Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

UPDATES:





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


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



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








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

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







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

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

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

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Enjoying Manitoba's Bounty - but no Raw Milk        
    Sometimes there are perks to being a food blogger, even though I don't have a large audience (yet?). I received a personal invitation to the Manitoba Food Producers' Association's Christmas reception. The MFPA represents many of Manitoba's local food producers, and as an avowed locavore and champion of local groceries, of course I was pleased to attend.

    Aside from the delicious, locally-made food I was bound to find there (and which did not disappoint), I was particularly interested in speaking with a few people. I was glad to find the Buy Manitoba representatives at their station: Megan and Gemma are lovely ladies who were happy to explain things to me. There have been some rumblings among the Manitoba Food Bloggers and others about the generous definition of local that Buy Manitoba uses - apparently it extends to soft drinks bottled in the province by multinational companies, and to Safeway eggs which might come from any of four provinces in a given carton. I am hopeful that somebody from Buy Manitoba will respond and tell us how Coke is a local producer.

    I have to say, though, that pretty much everything I saw at the Caboto Centre that night was definitely locally made. Cakes from Gunn's and Jeanne's, delightful northern pike cooked on the spot, Bothwell cheeses, locally made samosas and sausages. I even found Manitoba birch syrup, which I can't wait to get and try.

    I somehow missed Constance Popp's chocolates, which makes me very sad. All I can think of is that she must have got there after I left, which was pretty early as I had to go see my sons sing and dance (ah, the things we do for love. They were wonderful, though).

    I had some very interesting conversations with the representatives of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Intiatives - in particular, their Food Safety people. I asked them what they thought about the illegality of raw milk in this province, and I got a remarkable range of responses (all off the record, I should add). One person told me she was completely against legalising raw milk, and that in her opinion people shouldn't be able to buy raw meat, either. Another representative referred me to the movie "Forks Over Knives", which espouses a vegan diet. A third was more supportive of the availability of raw milk to adults, but was understandably concerned about the dangers of trying to introduce it into a mass market. We agreed that maybe farm gates sales would be safest, as well as some serious labelling and education. Both of the latter two mentioned (and promptly emailed to me the next day as promised) some reports that have recently surfaced in Indiana - a FAQ sheet from Purdue University, and a report prepared by the Indiana Board of Animal Health for Indiana legislators. While both of them express trepidation about possible health issues, it is clear that the debate is far from over.

    What do you think, should Coke that is bottled in this province be considered locally made? And should we be able to buy raw milk at the farm gate, if it is accompanied by a fact sheet on how to use it safely? Or should we ban raw meat, too?

    Let me know what you think!
              Rumours of the death of multinational tax avoidance are greatly exaggerated        
    Michael West, University of Sydney The Australian government took out newspaper ads earlier this month boasting of unequivocal victory in the fight against multinational tax avoidance. It is no small irony that taxpayers have forked out for this bald-faced lie. “Multinational corporations earning Australian dollars now pay their fair share of Australian tax,” decreed the […]
              What have HMRC got to hide? About £90bn in lost tax.        
    Why are HMRC so reluctant to tell us how they work out their 'official' figure for the tax gap?

    The latest figure they released this week has it at £35bn. An astronomical figure I'm sure you'll agree - when you think that this is the amount that goes uncollected every year in taxes because of evasion, avoidance or HMRC just being too damned stretched to collect what's owed. However, if I was to tell you that tax experts at the tax justice network reckon this figure is grossly underestimated and that the real figure is actually ooh not just twice, not even just thrice but almost four times this figure then you get the picture.

    It's a pretty ugly picture when you think of all the cuts being made to public services in the name of reducing the deficit. There is over £120bn out there that our economy is losing out on, largely because of wealthy individuals and multinationals companies are exploiting the system and are being allowed to get away without paying their fair share.

    Bet who's right about the figure? Well, while the tax justice network have published how they arrived at their figure, it's difficult to say with any certainty how HMRC arrived at theirs' because they simply refuse to share their workings out. As any Maths teacher will tell you, it's important to show your workings to prove you haven't just arrived at your answer by mere chance or guess work.

    Until HMRC share their methodology, I'm inclined to believe the independent experts who've set out why HMRC have got the tax gap wrong. But whatever the true figure, the scandal of massive tax dodging by the wealthy while the rest of us are expected to tighten our belts so much we've run out of notches continues.
              EEAS 2.0 - A legal commentary on Council Decision 2010/427/EU establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service - by         

    The European External Action Service (EEAS) was established by a Council decision in July 2010. As part of this decision there will be a major review of the EEAS in mid 2013. This working paper aims offers a detailed legal commentary on the Council decision. Not only is it the first of its kind but it is intended to be user-friendly and to appeal to a broad audience. The commentary has been produced by an independent, multinational and multidisciplinary team of scholars. It should be noted that future work will concentrate on making more specific recommendations, where relevant.

    Editors: Steven Blockmans & Christophe Hillion
    Contributors : Steven Blockmans | Marise Cremona| Deirdre Curtin Geert De Baere | Simon Duke | Christina Eckes Christophe Hillion | Bart Van Vooren | Ramses Wessel | Jan Wouters


              Yeast Infection - Natural Cures Your Doctor Doesn't Know About        
    Have you ever wondered about the fact your doctor only ever hands over products made by pharmaceutical companies when you visit him with a health problem? How did we ever survive before these multinational corporations existed to supply us with their chemical remedies? With so many of us suffering from yeast infections these days you have to wonder how the condition was dealt in days gone by. You would have to imagine that every woman on earth must have been constantly enduring a yeast infection.
              Waarom werken bij een grote corporate je reislust niet in de weg hoeft te staan        

    De eigenaar van My Wanderlust Diary, Linda Hoekstra (30), is...

    Het bericht Waarom werken bij een grote corporate je reislust niet in de weg hoeft te staan verscheen eerst op Vance.


              [news] ERP in China        
    Monday, July 12, 2004
    Dateline: China
     
    In this posting, I'd like to address something that is seemingly a bit mundane:  ERP in China. 
     
    Two articles in the current issue of the Communications of the ACM (CACM) caught my eye.  The first, titled "Why Western Vendors Don't Dominate China's ERP Market" is a good read.  (See http://tinyurl.com/27w9d .)  After reading this article, it's safe to say that Bamboo Networks (especially with their .NET ERP solution, which is something even Microsoft doesn't have), Kingdee, UFSoft and a few other domestic ERP vendors don't have much to fear from the "globals" -- although SAP and Oracle collectively hold about 25% of the market, which isn't bad.  Textbook blunders on the part of (mostly American) software vendors.  To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/28eat .
     
    The other article is titled, "ERP in China: One Package, Two Profiles."  (See http://tinyurl.com/2r45p .)  According to this paper, more than 1,000 Chinese sites had an ERP system by the end of 2001, costing billions of dollars.  Nearly 300 were on SAP.  (The figures differ slightly from the above cited CACM paper.)  ERP sales in China are projected to triple in five years from a US$1 billion base in 2002.  (Note:  I'm not sure if the author meant through 2007 or 2009.)  A good quote regarding partnering opportunities:  "With China's accession to the World Trade Organization, many multinational enterprises are rushing to establish operations in China and/or interact with Chinese business partners."  (My emphasis.)  For those on this list attempting to attract foreign direct investment, read the part which says, "establish operations in China."
     
    The paper noted that although ERP projects in China rarely hit even ECO/ECN-adjusted delivery schedules, they rarely exceed the planned budget.  (In contrast to the States where ERP is almost always late AND over budget.  In the States, taking on an ERP project is akin to playing Russian Roulette.)  The article goes on to mention eight differences between ERP projects in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private ventures.  The findings demonstrate that when it comes to ERP projects, private ventures in China are very similar to private ventures in the States.  SOEs act like, well, SOEs:  Bureaucratic nightmares galore.  To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/2eve2 .
     
    There is another good article in the July issue of CACM:  "Demystifying Integration," which includes a listing of and brief take on dozens of domain-independent and -dependent standards and specifications for application integration.  Good stuff for a systems integrator.  To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/3ysvx .
     
    Tidbits on Enterprise Software
     
    What does the CEO of a systems integrator dream about?  How about being one of the first companies to partner with a BEA or Siebel?  (When I thought about this, all choices seemed rather awful!!  )
     
    Need some help finding the next BEA?  Turn to the AlwaysOn Network 100.  For perspective, see http://tinyurl.com/23p3u .  Last year's winners included several companies that IPO'd (including Salesforce.com, Opera), companies in line to IPO (including Google, RightNow) and several other hot companies.  Frankly, their record so far is the best I've seen (albeit it's still a bit too early to draw any firm conclusions).  For a listing of this year's winners (to be announced this upcoming week at Stanford -- Go Cardinal!), see http://tinyurl.com/25j9s .  If I had the time (which I don't), I'd go through this list with a fine-tooth comb.  IMHO, it's better than the listing of presenters at Enterprise Outlook or DEMO ... although the DEMO companies are a lot more fun!!.
     
    Another list worth reviewing is Forrester's selection of the best Web design firms.  (See http://tinyurl.com/3bq5z .)  Critical Mass, AGENCY.COM and SBI.Razorfish take top honors.  Everyone tends to look toward the top 500 systems integrators in the States for partnering opportunities.  However, don't discount the elite among the U.S. Web design firms.  Many compete in an extremely cost conscious environment where much less expensive Java programming from a partner in China could be a win-win for all three parties:  The SI in China, the Web design firm in the States, and the U.S. client.
     
    Cheers,
     
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
     
    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
     

              77% of IoT Professionals see Interoperability as the biggest challenge facing IoT        

    After surveying hundreds of multinational corporations, start-ups and SMEs in the space, IoT Nexus found that 77% of respondents saw interoperability as the biggest challenge facing the internet of things.

    (PRWeb February 24, 2015)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12540050.htm


              Rome, Inc.        

    This book is the turkish translation of Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation published by W.W. Norton. From the backcover of the English original:

    "A family business prospers through a series of brutal consolidations and rational growth. Then senseless internal conflicts lead to a long line of demented CEOs, monumental expansion, and foolish diversification—at a high cost in shattered lives. In the end, a series of reverse takeovers leaves the once-proud but now overextended and corrupt parent company at the mercy of less-civilized operations that previously cringed at the grandeur of the corporate brand.

    Enron? WorldCom? Try Rome, whose rise and fall carry a moral that lingers to this day for the managers, employees, and students of any global enterprise. Stanley Bing—whose satirical business books are as savagely funny as they are insightful—mingles business parable and cautionary tale into an ingenious, often hilarious new telling of the story of the Roman Empire."

     

    English
    Türkçe17313,5 x 20 cm.1st print189786059389198The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation
  • KATEGORÄ°:History
  • Kasım 2016
  • ÇEVÄ°REN:Rana Alpöz

  •           Air Forces Take to the Skies        
    State-of-the-art RAF Typhoons and French Air Force Mirages were involved in the air component of Exercise Joint Warrior, a twice-yearly, multinational, tri-service military exercise, one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. This year is the first time it has been commanded by a joint team of French and British air commanders, a move that paves the way for continued co-operation and training at a high strategic level. RAF commander Group Captain Johnny Stringer said: “This i...
              La toile sous toutes ses formes        
    Internet est aujourd’hui un outil incontournable dans la vie de tous les jours, que ce soit pour un salarié, une entreprise ou une multinationale. La toile offre en effet une plateforme de communication incontournable. Le blog Cyberaccess vous propose divers sujets tournant autour de l’internet. Des sujets divers sur internet La toile regorge de services […]
              Virtual Experienced Partner Enablement Program Manager        
    Multinational conglomerate corporation is filling a position for a Virtual Experienced Partner Enablement Program Manager. Individual must be able to fulfill the following responsibilities: Facilitate the design, construction, and conversion of learning content into structured, self-paced Learning Journeys Lead learning journey development projects through the design lifecycle Curate and design learning journeys that align with the needs of our partner ecosystem & channels Applicants must meet the following qualifications: Must be willing to travel 25% Undergraduate degree from an accredited university 3 years' experience in a training and/or certification organization with a working knowledge of curriculum development, training, and certification processes 3 years' experience with CRM, LMS and CMS 2 years marketing / events experience 1 years' experience coordinating certification and training operations
              Tugas Etika Bisnis (Jurnal Etika Bisnis)        


    International business ethics: strategies and responsibilities
    Iraj Mahdavi,
    National University
    ABSTRACT

    This paper examines the importance of global ethical business responsibilities. The recent public scandals of corporate malfeasance have heightened this need and organizations face numerous ethical issues. Strategies such as codes of conduct, developed by various international entities, can guide multinational corporations in this effort. The authors also analyze various ethical climate and ethical problems.  Author concludes that a global code of ethics, developed and enforced by an international agreement is the best means of bringing ethics to international businesses.

    Key Words: Business Ethics, Global business, International Organizations
    INTRODUCTION

    Importance of ethics in the business world is superlative and global. New trends and issues arise on a daily basis which may create an important burden to organizations and endconsumers. Nowadays, the need for proper ethical behavior within organizations has become crucial to avoid possible lawsuits. The public scandals of corporate malfeasance and misleading practices, have affected the public perception of many organizations (e. g., Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom etc.). It is widely known that advertising does not promote the advancement of human moral sensibility. Lasch’s contention (1978: 1) that modern advertising “Seeks to create needs, not to fulfill them: to generate new anxieties instead of allaying old ones. . . It addresses itself to the spiritual desolation of modern life and proposes consumption as the cure” seems to still be true.

    The recent expansion of global business and fall of trade barriers worldwide have further underlined the interest in the topics of ethical behavior and social responsibility (See among others, Jones, 1991: 366-395). In addition, as many scholars believe, human rights and environmental conservation are gaining increasing more recognition in both academic and commercial settings.

    As multinational companies expand globally and enter foreign markets, ethical conduct of the officers and employees assume added importance since the very cultural diversity associated with such expansion may undermine the much shared cultural and ethical values observable in the mores homogeneous organizations (Mahdavi, 2001). Although understanding of other cultures and recognition of differences among them will enhance the cross-cultural communication, it may not be sufficient to provide viable guidelines of proper ethical behavior in organizations. Thus, concerns about unethical behavior of corporations in other countries, are manifested in legislations such as The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, and the Sarbane- Oxley Act of 2002. In the academic arena, on the other hand, the culture-based consequentiality model is developed to explain, among other things, how cultural differences alter the ethical perception and actions of individuals engaged in making decisions with ethical overtones (Robertson and Fadil, 1999: 385-392).

    Turnen-Red and Woodland (2001:61) stated:
    "Through the post-World War II period international trade policy reform has seldom been absent from the mind of policy-makers. The formation of General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as a forum for the discussion of international trade and policy issues and the resolution of disputes, and as a sponsor of regular rounds of multilateral negotiations leading to a substantial drop in the average level of tariff protection, has ensured the trade policy issues have retained currency. More recently, there has been considerable focus on bilateral and regional trade agreements with the expansion of the customs union of the European Community and the advent of organizations such as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Mercusor. Nevertheless, cooperative trade policy remains an important part of the international landscape”

    Wimbush and Shephard (1984: 637-647) reported that businesses annually spend an estimated $40 billion on the ethical behavior problems. Thus, pointing to the fact that ethical dimension of employees’ behavior has a clear impact on the profitability of the company. In order to improve the ethical climate of an organization, management must effectively communicate proper ethical behavior throughout the organization. Training sessions, codes of ethics, reward systems, and coaching are a few methods that organizations employ in this regard (Delaney and Sockell, 1992:719-727; Laczniak and Indemeden, 1987: 297-307; Jansen and Von Glinow, 1985: 814-822).

    Therefore, the problems that organizations face today are: How ethical values are communicated most effectively to employees? Which communication channel works best? American business in spite of all of its faults and weaknesses, still form a key model for much of the world. An important force in disseminating the American style of management is the role of the U.S. as the world’s largest manufacturer of contemporary culture. Moreover, many researchers have pointed to the significant role that the American business schools play in propagating the U.S. style of management throughout the world. (See Mahdavi, 2001; and Nimgade, 1989:104, among others)

    Morf (1999: 265) believes: “Ethics is the moral principle that individuals inject into their decision making process and that helps temper the last outcome to conform to the norms of their society”. Moreover, ethical principles have the very profound function of making behavior predictable (Mahdavi, 2003). The truly global companies must come to grips with the legal and moral atmosphere in which they operate. But above all, they need to establish an environment that fosters ethical behavior, because in the final analysis to do otherwise cuts into their profitability.

    In contrast to this view a group of scholars put forth the theory of Virtuous Ethics, which is defined as a theory that focuses mainly on an individual's moral character. According to these scholars, marketing researchers have paid little attention to virtuous ethics. Furthermore, they propose that without taking virtuous ethics into account, a comprehensive analysis of the ethical character of marketing decision makers and their strategies cannot be attained.

    ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

    Getz (1990: 567-577) analyzed international codes of conduct in four entities: (1) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is the primary policymaker for industrialized nations, (2) the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which is concerned with fair treatment among multinational corporations, (3) the International Labor Organization (ILO), which is concerned with direct investment in developing countries, and (4) the Center for Transnational Corporations (CTC), whose objective is to maximize the contributions of transnational corporations to economic development and growth and to minimize the negative effects of the activities of these corporations.

    These various codes were developed in order to establish order among multinational corporations; although, some organizations refuse to abide by these codes, mainly because national governments have not sanctioned them completely. Without uniform and full enforcement, multinational organizations could have rampant choice in international ethical issues. Underlying this lack of consensus is the issue of national as well as corporate culture (See Hofstede, 1980: 46-47). Every nation is different and every multinational organization is in one way or another distinct in the way they do business, especially in other countries.

    In addition to these codes, the moral corporation should address human rights and whistle blowing and the international ethics code under which it operates. These issues are not very new. In a survey of 300 multinational corporations, 80 percent agreed with seven items being ethical issues for business: (1) employee conflict of interest, (2) inappropriate gifts to corporate personnel, (3) sexual harassment, (4) unauthorized payments, (5) affirmative action (6) employee privacy; and (7) environmental issues (Brooks, 1989; Berenheim, 1987, 1989: 117-129).

    ETHICAL CLIMATE & ETHICAL PROBLEMS

    Strategies, such as these codes of ethics, are only one means of achieving the ultimate goal of having ethical international responsibility in the engagement of business worldwide. As stated above, there are many ethical responsibilities faced by multinational organizations. Theorists generally agree that situational variables such as organizational climate can affect ethical behavior of individuals (Kelly et al., 1989: 327-340). However, there have been no attempts to study the relationship of ethical climate of an organization and ethical behavior of its members.

    Ethical climate, it must be emphasized, is not the same as culture is commonly perceived, but rather a broader concept of culture (Schein, 1990, pp. 109-119). Culture is believed to be more associated with deeper beliefs, values and assumptions (Denison, 1996, pp. 619-654). Therefore, just as one can value an individual’s culture by his or her actions and personal activities, ethical climate can be observed on a larger scale; in this case, the organization. Ethical climate is, in essence, the employee’s perception of the norms of an organization (Bartels et al., 1998: 799-804).

    As Bartels and others have shown (1998:799-804), organizations with a strong ethical climate experienced few serious ethical problems, and were more successful coping with such problems. Their research suggests that it is imperative for managers to consider developing strong ethical climates if they aim to provide organizational members the ability to handle ethical dilemmas and to avoid any inherent liabilities. Managers must create and maintain a clear and strong set of norms to promote good ethical behavior.

    In this approach, a person’s own beliefs and values and their influence on his/her perception and behavior are not taken into account. Nonetheless, ethical climate is a very potent tool in steering the behavior of an organization’s members. As Mahdavi has shown (2003, 2005), an organization’s codes of ethics and enforcement of rules go a long way to control and direct behavior of social entities.

    Based on the above discussion, global corporations must recognize the need for a uniform code of business ethics since without such a code, behavior of actors in this arena remains unpredictable. Furthermore, national governments must realize that probably the most effective means of protecting their citizens, their national interests, and the global environment against the ravages of the over-reaching global business rest in the development, adoption and enforcement of such a code. Until then, it is not realistic to hope for any such international agreement to be adopted.

    However, a growing momentum for such a movement is observable. As stated in previous pages, international organizations, especially those involved in international business, finance, labor, economics and environment are developing rules and policies that can be regarded as the building blocks of a universal code of business ethics. Until such a uniform body of rules is drawn, signed and enforced, global corporations and organizations will be doing well to develop their own codes of conduct, applicable to all of their officers regardless of location.

    CONCLUSION

    Examination of the recent development in the international trade and the far-reaching expansion of global entities lead the authors of this paper to the inevitable conclusion that ethical issues and concerns facing business entities are no longer related to the limited frameworks of national or even regional arenas. These issues have assumed global dimensions and as such require global solutions.

    To that end, it is postulated that probably an international organization is the best vehicle through which a code of ethics covering all aspects of business can be developed. Once- on the basis of such a code- an international treaty is drafted, signed and ratified; it may be prudent to leave the implementation of the treaty to the member nations subject to regular audit by an independent international body. WTO may eventually take on this role.

    Meanwhile, global organizations need to develop and enforce their own codes of ethics specifically directed at the issues related to a multicultural, multinational business environment.


    Etika bisnis internasional: strategi dan tanggung jawab

    Iraj Mahdavi,

    Universitas Nasional

    ABSTRAK

    Makalah ini membahas pentingnya tanggung jawab global bisnis yang etis. Skandal publik baru-baru ini perusahaan telah meningkatkan penyimpangan kebutuhan ini dan organisasi menghadapi berbagai isu-isu etis. Strategi seperti kode etik, yang dikembangkan oleh berbagai badan internasional, bisa membimbing perusahaan-perusahaan multinasional dalam upaya ini. Para penulis juga menganalisis berbagai masalah etika iklim dan etika. Penulis menyimpulkan bahwa kode etik global, dikembangkan dan ditegakkan oleh perjanjian internasional adalah cara terbaik untuk membawa etika bisnis internasional.


    Kata Kunci: Etika Bisnis, bisnis global, Organisasi Internasional

    PENDAHULUAN

    Pentingnya etika dalam dunia bisnis adalah superlatif dan global. Tren baru dan masalah timbul setiap hari yang dapat membuat beban penting untuk organisasi dan endconsumers. Saat ini, kebutuhan untuk perilaku etis dalam organisasi telah menjadi penting untuk menghindari tuntutan hukum mungkin. Skandal publik dan praktik penyimpangan perusahaan menyesatkan, telah mempengaruhi persepsi publik dari banyak organisasi (misalnya, Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom dll).Hal ini secara luas diketahui bahwa iklan tidak mempromosikan kemajuan sensibilitas moral manusia. Contention Lasch (1978: 1) bahwa periklanan modern "Berusaha untuk menciptakan kebutuhan, bukan untuk memenuhi mereka: untuk menghasilkan kecemasan baru bukan yang lama menenangkan. . . Ini alamat sendiri untuk kehancuran spiritual dari kehidupan modern dan mengusulkan konsumsi sebagai obat yang "tampaknya masih benar.


    Ekspansi terbaru dari bisnis global dan jatuhnya seluruh dunia hambatan perdagangan telah lebih lanjut menggarisbawahi kepentingan dalam topik perilaku etis dan tanggung jawab sosial (Lihat antara lain, Jones 1991: 366-395). Selain itu, sebagai banyak sarjana percaya, hak asasi manusia dan konservasi lingkungan yang mendapatkan pengakuan lebih meningkat dalam pengaturan baik akademis dan komersial.


    Sebagai perusahaan multinasional berkembang secara global dan memasuki pasar asing, perilaku etis dari pejabat dan karyawan menganggap penting ditambahkan sejak keanekaragaman budaya yang terkait dengan ekspansi tersebut dapat merusak nilai-nilai budaya dan etika banyak berbagi diamati dalam organisasi adat istiadat homogen (Mahdavi, 2001). Meskipun pemahaman tentang budaya lain dan pengakuan perbedaan di antara mereka akan meningkatkan komunikasi lintas-budaya, hal itu mungkin tidak cukup untuk memberikan pedoman yang layak perilaku etis yang tepat dalam organisasi. Dengan demikian, kekhawatiran tentang perilaku tidak etis dari perusahaan di negara lain, yang diwujudkan dalam undang-undang seperti The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act tahun 1977, dan Sarbane-Oxley Act of 2002. Dalam arena akademis, di sisi lain, model consequentiality berbasis budaya dikembangkan untuk menjelaskan, antara lain, bagaimana perbedaan budaya mengubah persepsi etis dan tindakan-tindakan individu yang terlibat dalam membuat keputusan dengan nuansa etika (Robertson dan Fadil, 1999: 385-392).


    Turnen-Merah dan Woodland (2001:61) menyatakan:

    "Melalui pasca-Perang Dunia II periode Perang reformasi kebijakan perdagangan internasional jarang absen dari pikiran pembuat kebijakan Pembentukan Persetujuan Umum Tarif dan Perdagangan (GATT) sebagai forum untuk membahas perdagangan internasional dan isu-isu kebijakan dan. resolusi perselisihan, dan sebagai sponsor putaran reguler perundingan multilateral yang mengarah ke penurunan substansial dalam tingkat rata-rata proteksi tarif, telah memastikan isu-isu perdagangan kebijakan telah mempertahankan mata uang. Baru-baru ini, telah ada fokus besar pada bilateral dan regional perjanjian perdagangan dengan perluasan serikat pabean Masyarakat Eropa dan munculnya organisasi seperti Perjanjian Perdagangan Amerika Utara Gratis (NAFTA) dan Mercusor. Namun demikian, kebijakan perdagangan koperasi tetap merupakan bagian penting dari lanskap internasional "


    Wimbush dan Shephard (1984: 637-647) melaporkan bahwa usaha setiap tahunnya menghabiskan sekitar $ 40 miliar pada masalah perilaku etis. Dengan demikian, menunjuk pada fakta bahwa dimensi etika perilaku karyawan 'memiliki dampak yang jelas pada profitabilitas perusahaan. Dalam rangka memperbaiki iklim etis organisasi, manajemen efektif harus berkomunikasi perilaku etis yang tepat di seluruh organisasi. Sesi pelatihan, kode etik, sistem penghargaan, dan pelatihan adalah beberapa metode yang mempekerjakan organisasi dalam hal ini (Delaney dan Sockell, 1992:719-727; Laczniak dan Indemeden, 1987: 297-307; Jansen dan Von Glinow, 1985: 814-822).


    Oleh karena itu, masalah yang organisasi menghadapi hari ini adalah: Bagaimana nilai-nilai etika yang dikomunikasikan paling efektif untuk karyawan? Saluran komunikasi yang terbaik? Bisnis Amerika meskipun semua kesalahan dan kelemahan, masih berupa model kunci untuk sebagian besar dunia. Sebuah kekuatan penting dalam menyebarluaskan gaya manajemen Amerika adalah peran AS sebagai produsen terbesar di dunia budaya kontemporer. Selain itu, banyak peneliti telah menunjuk pada peran penting bahwa sekolah-sekolah bisnis Amerika bermain di US menyebarkan gaya manajemen di seluruh dunia. (Lihat Mahdavi, 2001; dan Nimgade, 1989:104, antara lain)


    Morf (1999: 265) berpendapat: "Etika adalah prinsip moral bahwa individu menyuntikkan ke dalam proses pengambilan keputusan mereka dan yang membantu marah hasil terakhir untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan norma-norma masyarakat mereka". Selain itu, prinsip-prinsip etika memiliki fungsi yang sangat mendalam untuk membuat perilaku diprediksi (Mahdavi, 2003). Perusahaan-perusahaan yang benar-benar global harus datang untuk mengatasi dengan suasana hukum dan moral di mana mereka beroperasi. Tetapi di atas semua, mereka perlu membangun suatu lingkungan yang mendorong perilaku etis, karena dalam analisis akhir untuk melakukan sebaliknya pemotongan ke dalam profitabilitas mereka.

    Berbeda dengan pandangan ini sekelompok ulama diajukan teori Etika budiman, yang didefinisikan sebagai sebuah teori yang berfokus terutama pada karakter moral individu. Menurut para ahli, peneliti pemasaran memiliki sedikit perhatian dengan etika berbudi luhur. Selain itu, mereka mengusulkan bahwa tanpa mengambil etika berbudi luhur ke rekening, analisis yang komprehensif dari karakter etis dari para pembuat keputusan pemasaran dan strategi mereka tidak dapat dicapai.


    MASALAH ETIKA DALAM BISNIS INTERNASIONAL


    Getz (1990: 567-577) menganalisis kode etik internasional dalam empat entitas: (1) Organisasi untuk Kerjasama Ekonomi dan Pembangunan (OECD), yang merupakan kebijakan utama untuk negara-negara industri, (2) International Chamber of Commerce (ICC ), yang berkaitan dengan perlakuan yang adil antara perusahaan multinasional, (3) Organisasi Buruh Internasional (ILO), yang berkaitan dengan investasi langsung di negara-negara berkembang, dan (4) Pusat Korporasi Transnasional (CTC), yang bertujuan untuk memaksimalkan kontribusi dari perusahaan-perusahaan transnasional untuk pembangunan ekonomi dan pertumbuhan dan untuk meminimalkan efek negatif dari kegiatan perusahaan-perusahaan.


    Kode-kode berbagai dikembangkan dalam rangka untuk menciptakan ketertiban di antara perusahaan multinasional, meskipun beberapa organisasi menolak untuk mematuhi kode ini, terutama karena pemerintah nasional tidak direstui mereka sepenuhnya. Tanpa penegakan seragam dan penuh, organisasi multinasional bisa punya pilihan merajalela dalam isu-isu etika internasional. Mendasari kurangnya konsensus adalah masalah nasional serta budaya perusahaan (Lihat Hofstede, 1980: 46-47). Setiap bangsa berbeda dan setiap organisasi multinasional dalam satu atau lain cara yang berbeda dalam cara mereka melakukan bisnis, terutama di negara-negara lain.


    Selain kode ini, korporasi moral yang harus menangani hak asasi manusia dan peluit ditiup dan kode etik internasional di mana ia beroperasi. Isu-isu ini tidak terlalu baru. Dalam sebuah survei terhadap 300 perusahaan multinasional, 80 persen setuju dengan tujuh item yang isu-isu etis bagi bisnis: (1) karyawan konflik kepentingan, (2) tidak pantas hadiah kepada personil perusahaan, (3) pelecehan seksual, (4) pembayaran yang tidak sah, ( 5) tindakan afirmatif (6) privasi karyawan, dan (7) isu-isu lingkungan (Brooks, 1989; Berenheim, 1987, 1989: 117-129).

    ETIKA IKLIM dan ETIKA MASALAH


    Strategi, seperti kode-kode etik, hanya satu cara untuk mencapai tujuan akhir memiliki tanggung jawab internasional etis dalam keterlibatan bisnis di seluruh dunia. Sebagaimana dinyatakan di atas, ada tanggung jawab etis yang dihadapi oleh organisasi multinasional. Teoretikus umumnya sepakat bahwa variabel situasional seperti iklim organisasi dapat mempengaruhi perilaku etis dari individu (Kelly et al, 1989:. 327-340). Namun, tidak ada upaya untuk mempelajari hubungan iklim etis organisasi dan perilaku etis dari anggotanya.


    Iklim etika, harus ditekankan, tidak sama sebagai budaya yang biasa dirasakan, melainkan konsep yang lebih luas budaya (Schein, 1990, hlm 109-119). Budaya diyakini lebih dikaitkan dengan keyakinan yang lebih dalam, nilai-nilai dan asumsi (Denison, 1996, hlm 619-654). Oleh karena itu, hanya sebagai salah satu dapat nilai budaya individu dengan tindakan-nya dan kegiatan pribadi, iklim etika dapat diamati pada skala yang lebih besar, dalam hal ini, organisasi. Iklim etika, pada dasarnya, persepsi karyawan terhadap norma-norma organisasi (Bartels et al, 1998:. 799-804).


    Sebagai Bartels dan lain-lain telah menunjukkan (1998:799-804), organisasi dengan iklim etika yang kuat mengalami beberapa masalah etis yang serius, dan lebih berhasil mengatasi masalah tersebut. Penelitian mereka menunjukkan bahwa sangat penting bagi manajer untuk mempertimbangkan pengembangan iklim etika yang kuat jika mereka bertujuan untuk memberikan anggota organisasi kemampuan untuk menangani dilema etika dan untuk menghindari kewajiban yang melekat.Manajer harus menciptakan dan memelihara satu set yang jelas dan kuat dari norma-norma untuk mempromosikan perilaku etika yang bagus.


    Dalam pendekatan ini, kepercayaan sendiri seseorang dan nilai-nilai dan pengaruh mereka pada / persepsi dan perilaku yang tidak diperhitungkan. Meskipun demikian, iklim etika adalah alat yang sangat ampuh dalam kemudi perilaku anggota organisasi. Seperti telah menunjukkan Mahdavi (2003, 2005), kode organisasi etika dan penegakan aturan pergi jauh untuk mengontrol dan mengarahkan tingkah laku entitas sosial.


    Berdasarkan pembahasan di atas, perusahaan global harus menyadari kebutuhan untuk kode seragam etika bisnis karena tanpa kode tersebut, perilaku aktor dalam arena ini tetap tak terduga. Selanjutnya, pemerintah nasional harus menyadari bahwa mungkin yang paling efektif cara melindungi warga negara mereka, kepentingan nasional mereka, dan lingkungan global terhadap kerusakan akibat sisa-mencapai bisnis melalui global dalam adopsi, pengembangan dan penegakan kode tersebut. Sampai saat itu, tidak realistis untuk berharap perjanjian internasional seperti untuk diadopsi.


    Namun, sebuah momentum yang berkembang untuk gerakan semacam itu diamati.Seperti disebutkan dalam halaman-halaman sebelumnya, organisasi internasional, terutama mereka yang terlibat dalam bisnis internasional, keuangan, tenaga kerja, ekonomi dan lingkungan sedang mengembangkan aturan dan kebijakan yang dapat dianggap sebagai blok bangunan dari kode universal etika bisnis. Sampai seperti tubuh seragam aturan dibuat, ditandatangani dan diberlakukan, perusahaan global dan organisasi akan melakukan dengan baik untuk mengembangkan kode etik mereka sendiri, berlaku untuk semua perwira mereka terlepas dari lokasi.


    KESIMPULAN

    Pemeriksaan perkembangan terbaru dalam perdagangan internasional dan ekspansi jauh dari entitas global yang memimpin penulis kertas ini ke kesimpulan yang tak terelakkan bahwa isu-isu etika dan keprihatinan yang dihadapi entitas bisnis tidak lagi terkait dengan kerangka kerja terbatas arena nasional atau bahkan regional . Isu-isu ini telah diasumsikan dimensi global dan dengan demikian memerlukan solusi global.


    Untuk itu, ia menduga bahwa mungkin sebuah organisasi internasional merupakan kendaraan terbaik melalui mana kode etik yang mencakup semua aspek bisnis dapat dikembangkan. Sekali-atas dasar seperti kode perjanjian internasional disusun, menandatangani dan meratifikasi, mungkin bijaksana untuk meninggalkan pelaksanaan perjanjian dengan subjek negara anggota untuk melakukan audit berkala oleh badan internasional yang independen. WTO akhirnya dapat mengambil peran ini.


    Sementara itu, organisasi global perlu mengembangkan dan menegakkan kode etik mereka sendiri secara khusus ditujukan pada isu-isu terkait dengan lingkungan bisnis multikultural multinasional.

    REFERENCES

    Bartels L.K. et al.: 1998, “The Relationship between Ethical Climate and Ethical Problems within Human Resource Management”, Journal of Business Ethics 17, 799-804.
    Berenheim, R.E.: 1987, “Corporate Ethics”, (The Conference Board, Inc., New York).
    Berenbeim, R. E.: 1989, “Corporate Ethics”, (Random House, New York).
    Brooks, L.J.: 1989, “Corporate Codes of Ethics”, Journal of Business Ethics 8, 117-129.
    Delaney, J. T. and D. Sockell: 1992, “Do Company Ethics Training Programs Make a Difference? An Empirical Analysis”, Journal of Business Ethics 11, 719-727.
    Denison, D. R.: 1996, “What is the Difference between Organizational Culture and Organizational Climate? A Native’s Point of View on a Decade of Paradigm Wars”, Academy of Management Review 21(3), 619-654.
    Getz, K.A.: 1990, “International Codes of Conduct: An Analysis of Ethical Reasoning”, Journal of Business Ethics 9, 567-577.
    Hofstede, G.: 1980, “Culture's Consequences”, (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA).
    Jansen, E. and M. A. VonGlinow: 1985, “Ethical Ambivalence and Organizational Reward Systems”, Academy of Management Review 10(4), 814-822.
    Jones, T.: 1991, “Ethical Decision Making by Individuals in Organizations; An issue-contingent
    Model”, Academy of Management Review 16(2), 366-395.
    Kelly, S. W., S. J. Skinner and O. D. Ferrell: 1989, “Opportunistic Behavior in Marketing Research Organizations”, Journal of Business Research 18, 327-340.
    Laczniak, G. R. and E. J. Inderrieden: 1987, “The Influence of Stated Organizational Concern
    upon Ethical Decision Making”, Journal of Business Ethics 6, 297-307.
    Lasch, C.: 1978, “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations”, (Norton, NY).
    Mahdavi, Iraj: 2001 â€œAmerican Business Education and Transfer of Culture”, Journal of American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Fall 2001
    Mahdavi, Iraj: 2003, “Ethical Growth: Do business Ethical Attitudes mature as individuals Get Older?” Proceedings of the International Business Association, Conference, 2003.
    Mahdavi, Iraj: 2005, â€œOrigins of Business Ethical Behavior”, Proceedings of International Business Association Conference, 2005.
    Morf, Duffy A., Schumacher, Michael G., and Vitell, Scott J.: “A Survey of Ethics Officers in Large Organizations”, Journal of Business Ethics 20, 265-271: 1999.
    Nimgade, Ashok: “American Management as Viewed by International Professionals”, Business Horizons, November-December, 1989, Pgs. 98-105.
    Robertson, C. and P. A. Fadil: 1999, “Ethical Decision Making in Multinational Organizations: A Culture-Based Model”, Journal of Business Ethics 19, 385-392.
    Schein, E.: 1990, “Organizational Culture”, American Psychologist 45, 109-119.
    Turnen-Red, A. and Woodland A. D. 2001, "The Anatomy of Multilateral Trade Policy Reform", Regionalism and Globalization: Theory and Practice, (Rutledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London-New York), P. 61.
    Wimbush, J. C. and J. M. Shephard: 1984, “Toward an Understanding of Ethical Climate: It’s Relationship to Ethical Behavior and Supervisory Influence”, Journal of Business Ethics 13, 637-647.



              OBOR: Ang mohs laughing all the way to the bank        
    Western multinationals, spotting a bonanza, are selling billions of dollars of equipment, technology and services to Chinese firms building along it. America’s General Electric (GE) made sales of $2.3bn in equipment orders from OBOR projects in 2016, almost three times the total for the previous year. John Rice, the firm’s vice-chair, expects the firm to […]
              Exterminate the Brutes: Fighting Back Against the Right        
    by
    Robert Markley
    1996-04-01

    Michael Bérubé’s essay on the politics of selling out is an eloquent investigation of the dilemmas confronting left intellectuals seeking to survive the long dark night of irrelevance. My only concern is that I wish Bérubé had provided more advice about how to sell out, while, at the same time, winning political converts and influencing influential people. While there is much that is admirable in Bérubé’s piece (originally delivered in March 1995 at the Cultural Studies Symposium at Kansas State), particularly his discussion of the Right’s negation of the “public” in the name of the “people,” I would like to sketch briefly an alternative to the politics of selling out by putting pressure on the term “intellectual,” the blind spot in many romantic calls to action by left cultural critics.

