and understand what you need to do to move forward. I'm sure many of you have asked the question, "How To Improve My Credit Score After A Default", so let's try and answer that for you.

It may not be something you want to hear initially, but often time is the greatest healer when it comes to improving your credit score. In the main, a default will show on your credit file for up to 6 years. This, of course, will severely impact on your ability to secure credit. However, it must be said that there are lenders out there that will lend to applicants with a default. Although, you must be aware that you will undoubtedly be charged a higher rate of interest for credit, than if you had a clean record.

You have the opportunity to check your credit reports for free once a year. So make sure you take advantage of this. Check that your records are up to date and free of any errors. You will find the longer that you have lived at your current address or the longer you have been with your current employer, will have a positive effect on improving your credit score after a default.

During the times that you don't require any credit, please ensure that you keep your finances intact. Always try and stay within your agreed overdraft limit and look to pay your monthly repayments and bills on a timely basis. Any potential lender will always look at your most recent credit history. Even if you have a default registered and a low credit score, the way you manage your accounts after the event will have certain repercussions. By making repayments in full and on time, this will help to improve your credit score and will also show lenders that you now have your finances under control.

There are many differing means and methods to improve your credit score. Don't ever think that having a default registered against you is the end of the world.

You may want to check out how high spending ex college student Chris Brisson went about raising his credit score by 135 points in 37 days. This was with defaults and late-pays registered against him.
          Are These Offers That Provide Unsecured Personal Loans For Poor Credit All They're Cracked Up to Be?        
With the downturn in the world's economy, it appears more and more people now have a bad credit rating than ever before. You would think borrowing money would be more difficult now, but it seems this is when you become inundated with offers of Unsecured Personal Loans For Poor Credit.

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

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

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

- Bad Credit

- No job or income

- Student

- Bankruptcy

- Very Low Credit Score

- Been turned down before

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

If you are struggling and not sure where to turn and you are looking for an Unsecured Personal Loan For Poor Credit, then please read my full review on My Miracle Loans and discover how to ease your financial troubles today.
          5 Top Tips To What Makes A Great Loan Modification Hardship Letter        
A well thought out and well written Loan Modification Hardship Letter can be the difference between success and failure when making a loan modification application. You must remember ever since the Obama Administration announced the new Loan Modification Plans And Programs back in March 2009, the majority of lenders have been inundated with applications.

So your letter needs to be clear, concise and if at all possible as unique as you can:-

1) Don't make excuses. Just describe in detail what the hardship is and why you are in this situation.

2) State what you have tried to do to overcome your current financial hardship.

3) You need to fully emphasize to your lender how important it is to you that you and your lender work together to resolve any problems.

4) Explain what your plans are to get yourself back on track with your mortgage repayments.

5) Don't beat around the bush. Be very clear and get to the point.

The Hardships that lenders will accept:-

- Death of a family member or the person who pays the mortgage

- Divorce

- Loss of your Job or Relocation

- Due to a reset variable rate your monthly mortgage repayments have increased
          Thanks For The Help Obama But Are You Willing To Pay $5000 For The Modification Of Your Mortgage?        
Since the Obama Administration introduced the new Loan Modification Plans on Wednesday 4th March 2009, many people have gone about planning the changes to their mortgages.

However, one stumbling block seems to get in everyone's way! The process of approaching your lender for the Modification of Your Mortgage usually requires a middleman. This is when the help of specialized attorneys, Loan Modification companies and professionals is required.

How much do these services cost you?

Well, you could be looking at anywhere from $1500 to $5000. Now, the way i see things, if you had that kind of money freely available you probably wouldn't need to approach your lender.
The actual plan of the Obama administration is to help out the 4 million plus Americans, who have either fallen behind with their monthly mortgage repayments or to those unfortunate enough to be facing foreclosure.

The help you will be offered is over a five year period. You mortgage principle can be reduced by up to $5000. Your interest rate can be dropped to as low as 2% and the term of your home loan can be extended up to a maximum of 40 years.

This certainly is a fantastic helping hand to those suffering financial hardship and looking to modify their mortgage repayments, but once again, you are faced with the fees and charges to get the ball rolling.

I knew it wouldn't be long before someone had to go through this whole process and then worked out a way of doing it for themselves! You are undoubtedly looking for no huge fees, no additional charges, just some guidance on how to approach the Loan Modification process. Hence the birth of the DIY Loan Modification Kit!

With the help of this kit, you can learn to:-

- Lower your interest rate and your payment

- Reduce the principal balance

- Convert to a fixed rate for peace of mind

- Have all late fees and charges removed from your record

- Stop the Foreclosure process

Click Here For More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit

What have some of the people who have used the DIY Loan Modification Kit got to say:-

"Thanks to the Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit I was able to save my home! I had to stick to it for 3 months and really put my head down, but it was well worth it in the long run. I will be the first one to say it wasn't easy, but if you are struggling to make ends meet, it is definitely worth it. I ended up with a 40yr term at 4.5% reducing my mortgage over $1000 per month! I talked to a loan modification company before I chose the kit, but they wanted $3,500 upfront. I weighed my options and for only $29.95 I knew exactly what I was going to receive! And If I couldn't get the loan modification done myself at least I had peace of mind that I didn't waste $3,500."
Ted Basil, Syracuse, NY

"We have been in our home for 3 years and I think we were given the wrong mortgage. We got behind, but your kit showed us how to make our lender listen! We are now in a mortgage that we can afford. Our entire family appreciates you and the information that you provide."
Paul and Brenda Keen, Danbury, CT

"I was over $10,000 behind on my mortgage. My rate had just adjusted to 13.25%! Using your kit, I was able to negotiate the following: 13.25% adjustable rate was taken to an 8% fixed!And, get this... the lender allowed me to have the $10,000 I was behind, rolled onto the back of my loan!My new payment including taxes and insurance, is $300 less than what my previous payment was, and that's not including the taxes and insurance!!!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"

Vivian Stephens , Dallas, TX

Click Here For More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit
          What's All This About Mortgage Loan Modification Plans?        
The Government has now come up with two plans to help people who have missed payments on their mortgage and are struggling. In this article i wish to introduce you to the one that is called a Loan Modification plan. To qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:-

- Your original mortgage loan cannot be greater than $729,000

- Your mortgage must have completed prior to January 1st 2009

- You will be required to provide proof of your income and expenditure, through payslips, tax returns and bank statements

- If your total debts are in excess of 55% of your income, you have to agree to visit credit counselling

- Finally, you must be living in the mortgaged property and will be required to write a letter in your own handwriting stating that you are in financial hardship

So what can your lender do for you in this situation?

- They can lower your monthly repayments to approximately a third of your monthly income.

- Interest has been known to be dropped to as low as 2%.

- You don't need to pay any fees for the modification as these are covered by the government

- The government are able to reduce your balance by up to $5000 over 5 years as long as you make your payments on time

- Your rate is reduced for the period of 5 years, so you may have to pay more after this period

- You are only ever allowed one modification

Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere from $1500 - $5000 to help you with this process. If you don't have that kind of "spare" cash lying around, you will need to complete a "Do-It-Yourself" Loan Modification.

Click Here for More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit

          Is Getting A Loan With Bad Credit Really That Hard?        
Have you ever wondered why lenders seem to treat people with a bad credit history so badly? If you have bad credit and apply for a loan, you know, generally you're going to be declined or charged some extortionate rate of interest.

You simply want any potential lender to recognise that you haven't always had a bad credit history. You probably had a decent credit rating once, then, unfortunately some unforseen circumstance or an inevitable event forced you into having your credit record damaged.

However, what guarantee does a lender have that someone who has a perfect credit rating now, may not default on that loan at some time in the future. Circumstances change, things happen and nothing can be 100% guaranteed. It seems as though you are still being punished for what happened in the past.

Lenders have now started to notice, with the rising number of people falling in debt and bad credit, it no longer makes sense not to conduct business with everyone, good credit, bad credit or otherwise. Many specialized loans, credit cards and products have spread through the financial marketplace. You can now get a bad credit loan for a wide variety of purposes. Car Loans, Holiday Loans, Debt Consolidation loans.

A lender may ask for you to put up some form of collateral or asset as security against your loan. This can work well for both parties. A lender has some form assurance by way of an asset, usually your home...and as the borrower who has a bad credit history, in can be a case of once bitten, twice shy. You have been through the hell of bad credit, and all it brings, once. So why would you wish to lose an asset such as your home by making the same mistakes again.

Getting a Loan with bad credit without having to provide any collateral is possible as well. Usually an unsecured loan is only ever offered to people with a great credit rating. Some lenders may accept a borrower with a bad credit history, but you can usually expect to pay a higher rate of interest and sometimes you may be asked to pay a high fee and have to adhere to some near impossible terms of repayment.

Despite that, don't worry, there are lenders out there who will charge a reasonable rate of interest to those wih bad credit. Prior to approaching a lender or even an intermediary company for help, there are a few things you need to consider - You must decide exactly how much you need to borrow. Then the exact dispersal of your loan. Maybe, some of your loan is to consolidate some other debts, while some is to pay some bills and some is merely for pleasure. Then you need to work out an affordable budget and timescale to repay the loan. You don't want to fall into the same trap again of missing payments and eventually defaulting on a loan.

Once you have calculated all this, then you can approach a lender to find out if they can offer a loan that fits within your criteria. Finally, if you have managed to secure that all important loan, this will do wonders for your credit rating. By making your payments in full and on time, this will help to repair that bad credit history.
          Debt Consolidation Loans For Bad Credit To Delay The Further Worsening Of Credit        
The importance of debt consolidation loans can be best understood by people who are suffering with bad credit history. Debt consolidation loans for people with bad credit provides a manner in which they can prevent their financial condition and credit status from further deteriorating.

A debt consolidation loan replaces several small and big debts that a particular person might have incurred. Under this arrangement, a single loan is used to repay all debts of the borrower. Since the loan taken at this instance is not immediately repayable, borrowers get enough time to prepare for repayment.

Borrowers are referred to as bad credit when they have defaulted on debts in the past. Mortgage arrears, County Court Judgements, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, all count towards tarnishing the borrowers’ credit history. Credit history of borrowers is referred to in order to get data about the credibility that a borrower enjoys. A bad credit history would thus imply that the borrower has lesser credibility and thus make him a bad case for debt consolidation loans.

This however is not so. Borrowers with bad credit history are also considered for debt consolidation loans. The logic behind this is that by taking debt consolidation loan, the borrower with bad credit history is making positive efforts to change his/ her credit status. Thus, debt consolidation loan is readily available to people with bad credit history.

A slightly higher interest payment is what you are required to make on the debt consolidation loan if you have a bad credit history. You however need to distinguish between lenders who are charging the justifiable rates of interest and those who aren’t. The task is not as difficult. Just see what other lenders are offering to borrowers with similar circumstances. If that is not enough, you can request a select group of lenders to send their debt consolidation loan quote. The quote provides information about the rate of interest that will be charged, the period for which the loan will be offered and other important terms on which the loan will be granted. It is certain that on comparison, a few quotes will be rejected and some will be selected for further screening through several processes.

Once a debt consolidation loan provider is selected, the process of eliminating debts is initiated. The first step in any debt settlement process will be to make a list of the debts. The list must be as exhaustive as possible so that all debts are included.

The list of debts with the persons to whom each debt is due and the interest rate that each carries will be supplied to the loan provider. Debt consolidation loans have a special feature that borrowers are guided in the debt settlement process. The guiding principle of every debt settlement process is to save maximum for the debtor. Only through a proper negotiation can creditors be forced to write off a particular debt or a part of it. Borrowers do not have the necessary time and skills to make this happen. Thus, the service of the debt consolidation loan provider becomes necessary.

Debt consolidation loans come in either of the two forms, i.e. secured and unsecured loans. A secured debt consolidation loan is one in which the repayment is backed by a collateral. An unsecured debt consolidation loan, on the other hand, has no direct stake on any asset. There are subtle differences in the rates of interest and other terms that make secured debt consolidation loans more preferred in spite of the risk on assets.
          Debt Consolidation Loans Can Resolve Bad Credit Debt        
Replacing several high interest loans or credit cards with one consolidation loan can not only lower your monthly payments, but also save you money due to the lower interest rate on the new loan.

Look at the rates you are paying on your unsecured debts, i.e. credit cards with a rate of between about 13% and over 35%. These are obvious replacement loan candidates. Auto loans and store credit cards are other loans that should be paid off.

If you can get a second mortgage or refinance your current first mortgage, use these funds to pay off these unsecured loans. You should be able to currently save several thousand dollars in interest payments alone. I am assuming a total loan amount above the home debt to be about $20,000.

The other advantage to this plan is to reduce your monthly payments by a substantial amount. This also should allow you to gain a payment schedule that you can easily meet and even reduce quicker over time. Make sure you can pay off this new loan with extra payments with no penalty. It is a good place to put some of that extra money you have each month.

This idea also takes some solid research on your part. All banks and mortgage companies do not operate the same way. Also you want to find the best rate you can get for your debt structure.

Look to these sources for your consolidation loan: Local banks, local mortgage brokers, and the newest provider for these loans, the internet loan providers. There are many companies fighting each other to make these loans to folks like you. Take advantage of your popularity.

Sometimes, debt consolidation companies can discount the amount of the loan. The debt consolidator will buy the loan at a discount, usually when in danger of bankruptcy. The wise debtor can easily shop around for consolidators who will pass along some of the savings. Consolidation usually affects the ability of the debtor to discharge debts in bankruptcy. It’s prudent to weigh this decision rationally.

Take your future in your own hands and make this happen for your financial health. Saving money and paying off your debts faster will open your life to a freedom you have not enjoyed for a long time. A family with minimum debts has eliminated a potential family problem and replaced it with freedom. Do your self a favour and become debt free.
          Discover The Secrets Behind Emergency Personal Loans        
If you suffering a financial crisis then being able to get emergency personal loans may solve all your problems. There are now many online lenders that can offer an instant payday cash advance, even to people who have bad credit.

The majority of payday loans that you will be offered will be up to a maximum of $500. However, dependant on your income, some companies may be willing to offer you up to $1500. The reason that these companies like to limit your borrowing is because this is a short term loan and will usually need to be repaid within 2 to 4 weeks. Remember this type of loan is for those who are cash-strapped till payday.

The internet has made the process of securing emergency payday loans a lot more convenient. This will afford you a lot more privacy and can also speed up the process. There is no need to book appointments and wait agonisingly for a decision. In most cases, you will be required to complete an online application and hold on for an immediate answer. You may be asked to produce payslips or bank statements as proof of earnings, but these can either be faxed or scanned and sent by e-mail to the company in question.

As mentioned, the online process and acceptance can be an immediate solution. You may find that if you apply on a weekday, that the funds could be transferred to your checking account on the same day as your initial application.

These lenders are taking a high risk as there are usually no credit checks completed, hence the reason that more substantial sized loans are not offered.

Perhaps you have tried to secure a payday advance before and been declined! If you have been struggling for any amount of time and are not sure what to do next, i suggest you check out Kim Roach's Instant Payday Loan Formula.
          How to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit        
Have you been searching for somewhere to finance your car with bad credit? In this day and age everyone either needs, wants or has a car. Gone are the days when a car was considered a luxury item. A car is definitely a necessity for most. However, due to your poor credit history, no lender is willing to help. You have even approached your own bank and they have shut the door firmly in your face.

This is when your search to finance your car begins. Although there is a vast array of lenders available, you need to be very careful. I'm sure you have heard many horror stories of people borrowing money and then being held to ransom by the lender. Once they have gone through the reams of small print, they discover that they will need to pay back up to 10 times the amount they borrowed. This, unfortunately, leads to further debt., which in turn can worsen your credit rating and eventually lead to bankruptcy!

Fortunately, this is where certain companies and organizations have evolved to help you. They are intermediary organizations, who will do all the leg work for you. They understand having bad credit can be a difficult time and will provide you with everything you have been looking for. They can show you how to finance your car, even with bad credit. Usually these companies have a huge list of lenders on their books, who are willing to help people in your situation. They can also provide online support and even have access to many unknown government resources. You will usually have to pay a very small one-time fee to get access to this information and remember i said very small!

You can still Finance your Car With Bad Credit, but you will just need to be wary. This is why i believe these intermediary companies are actually a blessing in disguise. The majority of lenders on their books can give you that auto loan online, at a price you can afford. In most cases your auto loan can be agreed and set up within a matter of days.

If you urgently need to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit, then it is time you visited one of these intermediary companies. Click Here to find out exactly what others in your situation are doing and secure that car loan today.
          Who Else Has Bad Credit, Can Put No Money Down, & Needs a Mortgage?        
There are countless home loans and mortgages available to people with bad credit who are unable to put any money down as deposit. As someone who is new to the home buying process, you may be totally unaware of what help is available to you.

The sub-prime mortgage market is open to homebuyers with a poor credit history, those who have been made bankrupt or have even faced foreclosure. These types of lenders specialize in securing home loans for those who are struggling. Another fascinating fact is that many sub-prime lenders may be able to offer more favourable terms and interest rates than a conventional mortgage lender.

Two of the types of products that these lenders can offer are 100% financing and also 103% finance. The 100% finance mortgage is intended for those who have no money to put down and need to get their foot on the home buying ladder. This is also a great way for you to demonstrate that you have the ability to pay your monthly repayments in full and on time. This, of course will help to rebuild your poor credit rating. In most cases to secure a 100% loan you will be required to have a credit rating of least 580.

The 103% financing is aimed at people who not only have no money to put down, but require assistance in paying the associated costs and fees with your mortgage. In order to secure the 103% service, you will be required to have a minimum credit score of 600.

Even though having Bad Credit and no money to put down may seem like the end of your dream of securing a mortgage, it need not be.

Take this opportunity to see what others who have bad credit, can put no money down, but need a mortgage, have done.

Perhaps you need to improve your credit score first. In that case please grab a copy of your Free Report on the 6 Deadly Credit Repair Myths.
          Discover Who Can Find a Bad Credit Loan Today        
It's a familiar story, you find you have bad credit and you desperately need a loan today. You have tried the more conventional methods, but no lender is willing to give you a chance. This only makes matters worse. You are struggling to meet the monthly repayments on your bills and you have absolutely nowhere to turn. This is when you really need help and advice.

My Miracle Loans is a program that has been designed to help people in your very situation. So who can My Miracle Loans help to Find A Bad Credit Loan:-

- Those of you who have no job or cannot prove your income - let's face facts, if you had money, you wouldn't need urgent help. This is why they will help you secure a loan without having to provide numerous payslips and bank statements.

- People who have a poor credit history or a low credit score - there will be no credit checks, so this will have no effect on your ability to borrow.

- Those who have been made Bankrupt - This program has been created to help shed some light. You will discover methods to secure finance even when bankrupt that have been hidden from you for many years by lenders.

- You have no assets or collateral - This system is not about what you have to offer a lender in return for a loan. You will not be required to prove anything.

Even if you have been turned down before My Miracle Loans can help you find a bad credit loan today.

If you are struggling and not sure where to turn and you are looking to Find A Bad Credit Loan, then please read my full review on My Miracle Loans and discover how to ease your financial troubles today.
          Do You Have A Poor Credit Rating But Desperately Need A Loan?        
Are you someone who feels completely helpless because you have a poor credit rating and can't seem to get a loan? Being able to secure a loan would actually solve your credit problems and see you on the road to recovery. However, because of a poor credit history or poor credit rating, no lender in their right mind would ever consider you for a loan!

I'm sure that is a very familiar story for many of you. I know myself it is one of the worst feelings that you can ever have. I recall the days of having a fairly decent job and being offered credit left, right and centre. I'm not sure why, but I pretty much accepted all the offers of credit cards or loans. I think it was something to do with the “kid let loose in a sweet shop” scenario. The repercussions never really occurred to me at the time, so I continued to take out credit card after credit card and loan after loan.

If you can't wait any longer to secure a loan then Click Here to register for the "My Miracle Loans" program right now. For those of you who wish to read my story and review, you can access the program at the end of this article.

I think the effects of what I was doing finally hit me a few years down the line. I started to use less and less credit every month and tried to act a lot more responsibly. However, I had got to the stage where my minimum repayments for all my credit was pretty much the same amount as what I earned in a month. I once read a magazine article that stated – in order to repay $10,000 on a credit card, by just making the minimum payment, this would take up to 12 years. Wow! Unfortunately it wasn't just the one credit card I had to repay!

That's when it dawned on me that I had to do something...and quickly. After some careful investigation, I decided a debt consolidation loan and a couple of 0% APR credit cards was the way to go. I had racked up a total of $26,000 in debt. I looked at my current credit card limits and assumed I wouldn't get offered more than a $5000 dollar limit on a new credit card. So my plan was to apply for two 0% APR credit cards and a $16,000 loan. This would allow me to cut up all my credit cards and have all my debts cleared within 5 years. Or so I thought, I didn't count on getting declined for every bit of credit I applied for. My credit score was shot and at an all time low!

That's when I started searching for different methods and other forms of help. Nothing illegal, of course. I just thought to myself, I can't be the first person to find themselves in this situation and I definitely won't be the last! I actually found a total of 8 different companies, courses or websites, that said they could help and even provided me with testimonials of previous satisfied customers. Today I want to talk to you about My Miracle Loans.

My Miracle Loans is a program that will teach you a number of different strategies to obtain a loan. They advise you to read through their techniques and apply what you have learned. My Miracle Loans guarantee a 100% success rate, as long as you carry out their systems and procedures to the letter! They have helped people, like you and me, those with poor credit ratings, bad credit and even bankruptcies to secure credit and finance. My Miracle Loans are responsible for helping their members acquire over $10,000,000 in loans during 2008. They also claim to be able to help anyone secure a loan of $1,000 - $1,000,000 within 7 days! (Although it's very tempting, I think I will always steer clear of the possibility of securing a loan for $1,000,000!)

So what type of people can My Miracle Loans help:-

No job or proof of income – Obviously if you have a lot of money, you wouldn't need their help! You will never be asked for proof of income or to provide evidence of your income.

Bad Credit, No Credit or Slow Credit – There are absolutely no credit checks for some of the methods you will learn. So a poor credit history will not effect the outcome.

A FICO score of 450 – That's Bad! As mentioned above, many of methods you will learn do not require a credit check. So you're covered.

Bankruptcies in the last 7 years – My Miracle Loans dispel the myth that if you have been made bankrupt, you will not be able to borrow any money for up to 7 years. They can show you the exact methods to secure a loan or credit.

No Collateral or Assets – Their system has nothing to do with what worldly possessions you own. You will not be required to provide proof of what you do or do not own.

Been turned down before - Not a problem. These methods will still work for you.

I think that comprehensive list just about covers everyone. My Miracle Loans had quite clearly stated that not all the methods and techniques will work for everyone. Not all individuals are the same. This is why they have provided you with numerous different methods to try. If you do not get accepted for one, you move on and try the next one. They have an iron-clad guarantee that EVERYONE will find success with their program.

So for what purpose can you use the loans that My Miracle Loans will help secure for you?

Business loans – Whether you are purchasing a business, looking to expand or you need supplies. They will help you get whatever you want.

Cash Advance – Do you need a pay-day advance for your job? No problem you can secure that cash advance within 10 minutes!

Car Loans – You can get that luxury car of your dreams and you don't need the salary to match.

Student Loans – This is where my problems originally started. There are many students out there, who are yet to even start college, that may be affected by poor credit.

Debt Consolidation – If you need that peace of mind. Turn all your debts into one loan and make the monthly repayments easier to handle and keep track of.

Home Loans – You have no fear of being turned down, no matter how much you want to borrow. My Miracle Loans guarantee to help you find that dream home.

Personal Loans – A personal loan is usually determined and granted by you having a great credit score. My Miracle Loans will help those of you, who are not in a position to boast about your credit score!

So let me run through the main benefits that My Miracle Loans offer:-

100% success rate – As long as you carry out their instructions correctly, you will never be turned down again for a loan.

Take up to 30 years to repay the money – In many cases, lenders may penalize you for not paying back money as soon as you can. This is not the case with My Miracle Loans.

Receive your cash in 7 days guaranteed – This doesn't have to be a long drawn out process. My Miracle Loans will guarantee that you will receive your money in 7 days or less in the majority of cases.

Use your money for any purpose – as described earlier.

No upfront fees – Paying a company to lend you money does not seem ethical...does it?

Ease of use – this is not a complicated guide on how to write loan proposals or where to find investors and this is definitely not an outdated list of lenders willing to help people with poor credit secure a loan. This is a program that allows you access to many little known and closely guarded techniques.

So what's the catch? There is no catch! My Miracle Loans program will work for you no matter who you are and what your situation may be.

There is little more I can add about this great program. If you find yourself in the situation of having a poor credit rating and you desperately need a loan, you need look no further.

You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by registering with this fantastic program.

Click here to get started and acquire that loan that will ease all your money problems today.
          The Secret Strategy Behind Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit        
Do you remember the days of Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit? Lenders were queueing up to authorize loans and credit cards for people and it didn't seem to matter how good...or bad your credit rating was!

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

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

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

The outcome for you is two-fold:-

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

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

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

Do you urgently need to get Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit Now? Or perhaps you would like know how to secure Personal Unsecured Loans For Bad Credit.
          The Secret Behind How To Buy A House With Bad Credit        
Let me guess, the question "How To Buy A House With Bad Credit?" has been playing on your mind for a long time now.

It seems every one around you is getting on the mortgage ladder and leaving you behind. You know being able to put a deposit down and being able to afford the monthly mortgage repayments is well within your financial capabilities, but unfortunately no mortgage lender will even look twice at you because of your credit history.

Well actually lets face facts, that's not strictly true. You do have the occasional lender who contacts you and is more than willing to lend you the money that you need. However, let me guess, they want to charge you an extortionate rate of interest and the monthly repayments are unbelievable. So what do you do?

It now appears that there are many intermediary companies with mortgage lenders on their books who are willing to help you in your quest. These companies will normally charge you a very small one-time fee..and i mean small! Once you are on their books, they will provide you with online and telephone support and a huge database of mortgage lenders willing to help you in your plight and show you how to a buy a house with bad credit.

The great thing about this is the mortgage lenders will look to secure a home loan for you and it won't cost the earth. Once you have that all important mortgage in place and are committed to making your monthly repayments, this in turn will help to repair your credit rating, thus meaning a wider range of creditors will be available to you in the future.

How about if you need to Refinance Your Home With Bad Credit? Is that any different as you already own your own home?
          Can You Get Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit?        
Is there such a thing as "Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit"?

Have you ever found yourself in that situation? - Where your debts are continually mounting up, all of your creditors are phoning you every other day and you're unable to find a real solution to your problems!

That's when you find something financially challenging and unexpected comes along and gives you yet another huge problem and forces you into frantically looking for some immediate funds. However, you can't afford to pay for what you have now, you're in trouble with your creditors and no credible lender is going to look at you.

That's when you start to become inundated with calls and adverts for people who offer Guaranteed Loans For People with Bad Credit. The problem being they are going to charge you the most extortionate of interest rates and monthly repayments.

So where do you get that fast injection of cash?

There have been organizations created to actually make this search far easier for you. They usually provide you with a membership and then issue you with a substantial amount of information via a huge database of lenders willing to help and give you that all important loan.

Usually you will have to pay a small one-time fee..and i mean small, but this will not only give you access to this huge database of lenders, you should also be provided with online or telephone support and also many unknown government resources to help you obtain a loan.

Most of the lenders on the database will offer guaranteed loans for bad credit or even a bankruptcy. The lenders are willing to lend money for almost all purposes whether it be Auto Loan Financing, Personal Loans, Mortgages or Credit Cards.

If you absolutely have to get that loan today and you're still unsure how to get Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit, then Click Here immediately to learn what other people are doing to get approved.
          Business Process Consultant        
FL-Tallahassee, Please note that this is a contract position scheduled to start in 08/2017 and end in 06/2018. Scope of Services The selected candidate will be assigned initially to analyzing and documenting the critical business functions, supporting business processes and testing and executing desk procedures in the Office of Work Program and Budget (OWPB). Primary duties will relate to analyzing financial syst
          Sprint Called Out For Cramming Customer Accounts        
Sprint Called Out For Cramming Customer Accounts

Oops. Sprint has been busted for charging tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party messaging charges to customer bills.

Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to issue a fine in the amount of $105 million for the carrier's dubious charges, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly, the amount of the fine is the same as the one AT&T paid to the FCC earlier this year in a case that is similar.

The fine is not official yet -- the FCC is still waiting for the commissioner to approve it. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not wasting any moment -- on behalf of the carrier's disgruntled subscribers, the CFPB is filing a lawsuit against Sprint.

According to the CFPB, Sprint should have made it a priority to protect its subscribers from third-party billing scams. But unfortunately for its customers, the carrier had let suspicious fees for unauthorized premium text messages show up on the customers' billing statements.

The CFPB further alleges that Sprint is choosing to ignore the tens of thousands of complaints and refund requests from disgusted subscribers due to the incorrect billing. The bureau also believes that with the carrier keeping about 40 percent of all the revenue generated from bills crammed with third-party fees, it is a lot easier for Sprint to turn a blind eye.

Even though the major wireless carriers in the United States have agreed to cease billing their subscribers for premium third-party services, the practice of cramming customer bills has always been frequently done by service providers for years. By doing so, they can generate some extra income out of unsuspecting wireless subscribers.

Last October this year, AT&T agreed to settle with the FCC over cramming complaints from its subscribers. Even T-Mobile had to deal with its own cramming lawsuit back in July of this year. Out of the $105 million fine paid by AT&T, the FCC took $80 million to be refunded to subscribers who were affected. For sure, the FCC will work to achieve the same result with its lawsuit against Sprint. 

For its part, Sprint is denying the allegations. The carrier claims that it took certain steps to protect its subscribers from unauthorized third-party billing practices. 

If the $105 million fine does go through, it will mark the first time that the FCC and the CFPB have joined forces together in taking action against a major wireless provider.

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           General Questions on Personal Finance and Investing        
[+5] Discussion by Robert Gentel on 03/30/16 11:58 AM Replies: 12 Views: 1,819
Tags: Personal Finance, Retirement, Money, Investing
Last Post by cicerone imposter on 12/15/16 1:45 PM
          Was this a mistake on my part ?        
[+1] Question by dirkwood on 04/16/15 10:44 AM Replies: 1 Views: 679
Tags: Finances, Retirement, Social Security
Last Post by dirkwood on 05/02/15 1:40 PM
          Social Security Question        
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          See & Hear All About It! May 1 @USJCT - Erin Moriarty's Chilling, Blockbuster Report on Stalking @48hours         


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    Erin Moriarty has been a correspondent for "48 Hours" since 1990. She has covered the death of Princess Diana, the JonBenet Ramsey investigation, the murder of financier Edmund Safra, and the war in Iraq.

    Drawing on her training as an attorney, Moriarty has examined some of the most important social and legal issues of the day, including DNA testing of evidence in death-row cases, the abortion controversy and battered women's syndrome. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine High School shootings and the 9/11 investigation, overseas. Her exclusive behind-the-scenes report on the defense of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was broadcast on "60 Minutes" in 1997.

    Moriarty has received numerous honors, including nine national Emmy Awards.

    "48 Hours" investigates the horrors of stalking
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    is fighting to change the laws to protect victims

    Victims in sustained fear
    as police responses vary
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  • STALKED broadcast

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  • For art's sake: When funding the NEA is in jeopardy

  • Interview w/ Mary Higgins Clark via CBS Sunday Morning

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  •           Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors


    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].


    From the Introduction

    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.


    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”


    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.


    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.


    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project

    ¿Ciencia a la Colombiana? Este es un artículo que va en contra de la corriente actual, de alguna manera podrán decir que estoy en contra de la "ciencia" lo que me parece en cierto sentido excelente. Hace pocos días se desató el escándalo de que le iban a quitar plata a Colciencias. Para mí fue motivo de decepción: ¡Deberían cerrarla! Si yo fuera presidente lo primero que cerraría sería Colciencias y eso que es complicado dado como se comporta la academia actual, deseo que eso pase, que cierren a Colciencias... no ser presidente.

    ¿Qué ha pasado? La verdad hay un exceso de noticias que impiden afirmar científicamente qué fue lo que pasó. Hay dos hechos que creo claros: 

    1. "La directora de COLCIENCIAS dijo que iban a quitarles presupuesto"
    2. "La directora de COLCIENCIAS dejó su cargo a los pocos días"

    ¿Qué pasó realmente? ¿Cómo se supo la "noticia" difundida como escándalo nacional? Lo primero que genera inquietud es ¿cómo sabía la directora que les iban a quitar presupuesto? ¿Le escribieron el ministro o el presidente? De acuerdo con un artículo de "El Tiempo" (al que hay que leer a favor de Colciencias por el sesgo a favor del presidente) manifestó que recibió un correo de su director de planeación, es decir, un funcionario de ella. ¿Y ese funcionario de dónde la recibió? El confuso artículo del periódico El Tiempo menciona al Departamento Nacional de Planeación. Esa mención parece una "Colcienciada..." es decir una imprecisión de tipo periodístico como se da en Colombia. Pero ¿y si viniera del DNP? Si uno mira las funciones del DNP frente al presupuesto sus funciones son más de carácter burocrático y asesor que realmente quien elabora el presupuesto . Por su parte, quien realmente elabora y sigue el presupuesto, por tener la misión de la política fiscal y la definición del gasto público es el Ministerio de Hacienda 

    ¿Entonces era información veraz con la que se basaba la directora de Colciencias? Es factible que la información fuera veraz. ¿Y cómo lo comprueba? Pero no es una información que uno pueda tomar como concluyente.  Lo sería si hubiera conocido el proyecto de ley del presupuesto presentado al congreso, ni siquiera un borrador permitiría una inferencia que "les quitaron el presupuesto". Solamente podría hablarse de una intención. Pero releamos las palabras: "Voy a dar la mala noticia que me acaba de llegar en un correo. Me dice mi jefe de Planeación: 'Directora, le mando la confirmación del presupuesto del año entrante, que es 289.000 millones de pesos. Estamos ya a 125.000 millones del presupuesto del año pasado". Pero bueno esa es la ciencia a la colombiana, una declaración no confirmada de una funcionaria -con autoridad de dirigir la "ciencia colombiana"- da para que toda una academia proteste porque "le van a bajar el presupuesto a Colciencias". 

    Pero bueno ese es el ridículo argumento de autoridad -no verdaderamente científico- por el que la "academia" reconoce un hecho probado: le van a disminuir el presupuesto a "Colciencias". Ni el más formalista, ni el menos riguroso de los académicos validaría una información de ese calibre. Es más ni siquiera hace bien el único trabajo que ese el estado: ¡producir formularios y saber llenarlos! Es como si un científico dijera que en su laboratorio la presión atmosférica es de 900 HPa porque se lo dijo su "asistente". Uno como mínimo mira el barómetro. Pero es ciencia a la colombiana... una mentalidad que se cree pensadora porque sabe muchos chismes... Recuerdo que hablaba una vez con una niña que estudiaba periodismo y ella leía "las fuentes son... el ministro". Y yo le dije que eso no era real, que la fuente es el acto -que es como se comunica el ministro como ministro- no la opinión -política además-del ministro. Bueno, tal vez la directora de "ciencias a la colombiana" quería rebelarse contra la ¡producción de formularios! y ver que puede haber verdad confirmada más allá del formulario... en especial lo referente al futuro...

    "Deseo tener el país más educado: ¡todos tendrán un diploma!"
    ¿Qué es Colciencias? Uno podría quedarse por lo que dicen los decretos que la crean, que es el mismo copy paste de esos sueños que quedan en las leyes. Acá creemos que el tiempo y el reloj se mueven por decreto, sino pregúntele a Juan Manuel Santos su ridícula e improvisada propuesta que pasó a la historia como "la hora Gaviria" y que cancelaron casualmente en el momento en que astronómicamente era inconveniente... manifestando que "ya era económicamente viable". Así como creemos que por decreto va a salir la ciencia, la tecnología y la innovación, creemos que necesitamos gente "trabajando" para hacer magia el decreto. Y eso hace "Colciencias":

    Colciencias es el Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación.
    Promueve las políticas públicas para fomentar la CT+I en Colombia. Las actividades alrededor del cumplimiento de su misión implican concertar políticas de fomento a la producción de conocimientos, construir capacidades para CT+I, y propiciar la circulación y usos de los mismos para el desarrollo integral del país y el bienestar de los colombianos.

    ¿Las cosas se conocen por el qué o por el cómo? Seguramente por el cómo. ¿Cómo promueve, fomenta, (y mil sinónimos de la burocracia para enfatizar sus objetivos) la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación? Contaré mi experiencia. ¿Qué hace Colciencias?

    Siendo uno de los pocos privilegiados que pudo pasar por la universidad recuerdo varias cosas. Una de mis grandes amigas (que seguro estará en desacuerdo y podrá precisar este artículo) era la Directora del Centro de Investigaciones. También intentaba entrar al mundo de la investigación universitaria con un Semillero de Investigación. Y bueno he encontrado más cosas en las universidades. 

    En aquellas épocas mi amiga trabajaba con otra amiga que se encargaba de arreglar todos los asuntos de la investigación. Bueno "investigación". Recuerdo que una de sus tareas era ayudar a los profesores a actualizar el CVLac ¿Qué es el CVLac? En Colciencias puede verse un tutorial especial para hacer el CVLac. Esto es básicamente la hoja de vida del investigador. ¿Por qué para investigar en las universidades se requiere una hoja de vida? El tutorial para hacer el CVLac tiene unas 66 páginas cuya lectura muy posiblemente serán horas de investigación... perdidas... Y eso que luego de leerlo hay que llenarlo... Una labor que podrá ayudar a la paciencia, la templanza, la fortaleza pero no la investigación, mucho menos la innovación... Bueno, puede servir a crear el llenado automático de formularios, ¿se le ocurrirá eso a la brillantez colombiana? Espero que como un chiste bastante picante el programador del llenado automático de formularios sea colombiano...