    A crucial point: nobody cares about intellectuals, except other intellectuals. More to the point, unless intellectuals have another source of income, most of them wind up subordinating intellectual interests to the pursuit of livelihoods, or convincing the powers that be that intellectual activity can be profitable (see Bacon, Francis). Few people, for that matter, understand, care about, or are willing to spend the time and energy to follow the intricacies of rational discourse. Think of the sad history of presidential elections since World War II. The Democrats, admittedly a poor excuse for a left of far-right party, nominate Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize Winners, nuclear engineers, and so on for President; the dominant mode of communication for Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern, Kennedy, and Stevenson has been explanation - a dubious strategy because the hegemonic rhetoric of multinational capitalism is the assurance that Life is Simple: advertising slogans, biblical homilies, capsule news summaries, crossword puzzles, billboards, true-false tests, and click on one of the following options all reinforce the belief that there are always “right” answers to be had, and that these answers can be summed up in a few words: “just say no”; “you deserve a break today”; “life is good.” Can you remember a Republican candidate for national office (since, say, John Lindsay) trying to explain anything to voters? Nixon, perhaps, but Nixon’s explanations were always corrosive and evasive.

    The most successful Democrat since Roosevelt was, significantly, the least intellectually gifted and, if you have read the first two volume’s of Robert Caro’s biography, the most vicious, brutal, and amoral. What Lyndon Johnson understood far better than most cultural critics is that intellect (not to mention morality) is a handicap in politics: the purpose of policy is not to achieve moral clarity or intellectual rigor but to perpetuate networks, connections, positions of power, influence, and of course to accumulate symbolic capital and cold hard cash. The most successful, in many ways, of the handful of Left political leaders (broadly defined) in the past half century, Martin Luther King, did not analyze the semiotics of race, despite his Ph.D., so much as he evoked a religious vision: “I have a dream.” Dreams may have their own semiotics, but they do not, for audiences glued to Sightings, require complex modes of intellectual elucidation.

    In my mind, then, our concern about the role of the public intellectual is misplaced. The arena in which the Left has to contest the Regime of the Right is not in the pages of The Nation or even The Village Voice but in the much devalued realm of cheap, anti-intellectual “entertainment”: tawdry talk shows, infomercials, trade shows for would-be entrepreneurs, tabloids, the Psychic Hot Line, etc. Bérubé reports that his editor at Harper’s suggested that a successful article renders the experience of reading almost non-cognitive; in any consumer culture, the separation between logic and rhetoric returns with a vengeance. In such a world, the Left needs to counter the vicious, mindless, kneecapping of the Right with vicious, mindless, kneecapping of its own: not nostalgia for JFK but a reinvigoration of the Realpolitik of LBJ.

    Who better to contribute to public policy than college and university professors who are paid to study rhetoric and semiotics? Think of all the energy that cultural critics have devoted to interrogating racist, homophobic, misogynist, and classist rhetoric, values, and assumptions during the last fifteen years. This knowledge can and should be used to counter racism, sexism, homophobia, and the politics of privilege, but such an undertaking requires precisely that “we,” left erstwhile intellectuals, relinquish our stubborn faith in rational argument. Rational argument is what we do on our jobs; it is not necessarily an essential, unchanging measure of our intrinsic worth as human beings. You cannot argue morality; you can successfully challenge prejudice only by exploiting a complex psycho-social matrix that is largely unresponsive to causal reasoning. All of us know that, to varying degrees, it is often an uphill struggle to get students to distinguish between reason and bias. The mush-headed right, at least since George Wallace, has accumulated political capital by tarring and feathering “pointy-headed intellectuals” - cashing in on a politics of resentment by redirecting economic anxieties away from the unequal distribution of wealth to the distribution of specialized knowledge. For many Americans, elitists read poetry, not The Wall Street Journal. The Left will be more successful, as it has been in the (dim) past, by counterattacking the Rush Limbaughs of the world, not by noting inconsistencies in their presentations.

    As Bérubé points out, the practice of left intellectuals attacking other left intellectuals for elitism, obscurity, and impracticality is old enough to have passed from history into the dark backward and abysm of myth. If the left seems doomed to repeat rituals of self-immolation, it is, in part, because we remain obsessed with the value of distinction, discrimination and purification rather than with the always impure strategies of success. What follows, then, are some suggestions to ensure that we sell out successfully:

    1 Coopt the rhetoric of values, and beat the Right over the head with it. No self-styled Leftist should be allowed to offer political pronouncements without chanting the following mantra: greed, hypocrisy, and sin. Pro-Lifers who refuse to demand that the government raise taxes to provide funds for education, medical and dental care, food, clothing, shelter, and so on for each and every child who is “saved” are (repeat after me) hypocrites. Fundamentalists who ravage the environment to make money are sinners. Pat Buchanan has no values except greed.

    2 Deploy the language of prejudice and exclusion by (for example) insistently feminizing right-wing males. Elected stooges of multinational capitalism are “whores”; candidates who turn a blind eye when workers are “downsized” into lower paying jobs are “cowards”; men who harass women on the job are “wimps who can’t get a date.” Officials who claim they cannot or should not intervene to help the homeless, the sick, the dying are “impotent.” The NRA should be ridiculed for playing with phallic symbols to compenstae for their psychosexual dysfunctions. Obviously, reproducing such rhetoric tends to reinscribe the dynamic of prejudice and exclusion that many of us are dedicated to overcoming. But politics is not about purity: the squeamish need to ask themselves whether living through the jihad that President Buchanan would visit upon us is a price worth paying for claiming the supposed moral high ground.

    3 As Bérubé argues, the Left’s basic problem is that it lacks the financial resources of the Right; this unequal distribution of wealth and power is unlikely to change soon. Consequently, it becomes imperative for progressives, feminists, radicals, greens, pinkos, and reds to concentrate their financial resources in areas likely to have the most benefit. My suggestion, then, is that we scale back our commitments to worthy causes (ACT UP, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, battered women’s shelters, the United Negro College Fund, Ducks Unlimited, NPR, you name it), pool our resources, and…buy CBS. I wish I were kidding. But the ideology of corporate command, control, and communication renders us little choice if we want to sell out successfully enough to buy a fair share of political power and cultural capital. Left-Wing TV might bring back Gore Vidal to prime time as a Commentator on the CBS Evening News, offer variations on programs such as X-Files by hiring the best writers and producers to promote left-wing conspiracy theories: sexy agents combating corporate skullduggery; white supremacists in league with hostile aliens; mysterious conspiracies at the highest levels of telecommunications; and lonely forest rangers fighting off evil corporations intent on gutting the environment. There should be sympathetic portrayals of lesbian police officers, gay physicians, African-American labor organizers, and so on. If the Left is to counter the cultural dominance of right-wing talk shows, it needs the cultured voice of Gore Vidal intoning nightly that the political spectrum in the United States runs from the Right to the Far Right.

    4 Get our own house in order by taking back our universities. One example of effective collective action. Imagine the end of the Fall Semester 1996. Professors all over the country rise up and give every scholarship basketball player in the country a real set of finals: “Discuss the influence of Hegel on Kierkegaard.” “Analyze the significance of Walter Lippman’s concept of the stereotype on the image of the African-American athlete.” “What are the implications of Coase`s theorem for negotiations between professional athletes and franchise owners?” This may sound like a vicious case of harassing the pawns by asking scholarship athletes (a high percentage of whom are African-American) to do work that almost all of their peers would fail abjectly to do, but such collective action could be the springboard to insist that scholarship athletes who generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year be paid stipends (much like research assistants). Think, too, of network executives (spending a half billion dollars a year on college basketball) stuck with a Final Four tournament that consists of walk-ons and white guys shooting two-hand set shots on national TV. Most educated Americans - doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs - have little idea of the wages and working conditions of most college and university instructors, particularly part-timers. Instead of the disinformation campaigns presented at half-time of basketball and football games - half nostalgic images of ivy-strangled halls and half glitzy promos of hi-tech venture capitalism, show lines of students trying to get into closed out classes.

    5 The African-American athlete is sadly underused by the Left. Michael Jordan, Shaq, Grant Hill, and so on exist for most Americans in a depoliticized state of glamorous consumption, as though their multi-million dollar contracts and highly publicized lifestyles negate the economic and cultural disadvantages of millions of African-Americans. A trivia question for cultural critics: who is Kellen Winslow and why am I bringing up his name now?

    6 Finally, counter the Right’s simplistic slogans with simplistic slogans of our own. A general purpose campaign slogan to use against Republicans: “Your jobs going overseas.”

    Irving Howe? Russell Jacoby? Shana Alexander? Alexander Cockburn. Hunter Thompson. Molly Ivins. Left intellectuals need to resist the blandishments of a rationalistic politics that remain tied to models of cause and effect, to the siren song that we can reason our way into cultural and political significance. How’s this for a slogan for the resurrection of the Left? “There’s only one Party in this country, and you’re not invited.”


              The China-US Maritime “Spying” Debate        

    →  

    Photo Credit: Defense Industry Daily

    BY MARK J. VALENCIA

    The China-US Maritime “Spying” Debate

    Aug. 04, 2017  |     | 

     

      http://www.ippreview.com/index.php/Blog/single/id/522.html

    The Australian Department of Defence confirmed that last week a Chinese Dongdiao-class Auxiliary General Intelligence (AGI) vessel monitored the US-Australia Talisman Sabre joint military exercises from within Australia’s 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This “first-ever” Chinese incursion of its type in Australia’s EEZ has sparked both alarm and an international debate. Many say China is hypocritical because it is undertaking intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in other countries’ 200 nm EEZs while opposing those of the US in its own EEZ. But there are significant differences in scale, technological capability, methods, and objectives between what China and the US are doing.

    China’s first “public” attempt at maritime spying in the US EEZ was when an uninvited People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) AGI vessel operated in Hawaii’s EEZ to observe RIMPAC 2014, a multinational naval exercise. Also in 2014, a Chinese AGI vessel was observed off Guam during a US military exercise. According to then-Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) Admiral Samuel Locklear: “The good news about this is that it’s a recognition, I think, or an acceptance by the Chinese of what we’ve been saying to them for some time, [which] is that military operations and survey operations in another country’s EEZs, where you have national—your own national security interest, are within international law and are acceptable.” But such simplistic comparisons are deceptive and potentially dangerous. They can lead to the false hope that China will eventually “see the light” and quietly assent to activities it considers threatening because “it is undertaking similar activities.”

    But the scale is very different. Ironically, the “different scale” argument was first used against China by China critics to demonize its occupations and “militarization” of features in the South China Sea. Although these critics grudgingly acknowledged that China was not doing anything other claimants had not done, nevertheless China’s behavior was singled out as unacceptable because of the much greater scale and “aggressiveness” of its activities.

    It seems that the tables are now turned. Although the critics argue that China is doing “the same thing” as the US, the scale of US ISR missions against China is probably an order of magnitude greater than that of China against the US. For example, as of 2017, PLAN had only three AGI vessels. Of course, China also has ISR planes, drones, and satellites but their number and capabilities pale in comparison to those of US assets.

    Indeed, the US has a huge array of ISR planes, surface vessels, submarines, and drones — many of which, like the subhunter Impeccable, have specialized functions. The US has by far the world’s largest and most capable force of signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft. Moreover, most of the US Navy’s top-of-the-line combatants like the Ticonderoga-class cruisers and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers as well as its submarines are equipped to carry out SIGINT missions. Further, no other country matches the US’ number and array of robotic aircraft and seacraft (drones), particularly in terms of their range and advanced weapons and sensors, coupled with the necessary satellite and telecommunications support systems. US satellite IRS capacity greatly exceeds that of China. In terms of deployment, the US flies hundreds of manned ISR missions every year along China’s coast. There have been no public reports of similar Chinese aerial ISR missions off the US mainland coast.

    Technological capabilities, techniques and objectives are other major differences. Yes, China does insert ISR platforms into other countries’ EEZs — like that of Japan. But it is likely that Chinese technological capabilities and activities in terms of intrusive methods used and information obtained are so substantially inferior to and different from those of the US as to be in a separate, much lower category, e.g., passive listening versus active probing or electronic interference with, and even manipulation of, communications.

    But this is unconfirmed because the US is not being “transparent” when it comes to ISR capabilities. Again ironically, Locklear said of China’s military modernization: “What we should be concerned about though is what we perceive as a lack of transparency on their part in why they are building the type of systems they are building. Quite frankly, it makes their neighbours nervous and it gives us some cause for concern here at PACOM about the type of military they are building and the type of equipment they are buying.”

    A confidential US Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) report revealed by Edward Snowden shows that China’s concerns regarding America’s ISR missions off its coasts are justified.

    But in the case of ISR, it is the extent of capabilities that is not publicly known. To convince sceptics that there is anything near parity between Chinese and US ISR capabilities, those making the “China does the same thing” argument — especially those in the US Navy, need to reveal exactly what it is that the US is doing in China’s near seas so that all can evaluate it for themselves. Otherwise their arguments will fall on deaf ears, and independent and neutral analysts can only speculate based on what little is known.

    In general, it is known that US ISR assets collect communications between the target country’s command-and-control centres and radar and weapons systems, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and fighter aircraft. Other US ISR probes collect “actionable” intelligence for expeditionary and irregular warfare.

    Incidents involving ISR aircraft like the EP-3 and the Poseidon 8A, as well as the US Navy ships Bowditch, Impeccable, and Cowpens, may have collectively included active “tickling” of China’s coastal defences to provoke and observe responses, interference with shore-to-ship and submarine communications, violation or abuse of the consent regime for marine scientific research, damage to the environment, and tracking China’s new nuclear submarines for potential targeting.

    If so, these are not passive intelligence collection activities commonly undertaken and usually tolerated by many states, including China. Rather they are intrusive, provocative, and controversial practices that may be considered a threat to use force or violations of both China’s marine scientific consent and its environmental protection regimes. This could occur when and if the Poseiden 8 drops sonobuoys (which are part of its repertoire) or the Impeccable and Bowditch deploy “scientific instruments” in China’s EEZ. Indeed, China’s EEZ environment may be degraded if US sonar systems or live fire exercises adversely affect fish and mammals like whales and dolphins.

    But much of this is unconfirmed. What do we — the public — know?

    A confidential US Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) report revealed by Edward Snowden shows that China’s concerns regarding America’s ISR missions off its coasts are justified. The 2001 report reveals that in the EP-3 incident, the crew was unable to destroy all the secret data and systems on board, and details the scope of secrets exposed to China.

    The exposed information contained the fact that the US has “the ability to locate and collect transmissions to or from Chinese submarines and to correlate them to specific vessels.” The plane also carried data that clarified “how much the US knew about China’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles program.” Also, according to the report, as speculated, the missions spur targeted militaries to react, thus creating communications that can be intercepted.

    So, it does appear that the US has a huge advantage over China when it comes to ISR. But unlike Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, China does not oppose all foreign military activities in its EEZ without its permission. Nevertheless, China certainly does object by word and deed to what it perceives as US abuse of the right of freedom of navigation and a threat to use force.

    In sum, China apparently believes that these activities violate the peaceful purpose and uses provisions of UNCLOS, as well as its UNCLOS EEZ resource rights and environmental obligations. China also thinks that the US is “preparing the battle field” and that this constitutes a violation of the UN Charter as well as UNCLOS. In particular, China alleges that the US is not abiding by its obligation to pay “due regard” to its rights and duties as a coastal state. Such due regard in the EEZ is required by UNCLOS for both the coastal state and the user state, but is undefined.

    Whether these concerns are valid or not, China is probably not violating these UNCLOS provisions with its AGI vessel activities and the US may well be doing so — on a grand scale. The US may want to reconsider and modify its superficial and misleading argument that both are doing the same thing


              Accor Vacation Club 'targeted grieving widower', 'helped staff cheat on ASIC test'        
    Multinational company Accor Hotels investigates allegations it helped its staff cheat on an accreditation test for corporate regulator ASIC, and used sales tactics that included targeting grieving widowers and people with disabilities.
              NDI vormt de diverse IT-oplossingen in dertien vestigingen van Top Employers om tot één centrale IT-omgeving in de cloud         
    Met inmiddels twaalf vestigingen in negen landen is Top Employers een multinationaal opererend en sterk groeiend bedrijf. David Plink, CEO: "In elk land hadden we een lokale IT-partner voor de kantoorautomatisering. Daardoor was onze IT-omgeving niet homogeen. In elke vestiging was het anders en dat bemoeilijkte de internationale samenwerking en communicatie." Samen met Microsoft Silver Certified Partner NDI werd de gehele IT herzien: servers werden vervangen door een combinatie van cloud en één centrale server. Het resultaat: documenten zijn nu voor iedereen gemakkelijk beschikbaar, de beveiliging is optimaal, er hoeft veel minder gemaild te worden en de onderlinge communicatie is sterk verbeterd.
              Comment on Photo Blog: Targeted destruction around Tahrir Square by reportsfromtheegyptianuprising        
    Thanks for your comment. We understand that your revolution is not about smashing capitalist symbols but about getting freeing yourself from dictatorship and we hope this is evident from the other articles on the blog. It just seemed to us that what was destroyed against multinational companies and state property as most Egyptian shops were not destroyed. We understand that cars were used as barricades against police violence etc but it seems to us that there was also some targeted property damage (which we don't see as violence) We might very well come across as 'revolution tourists' to you but we want to assure you that we are trying very hard not to be. We are here in solidarity with your revolution and want to learn from it -not interfere with it. We believe that what is happening here is a great example of grassroots and community organising and want to let people in Europe know the real story of what has happened Victory to the Egyptian intifada - good luck!
              Can some corporations become forces for good?        

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    By Christopher Booker and Connie Kargbo

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: A tour through the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, passes through the bottling facility and brewhouse, before ending at the bar.

    New Belgium is one the largest craft breweries in the country, distributing beer to all 50 states.

    When you buy its best known brand, Fat Tire Belgian style ale, that “B” on the label doesn’t stand for beer, it’s stands for B Corp, a designation given to businesses dedicated to more than profit.

    KATE WALLACE: I think when you get together with people you realize you have a lot of the same values.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Katie Wallace is New Belgium’s assistant director of sustainability.

    KATIE WALLACE: If you’re running a business that’s not considering the impact that you have on the environment and society, or the impact that those things have upon your business, then you’re not operating a business that’s really going to be in existence in the future.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: New Belgium is privately owned and profitable, selling nearly a million barrels of beer a year and generating $225 million a year in revenue.

    KATIE WALLACE: For a long time we felt that we kind of stumbled into this for values-based reasons but then found that economically it was a really powerful business model and has been a key ingredient of our success over time

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: New Belgium took its dedication up a notch in 2013, when it became a certified B Corp, submitting to a rigorous audit of its community impact by the Pennsylvania based B Lab.

    B Lab likens the certification to “Fair Trade” for coffee and the “LEED” certification for buildings with environmental and energy-efficient design.

    Beyond charitable giving, companies can score more points for making eco-friendly products, offering robust benefit packages, and being transparent in their corporate governance.

    New Belgium earned its certification in large part because of its environmental practices: generating 12 percent of its electricity from solar panels and biogas, a fuel they create by the wastewater produced when they make beer. After one year on the job, employees are given bikes to commute carbon free and given shares in the company, which is now employee owned.

    KATIE WALLACE: B Corp has given us a way to measure things that aren’t inherently quantitative, but we know are important to us. Like providing 100 percent of our health care premiums for our co-workers or putting solar on site or biogas. It helps us to bring that into a measurement space where we can compare ourselves against other companies and see are we really being leaders in this area or is there a way we can improve?

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Believing business can function as “a force for good,” B Lab has certified 22,000 companies worldwide since 2007. Subjecting mostly small and medium-sized, privately held companies to a 200 point assessment.

    The list includes ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s, eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker, and outdoor clothing giant Patagonia.

    There are 99 B Corps in Colorado. That includes businesses that don’t manufacture anything like Denver law firm moye white. Attorney Dominick Sekich oversaw its B Corps application.

    DOMINICK SEKICH: There are a lot of opportunities that, say, manufacturers have that, as a service organization, we don’t have. We can’t really point to a supply chain that we’ve improved, because our supply chain is fairly short and concrete.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Moye White acheived B Corp certification after it improved a number of employee benefits, expanding paid parental and family leave, increasing flex time, and starting an employee community service group that volunteers with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

    Sekich says each time an employee takes advantage of their three-month paid family leave benefit, it can cost the firm between $20,000 and $50,000. But the firm believes it’s worth it.

    DOMINICK SEKICH: We’ve had some clients approach us asking us how we’ve committed to the environment, how we’ve committed to our communities, and we’re able to point to our certification as a B Corporation as part of that effort.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: When Moye White was working toward its B Corp certification, it turned to B Lab’s Kim Coupanous for assistance.

    KIM COUPANOS: If you look at society in general and all of the good things that capitalism has brought to civilization and humanity over the last hundred plus years, there’s been an equal number of really negative things. Massive income divides biotoxicity, greenhouse gases, you name your kind of social or environmental ill. Capitalism has kind of created that.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Before joining B Lab, Coupanous ran an outdoor clothing company for 16 years.

    KIM COUPANOUS: I agree with the profit motive and there’s no bones about that. I also know that the power of business to transform society is huge. And we are going into this new century facing some pretty challenging problems that haven’t been solved by the nonprofit sector or the government sector. And at the same time, there’s this kind of spirit of innovation and optimism, especially among Millennials who say we can do better than this.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Economically, Colorado is doing better than most states. Its 2.3 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. The Denver skyline is filled with cranes constructing new apartment buildings for some of the 60,000 people who move to the state every year. Most settling in the relatively affluent greater Denver and Boulder areas.

    Will this be relegated to areas that are already populated by the upper middle class, the educated, the tech sector? I can think of many corners of America that they just want jobs. They’re not even having the ability to think about how does this save water.

    KIM COUPANOUS: Certainly it really can’t be relegated to the realm of upper middle class progressive city. Because if we are trying to create shared and or durable prosperity for all it means cities that are depressed. It means, you know, local businesses, nail salons, and moving companies, and the local garage.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: The B Corp movement is not without its skeptics.

    KENT GREENFIELD: It is a band aid on a cancerous patient.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Boston College law professor Kent Greenfield applauds the intent of b-corps but fears the B Corps movement may mask the need for far greater changes to the way American companies conduct themselves.

    KENT GREENFIELD: Let’s be honest the real bad actors in the corporate world are not those who are voluntarily opting in .

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Greenfield argues that there must be changes in corporate governance to legally support companies working to be better citizens.

    KENT GREENFIELD: As long as it’s voluntary, then it’s still gonna leave bad actors aside. So if you’re a Wall Street hedge fund manager, are you going to prefer companies that are B Corps? Are you gonna prefer companies who are saying, “no, we don’t think that being a B Corp is conducive to the shareholder value?” So I think our efforts need to be aimed at a more fundamental adjustment in the way we think about corporate obligation and the way we govern corporations.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Despite the lack of federal or state regulation compelling companies to function as better actors, there is a way for companies who pursue both profit and social good to be legally protected.

    With a push from B Lab, Colorado and 32 other states have passed legislation allowing companies to incorporate as a public benefit corporation, which enshrines their social mission into their articles of incorporation.

    This spring, food and beverage company DanoneWave became the largest public benefit corporation in the U.S., with 6,000 employees and $6 billion in annual revenue. A subsidiary of French multinational Danone, DanoneWave makes organic products like Horizon milk, Silk almond milk, and Wallaby yogurt.

    DEBRA ESCHMEYER: We encourage dietary practices that improve the health of people through food.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Deborah Eschmeyer is the vice president of communications and community affairs.

    DEBRA ESCHMEYER: When folks go to the grocery store, they want to know that the products are actually doing right by the employees and by the people and the planet.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Its production process is increasingly using natural ingredients and the company has spent money to reduce its waste and promote animal welfare.

    Eschmeyer says DanoneWave believes the upfront costs pay off in the long run.

    DEBRA ESCHMEYER: These are things that help the bottom line. Because waste reduction, for example, is great for the bottom line. It’s also great for the planet. We have this greater goal of showing that you can meet the financial shareholders’ interests and do right by the people and the planet.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: DanoneWave is arguably providing a test case for scale.

    DEBRA ESCHMEYER: Yes.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How difficult is it to go through this process with such a large company

    DEBRA ESCHMEYER: Yeah, I mean, we’re definitely proving the case. We want to make sure that large companies can do this, and we can do this at scale. And DanoneWave is now one of the top 15 food and beverage companies in the United States. And so when we do this, it’s a challenge to other companies to step up as well.

    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Six more states are now considering benefit corporation legislation. B Lab says it will certify its 100 Colorado company as a B-Corp next week.

    The post Can some corporations become forces for good? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


              Ted Baker Mens Silver Dial Brown Multifunctional Leather Strap Watch        
    Ted Baker Mens Silver Dial Brown Multifunctional Leather Strap Watch

    Ted Baker Mens Silver Dial Brown Multifunctional Leather Strap Watch

    Light grey dial multinational leather strap watch by Ted Baker. Subtle and stylish yet the tan strap adds a pop of colour that will compliment any wardrobe. 


              Startups africaines face à l’arrivée des géants du numérique        

    Ces dernières années, le marché africain est devenu une cible de choix pour multinationales et entreprises du numérique occidentales ou asiatiques en quête d’expansion et de nouvelles réserves de croissances. Mais quel impact cette tendance a-t-elle sur les startups et les entreprises numériques africaines? L’installation et l’expansion de groupes occidentaux et asiatiques sur le Continent ne sont […]

    Cet article Startups africaines face à l’arrivée des géants du numérique est apparu en premier sur TechOfAfrica.


              How millennials experiment with their working styles for job gratification        
    A fundamental question that echoes across organization from startups to multinationals is why the millennials are different or should we treat them any different at all?
              Indian Actresses Photo        
    Source(google.com.pk)
    Indian Actresses Photo Biography


    Genelia D'Souza (born 5 August 1987) is an Indian film actress, model, and host. She has appeared in Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam language films. After gaining wide attention in a Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, Genelia began her acting career with Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. She was recognized for her role in Boys the same year, and later established herself in Telugu cinema by acting in several Telugu films during 2003–2005.
    Genelia received her first Filmfare Award in 2006 for her performance in the Telugu romantic film, Bommarillu, which earned her critical acclaim. In 2008, she gave critically acclaimed performances in Santosh Subramaniam, a Tamil remake of Bommarillu, and the Bollywood movie Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. Having acted in several commercially successful movies in Telugu and Tamil, Genelia has established herself as one of the leading actresses of the South Indian film industry. In addition to movie acting, Genelia has hosted the television show Big Switch, and is the brand ambassador of Fanta, Virgin Mobile India, Fastrack, LG Mobiles, Garnier Light, Margo, and Perk in India.

    Genelia with her family at the CNBC Awaaz consumer awards in 2010. Seen here from left to right is her father Neil D'Souza, her mother Jeanette D'Souza, herself, and at the extreme right, her brother Nigel D'Souza.
    Born in Mumbai into a Mangalorean Catholic family,Genelia was raised a Roman Catholic in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai.Her mother Jeanette D'Souza was formerly a managing director of the Pharma Multinational corporation (MNC), who left her job in 2004 to help Genelia with her career. Her father Neil D'Souza, is a senior official with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).She also has a younger brother, Nigel D'Souza,who works with the Bombay Stock Exchange.According to Genelia, her name means "rare" or "unique", and is a portmanteau of Jeanette and Neil, her mother and father's name. She is also often informally referred to as Geenu, her nickname.Genelia studied at the Apostolic Carmel High School in Bandra and later joined St. Andrew's College in Bandra to pursue her Bachelor's Degree of Management Studies.She completed her degree while shooting for her first film, Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003 and initially thought that an MNC job would suit her.She liked sports and studies in college,and was a state level athlete, sprinter, and a national level football player.
    Genelia did her first modeling assignment at the age of 15,the result of being spotted as the bridesmaid at a wedding.She was selected for the Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan, just two days before her exams, and had to shoot the next day. Initially she refused, because of her exam the next day, but the director persuaded Genelia to shoot for the commercial.She gained wide attention from the Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan,who said "she was good, and her expressions were spontaneous".She further did a Fair and Lovely 2003 Cricket World Cup advertisement with cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth.
    Acting career

    When Genelia was offered a role in Tujhe Meri Kasam, initially she turned it down, as she was not keen to pursue a career in acting. But the crew insisted and kept contacting her for two months, and she agreed when she saw the Telugu version of the movie.Tamil director, S. Shankar, was impressed with her performance in the Parker Pen commercial and decided to cast her in a leading role in his 2003 Tamil film Boys.Genelia was selected among 300 girls, who had auditioned for the movie. She signed three movies simultaneously in three different languages, Tujhe Meri Kasam (Hindi), Boys (Tamil), and Satyam (Telugu).
    Genelia's professional movie career began,with her Bollywood debut Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003.Indian film critic Taran Adarsh noted, "Genelia is a wonderful performer. She catches you unaware with a performance that's natural to the core."The movie garnered poor box office returns,and it failed to propel her career in Bollywood.Following her poor debut in Bollywood, she decided to act in South Indian films.Later the same year, she made her Tamil debut as the teenage girl Harini in Boys, a story about five teenagers having stereotypical teen-boy fantasies. The movie, though noted for its vulgar sexual content, was a box-office success,and subsequently she started receiving Telugu film offers.She left Tamil cinema for a while to concentrate on the Telugu film industry. She made her Telugu debut in 2003 as a medical student in Satyam.Sify noted in their review that, "Genelia is excellent as her body language is her major asset."The movie was well received,and it raised her profile in the Telugu film industry.
    In 2004, Genelia appeared in her second Bollywood movie, Masti. The comedy focuses on three close friends who reunite after three years, but are now married and are being harassed by their wives. Genelia portrayed the character of one of the wives.Taran Adarsh was complimentary of Genelia's role, saying, "Amongst the wives, Genelia is the best, [...] Genelia looks the stern and demanding wife and is sure to be noticed."The film fared well at the UK box office.The same year, she appeared in two Telugu movies Samba,and Sye,both succeeding at the box-office.
    After appearing in her first Telugu movie in 2005, Naa Alludu, she starred in the Tamil romantic entertainer Sachein.A review in The Hindu noted, "Genelia, who hardly made an impression in Boys, makes much impact in Sachein."The movie evoked mixed response from audiences, but was well received with the younger generation.She later appeared in the Telugu patriotic movie Subhash Chandra Bose.
    Turning point in South Indian films, 2006-08
    The year 2006 marked a significant turning point in Genelia's career.She completed two Telugu movies in early 2006, one was the romantic comedy Happy, and the other was Raam.[38] She then portrayed the role of Haasini, a vibrant, effervescent and a happy-go-lucky young girl, in the 2006 Telugu romantic film Bommarillu. The movie, a blockbuster at the box-office,grossed 250 million (US$4.73 million) in India,and also won the 2006 Golden Nandi award.Her character was well received,and garnered her the Telugu Filmfare Award for Best Actress,besides Nandi Special Jury Award and Santosham Award for Best Actress.Sify concluded about her acting in their review that, "The scene stealer is Genelia with her innocent looks and cute mannerisms. She does not overact and we just fall in love with her character. Genelia looks like a dream in chic skirts and is the life of the party and raises the bar of the film."
    Following the success of Bommarillu, Genelia played the role of the daughter of a local don, in the Tamil gangster film Chennai Kadhal.Rediff.com criticized her commenting, "Genelia stands up yet again to prove the point that if you are pretty and well dressed, you can get away with anything, without acting."Shortly afterwards in 2007, Genelia played the role of sister of a notorious gangster in the blockbuster Telugu movie Dhee,set against a gang war backdrop.
    The following year, Genelia appeared in the 2008 Telugu romantic thriller Mr. Medhavi, in which she portrayed the role of a student from Canada. The movie was successful,with Rediff.com complimenting her performance saying, "Genelia is her effervescent self – full of joie-de-vivre and lights up the screen."She made her Kannada debut in Satya In Love the same year.Later, she was cast in a leading role in Santhosh Subramaniam, a Tamil remake of Bommarillu. The film also turned out to be rather successful as its predecessor.Sify described Genelia's portrayal as "the soul of the film" and the film's "biggest strength",however Rediff.com described her character as "appears a little too good to be true."
    Return to Bollywood and recent work, June 2008–present
    In June 2008, following a nearly five year hiatus in Bollywood, she appeared in Mere Baap Pehle Aap,which failed to make profit at the box-office.A Rediff review noted, "besides her apparent cuteness, brings in tons of freshness and traits to the youthful characters she chooses to play",while a Sify review criticized her stating, "Genelia is sprightly but has a standard two-three expressions bank in this film."She later appeared in the Telugu love story Ready alongside Ram, which was well received.Her breakthrough performance in 2008 was through the portrayal of the role of Aditi Mahant in the blockbuster Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, which was an economic success across India and overseas, grossing 564.1 million (US$10.66 million).Her role was widely admired for her sweetness and freshness, and new style of acting, with Rediff describing her acting as a "spark that has been missing in Hindi cinema for well over a decade now".In that same year, Genelia acted in the Telugu romantic comedy Sasirekha Parinayam.The movie received favorable reviews, and Sify noted in their review that, "The life of the film is definitely Genelia and she has shown the varied emotions from innocence, sadness, romance and anger in equal proportions without a hitch."
    In 2009, Genelia was cast in the Hindi film Life Partner, in which she was criticized for her performance. Indian fim critic Rajeev Masand commented, "The adorable little imp from Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na has turned into a nagging harridan in this film, and how you wish she'd immediately enroll for acting lessons."Her next appearance in 2009 was in the Telugu thriller Katha, which was well received,and for which she won the 2009 Nandi Special Jury Award.In 2010, Genelia appeared in Chance Pe Dance and Orange, both receiving poor reviews from critics, but her Uthama Puthiran was a moderate success in Tamil.
    D'Souza had a major role in 2011, starring as the Muslim warrior princess Arackal Ayesha, in her debut Malayalam film Urumi. The film is about a fictional story happening in Kerala during the 15th century, about a boy who plots to assassinate the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama.She learned horse riding, and spent two weeks of training to use the sword, the short stick, and movements of the Dravidian martial art Kalarippayattu.The movie portrayed her image makeover from typically girl-next-door roles to more serious roles.Her next appearance was in the Bollywood action thriller Force, which received mixed reception from critics, with Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama noting that D'Souza is strikingly sweet and subdued.She played the role of a journalist in a Tamil film alongside leading actor Joseph Vijay in Velayudham, which released during Diwali 2011 and became biggest hit of the year 2011 among the highest grossing Tamil films.


    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo
    Indian Actresses Photo

              Let them abuse our boys or else post of the day        
    The PC professors in a US political site insist that since the US diplomats haven't been successful in pushing "gay rights" on Africa, that our multinational corporations should do it too.


    Many global companies adopt an “Embassy” approach, enforcing pro-LGBT policies on local campuses so as to create a safe space in LGBT-unfriendly jurisdictions while helping promote greater tolerance in the local culture. American Express, for example, enforces global anti-discrimination policies everywhere it has offices, effectively raising the bar in jurisdictions like India where those protections are absent. Some companies take a step further, adopting an “Advocate” approach that seeks to effect change in the host nation itself. Such advocacy can take many forms, ranging from direct lobbying to support for local advocacy to symbolic action. Barclays stepped up to discuss its concerns when Ugandan legislators sought the death penalty for homosexual acts; the enacted law, while still draconian, omitted that punishment.
     All of this ignores the "elephant in the room": male on male rape.

    Uganda's law was blamed on "Evangelical Christians" by the US gay activists, never mind that most Ugandans who are Christians are Anglican or Catholic.

    Ah, but what about history: The slave trade from the Muslim north where boys and men were routinely raped, the good old days of colonialism where the "problem sons" of England were sent to Africa; the practice of hiring men for factories/farm or mines but not making accomadations for their families (male dormatories are especially notorious). Boarding schools, where teachers can exploit kids. And the punishment of prisoners during the genocides of Idi Amin or nowadays by both the jihadis and the "lord's army" types?

    read the report from DW (German news site)

    Hillary pushed women's rights by insisting on taking female rape and sexual exploitation seriously, but no one in the US wants to recognize this problem.


              Boko Haram        
    Despite the headlines about Syria and ISIS, the number one terrorist group is Boko Haram in Nigeria.

    StrategyPage has a long detailed post on that war, and on the multinational African forces that are fighting them. Things are improved partly because the new president is fighting some of the terrible corruption.

    and then we have this:


    :The UN revealed that there are now over 2.2 million refugees from Boko Haram violence. In addition several hundred thousand people in neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon have also been displaced by Boko Haram violence. 

    hmm...haven't heard much about these refugees, but I suspect if you look closer, a lot of those "Syrian" refugees will turn out to be fleeing Nigeria or Saharan terrorist groups. And of course these Saharan groups make money by smuggling drugs and refugees from Europe.
              RECRUIT LEGAL        

    Recruit Legal is Asia's premier provider of legal talent.

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    Backed by the solid leadership of its senior management team and an aggressive operational growth strategy, Recruit Legal's brand name is synonymous with recruitment-search excellence. A market-leading legal-search team in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, we are in the second half of this decade focused on expanding into China, India and Japan.

    Well-trained and mobile consultants of diverse training and backgrounds constitute our core expertise and talent. We count professionalism, creativity and perseverance as crucial hallmarks of our regional team.

    Available career openings in Asia can be viewed at www.recruit-legal.com.

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    Applicants should be Singaporean citizens or hold relevant residence status.
              Ã‰douard Philippe's general policy statement: Key points at a glance        
    French PM Édouard Philippe at National Assembly
    5 July 2017

    Édouard Philippe's general policy statement: Key points at a glance

    On 4 July 2017 the Prime Minister delivered his general policy statement before the National Assembly. The key points outlined in the Government's programme are aimed at giving back France its confidence, courage and conquering spirit. During the vote that followed, the Prime Minister won the MPs’ vote of confidence by 370 votes out of 577 voting members.
     
    "In 2017, the French people told us that they wanted France to finally become itself again: confident, courageous and conquering."

    Pursuant to Article 49, Paragraph 1, of the Constitution, Édouard Philippe has committed his Government to achieving these three priorities.

    I/ Confidence

    Confidence in public action


    "This is about setting the framework for cleaning up our public life and restoring the French people's confidence, all the while laying down clear rules for elected officials."

    With the bill to restore confidence, presented to the Council of Ministers on 14 June just gone, the Government intends to build on the headway made these past 30 years in terms of elected officials showing honesty, rectitude and courage.
    >> Find out more about the policy to restore confidence <<
      

    Judicial reform


    "To have confidence in the justice system, you need to be able to call on it easily and know that it will reach a swift decision – especially when it comes to the most serious offences."

    A strong justice system is one of the building blocks to restoring confidence. The Prime Minister has thus set out several measures with this in mind:
    • a constitutional reform: to strengthen the independence of magistrates, by separating the executive branch from the judicial branch and by limiting the former's scope for action in appointing Public Prosecution magistrates, 
    • legislation for a five-year term programming the Judiciary's means: scheduled to be presented to Parliament as early as 2018, this will set in motion far-reaching dematerialisation, simplification and reorganisation efforts,
    • construction of 15,000 extra prison places: in keeping with the commitment made by the President of the Republic, so as to avoid turning prisons into breeding grounds for violence. 

    A national health strategy


    "The French people set great store [by the health service], but find that it is poorly coordinated, that the division between emergencies and consultations, primary care in the community and hospital care could be better and that we are still not managing to root out the problems of exclusion of care and widening inequality."

    The Prime Minister has announced plans to discuss the national health strategy this autumn, with prevention coming top of the agenda:
    • unanimously recommended by the health authorities, vaccinations for young children will become compulsory from 2018,
    • the price of a pack of cigarettes will gradually be raised to €10: every year, tobacco causes more than 80,000 deaths in France,
    • a plan to tackle "medical deserts", areas with no local healthcare services: drawn up by the Minister for Solidarity and Health, for this September, for equal access to care,
    • services with no co-payment for prescription glasses, dental care and hearing aids, accessible to all French people, to make the phenomenon of "going without care" a thing of the past. 