    Alguna vez renegaba del colegio del que salí diciendo "en este colegio no quieren científicos sino secretarias". Pero el colegio no era más que un mini-Colciencias. Creo que Colombia solamente necesita una profesión "elaboración y llenado de formularios", así que el colegio pensaba en mi bien cuando me hablaba de la importancia de no salirme de los márgenes. De paso no debía enseñar nada más, porque los que "estudiamos" comemos cuando llenamos formularios, y comemos mejor cuando llenamos formularios más elaborados. Pero entre llenar un CVLac para decir que investigo o una declaración de renta por plata prefiero llenar una declaración de renta.

    Ahora bien, no bastaba con llenar la hoja de vida. También las universidades hacen grupos de investigación. Aunque la curiositas es amplia la investigación suele centrarse, no en el macrocosmos sino en el primer pelo de la segunda pata de la hormiga culona santandereana.Y allí tenemos los grupos de investigación. Esos grupos se mueven por proyectos. Por ejemplo "El crecimiento del primer pelo de la segunda pata de la hormiga culona santandereana en la disminución  del consumo de la misma en la dieta de los habitantes de San Gil, Santander". Esos grupos también tienen hoja de vida... efectivamente, más formularios. Pero bueno, eso no es lo que hace Colciencias, lo que hace es tomar esas hojas de vida y "pesarlas" y es básicamente comparar la investigación con la producción de bienes y servicios. La calidad de la investigación es "cantidad"

    Es así como los investigadores ya tienen un buen tiempo llenando formularios -e investigando cómo se llenan esos formularios-. Pero uno tal vez piensa "bueno, ese no es el día a día de la 'apasionante' investigación". Pero no es extraño encontrar a los profesores llenando esos formularios que tienen plazo para enviarlos. Eso sin contar con los miles de informes que deben mandar. Creo que Colciencias también financia proyectos o autoriza sumas pero eso por lo menos no lo vi. Bueno, vi los jóvenes investigadores de Colciencias ¿Un incentivo para destruir la investigación verdadera con dudosas vinculaciones a universidades?

    ¿Formularios o celdas? Difícil volar alto dentro de una jaula...
    Supongamos que Colciencias sí financia los proyectos de investigación y supongamos que es una financiación eficiente: la burocracia es simple papeleo en comparación al apoyo a la investigación. Esto es un peligro porque queda centralizada a los intereses y compromisos del gobierno de turno. Supóngase que un grupo de investigación investiga las vías para la paz en Colombia y encuentra "peligroso negociar en la Habana por la inviabilidad y efectividad del acuerdo para generar un desarme efectivo". O supóngase que un grupo de investigación en "Energías renovables" investiga "la generación eléctrica mediante el uso de las olas" que afecta a los monopolios del carbón y de las energías en petróleo, carbón o gas que de paso son empresas "industriales y comerciales del estado" que le generan regalías o pueden subastar para mejorar su cash flow... O algo un poco más de frente "La necesaria liberalización de la investigación para asumir los retos del mundo moderno" o algo con un tono más marxista "el factor alienante del estado en sus 'oficinas de fomento' de ciencia y tecnología". 

    La primera es una investigación que puede estar en el rigor legítimo y que está en todo su derecho a disentir de las políticas del gobierno. Pero como "la investigación debe realizarse dentro de los marcos, planes y programas" del estado posiblemente no se le acuse de frente, pero sí le exigirán hasta por un milímetro demás en los márgenes. Mejor dicho le dirán "claro que puedes abrir las alas... dentro de la jaula que hemos construido para ti". La segunda tampoco saldrá de plano, pero le exigirán todo y de paso se fomentarán investigaciones para demostrar "la inviabilidad del uso de las olas en la generación eléctrica". La tercera tampoco se aprobará. El estado  no es el garante, ni el promotor, ni la ciencia nace por decreto, ni llenando formularios. Bueno, sí salen libros sobre cómo llenar formularios, 66 páginas sobre cómo llenar la hoja de vida del investigador, algo que nos "facilita" la vida...   

    El nacimiento de la innovación, la tecnología y la ciencia se da de una forma totalmente contraria al planteamiento burocrático y centralizado de Colciencias. Al respecto puede leerse "El Tomismo Desdeñado" donde explican con claridad cómo el descubrimiento, el aprendizaje y demás son cuestiones que se dan en el marco de cada persona en concreto. Esa novedad, eso que estaba 'under my very nose' para parafrasear a un autor judío-norteamericano citado en "El Tomismo Desdeñado", no es algo sujeto a la forma, la cantidad o la temporalidad. De esa misma forma investigo yo, abierto a la naturaleza, al mundo y a los hechos... En esa forma de investigar no tengo que llenar formularios, a veces ni dejar registro -aunque sea mejor hacerlo- sino una permanente observación. 

    No niego que en el sistema de ciencia a la colombiana pueda haber buenos, incluso genios en la investigación y verdaderos aportes a la ciencia. Pero me parece que el sistema de "ciencia a la colombiana" o "investigación de llenado de formularios" anula, restringe o excluye a aquellos que son a mi juicio los mejores investigadores y restringe el alcance de los que lo logran. Los mejores investigadores son los niños sin lugar a dudas, su permanente contacto con la magia de la naturaleza y su capacidad de asombro los lleva a proponer las mejores soluciones y conclusiones sobre el mundo. La investigación necesita también del error, cosa que no se puede si está centrada en el llenado de formularios que considera el error como incorrecto... y de paso delito...

    Y seamos sinceros ¿cómo se dio el aporte a la ciencia en la historia? ¿Por órganos centralizados que fomentaran la "innovación, la ciencia y la tecnología"? Entre algunos ejemplos Fermat era un matemático aficionado cuyo oficio era el de abogado, y tener un diploma en derecho hace 'necesariamente' que uno no sepa de matemáticas. Conclusión a la que los "col-científicos" han decretado como dogma. Fermat jugaba con los números y hacía continuos descubrimientos que sorprendieron a muchos matemáticos posteriores como Euler. Pitágoras necesitaba seguramente un proyecto de investigación -y financiación de "Crotociencias"- para probar que "en un triángulo rectángulo la suma de los cuadrados de los catetos es igual al cuadrado de la hipotenusa". Se dice que Pitágoras huyó de su ciudad natal a Crotonas entre otras porque no quería participar en cuestiones de política Eso sin contar con notables condenas y asesinatos a genios del calibre de Sócrates, asesinado entre otras porque pidió como condena que "Colciencias" lo financiara de por vida por sus aportes a la sociedad...

    Acabo de citar a Wikipedia que en ciencias colombianas "no es una fuente de fiar porque lo modifica cualquiera", el problema creo no es que cualquiera pueda modificarlo sino que lo hace gente que no tiene "CVLac". Probablemente los que modifican Wikipedia sean unos mediocres que pasan todo el día de fuente en fuente y no se gradúen con honores como Newton que pasaba todo el día en la biblioteca y no iba a clase. Un artículo académico trae mil fuentes -CITADAS CON NORMAS APA- wikipedia trae ¡las fuentes! con link directo. O sino vea lo que trae la Wikipedia cuando uno busca a Newton: ¡Su obra maestra!

    Espero que todos sean científicos e innovadores como yo.
    Atte: Colciencias.
    El conocimiento, la verdad y demás, es dialéctico y por eso no debería concluir un debate. Pero yo concluiría, cerraría, a Colciencias. Una tímida disminución de presupuesto es poco por la ciencia, la tecnología y la innovación... pero, si eso es cierto ¡hay que reconocerle la buena obra al gobierno! Los críticos -simplemente porque no es el gobierno que quieren- critican cualquier cosa que haga o digan que haga el gobierno, es un deporte, hasta bueno, el caso es que ver algo bueno en un gobierno es TAN difícil que hay que felicitarlo si estuviera haciendo las cosas bien... 

    Sin embargo, así es la realidad de este alienante y desmoralizador país cuya única profesión es el llenado de formularios... Si alguien pregunta por Colombia y lo que hacen... ¿Qué hacen? las empresas "llenar formularios" y si les queda tiempo producir bienes y servicios, las universidades "llenar formularios" y si les queda tiempo dan clases pero ¿investigan? Y los abogados "llenan formularios" y ¿en su tiempo libre? Piensan cómo hacerlos más enredados ¿Y qué hace el gobierno? ¡Produce formularios!  

    Y ¿qué son entonces El Tiempo, El Espacio, El Asombro o Espectador, El Colombiano, La República, Portafolio, El Nuevo Siglo, El País, El Universal? ¿Realidades? ¡Qué va! ¿Formularios? No, eso tiene su ciencia... ¡Periódicos! Pero los dueños de los periódicos son los mismos que hacen los formularios... Esa es la ciencia a la colombiana, basta leer un periódico, e improvisar su resumen como lo hacía un mediocre profesor del colegio que estaba allí porque sabía cómo ser un buen policía... ah y sabía verificar que el "desprendible" -formulario para niños- se llenara bien so pena de llamar "negligentes" a sus alumnos... Ese era mi "modelo" de "diligencia"... Clases improvisadas, formularios bien llenados... 

    Esa es la ciencia a la colombiana: producción de formularios. Y su proceso o método:

    - Justificación o discusión del formulario: periódicos
    - Producción del formulario: gobierno/estado
    - Control y auditoria para garantizar su incomprensión: abogados, lobbies, grupos de poder. Su objetivo es que entre más incomprensible, mejor...¡calidad!

    ¿Y Colciencias? Una tuerca sin aceite en medio del engranaje decadente... al que muchos encuentran por donde elogiar sus "grandezas"...

    NOTA: Si quiere comentar este artículo escriba 1. para queja, 2. para ironía, 3. para felicitación y agradecimiento, 4. Para reclamo... ¡Qué! Si le da la gana de escribir hágalo como quiera... si quiere insúlteme, internamente me ofenderé y reiré de usted al mismo tiempo, pero bienvenido...

    NOTA 2: O uno escribe o se dedica a recopilar fuentes, ahí están los links y un libro "El Tomismo Desdeñado" de paso le dejo el "CVLac" del autor Algunos me entenderán que ese CVLac es ridículo...De investigador junior no tiene ni un pelo...

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ARISTÓTELES. (s.f.). LA POLÍTICA (Vol. 8). La Editorial Virtual. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de

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

    DE GREGORIO, J. (2007). MACROECONOMÍA. TEORÍA Y POLÍTICAS. Santiago de Chile: Pearson. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de

    LAMAS, F. A. (s.f.). CARLOS PARMA. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de Francisco Suarez y el impuesto injusto:

    NEW INTERNACIONALISM. (01 de 10 de 2008). NEW INTERNACIONALISM. Recuperado el 27 de 11 de 2013, de A short history of TAXATION:

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

    SPOONER, L. (1882). NATURAL LAW OR THE SCIENCE OF JUSTICE. Boston. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de


              ILIQUIDEZ E IMPUESTOS: Ineficiencias del sistema tributario.        
    Yo pesco y el estado pesca lo que pesco...
    El sistema tributario justo es aquel que no existe. En justicia todo derecho tiene su causa en términos antropológicos o económicos. Ahora bien, si no hay una causa para una determinada erogación, por más que sea "legal", estamos ante una injusticia y un enriquecimiento sin causa. Ahora bien, dirán los constitucionalistas -que creen que un texto es vinculante porque sí- que es que es nuestra "contribución al bien común". La verdad eso no son más que teorías que producen unos sofistas burócratas para permanecer en sus deliciosos tronos de poder. ¿Acaso usted firmó la constitución? ¿Por qué tiene que pagar por proyectos de los políticos que muchas veces son ineficientes de los cuales no está de acuerdo con muchos?

    Por ejemplo, a muchas personas que estamos en desacuerdo con el Asesinato de Niños por nacer, nos obligan a financiar ese crimen por una decisión de 5 magistrados. ¿Por qué en aras del supuesto bien común tendría yo que seguir como un esclavo aquellos lineamientos? ¿Por qué tenemos que permitir que el dinero que nosotros ganamos se utilice para financiar el crimen de unas pocas multinacionales perversas? 

    Ya decía Lysander Spooner:
    "Todos los grandes gobiernos de la tierra - los que hoy existen como los que han ido desapareciendo - han tenido el mismo carácter. No pasan de simples bandas de ladrones que se han asociado con el fin de despojar, conquistar y someter a sus semejantes." (Tomado de SPOONER, Lysander. “El derecho natural: la ciencia de la justicia” En Wikisource tomado de 08/10/2009 02:39 p.m. Capítulo III. El derecho natural contra la legislación. Segunda parte del Capítulo.)
    Y es que el fenómeno es bastante cierto y se observa por ejemplo en los denominados "combos" de Medellín que muchos quieren incluir en la "institucionalidad". Estos combos son bandas asociadas de delincuentes que dominan unas zonas limitadas por "fronteras invisibles", tienen allí el monopolio de las armas, cobran "vacuna" que no es más que una suma mensual a cambio de "protección". Inclusive se ha llegado a afirmar que los combos suelen tener mejor logística que la Policía Metropolitana. Nadie negaría que los "combos" son bandas delincuenciales, pero quiero que alguien me diga cuál es la diferencia de estos con el estado. A mi modo de ver la diferencia radica en el cómo, los combos son auténticos, el estado mentiroso. Además, los combos no requieren gigantescas justificaciones ideológicas para legitimar su acción, hacen lo que hacen y listo. Son delincuentes y lo saben, en cambio, muchas de las personas que trabajan en el estado ni si quiera se han dado cuenta para quién trabajan...

    Uno de los tantos "tributos" sin sentido.
    Norte de Santander cobra a todos las personas
    que salen del aeropuerto Camilo Daza de Cúcuta,
    esta estampilla. ¿Por qué? ¡Pura recocha!
    Contrario a los combos dueños de fronteras invisibles, restringiendo la entrada a dichas zonas, el estado se ha devanado el cerebro en generar justificaciones absurdas a su accionar y frente a los impuestos siempre está el trasfondo de la eficiencia. ¿Cómo recaudar más (para nada) sin desincentivar el trabajo de sus víctimas? El trasfondo de incentivar cierta actividad económica o cierta acción conveniente al estado provoca una serie de disposiciones tributarias. Conclusión un complejo enmarañado de disposiciones que generan una serie de costos operativos adicionales para la gestión empresarial.

    Ese enmarañado sistema genera que en Colombia haya un exceso de tributación. Tanto como los griegos que le tenían altar al "dios desconocido" en Colombia puede llegar un momento en que nos toque pagar al "impuesto desconocido". A grandes rasgos los principales impuestos en Colombia son:

    • Impuesto sobre la renta y complementarios.
    • Impuesto sobre el valor agregado (IVA).
    • Gravámen a los movimientos financieros (4 X 1000)
    • Impuesto de Industria y Comercio y Avisos y Tableros (Municipal).
    Estos impuestos, en apariencia simples, plantean una serie de complicaciones operativas a las empresas que hacen prácticamente que tenga una o dos personas de tiempo completo como mínimo resolviendo el problema de los impuestos. Es tal que muchos de los enredos provienen de presumir la mala fe del "contribuyente".

    La verdad creo que este es un principio acertado de la tributación, ¡NADIE QUIERE PAGAR IMPUESTOS! No creo que haya alguien que pague la declaración bimestral del IVA o el impuesto de renta con una satisfacción y una sonrisa "Hoy contribuí al bien común" y pensando "Un compromiso tan lindo que no puedo evadir". Bueno quizás Ned Flanders en un capítulo de los Simpson, capítulo donde se hace una crítica anarquista y capitalista bastante positiva... y donde obviamente se ve que los impuestos son un dolor de cabeza...Aquí pueden verlo

    El caso es que esa presunción de mala fe del contribuyente genera un enmarañado inteligentísimo que el estado llamó "retención en la fuente". La retención en la fuente aplica para todos los impuestos (excepto para el 4 X 1000 dado que éste ya es de por sí una retención del banco al dueño de la cuenta). Pero no se dio cuenta el inteligentísimo legislador que estaba confiándole el aumento de las contribuciones a la misma serie de personas de las que desconfiaba. Linda solución crear penalizar la "omisión del agente retenedor":

    ARTICULO 402. OMISION DEL AGENTE RETENEDOR O RECAUDADOR. <Ver Notas del Editor> <Penas aumentadas por el artículo 14 de la Ley 890 de 2004, a partir del 1o. de enero de 2005. El texto con las penas aumentadas es el siguiente:>

     El agente retenedor o autorretenedor que no consigne las sumas retenidas o autorretenidas por concepto de retención en la fuente dentro de los dos (2) meses siguientes a la fecha fijada por el Gobierno Nacional para la presentación y pago de la respectiva declaración de retención en la fuente o quien encargado de recaudar tasas o contribuciones públicas no las consigne dentro del término legal, incurrirá en prisión de cuarenta y ocho (48) a ciento ocho (108) meses y multa equivalente al doble de lo no consignado sin que supere el equivalente a 1.020.000 UVT.

    En la misma sanción incurrirá el responsable del impuesto sobre las ventas que, teniendo la obligación legal de hacerlo, no consigne las sumas recaudadas por dicho concepto, dentro de los dos (2) meses siguientes a la fecha fijada por el Gobierno Nacional para la presentación y pago de la respectiva declaración del impuesto sobre las ventas.

    Tratándose de sociedades u otras entidades, quedan sometidas a esas mismas sanciones las personas naturales encargadas en cada entidad del cumplimiento de dichas obligaciones.

    Ante esa circunstancia cualquiera que inicie una nueva persona jurídica o quiera "cumplir alegremente con los aportes a la nómina de los congresistas" queda mágicamente obligado a retener y de no retener el estado  te cobrará con la cárcel.

    El artículo de la omisión del agente retenedor nos hace preguntarnos ¿bueno y cuándo sería la fecha en la que se generaría este delito? Pues la respuesta mágica es ¿desde cuándo tengo que hacer la retención o cobrar el IVA? Pero ¿cuándo es eso? Resulta que tenemos que acudir a la teoría de la "causación". ¿En qué consiste eso de la causación? El momento en el cuál surge un derecho. La teoría de la causación no está mal, pero que se genere un derecho a mi favor o una obligación en mi contra no implica... BILLETES EN EL BOLSILLO. ¿Y cuándo se causa una retención o un IVA? Esto es lo más interesante del asunto...

    Si uno mira el artículo 437 del Estatuto Tributario la regla general consiste en que el Impuesto Sobre las Ventas se causa en cualquiera de los dos primeros casos:

    • Pago
    • Al momento de la facturación o abono en cuenta (causación).
    Si la facturación se da primero, en el caso del impuesto sobre las ventas, ya la empresa que cobra el IVA tendrá una deuda en dinero que tendrá que pagar en la declaración siguiente, así el deudor se demore en pagar la factura. 

    Lo mismo sucede en el caso de la retención en la fuente, la regla general es la misma, se retiene o al momento del pago o al de la causación (abono en cuenta). Para eso puede observarse el artículo 392 del Estatuto Tributario que consagra exactamente la misma idea de la causación. Adicionalmente, esto ha sido reiterado en conceptos de la DIAN ¿cuándo se ocasiona la retención?: 

    "Momento de causación de la retención en la fuente Tal como lo establecen las disposiciones del Estatuto Tributario y lo ha precisado la doctrina de la DIAN (Conceptos No 008054 y No 095988 de 1998, entre otros), la retención en la fuente a título del impuesto sobre la renta debe efectuarse, por regla general, en el momento del pago o abono en cuenta, lo que ocurra primero. Se entiende por "pago" la extinción total o parcial de una obligación mediante la prestación de lo que se debe y por "abono en cuenta" el reconocimiento contable de una obligación independientemente de su cancelación o pago." (Concepto 003580. 12 de Enero de 2006. DIAN. En Consulta 17/4/2012)

    Esto se puede resaltar en cualquier portal de información contable:
    "La contabilidad en Colombia, según el decreto 2649, opera bajo el sistema de causación, lo que significa que los hechos se deben reconocer al momento de surgir la obligación o el derecho, aunque no se haya hecho o recibido el pago." ( Retención en la fuente en operaciones de la misma fecha con un mismo proveedor. En Publicado el 20/12/2010. Consultado 17/05/2012)
    Es decir, así uno no haya recibido el dinero o no tenga con qué pagar, mágicamente su cuenta tiene que tener billetes a la hora de las declaraciones de retención y de IVA. En términos de derechos y obligaciones, quizás esa teoría de la "causación" esté bien, pero es demasiado teórica a la hora de afrontar la realidad.

    Causar una obligación a su favor no implica tener esa obligación en efectivo. De hecho, tenerla causada significa precisamente que no se ha utilizado un bien líquido llamado dinero que la cancele. El poder liberatorio del dinero implica eso, la capacidad de cancelar las obligaciones causadas.

    Pero ¿cómo si no se ha cancelado la obligación mágicamente el contribuyente va a tener dinero para pagar la declaración? Esta tesis de la causación desconoce la realidad de los negocios en Colombia, donde la puntualidad en el cobro es rápida (o sea se factura rápido) pero el pago es lento. Así las instituciones tienen el reto de enfrentar una "cartera" morosa de obligaciones "causadas" que generan IVA. Sin embargo, mientras el deudor se demora en cumplir, no puede quien cobra el IVA sustraerse de su obligación de pagar con dinero que no ha entrado en su flujo de caja. 

    La omisión del agente retenedor se ocasiona dos meses después de causada la obligación. Imaginemos en el normal tráfico jurídico un IVA causado en Abril, cuya declaración ha de pagarse los primeros días de mayo y el deudor se ha demorado en pagar (porque a su vez a él le han incumplido), ya si la mora llega a los primeros días de Julio y el Agente recaudador del IVA no ha podido pagar ya ha cometido omisión del agente retenedor. Para ir a la cárcel se requiere que concurran otros dos factores aparte de describir la conducta en el artículo, "antijuridicidad" y "culpabilidad", la defensa es amplia... empezando por la ridiculez de la irrealidad del legislador, pero en todo caso las vueltas, las llamadas de la DIAN, entre otras dudo que sean agradables. Y casos así conozco bastante cercanos...

    Para que se comprenda el tema del "flujo de caja", podemos comparar el dinero con el agua que fluye. Si yo le digo a otro "lléneme este balde" y el otro va a buscar el agua, no puede un ladrón pedirme el agua que no tengo simplemente porque "ya se causó la obligación de traer agua". ¿De dónde va a sacar el agua? ¿De la humedad relativa del ambiente? ¿Escupiendo? ¿Robando? El dinero, como cualquier bien, está sometido a una serie de reglas y como tal su movimiento depende de la sencilla realidad de recibirlo.

    Es claro que en materia dineraria se puede acudir a la figura del crédito y al contrato de factoring que sirve para resolver esos casos "tétricos". Pero acudir al crédito implica una pérdida, sacar del dinero que no tengo, pagar luego intereses por una obligación sin sentido o que implicaba "causación".

    El leviatánUna de las retenciones más ridículas es la que se conoce como el IVA teórico, o mal llamado "rete-iva", el término correcto es la asunción del IVA en el régimen simplificado. Resulta que en el IVA hay dos clases de regímenes, el régimen común y el denominado régimen simplificado. Sin embargo, el régimen simplificado debería llamarse más bien "régimen complicado" y es que es bastante complicado. Los agentes del régimen simplificado no tienen que pagar el IVA, pero eso no implica que el estado no desee recibir algo de aquella operación. 

    Resulta que por arte de magia un genial legislador (que si trabajara para otro sector tendría la denominación de estafador) se le ocurrió que los responsables del régimen común paguen el IVA que no recaudan los del régimen simplificado. Es así como el artículo 437- 1 del Estatuto Tributario en su numeral 4 manda a que los contribuyentes hagan magia y de la buena reteniendo el IVA en operaciones con régimen simplificado. Pero no es que se lo descuenten a la persona perteneciente al régimen simplificado: ¡HA DE PAGARLO ÍNTEGRO! 

    Y ha de seguir la misma teoría de la causación. Aunque si bien es cierto, este es descontable de la declaración del IVA (vaya enredo) tiene que pagarlo cada que haga un contrato con el régimen simplificado y supere los topes legales. Es decir, si soy del régimen común y causo una deuda con una persona del régimen simplificado, así no haya recibido el flujo con el que le pagaré, no solamente debo retener del flujo de caja que no tengo, sino sacar dinero adicional a lo que me están cobrando. 

    Aunque la situación final del "contribuyente" quede en cero, es preferible no pagar nada y luego no recibir nada a cambio que pagar lo que no tengo para luego descontarlo. Además, se paga cada mes la declaración de retenciones, pero el IVA es cada dos meses luego el estado tendrá esos recursos un mes ¿me pagará intereses por ello? ¡NO! Pero en cambio al "contribuyente" sí le tocará pagar por el precio de contar con dinero antes: ¡Valor anticipado! ¿No es evidente quién se enriquece a costa de quién?

    Sin perjuicio que lo mejor es que no existieran impuestos pues no tienen causa, las complicaciones del mismo aumentan tanto los costos de transacción empresarial que hacen más ineficiente la actividad económica como consecuencia de ello. Una de las cosas más ineficientes es la forma en la que afectan el flujo de caja empresarial en especial en lo que se refiere al IVA y a la retención en la fuente. El dinero, como el agua o el aire, fluye de una forma natural de acuerdo al tráfico de los negocios humanos. Estas formas tributarias lo que hacen es desconocer la forma como circula el dinero en la sociedad para aumentar su calidad tributaria, generando un aumento innecesario en los costos de generación de flujo de caja en las empresas.

    No me gusta la palabra conclusión pero sino la sociedad no entiende. Lo que quisiera es seguir criticando el sistema tributario a ver si algún día desaparece. Más aún esto lo que debería es oxigenar de alguna manera el debate de la reforma tributaria que propone el gobierno de "Prosperidad democrática". Un mínimo sería que desaparecieran todas esas ideas absurdas de retención en la fuente que cargan al "contribuyente" con obligaciones ridículas por las que no recibe nada a cambio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

    GÓMEZ RIVILLAS, L. (28 de Mayo de 2010). MARIANA Y LOS IMPUESTOS. Recuperado el 28 de Enero de 2012, de INSTITUTO JUAN DE MARIANA:

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

    TORO RESTREPO, D. (29 de Marzo de 2010). EL MITO DE LA SOBREPOBLACIÓN Y LAS VERDADERAS CAUSAS DE LA POBREZA. Recuperado el 28 de Enero de 2012, de EL ALISPRUZ:


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

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

    Una breve contemplación matemática.

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

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

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

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

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

    En un escrito anterior manifesté lo siguiente:

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

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

    Tributaristas, delincuentes financieros y el valor del dinero.

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

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

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

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

    Si el PIB de 2010 fue de 548. (DANE - DEPARTAMENTO ADMINISTRATIVO NACIONAL DE ESTADÍSTICA, 2011) cifra que confieso no cabe en mi cabeza. Si moviéramos toda esa suma en una transacción serían $2.193,092 millones de pesos. Eso sin contar que son muchas las transacciones lo que implicaría que el recaudo estatal por este impuesto sería gigantesco. 

    Granos de arroz, trigo y hambre en el mundo.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DANE - DEPARTAMENTO ADMINISTRATIVO NACIONAL DE ESTADÍSTICA. (25 de Noviembre de 2011). 'Producto Interno Bruto Departamental, a precios corrientes. '2000 - 2010pr. Miles de millones de pesos. Recuperado el 20 de Diciembre de 2011, de DANE:

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

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

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


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

    TORO RESTREPO, D. (16 de Febrero de 2011). FINANZAS Y CUESTIÓN SOCIAL. REFLEXIONES SOBRE EL SISTEMA FINANCIERO. Recuperado el 20 de Diciembre de 2011, de EL ALISPRUZ:

              DeKalb County Employees Forced to Work in Bed Bug-Infested Building        
    If an employee is injured on the job in Georgia, the employee is generally entitled to medical, rehabilitation, and financial benefits to help the employee return to work. However, an “injury” compensable under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act has to meet certain requirements. A compensable injury is limited to an injury by accident arising out of […]
              Dow Dogs May Be Barking Up The Right Tree        
    An investment strategy that has been derided by some money managers and academics as overly simplistic, once again, proved to be best in show last year. The Dogs of the Dow strategy produced a capital gain of 26.59% in 2006 plus a dividend kick of 4.77%, handsomely beating the Dow Jones Industrials gain of 16.3% and yield of around 2.2%. The strategy, popularized by Michael O’Higgins in his 1991 book “Beating the Dow,” consists of simply buying the 10 highest-yielding dividend payers in the Dow Jones Industrials, holding them for a year, and then buying the new crop of dogs. Proponents call it an easy way to handsomely outperform the average fund manager most years with an easy, do-it-yourself strategy. Critics call it an overly simplistic approach with hidden costs and risks that has outperformed only because of “data mining” - searching for statistical anomalies and then assuming they will work in the future. “The starched shirt and suspender crowd in New York are pretty savvy, and it’ll take a bit more to beat them than this,” said finance Professor Grant McQueen of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management. “It’s a competitive world, and to think you’ll get rewards without doing homework is naive.” Source: Scottrade News, Jan 3, 2007
              Stocks Trading vs Real Estate Investment        
    Empty Spaces Inc. said...
    just curious, if you're good at making money in the stock market why not stick to it?& why would you try RE investing after its already been appreciating for several years and may be peaking in most areas?
    The stock market is unpredictable. No matter how good you are or how well you have done, there's no guaranteed of future results. Granted, I have done well in the stock market since I have officially started investing and I'm confident I'll continue to do well, I cannot depend on that to make me rich. Also, my earnings in the stock market is not steady. There are some months I go into the negative zone, and those months are hard to bare even though I have very high tolerance. It's not good to be constantly picking stocks in the long term. It's very time-consuming; I've spent a lot of time reading up on companies and financial news. Also, studies show that you'll likely be beaten by the index in the long run. Even if I can match or slightly beat the index in ten years, I would lose in time and opportunity because I'd have spent thousands of hours. An investor in the index would have done nothing but did not sacrifice as much time as I did. Unless I can beat the index by a huge margin year over year for many years, it's not worth spending hundreds of hours a year. I admit my view has changed slightly. I'm not against investing in individual stocks, but I advise caution, because many people go in without really understanding the risk. Play with money you can afford to lose. Real Estate investing is an alternative to stocks trading and in many people's eyes, it's less risky. I agree, because real estate property is tangible and with the increasing population, real estate demand is bound to go up. My rental property is in Philly, which is not a hot area like NYC or San Diego. Even though the property value is not skyrocketing, I still have rental income to fall back on. The rental income covers my mortgage and property expenses. Basically, the tenant is paying for my house. Eventually, the mortgage will be paid off and I will own the property. It is a long term investment and property value will go up. So far, my real estate investment has been less stressful than my stocks investment. I get a check every month and my tenants never bothered me. Hopefully, I can be this lucky for every investment property.
              Be Careful on Giving Unsolicited Advice        
    I love reading up on financial news and learning more about personal finance. And I like helping people as well. Sometimes, I give advice to my family and friends. Although they would listen for the most part, they almost never act on what I tell them to do. It's interesting that despite my honest advice to help them, they would push away everything I say. They would always have some kind of doubt or excuse. Recently my friend is running low on money. He's a real estate agent and he hasn't closed any deals lately. Since I know a few extra bucks would help him, I told him about signing up for credit cards or bank accounts with cash bonus. Or he can play the 0% balance transfer. He thinks it's too much hassle.
    I have spoken to several friends in the past two years about contributing to retirement accounts, such as 401k and IRA accounts. They give me the usual answer, "I have no money." I tell them the importance of saving up for retirement. Moreover, I provide them with important financial messages - pay off debt, have emergency money, save up for retirement, invest, etc. They don't seem interested and don't listen. Yet they like to complain about not having money.
    Sometimes I feel that they don't want financial advice -- they want MONEY. What they want me to do is not to teach them how to make money, but to hand them cash. Everybody wants to be a millionaire but nobody wants to work for it anymore. It's all about get rich quick.
    They tell me they don't have time, and it's not worth making a few extra hundred bucks. If you have a lot of money, I would understand, but if you need money and have the opportunity to do it, why not?
    It's hard to teach family as well. They don't seem interested in learning. I tell them to start ROTH IRAs because it really helps if you have low income, the government even give you tax benefits if you qualify. But they say they rather have the money now.
    While I'm no certified professional, I know my advice can help my friends and family. They just don't see it. Perhaps they need to learn their own way. I just thought maybe I can give them a shortcut, but sometimes people need to learn the hard way.
    I figure I'll save my energy on going out of my way to help people. People just don't appreciate. Instead, I'll focus on those who wants my help. It's a lose-lose situation if they don't appreciate your advice. Because if they miss the opportunity, they would blame you. If they execute your advice improperly and the results come out bad, they would blame you. The moral of the story is never give unsolicited advice.

              Status Update        
    I have been very busy lately with work and personal stuff but I am still very active in the stock market. I have made many short term trades but just haven't had the time to post. I hope to do a post about my stock performance later on this month. I'm considering a tablet laptop where I can do some scrap work to depict my investment plans and strategies. I would like some feedbacks on tablet PCs. I know Neville uses a tablet PC, and it looks useful. Another thing I had been wanting to do is move my blog to my own domain, because I want to be able to configure everything and host files, but I thought the move and maintanence would be time-consuming so I didn't do it. Future Posts Philly House Lease Renewal and Rent Increase Annual Stock Performance Review Student Loan Wipeout 2007 Financial Plans My "Safe" Short Trading Strategy
              Blogger Update        
    I haven't updated much recently because I've been busy with work and closely monitoring the stock market. I have done a lot of short-term trading lately, and I've been making some nice profits. I still hold some long-term investments, but I want to spice up my portfolio so I mixed it with some short term trades. I'll try to post some updates on my trading, but it's time-consuming. I hope I haven't lost too many readers. I'd like people to post their trades and investment strategies as well. I've also created a private investment group. If you would like to join, just put "Growing Money" in the comments and I'll sign you in. Initially, I created a Google group, but because I had a few complaints, I switched over to Yahoo group. Here's the Yahoo group link:
              Quixiquila, xitique, abota: poupança comunitária para crédito rotativo        
    Em comentário na seção fixa sobre o português de Angola, o leitor Jean sugeriu-nos adicionar a palavra angolana “quixiquila” – que, como apontamos, já se encontra no Dicionário Houaiss e nos Dicionários da Porto Editora: a quixiquila é um método informal de financiamento em que um grupo de pessoas contribui periodicamente com um valor, a fim de que cada um […]
              The "Green" Jobs Canard        

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Selective Amnesia of Reagan’s Legacy        

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Comentariu la Concurs pentru ocuparea 3 funcții publice temporar vacante și 2 funcții publice vacante de specialist principal la Direcția Generală Financiar-Economică de către stanislava moder        
    Bună ziua, toate întrebările ce țin de posturi vacante puteți să vă adresați la numărul de telefon și pe poșta electronică indicate în avizul de mai sus (Telefon de contact: 0(231)5-46-30, e-mail:
              Comentariu la Concurs pentru ocuparea 3 funcții publice temporar vacante și 2 funcții publice vacante de specialist principal la Direcția Generală Financiar-Economică de către MIHAELA Z        
    Bună ziua. Mai este posibil astăzi de depus dosarul de concurs pentru funcția de specialist principal la Direcția Generală Fimanciar-Economica?
              Pitfalls To Avoid In Commercial Real Estate        
    As wonderful and constant as commercial real estate is, there are some major pitfalls that can completely ruin the interest, investment and return on a property. Besides inaccurate assessments and risks that are beyond your comfort zone, the only real reason these pitfalls occur is because of the lack of due diligence that you perform. By not investigating deeply enough, not overturning every rock, and rushing into what seems like an awesome deal, you can experience some horrible events that can literally cost you hundreds and thousands of dollars.

    These are setbacks I hope you never experience by asking every question, verifying everything, and assuming nothing.

    Below you will find some unfortunate and common mistakes that can occur if you are not completely on your game.

    Some of the major pitfalls in commercial real estate are related to the zoning and use of a property. Brokers may offer information that is not accurate about the rezoning and use capabilities of a property. Although many of the people in this business are honest and have integrity, you can bet you will run across a few brokers or agents that will do and say almost anything to sell a property. Some problems that arise may include not checking with the city planning and zoning decision makers to see if a property can and will be able to be rezoned to the zoning that is expected. Also, just because the zoning may include your use, you must check with the city to make sure there are no special contingencies regarding use.

    The last thing you want is to have a property you believe can be re-zoned to a higher and more profitable use, and after you purchase it, realize you cannot do what you intended! This can mean a less of a return on investment, or a complete loss of an investment. Believe me, situations can get very bad regarding the rezoning and use of a property, and fighting with the city will take more money, energy and time than it is often worth.

    Another pitfall that can arise is purchasing a building that is leased, and then losing tenants due to leases or rental agreements being up! It is important to see and verify the leases of a building to make sure you will have some income to cover the debt service while you change, renovate, or do whatever it is you are going to do with the property. Verify you will have tenants when you purchase the property otherwise, you may not have enough income, and this can leave you in the red.

    It must be acknowledged that every property and situation can differ greatly from another. Because of this, there can be many different ways that a property can go. For this reason, all “what ifs” must be addressed, as well as exit strategies created for every scenario. When you limit yourself on exit strategies, you increase your possibility for failure.

    With every property you must ask yourself, “What is the worse that can happen?” Weigh the risks and the probability of the worst happening, and either plan an exit strategy for this possibility, or don't move forward. You must look at everything from the worst to best case scenario, and have an exit strategy for each. Not only will you be prepared for anything that comes your way, but you will have less of a chance of really getting buried and losing money on an investment gone badly.

    In commercial real estate, I often see a person trying to save a few thousand dollars that ends up costing him or her hundreds of thousands, just because they try to play hard ball with negotiations. It is always important to know what you are willing, and not willing to do when you go into negotiations regarding the purchase or selling of a property, as well as leasing and rental agreements.

    For example, asking for $35.00 per square foot and being offered $30.00 per square foot, (reasonable in this situation), and assuming the interested party is very motivated about the space, and coming back with $33.00 a square foot and nothing less, my cause the loss of the three year leasing agreement, and the income for another two months from the property because it is not leased out is definitely not worth it!

    Take the $30.00 per square foot get the property leased up, and make an agreement that the rate will increase two or three dollars every year after. Don't lose the tenant because you want to play hard ball in negotiations when, really, you can make it work! As you become more educated and get closer to reaching your goal of being a real estate insider, you may want to branch out into new markets and expand your comfort zone. This is great. However, you must realize there are many differences between various types of properties. Doing a deal with a 120 unit apartment complex is different than a 55,000 square foot office building.

    When moving into different markets, items can easily be overlooked, and major problems can arise, simply because you are not aware of them. It is often a good idea to partner with someone already in that new market so that you may have the benefit of experience and know-how on your side. Learn form this venture so you will be more familiar with the market, property, and how it should be addressed. It is easy to get in over your head with new markets that can lead to major and expensive problems.

    As you continue on your adventure in commercial real estate, be sure to do all your homework regarding a property. You will be less likely to run into problems, or better yet, be prepared to fix the problems if financially worth it. Never assume everything is as it appears, because, more often than not, it isn't! You must play smart in this game, or you can lose everything. Use you resources to get the best and most accurate information and you can avoid these pitfalls in commercial real estate.

    To find out more go to Secured Homeowner Loan or to attain the most advantageous home loan consider looking here Personal Homeowner Loans.
              Twilight será revivido a través de Cortometrajes en Facebook #TwilightIsBack #TwilightForever        

    Dos años después de que Lionsgate diera a conocer la quita y supuestamente última entrega de la de películas, "Twilight", el estudio ha ideado un inusual "reavivamiento" de la franquicia y podría dar acerca del futuro de Facebook Lionsgate y Stephenie Meyer, la creadora de la saga de vampiros y lobo-"Twilight", anunció el martes planes para seleccionar cinco aspirantes a directoras para hacer cortometrajes basados ​​en los de "Twilight". Las mini-películas, financiados por Lionsgate y sus socios de producción, serán mostrados exclusivamente en Facebook el año que viene.
    "Creemos que Facebook es una gran manera para nosotros de presentar el mundo de 'Twilight' a un nuevo público, mientras que re-energizamos alos fans existentes", Michael Burns, vicepresidente de Lionsgate, dijo en una entrevista.
    Puede leer el artículo completo aquí.
    Traducción DiarioTwilight
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    Diario Twilight

              Marijuana Legalization Could Create Financial Complications For N.H.'s Banks        
    Members of a House committee heard from state agencies such as corrections, agriculture, and banking this morning about the impact of legalizing...
              â€œSyria is walking the Way of the Cross”        
    Heartbreaking:   Bombs, kidnapping and financial extortion are among the problems facing Syria’s Christians, the leader of the country’s Catholics told a meeting in Westminster Cathedral Hall. Speaking to more than 300 benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, Patriarch Gregorios III – the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church – said: “Syria […]
              Best Offer Bg/sblc For Lease Or Sale        
    We are Ireland based majorDirect providers of Fresh Cut BG, SBLC, POF, MTN, Bonds and CDs and this financial instruments are specifically for lease and sale.We are one of the leading Financial instrum...
              Financing Offer        
    We own a company financial and corporate real estate and any kinds of business financing. We also offer loans to individuals and companies and corporate bodies at a rate of 2 per annum, ranging from U...
              Comment on Stacy’s Story: The Stress of Debt and Steps to Financial Freedom by Cathy Thomas        
    Hello your story is encouraging. Where will you be teaching the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class in April?
              Financial Sales Representative - goeasy - Lloydminster, SK        
    Proficient with PCs, Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, and Outlook), strong keyboarding skills and an ability to learn and master new software programs....
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              January 2015 DAY DESIGNER - Gold Stripe - Yearly Planner & Daily Agenda, Calendar, Organizer by whitneyenglish        


    SHIPPING NOTE: The shipping times for each item are different! The estimated ship date for this item is by September 22nd!

    The story behind the Day Designer®:

    The Day Designer® was born on a Saturday morning in November of 2010, as wife, mother, and designer Whitney English faced of an overflowing inbox, piles of disorganized lists and notes, and a daunting holiday rush season in full swing.

    In 2012, Day Designer® was introduced to the world. The first planner offering a daily agenda format, users quickly embraced it. Unlike traditional planners that offer a week-at-a-glance format, Day Designer's signature feature is a single page for every day (and combined pages for weekends).

    Day Designer® will allow you to make notes about family, business, and personal goals and dreams. It will keep you on course and focused. It's all about living an intentional, well-designed life. Every single day.

    Day Designer® is printed on luxe weight (50 lb) paper. It is bound with brass-finished spiral binding and finished with a hardcover and hardback. Day Designer® is 100% designed and made in the US!

    The January 2015 Day Designer® is a combined edition, featuring Whitney English's "Define Your Core" worksheets, a personal self-discovery process created to help you find balance and clarity.

    :: Approximate size is 9" x 9.5" x 1.25".
    :: Over 350 pages!
    :: A yearly calendar overview.
    :: A monthly calendar overview.
    :: A daily planning page for each day of the week.
    :: Daily pages feature a spot for:
    // Due - use to remember deadlines, projects.
    // Dollars - track sales or remember what your daily financial goals are.
    // Dinner - who are you eating with or what are you having?
    // Don't Forget - a spot for extra reminders.
    // Daily Gratitude - because gratitude changes thing.
    // Download - get it out of your head and onto paper.
    :: Combined weekend planning pages.
    :: A 2016 QuickPlanner™ calendar in the back!
    :: Each day features an inspirational quote!

    As a Day Designer® owner, you'll also have access to the following:
    :: Live Instructional Webinar on November 12, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. CST
    :: Access to a private users' group (instructions received after checkout)

    The Gold Stripe and Black Stripe January 2015 editions are printed on off-white French Paper Co. stock. While many of the images you may have seen look white, the color is actually an off-white.

    If you have any specific questions, please send in an Etsy convo!

    Buyers frequently ask questions about production and shipping time. Our goal for customer service is to always under-promise and over deliver. Because of the variations that can occur in production time, we cannot quote any shipping times other than what is stated above.

    Import duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost. These charges are the buyer's responsibility. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing. You can also refer to this Etsy article for more information:

              Interface deal good for the industry         

    The $600 million Interface Security Systems deal has sent—as The Beach Boys once sang—“good vibrations” throughout the security industry, as it provides not only a vote of confidence for what Interface is doing as a modern systems integration company, but also a vote of confidence in the security industry, in general, as companies like Interface represent a new breed of integrator that is staying at the forefront of new technology and innovation.

    John E. Mack III, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking and mergers & acquisitions at Imperial Capital, which acted as financial advisor to Interface on the deal, astutely pointed out that this deal goes beyond validation of what Interface is doing in the space.

    “This is a very cool story for the sophisticated new-age security provider, which is what Interface is—the 2.0 version of what the right kind of security player should be,” he told Security Systems News. “We spend so much time in this industry talking about the residential side of the business, which is interesting, but there is a massive opportunity on the commercial side of the business that Interface is tapping into that I think is a compelling theme.”

    He continued, “There is a lot of validation for a very successful business model here that Prudential is putting up $180 million of new capital, and SunTx is putting up additional capital into the deal. And that you’ve got a very attractive set of debt investors, and just the fundamental backing for the business, is a meaningful part of a positive message for the industry.”

    Jeff Frye, SVP for Interface, told SSN that the support from equity partners is not only a stamp of approval for what the company is doing, but the “capital gives us more fuel to build on our current, better than 15 percent compounded annual growth rate, so we know that we can do more with a little more gas in the tank and we are anxious to prove it.”

    Frye noted that the equity will allow the company to expand its products and services around providing business intelligence, as security is becoming so much more than just, well, security.

    “As a network provider, and a managed services provider of network services and cybersecurity services, we touch a lot of aspects of our customers’ businesses,” Frye explained. “And as a leading purveyor of Internet of Things services, we are able to aggregate intelligence from all of those sensors and data sources to bring actionable insights to a customer’s business. There are some new verticals that we would like to focus on more, including financial services and banking, so this makes that horizon much brighter and much more approachable.”

    And it also makes the security industry’s horizon a little brighter.

              CSG gains $40 million in financing        

    Central Security Group on July 6 announced that it received an incremental first lien term loan of $40 million, as well as a 12-month maturity extension to its credit facilities.

    The new funding “is part of a broader $350 million financing the company started in 2014. This was an add on to that financing,” Richard Ginsburg, president and CEO of Central Security Group, told Security Systems News in an email interview. CSG finances through Credit Suisse, Ginsburg noted.

    Asked about growth initiatives, Ginsburg said, “We continue to grow our business through our long-standing Authorized Dealer Program, supplemented by our organic efforts.”

    In the recent announcement, Ginsburg mentioned that the funding will help the company with geographic expansion, acquisitions and growing its account base. The announcement also emphasized the company’s Alert 360 offering, which provides interactive security.

    Concerning acquisitions, Ginsburg told SSN, “We are always looking but are very selective.”

    Ginsburg discussed what CSG looks for in an ideal acquisition. “We would consider quality companies with customers put on through more traditional marketing,” he told SSN. “We also look for companies with good employees and managers who are hitting glass ceilings because of the company's size and who would benefit from a company like ours, with more resources, financing, and a positive culture.”


              Sandy Springs considers fining dealers for false alarms        

    The new Sandy Springs, Ga. alarm ordinance, which is set to be voted on July 18, is alarming many in the security industry as it looks to force alarm dealers to pay their subscriber's false alarm fees and fines.

    “This makes as much sense as a car rental company being responsible for paying your speeding tickets if you get caught speeding in their car,” Dan Gordon, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association (GELSSA), and owner of Ga.-based Gordon Security, told Security System News.

    Gordon, as well as many security companies working in Georgia, including LOUD Security and Ackerman Security, are rallying others in the industry to pay attention to what is going on in Sandy Springs.

    “If Sandy Springs passes this, which city goes next?” John Loud, president of LOUD Security Systems, told SSN, noting that he does not think this ordinance will help Sandy Springs reduce false dispatches.

    “They outsource the collections to a firm called CryWolf (Public Safety Corporation),” Loud explained. “Their service includes collecting the assessed fines. The cost to Sandy Springs is the same, whether the bill goes to the end users of the alarm system or the alarm company. But the alarm company’s costs will increase. They will now have to bill their customers and establish a collection process, increasing the workload for their personnel.”

    Loud and others in opposition to the ordinance believe this will actually cause an increase in the amount of false dispatches.

    “Citizens will usually respond to citations from their local police or city municipality,” he explained. “If a vendor or service provider sends an assessment, they could very easily change monitoring companies and get additional false alarms through new providers. They can choose to never pay and continually change companies.”

    He noted that this would result in more false dispatches as the end user would never be forced to change their behavior.

    Loud also pointed out that the court systems of Sandy Springs will have a lot more cases. ”Either the alarm companies will be filing suit to collect monies from customers refusing to pay or the city will be pursuing alarm companies for nonpayment of fines they do not have the money to pay.”

    He continued, “You will likely see many alarm companies choosing to not do business with residents/businesses that must comply with this ordinance. In Sandy Springs, most alarm companies charge only $25 per month. While false alarm fees can cost hundreds of dollars, the accounts receivable process will likely make it financially impossible for fire/alarm companies to take on such risk.”

    He said that Sandy Springs could achieve greater reduction in the false dispatches if they would enforce all of their current ordinance provisions, such as:

    - Follow the Enhanced Call Verification Georgia State law that went into effect in 2013. “The 911 operator could very easily ask for the two phone numbers the alarm company called prior to dispatch request,” said Loud.

    - Do not allow dispatch on the subscribers that have not paid for previous fines—put them on a do not dispatch list.

    - Do not allow dispatch for subscribers that have had 10 false alarms in a permit year.

    - Activate the false alarm school the ordinance allows for, which will provide the training and prevention of future false alarms.

    “Another step Sandy Springs could pursue is a higher fee structure for excessive false alarms,” said Loud. “This would force subscribers to either fix their system, teach others to use it properly or they could choose to stop arming their system. All three of the options result in reduced dispatches.”

    He continued, “While I certainly see there are many ways to help unite with the City of Sandy Springs and help them achieve their ultimate goal of reducing false dispatches and wasting government recourses, I do not believe requiring the alarm companies to pay the fees is the answer.”

    The GELSSA, along with strong industry voices like Loud's, are urging those in the industry to reach out to the mayor of Sandy Springs to voice their concerns, and for security dealers in the Sandy Springs area to attend the planned vote on July 18.


              Guy Gentile: A Crazy Life.        

    ‘Bro, I’m Going Rogue’: The Wall Street Informant Who Double-Crossed the FBI by Zeke Faux of BloombergBusinessWeek (reprint) On the night he cut a deal with the FBI, Guy Gentile was on his way to a Connecticut casino for his cousin’s bachelor party. He’d jetted up from the Bahamas, where he was running an online stock brokerage that cleared a million dollars a year without much effort on his part. Then 36, he was a working-class kid who’d finagled his way into the dicier edges of finance, and he dressed the part, with neatly trimmed stubble, designer jeans, a silver

    The post Guy Gentile: A Crazy Life. appeared first on Trading Schools.Org.

              [Article] PACE Alive and Well // Part 5: What Contractors Should Know to Participate in PACE        
    This is the fifth and last part in a series that describes how PACE financing is revolutionizing the home performance contracting industry. Participating in PACE as a registered contractor carries with it a strong potential for growth, and calls for a high degree of responsibility. Representatives need to understand the ins and outs of the financing model so that they represent the options accurately to their customers. And contractors who participate in HERO’s PACE program must meet HERO’s high standards. It’s important for contractors to understand the consumer protections in place for HERO homeowners. ...
              Horoscop Minerva 13 - 19 august: ConjuncÅ£ia Lună Neagră - Saturn vine cu schimbări, se anunţă probleme financiare şi în amor        
    Horoscop Minerva 13 - 19 august:&nbsp;&gt;Minerva va prezinta horoscopul saptamanal in exclusivitate pentru Revista TEO. Minerva este unul dintre cei mai cunoscuti astrologi din Romania. &nbsp;
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              Goldman: Financial markets counting on 'diplomatic outcome' to North Korea threat        
    When it comes to rising tensions around North Korea, Goldman Sachs said markets eventually expect talks rather than militaristic conflict.
              â€œThe Credit Crisis as a Problem in the Sociology of Knowledge,” D. Mackenzie (2011)        
    (Tip of the hat for pointing out Mackenzie’s article to Dan Hirschman) The financial crisis, it is quite clear by now, will be the worst worldwide economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. There are many explanations involving mistaken or misused economic theory, rapaciousness, political decisions, ignorance, and many more; two interesting examples here are Alp […]
              â€œ737-Cabriolet: The Limits of Knowledge and the Sociology of Inevitable Failure,” J. Downer (2011)        
    Things go wrong. Nuclear power plants melt down. Airplanes fall from the sky. Wars break out even when both parties mean only to bluff. Financial shocks propagate in unexpected ways. There are two traditional ways of thinking about these events. First, we might look for the cause and apportion blame for such an unusual event. […]
              Donald Trump says media playing down terrorist threat posed by ISIS        

    Washington: US President Trump has said that the news media was playing down the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) and journalists were reluctant to report on the militant groups attacks in Europe and "have their reasons" for failing to cover them, the media reported.

    Trump initially did not provide examples of a news media conspiracy to underplay terrorist attacks. The White House on Monday released a list of what it said were 78 attacks from September 2014 to December 2016 that were carried out or inspired by the IS. It said that "most have not received the media attention they deserved", the New York Times reported.

    The list included the major attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino (California) and Orlando (Florida) that dominated the news for weeks. 

    Other attacks overseas, lesser known to Americans, received extensive local coverage, like a shooting in Zvornik, Bosnia, in April 2015 in which one police officer was killed and two others were wounded, the White House said.

    "Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland, as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino and all across Europe," Trump said at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. 

    "All over Europe, it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported, and in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it," he said.

    "They have their reasons," Trump added, "and you understand that."

    The President made similar comments about the US media during a January visit to the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia, that the news media had fabricated his feud with the intelligence community. 

    Those remarks came only days after he likened American intelligence officials to Nazis, after several weeks in which he had denigrated their work, the New York Times said.

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the President had been referring in Tampa to "several instances" in which the news media had not devoted sufficient attention to terrorism. 

    Trump, Spicer said, believed that journalists pay more attention to public protests than they do to terrorist attacks or plots.

    During his 12-minute speech on Monday, Trump promised to make "a historic financial investment in the armed forces", in an effort to maintain peace in "our troubled, troubled times". 

    He also vowed to give the military the tools necessary to prevail against the Islamic State and thwart its attempts to strike America.

    At a luncheon with enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, Trump went around his table asking who would remain in the military, and told them their experience would improve during his presidency.

    On NATO, Trump, who had earlier called it "obsolete," tempered his message, arguing that he was focused on ensuring that it is well funded.

    "We strongly support NATO. We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper contributions to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing -- many of them have not been even close," he said.

    Donald Trump says media playing down terrorist threat posed by ISIS
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              Be Frank with Me        
    Title: Be Frank with Me Author: Julia Claiborne Johnson Publisher: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016 Summary/Review: After years of being reclusive, the once famous author M.M. Banning (a.k.a. Mimi) finds herself in financial trouble and commits to writing another book. The editor sends his assistant, Alice Whitley, to keep tabs on Mimi […]
    Our customer seminars are designed to teach prospective home buyers  the advantages of a log home; how to cost, finance and build your log home. Seminars: Some of the subjects to be covered at our seminars would be:  Construction – whether it is “do-it-yourself”, being your own general contractor or turn-key construction, plus Financing Assistance, [...]
              America and the World - After the Election [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Anne Applebaum, Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Gideon Rachman | After a closely fought election, this highly topical LSE public debate will look ahead to Obama’s second administration and assess the challenges it faces at home and how it is likely to address them, as well as how its relationships with Britain, Europe and the rest of the world are likely to develop. Author and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum has taken up the post of Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the School for 2012-13. She is the first woman to ever hold this position. Anne Applebaum is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate. After graduating from Yale University, Anne Applebaum was a Marshall Scholar at both the LSE and St. Anthony’s College Oxford. She has also lectured at Yale and Columbia Universities, amongst others. Anne Applebaum’s journalistic work focuses on US and international politics, with a particular focus on economic and political transition. Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. He is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Michael Cox is founding director of LSE IDEAS. `Professor Cox is a well known speaker on global affairs and has lectured in the United States, Australia, Asia, and in the EU. He has spoken on a range of contemporary global issues, though most recently he has focused on the role of the United States in the international system, the rise of Asia, and whether or not the world is now in the midst of a major power shift. Gideon Rachman became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections. His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation.
              America Votes [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Dr Pippa Malmgren, Professor Sir Robert Worcester | With just a week to go to the US presidential election, this panel of experts will assess the state of the race, look back at Barack Obama’s first term, what a second term would bring, or what "President Romney" would mean for the US and the wider world. Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. Michael Cox is Founding co-director of LSE IDEAS. Pippa Malmgren is the president and founder of Principalis Asset Management, former financial market advisor in the White House and member of the National Economic Council. Robert Worcester was the founder of MORI and is an honorary fellow of LSE.
              Financial Reform in China [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | In the 6th of an annual series of lectures, Howard Davies reviews the development of the Chinese financial system over the last year. He has been a member of the International Advisory Board of the Chinese banking regulator since 2003 and has observed the dramatic changes in Chinese banks at first hand. The Chinese system has been remarkably insulated from the crisis. What does that mean for the future? Will China turn its back on free-market financial reform? Howard Davies is director of LSE. Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. His latest books include The 'Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?' and 'Banking on the Future: the fall and rise of central banking'.
              The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame? [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Daves, Robert Peston | There is still no consensus on who or what caused the financial crisis which engulfed the world, beginning in the summer of 2007. A huge number of suspects have been identified, from greedy investment bankers, through feckless borrowers, dilatory regulators and myopic central bankers to violent video games and high levels of testosterone among the denizens of trading floors. There is not even agreement on whether the crisis shows a need for more government intervention in markets, or less: some maintain that government encouragement of home ownership lay at the heart of the problem in the US, in particular. In this public event to mark the launch of his new book 'The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?' Howard Davies charts a course through these arguments, and the evidence advanced for each of them.
              LSE Director's Dialogue with Paul Volcker [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies and Paul Volcker | Howard Davies is director of LSE. Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. His latest book is Banking on the Future: the fall and rise of central banking, written with David Green, which will be launched at LSE at a public debate on 12 May.
              Banking On The Future: The Fall And Rise Of Central Banking [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, David Green | Not long ago, national central banks were endowed with wide-ranging authority, enormous prestige, and a high degree of independence. Today, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, rethinking their functioning and their modus operandi is both natural and needed. Howard Davies and David Green write on this issue with authority, reflecting their practical experience, political sensitivity, and high analytic skills.
              China and Financial Reform [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies sits on the International advisory councils of the China banking and securities regulatory commissions. In the fifth lecture of an annual series he reviews the progress of reform in china's financial markets, and the implications for the rest of the world.
              LSE Director's Dialogue with Stephen Green [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, Stephen Green | As the world's financial order is in a state of flux, how do we align our desire to improve material human wealth, and capitalism, with our spiritual and psychological needs? Do businesses and banks in particular have a duty to society that goes beyond the creation of profit? Does open market capitalism remain our best hope for creating wealth that benefits all of society? Green and Davies discuss history, politics, religion and economics. This event marks the launch of Stephen Green's book Good Value.
              Why Did Nobody Tell Us? Reporting the Global Crash of 2008 [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Alex Brummer, Vince Cable MP; Evan Davis; Gillian Tett; Professor Willem Buiter | This event will discuss the reporting leading up to the global credit crash of 2008. Alex Brummer has been City Editor for the Daily Mail since 2000. He has over thirty years' experience in the media. Vincent Cable is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and speaks for his party on issues of Finance, European Economic and Monetary Union and the City. Evan Davis is a presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He was the BBC's Economics Editor from 2001-2008.
              Policy Responses to the Financial Crisis [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Dr Ben S. Bernanke | Ben S. Bernanke was sworn in on February 1, 2006, as Chairman and a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Bernanke also serves as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System's principal monetary policymaking body. He was appointed as a member of the Board to a full 14-year term, which expires January 31, 2020, and to a four-year term as Chairman, which expires January 31, 2010. Before his appointment as Chairman, Dr. Bernanke was Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, from June 2005 to January 2006.
              The Subprime Crisis [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Robert J. Shiller | Bubbles in the stock market and the housing market are the cause of a financial crisis that is wreaking havoc around the world. The bubbles in turn are caused, at their core, by popular misunderstandings. This contradicts the 'rational expectations' view of the economy that has guided much economic theorizing. In dealing with this crisis in the short run, some kind of bailout of injured parties is necessary to prevent damage to the social fabric. In the long run, we can help mitigate such crises by improving the financial information infrastructure, by expanding market coverage of important risks, and introducing new retail financial products. Robert J. Shiller is the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, and Professor of Finance and Fellow at the International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management.
              Central Banking and the Credit Crunch [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies is working on a book about the future of central banking to be published in 2009 by Princeton University Press. He will assess the ways in which central banks around the world have responded to the credit crisis and what that implies for their role in financial sector regulation in the future. Howard Davies is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.
              China and Financial Reform [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies sits on the International advisory councils of the China banking and securities regulatory commissions. In the fourth lecture of an annual series he reviews the progress of reform in china's financial markets, and the implications for the rest of the world. Howard Davies is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.
              The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): George Soros and Howard Davies | In the midst of the worst financial upheaval since the Great Depression, George Soros explores the origins of the crisis and its implications for the future. Soros, whose breadth of experience in financial markets is unrivalled, places the current crisis in the context of decades of study of how individuals and institutions handle the boom and bust cycles that now dominate global economic activity. "This is a once in lifetime moment", says Soros in characterising the scale of financial distress spreading across Wall Street, the London Stock Exchange, and financial centres around the world. This event marks the launch of George Soros new book 'The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means' (PublicAffairs, May 2008).
              Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, David Green, John McFall, Sir Steve Robson, Gillian Tett | As international financial markets have become more complex, so has the regulatory system which oversees them. The Basel Committee is just one of a plethora of international bodies and groupings which now set standards for financial activity around the world, in the interests of investor protection and financial stability. These groupings, and their decisions, have a major impact on markets in developed and developing countries, and on competition between financial firms. Yet their workings are shrouded in mystery, and their legitimacy is uncertain. Howard Davies was the first chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the whole of Britain's financial sector. He was a member of the main international regulatory committees for several years, and is now director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). David Green was head of International Policy at the FSA, after 30 years in the Bank of England, and has been particularly closely associated with the development of the European regulatory system. He now advises the Financial Reporting Council. John McFall MP is Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons since 2001. He was re-elected to this post in October, 2005. In 1997 John served as a Government Whip and in July 1998 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. His portfolio included responsibility for the Department of Education, Community Relations, the Training and Employment Agency and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Economic Affairs. Sir Steve Robson is a former senior UK civil servant, who had responsibility for a wide variety of Treasury matters. His early career included the post of private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and secondment to ICFC (now 3i). He was also a second permanent secretary of HM Treasury, where he was managing director of the Finance and Regulation Directorate. He is a non-executive director of JP Morgan Cazenove Holdings, RBS, Xstrata Plc, The Financial Reporting Council Limited and Partnerships UK plc, and a member of the Chairman's Advisory Committee of KPMG.
              China's Financial Markets: how they are emerging as a global force [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies, who has advised the Chinese government on financial reform for the last four years, reviews the implications of China's rise for the world's financial markets.
              Financial Reform in China: what next? [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Three of China's big four banks are now quoted on the Hong Kong exchange. Full World Trade Organisation membership is around the corner, but some in China are now calling for a halt in the reform programme. What can we expect in the next year?
              Meti na minha sobrinha enquanto ela fingia dormir        

    Como já consta em meus relatos anteriores, sou um coroa muito bem apessoado, e fissurado em fofas. Isso vem desde minha infância, quando ficava super ligado em minhas professoras. Adorava ver aqueles \"rabões\" enormes andando para lá e para cá durante as aulas. Estou muito bem financeiramente, moro em São Paulo, na zona oeste, e todos os relatos que envio, os faço em retribuição aos inúmeros contos de bom nível que encontro neste eem outros sites do gênero, que me entretem e ao mesmo tempo erotizam os pensamentos. Este relato, ocorreu há poucos dias atrás, e foi tão envolvente que resolvi dividí-lo com os amigos. Tive que passar uns dias hospedado na casa de minha irmã adotiva, porque seu marido fora vítima de um acidente automobilístico. Nada muito grave, mas como eles moram em uma casa na praia de Itanhaem, fui convidado para ficar por lá durante uns dias, tanto por motivos de segurança, quanto para ajudá-los até a recuperação do marido da minha irmã. A casa embora muito confortável, estava em reforma, e apenas dois quartos estavam disponíveis, ou em condição de uso normal. Na suite principal ficava minha irmã adotiva, e no outro, que não é suite, ficava minha sobrinha. Dezenove anos, bonita, olhar profundo, tímida, fofinha tímida, que se preparava para o vestibular de enfermagem, deve ter 1,70m, uns 84 quilinhos de puro tesão. Seios grandes e empinados, coxas largas, e o que sempre me atrai muito....aquele bundão. Sugeri que eu dormisse na sala, mas esta proposta foi recusada logo de partida, e acabei tendo que aquiescer em ficar no quarto da minha sobrinha, Elisa. Visitamos o marido da minha irmã, e voltamos para casa, por volta das nove horas, e como ainda estava sem sono, tomei uma bela ducha. Tomei um livro emprestado da minha sobrinha e me deitei disposto a ler até o sono aparecer. Elisa entrou no quarto algum tempo depois e ficou teclando algo no computador. O sono veio aos poucos, e em pouco tempo eu joguei o livro de lado e cai no sono. Algumas horas depois, acordei meio sonolento ouvindo alguns ruidos estranhos. Abri os olhos levemente, e me deparei com a Elisa conversando pelo celular com alguém, e se masturbava gemendo e se contorcendo toda. Estava dominada pelo tesão, e o papo que a envolvia decorria de algum amigo da internet mesmo. Acho que ela sentiu intuitivamente que eu estava acordando e saiu na ponta dos pés para o banheiro. Deixou o computador ligado. Sutilmente me levantei e olhando para o histórico descobri que ela estava teclando numa sala de sexo. Voltei rapidamente para minha cama, e nem pude me cobrir totalmente porque ouvi seus passos, retornando ao quarto. Entrou e ficou olhando para mim. Eu estava deitado, descoberto, e sem dúvida o pau ficara duro, e saliente, denunciando o tesão que eu sentia naquele momento. Ela se aproximou de mim. Eu protegido pela quase escuridão, e com os olhos semicerrados a fitava. Ela olhava sedenta para o meu pau que estava empinado. E, com muito cuidado ela tocou meu pau, e neste mesmo momento senti o tremor do seu corpo todo. Ela estava dominada pelo tesão. Seu corpo tremia todo, e não era de frio. Provocativamente me movimentei na cama. Ela se assustou, e voou para sua cama. Fiquei frustrado, não era isso que eu esperava. Forcei uma pequena tossidinha, e ela respondeu fingindo dormir, soltando um pequeno roncadinho do lado de lá. Fiquei assim alguns minutos, levantei-me e fui até o banheiro. O celular estava lá. Desligado. Voltei na ponta dos pés, e quando entrava no quarto notei que ela estava se masturbando. Deu um movimento brusco quando sentiu minha presença. Fui para perto da sua cama. Com dificuldade, consegui ver que ela estava semi descoberta, sem a calcinha, e com a camiseta levantada quase à altura dos seios. Com cuidado e muito tesão encostei minhas mãos em seus seios. Ela fingia dormir. Os bicos dos seios estavam a ponto de furar o tecido da camiseta. Ela sentiu meu contato e seu corpo se movimentou denunciando seu tesão, mas ainda fingia dormir e era isso mesmo que eu queria. Apalpei o seio todo. Curvei meu corpo sobre o dela e beijei os seios. Ela fazia sons de quem dormia e sonhava, mas eu sabia que era puro fingimento, e fui em frente. Beijei os dois biquinhos que ficaram ainda mais destacados. Eu não os via, mas sentia tudo. Enquanto eu sugava e acariciava seus seios, ela lutava para controlar o movimento das pernas que entreabertas estavam ávidas por envolver um homem. Sabendo disso fui baixando meus lábios em direção ao seu ventre, e ela quase perdia o controle da respiração e dos movimentos do corpo. Tentava se controlar e eu fingia que ela dormia. Encostei meus lábios sobre a sua bucetinha. Deixei a respiração morna ser forçada contra seu sexo apenas para provocá-la ainda mais. Ela quase levantava o quadril buscando minha boca. Dei um beijinho bem sobre a bucetinha. Senti que estava molhada, e inchadinha. Com uma das mãos abri a fenda. Estava mesmo muito molhada. Abri bem, deixando escancarada. Ela se mexeu toda levantando o quadril todo direção minha boca. Eu encostei a lingua na fenda e a fiz correr do fim para o começo e toquei de leve com a ponta da lingua o seu grelinho que estava totalmente empinando e ensopado de suco. Ela não consegui segurar um gemido e o corpo se empinou todo. Fiquei chupando sua bucetinha, fazendo a lingua deslizar pela fenda toda, e no final massageava com muitos toques com ponta da lingua seu grelinho. Ela agora mantinha os olhos fechados, simulava dormir. mas o seu corpo e sua respiração a desmentiam. Era um jogo. Eu apenas jogava. Fui aumentando a velocidade do passeio da lingua na sua fenda, e de repente ela endureceu o corpo todo....e gozou sem ligar para os gemidos e as contorções do corpo todo. Jogou seu corpo de volta para a posição e ficou estática. Parada por completo, e com a respiração lenta e preguiçosa de quem gozara para valer. Continuei com as mãos acariciando a bucetinha, e fui encostando meu corpo ao dela. Ela estava amolecida, prostrada. Encostei meu pau na fenda. Ela quase acordou de verdade tamanha era a vontade de me sentir dentro dela. Encostei o pau na fenda. Como estava muito molhado pela mistura do suco, e da minha saliva. Ele escorregou para dentro, entrando até a cabeça ficar toda agasalhada. Segurei um pouco a penetração para fingir que não queria acordá-la continuando o joguinho. Ela voltou a si, e senti seus quadris se mexendo forçando levemente o aumento da penetração. Aceitei a provocação e não enfiei tudo. Dei umas mexidinhas com o pau mantendo apenas a cabecinha agasalhada. Ela quase se descontrolava e perdia o joguinho. Dava umas contrações na musculatura pélvica e isso aumentava meu tesão. Estava para gozar de tanto tesão mas me controlava. De repente o tesão me dominou e enfiei de uma vez o que faltava. Escorregou de uma vez até o talo. Deixei o pau enfiado até o talo, e apenas dei umas contrações quando atingi o ponto extremo e ela deu uma respiradinha de satisfação de quem conseguira o que sonhara e queria naquele momento. Mal começamos a nos movimentar eu não consegui me segurar e gozei explodindo uma enormidade de porra dentro daquela bucetinha, enquanto ela soltava as pernas que envolviam minha cintura, e voltava á posição de quem estava dormindo.Fiquei com o pau atolado por alguns momentos. A porra escorria misturado com o suco e ela respirava leve...satisfeita. Voltei para minha cama. Acordei com o sol entrando pela janela mal fechada. Ela também acordou. Sorriu para mim. e disse que tivera uma bela noite, com sonhos (que ela sabia ter sido bem real) deliciosos, apesar de ainda estar preocupada com o pai no hospital. Levantou, foi até minha cama e me dando um beijinho no rosto, perguntou....gostou de dormir aqui tio?, disse-lhe que sim e ela disse: - eu adorei senti mais tranquila...e espero que o senhor fique um bom tempo por aqui, quem sabe até o meu pai retornar para casa. Continuamos o joguinho por mais vinte dias, onde tive a oportunidade de meter naquele cuzinho lindo que ela tinha, até que meu cunhado retornou e eu tive de ir embora. Bem amigos por hoje é só....quando acontecer novo evento assim eu volto a relatar exatamente como ocorreu. Tudo isso para homenagear as fofas de qualquer idade ou condição....sou e sempre serei fissurado nelas.....
    M.Mattos – São Paulo - SP

    Flu (1) pode se juntar ao Milan (2) como campeão num ano e rebaixado no outro

    O tradicional Fluminense pode entrar num rol nada agradável neste domingo na última rodada do Brasileiro. O tricolor das Laranjeiras pode se tornar o 60º clube da história do futebol a ser rebaixado para a segunda divisão nacional apenas uma temporada após ter sido campeão. 

    Dentre os atuais 59 constam times da grandeza de LDU/EQU, Universidad Católica/CHL, Manchester City/ING, Olympique de Marselha/FRA e Milan/ITA. Entretanto, esses dois últimos caíram por motivos extracampo. 

    A equipe inglesa caiu após ser campeão de uma forma curiosa na temporada (1937/38): com saldo positivo de gols, marcando 80 vezes - mais até que o então campeão Arsenal. Entretanto o número de derrotas culminou com a ida à segundona.

    Já Olympique (1994) e Milan (1980) foram campeões na temporada anterior e rebaixados na seguinte  em suas respectivas ligas devido a escândalos de manipulação de resultados, que custou até a participação dos franceses da decisão do Mundial Interclubes de 1993.

    A Juventus de Turim chegou a ser campeã italiana em 2004/2005 e  na temporada seguinte disputar a Serie B. Contudo, o título da Vecchia Signora foi retirado pela Federação Italiana.

    A Noruega e a Suécia são os países em que mais esse tipo de situação aconteceu: 4 vezes. Curiosamente a Finlândia e a Dinamarca aparecem logo a seguir com 3 ao lado de mais alguns outros pelo planeta, fazendo até parece que tal situação estranha é uma especialidade nórdica.

    Editado (às 21h10 do dia 08/12/2013): O Fluminense tornou-se o 60º clube a ser rebaixado uma temporada depois de ter sido campeão nacional após a última rodada do Campeonato Brasileiro neste domingo.

    Abaixo, a lista dos 60 times que foram do céu ao inferno no intervalo de apenas uma temporada. Entre parênteses, na ordem, os anos em que foram campeões e rebaixados logo a seguir. 

    * Alemanha

    - 1.FC Nürnberg (1968 - 1969)

    * Argélia

    - Entente Sportive de Sétif (1987 - 1988)
    - USM El Harrach (1998 - 1999)

    * Andorra

    - Constel-lació Esportiva (2000 - 2000)
    Obs.: Rebaixado na mesma temporada por envolvimento em irregularidades financeiras.

    * Aruba

    - San Luis Deportivo (1984 - 1985)

    * Áustria

    - FC Tirol Innsbruck (2002 - 2002)
    Obs.: Rebaixado pela federação por não ter suas contas aprovadas.

    * Brasil

    - Fluminense (2012 - 2013)

    * Bolívia

    - Universitario de La Paz (1969 - 1970)
    - Jorge Wilstermann (Apertura 2010 - Clausura 2010)

    * Camarões

    - Aigle Nkongsamba (1994 - 1995)

    * Chile

    - Universidad Católica (1954 - 1955)

    * Costa Rica

    - El Carmen FC (1961 - 1961)
    Obs.: Rebaixado na mesma temporada após conflitos com outros clubes e a federação, que formularam a disputa de um "playoff" após o campeonato nacional e que terminou com o atual campeão ficando na última colocação.

    * Dinamarca

    - KB (1950 - 1951)
    - Hvidovre (1973 - 1974)
    - Herfølge BK (2000 - 2001)

    * Equador

    - LDU (1999 - 2000)

    * Finlândia

    - Ilves-Kissat (1950 - 1951)
    - TPV (1994 - 1995)
    - Haka Valkeakoski (1995 - 1996)

    * França

    - Olympique Marseille (1993 - 1994)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após escândalos de manipulação de resultados.

    * Guiné

    - AS Kaloum Star (2007 - 2008)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após dois WO's no campeonato por problemas contratuais com patrocinadores.

    * Guiné-Bissau

    - UDIB (2003 - 2004)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após WO's nas duas primeiras rodadas da temporada
    - Atlético Bissorã (2011 - 2013)
    Obs.: Não houve competição em 2012.