    Old age, disability and vulnerable families


    "Restoring confidence means knowing that all of us here will be judged on the way we behave towards the most vulnerable."

    The Government does not wish solely to change the view that society has of its elders, of disabled people or of the most vulnerable families, but also to acknowledge the extent of the contribution they can make to society. Several measures have thus been announced by the Prime Minister:
    • including disabled people more in society is one of the priorities of the five-year term
      >> Find out more about the policy in favour of disabled people <<
    • increasing the adult disability allowance in 2018,
    • also increasing the minimum old-age pension in 2018,
    • streamlining procedures for social rights' holders,
    • stepping up action aimed at tackling poverty – with the focus on families with young children, 
    • finally, the Minister for Solidarity and Health and Minister of State for Gender Equality are due to present measures aimed at improving maternity leave and childcare solutions. 

    Shoring up the link between the State and local territories


    "We want to allow local freedoms to reach their full potential. (…) Let us give pilot schemes the benefit of the doubt!"
      
    • an initial meeting of the National Conference of Territories is scheduled for mid July. Territories will be encouraged to tailor their organisation to local contexts to strive wherever possible towards just two levels of local governance (below the regional level), 
    • talks will be initiated with the local authorities on the council tax reform. Dreaded though this may be by local officials, it must play a part in freeing up French citizens' spending power by the end of the five-year term,
    • high-speed broadband will be accessible across France by 2022 and a satisfactory level of mobile coverage will be guaranteed to all French people,
    • during the "Assises de l’Outre-mer" (Overseas Conference), the Government will be attentive to the expectations of each territory and lay the foundations of the convergence plans under the planning legislation for substantive equality in Overseas France,
    • a referendum on New Caledonia's independence, the conclusion of the Noumea Accord, will be held no later than November 2018.

    Confidence that rallies together


    "A Nation is an adherence to values, a history and a geography. It is a culture which is accepted for what it is and passed on. Being French means recognising values and sharing a culture."
      
    • Secularism is a requirement, that of absolute neutrality as regards religion. The Government vows to ensure it is upheld, reasonably, but firmly.
    • Creation of a Culture Pass for the benefit of all young people during their period of national service, to turn our culture into a factor of cohesion and freedom alike – not least by encouraging access to works of art and reading.

    II/ Courage

    Tackling the terror threat and insecurity


    "I will not beat about the bush but wish to tell you plainly: there will be other attacks, other tragedies, other innocent lives lost. We will never get used to this. And we will not let our guard down. True to France’s roots, we will demonstrate level-headed, controlled determination in confronting this threat."

    The Government fully intends to set up measures to counter terrorism and address insecurity:
    • military planning legislation is poised to be adopted in 2018. This will increase defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2025, enabling France to fight on all fronts.
    • plans to lift the state of emergency by 1 November 2017 at the latest, with a bill to strengthen the effectiveness of the legal counter-terrorism arsenal.
    • reduce insecurity on a day-to-day basis: in the spring of 2018, a draft reform grounded in simplified procedures will be put forward to free the security forces from the red tape that hampers their mission. 
    >> Find out more about the policy to reinforce internal security and the fight against terrorism <<
     

    Addressing the migration challenge head-on


    "Welcome, yes of course. Assist, yes obviously. Endure, no, never."

    The pressure on our borders is not going to ease anytime soon. We need to address the migration challenge head-on if we are to take action and:
    • honour the French tradition of welcoming refugees, 
    • cut the average times for processing asylum applications from 14 to 6 months,
    • obtain the definite deportation of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected,
    • bring the reform of the European asylum system to a successful conclusion,
    • take action as regards countries of origin and transit. 

    Preparing for the future


    "Let us talk about schooling. We train "the very bright very well", but inequality is only getting worse and our students' average level of attainment does not match up to what our great country is capable of achieving."
      
    • Measures have already been pledged by the Minister of National Education for primary and secondary schools, focusing on the acquisition of key skills, support for schoolchildren and the independence of schools; they are due to come into force at the start of the new school year.
    • Reform of the Baccalaureate (A levels/high school diploma): by reducing the number of subjects taken during the final exams and defining what will be included as part of coursework from September 2018, the aim being for this reform to be rolled out in full for the 2021 Baccalaureate.
    • Improvements in the vocational sector, particularly by forging closer ties between vocational lycées (sixth-form colleges) and business through work-linked training or apprenticeships.
    • Pressing on with the reform of our prestigious universities.
    • Launch of discussions on a new national service, by the end of 2017, "to prepare our children for this world that awaits, for this great and commendable, fair and strong France we aspire our country to be".

    Renovating the French social model


    The Government would like to renovate the social model "so that it creates protection that is genuinely effective in practice, instead of solely being guaranteed on paper. So that it supports those who want to take a risk instead of focusing solely on those who have already found their feet":
     
    • strengthening social dialogue at enterprise and sector level, 
    • taking measures to free up the labour force's spending power: scrapping employees' contributions to health insurance and unemployment insurance, financed through a transfer to the general social welfare contribution (CSG) in 2018. This represents €250 per year in terms of the minimum wage (SMIC),
    • increasing the "prime d’activité", an incentive by way of an allowance to continue working or return to work,
    • safeguarding career paths: strengthening vocational training, 
    • allowing employees who resign and the self-employed to benefit from unemployment insurance,
    • reforming apprenticeship,
    • reforming the pension system so as to make it fairer and easier to understand.

    Facing up to the truth about the financial situation


    "Taxpayers shall not be the adjustment variable in the budget."

    The Government pledges to bring the public deficit to below 3% of GDP in 2017 and to roll out a three-pronged public finance strategy:
    • alleviating the tax burden: - 1 GDP point over the next five years.
    • cutting public spending: - 3 GDP points over the next five years.
    • taking action by raising the profile of stakeholders.
    Other announcements include:
    • reducing compulsory withholdings by €20 billion between now and 2022, 
    • restoring balance to the social security system by 2020, by defining new rules enabling the prohibition of the deficit in the social accounts over the long term,
    • preserving the underlying stability of the pension system, whilst endeavouring to make it fairer and easier to understand.

    III/ Conquering spirit

    "Let us be winners! Amid the changes around us, France has every chance of success, because this new world needs science and reason, law and order, technology and culture, dialogue and solidarity."

    The Prime Minister outlined the key areas in which action is necessary if France is to become a leading player on the international stage.
     

    The economy


    "With the reforms we are proposing we want to take the lead once again, in terms of work, growth and job creation."
     
    The Prime Minister announced a reduction in the financial burden on labour, particularly for salaries close to the minimum wage:
    • converting the tax credit for companies (CICE) into a reduction in payroll charges: this reform will apply from 1 January 2019, 
    • gradually reducing the corporate tax rate: from the current 33.3%, down to 25% by 2022, 
    • scrapping the self-employed workers' health insurance scheme (RSI) to merge it with the general scheme and ease the burden on entrepreneurs – the self-employed and SMEs/micro-businesses in particular.
    The Prime Minister also announced a series of tax reforms for shifting the focus of savings towards productive investment:
    • narrowing the scope of the solidarity tax on wealth (ISF) around a housing wealth limit. The reform will be voted on in the 2018 finance legislation, and come into force in 2019,
    • introduction of a single levy rate of around 30% on savings income, to round off the wealth tax reform. 
    The Prime Minister has pledged to roll out a sweeping investment plan worth €50 billion in the areas of:
    • the energy transition, skills' development, health, transport, agriculture and modernising the State,
    • industry, the aim being to forge a powerful industrial network of SMEs and mid-caps, aligning them more with multinationals, to give them greater room for manoeuvre – especially in terms of export,
    • the digital revolution and artificial intelligence, which is going to impact all production sectors across the board. The Minister of State for the Digital Sector will come up with a proposal over the next three months for more effectively involving the very best specialists in the field in defining a national strategy for artificial intelligence.
     

    Wholeheartedly embracing the key transitions


    "Adopting a conquering spirit afresh also implies wholeheartedly taking up the tremendous challenge posed by the key transitions."

    The energy transition

    The Prime Minister has set the target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. He has vowed to:
    • discontinue granting new hydrocarbon exploration permits,
    • work towards "diesel petrol" convergence, which will be reached by the end of the term,
    • expedite carbon tax efforts,
    • halve the amount of landfilled waste and recycle all plastics nationwide by 2025,
    • develop new mobility means involving new technology. The "Assises de la mobilité" (Mobility Conference) are scheduled for the beginning of the autumn. Framework legislation on mobility will also pave the way for opening up to competition.

    Housing 

    • simplifying planning permission procedures, from the autumn. In areas where demand outstrips supply, urban planning authorisations will be transferred, where necessary, from municipalities to public establishments for intermunicipal cooperation.
    • completing energy efficiency works on buildings within the next ten years. 

    Agriculture

    • organisation of the "États généraux de l'alimentation" (Food Convention) to boost confidence in healthier eating. This Convention will also be an opportunity to review the way value is shared out in the agricultural model, so that farmers can earn a decent wage. It will also look at agriculture and the environment through the same lens, particularly by examining the question of pesticides or endocrine disruptors. 

    Maritime sector

    • France needs to harness its maritime strengths to create new jobs, especially in the marine energy sectors, with a view to winning an ever greater share of freight thanks to its large ports. 

    A France that commands more attention, respect and admiration


    "We cannot envisage the recovery of our nation without an international policy that sees France once again wielding influence on the international stage."

    In Europe

    "The French people made two things very clear during the elections: they see merits in European integration and the Euro; and they would like to see a more tangible, less pernickety, more protective Europe."
     
    There are three thrusts to the Government's European agenda:
    • do everything possible to renew French people's faith in the European Union (EU),
    • strive for a Europe that protects, which will be able to rely on a better governed eurozone and successfully advance its defence policy,
    • prepare for the three crucial negotiations for the EU's future: redefining the European project with 27 members, holding orderly negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the EU and the EU's financial outlook post-2020. 

    Worldwide

    "A conquering spirit is also about being able to attract the intelligence of tomorrow our way."
     
    For the Prime Minister, this conquering spirit must be evident in:
    • the hosting of students from all over the world to enrich and disseminate our techniques, our language and our identity.
    • our wealth of tourism options: a major economic boon for attracting wealth to our country,
    • the organisation of such prestigious sporting events as Paris 2024.
     


    What is a general policy statement?

    On 4 July 2017, the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, will deliver his general policy statement before the National Assembly. Here... [Read more]
    3 July 2017

              Confusing remake, but powerful performance from Audacious Rock by        
    DVD front cover
    Title:
    The Manchurian Candidate [DVD] [2004]
    ASIN:
    B000767TVA
    Rating:
    3 out of 5 stars

    This film is a remake and not a great one at that. The original was set in the vietnam war, with the chinese as "The Enemy". This modern version is set against the backdrop of the Gulf War and this time "The Enemy" is not communism but rather capitalism. This irony, however, will be lost on anyone who watches the film. The idea of a large multinational company trying to control the government to extend its influence over the world is now quite common-place. As such, once you have figured out the background story, the plot becomes fairly predictable.

    The same, however, cannot be said for the acting. Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber give powerful performances, ranging from anger over fear to sheer hopelessness. Their characters are portrayed with raw emotion giving us an insight into the emotional cocktail brewing inside them throughout the movie.

    I must say, I found the film confusing at times unable to follow the reasoning behind certain character decisions. It felt in part as if bits of the film had been left out after editing that were vital to the storyline.

    Though this film is powerful and dramatic, it's rather dull in terms of plot and thrill. The only upside is that I now want to watch the original.


              How Safe are the Sochi Olympic Games?        

    A special guest post by Global Security Consultant and Political Risk Expert, Paul Crespo.   This is the latest post in the series. The 2014 Olympic Winter Games began today in Sochi, Russia. Numerous U.S. multinational corporations such as McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Proctor & Gamble and Visa are sponsoring or participating, and 10,000 Americans are expected... Continue Reading

    The post How Safe are the Sochi Olympic Games? appeared first on International Business Law Advisor.


              EU Referendum: Americans Should Stay Out.        

    This blog largely stays clear of American politics as the nuances and subtle dynamics of another country's politics are often lost to those have not resided in the country for many years.

    The reverse is, of course, true and we saw a wonderful example last year when
    Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigned over tweet regarding Dan Ware displaying England flags outside his house. What was understood to UK political observers was less so to those across the pond - this was clearly evident from the Washington Examiner comment editor Philip Klein at the time:
    This becomes more evident when it comes to the EU. Seen partially through the prism of the UK, America is a step removed and have no direct experience of what it's like to live under a supranational government.

    With this in mind perhaps
    it is not the wisest move to appoint as a referendum strategist an American, which is what Leave EU has done in the form of Gerry Gunster. And so it's proving. As EU Referendum observes this is a man whose only experience of winning referendums is by aligning himself with the status quo camp, and has shown no knowledge of the EU and "even has no direct knowledge of British politics".

    Employing an American also presents another problem.

    As we have seen already other countries are going to interfere in what should be a purely domestic vote on our own democracy. The United States, which has
    its own selfish motives in keeping the UK in the straitjacket of the EU, will be at the forefront of this interference as this intervention in June earlier this year demonstrates:
    The UK must stay in the European Union to continue to have influence on the world stage, US President Barack Obama has told the BBC.

    He said the UK's EU membership "gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union".
    And nor will it be just utterances by the US President. As was the case in 1975, there will inevitably be active financial assistance to keep the UK in:
    Sir Richard Body: "After I became joint chairman of the Get Britain Out Council two Americans came to see me in 1975 with a large bundle of papers. They were, they claimed, CIA agents who deplored their country's methods in interfering in the affairs of a good ally. What they had brought were copies of documents which showed that a dedicated federalist, Cord Meyer, jnr. was to become head of a CIA station in London for the duration of the Referendum "to do what it takes" to secure a "Yes" vote in favour of Britain remaining in the EEC. The papers showed that the CIA had already given the European Movement considerable sums of money, but now multinational corporations which had been assisted by the CIA were to be persuaded to fund the "Yes" campaign through indirect channels".
    The United States should be told to mind its own business, yet with the Leave EU campaign having an American as the main strategist in a UK referendum diminishes the obvious retort that Americans should stay out of UK's domestic matters.
              Festival Lollapalooza : le coup de gueule de Jack lang        
    L'ancien ministre de la Culture dénonce "l'invasion de multinationales américaines sur la vie musicale française", alors que s'ouvre le festival américain à Paris.
              Tyler Cowen on Stubborn Attachments, Prosperity, and the Good Society        

    Stubborn%20Attachments.png Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and the co-host of the blog Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Stubborn Attachments, his book-length treatment of how to think about public policy. Cowen argues that economic growth--properly defined--is the moral key to maintaining civilization and promoting human well-being. Along the way, the conversation also deals with inequality, environmental issues, and education.

    Size:27.9 MB
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    Readings and Links related to this podcast episode

    Related Readings
    HIDE READINGS
    This week's guest: This week's focus: Additional ideas and people mentioned in this podcast episode: A few more readings and background resources: A few more EconTalk podcast episodes:

    Highlights

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    Podcast Episode Highlights
    HIDE HIGHLIGHTS
    0:33

    Intro. [Recording date: July 24, 2017.]

    Russ Roberts: This is your 10th appearance on EconTalk.

    Tyler Cowen: Yeah. That's great.

    Russ Roberts: I know. It is. It puts you in the elite group of double-digit guests. Your most recent appearance was two months ago in May when we talked about your book The Complacent Class; and today we're talking a new book that you've written that's online--you can find it at Medium.com; we're going to be putting a link up to it. The title is Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals. What's your central claim or claims? What are you trying to advance in this book?

    Tyler Cowen: Since I was a graduate student I've been interested in the normative foundations of economics and political judgments. And in this book I try to argue we can actually solve the biggest issues in judging what makes a political or economic order right, why do we prefer one economic policy over another. So, it's a very philosophical book. And, unlike a lot of philosophy, which tends to lead to a kind of an anihilism or extreme skepticism, in this I try to suggest we actually have all the answers. We just need to be bold. And we can go through what those answers are. But, that's the overview of this fairly short book. I've worked on it for about 20 years, spending maybe a month or two a year trying to improve it. And then I figured finally it was ready.

    Russ Roberts: Well, it's a really interesting book and it does make a bold claim--more than one bold claim--which your summary captures one of those claims. Which is: We've figured it out. So, that's a bit strong. It's a strong claim, not just a bold claim. What have we figured out? What do you think is the central way we should be deciding the policy issues that divide us?

    Tyler Cowen: Economists for a long time have focused on economic growth, but most philosophers typically have not. I argue that if you systematically introduce the idea of sustainable economic growth into philosophy, welfare economics, social choice theory, that that allows you really to clear up a lot of different problems. And think of the fundamental problem in so much of philosophy as being what we call aggregation. If, you know, John wants one TV show and Sally wants to watch another show, and they only have one TV, well, how do we judge which is the better outcome? There's different attempts to solve that problem. Some people are egalitarians; other people want to maximize utility of the two. But I argue we should take a straightforward economic approach and basically ask, 'Well, what would they trade to do?' and then I aggregate this approach to the whole economy. And basically if you have one economy with a rate of compound growth over time higher than that of another economy, over some number of decades one of those situations will just very clearly be better than the other for almost everyone. So, that's the starting point of the book. The chapters cover a lot more issues. But that's kind of my entry point into the stuff talked about by John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Derek Parfit and other people.

    4:19

    Russ Roberts: How would you say that conclusion differs from simply saying we should pursue what's "efficient"? Which is a phrase I do not like. It has a very narrow meaning in economics: It basically means that we--well, I won't even try to summarize it. But help me out here. What's the difference between your economic approach and traditional economic welfare approaches?

    Tyler Cowen: Efficiency typically is quite a static concept. One novelty in my argument is I claim we should use an intergenerational discount rate of zero. That is, the distant future we should not discount at all. There's positive time preference within a life, but over the course of generations no one is sitting around impatiently waiting to be born. And once you adopt that move, the further-out future becomes very important for our deliberations. And then the gains from getting this higher compound rate of economic growth, they really do just overwhelm anything else in the calculation. And the typical more static or a-temporal economic treatment of efficiency--it may be useful for some problems, but it doesn't give you this whole perspective across time about how to think about, you know, social choices in general.

    Russ Roberts: I guess one way to think about it, now that I've gotten over stubbing[?] my brain there--it's earlier here in California where I'm recording this, so obviously I'm behind. One could argue that efficiency is making sure that the pie is as large as possible right now. And what you are suggesting is that we ought to make sure that the pie grows as fast as it can grow going forward.

    Tyler Cowen: That's right.

    Russ Roberts: Would you say that's a decent--?

    Tyler Cowen: That's a good way to put it. Yes.

    Russ Roberts: So, most people would say--I want to come back to the technical issue of discounting. I find your approach deeply appealing; and one piece of it deeply flawed--and I'll let you defend it. But let's just start with this idea that I think is not compelling to most people. It sounds very technocratic that we should just, 'Oh, let the economy grow as fast as possible; eventually everything will work out well.' A lot of people would find that unappealing, for one reason being it's mainly focusing on material well-being. And I know you have an answer to that; so I want you to answer that. The other, of course, is that it may leave a lot of people behind. People are very worried about that; rightfully so. So, try to deal with those two.

    Tyler Cowen: Let me first say I do adopt the qualification that maximizing growth should be subject to respecting human rights; and some human rights are absolute. We shouldn't trample over those even if it will somehow boost the growth rate. But on top of that, I think if you look at long enough time horizons, say, even relatively poor people today are much better off than they were in less wealthy societies of the 18th, 19th, or early 20th century--that they have access to cheap food, partial access to antibiotics, a much cleaner and healthier environment, safer water. And that even though some people are going to gain much more than others, if you take a longer term time perspective--I don't think you quite get to a literal unanimity of all humans being better off. Say, some people who love power or who want to see the impoverishment of others--they'll be worse off. But, from a practical point of view, virtually all people are better off, say, in a society that has 5 or 7 times the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of an alternative course for economic policy.

    Russ Roberts: So, if I might, I just want to defend you a little more, completely in your point about human rights. You also say that leisure counts. And the environment counts.

    Tyler Cowen: Absolutely. And without the environment working, none of this will be sustainable. So, the long time perspective--it both puts a higher priority on the environment, but also a higher priority on economic growth. And it gives you some metric for trading those things off against each other.

    8:22

    Russ Roberts: So, I find the argument extremely compelling in many dimensions. I want to cast it in a different way, which is--I've used this in a couple of my books; I really think it's the right way to think about it--which is: If you asked a person in 1900 who suffered through economic change, who suffered through, say, the transformation of agriculture, the industrialization in the second half of the 19th century, there's a lot of hardship that that imposed. At the same time, the wellbeing of the children and grandchildren of those people were so extraordinarily and stunningly great compared to their lives that a lot of people--those people themselves would say this was a good deal. So, that to me is the logic of what you are talking about in taking a long-term perspective. But, for me, part of that requires a connection between the generations that's through love, which I think is often ignored, and it is there. And I'm wondering whether people alive today who maybe are less likely to have children than people in the past, whether some of those arguments don't work quite as well. What are your thoughts on that?

    Tyler Cowen: Well, keep in mind, this book is in a sense a companion to my trade release, The Complacent Class. And that's a book about how we're less willing to incur one-off costs for a much better future. So, if you are just asking, you know, 'How are people behaving today?' I think we have less of that willingness to sacrifice for the future; more sense of entitlement: 'I'm not going to give up anything now, no matter what it may bring later on.' So, I think we're moving in the wrong direction. I think even people who don't have children or who maybe do not love their children should be able to see the morally forcing nature of, 'We should choose the outcome that will both enable civilization to last for longer'--which is really compelling when you think about what means--'and have a higher standard of living for virtually all human beings.' I think those are the strongest values we can possibly cite, especially when combined with this notion of inalienable human rights as a kind of binding side-constraint on what we can do.

    Russ Roberts: Why is it important have a high standard of living? That sounds like a very--I know you have a much richer conception of that idea, but to most people that sounds very--it's something an economist would say who doesn't have much understanding about the human experience.

    Tyler Cowen: Keep in mind this isn't just money we're talking about. It's leisure time. It's ability to maintain your health, your ability to control your time. What people value and are willing to trade off against other goods. But, people who have higher living standards, there's plenty of good evidence that they tend to be happier within their societies. They live longer lives. They suffer less pain. They recover better from trauma. They are better able to be charitable to the rest of the world or people less fortunate than they are. I think most of what we consider the virtues co-moves with having a much higher level of social wealth.

    Russ Roberts: What about the argument that right now--I don't accept the argument but many people do--that many people are left behind in our economy. They don't share in the growth: the rising tide isn't lifting all boats any more. So your argument was great in the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s; doesn't hold today.

    Tyler Cowen: Well, I think today we're doing a very bad job at maximizing the rate of economic growth. So, if a person is complaining that right now we're not doing what I'm suggesting, I'm fully on board with that. Do I think there are plenty of changes we can make to economic policy that would both boost growth and improve the lot of people who are less fortunate--say, starting with education, or deregulating building, or helping our society be less crony-capitalist, more mobile and so on--there's plenty we can do. We're not doing it. We're totally failing; and we're the complacent class. And we need to get our act together. And this gets back to the two books' being complements to each other: But of course we're failing at that.

    12:33

    Russ Roberts: I guess--let's take some particular issues. Other people would pick different issues that they think are holding the economy back. And I want you to use the framework of the book to try to deal with them. And, underlying some of your claims, I would say--at least the way I read it and correct me if I'm wrong--there's a view that the Left and the Right could come together on many of these issues and not disagree as much as they appear to. So, issues that I think about, that we fight about--Left and Right--or things like immigration, issues like minimum wage or labor market regulation, tax policy: Do you think there are choices--there are opportunities--choose a word--that there's low-hanging fruit in the growth sphere that we're missing that could make a big improvement and that in theory Left and Right could agree on?

    Tyler Cowen: Sure. Just to take tax policy: American tax policy is one of the most complicated in the world. In some regards we tax capital at too high a rate; it slows down innovation. You have American firms shifting operations or just accounting profits overseas for the sole purpose of evading tax; that can really make sense. Most economists--and I include Democrats in this designation; Republicans, Democrats--think we could have a much better tax code and it would boost our rate of growth. So, we should do it.

    Russ Roberts: Okay; well, I think the idea is--that's one I think there is some agreement on among economists. Examples like lowering the corporate tax rate or changing the way we treat profits overseas. But the height of marginal rates--I guess the thing that comes to my mind, when I was reading your book--when I was being trained as an economist, there was this so-called equity-and-efficiency tradeoff. It's kind of what your book is about, at least the way it was framed when I was younger. Which is that if we try to redistribute income on the grounds of fairness or political expediency, either one, that we're going to pay a price in either efficiency--the pie is going to be smaller than it would be--or, more importantly in your case, the pie is not going to grow as fast. What evidence do you think we have that there is this potentially much higher growth rate awaiting us if we had better economic policy?

    Tyler Cowen: Well, let me first just go back a second and say I do think some redistributions could boost the rate of economic growth a lot, and they have in the past: Public health programs would be an example. Giving poor people more resources so they have more opportunity and they have a better chance to become creators or maybe even later, inventors. So, I don't think it means no redistribution. I think it says we should check redistribution by what kinds of redistribution will maximize the growth rate. I think in many particular individual areas in economics there is good evidence that particular reforms would boost economic growth. There is work by Enrico Moretti, for instance, that by deregulating building this would boost GDP and give people more opportunity that would be pro-egalitarian as well. Medical innovation: I think there's good evidence there that some policies have helped it; other policies have hurt it. Obviously, we should do more to help it. The tax code: I think there's some economic issues that don't fit into my book. So, you mentioned the minimum wage, what everyone thinks of that. And I tend to be skeptical of minimum wages. But I don't think there's anything in the framework of my book that clears up whether or not we should do it, because odds are it could well be neutral with respect to growth, even if there's this one-time reason not to put those people out of work. So, I don't think the framework handles all economic issues, but those that are growth-related or growth-sensitive, yes.

    16:27

    Russ Roberts: Let's talk about the mobility issue, and we'll start with inside the country. You referenced Moretti's work on regulation of housing supply; and a lot of people are starting to wonder about this. What's your take on this? Do you think we've made--it appears, it seems to me, and I don't have strong evidence for it, but it seems to me we've made a catastrophic set of mistakes in urban housing policy that, for reasons that--we can debate what the underlying cause is--but, a lot of people would be more productive living in the larger American cities. And those cities have become extremely expensive. I find it interesting that we--we have a lot of stories to tell about it, but the evidence is not so open and shut. Or, maybe you think it is. Talk about that.

    Tyler Cowen: I wouldn't say it's open and shut. But here's the thing that happened that surprised many people, myself included. The extent to which clustering benefits--having so many smart tech people together in San Francisco, or so many people in the arts or creative industries together in New York or Manhattan--those lately have been a lot stronger than most people expected. I think there was a sense of, 'Well, maybe I don't favor these building restrictions, but maybe, you know, there'll be overflow: some people will move to Atlanta. They'll move to Tulsa, OK, or wherever. They won't be quite as productive, but, you know, we'll work around it.' And how wrong that's turned out to have been. I think information technology in particular, is remarkably clustered. It's a bit like movie project evaluation in Hollywood or finance in New York, London, and Hong Kong. So, we're moving more toward clustering. And that's made, you know, a more or less constant policy be a lot more costly. And I think, you know, there are studies, like the Moretti articles. But also, just intuitively, you see productive people who want to move to San Francisco and they tell you, 'Hey, I can't afford it.' You then go to San Francisco; you see there's plenty of room there. I don't want to quite call that a proof; but what I would refer to as the anecdotal dimension. It very strongly supports the statistical work.

    Russ Roberts: Yah, let's talk about that clustering for a minute. It's a digression, but it's one that intrigues me. We invoke that--that clustering argument, that people are more productive around people like them. But, of course, you don't interact with most of them. You can't, almost by definition--just the physical constraints of human life and time. So, I happen to be in the Bay Area for the summer; I'm recording this on the Stanford campus, which sometimes feels like the center of the tech universe. And I meet a lot of really smart people here who are working in startups or in larger firms. And, is it really important that they are near other really smart people? It's hard to understand, for me. The place feels alive about these issues. It feels like a more dynamic place than, say, suburban Maryland where I live during the year. But, what's the underlying reality that's driving that productivity that we claim? I'm not sure that I understand what it is.

    Tyler Cowen: Keep in mind, in an indirect way you do interact with all of them. So, there's some kind of aggregation mechanism for information, so the best ideas get passed along, and you are in closer contact with those ideas. You understand them better in context. So, maybe if, in only the course of a week you only speak to 10 people; but those 10 people have spoken to 10 people who in turn--and so on down a chain. And what gets passed along are the best ideas relative to, say, the Bay Area. It's like being the Think Tank world in or near Washington, D.C. In the course of a week or month, how many other Think Tankers do I meet? You know, it depends where I go. But even if I only meet a few, what I'm hearing are the best dribs and drabs that world is producing. And then, on the hiring side, when you are going out to give people a job and set them to work doing something, and your company might have to ramp up quickly--you know, in the tech world you can't do that in Tallahassee. Actually, in the public policy world, you really can't do that in San Francisco very well. So, you know, I even live some of that firsthand as having a role at Mercatus Center and George Mason University doing hiring; and you see just how important that clustering is. If you are doing public policy work, you want to be near Washington, D.C. And you do learn from everyone here, even if you only meet with 10 of them.

    Russ Roberts: I don't think I've ever heard it romanticized that way, as "dribs and drabs." But I think you meant it in a positive way.

    Tyler Cowen: Yes, absolutely. I was [?].

    21:13

    Russ Roberts: Let me think about it maybe a slightly different way, which ties into this point about mobility. If a firm did start in Tallahassee, and it didn't work out--which most of them of course don't--most startups don't make it--you've got to move from Tallahassee. You've got to leave. You've got to start over. I think one of these advantages of these clusters that we are talking about is that once you are there--and I'm talking now about the worker, not the firm, but of course the firm also have economies of scale in this. But for a worker, you know, if it doesn't work out at Google, there are other places I can work that demand my skills; and I don't have to relocate to Minneapolis or Boston or New York or Washington or Chicago. And that's nice. Maybe--

    Tyler Cowen: Especially for two-earner couples, right?

    Russ Roberts: Correct, where you've got to find that second--

    Tyler Cowen: [?]

    Russ Roberts: Yeah. That just reinforces the point. I just wonder: I feel like we've made everything just a little harder for people to relocate, both in terms of real estate policy, and maybe some of it's emotional--maybe some of it's a wealth effect, that we don't like to start over when we're successful. I'm just trying to figure out why it's different. Why is it different now than 25, 30, 40, 50 years ago? It's hard to understand. Right? It's easy to tell the story at a point in time. It's a little harder to make the claim over time, it seems to me.

    Tyler Cowen: Well, look at what's grown in our economy. It's been information technology, finance, and creative industries, among other areas. Those are all very clustering-intensive. Something like cement production--you know, the cement producers are not all clustered in one part of Ohio. They are fairly spread out through the country because transporting cement is costly. So, so much of our economic growth has coming in clustering intensive areas. That's changed a lot. Schooling has become more of a race: there is a lot more credentialism. So, having your kid in the right school is more important. And that makes, say, Manhattan, San Francisco, much more problematic: you've got to pay for private schooling. For a lot of parents, that has changed and intensified. So, I think there are some things we can point to that seem pretty clearly in line with the overall story. The world being globalized, also. You want to reach global markets. Well, that's harder to do from Tallahassee. It's easier from New York or San Francisco. So, the value of being there is now much higher.

    Russ Roberts: Why do you think credentialism has grown the way it has? Why is it so important? Why do parents suffer? And that slightly goes against your point earlier about being willing to sacrifice for the future. Right? Parents relentlessly sacrifice for their children, to get them into the best private schools, the best universities. And, I've always been somewhat of a skeptic on that for my children. Part of it's my educational past. And part of it's just I feel like I've been in the kitchen. And, I know what the differences are between the most prestigious and the not-quite-as-prestigious schools. And it's a big premium that people pay for it; and personally, it's not worth it for me. But what do you think--why has that gotten "worse" or, depending on your view of it, why has it changed so much in the last 20 years?

    Tyler Cowen: Some of it is the law. So there are more licenses for more professions than ever before. Some of it is just overall growth of the service sector which tends to have more certification, even if it's of the non-legal sort. I think some of it is the greater complexity and indeed value of production: so, a lot of entrepreneurs, they don't want to take so many chances, so they want the Masters' degree or the Ivy League or Top 30 education, whatever it will be. And then some of it is this kind of signaling game where it inches up, what credential you need; in every generation it gets a bit worse. And it used to be to be an undergraduate degree; now it's a Masters'. Maybe someday it will be a Ph.D. And that's just institutions getting out of whack and no one really pulling the plug and really just saying, 'No.' I think all of those put together.

    Russ Roberts: Isn't some of it just demographic? That a very large cohort of the offspring of baby boomers is going through the university pipeline and there isn't enough? The costs of entry are very high. It's very difficult to start a first-rate university from scratch--

    Tyler Cowen: Sure. Harvard doesn't take[?] that many more people. Yeah--

    Russ Roberts: Yeah. Which is a puzzle, by the way.

    Tyler Cowen: Yes, I agree.

    Russ Roberts: They've tried to, right? Implicitly. Most of the great universities now are using MOOCs (massive open online courses) in other ways to extend their franchise and market share in a different dimension. But it's not--if you think of university as I do, as a finishing school for certain types of people, that role is very difficult to get online. So, the networking and the socialization part of college, the--what people are really willing to pay for, and they want a certain kind of product that's very difficult to create from scratch, almost by definition.

    Tyler Cowen: Well, the actual degree, the four-year degree with your name on it: Harvard admissions have gone up a bit; Princeton, Yale--they are working on it a little. But it's nothing compared to what a normal market would bring, which is this huge increase in demand stemming from globalization and higher return to skills--

    Russ Roberts: Yup--

    Tyler Cowen: and you would think, like, these schools would grow by a factor of 5, 10, 15. Whatever. But, of course, it's nothing like that. Maybe they boost admissions by 10% and then boast about it and say they are doing their best. And they cut tuition for the poorest students. But it's basically the same game but with more people trying to rush through the entrance.

    27:01

    Russ Roberts: Let's think about that just for a second. Why is it--and when I was at [the University of] Chicago in graduate school in the 1980s, in the late 1970s, Chicago had struggled in the late 1960s and 1970s with crime. And they thought about relocating--I think to Arizona. It's interesting that they didn't start a second campus. And then things got better. But--and they decided to stay. I think it was a threat to the city, basically: Rumor had it that the city punished Hyde Park, where the University is, for not supporting Mayor Daly and other Democratic candidates. So they would give them--they supported them in the election, but in the Primary they would always support the challenger. And so they'd give them lousy police service and lousy roads--no clearing--and garbage pickup. So the University created its own police department. Which was pretty effective. But they threatened to move--partially, I think just as a threat. But, why didn't they--not move, but why don't they create, why don't universities create franchises, extend the brand name? It's one thing to say, 'Well, Stanford wouldn't be Stanford if were 70,000 students.' That's true. But why isn't there a Stanford East, or a Harvard West, or a Chicago South? Why don't universities--or a George Mason West? You know, George Mason has a much better reputation than its sort-of on-paper quality--because it's distinctive. And its economics department is a huge part of that. Why wouldn't George Mason try to exploit that reputational advantage somewhere else outside of Virginia?

    Tyler Cowen: I think it's hard to do. Keep in mind what makes George Mason, say, special, is faculty of a particular kind. So you can't duplicate those faculty in a Star-Trek-like machine. You might hope to hire the equivalent. But to tell people, 'Well, there's this new school, George Mason West.' And it's starting with near-zero faculty and you're the first one to go there; and the colleagues you really want to interact with, they are 3000 miles away. I'm not saying no one would take it. But it's not such a compelling offer if faculty is a scarce asset. Keep in mind: Many schools do now have branches. Most commonly you see this branching into Singapore. There's a bit into China. Some--George Mason has a program in Korea. These are all new. We're not sure how they'll go. I think some of them actually will work. So, the branching we're seeing is into this high-demand area of Asia. And I think there's also about admitting too many Asians into the main campus branch for a lot of schools. And this is a way around that.

    Russ Roberts: Yeah, but I think you are--obviously, the faculty is a key part. I don't know how--it's quite as irreplaceable or unduplicatable as you might want to think. But, you'd think there would be some faculty who might want to live somewhere else other than Fairfax.

    Tyler Cowen: I think that a Harvard/California could work. I believe normatively Harvard should do it. I see zero signs they are about to. It would mean a dilution of control, a lot of headaches, a lot of new legal issues. You know, some reputational risk. But you could increase the number of people getting into some version of Harvard by really quite a bit. And that would be a wonderful thing for the country. And the world.

    Russ Roberts: So, I'm going to suggest a simpler explanation for this. Which is: Nobody has an incentive to do it. The faculty like where they are, mostly. There's no owner. The alums [alumni, alumns--Econlib Ed.] are something of a residual claimant. They are probably against this. They, as you say, they risk diluting their own reputational name.

    Tyler Cowen: That's right. They are significant, the alums.

    Russ Roberts: Yup, very. But it's just interesting how--it always bewilders my parents--that no one's really--there's no boss in a modern American university. The Provost or the President only give the illusion of control. It's a very strange enterprise. And it's interesting because it's something we ought to think about given how important it is, or at least how important it seems to be in our lives--both not just material lives, in the economic growth that we're talking about, but in other ways as well.

    Tyler Cowen: But these universities, they do take other value-maximizing actions, like trying to improve the sports team or treating their donors better or having the lawn look nice on graduation day. So, they're not incapable of responding to incentives. So, I suspect this idea of control is quite central, and risk, and alums, and the administration and the board just not wanting the headaches. And it's like when a lot of departments grow, the previous incumbents lose control. Some similar issues.

    Russ Roberts: But I really think it gets at the heart of what's dysfunctional about the non-profit sector, in general--and there are many wonderful things about them, the non-profit sector; I've sung its praises many times on the program, so don't misunderstand me. But the inevitable challenge of non-profits in my experience is that they want to grow. They just want to be bigger. They will sacrifice their mission, after a while. At first, the first founders of the organization and the early leaders are passionate about the mission; and they are very careful to make sure the mission is preserved. But after a while, the leaders care about just bigger. And they are willing to sacrifice the mission if bigger is the result. And that's just because there's no incentive for them to do something else, unfortunately, except for the passion of the people who care about that mission, either of the workers or the employees or the staff; sometimes the donors. The donors do care: that's why they give, generally. But if you think about the modern American university, the amount of money that they are sitting on in the endowments is shocking, really, as a social phenomenon. Because I think most people have a romance about the university--that it's created to help people and to allow people to educate themselves, and teach them, and help transform the world. And if that were true, they would do something really different from what they are doing.

    Tyler Cowen: I like the [?] of the new university called Minerva. I don't know if you've heard of it.

    Russ Roberts: I have--

    Tyler Cowen: You spend 4 years abroad with peers in a setting--so, you live in like Istanbul, Buenos Aires. You learn things from living there, and then you take shorter, intense classes online with your group and receive instruction at a distance. That, too, is new. It's too soon to judge. But I have some hope that that will be a success and lead to some alternative models and more experimentation.

    Russ Roberts: It's just interesting as a parent of a 17-year-old and two other college students who are in traditional universities, that, the idea of a parent saying, 'Oh, you ought to try this. This looks good,' the way you might say if a new car model came out, you might encourage them to try, or a new style of clothing. The amount that's at stake with your university degree is--at least it's perceived to be quite high. And so I think the challenge that Minerva has, and other innovators, is getting people to jump who might otherwise go to a first rate brick-and-mortar university. And maybe not get the return from it that they could get at a place like this one.

    Tyler Cowen: I wish Harvard cared more about being bigger, actually. It seems to me, so many universities--they are willing to grow if they can grow in ways where they maintain some kinds of control. So, there's like new facilities; there's new external programs; there's new, say, athletics; new initiatives that require more administrators. But, just for the school to be bigger--I'm used to George Mason, which has gone from a few thousand students to 34,000 and improved quality pretty much the whole way through. Not that many schools are doing that. I'm spoilt, in a way. I know it's possible.

    Russ Roberts: Yeah. Well. It's hard to steer those cats on the faculty. We know that.

    35:38

    Russ Roberts: Let's turn to some of the questions--let's go back to your book, although it's been fun talking about something only related tangentially to it. But, let's talk about what you would say is the low-hanging fruit for improving the rate of economic growth. You know, I find it deeply distressing that our current economic policy debate is over whether we should renegotiate NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It's sort of the central piece of what we're debating. I guess another piece would be our tax policy. None of which is going well. Could be political reasons for that, obviously. But some of it I think has to do with our ideological differences in the country. What would you recommend that we do to boost the economic growth rate?

    Tyler Cowen: The United States--I think we should commit truly to free trade, which we are not doing now. I think our government actually should spend more supporting scientific research. You and I may disagree on that. I think we should radically deregulate building. I feel in almost all areas of the economy we should deregulate economic activity; I would say the environment and finance are more complicated stories there. Those are partial exceptions. Have systematic tax reform and treat capital income better. Those would just be a few things offhand that I would recommend.

    Russ Roberts: What's complicated about finance?

    Tyler Cowen: We have this thing called 'deposit insurance'--

    Russ Roberts: Because I disagree with you on the science part; but if I got your whole platform, I'd be thrilled. I'd be happy to take a little too much science research that might be spent not so well, to get the rest of it. So, I'm sorry: I interrupted you. What's the issue with finance?

    Tyler Cowen: We have this thing called 'deposit insurance,' which, even if you abolished on paper, the actual guarantee in my opinion will not go away as long as we have Congress in the modern world. So that means there's some kind of backstop. So, there's always a chance financial institutions take depositors' money or creditors' money and in essence bring it to the casino to take too much risk in non-productive ways. And I do think the government has to do something to control that. My favorite direction is to have higher capital requirements. So, in essence the banks are first playing with their own money. But even capital requirements--they are not a simple thing to see through and enforce. And I think this will require a fair amount of financial regulation. And if we don't do that, we'll end up with periodic crises that will lead to even more financial regulation and possibly nationalization. So, I think that's a very tricky issue. But I don't think just, you know, hands off laissez faire makes sense there.

    Russ Roberts: What about environmental issues? You just mention them but you also spend a decent amount of time in the book talking them. How do they interact with the issues of growth that you are talking about? A lot of people would argue that growth is bad for the environment. Economists typically answer, 'Yeah, but countries that grow at higher rates and get wealthier tend to take care of the environment.' What's your take?

    Tyler Cowen: Most aspects of the environment improve with economic growth. Clean water is an example. Clean air is an example. There's something known as the Kuznets Curve--that as societies become wealthier, they do a better job cleaning up. That's true; but keep in mind, in part we have the Kuznets Curve because some government regulation is used. It's by no means entirely due to regulation, but partly it is. But, I think on this one issue of carbon, we see a lot of countries getting wealthier and not really doing much, if anything, to clean up their carbon emissions. And in that instance I would consider something like a carbon tax. And, if need be, cut taxes on other capital income to make up for the difference.

    Russ Roberts: So, you wouldn't say we should grow as fast as we can so we can adapt to the climate change that might be coming?

    Tyler Cowen: Well, I think a carbon tax is the way to grow as fast as we can. Look at it that way. We've got to tax something, right? So, you can either tax productive labor or you can tax something that with some probably emits a negative externality. In almost any model, taxing the negative externality will give you higher growth.

    40:04

    Russ Roberts: At one point, you ask about what we can do to make our civilization more stable. What are you thinking about there? What do you mean by 'making our civilization more stable'? And, what kind of actions do you think would be relevant?

    Tyler Cowen: Since WWII, we've lived in this funny upswing, where so many countries have had higher and higher standards of living, and more democracy, and in general a higher degree of public order. And we've started to treat that as historically normal. I don't know whether or not it's historically normal. But if you go back and you read classic history, or study antiquity, or for that matter, you know, read the Hebrew Bible, I think you get a very different perspective on what history normally looks like. So, I think there are key issues, such as cyber-security, nuclear terrorism, foreign policy. Hardly do we ignore those things. But I don't think they are sufficiently a civilizational priority. There are forms of existential risk that we could do more to protect ourselves against. But I think we're too complacent to actually do it. And furthermore, so much of the budget is spent on other things, it comes across to people as a difficult-to-swallow tax hike. I would much rather we spend more money limiting risk at the civilizational level than what we are doing now.

    Russ Roberts: A lot of people are worried about inequality. We touched on this earlier but I want to come back to it now. And, a lot of people would argue that it's the central problem of our age; it does put our society at risk of instability because there's a pervasive sense of unfairness--is the claim. What are your thoughts on how we should deal with that and how it might interact with the growth rate that you are more focused on?

    Tyler Cowen: Well, as we've discussed, there's lots we could do that would increase opportunity for people who now are less skilled or have lower incomes. But, I'm not persuaded by the view the inequality is somehow the root cause of political instability. If I look at a place such as Poland, which right now is flirting with semi-Fascistic idea or non-democratic ideas in a dangerous way, they've had a wonderful economic performance, for the most part. A lot of productive manufacturing jobs have come into Poland, actually, from Western Europe. It's a far, far nicer and better place than it had been under Soviet domination. And yet they are flirting with illiberal ideas. Now, I don't pretend to know why that's the case. But whenever I hear a kind of simple equation of, 'Here's this domestic tendency I don't like about American policy, so I'm going to say it's the root cause behind politicians I don't like, social movements I don't like, street crime, violence, collapse of public order.' When you actually look at the literature, the literature seems to suggest inequality gives rise to some disillusionment and some disengagement. Those are bad things. But if anything causes instability, you know, it can be rising expectations in some cases. So, I don't think we really understand the political consequences of inequality. But, I hear a lot of claims batted around that probably aren't true.

    43:25

    Russ Roberts: Let's turn to a philosophical question, which is utilitarianism, which you write quite a bit about in the book. I think you define yourself as a 2/3 utilitarian. What do you mean by that?

    Tyler Cowen: Well, that was a little tongue in cheek. But, I think if you are looking at a public policy, the first question you should ask should be the utilitarian question: Will this make most people better off? It's not the endpoint. You also need to ask about justice. And you should consider distribution. I think you should consider, say, how human beings are treating animals. You might want to consider other broader considerations. But that's the starting point. And if your policy fails the utilitarian test, I'm not saying it can never be good. But it has, really, a pretty high bar to clear. So, when I said "two thirds," that's what I meant.

    Russ Roberts: So, I like that, too. I mean, my view is it's sort of a starting point. It's not the end point. For a lot of people, it is the end point. But you write quite a bit--and I find it intriguing: Some of the more, harsher demands that utilitarianism might place on us. And, they are not so easy to answer. So, talk about what some of those are, about, say, having an ice cream cone when people are starving; or working selfishly at your job when you could relocate, say, as a doctor, and help poor people outside the United States. What are your thoughts on those? Talk about what some of what those issues are and then give us your take on them.

    Tyler Cowen: Well, this is the Peter Singer conundrum: How can you enjoy that active personal consumption, that chocolate ice cream cone, when, dot-dot-dot people are starving? You've been hearing this from your parents when you are a kid: How can you leave food on your plate when there's hungry children in Africa? Whatever the tale used to be. That's a morally interesting question, but I don't think it's the most relevant question. I think the most relevant question is: What can you do so the global economy grows at a higher rate? And that's going to help the poor, including in other countries more than anything else because of technology transfer, remittances, immigration. Multinationals, hiring people at higher wages, and so on. And if you ask the question, 'Well, what can I do for the poor in my own country, and other countries?' the answers will be to work really hard; try to innovate; save a lot; contribute to highly productive organizations. I do think we should feel a greater compulsion to do those things than we do now. So, I'm willing to bite that bullet. But, that to me is the moral dilemma. You know--not the ice cream cone. If the ice cream cone is what motivates people to produce value because they love ice cream, I say, 'Full steam ahead' with the ice cream cone. I'm worried that we are not innovating enough.

    Russ Roberts: Yeah. For me, the argument is, is really a failure to understand, I think the other side--that people would say--I think the example I remember from, I think it's from Will MacAskill, or he might be taking it from Singer, is: How can you throw a birthday party for your kid? That's just the most selfish thing in the world, because that amount of money could have an enormous impact on the wellbeing of a person elsewhere in a poorer society. And I guess the problem I have with that is: I don't think we have a very good understanding of how to make people's lives better who aren't living in our society. And, all these conundrums, all these puzzles and clever hypotheticals--they ignore that. They always assume: Oh, you can take this money and transform this person's life. As if there's just a box you could put the money in. We don't have that box. You know, people would say to--I love it when people say to me, 'Do you think we should give money to help education in poor countries?' and I'd say, 'No,' and they'd say, 'You are a selfish person.' And I said, 'We can't even figure out how to use money in the United States to make people's lives better in education. Why would I be so presumptuous to think I could do it in a different society, where the governance structure, the political institutions are designed often to steal that money?' I just don't see any evidence that there's such a mechanism. And to then--I'm willing to--the bullet I'd bite is to try and find mechanisms that will actually work. But the idea that somehow it's selfish of me to want to keep my money when I can't help people's lives--I don't understand it.

    Tyler Cowen: I'm more optimistic about philanthropy, perhaps, than you are. But, I would just take the stance that the much richer society will generate more philanthropy. You know, a lot of voluntary. Look at what Bill Gates is doing in Africa. I don't know that that's all working. I'm not well-informed about it. But he's certainly trying. And we know immigration works. We know having large multinationals who set up plants in other countries and hire people at hire wages--we know that works. We do know some things. I think we know, like, some number of public health programs work--if you vaccinate kids, or if we can get rid of malaria, or, you know, polio in some places, smallpox in others, that works. So, we know some things that work. And we've done a fair amount in those directions. So, to me, it would be strange to think we'll never find more things that work. But I think our path there is not kind of moralizing to people, and telling them to close up the birthday party or put down the ice cream cone. But, my goodness: Just could everyone, you know, working more, harder, smarter, and cultivating a culture of philanthropy? Which America largely has. To its benefit.

    Russ Roberts: Yeah. Don't misunderstand me. I'm a big fan of philanthropy, and I try to give away 10% of my after-tax income every year, for religious reasons; and I think there are ways to do that that are smarter than others. And I think it's important, as a human being, and as a way to make the world a better place. I think the challenge is getting those to scale and doing it in an organized way--

    Tyler Cowen: Sure.

    Russ Roberts: So, I think the tougher criticism of my view would be: How can you only give 10%? And you make that point in your book: Given my relative material prosperity, I should be giving away maybe 40%. And I think that's--it's an interesting argument. I think I have to take that--I think a thoughtful person has to take that seriously who is living, you know, an incredibly rich life, not just in material wellbeing but in all the things that that material wellbeing brings, in terms of security and comfort. So, I think it's a legitimate question. And I do think that the way to do that is through private philanthropy rather than through the, sort of, government aid--which has a really bad track record.

    Tyler Cowen: I know a person--he works in the financial sector in New York. He makes a lot of money; and he lives on almost nothing. He gives it all away. And I find that admirable. I think there should be more of it. But I wonder, given that human beings are what they are, how sustainable it would be to have too much more of it. I don't know. But I think the correct answer is to say, 'Yes, we should have more of this. Let's try a bit more and see how it goes.' I think that's right.

    50:26

    Russ Roberts: But, as you point out in the book, and I think it's related to your point just now about human nature and the human condition: If you are not careful, you become a slave. So, the argument would be--well, it's not 40%, but you'd be giving 75% or 80% away--because your standard of living is so much higher than other people's. We don't have to go to poor countries outside the United States. We're going to stick with the United States, actually.

    Tyler Cowen: Fair.

    Russ Roberts: So, people in West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, you name it--in your own state: you don't have to leave your own state, just different parts--it's immoral for you to live as comfortably as you do because there are people who live very badly nearby. And I do think it's not so straightforward to say, 'Okay, how can I help make their lives better?' But suppose I do find that way. It's a weird thing to become a, uhh, a servant of their wellbeing. Some might say it's the highest human experience you could have. You know, your friend in New York maybe is very happy. I don't know. Is he, or is she? I don't know.

    Tyler Cowen: He seems happy. Always hard to know. I'm not sure everyone could be happy that way.

    Russ Roberts: Yah. I think that's a challenge[?}. The more important thing to think about, of course: the time factor. So, you are going to go to school, get a medical degree, work for 8 years so that you can give away an enormous amount of money, and make lots of people's lives more pleasant. I don't know if that's an appealing marketing ploy.

    Tyler Cowen: Hmm.

    52:06

    Russ Roberts: At one point you talk about the Arrow Impossibility Theorem. And I think, right now, we are in a very interesting time in American politics. And partly as a result of nature of the partisan divide we are in right now--I think I am older than you. I remember when this divide was like this before. This is nothing new. I remember when Richard Nixon was in office. He was despised beyond words by his political opponents. So, it's not quite as new as it, as it might feel. But, there is something alarming about the state of things. And part of it, I think--part of it is the result of having an Electoral College: victors who didn't carry the popular vote; and that's very misleading, because once the incentives, the rules, are there, you should follow the rules. You are going to naturally try to win the Electoral College vote. Doesn't mean you would have lost the popular vote if that had been the only criterion. But there is a certain unease, I think, about the American political system. And I think of Arrow. I think of public choice generally. You talked about the aggregation problem; the challenge of the fact that we want different things: There's no such thing as 'The will of the people.' There's almost never such a thing even though it might get invoked. What is your philosophy in this book? What does it have to say about these issues?

    Tyler Cowen: One of the core arguments of the book is the way to resolve aggregation problems like the Arrow Impossibility Theorem is to move away from the static framework and think dynamically in terms of economic growth. And then, at the social level, the book is very much an encouragement for people to think big, and to believe in very significant--you could almost call them 'transcendent'--values. And that ethical thought needs to have what you almost might call the religious component; though I mean the word "religious" in the broad sense and not necessarily about a particular god. And that that's part of the path to getting to growth maximization--is changing how we think about our own social reality. In today's America, I see us in so many ways as moving in the opposite direction: being more petty, being more polarized, being more at each others' throats. Being actually less religious in the good sense. Being more complacent and more risk averse. So, our own values matter. They are one of the things that matter the most for boosting the rate of economic growth.

    Russ Roberts: Martha Nussbaum, recently, she and I both talked about transcendence. We had different understandings of it. So, this is--I don't think that word has been uttered until now, until Martha Nussbaum, on this program. And now, here it is again. And you've also now invoked religion, with a wink and an asterisk and a--I don't know what else. So, what do you mean by 'transcendent,' how you say; and what do you mean by 'religion'--quote "the good kind"--not any particular god? What does that mean to

              Germany & Norway formally join Netherlands & Luxembourg to operate pooled fleet of NATO-owned A330 MRTT tankers        
    Madrid -  Germany and Norway officially joined the European/NATO program to acquire Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft along with Netherlands and Luxembourg. The two nations committed to participating in the project through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at NATO HQ in Brussels today. Known as the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) the programme was initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2012. Europe’s organization for the management o...
              2 - Seven Sisters        
    Seven Sisters

    You could blindfold yourself in Seven Sisters, spin around a few times, and throw a dart in any direction (although I wouldn't recommend it), and there is about a 4% chance that you will hit a musician with it. The place is positively teaming with them. Studios, and musician flat-shares, everywhere. And it is easy to see why. Firstly, it is a little "rough around the edges" Not in a bad way too. What it lacks in clean lines, 5 year plans and commercial aesthetics, it more than makes up for in atmosphere and vibrancy. It's unlike any other area in London.

    The best part of Seven Sisters is undoubtedly West Green Rd. For several reasons. I am of the strong belief that any business why decides that their staff need to wear uniform in order to show the customer who works at the store is missing a trick. I can understand a huge chain store warranting them, for brand identity, etc. However, a better way to show your customers who runs the shop, and who they need to chat to is to simply make your presence known to the customers. And that, in a nutshell, is West Green Rd. Walk down the road, and many shopkeepers are standing in doorways. Some will say "Hello my friend, have a look around, best price for you my friend, best price....." They are all passionate, many of them will have their kids working on the weekend. Signs are handwritten on bright yellow and pink cards. There are only 4 chain shops on the road out of about 130-150. Let me just repeat that -  there are just 4. A fried chicken shop, a betting shop, an estate agents and a convenience store.   There is not one chain shop on the Tottenham end of West Green Rd. None. 

    Here is something that says a lot about the area. There was a Pound Store there. (Not the big chain, an independent one). Someone set up a shop called "99p or less." In an act of business bravado that was mind-blowingly simple as it was brilliant, someone down the road set up the "98p shop". (Right now, in Tottenham, someone is plotting the opening of the 97p store...) It's that sort of place. Shopkeepers live on their wits, you can bargain with them.  I once bought 2 suitcases that were £35 each for £39 in total, and the shopkeeper seemed happier with my purchase than the guy before who paid full price for his parrot cage. Yep, a parrot cage and suitcases being sold in the same shop. That's West Green Rd. 

    There is a road with 19 African churches on it too, Lawrence Rd. This isn't the longest road in the area by the way, you can walk it in about 4 mins. The local community centre is called the Bernie Grant Arts centre, and has the Marcus Harvey Library in it. Not some 16th century aristocrat who many people fire up wikipedia to find out who he is, but men who meant something to the people there, in the late Local Labour MP Bernie Grant, the first British Black politician, and Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican Political leader who died in 1940.

    Some roads in London have an African shop. West Green Rd has a Ghanian shop, an Ethiopian Shop, a Kenyan Shop, etc. I used to work as a Butcher, and used to do shifts as a fishmonger on the side. There are fish shops selling fish I had never heard of there. Instead of the local travel shop having promotional deals to Barcelona, Paris and New York, instead there are trips in Nairobi, Kingston Jamaica and Akra. Now, I probably have more need of a cheap flight to New York, rather than Ghana, if I am honest - but the difference is that 99% of all of the travel agent shop windows in London show the prices to the same places. These ones do not. Instead of a package holidays, it's flights only. These people are not going away for a 2 week holiday in the sun, they are making a pilgrimage home. Not many people based in the area have family in New York, compared to Ghana, Nigeria and the Caribbean. Thus, these shops are actually representative of the area. The products they sell are actually tailored to the area, as opposed to being a homogenized Starbucks-Costa Coffee-Pizza Express parade of the usual suspects. 

    What a novel idea!! They are shops by the people of the area, for the people of the area. Instead of a multinational company deciding what their customers want, and convincing them that they want it, these shops have a different approach. As the sign in a shop window a few weeks ago said: "We book tickets to anywhere. Ask Amin for details." Amin. Not "your local store manager". Ask Amin, he'll sort it out for you. There is no Starbucks. No "head of marketing and brand development." The guy who cashes up and signs the lease is the same guy who mops the floor at the end of the day. It is business as it should be, and as a business owner in the area, I have to admit that sometime I walk down the road, and get a great feeling from seeing these independent business owners go about their trading. And that is because I actually feel part of the community here. I feel that I am actually contributing to the area, and I feel that I know the other people that are too.

    Another great place is the South American Indoor market that is right next to the entrance of Seven Sisters station. Its a fantastic indoor market, where the sellers and shop staff have personality and rapport with their customers. (I once went into a shop on the road, just outside the market, looking for a deal on some soft drinks, and the shop owner shouted down into the basement, "Dex? I'm sending a guy down to see you, sort out some cheap drinks for him. He's might order some extra stuff off us, so don't f**k up his order, right?" To be fair, he didn't f**k up my order, which I was glad for.) The shops might not be on the same scale as the Westfield, but nor should it be. The best selling point of the area as a whole is that, when people say to me "What's it like", it takes me about 3 mins to explain it all. It usually ends with me saying "Well, you should go there." Sure, many of the stores are a bit rundown, and need a bit of a clean up, but it's all part of the character for me.

    Aside from this vibrancy, which is it's greatest selling point, there are other good points too. Transport is great. Central London in 15 mins. The buses are good. Night buses too. Many of the properties rival Northumberland Park in terms of size and quality. More bands that come to the studios come from Seven Sisters rather than any other area, and a lot of them are working in the city, or students, looking for more bang for their buck within the rental market. If you;re looking for that, as Bally Studios staff can personally testify, there are worse areas than Seven Sisters. 
     
    Of course, the area is not perfect, not by a long stretch. There are prime buildings that have sat empty for 10+ years. The building that used to be the bank, right on the corner next to the station,and Wards Corner, the empty building opposite, both have huge potential. But alas, they have been empty for years, and that is sad. It is also very hard for the local shops to compete with the local Tesco. Maybe this is the reason that all of the shops that are in the area specialise in the sort of food that Tesco would not usually handle.

    This part of Tottenham has been in the news recently, as many of the residents are concerned with plans to open a shopping arcade in the area. We have touched upon in in our Blog post in the area, and our views on the subject are mixed. On one hand, the jobs for the area will be great, and hopefully it might encourage people to visit the area. However it is also hard enough for the local businesses to survive while being in competition with Tesco, so we hope that this is taken into effect when the local council decide whether to press ahead with the plans, as it would be a real shame to lose so many of these great shops that already add to the area. More details are here. http://sevensistersregeneration.co.uk/

    The Best Parts:
    The shops of West Green Road.
    Transport Links

    Room For Improvement:
    Let's hope that the council decides to make sure that the current South American Market can, in some way, be saved, while still redeveloping the area.


              1 - Tottenham Hale        
    1) Tottenham Hale


    Seeing as this is where we are based, and the part of Tottenham that most of our customers will know best, we will start with Tottenham Hale. This area is the part of Tottenham that is least representative of Tottenham as a whole. Most people's opinion of the area is that it is a little bit of a thoroughfare. I wouldn't dispute that, to be fair. Many people get the tube to Tottenham Hale and change here to get the train to Stansted Airport, or Hertfordshire, and there are buses that go from the station to parts of London ill served by the tube, like Edmonton and Enfield. Many people going to Ikea change here also, so it does have a bit of a transient feel about it. However, with the recent redevelopment in the area, with about 1 in 4 people you now meet in the area being students, and with them skateboarding, roller-blading and even doing parkour in the area, it has given the area a really nice, youthful and vibrant feel.  A lot of it consists of beautiful nature, the river lee, Tottenham Marshes and the Walthamstow fisheries, photos of which are on the following link:

    Nature aside, it is mainly made up of a few different parts.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/Ferry_Lane_Estate_2.JPG
     
    There are 2 main housing estates that make up pretty much all of the housing in the whole area. The Ferry Lane Estate is a 1960's ex-council estate. It has improved a lot recently, and speaking as someone who was going to buy a flat in it, I think it is a fantastic place to rent or even purchase. At the time, in 2009, we were looking at a flat that was £148,000 for a 2 bedroom, good soundproofing and nice proportions, with fantastic views over the walthamstow fisheries,and only a few mins from the station. It was a lot cheaper than other flats that were in more up-and-coming areas, and there seems to be a surprising amount of city workers living there (no doubt taking advantage of the direct links form the nearby station to Liverpool Street). The aesthetics of the estate could be improved however, and since the pub and post office were ripped out for more housing, there isn't much reason for anyone else to go into it unless you live there, hence it can feel a bit cut off to the rest of the area.




    Just across the river is Bream Close, a private estate that was completed in the 1990's. I lived here for about 4 years or so, and I think it has a much nicer feel about it than Ferry Lane, just in that the buildings are more spaced out, there is more natural sunlight as a result of the lighter tone bricks, and there is a lot more greenery. When the place was built, it was built with having more trees and patches of grass in mind, whereas the Ferry Lane estate has the feel of an estate that was built without green spaces being considered, and they have had to be crow bared into tiny patches retrospectively. One of the hidden gems in Tottenham Hale is that if you go down to the bottom of Bream Close, in early spring, there will be a few families of Geese living down there at the bottom. Many times I used to pop down there, where there is a picnic table at the end, and bring my laptop and complete e mails down there, while the Mummy and Daddy geese were walking around with a chain of 4-12 baby geese behind them. It was a nice way to spend a few hours. However, the proportions of the properties are not great. The ceilings are very low, and there is absolutely no outside space direct accessible from the flat. The soundproofing isn't amazing either. They are great places for crash pads, (and in fact a lot of the major airlines seem to have bought flats there so that their Stansted based pilots and air stewards can use them as opposed to hotels) but, in my opinion,  they do not lend themselves well to anything more long term. Cab drivers always speak very highly of the estate, and a lot of them will say that they have never had any problems there, and we moved there after were robbed (more of that later), as the police actually advised us to move there, saying how safe it was.


    The Retail Park - which is home to big shops like PC World, Boots, B&Q, etc. The retail park is the main reason why most people come to the area. They get the tube from central London, or the train from Hertfordshire, exit the tube station, do their shopping, and then head back. A lot of them also drive there, especially on a weekend, as is evident from the traffic delays. There is a little cafe inside of Asda, and a Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Greggs,  KFC and Subway for the shoppers, so they do not even need to venture further from out of sight from the tube station. Now, a lot of people I have spoken to have actually talked about the retail park negatively. They say it looks like a homogenised identikit area, with no personality. They say that it doesn't encourage people to investigate Tottenham High Rd. My personal opinion is that if people want to do a bit of shopping, there is nothing wrong with that, and they are still free to investigate the high road if they want to, no-one is stopping them. Also, from experience, I have seen so many people walk into the Ferry Lane and Bream Close estates wearing uniforms from the shops within the retail park to know that it undoubtedly offers a huge amount of employment to the local area. I'm not sure of the exact number, but I would estimate that there are about 400 jobs in the area as a direct result of the park. This, in itself, can only be a great thing.

    Just north-east of the retail park, is the new Hale Village. I have to say, when it was announced, I was quite sceptical myself that it could be good for the area. Talk of cramming 1,600 flats into such a small area, well, it sounded like they were prioritising quantity over quality. However, since it has gone up, I have been pleasantly surprised, and actually think that it is a really great addition to the area. The buildings have a great splash of colour, and there is also a great little playground in the middle of the development, which has a bouncy, rubbery floor to it (I must confess, I actually walk through the playground on the way from the tube station to the studio, just so I can literally have a spring in my step...... *embarrassed*) Also, the shops that they have currently opened in the development are actually shops that the locals will benefit from, as opposed to shops that people will travel in on the tube specifically to use. The Tesco extra is very handy, especially as before Lidl had a shopping monopoly over the area, and with it there is a new cash machine, which seeing how unreliable the cash point at the petrol station was, was much needed. The new gym that has barely been opened for a few weeks now also seems to be very popular, and is cheap enough that it doesn't price out most people from using it.

    These are the only shops that are opened at the moment, but if it were up to me, and in case any of the developers are reading, I think the area desperately needs:

    A Nando's style restaurant – currently, Pizza Hut is the only place where you can go to eat that isn't your typical fast food restaurant. If you want anything a bit fancier, then it's just Pizza Hut at the minute.

    A Charity Shop - I'm a big lover of charity shops. I think they are great, in that they raise money for worthy causes, but also as they are a great way to spend 15 mins of a rainy day. Charity shops appeal to students, older people, people on a limited income, and people looking for something to do, and Tottenham Hale has a lot of each of these.

    A Bank - If you want to go to the bank, you have to go to the high road at present. And when you do get to the high road by taking the quickest route, it's still a bit of a walk from there. Any bank that opens up in Tottenham Hale will have about 5,000-10,000 people who will be able to call it their local bank. Especially as there seem to be quite a few elderly people in the are, it would be a godsend to them to not have to get the bus to the high road.  Even people in nearby Blackhorse Rd would no doubt benefit. 

    Another Pub - A few years ago, you had the Ferry Boat Inn, The Narrow Boat, and the White Hart. Now, we are down to 1, just the Ferry Boat Inn. Much as we love it (it's great value, warm & cosy and has a great history and architecture to it), it's a shame that it is the only pub in the whole area, and the area would be really improved by a second pub, so that you had a choice of the type of pub you wanted to visit. Having said that, about 10-15 mins walk away is the The Prince Arthur/Mannions pub, which is your best bet if you want to catch the football, and it is a nice enough old man's Irish pub, with cheap pints and a relaxed atmosphere. It's more in the Seven Sisters area though, but it is a place that is better than you would expect, and I am more than happy to recommend the place. A couple of bands who have rehearsed with us have also said that they put on live bands there, but as far as we know, they do not have their own PA system.

    A live music venue! - There used to be one down the road in the Walthamstow standard, which was one of the most underrated venues in London (good sound system, nice size and directly opposite a tube station on the fast Victoria Line). But since that shut down to make way for a Turkish supermarket, there is a real lack of a community hub in the area. 90% of the population of the new development seem to be students, so a music venue/place to meet would have a captive market. The Fountain used to be based in Tottenham Green, and that doesn't have live bands any more, and these music venues that ave closed down have not been replaced. Plus, as  so many bands from Harlow, Ware, Cheshunt and the surrounding areas that come to us say that there are not too many music venues in these areas, and seeing as Tottenham Hale has direct links to Hertfordshire, it would be great for bands that are based in Hertfordshire who work or go to college in central London, and want to play a gig that both of their social circles can come to. To any naysayers who say that Tottenham would not be improved by a music venue, I would say to look at Brixton, Notting Hill and Brick Lane. All of these had flourishing music venues when they were less than prosperous, and the music venues doesn't seem to have stopped these places from improving dramatically in recent years.

    A Post Office – The nearest one is in Tottenham Green, which is 15-20 mins walk, on Broad Lane, and you need to factor in a 15 mins wait there all the time, as it is so busy.
    Independent shops – On the whole of the Tottenham Hale area, apart from a  couple of shops that are hidden behind a tall high rise residential block, I cannot think of any independant shops.  And I think that the area is much poorer for it.  It could drastically be improved by an independant record shop, boutique clothes shop, or even a delicatessan.   If you only have multinational chain stores within the area, then it sends out the strong message:  “If you want to conduct business in this area, you need multi million pound backing. If you do not have it, then don't bother, we don't want you”. 

    And I just don't think that this is the way that it should be. Hale Village is at it's teething stage. Here is what I would suggest.  Set aside a shop, that measures about 1,500 - 2,000 square foot, and split it into different sections.  You wouldn't need to phyicially do this, even some paint or gaffer tape on the floor, could show the different sections. You could get about 40 sections of 30-50 square foot each, big enough for maybe a 8 x 6 foot slot.  That is big enough to have a table set up, selling excess clutter from around the home in a car boot sale style; big enough to set up a few stands for an artist to show off their artwork; for an old lady to sell some cakes she has made; or for someone who is skilled with a sewing machine to do alterations to clothes; even a tarot reader to give readings, or a massuse to give back rubs.   An indoor market, as it were.  There are literally hundreds of jobs that could be done.  40 units.  Charge them £5 per day each.  Lets say you had a 70% occupancy, which is the industry average, and the space would have £140 income per day.   Just for the empty space, as everyone would bring their own tables. No wages costs. All the businesses share the same electrical supply, the same light and heat, etc. We live in an age where people can set up a blog for free, or instead of buying hosting for their website, they can set up a Facebook page. From charging just £5 per day for each section, at 70% occupancy, that would be £980 per week. Â£50,960 per year. If you had it full, you could get £72,800 per year. More importantly, it would send out a great message to the people of Tottenham, that you can start a business with a £5 rent per day, a painters and decorators table from B&Q and some unused items lying around in the garage that someone might want, or a skill or talent that you have. 



    I know first hand how much it can turn around your life to have your own business. When the riots happened in 2011, many people said that it was because lots of young people had no hope. What better way to give people who are unemployed the opportunity to build a small business than to say that they can start their business, and it if goes to the wall after 1 month, and they do not even bring in a penny of income in the whole month, they will have lost just £150 if they operated 7 days a week.  And lets keep this in perspective, £150, in that sort of context, is nothing.  The educational aspects, and the lessons learned from the setback alone would be worth it. It would give locals an opportunity of improved financial independence, would prove to be a great learning curve, would bring people into the area, and would still generate £50-£70,000 per year.   Big businesses have amply opportunity to conduct business in Tottenham Hale, what about the small businessman?  These are the exactly the people that the local council should be investing in, and by doing so, Tottenham Hale can benefit in the same way that Camden Market has experienced massive growth around it's markets.

    Also, from an economic point of view it makes great sense.   The vast majority of larger companies started off as small companies.   Recent success stories such as Innocent Smoothies, The Gadget Shop, Sports Direct and The Body Shop shows that if there is a way to get people into buisness in the first place, the company could become a huge employer and tax payer in the future.   It also makes sense to spread the risk, so that instead of 1 employer employing 1,000 people, 100 companies can employ 10 people, or we could even have 1,000 people that are self employed.  Big companies, whilst providing essential employment to many, are like big ships.  It takes them a lomng time to respond to market forces, and it is therefore hard for them to cut their cloth accordingly.  Levels of beurocracy need to be cut through, and change can be mortally slow. Companies like HMV, Jessops, Woolworths and Game are all examples of companies that didn't have the ability to change as quickly as they would have wanted or needed to.   When a big company goes into receivership, there are multiple people becoming unemployed simultaenously, big bailouts needed, men in suits to check over the figuires and work out how it went wrong, redundancies, newspaper headlines, and many times the staff are the last people to know about it, so they are the least prepared for it.  Whereas with small companies, the kind that are being neglected in Tottenham Hale at present,  when a company runs into problems,  the stall holder can pack up his foldable table, pack up all of his stock in to a box, and get a cab home with it all, with no massive fall out.  There they can lick their wounds, and plan their next step, and best of all, because they were the owners of the companies, they will probably know what it is that caused them to go out of business, so there will actually be a lesson learned. 

    Tottenham Hale Industrial Areas - And then finally, you get to the industrial parks, the MillMead Industrial Park, and the Lockwood Industrial park. You get all of the usual businesses on them, like Cash & Carry's, manufacturing: (A steel factory, several clothing assembly plants), house removal firms, double glazing factories, fast food preparation, a few cafes , a few car repair shops, with a strong presence for Kosher/Jewish businesses, as well as Turkish/Cypriot businesses. There are about 20 different music recording studios, with us being the only rehearsal studios, a photography studio, a vinyl pressing plant, and even a studio that specialises in fire breathing, stilt walking and sword swallowing!! It's not the sort of place you'd walk though to see if anything took your fancy however, you'd need to have a place in mind to go there for.


    One of the upsides of the estate having so many businesses on the estate though is that the crime is very low. In fact, in 8 years of us running the studios, and having had over 12,000 sessions with an average of 4 members for each of them, we have never ever had any reports of any victims of crime. One reason for this might be, as I learned from a business on the estate, was that there is a lot of CCTV in the area, simply because lorries carrying a full load from Turkey/Eastern Europe don't want to spend 3 days driving across Europe, only then to have a risk of having any of their stock stolen!


    The Best Parts: 
     
    Bally Studios, of course!!
    The Walthamstow. fisheries
    River Lee, Tottenham Marshes, The Paddock Nature Reserve
    The Ferry Boat Inn
    Being 15 mins from Liverpool Street and 18 mins from Oxford Street.

    Room For Improvement 
     
    Lack of pubs
    Lack of independent Shops
    The one-way system can be chaotic on a weekend, but thankfully works have started to fix this.

    Link to Bally Studios extended guide to Tottenham Hale.




              Microsoft Off-Campus Hiring For Freshers : BE/ BTech/ MTech – 2017 Pass outs : Software Engineer : Last Date : 18 July 2017        
    Microsoft [www.microsoft.com] Off-Campus Hiring For Freshers : BE/ BTech/ MTech – 2017 Pass outs : Software Engineer @ All India Company Profile: Microsoft is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licences, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and services. Its best known software products are the ...
              Lowongan Kerja Asst/Manager Acct Finance        
    Pria/Wanita S1 Akuntansi Brevet AampBPengalaman 5-10th di prsh multinational dan/atau internationalMemiliki wibawa dan tegas serta mampu memimpin anggota team kerjanyaMampu memenuhi deadline laporanCreative dalam efisiensi dan efektifitas kertas kerja maupun laporan rutin

              Apple, Electronics and Environmental Ills        
    Environmental groups say that while multinational corporations like Apple are trying to improve conditions, thousands -- or perhaps tens of thousands -- of smaller companies are cutting corners and dumping hazardous chemicals in rural areas and even near densely populated areas.
              Audit Manager at FrieslandCampina | Hot Nigerian Jobs        

    FrieslandCampina is a unique multinational FMCG & B2B company aiming to stay successful in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world. We are unique because our suppliers, the farmers, are also our owners. Since we own the entire supply chain, from grass to glass, we can guarantee the high quality of all our products. We are […]

    The post Audit Manager at FrieslandCampina | Hot Nigerian Jobs appeared first on Career Hob.


              IT/System Auditors at BDO Professional Services        

    BDO Professional Services, a member firm of BDO International, a worldwide network of professional firms serving global and national businesses. Our global networks of resources comprise more than 1,264 member firm offices in 151 countries. BDO international is the world’s fifth Largest multinational provider of professional services in accountancy, assurance, management consultancy, taxation and corporate […]

    The post IT/System Auditors at BDO Professional Services appeared first on Career Hob.


              Google to disclose WiFi snooping data to regulators amid allegations it was collected intentionally        
    And the mess gets messier. A class action lawsuit filed against Google in Oregon has now been enriched with the allegation that Google willfully collected personal data with its Street View cars, rather than doing so accidentally, as it claims. It's a bold accusation, whose primary basis is a patent application, filed by Google in November 2008, for a "computer-implemented method of estimating the location of a wireless device." A subsidiary claim references the "obtaining [of] one or more packets of data transmitted" from one wireless device to another to help estimate accuracy of location results. That's the supposedly damning verbiage that shows Google intentionally created WiFi-snooping software, and it's also what's being relied on to show that Mountain View couldn't have been ignorant of the data collection going on. Yes, it's quite a stretch, but that's what lawyers are for: mental gymnastics.

    Over in Europe, Google is doing its best to placate local regulators, some of whom are contemplating criminal charges against the multinational company, by agreeing to hand over all data that was collected by its vehicles. France, Germany and Spain will be first to peruse the info, though presumably there'll be an open door to other nosy governments as well. Doesn't that strike you as weird -- having your private data protected by letting a bunch more people look at it?
              Bermuda Deputy PM: "The UK is a Tax Haven"        
    Bermuda Deputy PM and Finance Minister said it the way it is: OECD founder UK is actually a tax haven.   And Richards is no parochial nationalist: he has experience working at a pension fund, courses at the IMF and an MBA in Canada.




    'The UK is a tax haven' – Bermuda attacks plan to end financial secrecy 



    Juliette Garside 
    Monday 6 February 2017 15.32 GMT Last modified on Monday 6 February 2017 22.00 GMT

    The government of Bermuda has hit back at British efforts to end offshore financial secrecy, claiming the UK itself is a “tax haven”.

    Speaking ahead of a meeting on Wednesday between Theresa May and the leaders of Britain’s overseas territories, Bermuda’s deputy premier and finance minister, Bob Richards, pushed back against proposed legislation that would create public registers naming the owners of offshore companies.

    Richards said the UK should get its own house in order before making demands from its dependencies.

    “The UK is a tax haven,” he said, citing non-dom laws that allow foreign nationals to live in Britain without paying tax on overseas income.

    “You have more billionaires resident in London than any place on earth. They are not here for the weather, they are here for the tax climate. We have a double standard going on here.

    “We have a much more transparent, much cleaner system than the countries that promulgate these rules in the first place. The popular notion that somehow there is something nefarious going on in a small island that is relatively successful is false.”