    * Holanda

    - RC Heemstede (1953 - 1954)

    * Ilhas Faroe

    - B71 (1989 - 1990)

    * Indonésia

    - PSIS (1999 - 2000)
    - Petrokimia Putra (2002 -2003)
    - Persebaya (2004 - 2005)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após se recusar a disputar a última partida do playoff em 2005.

    * Inglaterra

    - Manchester City (1937 - 1938)

    * Irlanda

    - Shelbourne (2006 - 2006)
    Obs.: Rebaixado pela federação por não ter as contas aprovadas.

    * Israel

    - Hapoel Kfar-Saba (1982 - 1983)
    - Hapoel Tel-Aviv (1988 - 1989)

    * Itália

    - Milan (1979 - 1980)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após escândalos de manipulação de resultados.

    * Jamaica

    - Violet Kickers (1996 - 1997)

    * Luxemburgo

    - Union Luxembourg (1927 - 1928)

    * Macau

    - Monte Carlo (2008 - 2009)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após divergências com a federação e com o Macau FC.

    * Malta

    - Rabat Ajax (1986 - 1987)

    * México

    - Marte (1954 - 1955)

    * Nigéria

    - Stationery Stores (1992 - 1993)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após vários WO's nos jogos fora de casa.
    - Shooting Stars (1998 - 1999)
    - Bayelsa United (2009 - 2010)

    * Noruega

    - Freidig (1948 - 1949)
    - Fram (1950 -1951)
    - SK Brann (1963 - 1964)
    - Lyn (1968 - 1969)

    * País de Gales

    - Barry Town (2003 - 2004)
    - Rhyl (2009 - 2010)
    Obs.: Rebaixado após não conseguir a licença para a disputa da nova liga criada.

    * Polônia

    - Ogniwo Bytom (1954 - 1955)
    Obs: Rebaixado após fundir-se com o Szombierki Bytom e mudar seu nome para Polonia Bytom.

    * República do Congo

    - Saint Michel de Ouenzé (2010 - 2011)

    * República Dominicana

    - Deportivo Pantoja (2001 - 2002)
    - Baninter/Jarabacoa (2003 - 2005)
    Obs.: Não houve competição em 2004.

    * Rússia (então União Soviética)

    - CDSA Moscou (1951 - 1952)
    Obs.: Rebaixado pela federação após a pífia participação soviéticas nas Olimpíadas de 1952, no qual o time era a base da seleção de futebol.

    * Santa Lúcia

    - Roots Alley Ballers (2009 - 2010)

    * San Marino

    - La Fiorita (1990 - 1991)

    * Suécia

    - Helsingborgs IF (1934 - 1935)
    - GAIS (1954 - 1955)
    - Djurgårdens IF (1959 - 1960)
    - IFK Göteborg (1969 - 1970)

    * Uzbequistão

    - MHSK Tashkent (1997 - 1998)

    * Vietnã

    - Cang Saigon (2002 - 2003)

    Foto 1: André Durão -
    Foto 2: Autor desconhecido

              A COPA DA ALEMANHA        

    Bayern de Munique: o maior campeão da DFB Pokal

    Neste sábado o Bayern de Munique entrou em campo novamente para mais uma decisão. Depois de ganhar o Campeonato Alemão e a Liga dos Campeões da Europa, o time bávaro recheou ainda mais sua vasta galeria de troféus com a Copa da Alemanha e chegou à tríplice coroa nesta temporada - o adversário foi o Stuttgart, tradicional clube germânico, e o placar foi de 3 a 2.

    A Copa, conhecida como DFB Pokal (Deutscher Fußball-Bund Pokal), é disputada desde 1935 e tem o lendário clube de Munique como seu maior vencedor com 16 conquistas. O primeiro campeão da história do torneio foi o 1. FC Nuremberg ao bater o Schalke 04 por 2 a 0 na decisão em Düsseldorf.

    Em sua primeira edição a Copa da Alemanha se chamava Tschammer-Pokal - ou  Tschammer und Osten Pokal - em homenagem ao então Reichssportführer (Chefe do Gabinete de Esportes do 3º Reich) Hans von Tschammer und Oste. A disputa envolveu incríveis 4100 clubes desde a elite até as divisões amadoras do futebol alemão no período preliminar. A fase principal se deu com 63 times em 6 rodadas de mata-mata, acabando, conforme já dito, com o título do Nuremberg sobre o Schalke 04 na grande final em Düsseldorf com público estimado em mais de 50 mil pessoas presentes.

    Desde então o formato sofreu poucas alterações no que diz respeito ao original dos anos 30: várias equipes de todo o país, das divisões semi-profissionais e amadoras, começam a disputa nas fases preliminares até chegar ao grupo principal que vai até a final no já conhecido sistema de mata-mata. Na atualidade 64 times entram nessa fase, na qual já estão qualificados automaticamente todos os clubes da Bundesliga, da 2. Bundesliga e os 4 melhores colocados da última temporada da 3. Liga, respectivamente 1ª, 2ª e 3ª divisões. A título de curiosidade a Alemanha possui 13 divisões em sua pirâmide futebolística, comportando mais de 30 mil equipes e mais de 2 mil grupos regionais.

    A partir de 1953 a competição passou a se chamar DFB Pokal. nome mantido até os dias atuais, em virtude do fim do nazismo. Aliás, entre 1943 e e 1952 não houve disputa devido à Segunda Guerra Mundial.

    Os confrontos são definidos por sorteio, quando na fase principal os clubes são divididos em dois potes: um contendo os times semi-profissionais e amadores e outro, os profissionais, sempre na obrigatoriedade de haver uma partida entre os de um recipiente contra o do outro até que um deles fique vazio e, assim, todos se juntem num único pote. Desde 1985 a final é disputada no Olympiastadion de Berlin e seu vencedor tem vaga garantida na próxima edição da Liga Europa (antiga Copa da UEFA).

    Poucos clubes de divisões inferiores na DFB Pokal chegaram às fases finais da competição na história, dada a diferença abissal de estrutura e financeira entre eles e os da elite. Até 1974 nenhum time da Bundesliga havia sido derrotado por um amador ou semi-profissional, quando o Hamburgo entrou para os registros históricos ao ser o primeiro a sucumbir perante um adversário bem menos expressivo - o VfB Eppingen. Podemos citar mais alguns exemplos de surpresas ao longo do tempo como a derrota do Borussia Dortmund em 1990 para o nanico SpVgg Fürth, a chegada à final em 1993 do Hertha Berlin II (reserva do Hertha Berlin) - a primeira vez de um time da 3ª divisão a chegar à decisão - e a surpreendente vitória do desconhecido TSV Vestenbergsgreuth sobre o então campeão nacional Bayern de Munique por 1 a 0 na 1ª rodada na temporada 1994/95.

    O maior vencedor da Copa, como já citado, é o poderoso Bayern de Munique com 16 taças, seguido do Werder Bremen, que tem 6. O super artilheiro Gerd Müller, como de costume, é o artilheiro máximo da competição com 78 gols. Já o goleiro Oliver Kahn detem o recorde de 6 títulos. Por fim o ex-meia tcheco Mirko Votava foi o atleta que mais vezes entrou em campo pelo certame: 79 vezes.

    Outro dado digno de nota é o fato de o torneio ter em sua história dois campeões austríacos, o Rapid Wien (que também foi campeão alemão) em 1938 e o First Vienna em 1943 - tais fatos se deram pela anexação da Áustria por parte da Alemanha na época do nazismo, fazendo com que as equipes austríacas disputassem os campeonatos em território alemão.

    Para finalizar outra curiosidade: nesses 78 anos de Copa da Alemanha houve apenas um 0 a 0 em uma final - na temporada 1991/92 entre Hannover e Borussia Mönchengladbach, com vitória nos pênaltis para o primeiro por 4 a 3.

    Abaixo, dados, estatísticas e todos os campeões e vices de cada edição da DFB Pokal.

    COPA DA ALEMANHA (DFB Pokal - Deutscher Fußball-Bund Pokal)

    * Início: 1935 (como Tschammer-Pokal)

    * Maior vencedor: Bayern de Munique (16 vezes)

    * Maior placar: Stuttgart Kickers 17 x 0 VfB 05 Knielingen (1940/41)

    * Maior público: Borussia Dortmund 3 x 0 FC Carl Zeiss Jena (80708 pessoas em 18/08/2008 no Signal Iduna Park)

    * Maior artilheiro: Gerd Müller (78 gols)

    * Mais gols em um único jogo: Carsten Jäncker (6 gols na vitória do Kaiserslautern por 15 a 0 contra o FC Schönberg 95 em 21/08/2004)

    * Jogador que mais venceu a competição: Oliver Kahn (6 vezes)

    * Jogador que mais autou na competição: Mirko Votava/TCH (79 jogos)

    * Finais (local):

    1935 - 1. FC Nuremberg 2 x 0 Schalke 04 (Düsseldorf)

    1936 - VfB Leipzig 2 x 1 Schalke 04 (Berlin)

    1937 - Schalke 04 2 x 1 Fortuna Düsseldorf (Köln)

    1938 - Rapid Wien 3 x 1 FSV Frankfurt (Berlin)

    1939 - 1. FC Nuremberg 2 x 0 Waldhof Mannheim (Berlin)

    1940 - Dresdner SC 2 x 1 1. FC Nuremberg (Berlin)

    1941 - Dresdner SC 2 x 1 Schalke 04 (Berlin)

    1942 - 1860 Munique 2 x 0 Schalke 04 (Berlin)

    1943 - First Vienna 3 x 2 Luftwaffen-SV Hamburg (Stuttgart)

    1952/53 - Rot-Weiss Essen 2 x 1 Alemania Aachen (Düsseldorf)

    1953/54 - Stuttgart 1 x 0 Colônia (Ludwigshafen)

    1954/55 - Karlsruher 3 x 2 Schalke 04 (Braunschweig)

    1955/56 - Karlsruher 3 x 1 Hamburgo (Karlshure)

    1956/57 - Bayern de Munique 1 x 0 Fortuna Düsseldorf (Augsburg)

    1957/58 - Stuttgart 4 x 3 Fortuna Düsseldorf (Kassel)

    1958/59 - Schwarz-Weiss Essen 5 x 2 Borussia Neunkirchen (Kassel)

    1959/60 - Borussia Mönchengladbach 3 x 2 Karlsruher (Düsseldorf)

    1960/61 - Werder Bremen 2 x 0 Kaiserslautern (Gelsenkirchen)

    1961/62 - 1. FC Nuremberg 2 x 1 Fortuina Düsseldorf (Hannover)

    1962/63 - Hamburgo 3 x 0 Borussia Dortmund (Hannover)

    1963/64 - 1860 Munique 2 x 0 Eintracht Frankfurt (Stuttgart)

    1964/65 - Borussia Dortmund 2 x 0 Alemania Aachen (Hannover)

    1965/66 - Bayern de Munique 4 x 2 Meidericher SV (Frankfurt)

    1966/67 - Bayern de Munique 4 x 0 Hamburgo (Stuttgart)

    1967/68 - Colônia 4 x 1 Bochum (Ludwigshafen)

    1968/69 - Bayern de Munique 2 x 1 Schalke 04 (Frankfurt)

    1969/70 - Kickers Offenbach 2 x 1 Colônia (Hannover)

    1970/71 - Bayern de Munique 2 x 1 Colônia (Stuttgart)

    1971/72 - Schalke 5 x 0 Kaiserslautern (Hannover)

    1972/73 - Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 x 1 Colônia (Düsseldorf)

    1973/74 - Eintracht Frankfurt 3 x 1 Hamburgo (Düsseldorf)

    1974/75 - Eintracht Frankfurt 2 x 1 MSV Duisburg (Hannover)

    1975/76 - Hamburgo 2 x 0 Kaiserslautern (Frankfurt)

    1976/77 - Colônia 1 x 0 Hertha Berlin (Hannover)

    1977/78 - Colônia 2 x 0 Fortuna Düsseldorf (Gelsenkirchen)

    1978/79 - Fortuna Düsseldorf 1 x 0 Hertha Berlin (Hannover)

    1979/80 - Fortuna Düsseldorf 2 x 1 Colônia (Gelsenkirchen)

    1980/81 - Eintracht Frankfurt 3 x 1 Kaiserslautern (Stuttgart)

    1981/82 - Bayern de Munique 4 x 2 1. FC Nuremberg (Frankfurt)

    1982/83 - Colônia 1 x 0 Fortuna Köln (Colônia)

    1983/84 - Bayern de Munique 1 x 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach - pen. 7 x 6 (Frankfurt)

    1984/85 - Bayer Uerdingen 2 x 1 Bayern de Munique (Berlin)

    1985/86 - Bayern de Munique 5 x 2 Stuttgart (Berlin)

    1986/87 - Hamburgo 3 x 1 Stuttgarter Kickers (Berlin)

    1987/88 - Eintracht Frankfurt 1 x 0 Bochum (Berlin)

    1988/89 - Borussia Dortmund 4 x 1 Werder Bremen (Berlin)

    1989/90 - Kaiserslautern 3 x 2 Werder Bremen (Berlin)

    1990/91 - Werder Bremen 1 x 1 Colônia - pen. 4 x 3 (Berlin)

    1991/92 - Hannover 0 x 0 Borussia Mönchengladbach - pen. 4 x 3 (Berlin)

    1992/93 - Bayer Leverkusen 1 x 0 Hertha Berlin II (Berlin)

    1993/94 - Werder Bremen 3 x 1 Rot-Weiss Essen (Berlin)

    1994/95 - Borussia Mönchengladbach 3 x 0 Wolfsburg (Berlin)

    1995/96 - Kaiserslautern 1 x 0 Kalrshurer (Berlin)

    1996/97 - Stuttgart 2 x 0 Energie Cottbus (Berlin)

    1997/98 - Bayern de Munique 2 x 1 MSV Duisburg (Berlin)

    1998/99 - Werder Bremen 1 x 1 Bayern de Munique - pen. 5 x 4 (Berlin)

    1999/2000 - Bayern de Munique 3 x 0 Werder Bremen (Berlin)

    2000/01 - Schalke 04 2 x 0 Union Berlin (Berlin)

    2001/02 - Schalke 4 x 2 Bayern Leverkusen (Berlin)

    2002/03 - Bayern de Munique 3 x 1 Kaiserslautern (Berlin)

    2003/04 - Werder Bremen 3 x 2 Alemania Aachen (Berlin)

    2004/05 - Bayern de Munique 2 x 1 Schalke 04 (Berlin)

    2005/06 - Bayern de Munique 1 x 0 Eintracht Frankfurt (Berlin)

    2006/07 - 1. FC Nuremberg 3 x 2 Stuttgart (Berlin)

    2007/08 - Bayern de Munique 2 x 1 Borussia Dortmund (Berlin)

    2008/09 - Werder Bremen 1 x 0 Bayer Leverkusen (Berlin)

    2009/10 - Bayern de Munique 4 x 0 Werder Bremen (Berlin)

    2010/11 - Schalke 04 5 x 0 MSV Duisburg (Berlin)

    2011/12 - Borussia Dortmund 5 x 2 Bayern de Munique (Berlin)

    2012/13 - Bayern de Munique 3 x 2 Stuttgart (Berlin)

    Imagem: Arquivo pessoal
    Foto: AsianWave

              Vacancies announcement for the Joint Technical Secretariat for the Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2014-2020/ Projects Assessment Unit        

    The Romanian South East Regional Development Agency (Joint Technical Secretariat of the ENI CBC Joint Operational Programme Black Sea Basin 2014-2020) is seeking to recruit Project Assessors for the qualitative assessment (technical and financial) and State Aid Compliance Assessment of the eligible applications submitted within Programme 1st Call for proposals.


     Detailed information related to the vacancies, selection criteria, as well as the application and recruitment procedure can be downloaded from here.


     Interested applicants shall submit their application until 11 August, 2017, 23:59 hrs. (GMT + 2 hrs.) on the email address:



              Secretariatul Tehnic Comun pentru Programul Operațional Comun pentru Bazinul Mării Negre 2014-2020 recrutează experÅ£i în evaluarea proiectelor        

    Agenția de Dezvoltare Regională Sud-Est (Secretariatul Tehnic Comun al Programul Operațional Comun Bazinul Mării Negre 2014-2020) anunţă concurs pentru selectarea experţilor în evaluarea calitativă (tehnică și financiară) și evaluarea conformității în ceea ce privește ajutorul de stat pentru propunerile de proiecte eligibile, depuse în cadrul  primului apel de propuneri de proiecte.


    Informații detaliate referitoare la aceste poziții, criteriile de selecție, precum și procedura de recrutare pot fi accesate pe pagina web a Programului: (Secțiunea Noutăți).


    Persoanele interesate pot depune documentele solicitate până pe data de 11 august 2017, orele 23:59 (GMT + 2 hrs.) la următoarea adresă:


              What to consider before borrowing        

    Exhaust federal loans for both students and parents

    For students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, maximize your federal education loans first. You must complete a FAFSA to take advantage of federal loans. Any federal loans you are eligible for will be listed on your Financial Aid notification. 


    Be an educated consumer

    Learn the language of student loans, including terms like interest, deferment, repayment, capitalization, forbearance, default, etc.


    Be selective when choosing a lender

    Look for a lender that will give you the best interest rate, lowest fees and best repayment plan. Failure to fully research these items can cause you to incur excessive debt.


    Borrow only what you need

    Avoid the temptation to borrow more, especially if you are informed that you qualify for more than what you need. Remember, you must pay back every dollar borrowed plus interest.


    Recognize your long term commitment

    Realize that borrowing loans can impact your financial choices and priorities after graduation.

              Utilize an Endorser        

    Utilize an Endorser

    Similar to a co-signer, an endorser is someone who will pass the credit check and who agrees to repay the PLUS Loan if the borrower is unable to do so. Almost anyone can serve as an endorser. However, the student cannot serve as an endorser for their parent.

    If you choose to obtain an endorser, the endorser should complete the endorser addendum at The endorser will need the Loan Reference Number (if a Direct PLUS Loan Request was completed) or Loan Identification Number to connect the endorsement to the denied PLUS Loan. Completing the endorsement online also requires a Federal Student Aid personal identification number (FSA PIN).

    • The Loan Reference number can be found in the confirmation email received in the denial notice, or by logging into and selecting "Direct PLUS Loan Requests."

    • If the endorser must obtain an FSA ID if they do not already have one.

    Master promissory notes (MPNs) are used for PLUS Loans and allow for multiple year borrowing under the same terms. However, when an endorser is used, the terms of the MPN used for that loan is specific only to that loan. Therefore, a borrower who has previously received a PLUS Loan without an endorser will need to complete a unique MPN for the endorsed loan. Also, any additional PLUS borrowing will require a new MPN and endorser addendum (though the same endorser can be used).

    Lastly, you as the parent must complete the PLUS Couseling requirment located on

    Inform the Financial Aid Office whenever the borrower is seeking or using an endorser so that the loan is not canceled during the endorser application process.

    NOTE: The endorser addendum, PLUS Loan, and award offer amounts all must match.

              Federal Perkins Loans        

    Federal Perkins Loans

    Colleges award these loans to students with the highest financial need, using federal government money. The 5 percent fixed interest rate is low, and you don't make any loan payments while in college. The interest on the Perkins Loan is subsidized while the student is in school. 

              Federal Perkins        

    Federal Perkins Loans

    Colleges award these loans to students with the highest financial need, using federal government money. The 5 percent fixed interest rate is low, and you don't make any loan payments while in college. You can borrow a total of $27,500.

              Applying for Aid, Here’s How and Why        

    Applying for Aid, Here's How and Why

    As nice as it is to spend time with family and friends over the winter break, there's something to be said for getting back into the swing of things at work. In Financial Aid, our first days back are usually spent reconnecting with students and families we've gotten to know over the past several months.

    At this time of year, part of what keeps us on our toes is the variety of conversations we're having. After months spent getting to know the first-year students and their families, now we begin to hear from folks just starting the college selection journey; and it's something we all really appreciate being a part of.

    In fact, if your phone call comes to me, you'll see what I mean. I'll probably try to finish some of your sentences for you, or I'll answer a question you weren't even going to ask; but bear with me and know that as the financial aid season rolls on, I do get a little less enthusiastic. But only a little.

    It's January, so your primary mission (as it will be each January for the next four years) is to APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID. It's an entirely separate process from the admission application and that's true for all schools. At Southwestern, all admitted students are automatically considered for all applicable scholarship programs, meaning you'll learn early on about any Merit Scholarships you'll be receiving. But why not find out what else you might qualify for? That's where the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) comes in. If you're unsure why you should apply, here's a great article outlining the advantages, and here's another explaining several common misconceptions about financial aid.

    When you're ready, this is a great list of the things you'll want to have on hand when you apply, and here are the steps you'll take to get started. And if you're really into it, check out the Seven Most Common FAFSA Mistakes so you'll know what not to do.

    And as always, we're here for you, and we're ready whenever you are.

              Les Corps Glorieux        
    Participez et aidez-nous à financer ce court métrage philo-fantastique vitaminé de super-pouvoirs.
              Je vais traverser l'Himalaya avec mon Yak !        
    Financez le film de ma prochaine expédition : La traversée intégrale de l'Himalaya, seul, pendant 4 mois et autonomie totale avec mon yak.
              Earn Money with Chitika and Blogger        
    If you are looking for ways to earn money from your Blogger blog (Blogspot blog) have you considered Chitika advertising and referral program? Adding a Chitika affiliate banner to your blog is a very easy way to make extra money.

    Chitika is 100% Compatible with Google Adsense
    Chitika is a pay-per-click advertising program which is free to join. The greatest benefit of Chitika is that it can be used in conjunction with Google Adsense to add another way to earn money from your blog. There is no conflict with Google Adsense because Chitika only serves non-contextual ads.

    Get Chitika | Premium

    Chitika vs Google Adsense
    Chitika claim a higher CTR (click through rate) in Chitika vs Adsense debates but I think you will have to try this for yourself. I have had good results with Chitika on the blogs I have added a mega unit to. Whether the returns are slightly higher for Chitika ads or not the most important aspect in my book is that they both can form part of your blog monetization strategy.

    Easy to Monetize Your Blogger Blog with ChitikaExample of a Chitika Ad Unit
    Chitika is an easy way to make money from your Blogger blog and can yield good earnings depending on your traffic source and your blog topic. Technology and gadget blogs are a particularly good fit with Chitika.

    Chitika has ads for all types of content particularly product-related including including automotive, finance, health, consumer electronics, news, sports, travel to name a few.

    Chitika offers a wide range of ad unit sizes including its recently introduced mega ad unit 550x250. Chitika claim that the mega unit has a higher CTR than their other Premium units. I am currently trialling this unit to see how it performs.

    Best Results Using Chitika
    For best results with Chitika your Blogger blog needs to receive a significant portion of its visitors from USA and Canada as ads are only served to that traffic stream. In addition your US traffic has to arrive at your blog via a search engine. No ads are displayed to non-US traffic however an alternate ad (such as Google Adsense) can be displayed if the alternate URL feature is enabled. To get the most out of Chitika therefore your blog needs to be search engine optimized.

    Get Chitika | Premium

    Chitika Referral Program
    By adding a Chitika banner or two to your Blogger blog you can increase your blog's earning power and make extra money. For every Chitika publisher referral you make you will earn 10% of what your referrals earn. You are eligible to earn commissions for each referral for 15 months following each referral’s approval date.

    In this article I have discussed the Chitika advertising and referral program and how it might be incorporated into your Blogger blog (Blogspot blog) so you can make extra money. I have explored some of the many advantages of signing up for Chitika. Why not sign up to Chitika today and start to earn extra money from your blog?

    Related Articles
    How to Add Chitika Ads to Blogger
    Easy Way to Put Banners on Blogger (Blogspot) Blog
    Make Money from Banners with Blogger
    Earn Money from Blogger with Linkworth Affiliate Program

    Subscribe to Blogspot Blogger Guide Full RSS Feed

    Subscribe to Blogspot Blogger Guide by Email

              viviendo en la tierra de alicia bay laurel        
    Viviendo en la Tierra

    “Celebraciones, avisos de tormenta, fórmulas, recetas, rumores y danzas campestres
    recolectadas por Alicia Bay Laurel.”

    Kachina Ediciones quiere editar por primera vez en castellano la guía clásica para la vida natural, bohemia y alternativa en el campo escrita por Alicia Bay Laurel en la comuna Wheeler Ranch en el norte de California a finales de los sesenta. La biblia del movimiento back-to-the-land y las comunas hippies de la década de los setenta que capturó el espíritu de toda una generación. 

    Para esta edición en castellano, Kachina Ediciones ha puesto en marcha una campaña de financiación que finaliza este domingo 11 de junio, si la campaña finaliza con éxito, el libro estará a la venta el próximo mes de septiembre:

    Colabora en el crowdfunding para la edición de Viviendo en la Tierra

    Viviendo en la Tierra es para aquellos que prefieren cortar leña para el fuego antes que trabajar en una oficina para pagar la factura de la compañía eléctrica. Un libro diseñado sin índices, sin capítulos, sin reglas ni estructuras, un libro que se construye sobre el aprendizaje del día a día.

    Escrito e ilustrado a mano por Alicia Bay Laurel cuando esta tenía tan sólo 19 años, como si se tratara de un diario, originalmente fue concebido como una guía destinada exclusivamente a distribuirse internamente entre las comunas. El libro fue publicado por The Bookworks en Berkeley, California y se agotó inmediatamente. Random House lo reeditó en 1971 y vendió más de 350.000 copias en pocos meses convirtiéndose así en un New York Times Bestseller. Viviendo en la Tierra cambió radicalmente la forma de concebir un libro y con su estilo ha influido durante décadas a numerosos artistas y diseñadores.

    Más allá de su utilidad como una guía DIY de artesanía, jardinería, construcción, remedios caseros y recetas, Viviendo en la Tierra documenta la vida en las utópicas comunas de finales de los sesenta. Traducido al japonés y al coreano -y ahora por primera vez al castellano-, en 2012 el libro fue elegido como uno de los 101 libros de cocina americanos más influyentes del siglo XX. Entre 2016 y 2017, fue expuesto en varios museos en retrospectivas sobre la cultura hippie.
    Pero además, para muchas personas, Viviendo en la Tierra es una fuente de inspiración espiritual, ya que es un exponente del placer de la vida sin apenas dinero ni bienes materiales, viviendo en contacto con la naturaleza y protegiéndola, viviendo en armonía con los demás.

    Alicia Bay Laurel (1949, Hollywood, California) creció en un ambiente intelectual estrechamente relacionado con las artes y políticamente activo. Tras cursar estudios de arte, con diecinueve años se trasladó a la comuna Wheeler Ranch donde comenzó a escribir e ilustrar Viviendo en la Tierra, libro que le dio fama y reconocimiento internacional. Además de escritora e ilustradora, Alicia es una cantautora y música de éxito y ha grabado siete discos desde 1970. Fue alumna del reconocido guitarrista John Fahey y en su carrera ha tocado géneros tan dispares como el psych folk, el blues, la canción protesta o la música Hawaiiana.

    En 1973 en colaboración con Ramón Sender Barayon -hijo del escritor Ramón J. Sender y conocido activista del movimiento hippie de los 60- escribió e ilustró el libro Being The Sun, que más tarde se convirtió también en disco.
    Se trasladó a Maui en 1974 y desde entonces ha ejercido numerosas profesiones, incluyendo entre otras muchas la de fotógrafa submarina, empresaria o profesora de primaria.

    Coincidiendo con la edición revisada y actualizada de Viviendo en la Tierra en el año 2000, Alicia hizo una gran gira musical de promoción por Estados Unidos. Desde entonces Alicia vive entre Estados Unidos, Panamá, España y especialmente Japón, país en el que goza de un enorme reconocimiento y en el que continúa realizando numerosas actuaciones musicales y colaboraciones artísticas para libros, publicidad e incluso para diseño de moda. 

    “Este puede ser perfectamente el mejor libro de este catálogo, es un libro para la gente; por eso, si eres una persona, es para ti; si eres un perro, sin embargo, y no sabes leer demasiado bien, también es para ti, porque tiene dibujos, Alicia, Alicia, Alicia, ella es nuestra Bradford Angier particular.”
    --The Whole Earth Catalog, JD Smith, 1970.

    "VIVIENDO EN LA TIERRA es toda una experiencia vital. Nos presenta toda la información principal del Whole Earth Catalog con la calidez y el sentimiento que una chica con un melódico y apasionado nombre como Alicia Bay Laurel puede poseer. Es como una carta interminable que Alicia te escribiera sólo y únicamente a ti."
    --The Village Voice.

    “Ver, tocar o acariciar VIVIENDO EN LA TIERRA es maravilloso. Sus dibujos y diseños irradian calidez, simplicidad y sinceridad. El libro en sí es un objeto que induce a la serenidad y a la buena voluntad. Su información es realmente útil para todo aquel que desee disfrutar de las cosas buenas de esta vida en cualquier parte del mundo."
    --Raymond Mungo, The New York Times Book Review

    “Quiero hacer todo lo que pone en este libro. Si no puedo hacer todo lo que pone en este libro, entonces quiero soñar sobre ello, porque yo sé que si lo hago, seré una mejor persona hasta la médula de mis huesos.”
    --Shuntaro Tanikawa, poeta japonés

    (fotos de la comuna Wheeler Ranch de Bob Fitch)

    Colabora en el crowdfunding para la edición de Viviendo en la Tierra

              88th Academy Awards        
    Note 1: This is the fourth consecutive year when I am doing this. Hopefully this one will be much more readable compared to my previous attempts. Hopefully. (prev: 87th, 86th, 85th) This year, I also wrote a story with the tag-lines of the Oscar-nominated movies.

    Note 2: I suspect the ratings for this year's Oscars are going to be very low. I mean, outside of #OscarsSoWhite, Studios and producers need to freakin' make the movies available for viewing online (or in theaters)! I will pay money to watch these movies BEFORE the Oscars goddamit! Events are successful when people talk about it. And to talk about it, people need context. What should we talk about instead of the movies themselves, Clooney's tux, JLaw's stumble, host's fumble, and hot cleavages?

    This is one of those years when I am not particularly attached to any movie that has been nominated. Atleast not for the big awards. But this year's Animated and Documentary nominations are a bunch of powerhouses compared to any year in recent history for these categories. It beats me why Inside Out didn't get a Best Picture nod. This just might have been a year when a Pixar movie, or any animated movie for that matter, won the top prize. Instead, we get Oscar-bait movies such as Room, Bridge of Spies, or even The Revenant. Mad Max getting in there is quite a surprise, not so much in retrospect. And yet, the top prize this year remains wide open, probable front-runners being Spotlight, The Revenant, and The Big Short, with the race getting more interesting than the movies themselves.

    Emily Blunt's omission from Supporting Actress and Villeneuve's from Director (yep, I loved Sicario!) seems a little strange, but Villeneuve's time will come. His every successive movie gets better than the last! And Quentin, what did you do? He is forgiven though for getting too indulgent, considering that he might be nearing the end of his filmography. I hope though that I get to see him, among others, getting a Directing Oscar some day. Some day.

    Right then.

    Category / PickNomineesVishesh TippaniHit / Miss
    Motion Picture


    The Big Short


    Bridge of Spies

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Martian

    The Revenant


    The Big Short: After The Wolf of Wall Street's rollercoaster ride, this seemed like pony carousel. I mean, we get it. Financial meltdown happened, and no-one responsible went to jail. Bravo! Selena Gomez explaining Collateralized Debt Obligations was cute though. Heh.

    Brooklyn: It gets a lot of things right. Saoirse Ronan is an absolute delight to watch on screen, with a well-deserved Actress nomination for her. And the way the movie transports you to the 50s is incredible, effortlessly shattering a lot of things we take for granted today. And we are not talking about an ancient era, just 60-70 years ago. Brooklyn also does not resort to evil-looking people to further the plot in a way Titanic did, and in a way that makes the protagonists' struggles relatable, real, and very palatable - in a way that triggers a "Life is such," response rather than "They deserved this".
    "I'd forgotten what this town is like. What were you planning to do, Miss Kelly?" 

    Bridge of Spies: This is the "America is the best country in the World" movie for this year. Although both Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance nailed it with chiselled performances. Coen brothers wrote this, perhaps it would have been a much better movie if they directed it as well.
    "Aren't you worried?"
    "Would it help?"

    Mad Max: Fury Road: This movie was an adrenalin-induced delight without end. Stunning camera work, absurdist humour, and louder than loudest everything, so much that one literally felt exhausted after the movie did not give any breathing space during.

    The Martian: Someone please explain to me why Inside Out is not in this category, and why The Martian isn't in the Best Animated movie category instead? What is the line between special effects and animation? Considering the state of the art for motion capture and 3D rendering techniques, maybe it's time we do away with the distinction. Anyway, The Martian falls flat compared to Gravity, or even Interstellar. Maybe it was just an excuse to rescue Matt Damon... again.

    The Revenant: A lot of people, including the Academy, seem to be particularly fond of Iñárritu. I find his movies boring, the technical brilliance notwithstanding. Birdman was perhaps Iñárritu's most enjoyable movie, and I didn't want Birdman to win (Boyhood... sigh). If The Revenant wins this one, of which there is a more than significant chance, it will be several firsts, perhaps the most interesting one being successive wins by the same Director. Sure looks like Leo's year though.

    Room: This was a hit or miss and all over the place. Some scenes were striking, in particular the one towards the end where Brie Larson goes back to the Room. Jacob Tremblay was spectacular until he was inside the room, and made his escape. After that it seemed like the director just didn't give a shit anymore.
    "There's so much of "place" in the world."

    Spotlight: This is my favourite movie from this category. Tense, crisp, great characters, performances, writing, Spotlight ranks high up there.
    "We got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy, and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write? Because we're writing one of them."
    Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

    Adam McKay, The Big Short

    George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

    Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

    Lenny Abrahamson, Room

    Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
    As much as I loved Spotlight, I am not sure if Tom McCarthy's time has come for a directing Oscar. The race mostly seems between Iñárritu and Miller, both of whom are really fine directors. If Iñárritu pulls this one off, back-to-back Director Oscars would be a tremendous feat.

    Although, if I had my way, Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman (directors of Anomalisa),  Andrew Haigh (director of 45 years), would have found a spot here. And when-o-when will Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario) time come?
    Writing (Original)


    Bridge of Spies

    Ex Machina

    Inside Out


    Straight Outta Compton
    Bridge of Spies is probably in here because... Coen brothers. Perhaps the movie would have been significantly better had they directed it as well.

    Ex Machina had some really smart writing as well, reminded me of "Her" in a lot of ways.
    Ava: "What will happen to me if I fail your test?"

    I loved the fact that Inside Out got nominated for this, if not for Best Picture. They really got me from the moment the "train of thought" arrives. As cheesy as that is, really made me chuckle.
    "Take her to the moon for me."

    And as much as Tarantino would like to say "I truly believe in the material" for The Hateful Eight, he needs to sit on the bench for this one.

    Spotlight though, crisp, taut, engaging from start to finish truly deserves this one.
    "If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse them."
    Writing (Adapted)

    The Big Short

    The Big Short



    The Martian

    The Big Short is a no-brainer for this. I haven't read the book so I do not know how it reads, but this is one of those examples of an "adaptation", from a non-fiction, that would have truly meant a LOT of work.

    Aaron Sorkin could have been slipped in here (for Steve Jobs), again adapting a non-fiction. Plus, in my opinion, his approach with the source material was remarkable and creative. With all the different sorts of issues Steve Jobs ran into during production, Sorkin was probably the only one who did the cleanest job for this movie.

    Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

    FINALLY, LEO! Boy am I waiting for his acceptance speech! SIXTH nomination, and what a journey! A story of survival, revenge, and life is also possibly the most fitting way he could have won this one!

    But this doesn't go without mentioning the other quite remarkable performances in this category. Trumbo felt a lot like Argo, even besides the 'Hollywood making a movie about Hollywood thing' and John Goodman's huge (literally) presence. And I love this "genre" (if you may) too - Sunset Bldv., Chaplin, The Artist, to name a few.

    Michael Fassbender did a fine job and literally saved the movie, but the most striking performance for me from this movie would definitely be that of Winslet's.

    There are some roles where it is unimaginable for anyone else doing them except for Eddie Redmayne (you know, the kind of feeling we get quite often for Benedict Cumberbatch). I doubt anyone else would have been able to do Theory of Everything or The Danish Girl.

    Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

    Prediction: Brie Larson
    Cate Blanchett, Carol

    Brie Larson, Room

    Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

    Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

    Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
    Brie Larson seems sealed for this category. She isn't on my top 3 out of these 5, so I will be a little bummed about this one.

    I am conflicted between Charlotte Rampling and Saoirse Ronan for my top spot. 45 years is a stunning film, and deserved much more than the solitary nomination it received, but Charlotte is really the heart and soul of the film. After Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) lost to JLaw, I would be too pleased to see Charlotte win this one, for a movie that has too many similarities to Amour.

    I wouldn't mind Saoirse winning this one either. Her nuanced performance in Brooklyn left you yearning for more.
    Supporting Actor

    Christian Bale, The Big Short

    Prediction: Sylvester Stallone
    Christian Bale, The Big Short

    Tom Hardy, The Revenant

    Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

    Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

    Sylvester Stallone, Creed
    The one thing that I loved about The Big Short was Christian Bale's performance. In the very limited time that he occupies the screen, every freakin' scene is fireworks. He would be my pick for this one, but Sylvester Stallone makes for a great Oscar story, so yeah... Mark Rylance.
    Supporting Actress

    Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

    Prediction: Alicia Vikander
    Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

    Rooney Mara, Carol

    Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

    Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

    Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
    It's a shame that Alicia Vikander got nominated for The Danish Girl instead of Ex Machina. I am nuts about Alicia Vikander, she is what I would call "vanilla" beautiful. I know she is beautiful, I don't know why, and I find it hard to be able to figure it out. It's like she only registers when she's in front of me, but poof as soon as she's not, enigmatic almost. I think it was a stroke of casting brilliance to cast her in Ex Machina, a role which hinged significantly on this quality of hers in my opinion. You know, artificial... but not really, feels real... but can't put a finger on why.