    From April 2017, however, non-doms will lose some of their advantages and foreign nationals will no longer be able to enjoy tax breaks indefinitely in the UK. Those resident in the UK for 15 out of the previous 20 years will be liable for inheritance, capital gains and income tax on their worldwide assets.

    A cross-party group of 88 MPs, led by the tax campaigner Margaret Hodge, is backing an amendment to the government’s criminal finances bill that would force British territories to follow the UK in making public their company ownership registers by 2020.

    “There is a thing in this world called privacy and at least in my island privacy still exists,” added Richards. “There is no public right to know anybody’s private business.”

    The Panama Papers exposed how thousands of offshore companies have been used to help hide the proceeds of fraud, political corruption and tax evasion.

    Unlike most tax havens, Bermuda does keep a central government record of who owns its offshore entities. This information is available to other governments on request, but not to the general public.

    Deputy PM Richards
    Richards told the Guardian he would resist calls, first made by David Cameron in 2013, to open up the register. “The register in Bermuda is there to protect the government’s reputation ... It is not the public’s business. We are not here to tell you who is doing business in Bermuda,” he said.

    “There is a thing in this world called privacy and at least in my island privacy still exists,” added Richards. “There is no public right to know anybody’s private business.”

    The Panama Papers exposed how thousands of offshore companies have been used to help hide the proceeds of fraud, political corruption and tax evasion.

    Unlike most tax havens, Bermuda does keep a central government record of who owns its offshore entities. This information is available to other governments on request, but not to the general public.

    Richards told the Guardian he would resist calls, first made by David Cameron in 2013, to open up the register. “The register in Bermuda is there to protect the government’s reputation ... It is not the public’s business. We are not here to tell you who is doing business in Bermuda,” he said.

    The mid-Atlantic nation is a major centre of tax avoidance, with Google and other multinationals attracted by a zero corporation tax rate. Oxfam found that US corporations reported $80bn (£64bn) in profits in Bermuda in 2012 – more than their combined reported profits in Japan, China, Germany and France.

    Bermuda should do what guarantees the future of its next generation.
    Destroying its financial center will not provide jobs for the future.
    “People are pressuring overseas territories because they feel we are defenceless, in some way easy pickings,” said Richards. “They are moving the goalposts on us almost every three weeks.”

    The Bermudian premier, Michael Dunkley, has joined Richards in London this week for a series of briefings with UK ministers, with Brexit top of the agenda. Richards said his government was in listening mode but, if pushed, it would not hesitate to protect its interests.

    He said last year he “would not hesitate to go for independence” if his country were threatened by Brexit. Bermuda’s last push for independence was in a 1995 referendum.

    Richards said: “At the moment our interests are aligned but if that changes then we will have to think of ourselves. We must protect Bermuda’s interests. This amendment being proposed [by Hodge] is not in the interests of Bermuda.”

    See full text in https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/06/uk-tax-haven-bermuda-financial-secrecy-offshore-companies
    See also:
    Bermuda Ministry of Finance https://www.gov.bm/ministry/finance





              Panama: Profits for two men and a dog        
    Global Finance magazine has an interview with a technocrat featured as "the new guard" Pascal Saint-Amans (@PSaintAmans), an OECD veteran named director of its Centre for Tax Policy and Administration in February 2012, who is overseeing the guidelines review.

    It is very revealing that Saint-Amans told Global Finance in an interview: “Profits cannot be located in a place where you have two men and a dog,” which basically means that Panama will never cease to be in black or grey lists (or that Panama has 3 million people and 1.5 million dogs).






    Author: RONALD FINK

    AT HAVEN’S END?

    Multinational corporations could have a much more difficult time shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions—and deductions to high-tax ones—under new OECD rules.
    When Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in defense of the computer giant’s tax practices on Capitol Hill in late May, Cook was speaking for many multinational corporate executives when he insisted that Apple paid every bit of tax the company owed to the US and other countries. But that, according to critics, is precisely the problem. The current international tax system, based on a practice known as transfer pricing, lets multinationals shift income from parent companies or their subsidiaries located in high-tax jurisdictions, such as the US, to those in low-tax regimes, and do the opposite with deductions. As a result, critics say, companies artificially minimize their liabilities or even avoid them entirely, and do so legally, thanks to the widely accepted current basis for transfer pricing.
    With a great deal of scrutiny coming to bear on corporate tax practices worldwide, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is looking at ways to revamp its guidelines on international tax practices. Until there is clarity on how this review will evolve, however, corporations are wondering, and worrying over, what it will ultimately mean. An OECD report in February to the G20 countries noted: “There is increased segregation between the location where actual business activities take place and the location where profits are reported for tax purposes.”
    And though the cost to governments, many of whom are facing sovereign debt woes because of gaping fiscal deficits, may be impossible to gauge precisely, some estimates put it in the trillions of dollars. “If we could estimate it, we could tax it,” says David Spencer, an international tax attorney based in New York, who describes the problem as “monumental.”
    The scope of the tax shortfall is evident in a 2008 World Trade Organization estimate that only 40% of world trade occurs between independent companies. The rest is conducted intracompany—and taxing of that income falls under the current murky transfer pricing rules. That proportion has probably decreased since then, as the global economic downturn has seen industries consolidate further. To help close this gap in lost tax revenues, the OECD has revisited the guidelines it established in 1995, and revamped in 2010, as the basis of transfer pricing practices in most of the world. An action plan that the OECD presented to the G20 in late July detailed 15 steps it expects to take over the next year to two and a half years to deal with transfer pricing and related issues.
    The OECD is acting after being accused of dragging its feet. “The current system is not workable,” says H. David Rosenbloom, a professor and director of the International Tax Program at New York University—and former Treasury official.
    OECD’S NEW GUARD
    The evolving perspective at the OECD is owing in part to changes within the organization’s structure. Some critics say that much of the tax staff of the OECD until recently was “captured” by private industry, with members moving between positions in the organization and private industry as if through a revolving door. But it may have as much to do with the shifting power of member countries. Countries such as Brazil, China and India have rejected the OECD’s guidelines in favor of their own, more draconian regulations, bringing pressure to bear on the organization to enact change.
    Pascal Saint-Amans
    Saint-Amans, OECD: Profits cannot be located in a place where you have two men and a dog
    Regardless of the reason behind it, the OECD has had “a very serious change of heart” about the current system, observes Spencer. “There is a new guard that realizes it’s up against the wall.”
    The new guard includes Pascal Saint-Amans, an OECD veteran named director of its Centre for Tax Policy and Administration in February 2012, who is overseeing the guidelines review. As Saint-Amans told Global Finance in an interview: “Profits cannot be located in a place where you have two men and a dog.”
    The OECD recently got an extra push to end such practices from the G8 countries, which issued a communiqué at their meeting in June that called for countries to share corporate as well as individual tax information without being asked to do so. Philip West, a former international tax counsel for the US Treasury and now a partner in the Washington, DC, office of law firm Steptoe & Johnston, said at a global tax conference in late April in New York City that such mandatory information sharing would represent the “first step” toward a far more onerous system for multinational enterprises than the one currently in place.
    In fact, a growing number of countries aren’t waiting for the OECD to act. France recently slapped Amazon and Google with tax bills of €700 million ($930 million) and €1.7 billion, respectively, for reassessed liabilities based on their transfer pricing practices, while Denmark hit Microsoft with a €778 million reassessment. India is seeking $2.5 billion from Vodafone in a long-running dispute over that company’s 2007 acquisition of telecom assets from another company based in the Cayman Islands and Mauritius. All of those companies declined to comment, as did Apple and several other multinationals contacted for this article. For such companies, uncertainty over tax liabilities are increasingly a key concern. If the OECD fails to come up with a more effective system, companies may find that “individual countries do their own thing,” Robert Stack, deputy US Treasury secretary and the department’s international tax counsel, warned at the tax conference in New York.
    The question is what type of change the OECD can get most if not all countries to accept, since it operates by consensus. Even if its action plan is accepted by the G20, as is expected at a meeting this month, and the OECD finalizes its proposal within the envisioned time frame, global governments and legislatures would then have to pass laws to embrace them. During that interval, corporations are sure to lobby against many of the changes—and dissenting countries, to push for even stronger ones.
    CURRENT SYSTEM
    The OECD’s current transfer pricing guidelines are used widely in tax treaties based on the so-called “arm’s-length” principle, under which companies are supposed to price intracompany transactions as if they were conducted between independent companies. That is supposed to result in appropriate taxation by each jurisdiction.
    But critics say such pricing can understate income, because independent companies naturally enjoy smaller profits on transactions than those between parents and their subsidiaries, thanks to economies of scope and scale. And so-called “comparables”—based, for example, on royalty agreements within industries—that companies currently rely on to price cost-sharing agreements and other transactions between parents and subsidiaries may be even more misleading in the case of difficult-to-value intangible assets. Yet those assets are increasingly the basis of such transactions.
    As a result, some critics go so far as to label the arm’s-length principle a tax-avoidance device designed to help companies move income to tax havens, where subsidiaries that do little or nothing can claim income. These critics want to see the OECD move toward what is called “formulary apportionment,” where profits are allocated among jurisdictions based on a formula that takes into account returns on assets or some other measure of profit.
    The most strident proponents of such a change would also require companies to report the income they make in each country to every jurisdiction, a system that, when combined with formulary apportionment, is known as “unitary taxation.” The mandatory sharing of information among countries along the lines called for by the G8 would resemble that type of reporting, as its June communiqué seeks “a common template for country-by-country reporting.”
    But it falls far short in the eyes of some. “You can’t stop income shifting to tax havens without unitary taxation based on formulary apportionment,” says Michael McIntyre, a law professor at Wayne State University.
    Some supporters of the formulary approach nonetheless say unitary taxation is unfeasible. And defenders of the current system warn that the formulary approach, at least without agreement on the formula to be used, would result in taxation of the same income in more than one jurisdiction, an outcome known as double taxation, which is now avoided by tax treaties that embrace the arm’s-length principle. Says Patrick Evans, chief tax counsel of the Washington, DC–based industry group Tax Executives Institute: “Our members are extremely concerned about the double taxation issue, and if there’s no agreement on the formula, then double taxation is likely.”
    Saint-Amans says he doesn’t care whether the OECD ultimately keeps the arm’s-length principle in place or jettisons it in favor of the formulary approach, as he sees problems with both. “I am agnostic,” he points out. But the OECD’s action plan continues to favor the arm’s-length principle. Saint-Amans adds that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get countries to agree on what formula to use for the formulary approach. Quips Saint-Amans: “I don’t have a century to work on that.”
    For a microcosmic view of the problem, consider the US. It has such a system in place for state and local taxes, but at last count the 50 states were using some 20 different formulas to apportion profits. And China and India are unlikely to accept any formula that doesn’t include a premium for the advantage that their cheap labor provides companies based elsewhere.
    Instead, the OECD action plan calls for better enforcement of the arms-length principle, a position that the US supports but that Brazil, China and India, as well as many other countries, do not. They want more stringent rules.
    The Treasury’s Stack told the April tax conference that the US doesn’t like the formulary approach, and that its own efforts to improve enforcement of the arms-length principle would be helped immensely if Congress simply repealed what are known as “check the box” rules for subsidiaries called “controlled foreign companies,” under which their parents can simply instruct the IRS to ignore them for tax purposes, so tax on their income is indefinitely deferred. Still, Stack acknowledged that “we are alone” among individual countries supporting the arm’s-length principle.
    Although the OECD action plan backs the principle, many observers expect mandatory information sharing to strengthen the hand of authorities now in the dark about what companies are doing to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions and deductions to high-tax ones. Saint-Amans says he’s more concerned with “double nontaxation,” where income is taxed nowhere, than with double taxation, though he warns that if countries don’t accept the OECD’s new guidelines, companies will doubtless face more double taxation.
    CURTAILING TAX AVOIDANCE
    The action plan also contains concrete measures aimed at what it calls tax “avoidance.” One of the most significant would curtail deductions on intracompany loans that are more like equity investments than debt, which bank holding companies use widely. Another would close the loopholes concerning tax residency that many technology companies have exploited to great effect. (See sidebar for a look at how Apple has done so.)
    Regardless of what exactly the OECD eventually does, many experts contend that companies will find it difficult to continue using their most aggressive tax practices because of the backlash they now produce. Marc Sanders, a partner in the Amsterdam-based consulting firm VMW Taxand, told the April tax conference in New York that more and more companies have concluded that such practices now pose too much tax and reputational risk. As Sanders put it, “Mere letterbox or conduit companies don’t cut it anymore.”
    HOW AN IRISH SUBSIDIARY PRODUCES STATELESS INCOME FOR APPLE
    The case study on Apple that the US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations outlined in hearings in May offers a perfect example of what tax experts call “double nontaxation.”
    Neither the company nor its Irish subsidiary Apple Operations International paid any tax anywhere on $29.9 billion that AOI earned from 2009 to 2012, owing to the difference in the way the US and Ireland define residency for tax purposes.
    How so? Although AOI, which has no employees but is the holding company for most of Apple’s foreign entities, is incorporated in Ireland, it is not tax-resident in Ireland. That’s because AOI is neither managed nor controlled there, which is how Ireland defines tax residency, but rather in the US. And because AOI was not incorporated in the US, which is how the US defines residency, AOI is not a US tax resident under US tax law. The result of that double nontaxation is almost $30 billion in “stateless income,” to use yet another term of international tax art.
    APPROACHES TO INTRACOMPANY INCOME TAXATION
    There are two basic approaches to taxing income shifted by multinational corporations to, from and between subsidiaries in different jurisdictions, as follows:
    1) The arms-length principle. Under this approach, which is used by most countries in the developed world under guidelines established by the OECD, companies must price these transactions as if they were conducted between independent companies (in effect, using the “market price” for the transaction).
    Supporters say the arms-length principle for “transfer pricing” is the fairest means of taxing income generated by multinationals. Critics say companies take advantage of the leeway provided by this approach to shift more income to low-tax jurisdictions and more deductions to high-tax ones than they should so as to minimize or avoid tax.
    2) Formulary apportionment. Under this approach, which the OECD is being urged by many emerging countries as well as nongovernmental organizations to adopt, companies would pay tax on such cross-border transactions based on a formula for apportioning profits among the jurisdictions in which they operate.
    Critics say such a system would result in income being taxed by more than one jurisdiction unless countries can agree on a formula, and they contend such agreements would be difficult if not impossible to achieve. Supporters say its no more necessary for countries to agree on a formula for apportioning profits according to where they are earned than it is for them to apply the same tax rates, so long as they can resolve their difference through tax treaties, as they do now.
    Some supporters say such a system should also require that companies report to each country what they earn elsewhere. When such reporting is combined with formulary apportionment, the resulting approach is known as “unitary taxation.”

    Full text in https://www.gfmag.com/magazine/september-2013/cover-story-the-global-war-on-tax-havens





              Lombardi Aguilar Group partner to moderate a panel at AmCham Trade & Investment Forum        

    Abril 8 Foro AMCHAM
    Trade and Investment Forum

    Attorney Alvaro Aguilar will be moderating a panel on anti-counterfeiting measures at the AmCham Trade & Investment Forum


    PRLog - April 5, 2015 - PANAMA CITY, Panama -- On Wednesday, April 8, Lombardi Aguilar Group (www.laglex.com) partner Alvaro Aguilar-Alfu will be moderating a panel at the American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama (AmCham Panama) Trade & Investment Forum on  "Challenges and Realities of the Fight Against Illicit Trade". Aguilar will moderate a panel discussing the effects of illicit trade on the pharmaceutical and health industries.

    The forum will have panels and exhibits from:

    - Representatives Intelectual Property Registry (DIGERPI), Judicial Investigation Directorate (DIJ), Intellectual Property Attorney General and other government agencies engaged in fighting illegal trade,

    - Representatives of multinational corporations and local businesses affected by illicit trade,
    - Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC) and local Food & Drug Administration (FDA) representatives.
    - The Director of the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the US Chamber of Commerce.

    "The best known forms of illegal trade include manufacturing of counterfeit clothes, shoes, watches, audiovisual media (discs, movies, games)", Aguilar said. "The offering to the public of counterfeit versions of products which failure can cause accidents - such as auto parts, software, and other construction products - should cause concern. In the most dramatic cases, products for human consumption such as food, drugs and cigarettes are regularly altered or forged. The geographical position of Panama and logistical advantages are exploited by the merchants of illicit trade for transferring products to the Americas and other continents."

    Mr. Aguilar is a graduate of Universidad Santa Maria la Antigua (LLB) and Washington College of Law at The American University (LLM). He has 20 years of experience in intellectual property protection and litigation on behalf of local, European and U.S. companies doing business in Latin America.  Mr. Aguilar also serves as Chairman of the AmCham Panama Trade & Investment Committee, which provides a friendly forum for information exchange and collaboration between the public and private sector, strengthening relationships with key groups of stakeholders in the region, including the National Government, embassies and other private-sector organizations.

    The forum and luncheon will be held at Sortis Hotel in Panama City from 8 am to 2 pm.  Those interested in attending this event can register through the AmCham website at:http://www.panamcham.com/es/events/upcoming-events/cal Tel. 301-3881.

    About The American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama (AmCham Panama)

    Founded in 1979, AMCHAM Panama http://www.panamcham.com is a non-profit, non-political, independent, voluntary association supported primarily by its members.  Much of the organization's work is accomplished through the efforts of volunteer member committees which collaborate to help AMCHAM promote free enterprise in Panama. AmCham Panama has over 450 active members, from small local companies to major multinational companies based in the United States.

    About Lombardi Aguilar Group (LAG)

    Lombardi Aguilar Group is a partnership of consultants created as an alternative for clients worldwide who seek fast, innovative and effective solutions to their legal problems. The firm currently provides services to individual and corporate clients in Panama as well in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Its partners maintain a commitment with professional ethics and social responsibility by participating in the board of directors of groups such as the Panama Bar Association, the Alliance Francaise, the German and the American Chambers of Commerce (AMCHAM) of Panama, and the Association of Chinese-Panamanian Professionals (APROCHIPA).

    The firm centers its law practice in private client services and asset protection (Private Interest Foundations, Trusts), business structures (Offshore Corporations), tax planning, real estate and e-commerce. It also advices in areas of Law such as Corporate, Commercial, Intellectual Property, Maritime, Tax, Environmental, Life Sciences and Immigration Law as well as related litigation.

    For more information, contact +507 3406444, e-mail info (at) laglex.com, or see: Lombardi Aguilar Group http://www.laglawyers.com

    See full text in http://www.prlog.org/12442772-lombardi-aguilar-group-partner-to-moderate-panel-at-amcham-trade-investment-forum.html



              Moving along: Continuing to expand the Panama transport and logistics network        
     
    A geostrategic location and the presence of the Panama Canal make Panama a natural centre for transportation and logistics. In fact, the transportation, logistics and communication sector combined is easily the largest contributor to GDP, a fact recognised by the current administration. In its Strategic Economic Plan 2010-14, the logistics sector, along with finance, agriculture and tourism, was identified as one of the country’s four pillars of economic growth. To secure the future of the sector the administration is investing $9.6bn, equivalent to 70% of public sector investment, from 2010 to 2014 in infrastructure upgrades alone. Public spending on infrastructure extends well beyond the flagship $5.25bn Panama Canal Expansion and includes the construction of a line on the Panama City Metro, a large overhaul of the national road network and several upgrades to maritime and airport infrastructure. With the canal’s ability to attract global trade, the country has been working for nearly a decade to create a business-friendly regulatory framework – replete with special economic areas and incentives for multinational headquarters – which should serve in attracting further investment as it continues developing the transport and logistics hub. While on the one hand the government is moving quickly to ensure its infrastructure networks are capable of providing a platform for the growing logistics and value-added manufacturing industries, on the other it is aggressively revamping airport infrastructure and further pushing to establish itself as a major aviation centre.

    Quantifying Progress

    Figures published by the National Statistics Agency (Instituto Nacional De Estadí stica y Censo, INEC) aptly portray the sector’s wider role within the rapidly growing economy. According to the latest available figures from INEC at the time of writing, the transportation and communication sector accounted for 24.1% of the nation’s total GDP (at 1996 prices) in 2012. Moreover, the sector has grown at double-digit rates in each of the past five years apart from 2009 when the global financial crisis slowed progress in the sector to 8.2%. The sector’s average annual growth rate from 2008 to 2012 was an impressive 12.7%. It has also been a major attractor of foreign direct investment (FDI) as logistics, construction and infrastructure firms look to take advantage of the country’s expanding role in regional and global transport. FDI stock in the transportation, logistics and communication sector reached $4.52bn in 2011 and represented 19.6% of the national total of $23.1bn, according to data from the National Comptroller.

    Global Rankings

    Heavy spending on infrastructure development has yielded improved scores in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14”. Indeed, Panama’s score in the report’s metric on overall quality of infrastructure has improved drastically under the current administration from 67th in the 2009-10 iteration of the report to 30th in the 2013-14 edition. Other related categories also paint a similar picture. Panama improved from 54th in the 2009-10 index to 35th in 2013-14 in goods market efficiency, from 18th to sixth in quality of port infrastructure, from 32nd to fifth in air transport infrastructure, from 62nd to 30th in railroad infrastructure, and from 62nd to 48th in road infrastructure.

    Sector Structure

    Despite steadily improving infrastructure across the country, the transportation and logistics sector lacks a titular head in the form of a dedicated Ministry of Transportation and Logistics. In its place is the Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Obras Públicas, MOP) which oversees the construction and maintenance of the national public infrastructure network, though in practice the MOP is primarily responsible for the national road network together with the autonomous Terrestrial Transport and Transit Authority. Numerous additional public entities with varying degrees of autonomy oversee the rest of the sector, including the Metro de Panamá Secretariat, a special secretariat created in 2009 to monitor the planning, construction and administration of the Panama City Metro. The Panama Canal Authority (Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, ACP) has been in complete control of the Panama Canal and its finances since the country took over control in 1999. Although it possesses a board consisting of various ministerial heads, another autonomous government agency, the Panama Maritime Authority (Autoridad Marítima de Panamá, AMP) is charged with overseeing all things maritime. Meanwhile, in the aviation sector it is the Civil Aviation Authority (Autoridad Aeronáutica Civil, AAC), which also boasts a diverse board full of governmental leaders, that supervises the country’s aeronautical activity.
    In October 2010 the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (Ministerio de Comercio e Industrias, MICI), together with the Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation and Research Centre, launched the National Logistics Council (Consejo Nacional de Logística, CNL). The CNL was created to establish a platform for collaboration among the government, private sector and academic institutions and eventually facilitate the development of the country into “the logistics and trade hub of the Americas”. However, the lack of a governmental ministry or secretariat charged with overseeing the long-term development of all infrastructures and responsible for coordinating inter-agency stratagem and budgets is a common complaint from the private sector given the already large and growing impact of the sector on the wider economy. Indeed, though the creation of the CNL represents a step forward in the logistics segment, it still falls short of the sort of authority granted the Secretary of Science, Technology and Information, for example, in driving the growth of the information and communication sector.

    Legislation

    The legislative environment in Panama has for the most part been conducive to business and investment in the country. Legal and tax incentives have been established through several laws for companies basing themselves in one of the country’s free or special economic and trade zones.
    The Colón Free Zone (CFZ), the second-largest of its kind in the world, is a strong example of the importance of creating such areas, in particular for logistic and reexport companies. New special economic areas including Panama Pacifico and the City of Knowledge have also been created and should lead the way forward in the future (see Economy chapter).
    However, in the second quarter of 2012 a new piece of legislation passed through the national legislature and was signed by the president. Known as Act 41, the legislation could cause issues with international investors within the maritime sector. The law stipulates that 75% of shares and personnel within the maritime services and auxiliary fuel distribution sector be sourced domestically. The rule sparked backlash from the EU, which considers it to be in violation of international commitments already made by Panama.

    The Hub & Spoke

    Panama’s location bodes well not only for its status as a trading hub, but also for its growing stature as a major regional centre of aviation. Indeed, Panama City’s location is within “narrow-body” range, the typical distance that the single-aisle airplanes which dominate the Latin American market can travel, of nearly all major cities within the Americas. Additionally, its improving airport infrastructure, expanding tourism sector and rapid economic growth are all supporting the country’s efforts to become the most important transit hub in the region.

    Commercial Aviation

    The impressive growth of Panama’s only major airline, Copa Airlines, also points towards a bright future for the sector. Founded in 1947, the Compañía Panameña de Aviación (Copa) is now the flagship airline of the country and one of the most prominent airlines in the expanding, yet still underserved, Latin America region.
    Following the 2005 purchase of AeroRepublica in Colombia and the company’s initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, making Copa the third Latin American airline to list on the exchange, growth has been impressive. According to figures from Copa, from 2005 to 2013 capacity has increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17%, while earnings have experienced a CAGR of 21% during the same timeframe. As a result Copa has become one of the most profitable airlines on the planet, recording an operating profit margin of 17.9% for 2012. According to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association’s 2010 airline profitability report, the carrier ranked 10th in 2007 and fourth in 2008, with operating profit margins around 18-20%.
    Meanwhile, the airline’s expansion plans include increasing its numbers in terms of fleet, route and frequency over the next five years. Indeed, Copa’s fleet plan includes the addition of 44 (30 firm orders and 14 optional) new aircraft between 2013 and 2018, most of which are single-aisle Boeing 737-800s with a range of 3000 nautical miles.

    International Connections

    Although Copa is responsible for more than 80% of daily operations at Tocumen International Airport, several international airlines also operate out of Tocumen including KLM, United Airlines, American Airlines, Iberia and Delta Airlines. In total, commercial airlines flying from Panama City service around 70 destinations – up from 29 in 2004.
    The AAC has been working together with the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the executive branch to firm up accords with foreign nations over air traffic rights. According to Ivan Vergara, director of air transport at the AAC, “Over the past several years we have signed agreements with Brazil, Ecuador and Peru and expanded our accord with Mexico. In 2013 we also added or expanded agreements with Costa Rica and France as well.” Indeed, with Air France joining KLM and Iberia in operating transatlantic flights to Europe in November of 2013, Panama City could soon establish itself as a transit hub not only for travellers going from South America to North America, but to Europe as well.

    Metro

    One of the flagship projects of President Ricardo Martinelli’s administration, the construction of the $1.88bn Metro de Panamá should help to alleviate traffic congestion within the capital. The first line is expected to be inaugurated on March 5, 2014. The long-term master plan for the system’s development calls for the construction of four separate lines and one tramway line by 2035, though thus far construction has been started only on the first line (see analysis).

    Urban Transport

    In fact, the metro is just one part of a complete renovation of Panama City’s transportation system as the MOP has been in the midst of a major overhaul to the capital city’s road network since 2011. Meanwhile, structural changes to the existing public transportation system – mainly the replacement of the city’s diablo rojo (red devil) bus network – should also ease congestion in the medium to long term.
    Over the course of the past few years numerous projects to improve road connectivity and traffic flow have seen various parts of Panama City turned into construction zones. In total the MOP reported in June 2013 that a combined eight road projects totalling $1.7bn were under way in the capital city. The largest project is the $782m construction of an underground connection between Avenida Balboa and Avenida Los Poetas, which was awarded to Brazil’s Odebrecht. It not only involves the construction of a new tunnel, but also renovations to Los Poetas, the construction of new sports facilities, bike lanes, gardens and even a sporting arena, the Maracanã Stadium. However, the project has become a source of controversy as it will also include the extension of the Cinta Costera (Coastal Beltway), a highway constructed a few years ago to relieve congestion inside the city and whose extension will wrap around the city’s Casco Viejo (Historic District).
    While the project includes green areas and pedestrian walks it has drawn criticism as the beltway is seen as an eye sore and counterproductive to ongoing efforts to renovate the historic district. Fears that it would lead to the removal of Casco Viejo from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites – due to the destruction of the centuries-old sea wall to make way for the highway – have been allayed as UNESCO announced in June 2013 the project would not impact Casco Viejo’s status.
    The preservation of the historic district itself is a $175m project also being completed by Odebrecht and is seen as a key part of the country’s tourism development plan. Apart from renovating the area’s small streets and alleyways, the project also includes the construction of a new road dubbed Vía Cincuentenario. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2014.
    Other projects include the $237m improvement and expansion of Avenida Domingo Díaz, which consists of the construction of three vehicular and three pedestrian bridges and the expansion of the road to six lanes.
    Via Brasil, another major artery, is also being renovated in a two-phase project to the tune of $217m and $181m for each respective phase. The remainder of the investment, $76.5m, was poured into the construction of three underpasses, which are now fully operational.

    On The Road

    Outside Panama City, the road network is also under development as connectivity in the interior of the country continually improves. From 2009 to 2013 the MOP reported investing $3.4bn in road and public infrastructure projects, though the majority of that figure ($2.25bn) has been used to overhaul Panama City’s road network. Outside the capital the heaviest investment was found in Chiriquí, which received $262m, most of which was used to upgrade two highways from David to Boquete ($119m) and from Paso Canoas to Port Armuelles ($114m). Meanwhile, Veraguas received $179m; Herrera and Los Santos, each $156m; Coclé, $136m; Bocas del Toro, $72m; Colón, $64m; Comarca, $66m; and Darién, $61m.
    In 2012 the introduction of a new stretch of highway from Panama City to Colón – easily the most important intra-city highway in Panama – reduced travel time from the capital to the Colón Free Zone to just 45 minutes. The project began in 2010, and when construction was completed in 2012, investment in the project reached $186m, MOP figures show. The $80.7m renovation of the Bridge of the Americas – which spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal – is another major project which was started in 2010, though it will not be completed until the end of 2014.

    Maritime Transport

    Obviously many of the maritime transport activities revolve around the Panama Canal, which has extensive port facilities at both entrances in the Port of Cristóbal (Atlantic), the Manzanillo International Container Terminal (MIT, Atlantic), the Colón Container Terminal (Atlantic) and the Port of Balboa (Pacific). In total Panama boasts 14 private and 14 state-owned and operated ports. Ensuring the country is able to meet demand increases following the arrival of post-Panamax ships after the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project is crucial to sustaining the long-term growth of the sector.
    “Panama needs to have more terminals built in order to continue growing, especially a new post-Panamax port inside the canal,” Ricardo Lince Boyd, the executive president of Agencias Continental, a local ports and shipping logistics firm, told OBG.
    Both the Port of Cristobal and the Port of Balboa are receiving an upgrade by the Panama Ports Company, operator of both ports, at a cost of $1bn. All expansion projects at both ports are expected to be completed by 2015 and will improve their combined capacity to 6.5m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
    Meanwhile, the MIT and the Colón Container Terminal (CCT) serve the CFZ and have also received sizeable investments in recent years. According to information published by Georgia Tech, the CCT recently spent $100m upgrading its terminal to its current capacity of 1.3m TEUs. The MIT is currently investing $270m to upgrade capacity to a total of 4m TEUs per year.

    Logistics

    Identified as one of the four pillars of future economic growth, the logistics sector is arguably the most integral piece in further developing the Panamanian economy. According to Proinvex, the investment promotion agency, roughly 3% of global maritime trade, including 10% of US international seaborne trade, passed through the canal in 2013. These figures are likely to swell upon the doubling of the canal’s cargo capacity once the expansion project is complete. This fact alone gives the country an edge over competing logistics centres in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coasts of the US and South America. Still, obstacles do stand in the way, mainly a lack of qualified personnel.

    Outlook

    All of the ingredients for Panama to become a centre for transportation and logistics are beginning to coalesce. Domestic connectivity is being upgraded via major infrastructure projects such as the Metro de Panamá, the Panama-Colón Highway and an overhaul of the national road system. Meanwhile, international connectivity is also being improved thanks to continued investment in airports and seaports. Nevertheless, if the goal of improving national transportation infrastructure is to capitalise on goods moving through the canal by expanding the logistics and transport sectors, there are still obstacles to overcome such as the short supply of labour and strong regional competition.
     
    Full text in http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/moving-along-continuing-expand-transport-and-logistics-network
     
    

              Anti-Submarine Warfare Training System Demo        
    Defence and security company Saab will participate in Unmanned Warrior, a demonstration and exercise held in Scotland and Wales 10-21 October, with its  anti-submarine warfare training system AUV62-AT and the waterborne anti-IED vehicle Sea Wasp. Unmanned Warrior is a multinational event, held in Scotland and Wales 10-21 October, which will see around 40 companies and organisations, invited by the United Kingdom´s Royal Navy, showing off their latest technological developments wi...
              This is What Happens When a President Outsources Job Creation to Multinational Corporate Executives        
    It's so bad, if Steve Jobs came back reincarnated as an older black women, you can bet he wouldn't get a dime from these people to form a start-up.
              The Raw Story interviews #OpCannabis        
    TheRawStory ‘Anonymous’ hacker: Legalize marijuana for the cure By Stephen C. Webster Friday, April 20, 2012 8:00 EDT Heroes to some and villians to others, the “Anonymous” movement has come to symbolize much more than just a group of rogue hackers. But far from breaking into computer networks run by rogue governments or multinational corporations, […]
              Dosar penal numarul 666-AS-2066 (Drac vs. Dumnezeu)        
    Dosar penal numarul 666-AS-2066 (Drac vs. Dumnezeu)

    “Un titlu traznit, doctrina juridica pe intelesul tuturor, incursiuni ale autorului omniscient in tainele diverselor mentalitati, curente si credinte religioase, evenimente si personalitati istorice prinse intr-un umor de limbaj in care jocul de cuvinte, amestecul de jargon tehnic, englezisme, latinisme si arhaisme te cuceresc iremediabil. Adorabile portretizari, imaginatie nestavilita. I love this author.”
    A. Popescu - avocat citit

    “Sa ne imaginam o situatie in care supranaturalul dihotomic cade sub instanta judecatoreasca umana. O fictiune inedita, care surprinde prin realismul intrebarilor existentiale pe care le adreseaza si le pune in fata cititorului, fara pretentia de a le raspunde, condimentata cu un umor picant si savuros.”
    Alina A. - filosof de multinationala

    “Ingeri si demoni, politisti si femei fatale, intrebari eterne amestecate cu un umor turbat, intreg aparatul judiciar si un love story neverosimil. Toate sub pana unui autor care se crede… dar mai bine cititi capitolul respectiv. I did. La 3.43 in the morning…”
    Z. Mica - critic prin vocatie

    Nr .de pagini : 322
    Anul aparitiei : 2017


              19th-century shipwreck found in Indian Ocean        
    A 19th-century shipwreck has been found by the team looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The wreck was first detected on Dec. 19, according to the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, the Australian agency established to coordinate the multinational search for the MH370 crash site. Based on the initial sonar contact, analysts suspected the [&hellip
              News: Michigan’s Jake Butt Selected as the 2016 Senior CLASS Award® Winner for FBS Football        

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (December 28, 2016) – Michigan All-American tight end Jake Butt has been selected as the 2016 Senior CLASS Award® winner for the NCAA® Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I FBS football coaches, national football media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I football. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.

    An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. While multiple student-athletes from Michigan have been named first- or second-team Senior CLASS Award All-American, Butt is the first Wolverine from any sport to win the award.

    “This award means a lot—just to be nominated with the other nine finalists has been an honor,” said Butt, whose Michigan Wolverines will take on Florida State in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Friday. “I really don’t think there is one winner of this award. Everyone wins by giving back to their communities and making a difference and an impact off the field, in the classroom and on the field, as well. The real winners are the people whose lives we can make an impact on off the field.”

    Already named the 2016 John Mackey Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate tight end, Butt earned first-team All-America honors from the AFCA, Sports Illustrated and the Walter Camp Football Foundation and second-team honors from the AP and Sporting News. Michigan’s all-time leading receiver in receptions and yards by a tight end, Butt hauled in 43 receptions for 508 yards (11.8 avg.) and four touchdowns during the 2016 season, including 29 receptions for first downs. Also earning first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive year, Butt helped lead the Michigan offense to the second-ranked scoring offense and total offense in the Big Ten, with 5,272 total yards and 59 touchdowns.

    As a junior, Butt earned national recognition including first-team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports and second-team honors from AP and Sporting News but chose to forego the NFL Draft and return to Michigan for his senior season.

    “Returning for my senior season made me a better football player because I was able to meet some of my goals,” said Butt, who is projected to go in the first or second round of the upcoming NFL Draft. “I became a better blocker, I got a lot faster, and I became the person and leader that I wanted to be for this team. It’s been awesome playing with these guys. We’ve had a lot of success on the field, and we’ve laid a foundation for future success at Michigan.”

    As impressive as he is on the field, Butt’s commitment to excellence also has led to success in the classroom. A 2016 Academic All-Big Ten selection, Butt has maintained a GPA above 3.0 as a sociology major and graduated early, finishing his undergraduate degree this month. He also completed an internship with multinational mass media and information company Thomson Reuters in Dexter, Mich., during the summer of 2016, which provided him with a challenging but valuable experience.

    “Jake is dedicated to being the best football player and person he can possibly be,” said Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. “We are extremely proud of his achievements on the field, in the classroom and in the community. He is passionate about being a role model for today’s youth and takes that responsibility very seriously. We couldn’t be happier for Jake and his family on being named the Senior CLASS Award recipient. It is a great honor and recognition for an individual that puts his heart into everything, and we are proud that Jake represents the University of Michigan.”

    Outside of competition and classroom achievements, Butt also has earned a reputation as a dedicated public servant with excellent character. Nearly every week, Butt volunteers at C.S. Mott’s Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor, visiting the pediatrics ward with other U-M student-athletes to spend time with the children and help them forget about their diseases and afflictions. Last year, he helped fulfill a Make-A-Wish request for a young boy who suffers from cancer, and instead of saying good-bye when the event was over, Butt gave the boy’s family his phone number, and formed a lasting relationship. When heroin overdose hit his hometown of Pickerington, Ohio, Butt went home to help raise funds and participate in a charity 5K to benefit those affected. He also is among Michigan’s most dedicated members to the #ChadTough Foundation, which supports pediatric brain tumor research.

    “We are thrilled that the voters selected Jake Butt as this year’s Senior CLASS Award winner,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. “He is an upstanding young man with tremendous dedication to excellence both on and off the field, and our congratulations go out to him, his team and the entire university.”

    For more information, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.

    # # # #

     


              The taxman cometh: Does tax uncertainty affect corporate cash holdings?        
    The taxman cometh: Does tax uncertainty affect corporate cash holdings? Maydew, Edward L.; Saavedra, Daniel; Hanlon, Michelle We examine whether firms hold more cash in the face of tax uncertainty. Because of gray areas in the tax law and aggressive tax avoidance, the total amount of tax that a firm will pay is uncertain at the time it files its returns. The tax authorities can challenge and disallow the firm’s tax positions, demanding additional cash tax payments. We hypothesize that firms facing greater tax uncertainty hold cash to satisfy these potential future demands. We find that both domestic firms and multinational firms hold larger cash balances when subject to greater tax uncertainty. In terms of economic significance, we find that the effect of tax uncertainty on cash holdings is comparable to that of repatriation taxes. Our evidence adds to knowledge about the real effects of tax avoidance and provides a tax-based precautionary explanation for why there is such wide variation in cash holdings across firms.
              Re:Politics - USA        
    Well just saw this and thought it looks like a good read, until it took a very hard turn into the twilight zone:

    Spoiler:
    Phil Alba
    March 9 · Amityville, NY ·
    Although I have some reservations about Donald Trump, this article below by Bill Bennett articulates unimpeachable realities and deserves a few of your minutes to read and consider....


    BE CAREFUL OUT THERE

    Written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump.
    I think you will find it very interesting and alarming.
    You might want to take the time to read it.

    [cid:3D8E143E5278495885E4EE1F1D6DC3E8@LaptopHP]
    PHD - Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan
    Cultural studies at the distinguished and renowned Heritage Foundation

    Interesting take on Trump.
    William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, is one of America's most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues.He has one of the strongest Christian worldviews of any writer in modern times.