    But between her performance in The Danish Girl, and Kate Winslet's in Steve Jobs, my vote definitely goes to Kate. Them glasses. Sigh. And a performance that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Fassbender's as Jobs, that's really something.
    Animated Movie


    Prediction: Inside Out

    Boy & The World

    Inside Out

    Shaun The Sheep Movie

    When Marnie Was There
    What a collection of movies in this category! This is a collection which is missing The Peanuts Movie and The Good Dinosaur - movies which in any other year would have made the nomination cut and might even have won!

    I want to especially talk about three movie here, Anomalisa, Inside Out, and Boy & The World, although Shaun The Sheep and When Marnie Was There are brilliant movies in their own right.

    Anomalisa is one of those movies that leave you going "How on Earth did they pull this off on screen?!" The stillness of this movie, the calm, the poise, the detail - both in the little things and the not-so-little things - is astounding. I could write at length about this movie, but anyone who has spent any time travelling to a smaller city in the US (especially to the mid-west) will get all intricate details they have managed to so gloriously capture. The absolutely shocking sex scene, the long takes, the movie playing almost in real time... Anomalisa is an anomaly done right when it comes to pushing the boundaries of what can be done on animation.

    Talking about pushing the boundaries of animated films, Boy & The World is gorgeous! Such raw beauty, it is a spectacle to behold. Lovingly crafted hand-drawn animation, the colors, the playfulness, the airiness, the fireworks-y sparkle, the dazzle, every still of the film could be a framed painting in an art gallery. This is how, I wish, The Peanuts Movie had been made. HAND-DRAWN! I hope we get to see more of Alê Abreu's work.

    Inside Out is almost surely going to win this one. Don't get me wrong, it is a great film, perhaps one of Pixar's top 3, if not the best. But it is going to win it for the wrong reasons. Animation has very little to do with what makes Inside Out a great film, which is why it was much better off getting a Best Film nod, along with the Writing nod that it deservedly received.


    Prediction: The Revenant 

    The Hateful Eight

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Revenant

    The Hateful Eight is on this list because... 70mm, Ben Hur lenses, yada yada yada. It's not the tooling that maketh a genius. Nope. But okay Quentin, you were indulging yourself, you are allowed to do that, of course.

    It will be a big surprise if The Revenant does not win this one. The cinematography, after all, is one of the biggest reasons why it has been getting oh-so-much love. But, have you seen Sicario! Especially the one scene where they perform the extraction from Mexico, sent a chill down my spine. That is a scene in the same league as the car scene from Children of Men.

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Big Short

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Revenant


    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    If there is one award that Mad Max truly deserves, it's got to be this one. How do you even cut this movie?! Hit!
    Production Design

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    Bridge of Spies

    The Danish Girl

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Martian

    The Revenant

    Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight

    Bridge of Spies


    The Hateful Eight


    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    The Hateful Eight, again, is here because... Morricone. This is probably Academy's last chance to give a real Oscar to Ennio Morricone rather than the honorary one they had to give him a few years ago.

    Sicario and Star Wars (obviously) truly deserve a special mention though.
    Visual Effects

    The Revenant

    Ex Machina

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    The Martian

    The Revenant

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    This category is really losing its significance extremely fast. It is too hard to tell what's special effects and what's not, considering almost every movie undergoes huge transformation during post-production. Ex Machina.

    Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight For Freedom

    Prediction: Amy

    Cartel Land

    The Look of Silence

    What Happened, Miss Simone?

    Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight For  Freedom
    Just like the Animated Feature Film category, this was another powerhouse collection of films. I wouldn't mind Amy winning this one, Asif Kapadia is an accomplished director, his Senna ranks amongst my favorite movies. And, to be fair, Amy is an amazing movie, except, I didn't care a lot about the subject matter.

    Winter on Fire, on the other hand, is a movie extremely relevant in today's day and age, and has managed to put together some really spine-chilling footage and beautifully. It also managed to give a first-hand glimpse into a country that we (I) know so little about, and around events that are being played out right now on the global political arena.

    Total: 13 / 15

              Moneris and ATB Financial Announce Five-Year Contract Extension        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2016/11/15, Toronto, Ontario Canada - New agreement builds upon a 14-year history of Moneris providing merchant services support to ATB - /
              Using a Divorce Coach in Collaborative Divorce        
    January 24, 2013 Collaborative Divorce is a team approach.  Each party has a collaboratively trained attorney to assist them at all team meetings.  A neutral financial professional (usually a CPA) is often included to address financial issues.  And, most important, there is a Divorce Coach – a neutral mental health professional — to facilitate communication […]
              How To Use Marketing Channels To Drive Book Sales        
    Synopsis Understanding how online and offline marketing channels can work together is essential for your book’s financial success. These channels, if consistently used together, can help you as an author achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. It will also help your … Continue reading
              Differentiation And Positioning For Authors        
    Synopsis In order to become a financially successful author, you must learn how to differentiate and position yourself and your book as the go-to person and book that will help the readers solve their problems. This is not a difficult … Continue reading
              2 Amazon Marketing Tools To Help Make Your Book A Financial Success        
    Synopsis Amazon provides two very powerful and easy-to-use tools to get our books in front of millions of potential readers and buyers. Together these two tools help form the basic foundation of an author’s marketing plan. Introduction As an author … Continue reading
              7 Things Readers Notice When Picking Up A Book        
    Synopsis If you have any hope of having your book achieve financial and critical success, you must understand how your readers, view your book when they first see it. Once you fully understand how your readers will perceive your book … Continue reading
              The 10 Commandments To Becoming A Financially Successful Self-Publisher        
    Synopsis Creating your first book might seem like a daunting task at first glance. But by devoting some time and effort to it, you should be able to fearlessly create a quality book that can provide an ongoing stream of … Continue reading
              Endorsement Vs. Testimonial: A Guide For Self-Publishers        
    Synopsis It is essential for a self-publisher to understand the differences between an endorsement and a testimonial – sometimes lumped together as “blurbs”. Each plays a vital role in the financial success of your book. Therefore, I have laid out … Continue reading
              3 Common Myths About Book-Buyer Retention        
    Synopsis Understanding who your readers are, and what they need, and how to hold onto them, is essential for your financial success. Here are three common myths surrounding book-buyer retention that might have been preventing you from implementing a plan … Continue reading
    Brandon Wright poses at his tea farm in Japan.

    One of Brandon Wright’s career goals is to ultimately build a traditional Japanese wood tea house in Oklahoma City.

    The East Central University alumnus currently resides in Uji, Kyoto, Japan and is the founder of the Tai-an Tea Company. Three weeks after graduating from ECU in 2014, Wright moved to Japan to start his own organic Matcha green tea company.

    “I am very proud of graduating from ECU,” said Wright, who left the university with a degree in exercise science and was an Ada resident. “ECU taught me numerous skills that has helped me prepare for my career path such as organization, teamwork, presentation skills, time management, communication skills, problem solving, adversity and dedication skills.”

    Wright also has an office in Oklahoma City, but spends much of his time in Japan, monitoring his tea farm.

    Matcha is a Japanese tea made from powdered green tea leaves, which are grown and dried in specially designed processes, after which they are ground to create a fine powder. Matcha is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony and to flavor food.

    Considered benefits of Matcha is that is highly nutritious, contains antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins.

    “If anyone consumes a cup of organic Matcha every morning, it will improve the way they feel mentally and physically,” Wright said. “Matcha is nature’s pre-workout, detoxifier, focused energy, and best of all, it helps fight diseases. Matcha is Japan’s best-kept secret that has been a factor in their long-life expectancies and overall health.”

    Wright’s exposure to Matcha green tea came in 2005 during a three-week high school exchange program.

    “I took part in a Japanese tea ceremony lesson and I knew at that moment, this is what I would do for my career,” said Wright. “Matcha is 100 percent plant-based nutrition grounded into fine powder and consumed as tea. Matcha contains zero fillers, chemicals, GMO’s or pesticides.”

    Wright’s future plan is to stay in Japan for 5-10 more years, but to ultimately build a traditional Japanese wood tea house in Oklahoma City.

    “We want to bring cultural diversity to Oklahoma, using an amazingly healthy organic

    Japanese green tea,” Wright said. “This is great culturally and for overall health.”

    Wright says that his company ships organic Matcha directly from Tokyo to, which allows it to be shipped overseas safely and quickly. The company’s first Matcha line is called “Seijaku,” which translates to an enlightenment.

    “We truly believe if you consume our Matcha, you can reach your own version of complete silence or peace within yourself,” said Wright. “Matcha was first given to the Monks and Samurai because it was said to give them focused energy during meditation and alertness during battle.”

    According to Wright, ECU had a hand in him making his dream come true.

    “This has been a very hard three years in Japan. My company is 100 percent registered in Oklahoma, but my home office is located in Japan because I live here,” Wright said. “Therefore, I must follow Japanese laws and regulations and the Japanese are 1,000 percent more detailed about business development. I have had many setbacks since starting this journey, but I never gave up because of what ECU taught me.”

    Wright credited ECU instructors in the Kinesiology Department such as Matt McGaha, Jason Prather, Jillian Bailey, Jillian McCarty and Jeff McGaha with preparing him for his business journey.

    “The teachers, staff and faculty at ECU were all amazing. Anytime I needed to speak to a teacher about anything, they were always there for me,” said Wright. “Everyone from the teachers, library, Wellness Center, financial aid, cafeteria workers and janitors were all down to earth and truly loved their jobs and helping all students, ECU is an amazing school and I will always be very proud of where I came from.”

    For more information on the Tai-an Tea Company go to the website at or Facebook page at Tai-an Tea Co. The Amazon direct shortcut to the product page is: The Facebook page features daily posts and information regarding Matcha or Japanese tea history.


    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or or 405-812-1428 (cell)

    Rachel Seewald-Phan

    A year after being instituted as a new degree program by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, East Central University’s Master in Management program is a smashing success.

    At least in the eyes of Rachel Seewald-Phan, who is the first graduate of the program, the former Norman resident went straight into the MiM program after earning her bachelor’s degree and ended up completing her master’s degree in just one year.

    “It was such an amazing experience and learning process that helped me grow as a student and an individual,” said Seewald-Phan. “Because of the MiM program, I was able to relocate to a state where I had no connections and land a job in a little under a month after moving there.”

    Now a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, she is extremely grateful for the program.

    “When the opportunity to enroll in the program was presented, I was somewhat hesitant since my undergraduate degree was in mass communication and public relations and I do not have a heavy business background,” she said. “However, I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The faculty involved in the MiM program are very helpful in working to make sure the students understand the material. They truly want to see everyone succeed.”

    Seewald-Phan is now client services manager at Lenox Wealth Management in Cincinnati.

    “I love my job and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the MiM program and all the wonderful people in the Stonecipher School of Business,” said Seewald-Phan.

    The MiM program is designed to help those with a bachelor’s degree develop management skills. This includes students who received their degrees in non-business fields.

    “There are many who have earned their first degrees and have been placed in positions of managers, but have not been given the knowledge and skills needed to be in successful managerial positions,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of ECU’s Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “Additionally, current students, who are skilled practitioners of the subject matter of their first degrees, had their potential to advance to managerial positions limited due to a lack of knowledge and skills in business.”

    Objectives of the program are to:

    1. Provide an innovative, high-level, focused program in response to employers’ needs for managerial-level employees with a sound knowledge of business theory and practices.
    2. Improve student opportunities to either gain employment or increase their chance of a level promotion at their current employer by offering a degree that is suitable for current and potential entry-level managers whose degree was not in a business field.
    3. Work with local employers to utilize this degree as part of personal development plans for current and future front-line managers.
    4. Provide a unique program for those in ECU’s service area and region who are seeking to complement their non-business degree with a business graduate degree that can be completed in 12 months.

    The curriculum consists of 30 hours derived from such courses as managerial accounting, employment labor and law, economics for managers, finance for managers, research methods for managerial decision making, foundations of management, leadership and organizational behavior, strategic management and marketing management. Three more credit hours will also come from one of the following: managing in the global economy, special topics in management, internship in management and individual study in management.

    Godwin anticipates 50 students to be enrolled in the program this fall.

    “The student feedback is that what you learn in the classroom on a Tuesday can be applied on the job on Wednesday,” Godwin said. “It is more application-focused instead of theory-focused.”

    For more information on ECU’s Master in Management program go online to or call Dr. Charlie Jones at 580-559-5269.



    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


    East Central University has registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) to provide the means of awarding a new business certificate diploma for personal financial planning.

    This certificate compliments the current business administration in finance concentration degree.

    An independent certifying organization, CFP Board owns the CFP® and Certified Financial PlannerTM certification marks, which it awards to individuals who meet its education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements.  Students completing the financial planning program at ECU will have met the education requirement for CFP® Certification Examination administered by CFP Board.

    “Financial planning is an excellent career choice. The need for qualified planners is great…and it keeps growing,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “Devoting time and energy toward achieving CFP® certification, the highest standard in professional financial planning, can make a financial planning career even more rewarding.”

    CFP® certification is generally recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning, qualifying financial planning professionals to provide their clients with comprehensive financial advice, according to Godwin.

    “Students completing this certificate will be positioned to take the national CFP® Certification Examination through the CFP Board,” Godwin said. “We are the fourth program approved by the CFP Board in Oklahoma. We are one of only two state universities that offer a program at the bachelor level with the other being Northeastern State University.”

    The CFP Board’s approval certainly pleased Blaine Aikin, CFP®, chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors.

    “As student interest in financial planning as a career continues to grow, we anticipate that

    ECU’s program will contribute significantly to the number of qualified candidates seeking to attain the CFP® certification, the standard of excellence for competent and ethical financial planning,” said Aikin.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of personal financial advisors is projected to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the population ages and life expectancies rise, demand for financial planning services should increase.

    Today, CFP Board partners with over 340 programs at more than 240 institutions. CFP

    Board-Registered Programs are financial planning education programs at the college or university level that meet specific criteria for educating individuals who wish to fulfill the education component for obtaining CFP® certification.

    The mission of CFP Board is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning.  CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial PlannerTM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes more than 76,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States.  For more about CFP Board, visit


    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)

              7 Reasons Online Loans Continue to Gain Popularity        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    The internet has changed many ways in which people do things. Today, people go online to spend time with friends and find entertainment. Shopping is now done online as is managing personal finances and searching for an address. The internet also makes it easy for people to request loans. Here are seven reasons why online

    7 Reasons Online Loans Continue to Gain Popularity

              What You Should Know About Cash Loans – Before Borrowing        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Cash loans are loans in which you may be required to repay quickly. While financial experts and well-meaning friends and family will probably tell you to save money for financial emergencies, it can be tough to do in this economy. Most people request a small amount when they need cash loans, and they usually seek

    What You Should Know About Cash Loans – Before Borrowing

              Does Easy Access to Quick Cash Help or Harm Borrowers?        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Many economists are now questioning whether easy access to quick cash is helping or harming borrowers. Access to credit has long been accepted as an important part of building a strong financial base. However, what many people do not realize is that the types of consumer credit in use today were rarely seen before the

    Does Easy Access to Quick Cash Help or Harm Borrowers?

              Five Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Using Fast Loans        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    In recent years, lenders offering fast loans, including payday lenders and online lenders making installment loans to borrowers with poor credit, have been under attack. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other agencies have been extremely vocal about the dangers of short-term, high-cost loans. However, these types of loans can be a lifeline for the

    Five Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Using Fast Loans

              7 Reasons why Easy Loans Should be Avoided at all Cost        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Easy loans aren’t always the best financing option, and they’re almost never a wise solution when your income already doesn’t stretch far enough. The temptation to borrow increases as a direct result of how easy it is to apply and get approved for a loan. However, easy and quick loans should be avoided except in

    7 Reasons why Easy Loans Should be Avoided at all Cost

              5 Benefits of Secured Loans When Starting a Business        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    There are many benefits of getting a secured loan to use in your business. Business lending grows increasingly difficult to obtain in today’s economy. You have to show your business records, profit and loss statement and financial projections in a sound business plan. Your credit scores–both personal and business–affect whether your loan is approved. If

    5 Benefits of Secured Loans When Starting a Business

              An Internet Connection is all you Need to Get a Loan These Days        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    In the past, trying to get a loan was a complicated process, one that required you to gather personal financial documents and discuss your borrowing needs with a banking expert. Because of advancements in the industry and modern technology, an internet connection is all you need to get a loan these days. Not only is

    An Internet Connection is all you Need to Get a Loan These Days

              Where People Turn for Cash Loans When Banks Turn Them Down        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Since the financial meltdown of 2008, banks have made it harder for consumers to obtain cash loans unless the loan is secured by a tangible asset. Therefore, although banks are still willing to finance vehicles, homes and other large-ticket items, obtaining unsecured, small-dollar cash loans can be difficult or impossible. The natural question that often

    Where People Turn for Cash Loans When Banks Turn Them Down

              Do Bad Credit Installment Loans Take Advantage of the Poor?        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Many people often turn to alternative financial sources, including online lenders who make bad credit installment loans. Regardless of income, financial crises can arise and leave families struggling to cope with unexpected expenses. However, people with low incomes can be hit especially hard by a cash shortfall. If their credit is poor, the effects can

    Do Bad Credit Installment Loans Take Advantage of the Poor?

              Easy Loans! Bad Credit OK! Have we Learned Nothing from the Last Crash?        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Alternative lenders are taking up the slack for both businesses and consumers by offering easy loans, and many of these lenders are using unusual criteria to approve loans. This could result in a financial catastrophe under the right conditions. A recent article posted at made a strong case that the current market conditions are

    Easy Loans! Bad Credit OK! Have we Learned Nothing from the Last Crash?

              Need to Borrow Money Just to Keep Up? Here’s Your Financial Escape Plan        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    When you need to borrow money–unless it’s an emergency situation–it probably indicates that you suffer from financial problems that go beyond the immediate situation. According to, only 14 percent of today’s borrowers can truly afford to repay a short-term, high-interest loan. People are often driven to borrow money by desperation and rose-colored outlooks about

    Need to Borrow Money Just to Keep Up? Here’s Your Financial Escape Plan

              Bad Credit Loans Are Here to Stay – Despite Tighter Lending Standards        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Bad credit loans seem likely to continue despite tighter lending standards and increased federal and state regulations. The debate over regulating the financial industry with tough reforms, limits on interest rates and other requirements has seesawed back and forth. Democrats created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate the financial industry after mismanagement became apparent

    Bad Credit Loans Are Here to Stay – Despite Tighter Lending Standards

              H Alpha Bank στον χρηματιστηριακό δείκτη αειφορίας FTSE4GOOD - []        

    Η Alpha Bank, κατόπιν σχετικής αξιολογήσεως που έλαβε τον Ιούνιο 2017 από τον Διεθνή Οργανισμό FTSE, περιλαμβάνεται στον Στον χρηματιστηριακό δείκτη αειφορίας Financial Times Stock Exchange4Good (FTSE4GOOD) Emerging Index περιλαμβάνεται η Alpha Bank, μετά από αξιολόγηση που έλαβε τον Ιούνιο από...

              CENSURADO EN FACEBOOK        
    Hola! Anduve desaparecido del mundo bloguero por muchas razones, entre ellas que estuve estudiando y preparando finales a lo largo del año pasado; y otra razón más importante (sin desmerecer lo otro) fue que el colorado puto de Mark Zuckerberg eliminó mi perfil porque no pertenecía a una persona real (y en consecuencia desaparecion la páginas que he creado bajo ese perfil).

    Creo saber quienes fueron los que denunciaron mi perfil. Son los discriminadores del boliche Cuba Inc. (eso me pasa por comedido, por saltar a defender personas como yo a pesar de no haber estado aquella noche en el BarCamp, muchos ya conocerán la historia, si no, usen el Google).

    Marcos Gennaro es el dueño del boliche Cuba Inc. y es un cagón de mierda por disculparse sólo en privado por el maltrato, en vez de hacerlas públicas en la página Facebook del boliche (y encima bloquea a quienes critican o hacen algún reclamo). Forrea a sus empleados (como Anyelen Kocian y Gise Piñeiro, entre los que me acuerdo) para que bardeen en la página creada para denunciar la fea situación que ocurrió y ocurre en ese boliche. Y creo que se pusieron de acuerdo entre todos o algunos de ellos para denunciar mi perfil.

    Pero bue, de todos modos me animo a opinar cada vez más con el perfil de Facebook con mi verdadero nombre y apellido, aunque me hayan puteado más de una vez.

    Y en cuanto a Cuba Inc., no iría ni a palos por mi cuenta, aunque "dé con el perfil del lugar", si un amigo festeja un cumpleaños ahí, o por alguna razón me toca caer por allí, ire resignado, pero con ganas de hacer alguna maldad... jejeje!

    En cuanto a los que saltaron a defender la discriminación, la verdad que me dio vergüenza ajena leer sus comentarios, y me hicieron dudar que estemos en el siglo XXI.


    Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

    La verdad que si ha ganado por el 54% de los votos en primera vuelta, tendré que aceptar con resignación el resultado. El papel de la oposición la verdad que es lamentable. No se ponen de acuerdo, y proponen regresar a los '90 en algunos casos, y la discontinuidad de medidas que tan mal nos hicieron históricamente a los argentinos. Yo voté a Binner, ya que hizo un buen trabajo en Santa Fe.

    Tendremos que seguir bancándonos el autoritarismo y la soberbia por 4 años más. Solo queda conformarnos con poder seguir votando, y que no haya terrorismo de estado.
    Espero que nadie apoye otro golpe de Estado.

    José Manuel De la Sota

    Les juro que estuve puteando como el Tano Pasman cuando me enteré que Don Gato y su Pandilla ganaron por amplia ventaja. Pero el porcentaje no es muy convincente. Los que no queremos que sigan todos estos delincuentes de Unión por Córdoba en el gobierno somos mayoría (42,6% contra 52.49% del Frente cívico + UCR). Los cagones de los legisladores quieren seguir manteniendo su quorum propio y seguir siendo una escribanía de De la Sota; no van a querer reformar la Constitución para implementar el ballotage.

    A los que votaron a De la Sota, y no los atienden en los hospitales públicos por los paros de los médicos, me encantaría reírmeles en la cara y cantar "SE JOOOOODE ♫♫♫..... SE JOOOOODE ♫♫♫....." (como en "Justo a Tiempo"). Ustedes hicieron posible que los médicos sigan mal pagos, y que los hospitales no estén en condiciones. Si sigue así la situación, los médicos se van a seguir yendo a otras provincias y a las clínicas privadas. Nadie va a querer atender en un hospital provincial de Córdoba.

    Y voy a aprovechar el Boleto Educativo Gratuito, no sólo para ahorrar hasta $200 por mes, sino para colaborar con la desfinanciación de la provincia, y así le explote en las manos a De la Sota la crisis que él mismo generó, y así el Centro Cívico y la Legislatura quedarán reducidos a cenizas con todos los delincuentes adentro.

    Ramón Javier Mestre

    La verdad que siento indiferencia ¿se puede destruir más la ciudad de lo que ya está?. Me chupa un huevo que este pendejo drogón de mierda esté haciendo todo lo contrario a lo que prometió en campaña. Y que nos aumenten los impuestos, espero que valga la pena y tengamos contraprestaciones como la gente.

    ¿Y, Giacomino? ¿estás cómodo en tu inmerecido sillón de diputado, HIJO DE LA GRAN PUTA, TRAIDOR DE MIERDA, CARADURA?

    No tiene sentido seguir posteando acá, si ya hay un grupo que sale a las calles y defienden la educación más que yo, un quejoso que quiere hacerse pasar por esclavo del sistema, y que sólo puede expresarse de forma anónima a través de una compu.

              ONL Therapeutics Closes Series A Financing to Support Development of Novel Retinal Cell Protection Platform for Treatment of Ocular Diseases        
              Australia lays claim to the biggest solar farm in the world        

    Australia is probably one of the most obvious countries in the world to build a large scale adoption of solar energy. The endless burning hot sun is just waiting to be harnessed. We’ve seen innovative energy systems from Australia before, but this time Australia impresses with size. A massive solar farm and battery project will be built later this year in the Riverland region in South Australia. According to the Guardian, the facility will cost one billion dollars and should be operational by the end of the year. The huge undertaking is financed by investors and built on privately owned land. The developer of the…

    This story continues at The Next Web
              Imperator Fish on South Canterbury Finance        
    Imperator Fish is a lawyer. He leans to the left, but has always been a fair critic. He has gone through all legal deeds about South Canterbury Finance, which were posted on Red Alert. Trevor Mallard has shown his legal skills are as excellent as his diplomatic skills and concluded it is all Bill English’s […]
              REVISION: IPO Activity and Information in Secondary Market Prices        
    This paper explores the link between IPO underpricing and financial markets. In my model the IPO is a mean for a capital constrained initial investor to exit and thereby to raise funds for a new investment opportunity. This investor is privately informed vis-a-vis outside investors about the profitability of the new opportunity and the quality of the firm to be offered in the IPO. He can then use the offer price and the fraction of shares sold as signals of his private information. The model shows that underpricing is not only linked to firm's characteristics, i.e. firm value, but to elements external to the firm, i.e. new investment profitability and financial markets characteristics. In particular higher market efficiency reduces the cost of listing. This results in lower underpricing and the listing of more valuable firm. Similarly, a higher lower bound of the new investment's profitability reduces the information asymmetry and hence reduces underpricing and widens the range of ...
              Gato preto        
    Há exata uma semana fui visitar o pai de uma amiga na Asa Norte e encontrei um gatinho escondido debaixo dum carro no estacionamento. Sujo e carente.

    Depois de tanto fazer propaganda sobre a responsabilidade de cuidar de um bicho e que não é brinquedo pra cansar e jogar fora (afinal até um brinquedo pode servir pra outra criança, já nos diria a lição deixada pelo Toy Story 3) me vi na situação de olhar pro lado e ignorar o gatin ou resgatá-lo e encaminhar a um lar de verdade.

    Liguei para uma amiga que trabalha em uma ONG (Bsb Animal) perguntei o que fazer, como ajudar. Ela perguntou se eu poderia levar a um hospital veterinário para que fosse checado e então poder ser encaminhado a um novo lar. Disse que podia sim levar ao São Francisco pra que ele fosse examinado e vacinado e que até segunda veríamos de ela encaminhar ele a um outro lar provisório.

    No caminho ele fez xixi e cocô no banco do carro e também na lateral da minha bolsa. Mas eu na hora era puro instinto maternal de foda-se eu quero é proteger desse mundo cruel e pronto. Chegou a hora do atendimento e o dr. disse que os exames e tudo ficariam em torno de $200. Blz, caro mas vá lá, boa ação é isso aí. Pernoitou lá pra observação.

    Daí pra frente é que o negócio começou a fugir do meu planejamento:

    1) Voltei pra casa com carro mijado e filme do gato queimado piorando a receptividade da família ao visitante futuro
    2) No outro dia descobri que fizeram MAIS EXAMES QUE O PREVISTO e no fim o valor ficou em $436. Quase tenho um troço
    3) Por conta da situação de mal visto na casa tudo dele teve de ficar no meu quarto (hello cheiro de gato³)
    4) Desembolsei mais $38 no Extra pra comprar uma vasilha grande e retangular pra deixar a areia dele, a areia e ração
    5) Tentei limpar o banco do carro com sabão em pó, com lysoforme (ou algo parecido) que um amigo emprestou e nada prestou
    6) Não aguentando o cheiro dele e textura do pelo levei pro pet shop da Qd.8 do Sudoeste econômico pra dar um trato. Meia hora depois ele estava bem melhor: $23
    7) Descobri que a RestauraCar do Brasília Shopping me cobra $300 pra aplicar sei lá o que de ozônio pra tirar o cheiro
    8) Também descobri que pra castrar ele (isso a preço camarada de brother-de-ONG) um vet faz a $70

    E por enquanto o gato está lá em casa. Já demarcou o território dele fazendo XIXI NO MEU TRAVESSEIRO!!! Ele fica boa parte do dia dentro do meu quarto pra minimizar o dano lá em casa com a minha mãe. Meu edredom querido está todo lascado com pelo preto (embora ele solte bem pouco pelo) e cheiro geral de gato, não vejo a hora de lavar o edredon.

    CONCLUSÃO: Agora entendi porque as ONGs pedem tanta ajuda financeira e fazem tanto bingo e coisas beneficentes. Eles pagam os mesmos preços pra fazerem tudo isso e são os únicos que se importam. As pessoas acham que é bonito ter um gatinho hoje e jogar fora amanhã e tá tudo certo ou que é maldade castrar o bicho de estimação porque.. ah, sei lá pq, é cada desculpa que já ouvi. Mas na hora que o bicho aparece com doenças (porque as pessoas também acham caro vacinar os bichos) ou prenhas não sabem o que fazer com tanto filhote. Mega problema de saúde pública.

    Caso é que quero muito passar o gato pra frente mas não encontro quem o queira. O ideal, penso eu, seria adotar ele e outro/outra pra fazerem companhia. ambos CASTRADOS. Eu é que não tenho o espaço agora pra isso.

              Enchanted by Irish Thatch        

    There’s something irresistible about a thatched cottage in Ireland. One can hardly resist stopping the car to snap a photo after spotting one of the country’s iconic natural-roofed homes. I spent many nights dreaming of thatching my own cottage in County Tipperary… even though the application would be a complete historical inaccuracy… and probably financially […]

    The post Enchanted by Irish Thatch appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

              Reviewing our year        
    Read about some of the progress we've made over the last financial year and about some of the big themes from the year.
              Carnival in Guinea Bissau        

    Uniquely in West Africa, Guinea Bissau follows the latin tradition of holding a carnival on the days leading up to Lent.  As a desperately poor country this clearly isn't the extravaganza of the one in Rio, but I had heard that the people make up in inventiveness what they lack in financial resources and so I used some of the precious time I have left in the region to fly down to Bissau for a long weekend to see the carnival parades.

    What a good decision that was - I would recommend this carnival to anyone!  A riot of drumming and colour!

    The parades started at 4pm on Monday, with each of nine districts of the capital putting on their own displays in a relay that lasted until well after dark at 7.30pm (a little sad for those parading last given the lack of street lighting in Bissau), with the same pattern the next day for the regional displays.  The basic format was the same for each district, first the dancers in costume, and then those sporting giant papier-mache masks, all accompanied by fast and frantic drumming.

    The costumes varied enormously.  There were many troupes of near-naked women and girls, wearing just strings of shells and beads with a grass skirt or for some just a piece of snake skin hanging from the waist for modesty, their bodies gleaming with a yellowy sheen of palm oil.  I was very surprised at the amount of bare flesh on show for a region of the world where the female body - at least the lower half - is usually very well covered.  There were traditional fibre costumes and wooden masks, some of the locally made 'lapa' strip-woven cloth, and some more modern outfits such as army uniforms, the dancers carrying fake machine guns (remember this is a country whose politics is dominated by the army) and in one case handing over the guns, as part of their dance, to women wearing the white of peace - this latter was very popular with the crowd!

    Other dances were focused on the need to stop female genital cutting and enforced early marriage.  Some included mock fights, or sharing the rice contained in a big calabash, and one involved two men walking around carrying a large live crocodile, its mouth tied shut with pink string.  Nobody near me in the crowd could explain the significance of that one.

    The papier-mache masks were enormously varied and impressive, from tigers and dragons, pieces of fruit and vegetables, army chiefs and colonial administrators, fishing boats and - my favourite - a turtle mask, its poor 'wearer' having to crawl along on all fours around the carnival route.

    The crowd were enjoying it all immensely, pressing forward into the road; every so often the police would hit out with big sticks to get them back into place.  Others were perched in the branches of trees to get a better view - and at one point a branch fell with the weight of the people there and a commotion ensued as an ambulance forced its way through the crowd to collect the injured.  But nothing could stop the party spirit.

    It all reminded me, again, of what it is that makes me so enjoy my life here.  It is that Africa, unlike the West, has not yet lost its primitive side.  The rhythms are of night and day, and seasons (rather than of clocks and calendars) accompanied by the rhythms of the drums and the wonderfully expressive forms of African dance.  They bring both a feeling of being at peace with the environment and a joy in being alive.  Perhaps that is why most Africans, despite the pervasive poverty, are usually smiling.

              Drumming and dance        
    Today I am really wishing that I were one of those super-talented writers who can convey colour, rhythm, movement and passion just through words. Or that I could have taken some video to attach to describe yesterday evening.

    I was walking home from a visit to my tailor, and could hear drumming. Extremely fast, staccato, poly-rhythmic drumming (done using sticks rather than with the hands), galloping to a crescendo at the end of each ‘song’ when all the drummers came together for the final “krak kraks”. I’ve heard this type of drumming before, but never tracked down the source as it echoes off the buildings, seemingly coming from one direction and then another depending on where you stand – and always, certainly, from some hidden private courtyard.

    But this time I walked right past the source. The gate was slightly open and two women were peering through. I looked too – and it wasn’t more than a minute before a woman inside spotted the white face and so invited me in.

    There was a group of four men drumming and a semi-circle of some forty women, dressed as only women from this part of the world can: long, floating layers of chiffon and satin in vibrant red, gold, purple, turquoise… They were seated, but every now and then one or two would stand up and go to the centre to dance. I knew I had been invited so that I could ‘perform’ for the women at some stage but also that it would be worth the embarrassment in order to watch the spectacle.

    I’d heard of these women-only get-togethers where the women dance in a very sexy way, but could not have imagined the reality. The dancing is very vigorous, with some jumping and throwing the arms about, but mostly based around exaggerated shaking of the bottom and thrusting of the hips, whilst one hand holds up the fabric of the dress/skirts at the front – in many cases right up to crotch level. It was amazing to watch. There was even one veiled woman there, who kept her scarf covering her hair whilst she lifted her skirts above her knees and shook her stuff.

    There was also call and response between the chief drummer and his troupe, clearly the drummed ‘songs’ had stories to them, but unfortunately all in Wolof so as usual I had not a clue about what was going on. Except that the evening was clearly about the women being able to display their sexuality to the full in the safe environment of a group of like-minded women.

    I’m sure I looked very unsexy when I was dragged into the centre to dance – and I certainly didn’t lift up the front of my skirt (although I was glad to be wearing a bright yellow and black flowery skirt rather than my usual drab beige trousers)! Whilst up there a woman who’d done plenty of dancing quietly explained to me that she was the griotte and (traditional history and praise singer) and the drummers were her griots. I therefore had to make a financial offering to them – but CFA1,000 ($2) was enough, the same amount that I noticed other dancers were giving.

    Eventually I made my quiet escape. I had hoped to find out more about the dance from colleagues, but all I could get is that it is called ‘taneuber’ – and is a version of the much better-known sabar dance that is performed in public by both men and women.

              We Look At New Campaign Money, New Ads And A New Poll        
    A new poll shows surprising leads for the incumbents in the U.S. House and governor's races, new campaign ads in multiple races emerge in the final weeks, and gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte sets a new record for personal campaign financing. Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin dig in to these issues and more in this episode of “Campaign Beat.”

    Dear Editors,

    We purchased some furniture items from Big Box Habitat in Jul. Items were not received as per scheduled, so we called their customer service hotline but no ones answered, called the sales person, her phone was off. So we went to the showroom in that evening and found out the sales person was not on duty.

    Her superior, David Lee (Asst. Manager) attended to us and rescheduled another delivery date. He waived the delivery charges but the refund would only take place after items completely delivered. He told us normally the refund will take 21 days. He left his contact number and reassured us he will definitely pick up calls.

    Well, the items finally delivered to us but in between again the same thing happened, sales person mobile was off and she was not on duty. This is really the most terrible deliver service I have encountered.

    The refund procedure completed in end Jul. Early Sep, we still did not received our refund so we contacted the sales person and she gave us a reference number, she said her finance will call us but nothing happened. So I whatsapps David Lee to ask him about the status last Mon. He told me he was on leave for 3 days, Thursday he will update me. No news on Thursday and Friday, not working because of polling day.

    Only last Sunday, again I asked him about the status. We called him once but he did not pick up call so I whatsapps him He replied that he will check on Monday. Nothing happened till yesterday, I called him and again, he did not pick up calls. Out of no choice, I went to their showroom. I was told that the sales person only will come in the afternoon and David was not in. I whatsapp him, he read my message so I called him again at their showroom but he did not answered.

    That really pissed me off so I told him I was at his office, I will complain him to his management. Then, he scolded me ILLITERATE!!

    Is not the money issue that matters me but is the attitude of the Asst. Manager. This is totally uncivilised and behave like a hooligan.

    By the way, his staff Eldwin settled the refund matter for me about 20 minutes. He is friendly and did a good job.

    UPDATE: Vincent Teo, their manager called me to apologise to me this afternoon. I demand David Lee to give me both phone and written apology. He explaination of his remark to me in his whatsapps.

    The biggest retail shopping mall in town with the worst delivery service in town. Poor customer service (no ones pick up calls, talk to machine). I will not buy anything from there anymore, your uncivilised Asst Manager really terrible.

    A.S.S. Contributor

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    Do you have a story to share? Please use our submission form or email us at If not, why not give us a 'Like'?

    Filed Under: 



    <Facebook post by Frankie Jeremy Lee>

    What's When Wrong? Hi, I belongs to the Pioneer Generation Singaporean, and I likes to share my thoughts with you guys from the first General Election until now.

    The current crop of PAP members are not the same as those during LKY era in many aspects. Yes the world have changed there are more uncertainties out there but ... let consider these, we have more resources / our finance reserve are more stable and healthy, Singaporean are more educated, technology are more advance all these added a plus for us to tackle all these problems as compared to our pioneer of Leaders.

    This present group of Leaders even with such a high overpaid salaries and a vast resources in the support system in their Ministries still can make a mess of everything and yet try to persuade and mislead us towards Hell..

    SG50, all the achievements rightfully goes to the Pioneer Generation and their Leaderships and now the present group of Leaders continued talking about it and still claiming all the credits.

    As we celebrated SG50 we looked back and saw and experienced all the problem we are encountering especially during last 4 years they, already demonstrated to us how incapable they are by introducing all these policies to tackle all these problems they have created in the beginning and get Backfired ... like what Mr. Inderjit Singh had mentioned in a speech on the post assessment of the 2011 elections .. ( Pls look it up on YouTube ) all the information and data used to formulate all the recent last 4 years policies was actually from their Grassroots so called Leaders and Civil Services and not from us. They should able to sense all the unhappiness we have been talking in the Hawker Center / Wet Market Places and Coffee Shop if they spend more time on the ground.

    They the PAP still don't trust or care to listen to us the common Singaporean and yet still preferred to listen to their unreliable sources.

    (This may be one of the many reasons why this very outspoken MP Mr. Inderjit Singh step out of this year election ) He is a Businessman he rather safe guard himself rather than goes against the PAP'S Whip system when voting to pass a BILL in Parliament , he rather sacrifice and forego his MP status and the fat allowance and step out of the 2015 election as a candidate for Ang Mo Kio GRC anchored by PM himself.

    I salute you Mr. Singh for your principle. In future, I hope he can come back and stand in as an Opposition candidate. I recalled he spoke out many times when the Bill was handed into Parliament for Debate.

    Eventually and unfortunately, with our present Parliament system after the Wayang Show , all these policies are pushed through in a haste manner. ( Like the SG50 Dollars Note Package even ... our president name been spelled wrongly on the Folder)

    Mr Lui, the Transport Minister resigned because he was put in as a "Sacrifice Lamb " to clean up the dirty mess created by the previous Leaders and Minister for a poor forward looking planning the MRT lines during the Planning and Construction stages.

    Why don't they in the initial stage design a 3 tracks Rail system ( One center track to be used as a standby track as a contingency plan.)

    I recalled in the 70's, Nicholl Highway next to Stadium used to have 3 distinct lanes. The center lane will be used daily during Peak hours in the morning and evening whereby they switched the flow in direction from the City to East. No doubt the Cars population were low and yet that was our only so called Highway we have .. well thought, cheap, practical and workable and able to solve the problems without addition cost past onto the public.

    ( Now we have COE, ERP, Weekend Car , High Road taxes ...lah ,,etc )

    Now you can compared after spending so much Taxpayers $$$$ by the Government building so many Highways and Expressways (Loss Count how many there are !!!) we still encountered congestion problem lots of unhappiness, even our Ancestor cannot RIP, Bukit Brown cemetery have to give way, not sure they know what they are doing ???

    In the near future all our Bus Transport System will be tender out and operated by foreigner ... Do you know the London Buses are operated by our own NTUC Comfort Delgro ... What a Joke

    So where we go from here ???

    I lived here all my life and sang 3 version of the National Anthem

    God Save The Queen / Negara Ku and Majulah Singapura.

    Vote wisely give the opposition parties a chance, those candidate are also Singaporean with families and friends I strongly believed they will do their best. Remember there is always another election every 4-5 years if they did'nt perform up our expectations we can always look for alternatives.

    Singapore can never and will never be a Greece.. Trust me

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              Wake Forest Baptist Fiscal Year 2017 Second Quarter Financial Performance        
    Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center released its second quarter report on operating performance and operating statistics for fiscal year 2017 (FY17) today and reported improvements in key areas primarily driven by volume growth in the clinical enterprise.
              Wake Forest Baptist Fiscal Year 2017 First Quarter Financial Performance        
    Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center released its first quarter report on operating performance and operating statistics for fiscal year 2017 (FY17) today and reported improvements in key areas driven primarily by volume growth in the clinical enterprise.
              Offer - Auto Title Loans - Phoenix        
    Best Title loans in the Valley!!! Come see us and get 25% Of your title loans!we also refinance any existing title loans and lower you payments !602-862-1000
              Unja Signed MoU of Scholarship with LPDP        
    Mendalo,- The government of Jambi cooperated with Jambi University had held a public lecture given by the governor of Jambi and had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for scholarship with LPDP (Indonesian Endowment for Education) for Master and Doctoral Programs between the government of Jambi with LPDP Indonesian Ministry of Finance under the theme ‘Realizing the Dreams of the Nation’s Generation with Scholarship’. This event was held at royal audience hall of Jambi University, Monday (14/11)
              Comment on The Crypto stock that’s better than GBTC by CoinSpeak        
    OA was a bull on MGTI months ago. I'm not sure if he still follows it. I am writing as a survivor of the dotcom boom/bust. I think crypto will be bigger than the Internet in terms of financial transactions. So I don't argue with people who say Crypto is a bubble. Look at the youtube videos. The hysteria is real. But if/when the bubble pops the survivors will rise from the ashes stronger than ever. Crypto will survive a bubble and become ubiquitous. I say that with 100% certainty. I believe Bitcoin will survive and boom, even if it manages to shoot itself in the foot and lose market dominance.
              1000 Payday Loans Cash Advance: An ideal way of finance        
    Financial assistance by the source of lending institutes is a reliable source at the time of financial failure but only for good creditors and for whom, can perform all the formalities that are declared by the lenders for approval. If you converse about this agreement with the lenders of traditional loans and bad creditors, it is not liked so simple for them. Mostly lenders reject the approval request of the people who are suffering from bad credit past. If you are also having bad credit problems, you can opt for the lenders of 1000 Payday Loans Cash Advance. This is an easy and instant lending alternative that can supply the hard cash to the applicant just within hours with all their default, arrears, bankruptcy and other reasons of bad credit.

    Loan approval by the source of any traditional loans will not come easily at the time when applicant have some unpaid bills with their name but the terms of 1000 Payday Loans Cash Advance makes it suitable and unproblematic for applicant to access the finance by an effortless and convenient manner without the tension about their credit past. Including with all that, the online proceeding of this loan becomes fortunate thing for the people to get cash only in hours. By this course of endorsement the applicant do not need to collect a lot of papers to fax with the application form and does not require any collateral to pledging against the loaned amount. To attain the financial support by the source of 1000 Payday Loans Cash Advance the applicant have to fill an online application form where they have to provide all the relevant details as like all the personal details, residential details, banking account details and some more.

    As above explained that faxing, credit verification, and collateral is not the clause of loan of lenders of this loan for approval but they grant the loan on the basis of some personal details and employment. The terms of lenders for the agreement of the loans are the applicant must be above 18 years of age and should be employed for the past few months with the earning amount of $ 1000 monthly. Along with it, the applicant should also have a 6 months valid bank account. The applicant has to send all these details the lender of the loan via an online application and after implementation, submit it over the website of the lender and inside a span of minutes the applicant will be the get in touched of lender. Once the details of application are verified, the applicant can draw the approved amount from their bank account within 24 hours of applying that ranges between of $100 and $1500 for the repayment duration till the salary day.

    Jonesh Taylor has done his master in finance and now he is expert in finance and insurance. No teletrack payday loans 4u to find Internet Payday Loans, Quick No Teletrack Loan, 1000 Payday Loans Cash Advance, online payday loan, visit >

    money: borrowing too much money credit crisis

    money: pull money out of stocks surviving the financial crisis

    Article Source:

              Know These Two Government Schemes That Will Help You Own A Home        
    Know these two government schemes that will help you own a home.
    Know These Two Government Schemes That Will Help You Own A Home
    Are you dreaming of your first home? Are you planning to buy house in Malaysia? A place where you can grow as a family, safely and quietly. A little slice of sanctuary you can call your own? Buying your first home can be a daunting idea, some may even immediately dismiss the idea thinking that they do not earn enough, or have not saved any money for the mandatory 10% down payment.
    But wait! There are two government schemes in place that can help you buy your first house. I am going to go through them, step by step, to ensure we can all understand what they entail, since we aren’t all bankers are we?
    The first government scheme you should know about is the Skim Rumah Pertamaku (SRP), also known as the �My First Home Scheme’. 

    This scheme allows first time property purchasers to buy a house with 100% financing from financial institutions. This allows first time buyers to buy a house without the stress of saving for a 10% down payment! No extra time needed to try and save until you’ve acquired the full amount. 
    To qualify for this scheme, you need to earn a total amount of RM5000 per month if you are planning on buying the property by yourself, or a total amount of RM10 000 per month if you are planning on buying a property with a family member. For example, if you and your wife are looking at buying a house, your wife earns RM4000 per month and you earn RM4500 per month then you would qualify for this scheme. 
    The next part of the scheme deals with the total value of your desired property, in total the price of the property should ideally range between RM100 000 to RM400 000. This amount limit is to ensure that the monthly repayments on the house do not exceed 60% of your total earnings within the household. This is put into place so that you will be able to comfortably afford the monthly repayment and still afford your other everyday payments.
    The next main qualifying aspect is your age and the time frame taken to pay off the property. You should not be older than 35 years when applying or 65 years old when the repayment plan is complete, and the repayment plan will not be taken over longer than 40 months. This ensures that you have completely paid the financial institution before you are eligible for retirement.
    There is always fine print when it comes to schemes like this. Here are the important parts, excluding the main points above, that have to be considered when considering applying for this scheme:
    ● You must be a Malaysian citizen.
    ● You have to be working for an independent company, you cannot work for a statutory body (government company), unless the statutory body does not offer a staff financing facility - then you are eligible. You do however qualify if you work for a private company and your spouse works for a statutory body.
    ● You may not buy a property with a friend, you have to be family members. 
    ● Once the property is bought, the owners have to reside in the property. 
    ● You are not eligible if you are self employed. If your spouse is employed by the private sector, he/she may apply but in an individual capacity.
    ● The Cagamas SRP Berhad’s guarantee only applies to the financial institution, not to the individual therefore you responsible for paying the full amount of the property value plus the standard bank charges, not just 90% of the total amount.
    ● To see a list of participating financial institutions use the following link:
    The second scheme you need to be aware of is the PR1MA ,Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia, scheme. 
    This scheme allows you to buy a property in key urban areas. The government plans to build these properties in these urban areas. Signing up with PR1MA allows you the first option at acquiring one of these properties. 
    The difference to the PR1MA scheme is that it utilises �stepped up’ financing. This means that for the first 5 years, your repayment will be lower. This allows you to get financing for a higher amount, that is affordable now. Another difference is that PR1MA allows for drawing from an EPF 2 ( Employees provident fund 2) as part of the payment up until retirement or end of tenure (end of the repayment contract). This means that you are able to draw from you EPF 2 account to help pay a portion of your total repayment amount should you need to. This is beneficial as it will help you with a decreased initial monthly installment amount and help with the final installment amounts up until the end of your contract. You are able to apply for either �stepped up’ finance, EPF 2 or both when registering.
    The way PR1MA works is through a balloting process. Once you have registered by creating your PR1MA account and chosen your desired areas, you will be notified of the launches in those areas are occurring. This will allow you then to make application for those properties as the balloting process is not automatic. Then the balloting process will take place- this will be an open ballot for everyone who has met the requirements. If your ballot is successful you will then be able to view and choose your property. Then you will go through the financing process.
    In order to qualify for this scheme you have to:
    ● Have an individual or combined household (husband and wife) income of RM2500 to RM7500.
    ● Be above the age of 21 years ( you can be single or married).
    ● Be a Malaysian citizen.
    ● Not be in ownership of more than one other property.
    ● You will still qualify if your spouse works and lives in another country as long as your combined income within the eligible amount.
    Other details that you should be aware of:
    ● A 10 year Moratorium will be implemented from the start of the financial agreement., that means that the house cannot be sold within the first 10 years of owning the property, unless approved by PR1MA.
    ● The house has to be lived in by the owners, there is no subletting allowed.
    ● Houses offered by PR1MA are usually priced between RM100 000 and RM400 000 
    ● The size of the property depends on the type of property, an apartment is sized between 600 - 1200 square feet and a terrace PR1MA house is sized between 850 - 1850 square feet 
    If your application was not approved by any of the participating banks: Maybank, CIMB, RHB or Ambank, do not worry! In future, PR1MA will have a rent to own scheme specifically for those not approved by the participating banks, to which you can apply for. 
    Now that you have a breakdown of each scheme you can utilise them to help you get the home of your dreams. It’s not as difficult or a daunting as you once thought. 

              AASL Post: 3 Reasons Why You Need to Attend Your State Conference        

    The very first conference I ever attended was my state conference, FAME (Florida Association for Media in Education) back in 2010. I was a brand new librarian and soaked up all the new information, ideas, and connections. It only took one conference to get me hooked. Since then, I’ve attended and presented at conferences all over North America, including ISTE, FETC, AASL, and more. But I still go back to my state conference every year, because I consider it a vital part of my profession. AASL Post: Why We Need to Be Attending Our State Conference I feel pretty passionately about professional development and I love going to conferences.  They’re such awesome opportunities to grow, connect and share. I’ve been all over the country and Canada, but the one conference I still never miss is my state conference.  That’s where everything started for me and I still see it as a vital part of my professional growth. Check out my post over on AASL Knowledge Quest to hear about how state conferences: Let you connect with other librarians from your state Give you a space to share your voice Equip you with resources for advocacy Bonus: This post can also help you advocate for funds if you’re having trouble getting financial support to attend your state conference.

    The post AASL Post: 3 Reasons Why You Need to Attend Your State Conference appeared first on Renovated Learning.

              ASESOR COMERCIAL BANCARIO        
    Grupo Financiero BCA - Bogotá DC - Se necesita Bachiller académico, SIN experiencia, de 18 a 22 años, hombre o mujer con fluidez verbal, NO requiere libreta militar, que viva en Bogota, con actitud de ventas y aprendizaje, contrato directo, para trabajar como asesor interno de ventas para call center de Banco, sal...
              EJECUTIVO DE CUENTA / KAM BANCARIO        
    Grupo Financiero BCA - Bogotá DC - EJECUTIVO DE CUENTA / KAM Administración Comercial y operativa de la cartera Bancaria asignada, mantenimiento y profundización a los clientes Banca Privada con ingresos superior a $30.000.000 y/o Patrimonio líquido superior a $ COP, consecución de nuevos negocios pre...
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              Pay My Money Pay My Rent How To Get Your Rent Paid For FREE        
    Pay My Money – Pay My Rent: How To Get Your Rent Paid For FREE There are plenty of incentives why people become bloggers. Financial rewards, the desire to share knowledge and news or simply to droll about their own personal interests are some obvious reasons fueling the need to become bloggers. There are many […]
              This is what privatisation did to Australia's household electricity bills        

    When three eastern and one southern state formed the National Electricity Market in December 1998 Australia had the lowest retail prices in the world along with the United States and Canada.

    The rules which underpin this National Electricity Market are created by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) set up by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) - through the COAG Energy Council - for that purpose and to advise federal & state governments on how best to develop energy markets over time.

    The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) sets the amount of revenue that network businesses can recover from customers for using networks (electricity poles and wires and gas pipelines) that transport energy.

    So far so good. There's a defined market and there are rules.

    Then the privatisation of electricity supply and infrastructure began in earnest.

    It should come as no surprise that this push towards full privatisation, with its downhill spiral in service delivery and uphill climb in cost to retail customers, began and was progressed during the term of Liberal Prime Minister John Howard.

    By 2017 the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government has almost completed its three-stage privatisation of state power infrastructure by selling off poles and wires and, it goes without saying that the retail cost of electricity is expected to rise again next year.

    This is where we stand today……………………

    [Graphs in Financial Review, 4 August 2017]
    The Financial Review, 4 Augut 2017:

    The annual cost to households of accepting a standing offer from one of the big three retailers instead of the best offer in the market has been estimated at $830 in Victoria, $900 in Queensland and $1400-$1500 in NSW and SA by the St Vincent de Paul Society.

    Mr Mountain said power bills are constructed in such a complex way that ordinary customers without sophisticated spreadsheet and analytical skills have little hope of analysing competing offers to work out which offers them the best deal.

    Private comparison websites do not include all market offers and charge retailers for switching customers, while the websites offered by the Australian Energy Regulator and the Victorian government do not provide the tools customers need to discriminate among offers.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to conduct an inquiry into electricity supply, costs and pricing, including retail pricing.

    The Treasurer should have a preliminary report from the ACCC in his hands by the end of September this year, however this body does not submit a final report until 30 June 2018 with no guarantee that any recommendations will be adopted by government and industry.

    Quite frankly, it appears the privatisation train left the platform some time ago and there is no way to halt or divert it in order to genuinely benefit household consumers.

              "Which Bank?" Allegations of est. 1,610 suspect financial transactions possibly involving money laundering or terrorism funding        

    Calls for a royal commission into banks and banking practices will probably grow louder.......
    ABC News, 3 August 2017:
    The Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) today launched civil proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that the Commonwealth Bank failed to comply with the law on 53,700 occasions.
    The allegations follow an AUSTRAC investigation into the CBA's use of intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) between November 2012 and September 2015.
    The maximum penalty for each of the 53,700 contraventions is up to $18 million.
    The potentially massive penalties would dwarf a $45-million fine imposed on Tabcorp earlier this year for failing to comply with anti money laundering and terror financing laws…..
    The transactions in question had a total value of around $624.7 million.
    ABC News, 7 August 2017:
    The Commonwealth's allegations about the extent of the breakdown of CBA's legal obligations are breathtaking.
    Reading between the lines in the statement of claim, it would appear Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigating at least four money-laundering syndicates discovered Austrac had no transaction records on those they had under surveillance.
    In August 2015, CBA provided authorities with details on two of those missing transactions. Clearly, that caused panic within the bank. For just a month later, it sent Austrac details of a further 53,504 transactions dating back three years where $10,000 or more had taken place.
    At least 1,604 of those late filings related to criminal gangs. Even more alarming, a further six filings related to five customers the bank itself had identified as posing a terrorism risk. But, incredibly, it didn't report them.
    That is not the end of it. According to the statement of claim, the bank continued to facilitate transactions for drug syndicates even after being alerted by the AFP.
    Even as late as January this year, 18 months after the breaches were first discovered, it is accused of failing to report suspicious transfers totalling $320,000 over five days.
    The calamity is being sheeted home to the installation of whiz-bang new machines, intelligent deposit machines.
    These accept cash or shares, count the money and then deposit it into a CBA account. From there, it can be sent almost instantly to anywhere in the world. And the neat thing, from a criminal or terrorist viewpoint, is that you do not have to be a CBA customer to do it.
    Not only that, they would take up to $20,000 at a time. The machines may be intelligent but, sadly, no-one at the bank seemed to give a second thought to the reporting duties, either around the $10,000 limit or to look out for "structured" transactions — those attempting to fly just under the radar with slightly smaller amounts.
    When they were first introduced in 2012, they proved popular. Almost $90 million went through in the first six months. That has since risen to around $1 billion a month.
    As the debacle unfolded last week, the other banks — all of which have introduced similar machines — were keen to distance themselves from the drama, even if ANZ boss Shayne Elliott lamented that all would suffer.
    Each said they had removed "non-compliant machines", whatever that means. For it is not the machines that are at fault. It is the oversight that has failed.
    Interestingly, each of the CBA's three main rivals were keen to emphasise that their machines would accept a maximum of $5,000. In effect, that means no single transaction would ever come close to the reporting limit, thereby letting them off the hook……
    The odds on a royal commission have now shortened dramatically, for the Turnbull Government's resolve to resist one must now be spent.
    Not only that, the banks have lost any moral ground they may have thought they had in opposing the Federal Government levy.
    If recent history is anything to go by, the bank and its leaders merely will attempt to pretend it is all a media beat-up and it is business as usual.
    There will be the usual contrite statements, the promises of improving systems to ensure there is no repeat, an internal inquiry no less, most likely as early as this week when Mr Narev unveils a $9.8 billion profit.
    This time, however, the attack will not be so simply to parry. It is not an angry but disorganised customer base baying for blood. These are issues of national security and the prospect of a concerted legal assault by the Australian Government solicitor.
    Hold the bonuses? The fallout is likely to be somewhat larger.
    Commonwealth Bank, ASX announcement, 4 August 2017:

    Commonwealth Bank response to media reports regarding AUSTRAC civil proceedings

    Friday, 4 August 2017 (Sydney):

    Commonwealth Bank of Australia notes the media coverage of the civil penalty proceedings initiated yesterday by AUSTRAC for alleged non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Finance Act 2006. The matter is subject to court proceedings. We are currently reviewing AUSTRAC’s claim and will file a statement of defence. We will keep the market informed of any updates in compliance with our disclosure obligations.

              The Trouble With Water: not a good look for the National Party of Australia        

    On 1 June 2017 former NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water (23 April 2014 - 2 April 2015) and current Nationals MP for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, announced that he will retire at the next state election in March 2019.

    In the wake of the 24 July ABC “Four Corners” revelations of large-scale water theft under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Humphries has been referred to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by the Labor Opposition.

    Hot on the heels of this program came another announcement on 31 July 2017.

    Former NSW Minister for Primary Industries (3 April 2011 - 2 April 2015) with responsibility for lands & water and current Nationals MP for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson, announced her retirement effective mid to late August 2017.

    Hodgkinson denies any connection between her sudden retirement and those Four Corners revelations.

    However it should be noted that it was on the joint watch of Humphries and Hodgkinson that the position of NSW Water Commissioner responsible for the overall management of the State’s surface water and groundwater resources was axed and the NSW Office of Water was reformed as part of the Dept. of Primary Industry maintaining overall responsibility for accepting and assessing applications to change water access licences and operating the Water Access Licence Register.

    High volume water theft appears to have become easier on the watch of these two National Party politicians.

    All that would be needed for a trifecta of retiring state politicians associated with water resource policy would be for the current NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Minister for Regional Water and Nationals MLC, Niall Blair, to announce an unexpected desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.

    Any further scandal surrounding the management water resources in the NSW section of the Murray-Darling Basin and this may well be a distinct possibility - or even more media coverage like this perhaps?

    The Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2017:

    A NATIONALS minister is pushing Cabinet colleagues to change irrigation laws to retrospectively justify a decision by his department to give a major political donor and cotton farmer more rights over the precious Barwon-Darling River.

    The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair is behind a push to alter an element of the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan.

    It comes after his department in 2016 overruled what it called “minor” error in the law to grant extra irrigation rights to Brewarrina cotton farmer Peter Harris.

    A department briefing, seen by The Daily Telegraph, said the error was impacting on “some users wishing to trade between river sections covered by the plan”.

    The briefing was written shortly after Mr Harris was given extra rights.

    Mr Harris gave $10,000 to the National Party prior to the 2011 election in combined personal donations and those made by his company.

    Its understood an internal Coalition fight has broken out between Mr Blair and current Water Minister Gabrielle Upton , who is resisting the changes. The revelations come as several inquiries have been launched into the alleged water theft on an industrial scale of precious resources across the basin…….

    The Daily Telegraph has obtained another document showing that the retiring Ms Hodgkinson changed the water sharing plan to benefit irrigators after lobbying. She was water minister at the time.

    In a 2012 letter to lobbyist and cotton farmer Ian Cole, Ms Hodgkinson wrote: “Following consideration of a number of WSP (water sharing plan) matter raised with me, I ­requested the Office of Water to make several amendments which I believe now present a fair and equitable outcome for all.”

    The Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton's obvious reluctance may be due to her appreciation of a change in wind direction within the national electorate on the subject of Murray-Darling Basin water allocations.

    The present Deputy Prime Minister and Australian Water Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is also in a somewhat precarious position – less to do with his manifest inadequacy as a federal minister and more to do with his stated motives for seeking to add the water ministry to his portfolio responsibilities.

    Cartoonist David Rowe at Financial Review

              Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again        

    With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

    This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

    Current committee membership is as follows:

    Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
    Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
    Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
    Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
    Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
    Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
    Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
    * Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

    A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

    It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

    Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

    Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

    It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

    This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

    The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

    It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

    While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

    As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

    The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

    There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

    The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

    The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

    HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

    The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

    Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

    The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

    According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

    “We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

    Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

    “It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

    “It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

    “There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

    Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

    “Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

    “They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

    “We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

    Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

    Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

    Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

    The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

    The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

    Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

    The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

    Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

    The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

    Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

    The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

    Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

    The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

    Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

    The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

    Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

    The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

    Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

    The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

    Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

    The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

    Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

    The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

    Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

    The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

    Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

    The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

    Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

    The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

    Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).

    One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

    After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

    The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

    If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.

              Préstamo ofrece entre particulares        
    Acuerdo de financiación entre particular, seria usted está atascado prohíbe banco y usted no tiene el beneficio de los bancos o es mejor tener un proyecto y necesita financiación, mal crédito o necesitan dinero para pagar las cuentas, el dinero para invertir en el negocio. Los prestatarios no dude en ponerse en contacto conmigo si quieres un préstamo. Para más detalles, póngase en contacto conmigo;
              Tori's Review: How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker        
    How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker
    Expected Publication on April 22, 2014 by Running Press Kids
    Young Adult
    272 Pages
    "Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.

    Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?
    NOTE: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    To be truthful, I wasn't completely sure about this book at first. I was about thirty percent in and the characters seemed too unrealistic and too shallow. I thought about how maybe by the end of the book characters' behaviors would be explained in one way or another and that they would grow. Well, I was right. They did.

    My favorite aspect of this book was either the characters or simply just Emery's, the main girl's, sarcasm. I'm one to root for the sarcastic, hilarious girl, and Emery's that girl in How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love. Oh, and let's talk about that monster of a title. It's hilarious and it's intriguing; it's what brought my attention to the book in the first place! I usually don't like long titles, but this one I actually like.

    Along with the characters' shallowness, I really just didn't like Emery's family. At first (I make a lot of assumptions about books that usually end up being wrong by the end, but oh well) I thought that they were all carbon copies of each other. Angel and their mother are extremely uptight about their weight and are exceptionally superficial. Like I said, originally I thought they were carbon copies of cliches but then I came to realize that Angel was the way she was because of their mother and not because she was simply shallow on her own. There's a scene in the book where Angel and Emery have a sister heart-to-heart, and I loved that particular scene to bits.

    This book shows a lot about the structure of a dysfunctional family as well as loyalty and trust, which is something that I also really enjoyed about this book. Although I'm partial to action and adventure, I still do quite like the books that focus around family. Along with family, this book sends a strong message to girls. Despite the fact that losing fifty pounds in fifty days is not healthy, Emery represents somethings that every teenage girl must face in society--rejection. I think by the end of the book that Emery handles the rejection (and approval since she's famous in the book by the end) in such a way that creates a strong female figure for young girls. She's tough and she learns that although the media makes it seem like being skinny is everything, it really isn't.

    On a random side note, Emery's menu from when she was fat made me want to hurl. I pride myself on being a semi-healthy human being, and Emery's eating habits did not agree with me whatsoever.

    In conclusion, I think this book is well worth the read if you're looking for a fast and fun book. It sends me a good message in my opinion and although I didn't give it five stars or even four, I did enjoy it. It just wasn't a favorite and there were parts about it that I didn't like, particularly the characters. Characters are a big deal to me. They always will be.

              A crucial week for justice        
    On Tuesday we'll see if our elected political representatives yet again undo the good work of our unelected representatives as the Legal Aid Bill returns to the Commons for MPs to consider the Lords' amendments.

    Peers made changes to the Bill that would mean that the worst of the legal aid cuts in the legislation would be removed. Access to legal aid and the way that it is delivered would be protected for those who have suffered domestic violence, for vulnerable children and for disabled people.

    The government will be no doubt keen to use financial privilege as an excuse to overturn these changes like they did recently to reverse changes to their controversial welfare reforms. However, if costs are to be used as an excuse as removing access to free legal advice to hundreds of thousands of people when they need it most, perhaps Ministers should consider the £43 million spent on consultants by the MoJ in the last year and the £12m that's been wasted an an e-Working system that is years behind schedule and has virtually collapsed.

    What's really happening to our legal system here of course is that it is becoming increasingly the preserve of those who are able to pay for it. As Heather Brooke pointed out last week, while 140 local courts have been closed and legal aid is cut, £300m has been invested in the Rolls Building (home of the failed e-Working system) which is to handle high-end commercial disputes for a mostly foreign clientele.

    It's not just Russian Oligarchs that are benefiting from changes to our justice system. The Association of British Insurers has admitted it will profit from the legal aid cuts. Last year it was revealed that the Justice Minister responsible for driving through these reforms, Jonathan Djanogly will personally profit from the plans as he has a personal stake in the insurance industry. Now that's what I call financial privilege.

    Possibly the best hope of amendments - like Baroness Scotland's that ensures victims of domestic violence have access to legal aid and former Paralympian Tanya Grey Thompson's that ensures those who are eligible aren't forced to phone a call centre for advice - surviving the glare of the coalition is the lack of time Parliament has been able to afford to the legislation between the Easter break and the end of this parliamentary session. Who says MPs having long holidays is a bad thing!

    If you'd like to contact your MP to ensure we don't lose out on legal aid when we need it most visit the 38 degrees site ahead of Tuesday's vote.
              Report blows hole in wealth creation theory        
    A report released today by the OECD has put pay to the trickle down theory espoused by right wingers when seeking to justify the massive incomes of those working at the top of the financial sector.

    Those that insist that protecting the interests of the very wealthy will benefit the whole of the economy because they are "wealth creators" is rubbished by the findings of the new report "Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising."

    Inequality around the world is rising fast and it's particularly bad in the UK where the top 10% now have incomes 12 times higher than the lowest 10%. This is up from a ratio of eight to one in 1985.

    As Nicholas Timmins rightly concludes in the Financial Times
    "Trickle down theory is dead. The belief fostered by Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK in the 1980s, that if the rich got richer, their income and wealth would trickle down the income scale so that a rising tide lifted all the boats, has had the last rites pronounced on it."
    So if the rich bankers aren't really creating wealth for society, who really provides it? A good starting point would be a 2009 study by The New Economics Foundation which compared the social value of different occupations. For bankers it found that "while collecting salaries of between £500,000 and £10 million, leading City bankers destroy £7 of social value for every pound in value they generate."

    Tax accountants meanwhile destroy £47 for every £1 in value they generate.

    In comparison it showed that childcare workers generate between £7 and £9.50 and hospital cleaners more than £10 of benefits for society for every £1 they are paid.
    The OECD recommends that to stem the tide of rising inequality investment in "human capital" is vital and that "more and better" jobs should be created.
    "Once the transition from school to work has been accomplished, there must be sufficient incentives for workers and employers to invest in skills throughout the working life." 
    We will only recognise these challenges if jobs are created for those who are society's real wealth creators. Stopping the damaging public sector cuts would be a wise place to start.
              Osborne's attempt to discredit Robin Hood Tax is a bit rich        
    George Osborne has complained to his fellow European finance ministers that they're wasting time debating a financial transaction tax because he believes pensioners will pay for it rather than bankers.

    Good to see our Chancellor fighting the cause for pensioners. He's always got their interests at heart. Like when he changed the rate of indexation from RPI to CPI costing pensioners on average between £2,250 and £2,500 per year and wiping off £75 billion off the value of private sector pensions. Not to mention the millions of public sector workers his government are currently seeking to make work longer and pay more for less pension.

    It is somewhat galling therefore that he seeks to reject a progressive tax that would raise £30bn to fight poverty by painting himself as some kind of defender of pensioners.

    He doesn't see the point of discussing it as it will not be unilaterally agreed. He ignores a report by Bill Gates that cites that the tax would work even if it wasn't agreed by all countries. He ignores faith leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope and Desmond Tutu, and he ignores a global movement of more than 220 million people who are calling for it to help the world's poor and allow the banks to atone for creating the current financial crisis.

    France, Germany and Brazil among others can hold their heads up high in the knowledge that their government's back this tax. I for one am ashamed that my government doesn't just not support it, but out-rightly seeks to disingenuously undermine it.

    Again, Osborne is out to protect the interests of the wealthy few rather than the millions suffering from poverty.

    The Robin Hood Tax campaign does a good job of refuting Osborne's bias against the tax on their website.

              Oferta de préstamo entre particular serio        
    ¿quieres recibir el crédito para la ejecución de sus proyectos, que quieren beneficiarse de la plusvalía, que desea disfrutar de un crédito por el progreso de sus estudios, desea cambiar el coche, equípate aparato le ofrecemos un nuevo hogar. Por desgracia, resulta que no está empleado, un estudiante o un estudiante, persona de servirle aguas abajo usted está desempleado o atrapado en el banco o usted no se opone a la no-bancario incidente más allá de su control, por lo tanto, no institución financiera está dispuesta a prestarle. Sin embargo, es necesario para financiar el proyecto de sus sueños y que
              Bill Gates backs Robin Hood Tax        
    Philanthropists don't always go heavy on calling for taxation but campaigners calling for a financial transaction tax received a huge boost today after Bill Gates backed the idea.

    Gates will present a report to the G20 when they meet in Cannes this November to recommend that a Robin Hood Tax would raise substantial revenue for aid and development.

    A critical part of his findings as far as the UK government are concerned is that he says such a tax would work whether it was implemented unilaterally or by a small number of countries.

    As Larry Elliott points out in today's Guardian this blows a hole in George Osborne's theory that the levy would need to be globally agreed to be workable.

    This has been our government's main excuse against backing other leading European countries calls for the tax. Gates's report should make it harder for Osborne to wriggle out of it now. Let's hope so - hundreds of billions of dollars a year could be raised from it.
              HMRC cuts are harming the economy        

    Yesterday I posted about HMRC's new tax gap figure of £35bn and how, even that massive sum of missing tax, is believed to be grossly underestimated.

    One of the key factors in the Department's inability to collect the revenue that's owed and properly investigate the tax avoiding and evading exploits of the wealthy is lack of resources.

    HMRC has shed almost half of its staff since its formation in 2005 and is set to lose another 10,000 plus over the next three years. Only last week another announcement of office closures which will affect over 2,500 staff was made. Yet, days later Treasury Minister Danny Alexander had the nerve to stand up in front of Lib Dem conference and claim they were investing in HMRC to get tough on tax avoiders.

    You can play your part in urging the government to stop cutting HMRC jobs until an independent review is made into the impact of the cuts by writing to your MP today.

              Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures: A Practical Guide – 2nd edition - by Michael Burnett with Martin Oder        

    Since the first edition of the book the use of Competitive Dialogue has been influenced by both changes on how public contracts are awarded arising from the 2014 Public Procurement Directives and the continuing impact of the global financial crisis on award procedures for PPP projects at a time when private finance is increasingly seen as central to the modernisation of European infrastructure. Yet objective advice for decision makers about how to award complex contracts, however they are financed, remains hard to find.

    Cutting through the jargon and misconceptions, this book is an independent guide for all those in Europe facing the challenge of awarding complex contracts effectively to secure value for money for the public sector.

    The continuing experience of the authors is that good practice in the application of Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures will often be very similar. Thus in this second edition the scope of the book includes consideration of Negotiated Procedures.

    Written from a public sector perspective, the book has two main audiences. i.e.:

    • European decision makers from the legislative and judicial branch of government responsible for creating and implementing an appropriate legal framework at EU level for Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures.
    • Politicians, public officials and their professional advisers in the EU currently facing choices about when and how to use Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures in a way which maximises legal certainty and the likelihood of achieving value for money.

    The book both explains the legal framework for the application of Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures and gives practical guidance for all stages of the award procedure on how best to exercise the choices available within the legal framework.

    It also sets out an agenda for future use of Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures after the 2014 Public Procurement Directives, with actions at EU and national level.

    The stakes in terms of the need to modernise Europe’s transport, energy and digital infrastructure and the effective implementation of key European policies, such as compliance with environmental legislation and the completion of the Internal Market, at an affordable cost remain too high for it to fail.

    This book is exclusively available in the seminar Competitive Dialogue and Negotiated Procedures Master Class

              The New Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II): Less Accession, More Assistance? - by Wolfgang Koeth        
    The EU enlargement engine seems to have run out of political steam. Support within the member states for future enlargement is at all-time low, while some of the candidate countries have also seemed to put the enlargement process on the backburner. However, at least rhetorically, the EU is still committed to the enlargement process and maintains its entire enlargement tool box, such as the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) – one of the most important EU external financial instruments. The new IPA regulation (IPA II), adopted in March 2014, clearly reflects the fact that the enlargement process is on a holding pattern.

              Weathering the Storm: Creative EPSA Solutions in a Time of Crisis - by Julia Bosse, Michael Burnett, Alexander Heichlinger, Claude Rongione, Harrie Scholtens        

    The economic storm faced by European public administrations continues unabated. Budget cuts and austerity measures coupled with unpleasant tax increases have been extensively applied, though they have not always delivered the expected results.

    Difficult choices lie ahead for Europe’s public sector in order to stabilise public finances, while continuing to deliver the services needed more than ever by an increasing number of citizens as a result of the economic pressure. Trends over time which exacerbate such pressures are unlikely to be reversed in the medium term.

    The EPSA 2013 edition has collected a rich harvest of 230 solutions from across all levels of public administration and from 26 European countries and EU institutions, which can all be proud of their achievements and also showcase how they are dealing with these challenging times.

    This publication aims to sketch out the trends, ideas and solutions in the various creative public management and service reforms on the one hand, whilst pinpointing common elements or obstacles in their delivery – The Research Part. Key findings, among many others, include active strategies to promote economic growth, the ability to enhance social inclusion, the use of transparency as a means to promote better governance, or the smart deployment of ICT to boost trust in government and improve service delivery.

    On the other hand, the best and top-ranked 47 practices (15 nominees and 32 additional best practice certificate recipients) are subsequently described, allowing the reader to not only get an idea of the innovation and drivers behind the cases, but also to directly contact the owners behind the applications in order to encourage the learning and transfer potential. These outstanding public achievements span sectors such as economic and urban development, sustainable development, justice and police, education and training, sports and youth, public health, social media, and human resources management. This part – The Catalogue – is supported by data and statistics on the applications (e.g. type, country, size, fully or partly EU co-financed).

    In a nutshell, the EPSA 2013 book demonstrates – again! – how the public sector has tried to resolve the various urgent challenges linked to the current crisis, by combining creativity and sustainability, accompanied by an often needed passion in their solutions.

              In Search of Local Public Management Excellence - Seven Journeys to Success - by Julia Bosse, Alexander Heichlinger, Emanuele Padovani, Jan Ole Vanebo        

    A well-functioning local public sector is the cornerstone for prosperity and growth. Cities are being confronted by significant pressures and challenges, such as demographic change, an increasingly culturally diverse population, the impact of new technologies, social polarisation and segregation, urban sprawl, and environmental threats to the urban ecosystems. More importantly, the difficulties of the economic system are a reality for many local communities due to the dynamics of globalisation of economies. This exacerbates the well-known problem faced by local policymakers and managers of ‘doing more with less’.