    What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
    By Bill Bennett

    They will try to kill him before they let him be president.
    It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.
    Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

    It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one.

    It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

    Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

    It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors.

    They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

    These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone.

    There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

    Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

    Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama?

    Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to defund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

    First, I'd guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

    Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything.

    Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment.

    Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

    But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump.

    Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama's birth certificate. He questioned Obama's college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he's doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He's questioning our relationship with Mexico; he's questioning why the border is wide open; he's questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he's questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he's questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he's questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

    Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question!

    I'm certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion.

    Trump will ask if Obamacare's architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama's widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama's college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

    Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant.

    Trump's election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over.

    The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.

    Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

    Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

    Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump.

    The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses and if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him.

    The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth.

              Re:Politics - USA        
    Asterios wrote:
    Well just saw this and thought it looks like a good read, until it took a very hard turn into the twilight zone:

    Spoiler:
    Phil Alba
    March 9 · Amityville, NY ·
    Although I have some reservations about Donald Trump, this article below by Bill Bennett articulates unimpeachable realities and deserves a few of your minutes to read and consider....


    BE CAREFUL OUT THERE

    Written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump.
    I think you will find it very interesting and alarming.
    You might want to take the time to read it.

    [cid:3D8E143E5278495885E4EE1F1D6DC3E8@LaptopHP]
    PHD - Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan
    Cultural studies at the distinguished and renowned Heritage Foundation

    Interesting take on Trump.
    William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, is one of America's most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues.He has one of the strongest Christian worldviews of any writer in modern times.

    What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
    By Bill Bennett

    They will try to kill him before they let him be president.
    It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.
    Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

    It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one.

    It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

    Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

    It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors.

    They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

    These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone.

    There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

    Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

    Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama?

    Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to defund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

    First, I'd guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

    Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything.

    Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment.

    Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

    But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump.

    Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama's birth certificate. He questioned Obama's college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he's doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He's questioning our relationship with Mexico; he's questioning why the border is wide open; he's questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he's questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he's questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he's questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

    Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question!

    I'm certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion.

    Trump will ask if Obamacare's architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama's widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama's college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

    Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant.

    Trump's election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over.

    The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.

    Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

    Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

    Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump.

    The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses and if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him.

    The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth.


    So...immediately, then?

    :p
              Re:Politics - USA        
     Spinner wrote:
    Asterios wrote:
    Well just saw this and thought it looks like a good read, until it took a very hard turn into the twilight zone:

    Spoiler:
    Phil Alba
    March 9 · Amityville, NY ·
    Although I have some reservations about Donald Trump, this article below by Bill Bennett articulates unimpeachable realities and deserves a few of your minutes to read and consider....


    BE CAREFUL OUT THERE

    Written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump.
    I think you will find it very interesting and alarming.
    You might want to take the time to read it.

    [cid:3D8E143E5278495885E4EE1F1D6DC3E8@LaptopHP]
    PHD - Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan
    Cultural studies at the distinguished and renowned Heritage Foundation

    Interesting take on Trump.
    William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, is one of America's most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues.He has one of the strongest Christian worldviews of any writer in modern times.

    What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
    By Bill Bennett

    They will try to kill him before they let him be president.
    It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.
    Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

    It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one.

    It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

    Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

    It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors.

    They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

    These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone.

    There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

    Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

    Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama?

    Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to defund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

    First, I'd guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

    Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything.

    Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment.

    Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

    But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump.

    Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama's birth certificate. He questioned Obama's college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he's doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He's questioning our relationship with Mexico; he's questioning why the border is wide open; he's questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he's questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he's questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he's questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

    Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question!

    I'm certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion.

    Trump will ask if Obamacare's architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama's widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama's college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

    Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant.

    Trump's election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over.

    The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.

    Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

    Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

    Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump.

    The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses and if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him.

    The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth.


    So...immediately, then?

    :p


    well he was right about both parties and most big businesses not liking Trump, then things got lost in translation. but the first part is why I like trump fro the Win, the politicians don't want him too, and if they hate him he must be someone to take note of.
              Re:Politics - USA        
    Asterios wrote:
     Spinner wrote:
    Asterios wrote:
    Well just saw this and thought it looks like a good read, until it took a very hard turn into the twilight zone:

    Spoiler:
    Phil Alba
    March 9 · Amityville, NY ·
    Although I have some reservations about Donald Trump, this article below by Bill Bennett articulates unimpeachable realities and deserves a few of your minutes to read and consider....


    BE CAREFUL OUT THERE

    Written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump.
    I think you will find it very interesting and alarming.
    You might want to take the time to read it.

    [cid:3D8E143E5278495885E4EE1F1D6DC3E8@LaptopHP]
    PHD - Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan
    Cultural studies at the distinguished and renowned Heritage Foundation

    Interesting take on Trump.
    William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, is one of America's most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues.He has one of the strongest Christian worldviews of any writer in modern times.

    What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
    By Bill Bennett

    They will try to kill him before they let him be president.
    It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.
    Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

    It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one.

    It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

    Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

    It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors.

    They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

    These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone.

    There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

    Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

    Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama?

    Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to defund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

    First, I'd guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

    Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything.

    Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment.

    Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

    But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump.

    Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama's birth certificate. He questioned Obama's college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he's doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He's questioning our relationship with Mexico; he's questioning why the border is wide open; he's questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he's questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he's questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he's questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

    Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question!

    I'm certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion.

    Trump will ask if Obamacare's architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama's widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama's college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

    Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant.

    Trump's election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over.

    The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.

    Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

    Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

    Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump.

    The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses and if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him.

    The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth.


    So...immediately, then?

    :p


    well he was right about both parties and most big businesses not liking Trump, then things got lost in translation. but the first part is why I like trump fro the Win, the politicians don't want him too, and if they hate him he must be someone to take note of.


    Lost in translation, buried beneath crazy rhetoric and wild accusations...potato, potahto, right?

    It's not just 'politicians and big businesses' that don't like him, and they don't dislike him just because he's shaking things up in the political arena. He's a bully. He's a loudmouth. He's a bigot, or at the very least he's riding a wave of bigoted sentiment. He's a thin-skinned narcissist. He calls names and talks about the size of his genitals during debates (at least Lyndon Johnson would whip it out and back up what he was saying). And, maybe most importantly, he has no desire to fact-check or take a firm position. Whatever he says at that moment becomes the Official Trump Platform, until he changes his mind, is told he just called for a war crime, or wants to appeal to a different crowd.

    He's a weathervane. He's the worst sort of career politician, but without the career and the small saving grace of experience that would bring. Why does ANYONE who claims to be looking for honesty or sending a message to the political establishment want to give him their support? The only message it sends is "We like mudslinging and pandering. More of that, please."
              Re:Politics - USA        
     Spinner wrote:
    Asterios wrote:
     Spinner wrote:
    Asterios wrote:
    Well just saw this and thought it looks like a good read, until it took a very hard turn into the twilight zone:

    Spoiler:
    Phil Alba
    March 9 · Amityville, NY ·
    Although I have some reservations about Donald Trump, this article below by Bill Bennett articulates unimpeachable realities and deserves a few of your minutes to read and consider....


    BE CAREFUL OUT THERE

    Written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump.
    I think you will find it very interesting and alarming.
    You might want to take the time to read it.

    [cid:3D8E143E5278495885E4EE1F1D6DC3E8@LaptopHP]
    PHD - Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan
    Cultural studies at the distinguished and renowned Heritage Foundation

    Interesting take on Trump.
    William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, is one of America's most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues.He has one of the strongest Christian worldviews of any writer in modern times.

    What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
    By Bill Bennett

    They will try to kill him before they let him be president.
    It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.
    Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

    It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one.

    It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

    Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

    It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors.

    They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

    These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone.

    There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

    Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

    Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama?

    Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to defund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

    First, I'd guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

    Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything.

    Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment.

    Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

    But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump.

    Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama's birth certificate. He questioned Obama's college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he's doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He's questioning our relationship with Mexico; he's questioning why the border is wide open; he's questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he's questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he's questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he's questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

    Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question!

    I'm certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion.

    Trump will ask if Obamacare's architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama's widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama's college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

    Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant.

    Trump's election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over.

    The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.

    Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

    Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

    Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump.

    The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses and if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him.

    The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth.


    So...immediately, then?

    :p


    well he was right about both parties and most big businesses not liking Trump, then things got lost in translation. but the first part is why I like trump fro the Win, the politicians don't want him too, and if they hate him he must be someone to take note of.


    Lost in translation, buried beneath crazy rhetoric and wild accusations...potato, potahto, right?

    It's not just 'politicians and big businesses' that don't like him, and they don't dislike him just because he's shaking things up in the political arena. He's a bully. He's a loudmouth. He's a bigot, or at the very least he's riding a wave of bigoted sentiment. He's a thin-skinned narcissist. He calls names and talks about the size of his genitals during debates (at least Lyndon Johnson would whip it out and back up what he was saying). And, maybe most importantly, he has no desire to fact-check or take a firm position. Whatever he says at that moment becomes the Official Trump Platform, until he changes his mind, is told he just called for a war crime, or wants to appeal to a different crowd.

    He's a weathervane. He's the worst sort of career politician, but without the career and the small saving grace of experience that would bring. Why does ANYONE who claims to be looking for honesty or sending a message to the political establishment want to give him their support? The only message it sends is "We like mudslinging and pandering. More of that, please."


    no it means for all his faults, its not as bad as being a politician.
              This asset has outperformed the Tulip Bubble, Mississippi Bubble, and dot-com Bubble        
    This morning I had the pleasure of spending an hour of my life tracking down a missing wire transfer that had been sent to a large, multinational bank more than two weeks ago. I’m sure you’ve been there, being passed around various departments like the village bicycle, each time having to re-explain the entire situation to someone brand new. Finally someone found the missing funds, and the person told me me they would release the money later today. But that it would still take 3-5 business days for the funds to hit the recipient’s account. This is infuriating. It’s 2017. Seriously. It’s not like they have to load a pallet […]
              Insider trading for beginners        

    Agfa-Gevaert is a multinational company in Belgium. It’s mainly active in imaging technology for hospitals (wiki). After the market close, Bloomberg brought the news the CompuServe Group is preparing a take-over bid. Mergers and acquisitions are business as usual. With option positions, some traders lose and others win. While take-over bids are often accompanied with aRead more

    The post Insider trading for beginners appeared first on Amsterdamtrader.


              Dog finds 600-year-old bones        
    Migaloo is a female black labrador that can sniff out ancient bones, recently uncovering a 600-year-old human skeleton. Mr Jackson, owner of Multinational K9, at Narangba, has trained cadaver, koala, quoll, bomb and drug sniffer dogs. But he insists Migaloo is the world’s first dedicated archaeology dog and the new world record holder after her [&hellip
              The political risk of international sanctions and multinational firm value: an empirical analysis using the event-study methodology        
    Gadringer, Mark-P. (2011) The political risk of international sanctions and multinational firm value: an empirical analysis using the event-study methodology. Doctoral thesis, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
              Beyond Grexit & Brexit, Advocating an Irish and a British role in solving Europe’s mid-life crisis        

    Robert Schuman was a former Vichy bureaucrat who became finance minister in post-war reunified France. He later became French foreign minister, then president of the European Movement, now official historians of European integration call him an “architect of the European Integration Project”. EU Public Relations officials celebrate Schuman’s declaration (made on the 9th of May 1950) as Europe’s birthday with photos of cupcake with a single European candle[sic.]. The European Parliament awarded Schuman the title: “Father of Europe”. Two years later he died, in 1963.

    Europe, according to Schuman “will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity […] to secure in the shortest time the supply of coal and steel […] which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war”.  The 1951 Treaty of Paris formed the European Steel and Coal Community (ECSC) introducing an open market for military raw materials. The ECSC morphed into the Common Market, the Economic Community (EEC/EC) and now the European Union (EU) while adding the regional currency, The Euro; a currency managed in Frankfurt but spent in Dublin and Athens. When the global financial crisis hit Europe, again EU Federalism was mooted as a cure. Where is the debate in Ireland and in the UK on a federal EU? Are we really that insular?

    Fast forward to 2016, almost a decade into the EU crisis, and the Anglo-Saxon press in Europe frames its “Europe” debate between two goalposts (‘Brexit’ and ‘Grexit’), as coined in the Financial Times by German journalist, Wolfgang Munchau.

    Brexit is one possible result of Britain’s June 23rd referendum on a UK exit from the EU. The Brexit referendum follows mild-mannered arguments by UK Prime Minister on legislative flexibility (mainly financial safeguards for the City of London). David Cameron’s suggestions for sovereignty loopholes for the UK absenting them from EU financial controls rubbed the other European leaders up the wrong way. Perhaps this is not surprising as EU nations, the UK and Ireland included, are desperately trying to navigate the financial and political fallout of the European phase of the Great Recession.

    Grexit revisits Summer 2015, when SYRIZA leaders capitulated to further austerity (and more Sovereign debt) while remaining in the Eurozone countermanding their own referendum decision to reject the third EU offer. Even the IMF recognizes this as a third phase of Extend and Pretend in Greece, kicking the stone down the road till 2016 (afterBrexit).

    Globally, European integration, an open EU market, and the survival of the Euro, is debated in the Bank For International Settlements (BIS) and the G20 and the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR). Barack Obama conveyed his opinions to European leaders in his recent springtime visit. Neither Brexit nor Grexit are income neutral for hedge funds. Vulture funds would do well should Schaüble have his way forcing Greece out of the Euro and Brexit offers lucrative fluctuations in Sterling Foreign Exchange futures.

    In the German Bundestag and in the other seats of EU power mum’s the word. Brussels and Frankfurt feign business as usual.

    UK and Irish newspapers debate European Integration using national balance-sheet arguments on EU contributions and the taxation that pays for this. Taxation without representation is certainly an important issue, but this masks a deeper debate on supranationalism and European federalism. In Dublin’s Fleet Street, border controls and national corporate tax rates form part of a cautious debate on sustainable growth under conditions of high debt. Lucky for Ireland the term Irexit doesn’t quite roll off the tongue: “Ireland is not Greece” after all.

    Instead of debating Federalism in Ireland a parochial debate focuses predominantly on national interests particularly its low corporate tax rates and the choice by US multinationals to offshore their EU headquarters locally. Ireland is English speaking; its trade and cultural ties are North Atlantic, a reflection of its history and its ongoing emigration; locally rebranded ‘diaspora’. None of this bodes well if Brexit passes. Ireland’s eastward facing Euroports export to Britain; there is significant cross-border trade with Northern Ireland. The governing coalition fears geographical isolation between Washington D.C. and (a possibly non-EU) Westminster. 


              Anti-Foxconn FB Site Delivers News on the Fox Con        
    Foxconn invests in Wisconsin Workers 'should be wary'by James Griffiths

    Via the Mal Contends site in Madison:

    Led by social media such as Facebook, Wisconsin's political culture supports a ready resistance to Foxconn.

    On August 4, scholar-activist Allen Ruff created the Facebook group site, Say No to the Fox Con, quickly gathering 150-plus members, expected to balloon to 1,000s by the end of next week as a "clearing house for critical news and views, primarily articles to inform and educate opposition to the construction of a Foxconn factory in Wisconsin. Pieces regarding the impact on the environment, accounts of the firm's operations elsewhere, and analyses of other effects and 'externalities' not offered up by backers."

    Gov. Scott Walker has called a for a special legislative session to push the tax-water-sand give-away through in August before citizens begin focusing on the scam, (Fortune), intended in part to reelect Gov. Jobs Failure who counts on Wisconsinites too discouraged to effectively oppose his regime.

    Notes John Nichols in The Capital Times:

    Walker, who has claimed over the years that the state is too impoverished to adequately fund public education, public services and roads, has suddenly determined that Wisconsin has an extra $3 billion to hand off to a controversial multinational corporation that is famous for making big promises to nations and states and then failing to deliver.

    How is this possible?

    Easy. Walker is running for re-election and, as a career politician, he is perfectly happy to sacrifice fiscal responsibility on the altar of his own ambition.

    Blowing up the Fox Con is the win working families are counting on before the state is mobilized against Walker in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign.


              Ireland's Austerity Program: Almost Perfect        
    Ireland
    Photographer: Trent Strohm

    Out of the many European countries that fell on hard times thanks to a mixture of unsustainable entitlement spending it can be argued that Ireland has done the most with their second chance at redemption. Stephen Kinsella at Foreignaffairs.com details how Ireland turned things around:
    At long last, Ireland is beginning to move beyond putting on the poor mouth. The country's prime minister, Enda Kenny, recently graced the cover of Time, accompanied by the headline "The Celtic Comeback," and the Financial Times called Ireland's finance minister one of the best in Europe. The nation's largest banks can borrow again on the open market. The interest rates on Ireland's sovereign bonds -- seen as key indicators of the probability of default -- are rapidly falling. Rating agencies such as Moody's and Fitch have upgraded their outlooks on the country and some of its banks. 
    The turnaround seemed nearly complete last summer, when the government held two successful sovereign bond auctions and planned many more for the next year. By late 2013 or early 2014, Ireland should no longer need the assistance it has received from the EU and the IMF. The economy is still growing slowly in terms of GDP, but it is far from collapsing. Exports have driven most of this growth, thanks to unit labor costs that have fallen faster than those of any other country in Europe. Irish banks are deleveraging -- dumping bad loans, basically -- in order to shrink their balance sheets down to a more manageable size. Ireland is still a haven for multinational corporations searching for low taxes and a flexible, young, skilled labor force. Once the threat of an outright default passed and property prices began to bottom out, international investors began buying up properties there. Unlike in Greece, there have been no major public protests or social disturbances.

    Proponents of austerity have held up Ireland as the poster child for their agenda. Indeed, the country has gotten its fiscal house in order by raising taxes and slashing spending. When it comes to budgetary discipline, as the former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said in May, "Greece has a role model. And that role model is Ireland." 
    And yet: Domestic demand has flatlined, and the government still needs to find 18 billion more euros to cut in its next three budgets. The total output of the country stands at around 160 billion euros -- only about 1.5 percent of the United States' total output. Ireland's debt-to-GDP ratio has reached a staggering 108 percent, and it is projected to rise to 122 percent by 2014, making default a real possibility. The ratio of household debt to disposable income is running at 210 percent, much higher than in any other developed country. Nearly 15 percent of the Irish public is without work, with more than half of those people having been unemployed for over a year. The state has pumped more than 64 billion euros into its wayward banks, which still refuse to lend. All this suggests that the prospects for a robust recovery seem slim. Even if demand somehow bounced back tomorrow, Ireland would still have enormous amounts of debt to repay, which will hamper growth for the foreseeable future. Ireland, in other words, may have reached only the halfway marker in its lost decade.
    The good news is great. The people of Ireland have a chance at building a future by cutting runaway spending programs and getting their house in order. They made, however, the fundamental mistake of raising taxes in the hopes of raising the extra revenue to pay off their debts. Raising taxes always lowers aggregate demand so it's no wonder that "domestic demand has flatlined". If only the author had made the connection!

    Oh well, at least they're turning things around for the most part. 

              Oil Price Indicators Flash Buy as OPEC Expectations Grow Bigger        

    Interestingly, the press has been full of stories about how large long-term holders of the big multinational oil companies have been selling these top income producers since the beginning of 2017. They were eventually joined by short sellers, forcingBrent Crudeprices sharply lower in the second half of April.

    This item continues in the Subscriber’s Area where two other articles are also posted.


              Staff of US multinationals earn over 1.5 times the average wage        

    The 12.5% corporate tax rate as well as membership of the EU have been instrumental in Ireland’s success in attracting both investment and high paying jobs. It is that latter point which helps to compensate the government for the loss of corporate tax revenue and why the 12.5% rate is so important to Ireland’s economic health.


              Email of the day        

    Many thanks for your important email.

    Yes, there is considerable uncertainty, including for international traders in your position. Responsible corporations will inevitably have various contingency plans. Sensible people hope that the UK and EU will be able to agree on a mutually beneficial Brexit but we cannot count on this. Brexit is a development in progress.

    We know that the UK will leave the EU but we do not know what the terms of separation will be. Nevertheless, I see no reason why oil and gas trading will diminish anytime soon. Moreover, successful multinational traders such as yourself will remain in demand.

    Good luck and let me know how this plays out for you.


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              Comment on Why Poverty? The BBC’s best kept secret? by Mariana Swann        
    It seems to me that the rich world is quite happy to live in ignorance. Yes, that's right. IGNORANCE of the truth about poverty. I watched the Why Poverty programme called Stealing Africa, and it confirmed what I have known all my life: big multinationals and powerful countries steal from poorer nations, and that is how they manage to grow richer and fatter. Not only that, the poor are then blamed for being poor (they are lazy, they are corrupt, etc etc). The BBC should broadcast these programmes again, please, and advertise them well. Not everyone wants to watch celebrities or soap operas... By the way, here's an article about rich sugar/tea multinationals not paying taxes in Zambia. Shame on them. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/09/zambia-sugar-empire-tax      
              Ashis Nandy        
    Freud, modernity and postcolonial violence:
    Analytic attitude, dissent and the boundaries of the self

    by Ashis Nandy [The Little Magazine: vol iv: issue 5 & 6]

    http://www.littlemag.com/looking/ashisnandy.html

    We live in an intellectual edifice primarily built by the European Enlightenment. It is not very old, having been given its final shape less than three hundred years ago, and our concepts of an ideal society and meaningful social criticism are coloured by this heritage. However, this said, we also have to confront the uncomfortable reality that these concepts of a desirable society and desirable forms of social criticism invoke altogether different associations in other parts of the world. These other associations have acquired new play in recent years because the Enlightenment vision itself has, finally, come under scrutiny in North America and Western Europe. Indeed, the rumours about its complicity with the violence of our times have been given a certain edge by a whole range of work.

    Take for example the crisis in the Middle East. Jerusalem is on the one hand an ancient city of spiritual and moral grace, and on the other, a city of violence, uprooting and divided selves. Simone Weil and Martin Buber, I suspect, lived with the first Jerusalem, the modern Israelis live with the second. For the former, Jerusalem not only had secular and sacred geographies, but also moral and psychological ones. The latter seem to oscillate between their passion for an Israeli nation-state delicately perched on the desperate denial of a West Asian identity and a fierce commitment to a secular, modern European identity, precariously balanced on memories of massive suffering and projects of annihilation, once so lovingly designed by Europe for its Jewish population. The denial goes with a refusal to acknowledge that the Arabs and the Jews are often not divided by distance but by proximity. The commitment goes with the search for a magical remedy for remembered discrimination and genocide in the values of the European Enlightenment, presum ably in the belief that a European disease requires European therapy. The search reaffirms an identity that many can neither disown nor fully own up to.

    I shall use as my baseline what one of the greatest ever products of the Jewish tradition, Sigmund Freud, who lived much of his life with an ambivalent aware ness of his cultural-religious status, might have said about the bitterness that has come to surround Jerusalem. Namely, that the narcissism of small differences and familiarity is often a better predictor of ethnic discontents and violence in our age than distance and ignorance. I am told that in the late nineteenth century a Belgian anthropologist, finding it difficult to ethnographically distinguish between the Hutus and the Tutsis, ultimately decided to distinguish between the two tribes by the number of heads of cattle they owned. When the Rwandan genocide took place, that story became one of the ways of acknowledging what many anthropologists always knew, that the Hutus and Tutsis were two tribes that, apart from being neighbours, were closest to each other ethnographically. There is a parallel to this in the Bosnian situation too. About 30 per cent of the Bosnian Muslims, one hears, are related to the Serbs by marriage.

    I simultaneously want to use as my baseline some of the popular forms that the Enlightenment values have taken in the global middle-class culture to serve as the heart of a global structure of common sense. This is important because these values now shape our concepts of the normal, the rational and the sane, both within and outside the clinic. I shall also lay my cards on the table and confess that I am suspicious of the claim that Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries answered all basic questions of humankind once and for all, that all it left for the other civilisations to do is to write a few polite footnotes and useful appendices to these answers.

    The body of work that challenges the Enlighten ment vision, when not directly dependent on psychoanalytic insights, has borrowed heavily from clinical work and therapeutic visions. Why?

    One reason could be that the first psychoanalyst was a rebellious child of the Enlighten ment. He did not reject the Enlightenment vision, but the social critique he offered was not from the vantage ground of the Enlightenment’s standard ideas of a desirable society and knowledge. He tried to supply a critique of the Enlightenment reason from within its perimeters but while doing so, often accidentally strayed into strange territories. Indeed, his crypto-Platonic worldview was more open-ended than it had seemed at one time. Scholars have located in Freud’s work a whole range of new elements — from German romanticism and Naturphilosophie and the more open-ended concept of science associated with that tradition, to the East European, Hassidic-Jewish culture and mystical tradition that occasionally broke through his public self and overdone conformity to the model of the positive sciences.[1] As he gained confidence in his middle years, he returned to some of the philosophical and civilisational questions that had always haunted him. Books like Civilisation and its Discontents, The Future of an Illusion, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, Moses and Monotheism and Thoughts for the Times on War and Death could be read as ‘regressions’ to a more defiant and daring mode of psychological theorisation. These works are more Dostoyevskyan and more informed by his tragic vision of life. They show that Freud was no intellectual kin of Francis Bacon, though sometimes, in his cultural and intellectual insecurity, he appeared or pretended to be so. At least one commentator has felt compelled to say that Freud’s tragic vision implied a rejection of ‘the simplest Anglo-American belief in the virtues of progress.’[2]

    Unfortunately, despite the rediscovery of psychoanalysis by literary theory and cultural studies in the last decade, this other Freud, a product of multiple cultural traditions who tries to negotiate cultural borders, remains a stranger to many. The limited cultural sensitivities of some of the mainstream schools of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis partly derive from this. These schools seem to be unaware that even modernity is no longer what it was, that four hundred years is a long time in human history; even the Dark Ages in Europe did not last that long. Today modernity, to qualify as such, requires an element of self-criticism or at least a sense of loss. The problem is compounded by the various schools of post-Freudian psychology, which are mostly progenies of the theoretical frames that crystallised as forms of dissent within the Enlighten ment. Even when they defy the modern, the defiance is primarily addressed to and remains confined within the citadels of modernity. The ones that try to break out of the grid often turn out to be transient fashions of brief shelf life. A culture not only produces its own ideas of conformity but also its distinctive concepts of valid or sane dissent. Worse, what looks like dissent in one culture at one time may not appear so in another culture at another time. Let me give an example.

    When Freud’s ideas first came to India in the first decade of the last century, it was remarkable how little protest they aroused.[3] There was no frenzied opposition to them as there was in Victorian Europe. (I am using the term ‘Victorian’ here in the wider sense in which Carl Jung used it, to capture the flavour of the middle-class culture in all of Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.) What offended Victorian sensibilities in Freud’s work did not evidently offend the middle classes in India. Elsewhere, I have mentioned Rangin Halder, a pioneering Indian psychoanalyst who did a classical Freudian interpretation of the Oedipal imagery in Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry in the 1920s, when Tagore was already being regarded as a national poet and had become a revered figure in Indian public life. Such interpretations at the time primarily meant a heavy-handed exploration of psycho sexuality. Almost no one was offended, not even Tagore. And Halder, who first presented the paper to a small group of psychoanalysts, subsequently translated it into English and presented it at the annual meeting of the Indian Science Congress. It was a hit there, too.

    What seems to be defiant in one cultural context may not seem so in another. A colleague once told me how her great-aunt — a seemingly house-bound, puritanical widow who had limited education and always wore white to conform to the traditional image of an austere widow in east India — helped her brother Sarasilal Sarkar, a first-generation psychoanalyst, to translate some of Freud’s works into Bengali. She was not at all shocked by the newly imported European theory of human nature, tinged with ideas of infantile sexuality and incestual fantasies. I remember in this context a number of Indian folk tales about the Oedipal situation collected by the poet and scholar A.K. Ramanujan. Many of them end rather tamely with the hero learning to live with the knowledge that he has unknowingly married or slept with his mother. There is moral anguish in them, but not usually of the fierce, self-destructive kind found in the Greek myth. In one story that carries a touch of moral agony, the mother is the one who commits suicide.[4]

    Contemporary Indian middle-class culture, however, has more in common with the global culture of common sense than with the folk tales Ramanujan had collected. We have to come to these alternative formulations in a different way, by examining the status of the post-Galilean world itself. Let me, therefore, look more closely at some elements in the critical apparatus of Enlightenment reason that the global triumph of rationality, sanity and progress (encased in an expanding global culture of common sense and conventionality) should have given us the confidence to re-examine. Victory should have brought with it a new sense of self-confidence and responsibility, but evidently it has not.

    The stalwarts who contributed to the Enlightenment vision tended to nurture one particular kind of critical attitude. That attitude used as its pivot, often creatively, the idea of demystification or unmasking. From Giambattista Vico to Sir Francis Bacon to Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, it was the creation and unfolding of a new tradition of social criticism that sought to rid the world of the sacred and the magical. That was the tradition on which the great critical theorists like Freud and Marx were to build. This tradition of demystification usually assumes that manifest reality, after a point, is not trustworthy. If one tears the mask off that reality, one is closer to the truth, or to more justifiable certitudes. After the demystification, the certitudes that sustain the manifest reality and supply its standardised interpretations are shown to be unsustainable. Indeed, through this exegesis, one constructs a new reality closer to truth, and that second-order reality provides one with a fresh bedrock of certitudes. It was the hope of the protagonists of this tradition that a new society, a new social vision, and even a new human personality could be built based on this new hermeneutics.

    The model, of course, was borrowed from modern science. There, too, the assumption is that once someone like Galileo dismantles common sense and everyday reality by proposing the idea of a heliocentric universe in place of the geocentric one, he demystifies or demagicalises the universe and comes closer to truth. Likewise, the emergence of modern medicine can also be viewed as the emergence of a new narrative that sheds the earlier mystification of illness and explains all diseases solely in the language of the body, as formalised in the science of biology. The assumption is that once one reaches the hard realities encrypted in the language of the body, one acquires greater mastery over ill health. Similarly with the Marxist concept of production relations and Freud’s concept of psychosexuality.

    There is another tacit assumption here. Namely, that there can be competing theories of knowledge, but not two truths. Ultimately, one of the theories is expected to supersede the rest. Take the case of the Galilean discovery itself, which has served as a foundational myth of modern knowledge systems for nearly two centuries. Only two years ago the Catholic Church recanted and apologised for prosecuting Galileo, a little too late in the day, some might say. Yet, a whole range of works which rely on the actual arguments and exchanges between the two sides make us suspect that the Church was not clear about the position it should take on Galileo’s cosmology. Galileo was influential and had powerful friends in the Church. During his trial, he stayed in an abbey with a Church dignitary. The Catholic Church, never insensitive to political realities, was willing to compromise. In any case, it was probably less hostile to Galileo’s heliocentric universe than to his belief that the Church should repudiate geocentricism and make heliocentricism a part of official Christian dogma. In other words, the Church was willing to keep things vague and open and live with both the heliocentric and geocentric theories as contestants for the status of truth. But the idea that there could be two coexisting, contesting versions of truth was not acceptable to Galileo. In his world, one of the two theories had to win at the end.

    Today, in the age of supercomputers, it is possible to argue that in a relativistic universe, conceiving the sun as the epicentre is not that striking an improvement over conceiving the earth as the epicentre, if one chooses to confine oneself solely to the issue of truth. A reasonably good computer can calculate the co-ordinates of the geocentric universe clumsily and inelegantly, but nonethe less truthfully. I emphasise the word truthfully, because Galileo’s battle with the Church is described in school texts as a battle for truth. I admit that the computations in the case of a geocentric universe will be more complicated; they will certainly not be aesthetic or efficient. But they will not be false. For heliocentricism and geocentricism are only two possible ways of viewing a relativistic universe. There could be other ways. Any modern physicist will agree with you on this as long as you do not bring in Galileo. He or she will be uncomfort able the moment you propose that Galileo was as right or as wrong as the dignitaries of the Church were. Galileo’s dissent is a major myth of modernity, on which we have been brought up. To disown it is to disown a part of our selves.

    The moral of the story is clear. What looks like radical dissent at one time may look like a lesser innovation at another, or become a lovely little story of dissent that has lost some of its edge. However, this also has a dangerous corollary: many ideas that were once instruments of liberation or parts of an emancipatory theory, which for decades came in handy for those battling social injustice or inequality, have ceased to be emancipatory. Perhaps for the simple reason that human beings, given enough time, are perfectly capable of converting even the most radical theories of emancipation into sanctions for new forms of violence and oppression. It is probably better to be suspicious of all theories of emancipation after a point. Indeed, I believe that the coming generations may seriously demand that any significant psychological or political theory, to be so recognised, must have either an element of self-destructiveness or a subsystem of self-criticism built in. It may not be good for the theorists, but it will certainly be good for the rest of the world. There is no harm in viewing all theories of liberation as transient instruments that retain the potentiality of becoming oppressive in the end.

    Everyone knows of the demise of Leninism; few have noticed the demise of classical liberalism. Nothing reveals this twin defeat more poignantly than the changing language of the winners of the world. The new slogans of the victorious have gradually become those that the likes of Marx and Freud thought emancipatory. I have in mind the various theories of progress, science, rationality, social evolutionism and development. The Nazis killed in the name of eugenics, the Soviet communists in the name of scientific history. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia virtually acted out the dissertations that some of its leaders wrote for prestigious French universities. Values that at one time were associated with or indicated the defiance of authority are the values of the authorities today. Values that at one time looked authoritative and dominant have become the values of the marginalised and the powerless. We are moving into a world where the nature of authority is different. People at the heart of the Establishment today talk of the end of history, poverty and human rights. Obviously because the end history has reached is not the one for which generations of dissenting intellectuals have worked. Poverty has become a billion-dollar multinational enterprise and the idea of human rights is being exported by countries that have the shoddiest human rights record in the southern world. Nothing lasts forever; even dissent does not remain dissent after a point.

    For us, who deal with human subjectivities, there is a more serious development in the wake of the crisis in modernity. The visions that presumed that individuality should provide the basic unit of social analysis and psychological intervention are themselves under severe stress. With individualism increasingly taking quasi pathological forms, strengthening individuality no longer looks like a foolproof recipe for health. A few years ago, I was told that in large apartment complexes in some Scandinavian cities, electronic devices were fitted in the toilets of lonely, elderly people. If a toilet was not flushed for a long stretch of time, the janitor came and broke into the apartment to check if the householder was alive. This was a response to instances of lonely senior citizens, deprived of community life, dying in their flats and the neighbours finding out only after the bodies began to decompose and smell. This is individualism taken to its logical conclusion. It is my suspicion that all theories of consciousness — and unconsciousness — will have to learn to look at the individual from a different point of view.

    We do not have to give up the concept of individualism. We have seen what reified, overdone concepts of aggregates — such as race, class, nationality and ethnicity — can do. In the last century, mostly deriving sanction from deified or demonised concepts of groups, we killed 200 million of our fellow human beings. Their ghosts haunt all contemporary ideas of collectivity. I suggest that we re-examine individualism in societies where, in the name of individualism, certain basic dimensions of individuality have themselves been subverted. For most practical purposes, individualism has been reinterpreted as self-interest and consumer ism. The Internet now threatens to reinterpret it as solipsism. The advertisement-driven individual ism associated with consumer choice would have frightened even Sigmund Freud, whose individualism always had a Shakespearean dimension.

    I once tried to calculate the number of shades of lipsticks on the world market. Within a short time, I arrived at a figure that ran into thousands. It is doubtful if the human retina is physiologically capable of registering that many shades of colour. I presume the width of this choice is partly bogus; it creates an illusion of wider choice than there actually is. It would have been a perfectly innocent illusion if the total cosmetics bill of American women had not over-stripped the total budgets of all the African countries taken together. For the moment, I am ignoring the quarter of a million animals sacrificed every year in US laboratories alone for scientific experiments, a significant proportion of them conducted for the cosmetics industry.[5] This is not a plea to abridge choice across the board; it is a plea to recognise that certain forms of absurd multiplication of choices can have psychosocial costs and can be considered puerile. I am merely taking seriously the activist-scholar R.L. Kumar’s proposition that the rhetoric of wider choice often hides the fact that in modern societies, an individual is increasing ly left with only three substantive choices: to be a tourist, a voter or a consumer. Other choices are usually either secondary or illusory. I am inviting you to extend to the favourite slogans of our times what Philip Rieff considers the heart of the Freudian enterprise, the analytic attitude.[6]

    The very idea of the disenchantment of the world, so closely associated with the idea of demystification, is itself reaching the end of its tether. The world is getting so thoroughly secularised that the idea of a fully secular world has ceased to be an attractive dream, except to those still living in the nineteenth century. Two factors have contributed to the growing scepticism towards secularism. First, there is the growing environmental crisis, which to many seems intertwined with the secularisation of the cosmos and the desacralisation of nature and nonhuman life forms. If nothing is transcendent or sacred, the final word on social morality becomes the aphorism of John Maynard Keynes, who crucially shaped some of the major economic institutions with which we live: "In the long run we are all dead." If that is so, in a fully secularised, fully individualistic world, there is no reason why we should leave anything behind for the future. Certainly, institutions structured around self-interest, rationality and hard realism have even less reason to do so. A conventional wit, W.C. Fields puts it more directly and honestly: "Why should I think about the future? What has the future done for me?"

    That is why many of the social formations that look like rebellions against secularism turn out to be, on closer scrutiny, the offspring of secularisation. Disoriented by a changing world, they desperately seek meaning in the packaged versions of faith vended by charlatans, gurus and bloodthirsty religious fanatics. I have been studying ethnic and religious violence during the last two decades. One of the most remarkable features of such violence, I find, is the element of secularisation that has crept into it. Religious fanaticism now has little to do with faith, tradition or community. It is a product of uprooting, breakdown of community ties and weakening of faith. Thus, expatriate Indians in the First World reportedly financed — almost entirely — the Ram Janmabhoomi movement that demolished the Babri mosque in India in 1992 and triggered countrywide violence. Likewise, expatriate Tamils have largely bankrolled Tamil militancy in Sri Lanka and the IRA has consistently received funding during the last seven decades from Irish Americans. It was almost as if individuals, feeling increasingly deracinated and uprooted, have taken up causes to battle their own sense of loss of tradition and community ties, and to create what Hannah Arendt used to call pseudo-communities.

    If this explanation looks too facile, there is the fact that in all of South Asia, communal riots are becoming a kind of expertise, even a profession. You can organise ethnic or communal violence anytime you like, provided someone gives you enough cash and political protection. You can order a designer riot to bring down a regime or change voting patterns or advance the cause of a political faction. The activists are known, so are their fees and their political patrons. The leaders who deploy these activists are also increasingly blatant about their profession. Organised religious and ethnic violence itself has become one of the most secular spheres of our public life. That is why Mr L.K. Advani, the leader of what many consider the world’s biggest revivalist formation, the BJP Hindu nationalist forces in India, the man who headed the movement that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque, could openly say in an interview with The Times of India, a national newspaper, that he is not much of a believer. As for his own religious sentiments, he added for good measure, he feels closer to Sikhism than to Hinduism.

    Advani is no exception. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS, the steel frame of Hindu nationalism, was established in 1925. It supposedly has a million members now. Many of them are believers. Yet, for most of its existence and throughout all its formative years, the RSS has not had as its head persons who could be called believers. The first time the RSS chose a believing Hindu as its head was when M.S. Golwalkar took over in 1940. The earlier leaders were not diffident non-believers; they openly flaunted their disbelief, often trying to show how scientifically minded they were by attacking Hindu rituals and idolatry. They believed that they were fighting for the political cause of the Hindus, not defending Hindu religious traditions. Thus V.D. Savarkar, who coined the term Hindutva and authored what has become the Bible of Hindu revivalism, Hindutva, declares himself an atheist in the same book. Evidently, the violent and venomous furies of religious fanaticism are not always associated with theories of transcendence in our time. They have been direct products of the modern, secular world and the time has come for us to re-examine such fanaticism as the pathology of a modern ideology rather than that of a faith.

    At the end, very briefly, I offer two theoretical proposals that might serve as possible baselines for reconceptualising forms of contemporary subjectivity, especially as they are reflected in the idea of individuality. I choose them because both are indirectly relevant to theories of the healthy personality and psychotherapeutic practice.

    First, healthy, normal individualism is also possible when the boundaries of the self are not as sharply demarcated in terms of belief, faith or identity, categories that the moderns feel comfortable with. Our deepening cross-cultural experiences demand that we redefine health to accommodate a different concept of the boundaries of the self. Let me give two examples, one of them my favourite. I can confidently predict that there will never be religious conflict between the Shintos and the Buddhists in Japan, for the simple reason that a huge majority of the Japanese are Shintos and a huge majority of them are Buddhists. A similar prediction can be made about the Confucians and the Buddhists in China. Whereas in a country like India, where a periodic modern, scientific census has been conducted since colonial times, the percentages of different religious communities are so meticulously calculated that they always add up to exactly 100 per cent. The Hindus constitute 82.0 per cent of India, the Muslims 12.1 per cent, the Christians 2.3 per cent, the Sikhs 1.9 per cent, and so on.

    Yet, when the Indian Anthropological Survey did a comprehensive survey in the early 1990s, not of individuals but of communities, it discovered that roughly 15 per cent of the 2,800 communities studied had more than one faith. That does not only mean that these communities consist of people from different faiths; it also means that the communities include individuals who can be classified as belonging to more than one faith. This is not new for us. I have mentioned Japan and China. Even Christianity and Islam — faiths that have shed enormous volumes of blood to deter mine the fate of Jerusalem over the last two millennia — evidently have other incarnations in the tropics. The Indian survey mentions 116 communities that are simultaneously Christian and Hindu, 94 that follow both Christianity and the various ‘tribal religions’, and 35 that are Hindu and Muslim. Seventeen communities are followers of three religions simultaneously — 11 can be classified as Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, six as Hindu, Muslim and Christian.[7] A colleague of mine has studied the Meos, one of the largest Muslim communities in northern India. They are devoutly Muslim, but also trace their origins to the Mahabharata clans. They have their own Mahabharata that they perform ritually. Even now, some elderly Meos have both Hindu and Muslim names, the way a huge majority of the Indonesians do.[8]

    It is possible to re-envision individualism, self-identity, and even the borders of the self. Some points of departure are available and it is our responsibility to confront the violence of our age by pursuing these possibilities. We also have to remember that the communities that have kept alive these possibilities, despite enormous pressures to change or conform, are a beleaguer ed lot. The forces of globalisation and cultural homogenis ation threaten their lifestyles. Take the case of the Meos. Muslim fundamentalists, Islamic nationalists and many modern Muslims have not been comfortable with Meo religious culture. Many Meos, too, having been victims of religious violence on and off during the last fifty years, now feel that their Islam is flawed. Indeed, Professor K. Suresh Singh, who headed the Indian Anthropolog ical Survey’s study of communities, tells me that the multi-religious communities revealed by his survey are the last remnants of a phenomenon that was once much more widespread in the region. They have ceased to be the norm in India, as in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. The official, enumerative world in which we live has no respect for such traditions. It works with a more Cartesian concept of the individual self.

    I reaffirm that there are possible ways of looking at the person to which the modern world has few clues. These possible ways cannot be explained away as mystificat ions or as romantic invocations of the past. Indeed, it is we who have been living in a make-believe world that ignores other concepts of the boundaries of the self with which a huge proportion, perhaps even a majority of the world, still lives. The new slave trade flourishing in our times, with the full support of a large cross-section of the intellectual community, exports such people from our neighbourhoods to history. We talk about them in the past tense and accuse anyone concerned about them of incurable romanticism.

    Secondly, not only can the self be seen as being in dialogue with others, as most currently fashionable theories of multiculturalism have come to acknowledge, the self can also be seen in the other and the other as telescoped in the self. This is not unheard of in clinical literature. There are studies that explain homicidal hatred towards outgroups as an attempt to exorcise alien parts of the self, the ghosts within. From the beginning, projection and displacement have been important defences in psychological studies of racism and ethnophobia. However, the healthier, more integrative possibilities in the story have not been explored The same defences of projection and displacement can sometimes bond diverse communities within a shared cultural space.[9] As I have already said, the Enlightenment’s tradition of demystification bares the material, the corporeal, the unhealthy and the ‘ugly’. It undervalues forms of second-order demystification that might reveal the sources of creativity and psychological health that underlie manifest ill health.

    Recently, I studied a city in South India, Cochin, where at least fourteen major communities have lived for centuries. It is a small city which was cosmopolitan and international much before the present idea of cosmopolitanism was imported into India in colonial times. The communities range from two Jewish communities, one of which claims to have been in the region for more than two millennia, to Yemeni Arabs, who claim that they were in touch with Cochin even in pre-Islamic times, to the Eurasian Parangis who came into being as a community only in the last four hundred-odd years. These communities live there and have lived there in peace. I studied the city to learn how.[10]

    It took me some time to find out that their co-existence was not dependent on brotherly love. The communities were often ambivalent towards each other; sometimes they positively disliked the other. But while they did so, no person or community considered itself complete without the others. Cochin lives in what I have elsewhere called an epic culture, not a linear, empirical, historical concept of culture and community. In that epic vision of life, you need villains to complete the picture, though these villains are usually fashioned out of the same defensive structures that students of ethnic and religious violence have come to fear.[11] Such a vision has to reaffirm, ritually and regularly, the existing configur ation of the contests between the godly and the ungodly. You simply cannot do without the demons because you cannot even represent the gods without the demons. They are symbiotic al ly related and are an unavoidable part of each other and your self. You do not have to love the demons, but you cannot nurture annihilatory fantasies about them either. It is a bit like the story of the Jewish Robinson Crusoe who, I am told, had to build two synagogues, one to pray in and the other to set up as the one into which he would never step. The second synagogue was important to him. He might have hated it, but his self-definition was not complete without it

    During the last two centuries, in the area of social knowledge and knowledge of self, we have managed to destroy such visions by bringing in a peculiar evolutionary perspective on the relation between space and time. That perspective has drawn upon the various nineteenth-century theories of progress to convert geographies into histories, histories into geographies. At one time, one had the right to dislike other communities because they did not conform to one’s ideas of morality and propriety. However, usually one was forced to yield to the others, even if unwilling ly, the same right to dislike one. It is no longer fashionable to exercise such rights or to own up to such prejudices. The triumphant culture of globalised cosmopolitanism has convinced us that we must pretend, even if we do not believe so, that everyone is the same. Yet, the same cosmo politan ism allows us to classify cultures according to the distance they have traversed on the time-scale of history. So, I may not detest you — as representing a culture, a religion, nationality or ethnic group — but I retain the right to believe that you are what I was yesterday or in the last century. And if you behave well, if you obey the textbooks I have produced on self-improvement — through economic development, technological growth, acquisition of scientific rationality or ‘proper’ political education — you could be like me tomorrow. It is like Albert Schweitzer’s idea of fraternity, as recalled by Chinua Achebe. "The African is my brother," Schweitzer appears to have said, "but a younger brother." Only this idea, which today infects virtually all liberal and radical theories of social change, is apparently an improvement on Immanuel Kant’s or David Hume’s belief in the natural inferiority of the blacks, browns and yellows.

    For in Schweitzer’s view, some cultures are only living out the pasts of others and are, to that extent, obsolete and redundant. A few cynics may claim that this is a way of pre-empting the future of some of the oldest civilisations of the world and annihilating the present of hundreds of humble micro-cultures that keep open our options by acting like cultural gene banks of alternative, dissenting or even fantastic concepts of selfhood. But that is certainly not a popular view in the mainstream global culture of common sense.

    I am optimistic enough to believe that the new century will define the capacity to listen to others as a major human virtue. An earlier generation of psychotherapists spoke of the need to listen with a third ear. Perhaps the next generation, less burdened by the ghosts of yesteryear, will not be embarrassed to speak of the need to listen with a second heart.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Notes:

    This essay draws on the author’s keynote address at the International Congress of the International Association of Group Psychotherapy, Jerusalem, 2000

    1. See a more detailed discussion in Ashis Nandy, ‘The Savage Freud: The First Non-Western Psychoanalyst and the Politics of Secret Selves in Colonial India’, in The Savage Freud and Other Essays in Possible and Retrievable Selves (New Delhi: OUP, 1995).

    2. Friedrich Heer, ‘Freud, the Viennese Jew’, tr W. A. Littlewood, in Jonathan Miller (ed.), Freud, The Man, His World, His Influence (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1972).

    3. Christiane Hartnack, ‘Psychoanalysis and Colonialism in British India’, PhD dissertation, Berlin, Freie Universität, 1988; Ashis Nandy, ‘The Savage Freud’ (see above).

    4. A. K. Ramanujan, ‘The Indian Oedipus’, in T. G. Vaidyanathan and Jeffrey Kripal (eds.), Vishnu on Freud’s Desk: A Reader in Psychoanalysis and Hinduism (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999). See also Gananath Obeysekere, ‘Further Steps in Relativisation: The Indian Oedipus Revisited’, Ibid.

    5. Shiv Visvanathan, ‘Annals of a Laboratory State’, A. Nandy,
    Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity (New Delhi: Oxford University Press and Tokyo: UN University Press).

    6. Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud (New York: Harper, 1968).

    7. K. S. Singh, People of India: An Introduction (New Delhi: Anthropological Survey of India, 1994), Vol. 1.

    8. Shail Mayaram, Resisting Regimes: Myth and Memory in a Muslim Community (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1997).

    9. Shail Mayaram, ‘Living Together: Ajmer as a Paradigm of the Asiatic City’, in Kayoko Tatsumi (ed.), Multiculturalism: Modes of Coexistence in South and Southeast Asia (Washington: SPF, 1998), mimeo. This paper unwittingly and, therefore, unselfconsciously shows the involvement of two of the classical concerns of psychoanalytic anthropology — possession and psychic healing — in an Islamic mosque shared by Muslims and Hindus, and presided over by an unlikely Imam, a woman called Sushila Rohatgi.

    10. See Ashis Nandy, ‘Time Travel to a Possible Self: Searching for the Alternative Cosmopolitanism of Cochin’, The Japanese Journal of Political Science, December 2000, 1(2).

    11. Cf. Vamik D. Volkan, The Need to Have Enemies and Allies (New York: Jason Aronson, 1988).
              Patent Hypocrisy and the Paradox of Indian IP        
    In an earlier email message to the SpicyIP subscribers, I'd linked to an article on Apple vs Samsung and noted as below:

    "For those following the Apple vs Samsung patent wars, this latest move by the US government to veto an ITC decision favouring Samsung once again reflects the well known truth that "national" interest trumps all else. 

    But then unfortunately, national interest is to be read narrowly as only "US" national interest. For when other countries such as India rely on "national interest" considerations to protect the health and well being of their citizens', they are labelled pirates, outliers and what not.

    If there is one consistent take home lesson from the IP and trade wars, it is that of "hypocrisy"!"

    I expanded on this sentiment in a recent edit in the Hindu, which I reproduce below.  I begin by noting that the Novartis patent would have been axed in any other jurisdiction had it been as vigorously contested. I then reflect on the paradox of India IP, where there is as much over protection as there is under-protection. Lastly, I take issue with mainstream media coverage of IP issues, where the patent axes are lauded over and the patent wins ignored. For those interested, here is the full text of the Hindu editorial.

    Patent Lies and Convenient Truths

    Even as the campaign by U.S. drug majors to paint India as a haven for intellectual property pirates intensifies, the government has swung into action to stem the false propaganda. In a potent piece in The Hill’sCongress blog, India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao argued that India is not on a kamikaze mission to kill all patents. Rather, it has only invalidated those undeserving of protection under India’s stringent statutory standards. And it did so through transparent judicial processes and not through executive fiat as did the U.S. recently, when it overturned a patent ruling from a specialised trade court, the International Trade Commission (ITC), to favour home-grown Apple at the cost of foreign Samsung.

    It is difficult to take issue with Ms Rao’s piece, not least because she makes fair and reasonable points; but then again, the qualifier is “reasonable.” In pertinent part, she notes: “The Indian Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment in April, turned down a request by the pharmaceutical company Novartis to retain the patent on a cancer drug because it judged the drug to be an extension of existing medications, not a groundbreaking advancement. In other words, the court reinforced the premium that should rightly be placed on truly valid patents, strengthening, not weakening, their sanctity.”

    Problem in perception

    I have previously argued that Novartis’ Glivec patent would have got the axe in any other jurisdiction, had it been contested as vigorously. In fact, a U.S. court invalidated a Pfizer patent covering a blood pressure medication (Norvasc) on grounds very similar to the Novartis decision, i.e. mere physical advantages cited for the salt form such as increased stability and solubility were not good enough to merit patent protection.

    The problem perhaps is one of perception. Our mainstream media continues to paint a rather harrowing picture of India’s patent ethos, lauding over patent axes and ignoring patent wins. Illustratively, when two of Glaxo’s patents covering a breast cancer drug (Tykerb) were challenged before India’s specialised IP tribunal, IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board), the main patent covering the basic compound was upheld and the secondary patent covering the salt invalidated. While our media hailed the death of the secondary salt patent, they all but ignored the more important primary patent that had been upheld. This creates a rather one-sided perception.

    Overprotection

    No doubt, India’s IP tribunal has liquidated more patents than its counterparts in other parts of the world, but a dispassionate look at the overall patent numbers will indicate that the situation is not as grim as it is made out to be. Between 2005 and 2011, more than 4,000 patents for pharmaceutical inventions were issued by the Patent Office. Of these, more than 85 per cent were awarded to multinational drug companies. A study done by me in 2009 showed that of all the pharmaceutical patent applications filed, only 0.3 per cent had been challenged. While this percentage may have increased in the last couple of years, I would wager that it has not crossed two per cent!

    In fact, if one were to dig deep, one realises that India is as guilty of overprotection as it is of under-protection. I was at a government meeting recently when a representative from a well known copyright collecting society proudly proclaimed that music copyright enforcement had never been better. Courts were issuing extraordinary orders to prevent copyright infringement including orders to block entire websites; orders never known to have been issued anywhere else in the world. What a telling paradox! The so-called developed world looks upon us as an IP deficit nation, little realising that we’re equally guilty of “IP excess.” The sheer number of ex parte restraining orders doled out in patent cases is also testament to this paradox; orders unheard of in any other country and passed without so much as hearing the defendant.

    These ex parte orders are severely problematic and one hopes that the Supreme Court puts an end to it. For one, in patent infringement cases, the validity of the patent is almost always challenged. This being so, courts simply cannot afford to issue injunctions without hearing the other side. More egregiously, once issued, it is often difficult and time consuming to reverse such injunctions, and defendants are forced to settle at gunpoint.

    As Shashi Tharoor rightly noted in a recent address at IIM Kolkata, everything said about India can be equally true and false. And that is the paradox of this plural nation: there is as much over-protection in intellectual property as there is under-protection!

    Speaking of India’s contentious compulsory licensing order in Natco v. Bayer, where after a severely contested quasi-judicial proceeding, the Patent Office issued a licence for a life-saving cancer drug on the grounds of its exorbitant price, Ambassador Rao goes on to note: “Compulsory licensing has been an integral part of the patent regime of many countries for years. Fifteen countries, both developed and developing countries alike, have issued more than 35 compulsory licences.”

    Protectionism

    What she forgot to mention is that the United States routinely issues such licences, albeit through their courts which refuse to grant patent injunctions on grounds of public interest. In fact, more than a decade ago, the U.S. Secretary of Health threatened to issue a licence against German major Bayer when faced with the Anthrax crisis, forcing it to drop its drug prices. When the U.S. admonishes India on this count asking it to refrain from destroying global innovation imperatives, it strikes one as a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black!

    All of which leaves one wondering: why do we continue to reason with a government that has become so adept at playing the Janusian game; resorting to protectionist and public interest measures on its own soil, but lambasting others in the name of free trade and haloed IP rights, when they do so. If there is one consistent theme in the global intellectual property and trade wars, it is that of “hypocrisy”!

              Rail is the future of Africa’s industrialisation        
    Rail infrastructure upgrades remain a core focus of the ongoing industrialisation of Africa, where the transportation of goods and commodities is often difficult and costly, owing to underinvestment in rail infrastructure, says multinational power and engine manufacturer and distributor Cummins.
              Global Day of Action Against Roche’s Inhumanity #RocheGreedKills        
      ACTIVISTS AROUND THE WORLD MARCH #ForTobeka  – Demonstrations held at Roche & pharma associations in South Africa, Malaysia, UK, France, Zambia, Brazil, US – 108 organisations endorse a letter to Roche                               Tuesday, 7th February 2017 – Swiss multinational company Roche […]
              re: Gamescom Announces Show Winners, PlayStation 4 Beats Out Xbox One        
    I still don't think there will be such a difference in the hardware that adopters of either console will be missing much, aside from exclusives.

    Huge, faceless, multinational corporations don't care about you. Pick the console(s), play the games, have fun, let it be.

              Eu Premier        


    Avand in vedere faptul ca oricat as dori sa nu mai vad si sa nu ma mai afecteze ce se intampla pe scena noastra politica, nu reusesc totusi sa nu fiu impresionat de nivelul de nesimtire pe care-l poseda majoritatea personajelor respective, iar daca stau sa mi-i amintesc bine pe toti de-a lungul vremii, aceasta "calitate" este posedata cu precadere de catre politicicienii aflati la putere. Asa ca, imi creez in minte niste scenarii fantastice, cum ar fi sa fiu pentru o luna Presedinte, Guvern si Parlament, toate la un loc si incerc sa ma gandesc ce as face mai intai, ce masuri as lua pentru a indrepta tarisoara asta catre bine, in sfarsit. Sa incepem:

    1. MODIFIC CONSTITUTIA
    - prin referendum romanii vor decide daca vor o republica parlamentara (parlamentul numeste si revoca premierul in functie de majoritatea formata, caz in care presedintele nu mai poate avea platforma program in campaniile electorale) sau prezidentiala (presedintele isi alege premierul si il revoca in functie de cum respecta angajamentele electorale ale acestuia)
    - orice presedinte, partid de guvernamant sau coalitie care nu si-a indeplinit platformele program din campanii, pe baza carora au castigat alegerile, nu va mai avea dreptul sa participe la urmatoarele doua runde de alegeri (adica vor fi pedepsite pentru ca au mintit in campaniile electorale, platforma program devenind astfel un contract cu electoratul)

    2. RESTRUCTUREZ INSTITUTIILE STATULUI dupa cum urmeaza: (L = nr. de locuitori al zonei arondate)
    - cele 42 de consilii judetene vor fi transformate in 4 consilii zonale cu rol de guvernare a zonei arondate (CZ=L*0.01%)
    - primariile nu vor avea dreptul sa aiba mai multi angajati de 0.1% din populatia aservita, dar nu mai putin de 10 persoane, serviciile de cadastru si autorizare de constructii vor fi externalizate
    - sanatate - 4 spitale municipale complet utilate cu maxim 1000 de angajati, 42 de spitale judetene complet utilate cu maxim 600 de angajati + 126 dispensare orasenesti utilate mediu cu cate 80 de angajati + 126 dispensare comunale neutilate, cu rol strict de diagnosticare cu pana la 30 de angajati + colegiul medicilor si ministerul cu maxim 1500 de angajati, deci un total de aproximativ 45.000
    - invatamant - aceeasi schema, maxim 35.000 de angajati cu mentiunea ca primariile comunale si satesti vor avea obligatia sa achizitioneze microbuze pentru transportul zilnic al elevilor catre campusurile de invatamant, iar norma intreaga a profesorilor va fi crescuta la 32ore/saptamana.
    - politie + ordine publica + pompieri - acest aparat va fi dimensionat dupa formula POPP=L*0.2% ceea ce ar duce la un total de 46.000 de angajati cu structura centrala de conducere
    - aparare + servicii secrete - L*0.15%, adica maxim 35.000 de angajati cu tot cu ministerul, daca o forta de mentinere a pacii in Afganistan sau Iraq contine 13-15.000 de militari profesionisti, cred ca ne descurcam si noi cu dublu si ceva, mai ales ca facem parte din NATO care in caz de atac se implica si dansii intr-un fel in apararea noastra
    - justitie - 42 tribunale judetene cu 500 de angajati + 3 tribunale municipale cu 700 de angajati, adica maxim 24.000 de angajati cu tot cu structura de conducere.
    - cultura - C=L*0.1% ceea ce inseamna inca 22.500 de angajati
    Toate sistemele de incasare a platilor vor fi transformate in sisteme online, iar cele de relatii cu clientii la ghiseu vor fi transformate in dispecerate de relatii cu clientii cu obligatia de a inregistra si rezolva plangerile in termene bine stabilite. Restul angajatilor statului de la regiile autonome, furnizorii de energie, CFR, CEC, etc., vor fi trecuti in privat deoarece acestor institutii li se va privatiza managementul. Biserica de asemenea va avea statut de organizatie non profit, si se va autoadministra. La cei 230.000 de angajati de mai sus, mai adaug 10.000 ce vor reprezenta toata administratia centrala a tarii, adica Guvernul, Parlamentul si Presidintia. Acesta va fi numarul de bugetari maxim admis.
    CU CE AM PUS DEOPARTE DE LA 1.300.000 DE ANGAJATI PANA LA CEI 240.000 AS MARI SALARIUL MINIM PE ECONOMIE LA 2.500RON NET.

    3. ETICA IN PROCESUL DE GUVERNARE SI LEGIUIRE
    - desfintarea procedurii asumarii raspunderii, guvernul este puterea executiva, adica are obligatia sa puna in aplicare ce spune legea, nu sa faca el pe legiuitorul
    - firmelor private la care parlamentarii si membrii guvernului sunt actionari sau administratori, precum si firmele rudelor lor de gradul I si II, le va fi inetrzis sa participe la licitatiile publice, acestea vor fi banate la inceputul fiecarei legislaturi.
    - legea salarizarii unice va avea un raport minim - maxim de 1 la 4, in acest fel demnitarii vor fi fortati sa creasca nivelul de trai al populatiei pentru ca ei insisi sa ajunga la salariile pe care le vor
    - imunitatea parlamentara se va rezuma doar la lipsa arestarilor preventive, urmarirea penala impotriva oricarui demnitar va putea incepe fara acordul celorlalti parlamentari

    4. MASURI ECONOMICE
    - desfiintarea oricarui tip de impozit forfetar, statul nu-i o prostituata care sa incaseze banii in avans
    - toata baza de impozitare, inclusiv TVA-ul se va muta la impozitarea progresiva a veniturilor, in acest fel se vor elimina o gramada de intermediari care nu fac altceva decat sa plimbe marfuri dintr-un loc in altul
    - CAS-ul va fi taxa fixa impartita in mod egal la numarul total al salariatilor si egal cu bugetul necesar sanatatii, nu se justifica impozitarea procentuala atata timp cat serviciile oferita sunt aceleasi pentru toata lumea
    - legalizarea prostitutiei, chiar daca biserica se opune, poate face oricand ceva pentru acele fiinte amarate, pentru a le directiona catre ce-i bine in viata, cu cat va reusi mai bine, cu atat vor fi mai putine, iar daca ar reusi perfect, ar disparea meseria din nomenclator
    - neplata furnizorilor si salariatilor de catre operatorii economici se va transforma in infractiune penala a tuturor actionarilor, va fi pedepsita cu inchisoarea, iar condamnatul nu va mai putea avea calitatea de actionar sau administrator al unei companii pentru 5 ani de la terminarea executarii pedepsei
    - infiintarea CNR (Compania Nationala de Retail) reprezentand o retea nationala de supermarket-uri cu benzinarie, creata cu scopul clar de a concura si contracara practicile neloiale ale lanturilor multinationale de Hipermarket-uri si benzinarii (1.500-2.000 de angajati la nivel national)
    - infiintarea OJR (Ordinul Juristilor Romani) compus din 42 de juristi doctoranzi alesi prin vot catatenesc, ce va avea rolul de a inlocui Curtea Constitutionala pe de o parte, iar pe de alta sa repare toate legile interpretabile sau contradictorii aflate in vigoare.

    Cam asta este. Daca intre timp imi mai vin idei sau daca primesc de la voi sugestii utile, nu voi ezita sa le adaug, desi n-o sa traiesc sa vad asa ceva in realitate, cel putin nu in tara asta...

              Comentario en Chiapas/Nacional/Internacional: Múltiples expresiones de solidaridad con las BAEZLN y Acción Global Internacional por Paramilitaries Are Still Murdering Zapatistas in Mexico | dorset chiapas solidarity        
    […] The International Service for Peace has denounced the attacks as part of a larger counterinsurgency strategy in Chiapas. Marina Pages, the organization’s coordinator in Mexico, spoke to VICE News about what is at stake in this economically impoverished but resource-rich southern state. Chiapas contains between 50 and 80 percent of Mexico’s biodiversity, water reserves, and mineral resources, which have drawn the gaze of various multinational corporations. “These kind of attacks don’t just focus on evicting Zapatistas from their land but more importantly on diminishing their political power in a region where they have had a strong presence since 1994,” Pages said. […]
              Can Open Service Sector FDI Policy Enhance Manufacturing Productivity? Evidence from Indonesia         
    Drawing on the findings of recent research, this note examines the extent to which changes to policy restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Indonesian service sector affected the performance of downstream manufacturers during 1997-2009. The analysis uncovers two important findings: first, that relaxing restrictions toward FDI in service sectors was associated with improvements in the perceived performance of those sectors, and second, more importantly, that this relaxation accounted for 8 percent of the total observed increase in manufacturers' total factor productivity (TFP) during this period. The results show that these TFP gains accrue disproportionately to those firms that are relatively more productive and that gains are related to the relaxation of restrictions in the transport as well as the electricity, gas, and water sectors. TFP gains are associated, in particular, with the relaxation of foreign equity limits, screening and prior approval requirements, but less so with discriminatory regulations that prevent multinationals from hiring key personnel from abroad.
              TLV <-> SFO DELAYED        


    By default Google Maps still shows us the way to get from Tel Aviv to Istanbul is to drive through neighboring Syria and Iraq. Algorithms are ignorant of the grim geopolitical reality that restricts our travel options from Israel. But the peculiar case of the permanently delayed flight from TLV to SFO is neither the result of a computer glitch nor an aeronautical limitation, but an invisible man-made barrier erected by neglect and maintained by ignorance. It undermines Israeli high tech and is a national embarrassment for a country that is the clear number two to Silicon Valley in high tech innovation.

    We Israelis seem to have accepted the current situation as yet another imposition we can live with. After all, a simple query on Kayak demonstrates that there are many other ways of flying to SFO via NY, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Toronto, Dubai etc. But this just proves the point that TLV’s situation is an outrageous anomaly for an otherwise very connected country. Other major cities wait patiently for their own high tech economies to take off, while their national airlines are already prepared with daily flights in and out of SFO.

    Not so in Israel, where our strong ties to the Valley thrive despite the lack of direct flight options. Migrant Israeli travelers we are forced to choose between connection anxiety and layovers long enough to gain permanent residency; between sleepless “redeyes” and abandoning meetings midway to catch the only flight back in time to catch the connection to TLV. As a result, many Israelis spend as much time traveling as they do visiting their Silicon Valley destination, making relocation a common remedy.

    But this still just sounds like a minor inconvenience for the privileged few and therefore yet another grievance from an ungrateful citizen of a country with many other economic priorities. While there are more pressing issues, not so in the high tech sector of which the country is so proud. The TLV to SFO delay hurts Israeli high tech in more ways than we think.

    If we want Silicon Valley to come to Israel, we should pave the path. Israel literally pays foreigner multinationals and investors to set up shop in Israel through tax incentives and grants, and for good reason as foreign direct investment is a boon to the economy. But we underestimate the shock Silicon Valley executives get when their secretaries inform them they will have to fly via Heathrow or Newark, and that they can’t use Emirates. They are impressed when it dawns on them that those Israelis have been doing the same trek month after month for years, but then reality sets in. Why would a Silicon Valley CEO want to establish an Israeli subsidiary when there are no direct flights? Which of their execs can free up the time to fly out there regularly? They have to want it really badly, which puts Israel high tech at a permanent disadvantage when other options are available.

    Conversely, the indirect flight paths have a direct affect the willingness of Israelis entrepreneurs to move to the Valley versus the East Coast. Israeli startups do themselves a disserve not starting their US office in the Valley as it keeps them away from the center of high tech activity with all its repercussions. While some Israeli entrepreneurs choose NY or Boston over the Valley because of a sector specialty, the extra travel distance is the determining factor for everyone else still choosing the frigid East Coast over sunny Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs simply can’t stomach the idea of flying back and forth between their Israeli and Silicon Valley offices. Ironically, successful Israeli companies headquartered in NY and Boston have had a major part in keeping those regions still relevant in an age when everything else in high tech has consolidated in the Valley. And to avoid any confusion, while NY is still the finance capital of the world, most tech analysts and bankers covering everything from Internet to semiconductors moved to Silicon Valley over a decade ago.

    If there was ever a capitalist justification for government intervention in the private market, the establishment of a line linking Israel to the center of the high tech world would be it. Although it probably wouldn’t need to, the government could even subsidize a TLV SFO line to get it off the ground. I know it’s complicated with airport landing rights, game theory between competing carriers and keeping all lines profitable, but the government props up countless unviable high tech companies via the Chief Scientist. And surely we can find more than a few precedents for the Ministry of Transportation subsidizing strategically important, yet unprofitable roads, tunnels and bridges. TLV <-> SFO is a national economic priority with a fairly immediate ROI. 

    As I write this missive conveniently during my layover in Heathrow Terminal 5, I am reminded of the fact that overwhelming economic considerations eventually helped China overcome the politically unthinkable and establish a direct flight linking Shanghai and Taipei despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties. The economics are on our side and the politics are non-existent, so it may just be a matter of time. But I hope it happens soon because eventually one of those European capital cities with direct flights to SFO will realize the advantage they offer Silicon Valley companies and steal the attention.

    Coincidentally, my colleague, Amit Karp, published a great post on the importance of being local, which you can read here. Also, please sign the Petition if you haven't already. http://sfotlv.org/


              "Tech Crutch": The Challenge of Moving Beyond Technology in Israeli High Tech        

    This is a post that has been in draft for almost a year based on hundreds of interactions I have had with start-ups and high tech execs in Israel and abroad. The issues are broad and provocative, and because a blog post risks being an oversimplification, I welcome my readers’ comments and critique. (see Hebrew version in TheMarker.com)

    If there ever is to be a sequel to the book Start-up Nation, Israeli high tech must become as serious about product design, customer experience, and business models as it currently is about technology and R&amp;D. Over the last decade, Israel has mastered an entrepreneurial/venture model, which involves sourcing entrepreneurs from military technology units, creating cutting edge technology products and ultimately selling a company, its IP and personnel to one of many foreign multinationals that have come to appreciate the Israeli brain trust. While this model of start-up creation has served us reliably, it is vulnerable to macroeconomic headwinds and is increasingly unsustainable in the face of technology commoditization that is rapidly approaching our shores in the form of competition from China, Korea and Taiwan. As it turns out, our over reliance on technology creates an endless demand for more technology talent, which prevents us from nurturing vital competencies in product, design and business. The resulting ‘tech crutch’ is a self-perpetuating cycle that threatens the future of Israeli high tech.

    CLIMBING TO THE TOP OF THE HIGH TECH PYRAMID

    This challenge of moving beyond technology is more important than ever if Israel is to enjoy its rightful share of the high tech economic pie. The underlying reason for this is that Israel is stuck pursuing a goal of technology creation rather than technology application, and this mindset affects entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and government policy makers alike. As a result, we generally prefer to enable others to build amazing products, rather than to use the technology to build the products ourselves. We hesitate to touch the end customer and resign ourselves to being technology merchants, promiscuous with our technology smarts but timid with our business creativity. This is a problem, because increasingly the fattest margins and steepest barriers to entry belong to those who know how to apply technology to build a better business.

    We too often overlook the fact that users of technology often enjoy a disproportionate share of value relative to the technology creators. This is because technology increases efficiency and reduces production and distribution costs, thereby enabling new business models to emerge, thrive and engage directly with their customers (think Netflix, Salesforce.com, Amazon and eBay, none of which were initially based on technological innovation). As the pace of technology commoditization hastens, the value of high tech is shifting even more to those companies that can apply technology to create or upend a huge market opportunity. These companies find a way to be as close as possible to their end customer, to maximize exposure and to extract the maximum economic value. This is a key reason so many venture investors favor companies that can leverage the Internet to reach consumers and businesses alike.
    High tech in 2011 is about innovation, but not necessarily technology innovation. Unfortunately, too many Israeli companies seek shelter with their technical differentiation, and assume that distributors, OEMs and acquirers will recognize their unique offering and spare them the daunting task of building a business on their own. Of course, there are a handful of success stories where high tech companies have struck gold licensing their technology, winning the lottery OEM or signing lucrative and scalable revenue sharing deals, but these lucky few cannot be role models for the rest of us. And even though there will continue to be amazing technology companies emerging out of Israel, this is too small a base for an entire industry to rely on.

    To reach the top of the pyramid Israel must now embrace product, marketing and business innovation, just like it has technology innovation. Such a shift does not require abandoning its technical roots, but rather using this technology strength to create higher order products, and mustering the talent and courage to bring them as close to the customer as possible. In some cases, the business innovation may even require providing technology products for free. The key is that while Israeli start-ups can still use technology as a differentiator and competitive advantage, long term shareholder value and competitive barriers-to-entry will ultimately be built on brand, loyal customers, and a profitable model. The shift in mindset starts with how we found, fund and grow start-ups. Israeli start-ups must identify a real business pain and solve it with a great product offering, rather than solving a technology pain with technology solutions. Our distance from many of these business pains makes developing deep industry understanding a challenge, but this distance also enables objective observation and analysis, which can itself fuel innovation.

    STRENGTHENING OUR WEAKNESSES, NOT ACCEPTING THEM

    We all recognize that Israel has both strengths and weaknesses in high tech, but for too long we have allowed ourselves, collectively and individually, to invest solely in our strengths, accepting our weaknesses as destined. High tech is a competitive sport, and just like athletes invest more energy in improving their weaknesses to remain competitive, so Israel must devote more attention to its weaknesses in product, design, marketing and business. The success stories that will come out of Israel over the next decade will be those companies that defy conventional wisdom about what can be done in Israel. Countries with great natural resources like oil need to develop capabilities in refining and distribution to reach their true potential as an energy powerhouse. It is no different with a natural resource like technology talent. Israel must avoid becoming an “oil state” in which only a small percentage of the population can participate, and where there is dependence on selling the natural resource to others who know how to extract value.


    To address these challenges, we must stop thinking about our high tech industry strictly in terms of engineers and programmers. By emphasizing only the R&D side of high tech, we have in effect erected walls around the country’s only growth engine, which in turns only exacerbates the technical talent shortage we hear so much about. With the current model Israel may always face a shortage in technical talent, but it will face far more acute shortages in marketing, product and design talent. Therefore, we must encourage our engineers to explore and develop their latent creative and business skills. These multi-talented people are rare, but they certainly exist. We must also find ways to make high tech more inclusive and inviting for the less technically inclined and for those who didn’t have the privilege of serving in an army technology unit. In short, Israel’s natural resource is human talent, not just technical talent.

    On a start-up level, my recommendation to entrepreneurs is the following:



    1) Incorporate strong marketing, product and design skill sets at inception, including in the founding team. This cannot be an afterthought post development, and it really shouldn’t be outsourced either.

    2) Innovate on the business/product side as well as on the technology side. Recognize that you are building a business, not a product and certainly not a technology, and practice pitching this business idea with minimal mention of technology. Technology innovation is great, but it can create tunnel vision for the creator, and confusion for the employees and shareholders.

    3) Determine whether you could be going a step further in your product or business plan to ensure that you are getting the maximum value out of your innovation. Can you build a product based on this technology.? Can you build a service based on this product? Can you go directly to the customer using the web?

    On a national level I have a few ideas for how to promote this change in thinking:

    1) Bring high tech business into Israel’s academic system, not by offering internships for developers, but by exposing students to the non-technical side of high tech, whether it is business in China (Eastern Studies), online marketing (psychology), user interface and experience (industrial design), successful business models (economics), etc. Conversely, Israeli universities need to create more multi-disciplinary tracks that combine computer science and design, or engineering and economics/business.

    2) Find ways and incentives to integrate the super creative talent in the Israeli advertising and media industry (which is already an export industry for Israel).

    3) Expand the narrow mandate of the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) beyond simply creating R&D jobs, to include strengthening Israel’s non-tech weaknesses. The CSO should provide tax incentives for multinationals, which establish marketing, customer support and other non-technical functions in Israel. Most importantly, the CSO should provide grants to start-ups for the launch of their product or service, not its development.

     Israeli high tech is in a transition, not a crisis. The proof is that many start-ups have already made this mental leap and are attempting to reframe Israeli high tech as masters of business and marketing, not only patents and architecture. Israeli high tech will be stronger in years to come as we hone the creative and business talents that so many in this country possess. But, too often, we leave money on the table. Not because we sell companies too early, but because in many instances we don’t take or are unable to take the extra step to seize the larger business opportunity. There is a lot of work to do, but it all starts with recognizing that high tech is not just about tech, and that our technology strength must not become a crutch.

              Saisir le "Moment Multilatéral"        
    La nouvelle politique étrangère américaine, sous l’impulsion de son nouveau président, Barack Obama, s’affirme beaucoup plus multilatérale. Lors de son voyage en Asie, la secrétaire d’état américaine, Hillary Clinton, a ainsi réaffirmé sa préférence pour une approche multilatérale, surtout pour faire face à des défis globaux comme le changement climatique et la crise économique.

    Il est donc fort tentant de voir dans cette nouvelle administration la fin de l’unilatéralisme américain. Après tout, le « moment unipolaire » dont parlait Charles Krauthammer en 1990, au sortir de la Guerre Froide, n’est-il pas bel et bien fini ? Le monde d’aujourd’hui n’est-il pas multipolaire, avec l’émergence des BRIC (Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine), mais aussi l’affirmation de l’Union Européenne comme acteur global, et la montée en puissance d’acteurs non-étatiques (telles que les multinationales, mais aussi al-Qaïda) ?

    Certes, les Etats-Unis ne peuvent plus jouer seul sur le grand échiquier mondial. Mais ils ont toujours un très net avantage sur les autres puissances, que ce soit en terme de ‘hard power’ (puissance militaire) ou de ‘soft power’ (puissance culturelle et économique), même si cet avantage relatif tend à diminuer lentement. Les Etats-Unis se sont d’ailleurs déjà adaptés en développant leur ‘smart power’ (c’est-à-dire un mélange de hard et de soft power).

    Ce changement de structure globale ne signifie cependant pas pour autant un glissement automatique de l’unilatéralisme (qui n’est par ailleurs pas inhérent à l’unipolarité) vers le multilatéralisme. On l’a vu sous l’ère de George W. Bush. Il faut donc une véritable volonté politique pour vaincre la tentation unilatérale et se tourner vers le multilatéralisme. C’est ce qu’Obama semble vouloir faire.

    Nous entrons aujourd’hui dans un « moment multilatéral ». Le terme « moment » est ici important car il est possible que ce multilatéralisme ne dure pas. Soit parce que le prochain Président américain peut revenir à l’unilatéralisme, soit parce qu’Obama lui-même peut encore parfois se laisser tenter par l’unilatéralisme, notamment lorsqu’il a proposé un plan de relance « buy American » (achetez américain) très protectionniste. En outre, il est possible que la crise économique mondiale repositionne les pions sur l’échiquier global et que les équilibres géostratégiques en sortent bouleversés.