    This book seeks to examine, compare and contrast seven European cities – Bilbao (ES), Birmingham (UK), Mannheim (DE), Milan (IT), Tallinn (EE), Tampere (FI), and Trondheim (NO) – which have proven their success in adopting creative and excellent solutions. This is done by combining a solid scientific approach of comparison, with a more practical examination of the cases (‘...the making of…’). It concludes by presenting seven steps leading to excellence.

    Each case is first analysed in terms of background, strategy development, ‘journey’, management control system and financial management, results, and innovation power (key drivers and enablers). These success stories from different areas of local public management – from comprehensive local business-change processes, to smaller and bottom-up projects – aim to show other cities that various routes to smart solutions are possible. The only thing left to find out is: are they ready to take on the challenge?

    Also available in Spanish and German

              The Best Part-Time Job in America        

    The fix is in. Did you know, Congress only works 33 percent of the year?

    The base salary for all rank-and-file members of Congress is $174,000, more than triple the median household income of the United States. In exchange for that generous salary, members of Congress work one out of three days.

    The House of Representatives was in session for only 18 hours a week in 2013. Members worked only 130 days in 2015. In case you needed more evidence that Congress doesn’t earn its salary, consider this: House and Senate members only worked eight days in April.

    Eight work days in a month, with an annual salary of $174,000. Can you imagine? Must be nice!

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the average American worker puts in more hours than a medieval peasant. Full-time U.S. employees use only 54 percent of their paid vacation days, sacrificing the rest for fear of falling behind or being replaced. The idea of a congressman skipping that much vacation is laughable, at best.

    I was raised to believe that how people spend their time is a direct reflection of their priorities. The United States holds more than $19 trillion in debt, not including unfunded liabilities. Our health care, immigration, and justice systems are in desperate need of reform. Public schools are underperforming, while families and small businesses are being taxed out of financial security.

    Where is our elected leadership? Clearly, they have other priorities.

    Members of Congress spend most of their time in their districts, schmoozing with donors, speaking at private events, and securing their next elections. The average House member spent $53,170 of taxpayer money on travel in 2013.

    These aren’t legislators, these are professional campaigners.

    The American people aren’t being heard by government because the game is rigged. Washington isn’t broken. It’s “fixed.”

              In Defense of Economic Noninterventionism         

    A recent Wall Street Journal article has surprisingly good news: US companies are seeing the highest profit growth in two years with “two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011.” This surprisingly comes not from policies pursued in Washington, but the hard work of the private sector.

    The fact that businesses and job creators can make such a phenomenal showing after years of regulatory uncertainty and continued political intervention reminds us of the power of the free market and that the best successes come from the work of the individuals, not collectivists in the public sector.

    Perhaps the best reminding of what the last eight years brought us was President Obama’s infamous 2012 campaign speech “If you've got a business, you didn't build that.” Throughout the course of his administration saw a creation of routine legislative and executive actions that were designed to both micromanage business and supposedly “create” jobs. Unfortunately, none of this had the intended success.

    Most prominently among the actions from the executive administration while Obama was presidents include significantly increased regulations. Among these have included the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), Dodd-Frank, the stimulus package, and, most spectacularly of all, Obamacare. All of these added a large interventions and onerous barriers in the economy that failed to achieve their stated goal.

    WOTUS was probably one of the greatest power grabs by the EPA in recent history. The rule essentially sought to define “navigable waters” in the clean water Act which “brought nearly half of Alaska and a total area in the lower 48 states equivalent to the size of California under the CWA’s jurisdiction.” The proposal, had it not been blocked and rescinded, would have cost thousands of dollars for permits on land that was not previously under the EPA’s jurisdiction, delayed production since a permit can take up to months, and this would have resulted in reduced development and production as well as higher prices.

    Though the WOTUS rule was not fully implemented, regulations that did have a massive negative impact on the economy include the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    As implemented, Dodd-Frank imposed various new regulations on the financial sector, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), designated firms as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), and instituted price controls on debit and credit card transactions. The result was a climate of over regulation with banks being incentivized to become as large as possible in the hopes of being bailed out while the CFPB became a revolving door for lobbyists and influence peddlers to regulate the market with little to no oversight.

    Unsurprisingly, one fifth of the banks in the U.S. banks, totalling 1,708, went under between the law’s creation and 2016, which is about one per day, and by 2015 five large banks controlled 50 percent of the banking industry.

    Outside of simple regulation, there was also so called “jobs creations” programs that were supposed to create jobs the President did not think businesses could such as the stimulus package. The program was sold as a job creation plan that would keep unemployment below 8 percent for the low price of $830 billion.

    The next four years were marked by above 8 percent unemployment while the money ended up being wasted on worthless projects, including trees in wealthy neighborhoods, a study of erectile dysfunction, and the failed company solyndra which was run by a bundler for the Obama campaign. To make matters worse, though unemployment eventually went down long after the stimulus’s implementation, the labor participation rate reached its lowest in 38 years which shows that people still weren’t working.

    However, the crowned jewel of overregulation and job destruction during the Obama administration was ObamaCare. Implemented to expand health insurance coverage, it has repeatedly failed to reach its goals as premiums went up, enrollment failed to reach its projections, and the legislation gave corporate welfare (including promised bailouts) to the insurance lobby. In the end, most of the coops failed and major companies pulled out of the exchanges, resulting in 1,000 counties, including five whole states, only having one insurer, a major failure in the goal of expanded coverage.

    Inevitably, the phenomenal intervention in the economy by President Obama failed to achieve the job creation while it instead made made doing business that much harder. With record breaking numbers of regulations, Obama was the first President since the Great Depression to never see 3 percent GDP growth.

    The Trump administration in the meantime has pursued a different approach than its predecessor. The Trump administration has seen sixteen regulations cut for every one it has created, had signed four resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulation within two months as President, and rolled back the clean power plan which could have cost $40 billion per year. All of this marks a significant change in policy that will greatly open up business opportunities and expand economic growth.

    However, policy alone does not explain why there has been high profit growth for the last two quarters. As the Wall Street Journal article admits, health care legislation and tax reform have been stalled in the senate. This has caused a climate of uncertainty which businesses have not been happy with.

    Nevertheless, they have instead moved on from Washington and instead remained focused on doing business. Political events seem to have taken a backseat to actual business as the number of S&P 500 companies have mentioned the President or his administration during conferences is down by a third as the research firm Sentieo found out. To be blunt, the involvement of Washington and government policy is not driving the current profit growth and the lack of involvement may actually be increasing it.

    For a better example of how reduced involvement can improve the economy, look no further than the Depression of 1920. At the time, war time debt had exploded, unemployment peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921, and inflation rates jumped above twenty percent. It had the potential to be even more catastrophic than the Great Depression that started in 1929.

    However, the policies pursued were entirely different. The federal budget was severely reduced from $18.5 billion in FY 1919 to $3.3 billion for FY 1922. Taxes at the same time were cut by about 40 percent.

    As a result, unemployment dropped to 2.3 percent by 1923 and a crisis had been averted. This was accomplished not by bailouts and and overregulation but by getting the government entirely out of the way. This is a radically different approach than was pursued during the financial panic of 2008 or even the Great Depression.

    Overall, there has been a repeated belief that government involvement has made economic advancement harder. As was stated by former President Reagan, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” President Kennedy noted the same when he said “Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort — thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

    It should come as no surprise then that business are fully prepared to run their own affairs and is best capable to address its own need, for as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon noted, “We’ve been growing at 1.5% to 2%...because the American business sector is powerful and strong and is going to grow regardless.”

    It remains the desire of others that the government should intervene in the economy to make improvements. However, this has always resulted in guaranteed failure. Be it raising the minimum wage in Seattle or increased taxation and regulations in Connecticut, the result is usually lackluster growth and decreased jobs. At the national level, Venezuela’s nationalization and China’s increased infrastructure projects have created the same results, which is to say none.

    As history and current events have shown time and time again, the best results come not from government involvement and micromanagement, but from the hard work of free individuals in free markets. More and more, the adaptability of businesses to their consumer’s demands and their ability to whether adversity in the marketplace has always been more efficient than the micromanagement the state perceives. As a result, sometimes the best thing to do is to have the government do nothing so that those who can make the economy better will.

              Venezuela is Socialism's Last Nail in the Coffin        

    From a so-called “economic miracle” to a human rights disaster, Venezuela has followed in the footsteps of literally every single socialist or communist country ever with its country in complete collapse. Crime is on the rise, the people are starving, protests are going all throughout the country, and unconfirmed rumors are coming out that President Nicolas Maduro is considering leaving.

    In the never ending desire to achieve an impossible utopia, Venezuela is living in a nightmare that may serve as the best evidence against government mismanagement.

    To be blunt, the people are starving. Roughly 75 percent of the country lost 19 pounds in 2016. This actually coincides with reports that Venezuelans were looking for food in the trash.

    It is not just food that Venezuelans seem to be running out of at the moment. The country is lacking medicine, toilet paper, and even goods for religious sacraments as well. All sorts of goods are disappearing from the country faster and faster.

    Meanwhile, their economy is in complete shambles. At the start of the year, inflation had hit 800 percent while their GDP had shrunk by 19 percent. To make matters worse, 2016 marked its third year of recession.

    Of course, the elite of the country have not seemed to notice the problems their citizens are facing. Accusations fly of the leaders of Venezuela living luxurious lifestyles despite the recession. Unsurprisingly, reports have the daughter of Venezuela’s last President Hugo Chavez at a networth of $4.2 billion.

    So the big question is: why is Venezuela falling apart? The simplest answer is government mismanagement as it started taking over the economy. Under the watch of Socialists Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, the socialist leadership in the country has greatly increased its influence in economic affairs, resulting in decreased investment, business failures, and scarcity.

    Over the past decade and a half, the Venezuelan government has nationalized multiple industries, including oil, agriculture, finance, steel, electricity, and telecommunications. Unsurprisingly, this led to significant ruin in the various industries it controlled, especially oil. Case in point, the Chavez regime largely underfunded the investment necessary to bring about increased oil production.

    Large portions of oil revenues were transferred to generous social programs but there was lackluster reinvestment to make sure that more oil was produced to keep revenue flowing. As a result, oil production starting dropping consistently after 2007 which saw a major decline in revenue (and helped lead to the debt that caused hyper inflation). Additionally, Chavez demanded more money from oil companies investing in the country and the ones that refused saw their assets seized. With such a clear lack of respect for human rights, it should come as no surprise that foreign investment has been on the decline recently in the country which is also hurting business and revenue.

    To make matters worse, many workers were fired and replaced with government loyalists. In one case, a company that had never created an oil well was hired to create several since it had ties to the government. The lack of experienced workers unsurprisingly has also added to the decline of the oil industry that was a huge part of the government’s revenue.

    Just about every industry the government has touched has fallen apart. Steel production was reduced by 70 percent after it was nationalized, food production has been on the decline while the government redistributed farmland for the production of food the land was not suited for, and the Venezuelan government is instituting blackouts to reduce consumption to reduce electricity use due to decreased supply. Overall, it seems Venezuela is in the process of running its economy into the ground.

    Venezuela has also added newer regulations and laws to improve the economic situation of its country that had the opposite effect. Case in point, the minimum wage was increased recently by 50 percent despite the fact overall wages still decreased by 17 percent. Other reports have increased labor protections actually hurting business while price controls that were implemented to reduce profits and keep prices low also helped to reduce food productions which also helped cause the food crisis. With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the number of businesses in Venezuela has gone down from 800,000 in 1998 to 230,000 in 2016, a decline of 570,000.

    It is important to remember though that none of this should even be looked at as being done as a love for the people from the state. As was noted by a former education minister, the goal of the people reforms is “‘not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos’ (a derogatory term to denote opposition members).” Translation: it’s not for their benefit but to create a dependent class of supporters.

    For more evidence of how the government does not care about its people, look no further than its human rights records. The Maduro government has been seizing power by stacking the courts with supportive justices and then met the protests against that with violent crackdowns on dissenters. Meanwhile, accusations of sham elections are now flying in the wake of an election referendum to give him the power to rewrite the country’s constitution. In the end, the increase in power has come to the detriment of the people backed by phony promises.

    As is always the case, the promise of helping the people through government intervention completely falls apart. Just like with China and Russia, the result is always economic ruin with the well connected few reaping the benefits. Unfortunately, the US is not free from these mistakes as states like Connecticut or cities like Seattle implementing their own interventions in the economy that results in disaster. If the US wants to head down the path same economic path as Venezuela that leads to destruction and corruption, it will inevitably end there.

              Don't Bring Back Glass-Steagall        

    An issue that has a tendency to come into the public consciousness from time to time is bringing back Glass-Steagall. Initially repealed in 1999 by the Financial Services Modernization Act, primarily known as the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, the law that separated commercial and investment banking has received renewed support with both party platforms during last year’s presidential election calling for it to be reinstated.

    There may be good intentions behind this desire, but the belief that the law would reduce recessions or prevent banks from becoming “too big to fail” is at best misguided and unnecessary while at worst it will cause unforeseen problems for the financial system.

    As stated above, Glass-Steagall is a law that requires a separation between commercial and investment banking in the financial sector. It was instituted in the 1930s during the great depression by Sen. Carter Glass (D-Va.) and Rep. Henry Steagall (D-Ala.) in the hopes that it would prevent banks from making risky decisions in the market. At the time, “more than 600 banks failed each year between 1921 and 1929,” so there was a serious desire to curb that.

    However, from the 1960s onward, the legislation faced erosion with congressional legislation and the Supreme Court rulings changing key sections of the bill, including reducing limitations on security purchases, the abolition of interest caps, and increased deference to regulatory agencies for the legislation. The most prominent and controversial change to the legislation came from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed sections 20 and 32 of the legislation.

    To be clear, it did not eliminate many security limitations put on banks, but it did eliminate several restrictions by “allow[ing] for affiliations between commercial banks and firms engaged principally in securities underwriting, as well as interlocking management and employee relationships between banks and securities firms.”

    Such a move has received heavy criticism since Democratic President Bill Clinton signed it into law. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has held the repeal and alleged deregulation of the financial sector as responsible for the 2008 recession. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also stated, “Since core provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act were repealed in 1999, a culture of excessive risk-taking has taken root in the banking world, placing the financial security of millions of hardworking American taxpayers at risk.”

    Unfortunately, there are certain problems with the narrative that deregulation and the repeal of Glass-Steagall specifically caused the recession. First off, there is no history of deregulation in the past two decades in the financial sector. As was noted by the Mercatus Center, the number of banking regulations actually consistently grew between 1999 and 2008 despite the Glass-Steagall repeal which puts a major hole in the deregulation narrative.

    With that in mind, the Glass-Steagall legislation itself had very little to do with the 2008 financial recession. However, many of the institutions that had failed were not actually affected by the legislation period. Also, most of the institutions that did fail either received government incentives to provide risky loans (especially in providing housing loans to people who could not afford them), were still heavily regulated, and received guidelines or incentives from the central government for those risky loans.

    In addition, there is also evidence that Glass-Steagall did not reduce the banking failures during the depression which it was allegedly supposed to address. For an example, Canada did not pass a Glass-Steagall law during the recession despite facing similar issues to the US. Overall, Canada saw its GDP fall by 40 percent between 1929 and 1939, but not a single bank failed during the depression years and its banking system remained mostly intact.

    Another important point to keep in mind is that Glass-Steagall barely impacted the failing banks. Most of the banks that were failing were smaller in nature and had trouble diversifying due to government regulation. The banks that Glass-Steagall would have impacted were not the ones going under. In the end, Glass-Steagall would barely have the impact its proponents claim it would.

    Beyond that, the most replacing Glass-Steagall could do is stifle the banking industry. Some economists have speculated that the repeal softened the blow because it allowed more diversification of the market. Since less diversified firms made up for a larger number of failures during the 2008 financial crisis and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco credited diversification with being the reason Canada did not face bank failures during the depression, this does provide evidence that may have been a possibility.

    At the same time, the increased diversification has allowed more opportunities. Economists Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Warren Gibson noted that banks like Wells Fargo and discount broker Charles Schwab opened up more services and opportunities for their customers at lower prices while former Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Illi.) noted that it would limit liquidity and make it harder to buy and sale assets. Overall, the unproven benefits of the legislation seem to not be worth the potential cost.

    This may seem surprising, but the US was the only country in the industrialized world to separate investment and commercial banking. The desire remains to prevent the creation of banks that are “too big to fail” but it seems to have largely failed to address that and has prevented useful diversification. Bringing it back will not prevent another crisis nor prevent banks from going under.

              Support the CREATES Act, S. 974 and H.R. 2212        

    On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Creating and Restoring Equal Access To Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, S. 974 and H.R. 2212. This bill would lower prescription drug prices by crushing illegal, anti-competitive, and monopolistic practices by the biggest pharmaceutical companies.

    Prescription drug prices have soared above general inflation rates for years, a telltale sign of lacking producer competition. Large moneyed pharmaceutical companies abuse a loophole in the FDA Amendments Act of 2007 that allows them to bar potential competitors from entering the market. They do this by refusing to provide drug samples and safety information that new producers need for medical research required in the FDA approval process of generic drugs.

    Without these samples and safety procedures, new producers never earn FDA approval. Meanwhile, existing producers establish monopolies and hike prices.

    This especially harms the emerging market for “biosimilars,” innovative remakes of biologic drugs. Biosimilars are often much cheaper to produce than name-brand biologics, reducing costs for millions of Americans.

    The CREATES Act would grant relief in court for generic and biosimilar competitors seeking FDA approval. This would clear the pathway for new drugs to enter the market, drastically reducing prices through increased competition. The cost savings stemming from this legislation could reach between 15 percent and 50 percent of current prices for impacted drugs.

    Such legislation would reduce both the federal deficit and national debt. Decreasing prescription drug costs would lessen the financial burden on Medicare, saving taxpayers up to $5 billion annually.

    As you know, FreedomWorks fights for free markets and smaller government. The CREATES Act would lead to a freer market, less cronyism, and cheaper medication. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the CREATES, S. 974 and H.R. 2212.


    Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

              Key Vote YES on H.J.Res. 111 to Cancel CFPB’s Giveaway to Trial Lawyers        

    On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote YES on H.J.Res. 111. FreedomWorks Foundation drove more than 15,000 responses to the CFPB against the rule during the comment period.

    This resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) would cancel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule. The final rule was published on on July 19. While the CRA isn’t a panacea, it does provide a means for Congress to act as a check on out-of-control federal agencies.

    The CFPB’s arbitration rule is, in reality, a giveaway to trial lawyers. The rule ostensibly bans contractual arbitration clauses related to consumer financial products offered by banks and other financial sector firms. This severely limits consumers’ ability to enter into arbitration during disputes.

    Arbitration is an easier and quicker process for consumers to resolve issues, but lawyers don’t make much money from this process. The rule, however, will encourage trial lawyers to pursue more class-action lawsuits, which take longer and result in smaller payouts to consumers. But class-action lawsuits do bring in big dollars for trial lawyers.

    Class-action lawsuits can take two to five years to resolve, and the average payment is $32.35 per individual. These class-action suits, for which trial lawyers are paid an average of roughly $1 million, also drive up costs to consumers. By comparison, arbitration typically takes two to five months, with an average payment of thousands of dollars. It’s clear which process truly protects consumers.

    FreedomWorks will count the vote on H.J.Res. 111 on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.


    Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

              Capitol Hill Update: July 24, 2017        


    The House and Senate are in session this week.

    There are five (5) legislative days remaining for the House before the August recess and 53 legislative days remaining in the year. The Senate will supposedly work through the first two weeks of the August recess.


    The FY 2018 budget resolution, dubbed "Building a Better America," was marked up and approved by the Budget Committee on Thursday in a party-line vote. The budget would reduce the budget deficit by $6.5 trillion over the ten-year budget window and eventually come into balance in FY 2027, creating a $9 billion surplus.

    Perhaps one of the most important components of the budget is that it begins the reconciliation process for fundamental tax reform. There are also reconciliation instructions for 11 House committees to find roughly $200 billion savings or reforms in mandatory spending.

    The FY 2018 budget resolution isn't on the calendar for the week. It's unclear if House Republican leaders will bring it to the floor.

    Additionally, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, H.R. 2997, introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) could come to the floor for a vote this week. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and reforms the United States' out of date air traffic control (ATC) system. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in support of the 21st AIRR Act.

    On Monday, the House will consider 17 bills on the suspension calendar. Most of the bills on the suspension calendar related to veterans or active military issues. There are three bills on the suspension calendar that relate to small businesses and investment. The House will also consider the Intelligence Authorization Act, H.R. 3180, sponsored by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on suspension.

    There are three bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday, including the Medicare Part B Improvement Act, H.R. 3178, sponsored by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and a yet-to-be-numbered resolution that will impose sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

    The House will also consider H.J.Res. 111, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, to cancel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) giveaway to trial lawyers. The rule put restrictions on the use of arbitration to settle disputes over consumer products. This would lead to more class-action lawsuits, benefiting trial lawyers and hurting consumers. FreedomWorks has signed a coalition letter in support of H.J.Res. 111 and will likely include the vote on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard.

    For the balance of the week, the House will consider at least four more bills on the suspension calendar. The Make America Secure Appropriations Act, H.R. 3219, will also come to the floor. This is the consolidated appropriations bill, or "minibus," for the Department of Defense, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Water. Like virtually every other bill to come to the floor this year under "regular order," the Make America Secure Appropriations Act is subject to a rule to limit or prevent amendments from the floor.

    On Thursday at 10:00 am, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled "The Need for the Balanced Budget Amendment." The witness list for the hearing has not yet been announced. Twelve constitutional amendments have been introduced in the House that would require a balanced budget. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the sponsor of two of them, H.J.Res. 1 and H.J.Res. 2. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the primary sponsor of H.J.Res. 15, is among the House conservatives who have introduced a balanced budget amendment.

    The committee and subcommittee schedule for the week can be found here.


    Presumably, the Senate will vote this week on the motion to proceed to the House-passed version of H.R. 1628. It's still unclear on what happens next. A vote to proceed to the House-passed version has always been the first step. The next step will be for an amendment to the bill that will substitute the language of either the Better Care Reconciliation Act or language similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, now called the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act. FreedomWorks' key vote on the motion to proceed applies only if the base text that will be substituted is similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill.

    At least a few Senate Republicans have backed away from their votes for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, which was passed in December 2015 with the support of all but two Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins. Moderate Republicans who refuse to vote for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill have demanded $200 billion in Medicaid funding offered by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to get them to support the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

    Some parts of the Better Care Reconciliation Act are in limbo, however, as the Senate parliamentarian has apparently ruled that provisions limiting funding for Planned Parenthood and tax credits for plans that cover abortion will require 60 votes. Other provisions that may require 60 votes include the State Innovation Waivers. Many of these provisions can be altered to make them withstand a Byrd rule challenge, as was done in 2015.

    The Senate still has several nominees to consider and, on the legislative front, the FDA Reauthorization Act, S. 934; the National Defense Reauthorization Act; and the debt ceiling are among the items awaiting action.

    Separately, Senate Democrats are rolling out their "better deal" economic agenda today, which is a rehashing and repackaging of virtually every leftist policy proposal in recent years. The agenda is Democrats' attempt to find a message after a string of special election losses around the country.

    The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.

              VESPA - RIGOR, CHARME E SEDUÇÃO        
    Nº207 MOTOCICLISMO Julho 2009
    É fácil encontrar uma Vespa, com três ou quatro décadas, restaurada e pronta a andar. Bem mais difícil, é dar de caras com uma antiguidade dessas e percebê-la ainda melhor, mais requintada, que o próprio original.

    Há, no entanto, quem o ouse e – indiscutivelmente – o consiga. As Vespa que hoje trazemos ao prelo, são veículos do mais puro luxo. Não que tenham diamantes incrustados nas jantes, cabos revestidos a ouro, selins de veludo púrpura, ou comandos em madrepérola assentes numa base de raiz de nogueira. Nada disso. São simples, funcionais, e rejeitam qualquer rococó escusado de altar-mor. Existe, contudo, algo que as distingue das demais, quer em termos estéticos, quer em termos mecânicos. O Sr. Luciano Igreja, minhoto há muito apaixonado pelas Vespa, dedica-se à sua recuperação com esmero e minúcia tais, que se reflectem de forma evidente no resultado final. Das suas mãos, saem veículos que se superam a si próprios quando novos, acabados de sair da fábrica. Estes, porém, saíram da Ciclo Igreja (a sua oficina), sob o olhar omnipresente – quiçá de inveja – da classicíssima Sé de Braga.

    O processo de restauro tanto pode partir de sua iniciativa, como por solicitação de clientes. Muitas vezes, o Sr. Luciano, movido pelo fascínio que nutre por estes insectos com motor, compra as motos no mercado de usados (fazendo uso de contactos que tem, ou da internet), e se o modelo lhe agradar não há distância que o detenha. A Vespa laranja (que vemos nas fotos) veio do Ribatejo, onde a encontrou esquecida algures. As mais das vezes, são clientes que lhe aparecem à porta com as Vespa a “cair de podre” para que a sua habilidade e destreza lhes devolvam o ar jovial de outrora. O cliente tipo situa-se na faixa etária acima dos quarenta anos, e fará desta moto um uso tipicamente recreativo, pese embora muito ocasional. São, maioritariamente, pessoas que cresceram com as Vespa por perto, tendo, inclusivamente, sido proprietárias de alguma numa qualquer fase da vida, e agora, com maior disponibilidade financeira, entregam-se a este pequeno luxo de pagar por um elixir da eterna juventude estética e mecânica.

    A cadência dos trabalhos é aquela que os recursos impõem. O Sr. Luciano está a restaurar, em média, uma Vespa por mês. Este trabalho é absolutamente meticuloso, e quando feito por mãos experientes e dedicadas – como as suas – o resultado salta à vista. «Comecei a reparar e a recuperar as Vespa, as Sachs, as Lambretta, as Casal, e outras, vai para mais de 40 anos», esclarece. «Sei de cor todas as peças do motor», acrescenta. De todas, a sua predilecção recai mesmo sobre as Vespa, como nos explica: «A Vespa é mais suave, tem melhor condução e menos atritos dinâmicos e mecânicos». Sobre o inflacionamento no preço dos modelos vintage, a sua justificação é, também, assertiva e lógica: «Trata-se de uma moto mítica. Por onde quer que passe chama a atenção, pois o design não sai de moda. Depois, são muito resistentes e fiáveis.».

    Desde componentes internos do motor, até aos parafusos mais pequenos, tudo é substituído. «Do velho se faz novo», sublinha. O propósito é o de, no primeiro caso, eliminar ou prevenir avarias, e, no segundo caso, de realçar a estética do veículo. Por exemplo, os parafusos e porcas de ferro originais, são sempre substituídos por equivalentes em aço inoxidável com acabamento cromado. Como nos descreve: «o chassis vai ao jacto de areia, para que com a tinta fora, seja possível encontrar os podres. Caso assim não fosse, por debaixo da tinta velha o material continuaria deteriorado, e passados alguns anos seria necessário intervir outra vez na moto. Depois segue para o chapeiro, para então regressar ao jacto de areia, e só no fim intervém o pintor. E, claro, não se faz pintura a pincel, como muitas vezes se vê», elucida. Na mecânica, o motor é todo revisto com componentes novos (pistão, biela, cruzeta das velocidades, rolamentos, vedantes, juntas, discos de embraiagem, etc.), veios de suspensão, amortecedores e cabos são igualmente substituídos, independentemente do seu estado. Em suma, e como adianta: «As peças de desgaste são todas trocadas. Só assim posso dar dois anos de garantia global pelo restauro».

    As peças provêem maioritariamente de fornecedores originais Vespa, mas há casos mais específicos onde o abastecimento é feito junto de agentes com peças testadas e compatíveis. O investimento em stock é, actualmente, de cerca de 250 mil euros. Tudo em prol de respostas rápidas e eficazes aos seus clientes.

    Em termos mecânicos, o restauro é sempre fiel ao original. Não há tentativas de alterar esta ou aquela prestação. Contudo, no que respeita à estética, as considerações são diferentes, como avança: «Gosto de as pôr superiores ao que eram. Por exemplo, as tampas de motor são todas polidas e cromadas. Nenhuma moto era assim de origem…as tampas era pintadas…mas cromadas causam logo outro impacto…».

    Prémios conquistados vão sendo alguns, tanto em motos suas como de clientes. Mas esta não é uma condição estratégica da sua actividade. Prefere empenhar-se na qualidade, recatadamente, afastado que está (por opção) dos grandes eventos do sector. No entanto, à entrada do exíguo escritório, está, bem visível, o troféu de melhor restauro conquistado no II Encontro de Barcelos, em 14-08-2005, organizado pelo Vespa Clube do Minho.

    Quando lhe perguntámos se as Vespa algumas vez o desiludiram, a resposta foi disparada a direito, desvendando planos para o futuro: «Sim, a partir da década de noventa. É só plástico…O gozo está em trabalhar e conduzir estas. Por isso, até já tenho um projecto para fazer um side-car numa que estou agora a recuperar».

    Quanto a valores, estes restauros nunca ficarão por menos de três mil euros. Para mais e não para menos. Tudo depende do modelo e ano da moto, bem como da sua condição presente. Casos mais complicados (que também os há) poderão ascender aos seis mil e quinhentos euros. Mas, nestas coisas, como noutras da vida, quando as coisas se fazem com gosto, o preço é o que menos importa. Neste caso, junta-se o gosto de quem as tem ao de quem as restaura, e o assunto está resolvido.
    Em jeito de alerta, para quem não esteja familiarizado com os restauros das Vespa, aqui fica uma síntese de alguns erros muito comuns nas recuperações que por aí se fazem: furos para instalação de retrovisor, frisos de pisa-pés instalados fora das medidas (o primeiro deve estar no extremo da plataforma), varões de plástico em vez de ferro ou alumínio, furos à vista de acessórios retirados, bancos estofados em vez de terem as capas originais e pinturas a pincel.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTOCICLISMO, uma publicação da MOTORPRESS LISBOA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 415 45 50.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              ESTILO VINTAGE        
    Nº207 MOTOCICLISMO Julho 2008
    Uma vida inteira de dedicação às motos antigas (especialmente as inglesas) foi o mote para uma conversa com José Ferreira, o conhecido coleccionador e requisitado especialista técnico da zona de Sintra.

    O gosto, esse, veio-lhe quase desde o berço, quando via o seu pai sair de casa de motorizada. Porém, a necessidade cedo o obrigou a aguçar o engenho e a arte para conseguir remediar os percalços que o seu primeiro ciclomotor lhe reservava – uma Zundapp de 1961. Anos depois, já a trabalhar, chegou-lhe às mãos uma V5. Mais tarde, tirou a carta de condução e quando saiu da tropa adquiriu a sua primeira “bifa”: uma Royal Enfield 250. Hoje, lembrar-se de todas as motos que já teve é um autêntico desafio para a memória. Começaram por ser meros meios de transporte, contudo, posteriormente, a dedicação à causa apurou-se e com ela surgiu a colecção e a competição. Não foi só de recordações que falámos hoje – mas também. Pelo meio ferrou-se a brasa do descontentamento nos olhos do presente e atreveram-se alguns palpites e sugestões para o futuro.

    MOTOCICLISMO: Foi lhe complicado aprender este ofício?
    José Ferreira: Na verdade, quando comecei a reparar as minhas motos, sempre tive pessoas que me explicavam como fazer as coisas. Isso é importantíssimo. Depois, como não tinha dinheiro para pô-las na oficina, não tinha outro remédio se não desenrascar-me.

    M: Havia algum “guru” em especial?
    JF: Para mim, o Manelito da Quinta do Conde é o maior mago das motos antigas. Se há pessoas que nasceram para isto, ele é uma delas com certeza. É uma pessoa que não nega ajuda a ninguém, é muito prestável. Até o João Santos da Suzuki foi “pupilo” dele. Ele formou vários mecânicos que estão hoje aí.

    M: É preciso ser-se abonado financeiramente para se ser proprietário de uma clássica?
    JF: Nos carros talvez, mas nas motos não. Há de tudo e para todas as bolsas. Acontece é que, por vezes, há trabalhos que financeiramente não compensam como investimento, porque pode-se ir buscar uma moto lá fora exactamente igual, já recuperada, e mais barata. Nesses casos, às vezes, o valor estimativo (por se tratarem de motos de família) suplanta o valor de mercado, e por isso se ouvem falar de restauros muito onerosos.

    M: As peças que usa são compradas novas ou são recuperadas de motos desmanteladas?
    JF: Havendo novo à venda é preferível. As usadas só como último recurso, e mesmo assim não convém que sejam para componentes mecânicos vitais ao funcionamento da moto.

    M: Nos seus restauros tenta ir para além do original, melhorando-o?
    JF: Aliás, às vezes nem dá para saber ao certo como era o original. Há modelos Norton da mesma série que vêm com pormenores diferentes umas das outras. Por isso, sempre que possível tento encontrar a solução que melhor se adequa ao modelo e à utilização a dar. Por exemplo: tento manter os parafusos originais nos apertos ao quadro, mas todos os outros substituo por parafusos em inox. Não enferrujam e dão um aspecto mais limpinho à máquina.

    M: Que motos clássicas mais se vêem por aí a circular?
    JF: As Norton 500 S2, monocilíndricas, as 88, as AJS e as Matchless.

    M: Onde reside o encanto das inglesas?
    JF: Os ingleses construíram muitas motos. Tinham muitas marcas, muita produção. Logo, acabaram por vender bastante, o que ajudou a disseminar esta atracção nostálgica. Depois, para a época, eram até bastante engenhosos. Chegaram a produzir motos nos anos 20 com travagem combinada. Os italianos, também têm o seu lugar na história, pela tecnologia que aplicavam, mas como eram menos fabricantes, venderam em menor quantidade. Depois, havia aquele mito de que as italianas partiam o motor com mais facilidade quando chegavam ao redline. Assim, apesar de as inglesas pingarem óleo, as pessoas preferiam uma inglesa, até porque era mais fácil mandá-las vir para Portugal, pois havia muita oferta. As BMW eram muito rigorosas mecanicamente, mas transmitiam menor emoção a quem as conduzia. Creio que o encanto reside nesta conjugação de factores.

    M: Qual é a sua preferência pessoal?
    JF: São as Triumph, pelas garantias mecânicas que sempre demonstraram face à concorrência.

    M: Que principais dificuldades encontra no dia-a-dia da restauração?
    JF: A qualidade de alguns materiais, mesmo daqueles que se mandam vir de Inglaterra. Com a globalização muita produção foi mobilizada para o Oriente à conta da mão-de-obra barata. Acontece que o rigor passou a ser bastante sofrível. Dou-lhe exemplos: farolins que não aconchegam, interruptores que não comutam, etc. As cromagens nacionais bem feitas são, também, cada vez mais difíceis de encontrar.

    M: O tempo de espera pelo material é demorado?
    JF: Entre uma semana a quatro meses.

    M: Houve até agora algum restauro que lhe pusesse os nervos em franja pela dificuldade?
    JF: Não. A Norton Internacional do João Paulo Fragoso foi complicada. O material de chapa foi difícil de encontrar, e a mecânica também tem que se lhe diga, mas com calma lá se conseguiu. Sei agora de uma em que o indivíduo teve de mandar fazer a árvore-de-cames em Inglaterra. Lá está, para as Triumph é mais fácil obter material genuíno. Nos trabalhos mais difíceis conto também com a ajuda do Luís Teixeira, e da literatura que fui adquirindo.

    M: Que opinião tem acerca das futuras inspecções das motos?
    JF: Neste país quando é para sacar dinheiro, os governantes avançam logo. E quando não são eles a lucrar, alguém o há-de fazer. Senão, veja-se o exemplo dos automóveis: a gente cruza-se todos os dias na estrada com carros que de certeza absoluta nunca passaram por uma inspecção, no entanto eles estão aí e com os documentos em dia. Nestas motos antigas, a maior parte delas reconstruídas, ou as coisas se fazem com real conhecimento da matéria, ou então vão é arranjar maneira de metade delas serem encostadas, e as outras, para andarem legais, terão de passar na tal inspecção sabe-se lá como…

    M: Na sua opinião, quais deveriam ser as prioridades da FNM para o dossiê clássicas?
    JF: Há dois anos, numa reunião da FNM, o Campos Costa teve uma ideia que a meu ver seria bastante louvável: era a criação de um núcleo para a protecção e salvaguarda das motos antigas enquanto património. Em muitos países as motos antigas são consideradas património de interesse público. Aqui em Portugal, se alguém quiser legalizar um veículo desses comprado no estrangeiro, os entraves burocráticos e técnicos são os mesmos como se fosse um veículo moderno. Já me aconteceu ir a uma inspecção de ruído para atribuir a matrícula a uma moto de 1954, e os parâmetros de avaliação serem os mesmos, como se fosse uma moto actual, construída com toda a tecnologia que hoje conhecemos. Claro que os barulhos internos do motor (que são normais naquela moto) excediam o limite permitido, apesar de os escapes estarem abafadíssimos. O mais absurdo é que nesse dia estava lá um indivíduo com uma BMW de 1936, com três velocidades, e foi-lhe exigido (tal como a todos os outros) que num dado espaço acelerasse em segunda até aos 60km/h. É caricato! Nem sei se essa moto em terceira, a descer, e com o vento por trás, alguma vez conseguiria chegar aos 60km/h… Bom, daí que a ideia do Campos Costa, para proteger este espólio, tenha sido muito bem acolhida no seio da comunidade. Na verdade, estas motos antigas são autênticas peças de arte. Logo se vê como vai ficar.

    M: Que outras boas práticas poderiam ser implementadas no nosso país?
    JF: Às vezes há motos a apodrecer em palheiros, com os documentos em nome de alguém que já não se sabe quem é ou, simplesmente, sem qualquer documentação. Em Espanha, por exemplo, consegue-se registar uma moto dessas. É-lhe atribuída uma matrícula de transição pelo período de um ano, findo o qual, não havendo reclamações, passa a definitiva.

    M: Que modelos actuais poderão ser clássicos daqui a uma vintena de anos?
    JF: A primeira condição é a de serem sucessos comerciais, depois têm de ter uma certa mística. A Yamaha R1 tem condições, a Honda CBR 1000 também, bem como a Suzuki GSXR 1000. Depois, poderemos ter nas naked a Speed Triple como eventual candidata. Uma scooter cinquentinha que poderá vingar como clássica é a Target da Yamaha. Não passaram ainda muitos anos por ela, mas já deixou saudades. Dentro das cruiser, eu diria que qualquer Harley-Davidson será um clássico. Aceito que os japoneses façam motos tecnicamente melhores, mais fiáveis, mais bonitas e mais baratas neste segmento, mas a Harley-Davidson é a original, e essa é uma herança que vale muito. O resto será sempre uma imitação.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTOCICLISMO, uma publicação da MOTORPRESS LISBOA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 415 45 50.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              GNR-BT - A PA IXÃO PE LAS MO TOS        
    Nº204 MOTOCICLISMO Abril 2008
    Por motivos opostos, tanto os motociclistas como os agentes da BT são, por vezes, olhados de soslaio. Nós, olhamos para ambos de frente. Em simultâneo, e contra o preconceito.

    Há já muito tempo que as motos são um importante elemento no seio das forças policiais e militares. Os argumentos, em tudo racionais, justificarão a sua presença dentro destas organizações por muitos e longos anos. Hoje, a MOTOCICLIS MO teve a oportunidade de conhecer um pouco melhor a actividade que a GNR-BT desenvolve com as suas motos. Verificámos, inclusivamente, que existe uma crescente sensibilização interna que tende a incrementar, ainda mais, o seu uso. E como nisto de andar de moto, o coração também manda, entrevistámos dois militares que, mesmo quando despem a farda, continuam a andar de moto.

    MOTOCICLISMO: Como nasceu o vosso gosto pelas motos?
    Soldado Mendes (SM): Desde sempre.
    Cabo Bernardes (CB): Eu gosto de motos desde miúdo, mas a disponibilidade financeira era pouca. Assim que me foi possível comprei uma moto.
    M: Deslocam-se também de moto aqui para o Destacamento?
    SM: Se não for pleno Inverno, eu venho sempre de moto. Nunca uso carro. São cerca de 60km diariamente.
    CB: Depende. Eu como moro muito perto (a 5km), dá-me preguiça de tirar a moto da garagem só para vir para aqui. Nem a moto aquece. Mas se quiser dar uma voltinha, antes ou depois do serviço, aí trago mesmo a moto.
    M: Em que é que ser motociclista vos modificou enquanto agentes?
    SM: Se calhar vemos as coisas de maneira diferente. Determinadas acções, agora, são vistas com outros olhos. São autênticas barbaridades. Agora percebemo-lo. Depois, levamos a mentalidade da vida militar para a vida civil. Já não fazemos determinadas manobras que, esporadicamente, fazíamos quando não tínhamos esta profissão. Infelizmente, vemos diariamente muitos acidentes, e essas memórias acompanham-nos para todo o lado.
    M: O que devia ser alterado em termos culturais e comportamentais nos motociclistas?
    CB: Há meia dúzia de motoqueiros a dar má fama aos motociclistas. São indivíduos que abusam, fazem manobras irregulares, causam perigo a eles próprios e aos outros utentes da via. Por causa deles, os automobilistas olham para nós e pensam «ali vai mais um maluco …».
    SM: Ou pior, «mais um bandido».
    CB: E quem é bom motociclista, não se revê nesses comportamentos. Esses arruaceiros, os motoqueiros, são pessoas que pensam que sabem andar de moto, e fazem o que não devem. Tapam a matrícula, fazem barulho, são exibicionistas, gostam de levantar a roda da frente, etc. Mas esse não é o verdadeiro motociclista. E, por norma, são esses que acabam por ter os acidentes. Procuram o perigo, e, mais cedo ou mais tarde, encontram-no.
    M: Qual a vossa opinião sobre as dimensões das novas chapas de matrícula?
    CB: Esteticamente desfiguram um bocado as motos. Saem fora do contexto. Mas para nós facilita-nos o trabalho. São mais visíveis porque os caracteres são maiores. Podemos identificar a matrícula a uma distância superior, sobretudo em situações de fuga. Em relação à beleza, temos de reconhecer que são feias. Mas é uma questão de hábito. Por essa Europa fora há já muitos anos que as chapas são enormes. Não se pode ter o melhor de dois mundos…
    M: Sentem que há automobilistas a criar, deliberadamente, dificuldades a quem anda de moto?
    SM: Por exemplo, no trajecto que faço para casa, na EN3, há muita gente a desrespeitar os sinais STOP só porque o veículo que tem prioridade é uma moto. O motociclista que se desenrasque. Se algum cair (como já tem acontecido) se calhar nem prestam auxílio só para evitar problemas…
    CB: Tenho reparado muitas vezes que os automobilistas encostam-se ao traço contínuo só para impedir que uma moto os ultrapasse. Ou pior, às vezes afastam-se do traço, e quando a moto está ao lado do carro, apertam-nos para cairmos ou fazermos uma infracção. Se eu estiver a conduzir a moto da BT, às vezes até param quando deviam andar, mas quando vou com a minha moto é completamente diferente.
    SM: Não havendo sinalização vertical em contrário, uma moto pode ultrapassar um carro desde que não transponha o traço contínuo. Mas lá está, quando saímos com a moto da BT, nunca passamos por esses problemas. Aí os condutores dos automóveis agem civilizadamente, e em respeito da lei, como sempre deveriam fazer.
    CB: Conduzir a moto da BT é muito menos exigente, do ponto de vista da concentração, que conduzir a minha moto
    pessoal. Aí sou muito mais preocupado, porque tenho de antecipar as manobras dos outros. É dessa diferença que
    nunca me posso esquecer pois, caso contrário, corro o risco de ter um acidente com a maior facilidade.
    SM: Sim, nunca podemos levar a maneira de conduzir uma moto para a outra, se não damo-nos mal de certeza.
    M: Cabo, com uma Hayabusa é fácil cumprir os limites de velocidade?
    CB: (risos) Aquilo também trava…
    SM: (gargalhada)
    CB: Essa pergunta não é fácil (risos), mas a verdade é que ninguém consegue cumprir a totalmente a lei. Nem o ser humano mais puro do mundo cumpre a cem por cento. Eu como também sou humano, de vez em quando distraio-me, e como os outros condutores, dou um bocadito mais. Mas por norma, e principalmente dentro das localidades, ou quando há muito movimento de trânsito, faço uma condução defensiva. Pela minha segurança e a dos outros. Até porque, se for apanhado a infringir, por um radar dos nossos, tenho de pagar a multa. E há muitos por aí…
    SM: Muita gente não acredita mas é verdade. Um agente de autoridade é multado como qualquer pessoa. Se for apanhado por um radar não há nada a fazer…
    CB: Ainda há tempos fui apanhado com a moto da BT em excesso de velocidade e tive de justificar. Estava a tentar interceptar um condutor que fez uma manobra perigosa, e excedi o limite para aquele local. Portanto, até as motos da BT são “apanhadas” pelos radares. Claro que, nesse caso, tinha uma justificação atendível, mas de outra forma, o caso teria sido diferente.
    M: Como consideram o valor do Imposto Único de Circulação?
    SM: Considero excessivo. As motos são encaradas como veículos de luxo, mas esquecem-se que há muitas pessoas a utilizar as motos durante o ano inteiro como meio de transporte, algumas até já com bastantes anos. E isso nada tem de luxuoso. Eu paguei 102,00€, para andar legal, mas é excessivo. Mas temos de cumprir, e tentar fazer cumprir.
    CB: É muito exagerado. É como as portagens. Não tem lógica duas rodas pagarem o mesmo que quatro. O que é que
    desgastam? Que espaço ocupam? É injusto…
    M: Como reagem quando têm de autuar um motociclista?
    SM: Há, digamos, um sentimento diferente. Mas se eu, antes de ser agente, já era motociclista e tentava cumprir – ter seguro, ter a moto em meu nome, pagar o imposto (custa, mas temos de o pagar), ter a carta de condução, etc. – porque é que agora, numa fiscalização, hei-de desculpar? Se eu sou motociclista e cumpro, porque não hão-de ou outros cumprir também?
    CB: Às vezes, perante uma manobra menos grave, que se perceba que foi feita sem intenção, nós interceptamos o individuo, e até temos uma acção mais pedagógica que punitiva. Mas as pessoas têm de ser humildes, e perceber o que fazem. É uma questão em que impera o bom senso. Noutros casos, por altura das concentrações, se estiver escalado para o serviço, até aproveito as fiscalizações para dar sugestões e recomendações úteis. Se sensibilizar as pessoas, elas vão-nos encarar de uma outra forma e, da próxima vez, param novamente, em vez de fugirem. Tempos houve em que as motos quase nunca paravam. Até fazíamos apostas…«queres apostar que este vai fugir?»
    M: Como agentes de autoridade, que mensagem gostariam de deixar aos motociclistas que nos lêem?
    SM: Tenham prudência na estrada e amor pelas motos. Desfrutem do prazer de andar de moto.
    M: E como motociclistas?
    CB: A todos os automobilistas, respeitem-nos mais. Não ponham em perigo os motociclistas. Facilitem a passagem, deixem nos circular à vontade, que de certeza que a maior parte dos motociclistas até tem o hábito de agradecer. Esse
    seria um ambiente agradável para se viver. Um grande bem-haja para todos!

    Nota: Este trabalho nunca teria sito possível sem a prestimosa colaboração da GNR-BT, e de todos os militares envolvidos. Pela disponibilidade, simpatia, cooperação e paciência, o nosso obrigado ao Major Ruivo Tomás, 2º Comandante do Grupo Regional de Trânsito de Lisboa, também ele motociclista na vida civil.

    ● A BT-GNR está dividida 5 Grupos Regionais de Trânsito. Do GRT de Lisboa (GRT1) fazem parte 5 Destacamentos: Lisboa, Carcavelos, Setúbal, Coina e Carregado. Foi a este último que nos deslocámos para a realização deste trabalho.
    ● As motos têm o equipamento de rádio para comunicação com a central, ou com outras patrulhas. Têm também luzes para assinalar marcha de urgência, a sirene, e estão caracterizadas como veículos da BT. Em tudo o resto são idênticas aos modelos em comercialização.
    ● Por princípio, todos os militares até aos 45 anos estão aptos a conduzir motos. Só no caso de haver algum impedimento físico é que não o farão. A partir dos 45 só conduz moto quem manifeste interesse e reúna condições.
    Nas palavras do Tenente Oliveira, «quem manifestar disponibilidade para fazer serviço de moto, em qualquer idade, poderá, de acordo com as necessidades, fazê-lo». Existe uma militar na BT a fazer serviço de moto.
    ● A corporação tem fatos de frio e de chuva, que adequa conforme as condições atmosféricas, isto, clãro, além da farda normal de serviço. O passo seguinte é a aquisição de um fato completo – adaptado à função de agente da BT – com as protecções necessárias, botas de motociclista, reflectores, etc., de forma a que os militares possam desempenhar as suas funções de uma maneira mais segura. Este projecto conjunto com o Ministério da Administração Interna já está em curso.
    ● Devido à sua mobilidade é possível, de um momento para o outro, fazer deslocar uma moto para fora do itinerário que lhe estava traçado. Basta comunicar via rádio. Há um acesso permanente de comunicação entres patrulhas, e das patrulhas com a central. O objectivo é haver entreajuda.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTOCICLISMO, uma publicação da MOTORPRESS LISBOA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 415 45 50.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

    Nº72 MOTO REPORT Dezembro 2007
    Stoner Rock é um subgénero do rock, caracterizado por possuir riffs de guitarra graves e lentos, com grande influência do psicadelismo lisérgico dos anos 70. Os QOTSA serão talvez a banda mais emblemática deste movimento do rock alternativo. Os seus temas são intensos e vigorosos, tal como o som de uns drag pipes num motor V2.

    Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, John Garcia e Alfredo Hernandez formaram uma banda californiana chamada Kyuss que, após ter sido apadrinhada pelo produtor Chris Goss, saiu do completo anonimato para se tornar numa referência da cena heavy-metal americana, chegando inclusivamente a figurar como o principal ícone do stoner rock à época. No entanto, apesar da popularidade, os Kyuss dissolvem-se em 1995. O líder e guitarrista, Josh Homme, muda-se nessa altura para Seattle para ingressar na formação dos Screaming Trees, como segundo guitarrista, durante a digressão do álbum Dust de 1996. A banda participa na última edição do festival Lollapalooza, tocando ao lado de bandas como os Sound-garden e os Metallica. A partir de 1997, com as actividades dos Screaming Trees tornam-se cada vez mais esparsas, Josh encontra o tempo suficiente para trabalhar num projecto próprio. Foi o início da série “Desert Sessions”, iniciativa que lhe permitiu expressar-se com maior liberdade, no mais puro experimentalismo. “Desert Sessions” foram sessões experimentais de estúdio, criadas por Josh Homme em parceria com músicos de diversas bandas de rock americanas, com a intenção de compor novas músicas, porém sem fins comerciais. As gravações iniciaram-se em Agosto de 1997 e foram feitas num estúdio que ficou conhecido como Rancho De La Luna, na cidade de Joshua Tree, localizada num deserto no interior do estado da Califórnia (terra natal de Josh Homme). Foram seis álbuns extraídos das “Desert Sessions” que, mesmo sem objectivos comerciais, acabaram por ser lançados mais tarde pela editora independente Man’s Ruin Records. Na sequência das “Desert Sessions”, Josh resolve formar outra banda, os QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Com a ajuda do baterista Alfredo Hernandez, Josh retorna à região do deserto californiano para trabalhar o som da nova banda. Embora o som dos QOTSA, à primeira impressão, relembre os Kyuss, fica bem claro que se trata de uma proposta diferente, com uma sonoridade mais eclética. O primeiro disco (homónimo) foi financiado pela própria banda e acabou por ser lançado em Setembro de 1998 pela editora Loosegroove, de Stone Gossard, guitarrista dos Pearl Jam. O álbum teve uma repercussão impressionante e ajudou a fixar o nome dos QOTSA como uma das grandes promessas emergentes do rock alternativo. A banda esteve em digressão durante quase dois anos, tocando com grandes nomes como Bad Religion, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole e Ween. Em Junho de 2000, os Screaming Trees terminam, deixando Josh exclusivamente dedicado aos QOTSA que, de volta a Palm Desert, trabalhou no seu segundo álbum que contaria com várias participações especiais. No mesmo mês foi lançado “Rated R”, desta vez pela Interscope. O disco que possui, entre outras, as participações de Mark Lanegan e Barrett Martin dos Screaming Trees, Rob Halford dos Judas Priest e Pete Stahl dos Scream e Goatsnake, é recebido com entusiasmo pela crítica, mas não atinge grandes cifras de vendas, apesar de conter canções candidatas a hit, tal como “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” e “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”. Para o segundo disco, os QOTSA contaram com a participação de dois bateristas: Gene Troutman e Nicky Lucero. Finalizado este trabalho, os Queens of the Stone Age embarcaram em mais uma exaustiva tournée de dois anos pelo mundo fora, incluindo uma memorável apresentação no Rock in Rio em Janeiro de 2001, onde Nick Oliveri se apresentaria em palco completamente nu. No ano seguinte a banda já estava em estúdio a preparar o seu terceiro disco. Mark Lanegan integra definitivamente o colectivo como segundo vocalista, enquanto que, na bateria, a banda contaria com a participação do ilustre Dave Grohl, ex-Nirvana e líder dos Foo Fighters. Com o disco pronto, os QOTSA, encetam mais uma tour com Lanegan e Grohl. “Songs for the Deaf” é lançado em Agosto e o sucesso entre público e crítica é quase unânime. Em 2004, a banda passa por uma fase mais complicada. Depois de Dave Grohl retornar aos Foo Fighters (lançando logo após um disco que possui influências bem expressivas do seu período na banda de Josh Homme), Joey Castillo assume as baquetas do grupo. Contudo, haveriam mais baixas: Josh resolve demitir Nick Oliveri, alegando estar cansado do comportamento completamente irresponsável do baixista. Mark Lanegan aproveita e também abandona a banda. É lançado o EP “Stone Age Complications”, numa tentativa de abafar a turbulência, enquanto Josh Homme tenta reorganizar a banda para gravar o 4º álbum. É então lançado “Lullabies to Paralyze” e com ele surge uma proposta diferente dos QOTSA. Embora muita da ferocidade da banda tenha sido suprimida neste trabalho, é trazida à tona toda a capacidade dos restantes membros comporem melodias mais densas, sombrias e perturbadoramente pesadas. Com o line-up refeito, Josh Homme, Alain Johannes (multi-instrumentista que já tinha colaborado nas Desert Sessions com Chris Cornell), Troy Van Leeuwen (guitarrista, ex-A Perfect Circle), Natasha Shneider e Joey Castillo saem em digressão internacional. Momentos marcantes dessa época são: a gravação do MTV Akustik Session em Berlim, a reunião com John Garcia (exvocalista dos Kyuss) para um concerto, cantando canções da antiga banda, e a gravação do primeiro CD/DVD ao vivo “Over The Years And Through The Woods” em Londres. Devido ao adiamento de dois concertos nesta cidade, os músicos decidiram presentear o público com um EP contendo a faixa inédita “The Fun Machine Took A Shit & Died”, supostamente “perdida” durante as gravações de “Lullabies to Paralyze”. De regresso aos EUA, Josh Homme e Brody Dalle (vocalista e guitarrista dos The Distillers) tiveram uma filha e, na altura, pouco se sabia sobre o que a banda faria a seguir. No entanto, no segundo semestre de 2006, os QOTSA entram em estúdio para gravar seu 5º álbum, novamente com a produção de Chris Goss. O álbum, intitulado “Era Vulgaris”, é finalizado em Março de 2007. Rumores indicariam que Alain e Natasha haviam decidido voltar as suas atenções para a sua banda original, Eleven. Mais uma vez ocorreram boatos de que Oliveri voltaria ao grupo, muito em função da interrupção abrupta dos concertos da sua actual banda, Mondo Generator. Entretanto, os zunzuns foram desmentidos após a contratação de Michael Shuman, dos Wires On Fire. O novo álbum tem colaborações de Jesse Hughes (dos Eagles Of Death Metal), Trent Reznor (dos Nine Inch Nails) e Julian Casablancas (dos Strokes). Billy Gibbons (dos ZZ Top) e Mark Lanegan asseguram também a sua participação como convidados.

    Formação actual:
    Josh Homme – Voz, guitarra e baixo
    Troy Van Leeuwen - guitarra, baixo e
    Lap Steel
    Joey Castillo – bateria
    Michael Shuman – baixo
    Dean Fertita – teclas

    Queens of the
    Stone Age
    Over The Years
    And Through The
    Lullabies to
    Songs for the Deaf
    Rated R
    Era Vulgaris
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTO REPORT, uma publicação da JPJ EDITORA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 253 215 466.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              MERCADO MOTOCICLÍSTICO        
    Nº262 ANECRA Maio 2007
    Nº67 MOTO REPORT Julho 2007 (com autorização)
    O mercado dos motociclos, quando encarado sobre uma perspectiva global, surge como um aliado natural de toda a indústria automóvel e não como um concorrente desse mesmo sector. Veja-se o caso dos fabricantes que constroem, simultaneamente, carros e motos. O exemplo é auto-explicativo. Do ponto de vista do consumidor, estes dois produtos finais (o automóvel e o motociclo) são, na maioria das vezes, bens complementares. Hoje em dia, as necessidades profissionais, familiares e recreativas podem, perfeitamente, apelar à coexistência pacífica destes dois tipos de veículos. O que nos confirma de sobremaneira a conclusão antecipada de início. Perante esta constatação de facto, optámos por efectuar uma análise ao mercado desde 1999 (o ano do “boom” nas vendas) até ao ano transacto. Convidamo-lo, então, a tomar o pulso a este ramo de actividade, que já conheceu melhores dias, mas que, com uma aposta consciente de todos os seus intervenientes (directos e indirectos), poderá recuperar o ritmo outrora alcançado. Assim todos saibam investir, promover, gerir, legislar, fiscalizar e apoiar.

    Situação Económica Nacional
    A Economia Internacional lida, actualmente, com a escalada do preço do petróleo nos mercados internacionais. Uma situação que vem sendo recorrente desde a década passada. Em rigor, questões por resolver, como sejam a do Iraque ou a da ameaça – algo dissimulada, porém omnipresente – do Irão ou, até mesmo, da Coreia, continuam a ter repercussões nefastas na economia global. Os barões da indústria de extracção e transformação do crude encontram nestes pretextos - mais até do que na própria escassez do produto - excelentes formas de exercer especulação, com consequências a nível mundial e que todos nós percepcionamos diariamente. Por outro lado, a concorrência de economias em crescimento, como sejam a chinesa ou a dos países do leste europeu, faz-se sentir veementemente. Estes países são – devido a conjunturas várias – altamente competitivos e, nos últimos anos, têm penetrado com eficácia e também com eficiência nos domínios da cultura, da sociedade e, principalmente, da economia europeia. A União Europeia (UE) apresenta uma subida constante do PIB, com excepção feita a 2005, e esta tendência de crescimento cimentou-se num efectivo aumento do consumo privado, coadjuvado pela redução drástica da despesa pública. A taxa de inflação ficou-se pelos 2,2%, em 2005, e, no mesmo ano, o desemprego atingiu os 8,6%. Por contraponto, os EUA apresentam 3,4% e 5,1%, respectivamente. O PIB americano manifesta tendência análoga à europeia, ocorrendo, inclusivamente, o mesmo fenómeno de redução da despesa pública e reforço do consumo privado. A Economia Nacional tem demonstrado grande dificuldade em resistir à negativa conjuntura internacional. Por ser pequena e aberta, torna-se naturalmente permeável ao contexto externo. Deste modo, o PIB, no período em análise, apresentou um crescimento global de cerca de 20%. Contudo, o investimento exibiu um decréscimo significativo (a rondar os 5%). O consumo, esse sim, aumentou avidamente, sendo que a taxa de crescimento se cifrou nos 25% para o sector privado e nos 30% para o sector público. Perante estes indicadores, é possível inferir que o recurso à banca foi o agente eleito para acelerar o consumo, já que o investimento decresceu e o PIB não acompanhou a evolução da despesa. Portugal continua também com as importações a terem um peso superior ao das exportações, sendo que 2003 foi o ano onde a diferença mais se esbateu. Já o Investimento no Estrangeiro conheceu uma drástica diminuição (para menos de metade). Igual tendência para o desinvestimento tem acontecido em relação às decisões do estrangeiro em investir em Portugal. Todavia, a taxa de decréscimo ficou-se pelos 10% O saldo da Balança Corrente é negativo, com agravamento desde 2003. A Dívida Pública apresenta um crescimento sustentado, a par da Taxa de Desemprego. E o mercado de trabalho é precisamente um reflexo de tudo o que para trás foi enunciado. Para clarificar este ponto, refira-se que o número de desempregados, em 2005, era o dobro do que havia em 2000. Evidentemente que este fenómeno, para além do flagelo social que dissemina, gera também uma sobrecarga ao nível da despesa pública por via do dispêndio de verbas por parte da Segurança Social. O que, em abono da verdade, contribui negativamente para cumprir o Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento. Já a Inflação apresenta oscilações entre o crescimento e o seu inverso. Até 2002 a tendência foi para o aumento do indicador, e daí para cá veio paulatinamente a reduzir, estimando-se que para 2006 o valor a apurar comute a orientação. Conclui-se, portanto, que as reformas levadas a cabo pelo Governo com o intuito de conter os custos, e que passam por uma racionalização da despesa pública, levarão o seu tempo a produzir os efeitos esperados. Até lá, Portugal é um país deprimido, envolto num pessimismo generalizado, e profundamente descrente da tão desejada retoma.

    Evolução das Vendas de MOTOCICLOS em Portugal
    O ano de 1999 permanece, até à data, como um marco muito positivo em termos de vendas de motos. Desde então, o número de matrículas novas tem vindo a decrescer. Esta tendência manteve-se até 2003, sendo que, no ano seguinte, ocorreu uma tímida recuperação. Os anos de 2006 e 2005 foram sinónimo de altos e baixos, respectivamente, sendo que, e em suma, os últimos três anos apresentam valores muito próximos. O mês de Janeiro de 2007 destaca-se o do seu homólogo do ano anterior, com vendas totais superiores em 50%. A KEEWAY é o construtor que mais cresceu. Analisando os recordistas de vendas em Portugal, constatamos que, de entre os 10 primeiros, quatro fabricantes são europeus, outros tantos são nipónicos (historicamente as marcas mais comercializadas), um é norte-americano e outro é coreano. Neste ponto, surge um dos sinais mais evidentes: o emergente mercado de exportações do eixo Coreia - China. De um ano para o outro, a KEEWAY passou de nove para 490 motos, e, só em Janeiro de 2007, vendeu quase 25% do volume atingido em 2006. Esta categoria está relacionada com as motos, ainda que tangencialmente. Vejamos o que nos diz o n.º4 do artigo 107º do Código da Estrada: «Quadriciclo é o veículo dotado de quatro rodas, classificando-se em: Ligeiro: veículo com velocidade máxima, em patamar e por construção, não superior a 45 km/h, cuja massa sem carga não exceda 350 Kg, excluída a massa das baterias no veículo eléctrico e com motor de cilindrada não superior a 50 cm3, no caso de motor de ignição comandada, ou cuja potência máxima não seja superior a 4 KW, no caso de outros motores de combustão interna ou de motor eléctrico; Pesado: veículo com motor de potência não superior a 15 KW e cuja massa sem carga, excluída a massa das baterias no caso de veículos eléctricos, não exceda 400 kg ou 550 kg, consoante se destine, respectivamente, ao transporte de passageiros ou de mercadorias.» Nesta classificação cabem os veículos de quatro rodas, que em tudo se assemelham a um automóvel, mas que podem ser conduzidos sem carta de condução – os “microcars” –, mas também os “moto4” que são parte integrante do catálogo de construtores de motos. Com esse fito, ao analisarmos a evolução de matrículas novas constatamos que a evolução é positiva até 2001, voltando-o novamente a ser depois de 2004. Aliás, note-se bem que de 2005 para 2006 o salto é de quase 36%. Indo de encontro ao detalhe dos registos, deparamo-nos com duas realidades que se aproximam. Se por um lado, os sete principais fornecedores de quadricilos são construtores de motos (logo são os “quads” a dominar esta categoria), quem, de facto, tem incrementado a taxa de crescimento das vendas é a indústria de quadriciclos “com capota”. O que desvirtua, em parte, este estudo, já que, em última instância, são viaturas com naturezas completamente distintas. Todavia, é claramente uma pista a ser seguida com toda a atenção.

    Distribuição do parque Segurado de MOTOCICLOS por Distritos
    Segundo os valores reportados pelas Seguradoras ao Instituto de Seguros de Portugal (Ministério das Finanças), esta contabilização manifesta tendência crescente, ainda que ligeira. Esta análise não manifesta, pois, correlação directa com as anteriormente apresentadas uma vez que:
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com matrícula;
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com seguro (código da empresa de seguro correcto);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data válida (AAAA-MM-DD);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data de início de seguro;
    • Nas circunstâncias em que existe mais do que um registo da mesma matrícula, apenas é considerado aquele cuja data de início é a mais recente (desde que inferior à data a que a informação se reporta);
    • Um registo apenas é considerado se a respectiva apólice se encontra em vigor na data a que diz respeito;
    • Todos os registos que se encontrem nas condições descritas, mas que não tenham devidamente preenchido o código de concelho e/ou o código de categoria. O ISP optou por considerá-los nas categorias “Desconhecido” e “Outros” respectivamente.

    Com a tabela seguinte podemos aquilatar a dispersão geográfica dos motociclos em Portugal. Há, logicamente, uma forte concentração junto dos grandes perímetros urbanos, sendo mais reduzida à medida que nos aproximamos de zonas eminentemente rurais. Porém, uma curiosidade: Faro é o distrito com mais motos por cada cem mil habitantes. O que lhe confere autoridade moral/nacional para realizar a maior concentração de motos da Europa. O distrito com menos motos per capita é Castelo Branco, logo seguido do Porto. Lisboa apresenta uma correspondência com a média verificada.

    Evolução do Mercado Europeu
    Na União Europeia (Europa dos 15), em sete anos, venderam-se perto de 8,5 milhões de motos, sendo que 2000 foi o melhor ano comercial. Em 2002, os valores bateram no fundo da tabela (tal como em Portugal), e daí para cá a evolução tem sido positiva. Ainda não estão disponíveis os dados 2006, mas crê-se que a tendência se terá mantido. Para a República Checa, Estónia e Lituânia, as taxas de crescimento são de três dígitos. Para os restantes países, os dados são esparsos e, por isso mesmo, inconclusivos. Refira-se, no entanto, que o primeiro deles aplica aos motociclos as menores cargas fiscais de toda a Europa, tendo inclusive, prémios de seguros com custos extremamente reduzidos (cerca de 10€). Não admira, pois, que se assista ao despontar da democratização deste produto naquele mercado. Em termos absolutos, a UE apresenta um conjunto de seis países que, por razões demográficas, mas também sócio-culturais, lideram o ranking de vendas de motociclos na região: Itália, Alemanha, França, Reino Unido, Espanha e Grécia. Excepção feita à Alemanha e à vizinha Espanha, todos os outros apresentaram evolução positiva entre o início e o fim do período em análise. Comparando a tendência da UE com Portugal, o auge das vendas ocorreu em 2000 (e não em 1999 como cá), tendo o volume global decrescido continuamente até 2002. A inversão de tendências acontece precisamente neste ponto. A partir de 2003, a UE inicia a recuperação e Portugal permanece em queda, abandonando a orientação do conjunto; circunstância que se deverá verificar até 2006 (apesar de, como já mencionado, os dados oficiais ainda não estarem disponíveis). A extinção da nossa indústria de motociclos, a própria mutação dos interesses pessoais dos consumidores, a falta de incentivos fiscais para aquisição e obtenção de licença de condução, e os sucessivos aumentos do IVA serão, genericamente, as razões que conduziram Portugal a este cenário marginal, quando comparado com o que acontece no restante continente europeu. Refira-se igualmente como causas as restrições legislativas, o desacompanhamento e despromoção do conceito e seus benefícios a nível institucional (poder político) e a insensibilidade das seguradoras, a par com as políticas comerciais brandas e pouco efectivas de fabricantes e importadores.

    Perante a realidade em apreço, dois aspectos se nos afiguram evidentes: o sector está em crise e a China está a conquistar quota de mercado. A aposta chinesa não é na inovação nem na qualidade, mas, antes, na melhor relação qualidade/preço. Os seus produtos destinam-se ao segmento das motos de baixa cilindrada, onde a simplicidade mecânica e a estética parcimoniosa, aliadas a uma economia de escala com mão-de-obra barata, permitem reduzir drasticamente os custos de produção a favor de um preço final muito competitivo. Por outro lado, estes dados mostram-nos que no nosso país há uma vastíssima carteira de clientes interessada em motos com baixo custo de aquisição e manutenção. São as pessoas que necessitam de moto para, diariamente, se deslocarem dentro das cidades (onde o aumento da mobilidade e a poupança financeira são benefícios efectivos e imediatos). Ou que, a ser na província, as pessoas mais não precisam do que um veículo com motor até 250cc, para pequenos trajectos ao longo desse “Portugal Rural”. No fundo, esse é o nosso mercado tradicional.
    Sempre existiu, desde a época das fábricas de motorizadas no norte do país até aos nossos dias a adopção de medidas de incentivo – como aquela preconizada na directiva comunitária 125cc/Carta B, onde condutores de automóveis ligeiros estariam habilitados a conduzir motociclos até 125cc – poderiam deflagrar uma definitiva retoma do sector. Até porque, uma observação mais atenta do quotidiano revela-nos que não está a acontecer uma renovação da classe motociclista. Na prática, este grupo está, todos os anos, um ano mais velho. Não há uma nova geração a entrar no meio. Com a crise que se alastra no ramo, não são só os departamentos comerciais de revendedores e concessionários de motos que acabam por ser afectados. É-o toda uma indústria, desde os fabricantes de acessórios, vestuário e componentes mecânicos até aos serviços técnicos – quase sempre dependentes de um concessionário oficial ou revendedor. Quanto menor o número de unidades comercializadas, menor será o número de intervenções de reparação e manutenção a serem requisitadas. Pelo que, a não inversão da tendência de queda, irá deixar lentamente uma marca incómoda nos tecidos económico e social, pois não é só o plano macro-económico que perde o contributo deste sector, mas a própria micro-economia é posta à prova, seja através de mão-de-obra excedentária, ou de crédito malparado, ou até mesmo de processos de falência e contencioso. Sob um outro prisma, com a escalada do preço do petróleo, e com a necessidade de reduzir as emissões poluentes para a atmosfera, a utilização de motos como meio de transporte, sobretudo em centros urbanos, seria – à semelhança do que acontece pela Europa fora – uma opção natural com benefícios colectivos, longe de serem, de todo, despiciendos.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para REVISTA ANECRA, uma publicação da ANECRA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 392 90 30.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

    Nº64 MOTO REPORT Abril 2007

    O tuning das motos, tal como o dos carros, cativa quem o faz e quem o vê. Nos automóveis, os modelos sofrem “restylings”, grosso modo, a cada três anos, mas nos ciclomotores os intervalos de tempo são mais espaçados. As pessoas vão-se cansando de ver os mesmos modelos, durante anos a fio, sem alterações. Esse cansaço acumulado – de ver sempre a mesma coisa – começa então a disseminar-se um pouco por toda a parte e os utilizadores resolvem, eles próprios, iniciar um qualquer processo de transformação da sua moto. Se, por um lado, existe algum constrangimento financeiro, por outro acaba por ser ele, muitas vezes, o impulsionador para se tomar a decisão de “quitar” a motinha actual ao invés de comprar uma nova mais potente. Perde um sector do mercado mas ganha outro, o dedicado ao fornecimento de componentes de tuning. Como desafio até se torna interessante fazer com que uma “cinquenta” pareça tão bem decorada e tão desenvolta quanto uma “125”. Saiba este sector adaptar-se às novas realidades e nunca há-de morrer.

    Desde finais dos anos 90 que há um declínio geral do mercado, qualquer que seja a cilindrada. A legislação não ajudou, os incentivos desapareceram, os seguros agravaram-se e a sociedade adquiriu novos hábitos. Hoje, até as bicicletas estão em declínio. As que circulam por aí são modelos de topo de gama, compradas por gente adulta que as usa ao fim-de-semana para passear calmamente ou fazer BTT. Já não vemos crianças a andar de bicicleta naturalmente. É-lhes simplesmente vedada a oportunidade de se iniciarem nesse mundo das duas rodas. Há 30 atrás, a primeira bicicleta na vida das crianças surgia por volta dos três ou quatro anos de idade. Hoje em dia, se uma criança recebe a primeira bicicleta, na melhor das hipóteses, aos 11 ou 12 anos, dificilmente irá desenvolver daí o hobby, porque já teve um percurso anterior que a impede de apreciar e dedicar atenção àquele veículo, muito menos às motos e ao seu tuning. Quando tentámos aquilatar a faixa etária dos entusiastas deste tipo muito específico de actividade, Jorge Custódio, da Motoclasse, é peremptório na sua resposta: “Infelizmente são só pessoas a partir dos 17 anos.” Explica: “Aquela faixa etária dos 13 aos 17 anos, que dantes tinha muita «pica» pelas motos, que tantas vezes se iniciava nas scooters e evoluía mais tarde para uma moto com mudanças, está a desaparecer. Por razões sociais, que vão desde a gestão das prioridades familiares, ao mito de que as motos são perigosas, etc. Muitas vezes os adolescentes estão trancados em casa
    com outro tipo de actividades. Já os jovens a partir dos 18 anos, como alguns trabalham, têm mais disponibilidade financeira para desenvolverem o seu gosto pelo tuning.” E de facto esta conclusão é reveladora da importância que esta actividade tem para o sector, como, aliás, mais adiante desenvolve: “O tuning das cinquentas promove todo o sector, porque é um gosto que se cria, se desenvolve e se desmultiplica para os outros segmentos do mercado das motos, acompanhando a evolução desde a fase da adolescência até à vida adulta dos motociclistas. O que move o nosso ramo, a nível geral, são as 50cc e as 125cc. São o embrião de um gosto pessoal que perdurará e consequentemente promovem um sector inteiro a vários níveis (comércio de peças, vestuário, oficinas, eventos, etc.). Estas motos, de tão simples que são, quase que nos ensinam a andar... e a cair, o que também é importante. São o ritual de iniciação, sem o qual existirão cada vez menos motociclistas.” Habitualmente, os modelos favoritos para o tuning são, em scooters, as Yamaha Aerox e BWS, as Gilera Typhoon, Runner e NRG. Se falarmos de motos com mudanças, as mais populares são a Yamaha DT (embora as novas versões não sejam tão afamadas como as anteriores em termos de fiabilidade), as Honda CRM e NSR, Aprilia RX e RS50 Xtrema e a Suzuki RMX. Na classe 125cc, as rainhas são a Yamaha DTR e Honda NSR.

    Transformar a estética ou a mecânica?
    As duas coisas. Pela estética é mais fácil e o resultado mais imediato. Este tuning é cada vez mais ousado e acaba por conferir uma certa graça aos modelos que todos conhecemos, se bem que por vezes a transformação acaba por roçar o espampanante. Quanto ao tuning de potência, sempre existiu e a “malta” mais radical – que tem sempre uma costela a puxar para a competição – acaba, na medida das suas possibilidades, por se aventurar a “mexer” na mecânica. Aqui convém frisar que existe sempre um compromisso entre prestações e durabilidade. Os motores são conce