    Il est donc important que l’Union Européenne saisisse ce « moment multilatéral », non seulement pour avancer son propre agenda multilatéral, mais aussi pour renforcer les Etats-Unis dans cette approche et façonner ensemble un système de gouvernance mondiale efficace, à notre image, et adapté à la nouvelle structure globale et aux nouveaux défis. L’aiguille du temps trotte. Le moment multilatéral ne sera pas éternel. L’UE pourrait commencer par rassurer son allié outre-atlantique lors du sommet de l’OTAN…

    Cet article est crossposté sur le site Alliance Géostratégique.
              An Interesting Juxtaposition        
    Two news items crossed paths this morning, creating some excited synapse-jumping in my brain. First this:
    BAGHDAD (NYT) — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

    Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.
    This de-nationalization of oil is, unquestionably, great news for the people of Iraq and more evidence that we are winning the war and -- remember this idea? -- building democracy in the place of totalitarianism in the Middle East. Oil production will be freed of bureaucratic incompetency and corruption, capitalism will reign, and the democratic Iraqi government will begin reaping financial benefits it can use to defend itself, rebuilt infrastructure, care for refugees, etc.

    The left doesn't see it that way, of course.

    The NYT, forgetting for the moment that it was American blood that freed Iraq, wonders why Chinese and Russian bids were shunted aside and whispers conspiratorially that American advisors are at work in the Iraqi oil ministry.

    The Soros-funded Think Progress isn't letting any editorial feelings slip with this illustration on its coverage of the story, eh?

    Matthew Yglesias lays it out for the lefties:
    I think the evidence is clear that the Bush administration went to war in Iraq because it's run by crazy people. The oil money more plausibly comes into play in explaining the desire to stay at war forever.
    Hmm. Last time I checked, American multinationals prefer working in peaceful countries. Then Yglesias cues up the next story that caught my attention with this:
    Nationalization, you see, is a substantial risk of doing business -- especially natural resource business -- in unstable countries. But a given government is much, much, much less likely to nationalize western countries' assets if it's dependent on external U.S. military support and especially if its security services are nicely enmeshed with the U.S. military.
    Meanwhile, back in the U.S., a country whose security is also nicely enmeshed with the U.S. military, there's this:

    Link: sevenload.com

    The clip, courtesy of Hot Air, shows NY Rep Maurice Hinchey calling for the nationalization of oil refineries; he was one of several Dems who yesterday spouted similar socialistic rhetoric. (I understand the DNC is considering a name change to DPP, Democratic Peoples Party.)

    Watch the clip because Hinchey comes and goes quickly, followed by an interview between Neil Cavuto and an Obama supporter Malia Lazu that will blow your mind. Lazu says it was a mistake for the U.S. to allow oil to be a free market industry in the first place, and that this grievous mistake -- evidenced, I suppose, by the horrible state of our oil infrastructure and government's continuing inability to allow an increase supply or new refineries -- and that "we won't find out" that oil will just get more expensive under government ownership because "when Congress can set prices it can set prices."

    Her excuse for destroying a system that's served us well for over 100 years despite all of government's efforts to screw it up: "It's our oil." Follow that line of this Obamaniac's thinking -- which ignores royalties BTW -- and it's our forests, it's our lakes, it's our coal, it's our clay in the bricks you built that factory with, Capitalist Pig.

    Fortunately, we are already a democracy, so Hinchey and his fellow travelers can vomit out Communist party talking points with no real effect on the rest of us. And in Iraq, another step has been made down the road that will allow the Mohammed el-Hincheys to be just as ridiculous, just as threatening to our stability, with no real effect on their government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    For the Week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Currency Watch:

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

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

    Commodities Watch:

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

    Trump Administration Watch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    China Bubble Watch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Europe Watch:

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

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

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

    Central Bank Watch:

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

    Global Bubble Watch:

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

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

    Fixed Income Bubble Watch:

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

    Federal Reserve Watch:

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

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

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

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

    U.S. Bubble Watch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    EM Bubble Watch:

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

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

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

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

    Leveraged Speculation Watch:

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

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

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

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

    Geopolitical Watch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [Bloomberg] U.S. Stocks Limp to the Finish of a Healthy July: Markets Wrap

    [Bloomberg] Chicago Pension Bills Soar as City Pays Up to Keep Funds Solvent

    [CNBC] History says there's a 99% chance stock market returns will be subpar from here

    [Bloomberg] Potential U.S. Oil Sanctions Boost Risk of Venezuela Default

    [Bloomberg] Greenspan Sees Return of Stagflation Unseen Since 1970s

    [FT] Trump tax reform plan heads into quagmire

    [FT] Multinationals in China brace for online crackdown

    [WSJ] Pentagon Offers Plan to Arm Ukraine
              Austin’s Phunware Raises $22M for App Development Platform        
    Austin—Phunware, which makes mobile apps for multinational corporations, announced Wednesday that it has raised $22 million. The funding brings the company $10 million shy of its goal of $50 million for its Series F round. The investment was led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the government of Malaysia; Wavemaker Partners; and […]
               The problematic of multinational and multicultural societies         
    UNSPECIFIED. (1997) The problematic of multinational and multicultural societies. ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES, 20 (3). pp. 455-473. ISSN 0141-9870
               The transaction cost theory of the (multinational) firm : a note         
    Love, James H.. (1997) The transaction cost theory of the (multinational) firm : a note. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics JITE, Volume 153 (Number 4). pp. 674-681. ISSN 0932-4569
              Pink Martini        
    44815 thumb Tue, Oct 17 07:00 PM until 10:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
    Rollicking “little orchestra” serves up multinational, multi-genre music, with a flair.
    Location: Hopkins Center 123 Spaulding Auditorium

              Peace Revolution episode 082: The British Elephant in the American Living Room        
    itunes pic

     

    Peace Revolution episode 082: The British Elephant in the American Living Room / The Empire Always Listens, and Never Forgets

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    Reference Map to Episode 082

    (0m-1m) Secret Recordings of Donald Rumsfeld suggesting another False Flag attack

    (1m-3m) 9-11 Plot Revealed in 1996 sample from “Long Kiss Goodnight” film; see also: Emad Salem & Dan Rather’s 1993 WTC bombing report involving the FBI’s role in the bombing.

    (3m-3:30m) My Country Tis of Thee meets God Save the Queen (same tune, different words)

    (3:30m-6:30m) East India Company Timeline / History of Britain: Private Armies and Opium Profits

    (6:30m-8m) How East India Company works from the film “The Rising” (1857 Indian Uprising against the British Empire / EIC “free market” )

    (8m-9:30m) Opium Fields guarded by U.S. Troops in Afghanistan / Geraldo Rivera

    (9:30m-12m) Empire: Opium Trade / Empire Episode 4 BBC (EIC Opium Wars in China)

    (12m-15m) Empire: Making a Fortune (Jardine Matheson’s industrial quantities of opium trafficking, huge influx of wealth into the British Empire, Chinese Emperor dumps 1,000 tons of EIC opium into the sea, free trade & opium wars)

    (15m-22m) Thom Hartmann / The True Story of the Boston Tea Party (“Beware of the East India Company”, 1773 “Tea Act” giving EIC tax break/refund, Americans dumped tons of EIC opium into the sea. Same gangster tactics of dropping prices and flooding the market of monopoly creation, as used in the monopoly of the opium market, similar to the CIA / “Freeway Rick” Ross network in the 80’s-90’s.)

    (22m-26m) 1932 A True History of the United States (LaRouche): Aaron Burr, Lord Shelburne, and Lord Palmerston fuel EIC’s British Conquest to Re-Conquer America (ongoing), Adam Smith’s ideas on funding tyranny via black markets and monopoly… see also: GCHQ

    (26m-27m) Aghan Opium Record & GCHQ / New World Next Week with James Corbett and James Evan Pilato

    (27m-30m) A True History of the CIA and Cocaine by James Corbett with Kris Millegan

    (30m-33m) Peruvian Cocaine by Immortal Technique

    (33m-34m) Empire: Making a Fortune / Hong Kong and the East India Company, HSBC opium and EIC slave trading

    (34m-39m) Lyndon LaRouche Theatre from Saturday Night Live April 19, 1986 see also this link.

    (39m-40m) God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols

    (40m-41m) The Real Story: James Bond (Smithsonian Channel) / The “ultimate male fantasy”, is in actuality a psychological warfare media operation to change the attitudes, beliefs, values, and activities of Americans, introducing the British mentality of “torture porn” and subversion of trust on all levels. See also: Ian Fleming and British Security Coordination

    (41m-45m) The Palmerston Zoo (sample) on Jeremy Bentham, of the East India Company; the Panopticon is GCHQ/NSA surveillance network. “Radical Writers Shop” is a psychological warfare operation, similar to the “Baker Street Irregulars” (James Bond series), and similar to the H.G. Wells and Aldous Huxley’s roles in political warfare through popular dystopian futuristic media.

    (45m-50m) Jennet Conant: The Irregulars (Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming) The granddaughter of James Bryant Conant describes the British infiltration of American Intelligence to propagandize America to support the “Allies” in WWII. See also: British Security Coordination and the history of the James Bond Film Franchise (staffed by ex-BSC Irregulars)

    (50m-1h) Lord Justice Fulford Pedophile Group in Britain attempts to lower age of consent to 4 years old. New World Next Week with James Corbett and James Evan Pilato / Vatican Corruption and drug smuggling, and how the Sinaloa Cartel uses HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation), NYSE’s Grasso meets with druglords

    (1h-1h03m) NSA spying and Gun Control/People Control/Slavery from Infowars Nightly News (03-27-2014)

    (1h03m-1h04m) Dan Bidondi questions R.I. congressman on the 2nd Amendment and gets “Go Fuck Yourself” in response (twice)

    (1h04m-1h05m) Wire Transfer NSA paid 150 million to GCHQ

    (1h05-1h25m) Senator Rand Paul speaks at Berkeley Forum: GCHQ and NSA spying / Who’s in Control of Your Rights?

    (1h25m-1h50m) Richard’s Introductory Monologue (notes below)

    To Purchase the HISTORY BLUEPRINT (Richard’s Brain Model):

     https://www.tragedyandhope.com/the-brain/

    (1h-50m-3h37m) “Sherpa Pow-Wow” / Review of the Introductory Montage Clips in Context of our ongoing History, featuring Paul Verge and Lisa Arbercheski

     (Video) Errol Morris discusses The Unknown Known

     (Book) “A Man Called Intrepid: The Secret War” by William Stevenson (1976)  President Roosevelt 1941 speech “secret map” reference p. 297; Donovan sent to Britain by Rockefeller Foundation reference p. xxi, 5; British Security Coordination & creation of the OSS (FDR, Donovan, Stephenson, Fleming) p. 160 – 164; BSC offices at Rockefeller Center p. xxiv, 101 – 104

    A Man Called Intrepid: The Secret War (CFR’s Foreign Affairs Review)

    (Book) “The Corporation That Changed The World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational” by Nick Robins (2006); Reference for: Opium Trade Monopoly p. 119 -120, 155; Opium Wars p. 157- 158, 161- 162, 174; Jardine Matheson p. 141 – 144; Free Trade p. 142; Slave Trade p. 23, 47, 56, 174

    Gold Fixing (Wiki)

    (Book) “The Anglo-American Establishment” by Carroll Quigley (1981)

    (Book) “Fleshing Out Skull & Bones: Investigations into America's Most Powerful Secret Society” by Antony Sutton, Kris Millegan, Howard Altman, Dr. Ralph Bunch, Anton Chaitkin & Webster Tarpley (2003)

    Lyndon LaRouche

    (Book) “Dope, Inc.: The Book That Drove Kissinger Crazy”  by Executive Intelligence Review (1992)

    (Book) “America’s Nazi Secret” by John Loftus (2010): Kissinger professional spy for Dulles p. 11; Third Reich funded by Wall Street & “the City”, London’s financial district p. 12; Hitler funded by Robber Barons of Wall Street p. 13, 17, 198, 228; Wall Street, the CIA, the Muslim Brotherhood & Osama Bin Laden p. 14 - 17)

    (Book) “Ian Fleming” by Andrew Lycett (1995 Biography): reference for British Security Coordination (BSC) p. 127 – 128, 143, 194; Special Operations Executive (SOE) p. 102, 118, 132, 138; Camp X p. 149; relationship with Wild Bill Donovan p. 120, 124 – 126; BSC & FDR p. 120

    Ian Fleming: A Biography (Washington Times Book Review)

    James Bond in Film (Wiki)

    The Gulag reference: Peace Revolution Episode 047: Slavery is Death / Practical Applications of Irrationality

    (Book) “History of the Secret Service” by La Fayette Charles Baker (1867)

    (Video) Norman Dodd The Hidden Agenda for World Government

    (Book) “Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II” by Jennet Conant (2002)

    James Bryant Conant (Wiki)

    (Book) “The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington” by Jennet Conant (2008)

    (Book) “Ian Fleming” by Andrew Lycett (1995 Biography); Robert Fleming & Company p. 452; GCHQ p. 121

    (Article) New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To 'Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations' (reference for Batman, GCHQ, NSA slides)

    SpyGate archive by Jon Rappoport

    Smart Grid (Wiki)

    Panopticon (Wiki)

    Webster Tarpley’s “The Venetian Conspiracy” (interview)

     (3h37m-4h14m) Empire: Making a Fortune (BBC) featuring the East India Company and the “Free Trade” of the Opium Market

    (4h14m-4h48m) The Irregulars: British Spies in America pre-WWII, a discussion of Jennet Conant’s book on Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and David Ogilvy.

    (4h48m-7h48m) Lord Palmerston’s Zoo lecture by Webster Tarpley & Co. / LaRouche

    (7h48m-10m25m) The British Empire Wants YOU… To be stupid.  / LaRouche EIR

    (10h25m-11h15m) The History of the CIA and Cocaine by James Corbett

    (11h15m-13h) Shadows of Power lecture on CFR by James Perloff

    (13h-14h) Britain’s Invisible Empire: The Empire today by Jeff Steinberg / LaRouche EIR

    Would You Like to Know More?

    See also: (Audio)

    Peace Revolution episode 027: DIAMONDS / The Jewel of Denial / Outgrowing Stockholm Syndrome

    Peace Revolution episode 023: How to Free Your Mind / The Occulted (Hidden) Keys of Wisdom

    Peace Revolution episode 046: Liberty is Life / Practical Applications of Rationality

    Peace Revolution episode 047: Slavery is Death / Practical Applications of Irrationality

    Peace Revolution episode 048: The Philosophy of Life / This is John Galt Speaking


              Peace Revolution episode 042: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 2 + Commentary        
    itunes pic

     

    Notes, References, and Links for further study:

    1. Use the donation buttons at the bottom of these notes, or on the sidebar of this site, or the sidebar of Tragedy and Hope dot com,  for “The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto” multi-DVD interview project, currently in post-production. With over 5 hours of interview footage, this is a collection of education which is invaluable.
      1. If you donate $50 or more towards the completion of this project, you will receive the entire DVD set; as our way of saying Thanks!
    2. Your invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online critical thinking community
    3. Peace Revolution Podcast’s primary hosting site (2009-2011)
    4. Peace Revolution Podcast’s backup hosting site (2006-2011, also includes the 9/11 Synchronicity Podcast episodes, starting at the bottom of the page)
    5. Tragedy and Hope dot com (all of our media productions, free to the public)
      On the top menu, there is a “Trivium” selection, which includes the Brain model discussed in Peace Revolution episodes.
    6. A Peaceful Solution” by Willie Nelson w/thanks to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute
      T&H Partner Podcasts: Media Monarchy, Corbett Report, Gnostic Media, & Remedy Radio
    7. Useful Tools:
    8. www.StartPage.com (It uses Google’s search algorithm, but doesn’t collect your private info and search history)
      1. StartPage search engine Firefox add-on
    9. The Brain (mind mapping software to organize your research) download for FREE
      1. The free version works for all functions except web publication
    10. Ultimate History Lesson Hour 1, minutes 1 -15 (approx.):
    11. (Person) Plato (on Wikipedia)
    12. (Person) Socrates (on Wikipedia)
    13. (Book) "The Republic" by Plato
    14. (Book) "The Laws" by Plato
    15. (Person) Charles Darwin (on Wikipedia)
    16. (Book) “The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin (1871)
    17. (Book) “On The Origin of Species” / “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” by Charles Darwin (1859):
    18. (Person) Thomas Malthus (on Wikipedia)
    19. (Book) “An Essay on the Principle of Population” by Thomas Malthus (Darwin read for “amusement” in 1838)
    20. (Book) Anglican Book of Common Prayer (on Wikipedia)
    21. (Artifact) Anglican Homily of Obedience (on Wikipedia)
    22. (Group) Darwin-Wedgewood family (on Wikipedia)
    23. (Person) Francis Galton (on Wikipedia)
    24. (Concept) Eugenics (on Wikipedia)
    25. (Book) “War Against The Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race” by Edwin Black (2003)
    26. (Book) “Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools” by Cookson & Persell (1987)
    27. (Group) Independent School League (on Wikipedia)
    28. (Article) “America’s Best Prep Schools” (Forbes Magazine article; April 2010)
    29. (Event) “Fitter Family Competition” + Eugenics (on Wikipedia)
    30. (Person) Wilhelm Wundt (on Wikipedia)
    31. Roundtable Discussion of minutes 1-15:
    32. (Person) R. Buckminster Fuller
    33. (Book) “Grunch of Giants” by R. Buckminster Fuller (1984) (read online via Buckminster Fuller Institute)
    34. (Book) “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” by R. Buckminster Fuller 
    35. (Book) “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”; Chapter 3, Comprehensively Commanded Automation - Thomas Malthus reference)
    36. (Book) “Buckminster Fuller’s Universe: His Life and Work” by L. Steven Sieden (2000)
    37. (Video) “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” by Adam Curtis (BBC documentary)
    38. (Person) Wilhelm Wundt (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
    39. (Book)“The Leipzig Connection: Basics in Education” by Paolo Lionni (1993)
    40. Hour 1, minutes 15 -30 (approx.)
    41. (Concept) Doctor of Philosophy (on Wikipedia)
    42. (Person) Edward Everett (First American PhD; on Wikipedia)
    43. (Concept) Academic Tenure (on Wikipedia)
    44. (Book) “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith (1776)
    45. (Person) William Playfair (on Wikipedia)
    46. (Person) Edward Bernays (on Wikipedia)
    47. (Book) “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays (1928)
    48. (Person) Ivy Lee  + Nazi + I.G. Farben (on Wikipedia)
    49. (Book) “Wall Street and The Rise of Hitler” by Antony C. Sutton (1976)
    50. (Book) “The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben” by Joseph Borkin (1978)
    51. (Book) “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville (1851):
    52. (Concept) Destiny (on Wikipedia)
    53. Minutes 15 -30 / roundtable discussion references:
    54. (Concept) Tenure / Rockefeller
    55. (Concept) The Roman Collegia (Encyclopedia Britannica)
    56. (Person) Stanley Milgram (on Wikipedia)
    57. (Event) The Milgram Experiment (on obedience to authority figures; 1961)
    58. (Person) Ivan Pavlov (on Wikipedia)
    59. (Concept) Behavioral Psychology (on Wikipedia)
    60. (Concept) Kabbalah (on Wikipedia)
    61. (Concept) Definition of Occult (Johnson’s Dictionary 1709 -1784)
    62. (Person) James Rowland Angell (on Wikipedia) 
      1. President of Yale University, President of the Carnegie Corporation, Instrumental in creating the Rockefeller funded Yale Institute of Human Relations with Robert Maynard Hutchins and Milton Winternitz, Creator of the Yale Institute of Human Relations Advisory Committee, John B. Watson obtained his Ph.D. under the supervision of Angell in 1903 at the University of Chicago, Angell was "pivotal figure in the development of the functionalist school of thought", Earned one of his Masters Degree's under John Dewey, who he later selected for the Human Relations Advisory Board among many other noteworthy characters.
        1. "To Read Wundt...after a session with James, was an anticlimax which disturbed one's equilibrium...The complete lack in James of anything which could be recognized as system was highly disturbing" - James Rowland Angell
        2. James Rowland Angell's unsuccessful attempt to study under Wundt
        3. His cousin Frank Angell was one of the first to obtain a PhD from Wundt
    63. (Event) James Rowland Angell + Yale Institute of Human Relations (Time magazine article; February 1929)
    64. (Person) Frank Angell (on Wikipedia)
      1. Frank Angell, American Psychologist, earned his PhD at Leipzig under Wilhelm Wundt. Founded the experimental laboratories at Cornell University (1891) and Stanford (1892)
    65. (Person) John Dewey (on WIkipedia)
    66. (Person) John B. Watson (on Wikipedia)
    67. (Event) The Little Albert Experiment (1920)
    68. (Person) Frank Aydelotte (on Wikipedia)
      1. "On this basis, which was originally financial and goes back to George Peabody, there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy. In England the center was the Round Table Group, while in the United States it was J P Morgan and Company or its local branches in Boston, Philadelphia and Cleveland. Some rather incidental examples of the operations of this structure are very revealing, just because they are incidental. For example, it set up in Princeton a reasonable copy of the Round Table Group's chief Oxford headquarters, All Souls College. This copy, called the Institute for Advanced Study, and best known, perhaps, as the refuge of Einstein, Oppenheimer, John von Neumann, and George F. Kennan, was organized by Abraham Flexner of the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller's General Education Board after he had experienced the delights of All Souls while serving as Rhodes Memorial Lecturer at Oxford. The plans were largely drawn by Tom Jones, one of the Round Table's most active intriguers and foundation administrators." - Prof. Carroll Quigley, (Tragedy and Hope, Pg.953)
        (See connection: Institute of Advanced Study + Cybernetics)
    69. (Person) Abraham Flexner (on Wikipedia)
    70. (Search) Thomas D. Jones + The Institute of Advanced Study Princeton
    71. (Book) “World As Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes, and Men” by Rebecca Lemov (2005) 
    72. (Person) G. Stanley Hall (Encyclopedia Britannica)
    73. (Person) William James
    74. Hour 1, minutes 30 -45 (approx.):
    75. (Person) Edward Jay Epstein (on Wikipedia)
    76. (Book) “Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth” by Edward Jay Epstein (1966)
    77. (Book) “The Rise & Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion” by Edward Jay Epstein (1982)
    78. (Book) “News From Nowhere: Television and the News” by Edward Jay Epstein:
    79. (Concept) Hegelian Dialectic (on Wikipedia)
    80. (Person) Sir Richard Branson (on Wikipedia)
    81. (Book) “Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, & made a Fortune Doing Business My Way” by Richard Branson (1999 autobiography):
    82. (Concept) Definition of Entrepreneur (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
    83. (Concept) Financial Speculation (on Wikipedia)
    84. (Concept) Rites of Passage / Walkabout
    85. Minutes 30-45 / roundtable discussion references:
    86. (Book) “The Corporation That Changed The World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational” by Nick Robins (2006) (re: profit motives/corporation –short term goals)
    87. (Event) “Thousands Mourn Boy Killed in Brooklyn” (New York Times article; July 13, 2011)
    88. (Event) “Charges Against Dominique Strauss-Kahn Dismissed” (New York Times; August 23, 2011)
    89. Hour 1, minutes 45 –end:
      Carnegie Philanthropy / teachers pensions (1905) (Columbia University Libraries)
    90. (Group) Rockefeller Foundation (on Wikipedia)
    91. (Event) Rockefeller donates $80 million to University of Chicago & William Rainey Harper
    92. (Person) William Rainey Harper (on Wikipedia)
    93. (Event) John D. Rockefeller $500,000 “gift” to Teacher’s College (New York Times article; September 1902)
    94. (Concept) “Rockefeller Stewardship” (TIME magazine article; June 17, 1929):
    95. (Religious Group) The Quakers (on Wikipedia)
    96. (Person) Richard M. Nixon / Quaker (on Wikipedia)
    97. (Person) Herbert Hoover / Quaker (on Wikipedia)
    98. (Person) Frederick Taylor Gates + Rockefeller (on Wikipedia)
    99. (Group) The General Education Board (on Wikipedia)
    100. (Event) Walsh Commission on Industrial Relations (1915) (on Wikipedia)
    101. (Event) Cox/Reece Committee (1952- 1954; United States House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations) (on Wikipedia)
    102. (Book) “Foundations: Their Power and Influence” by Rene Wormser (1958):
    103. (Video) The Hidden Agenda of Tax Exempt Foundations for Education & World Government: 1982 Norman Dodd interview (on YouTube)
    104. (Document) The Hidden Agenda Transcript (Rowan Gaither / CIA / Ford Foundation)
    105. (Resource) Who Owns The Media (Columbia Journalism Review)
    106. (Resource) Media Ownership Chart: The Big Six (FreePress.net)
    107. Final roundtable discussion (min 45 –end) references:
    108. (Event) JP Morgan Chase $4 million donation to NYPD pre-Occupy Wall Street
    109. (Concept) “dyed-in-the-wool” (on Wiktionary)
    110. (Video) Norman Dodd Radio Liberty interview with Stan Monteith (1980 “The Secret Agenda of the Tax Exempt Foundations Revealed”) (Vimeo)
    111. (Transcript) Norman Dodd interview
    112. (Person) William Godwin (on Wikipedia)
    113. (Concept) Anarchy (on Wikipedia)
    114. (Concept) Swa raj (on Wikipedia)
    115. (Concept) Autonomy (on Wikipedia)
    116. End of Hour 2
    117. Stay tuned for Peace Revolution Episode 043: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 3 + Commentary

      Peace Revolution partner podcasts:

      Corbett Report dot com

      Media Monarchy dot com

      Gnostic Media Podcast

      School Sucks Project Podcast

      Remedy Radio Podcast

      Meria dot net

      The Unplugged Mom Podcast

       

    118.  

      Navigating Netflix (2011) our new video series wherein we conduct a critical analysis of films you might have missed; Navigating Netflix is available for free on YouTube.

      "Memories of a Political Prisoner", an interview with Professor Chengiah Ragaven, graduate of Oxford, Cambridge, and Sussex; AFTER he was a political prisoner, who was exiled from South Africa, during Apartheid. (2011)

      What You've Been Missing! (2011) is our video series focusing in on the history of corruption in our public education system.

      Top Documentary Films dot com: Hijacking Humanity by Paul Verge (2006)

      Top Documentary Films dot com: Exposing the Noble Lie (2010)

      Top Documentary Films dot com: The Pharmacratic Inquisition by Jan Irvin (2007)

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              Comment on Why Hillary Clinton Deserved Labor’s Support by Will McMahon        
    Background: I am a union organizer who has been involved in a mass movement of healthcare workers for the past year and change. Prior to this, I worked briefly for the AFT and was fired when I raised members' questions about the undemocratic nature of the Clinton endorsement to the AFT national chief of staff in a forum designed for questions on that endorsement. I come from a poor, working-class background. Response: First, I would like to establish who Hillary Clinton is as a person, as she is no true friend of labor. She sat on the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart during a period of intense union-busting, and never once spoke out against anti-worker sentiment at a single board meeting. Those of us who have gone through unionization campaigns have seen the brutality of union-busters (in my campaigns, I have seen lies, bribes, intimidation, stalking of workers, threats of deportation, and all kinds of inhumanity). Wal-Mart is one of the chief engines of this behavior, funding union-busters and producing anti-union materials that have spread throughout the country, and Secretary Clinton was a significant player in this anti-union architecture. Even after she had long since left that Board, Alice Walton (one of the Waltons who own Wal-Mart and serve as leaders of the parasite class that sucks workers and taxpayers dry for personal profits) served as one of her closest friends and advisors, through the duration of her presidential campaign. The original sin of the Clintons against the labor movement, however, was even before this, and they have bragged about it in the apparent belief that it is a cute and relatable story. On their first date, in law school, Hillary and Bill crossed a picket line and made a deal with management to do the work of striking workers in exchange for exclusive access to a closed museum. At their first date, Hillary and Bill were scabs. (source: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/18841/hillary_rodham_bill_clinton_and_the_1971_yale_strike) As Billy Bragg might sing, "Never Cross a Picket Line." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojPTz4VAOMA) When she was Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton helped attack democracy and labor rights abroad. In 2009, following the anti-democratic coup in Honduras against a President whose crime was being too progressive, Clinton legitimized the coup government and backed an election which included a ban on certain opposition, military control of the country in the lead-up, and the suspension of human rights including freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and habeas corpus. Even when President Zelaya returned to the country, she sought to crush him and "render the question of Zelaya moot." Also in 2009, when Haiti sought to substantially raise its minimum wage in order to lift its people out of abject poverty, Hillary Clinton labored hard on behalf of multinational corporations to bring to bear deathly pressure against Haiti to instead move to a minimum wage at only half that rate. As the State Department's officially released emails confirmed, Clinton signed off on and advocated for a free trade agreement with Colombia while corporations in that country slaughtered union activists and organizers with impunity and the government gladly looked the other way. Political expediency, corporate profits, and another notch in Clinton's belt took precedence. All of this can be explained by Clinton's insistence on her close personal friendship with and mentorship by Henry Kissinger, Nixon's right hand man. Kissinger helped prop up many brutal dictatorships and overthrow popular democracy, as in Chile in 1973, when he wrote a blank check to effectively slaughter democratically-elected President Salvador Allende, a democratic socialist (perhaps the Bernie Sanders of his time). The governments of many countries that are now democracies but were once brutal, murderous dictatorships under Kissinger's influence have called for his trial for crimes against humanity. Don't hold your breath. Interestingly (and unsurprisingly), the Clintons and the Kissingers take personal vacations together. Also, as Secretary of State, Clinton spoke publicly at least 45 times in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling it the "gold standard" of trade deals. Fitting, it seems, with her and her husband's championing of the NAFTA. This flew in the face of Labor's deeply held conviction that the deal would rob working people and prioritize corporate profits over workers' rights, national sovereignty, and any other decent gain we had made in the past century. It was only when faced with the unexpectedly strong challenge of Senator Bernie Sanders that Clinton walked back that support in the most tepid language possible, and always for different reasons depending on the crowd to which she spoke. It is not hard to imagine how, if elected, she would have made some minor tweak to the deal, declared it once again a "gold standard," and happily forced it down our throats. Let's not forget the infamous speeches to Goldman Sachs and other institutions, which Clinton constantly refused to release during the Democratic primaries, claiming she would only do so when all the Republican candidates released their paid speeches. She would only follow where the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz would lead. While we have still not seen those speeches, and likely never will, we now know that they included claims by Clinton that she must have "public positions" and "private positions." It is not hard to believe that the labor movement would be the first group to be burned by that divide. All of this is informed by the fact that Clinton is a member of the capital-owning class. While Bernie Sanders and his family largely subsist on wages earned by physical and intellectual labor for their livelihoods, Hillary Clinton and her family subsist on returns from passive capital investments for their livelihoods. This informs a key divide between policies good for working people (the vast majority of us) and policies good for what Sanders called the billionaire class and what I call the parasite class (the tiny political and economic elite). Principles of solidarity might dictate that we throw our weight behind the working class candidate, and against the candidate that attacked working people at home and abroad, but Ms. Weingarten and Mr. Casey seem to disagree. After all, the mentality of "F**k you, I got mine" is as old as the labor movement, as in the old A.F.L.'s participation in the repression of the I.W.W. It is important to note that, prior to the A.F.T.'s endorsement of Clinton, Randi Weingarten sat on the board of Secretary Clinton's SuperPAC (funded by the corporate interests that honest unionists fight every day). Now, I will respond more specifically to the points in the article above. The authors claim Secretary Clinton was "the most experienced and qualified candidate of the last century." She was a Senator for eight years and the Secretary of State for four years. Previously, she was the First Lady of the United States and the First Lady of Arkansas, unelected and unappointed without constitutional duties. As I have listed above, the quality of her governing experience can easily be derided from her repeated assaults on working people. And as for the quantity or measure of her experience, a number of candidates or potential candidates in the past century have exceeded hers. The A.F.T. endorsed Clinton in July, before we knew if Biden or Warren or Pelosi or Reid or anyone else was going to enter. Biden has 36 years in the Senate to Clinton's 8, and 8 years as Vice President to Clinton's 4 as Secretary of State. Pelosi has 30 years in the House, 10 years as House Minority Leader, and 4 years as Speaker of the House. Not to mention Bernie Sanders having 10 years in the Senate, 17 years in the House, and Mayor of the largest city in his state for 8 years. There were certainly more "experienced" options this cycle. As for mere quantity (and not quality) of experience in "the last century," Hillary Clinton's claim is not supreme. Her husband, Bill Clinton, was a Governor for 12 years. George H.W. Bush was in the House for 4 years, the effective ambassador to China for 1 year, Director of the CIA for 1 year, and Vice President for 8 years. Ronald Reagan was a Governor for 8 years. Gerald Ford was in the House for 25 years and Vice President for 1 year. Richard Nixon was in the House for 4 years, in the Senate for 2 years, and the Vice President for 8 years. Lyndon Johnson was in the House for 12 years, in the Senate for 12 years, and Vice President for nearly 3 years. John Kennedy was in the House for 6 years and in the Senate for 8 years. Dwight Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander and led the U.S. effort in World War II. Harry Truman was in the Senate for 10 years and briefly Vice President. And let us not forget that perhaps the kindest president for labor, Franklin Roosevelt, was one of those with not a great deal of experience (4 years as Governor of New York and some lesser offices). But the lesson here should be that counting the years is a small measure of worthwhile experience. It is a weighing of the actions within that experience. Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Hillary Clinton inspire little confidence, despite however many years of "experience." I have also heard the claim (from none less than Barack Obama) that Hillary Clinton was the most qualified candidate ever in our history. This ridiculously ignores George Washington (Commander in Chief of our War for Independence), John Adams (delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Ambassador to various nations for 10 years, Vice President for 8 years), Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia for 2 years, Ambassador to France for 4.5 years, Secretary of State for nearly 4 years, Vice President for 4 years), and James Madison (literal author of the United States Constitution, in the House for 8 years, Secretary of State for 8 years). Of course, many of these owned other human beings as slaves, so take that as you will for the worth of "experience." Weingarten and Casey bring up claims that Labor could have turned the tide for Sanders, then raise Clinton's numerical win in the primary election as a response. This is no answer, as it does not address the possibility of a different result had Labor thrown its weight behind Sanders from the beginning. In Iowa, the margin of Clinton's victory was 0.25%. If Labor does not have the faith that its full might could influence an election to the order of one quarter of one percentage point, then what is it doing involving itself in electoral politics? And surely, the authors' assessment that Labor's misguided priorities in the general election (I know of Working America organizers who were moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in a bizarre display of hubris) had some role in the loss proves the lie to that argument. And should Sanders have won Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada (with the help of that state's powerful Culinary Union), the narrative of the campaign following the first three contests would have been radically different and focused on an ascendant Sanders campaign and a broken, failed Clinton campaign. Everything following would have been radically changed. No amount of "Super Delegates" could have hoped to sway the result in the face of a popular vote, lest they lose their party's voters and fade into common obscurity with the old Whig Party. Further, the authors' reliance on the final primary total fails to recognize the choices made on the structure of that primary. They seek to dismiss Senator Sanders by characterizing his wins as being in places with lower diversity (speaking of racial diversity and ignoring economic diversity). They do not recognize his advantage with independent voters and the ties between his loss and the banning of independent voters from the polls of many key states in the pocket of the DNC establishment. Should independent voters (those voters who decide the general election) have been allowed in the primaries of every state, we might have expected a win by Bernie Sanders. While I helped start the citizen-run campaigns for Bernie Sanders in Indiana and Oregon, I was a New York voter by the time of the primaries. While I was allowed to vote as a new registrant (I held my nose to register as a Democrat, being an Independent at heart), many millions of my fellows were blocked from changing their party from Working Families or Green or No Party Affiliation ("Independent") in time for the vote by a ridiculous rule that you had to be aligned by October for a vote in April. After all, independents decide the general election. Who cares what they think? The authors attribute the constant lead in polls against any and all Republican candidates (before and after the primary) by Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton as a result of decades of attacks against Clinton and a lack of such attacks against Sanders. This may, in part, be true, but how insane is it to say "This one candidate is hated by most of the country due to decades of attacks, and this other candidate has not suffered such decades of attacks and could at most only suffer a couple months of attacks, so let us choose the irreparably scarred candidate over the fresh one"? It is born of the idea that it was "her turn," and not by competent political calculation. And as for the contention that Sanders would be attacked as a socialist, let us not forget that (a very capitalist) Barack Obama has been repeatedly attacked as a socialist, a communist, and a fascist, to no effective electoral end. Any repetition of those attacks against Sanders would have invoked the story of the boy who cried wolf. There was no ammo left that had not been fully deployed against Obama to no end. And while Sanders might have lost Florida to his comments in favor of certain Latin American socialist movements, he clearly outperformed Clinton in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and rural counties in Pennsylvania. This was due to his working class message, and that message could have turned the tide in a presidential election. This is not to mention the many other states in which Sanders outperformed Clinton, but only to note the few in the industrial Midwest which could have, themselves, turned the tide. I agree completely with the authors' condemnation of the Electoral College. Regardless of party or affiliation, the candidate with the most votes ought to win. Our political structure is flawed, and too much power is concentrated in too few individuals, but we must be united in demanding that democracy rule over all. However, I disagree with the authors' contention that some exceptional racism befell this election. In the key states which decided this election, Donald Trump did not get substantially more votes than Mitt Romney or John McCain. Hillary Clinton, a white woman, simply won far fewer votes than Barack Obama, a black man. Donald Trump was not exceptional, Hillary Clinton was simply deficient. I find it funny that Ms. Weingarten would resort to a comparison between Bernie Sanders and George McGovern, as that was the exact comparison offered to me by her chief of staff when I raised a question from our members, shortly before I was summarily fired. Accompanying it is no recognition that 2016 might have a different dynamic from 1972, nor any deeper analysis than a desperate desire to write off a genuinely working class candidate to avoid uncomfortable questions. The authors' blaming of third party votes is similarly ridiculous. They tally them all together and then claim that, had those votes all gone to Secretary Clinton, they could have swung the election. One might as well say that had X% of Mr. Trump's vote gone to Secretary Clinton, she would have won. Gary Johnson received far more votes than Jill Stein, and he is far closer to the Republican line (being a former Republican governor) than the Democratic. Had it been a forced two-choice election without third party candidates, it is very possible that Trump would have received a higher percentage, not a lower one. All of this rationalization and all of this justification is a desperate attempt to elude responsibility for what was a poorly calculated political move on behalf of the political careers of a certain few union leaders, while ignoring the well-being of the vast majority of union members. Might Ms. Weingarten have been Clinton's Secretary of Education? It hardly matters now. Let us not forget that Ms. Weingarten was a lawyer contracted by a union who entertained a brief teaching career to simply take control of that union as a "member" as quickly as she could. Her experiences are completely divorced from those of regular, working members of the A.F.T. or the rest of the labor movement. As to the final paragraph of the authors' article, anyone who is optimistic in the face of an assuredly hostile Trump presidency, Trump congress, and Trump Labor Board is either a fool or mouthing empty platitudes in an attempt to paint themselves as a fearless leader in a cruel situation of their own making. The Republicans wish to deal us a swift death, and the Democrats wish to either deal us a slow death or simply transform us into an impotent fundraising arm of their party. Let us not forget that all our rights under the law came not due to the innate kindness of FDR and his Democrats, but due to the innate threat of Labor's radical organizing during the Depression. The NLRA is not our grand victory, but a peace offering thrust upon us to keep us from a workers' revolution. We will defend it, but woe unto the capital-owning class that destroys it without understand that it is there to satisfy us, not to gratify us. Randi Weingarten and "labor" "leaders" like her are a disgrace. I have seen this at the national level with selfish endorsements and at the local level where grievances went unaddressed for years at a time. Our future lies in organizing with a rank-and-file philosophy. The unions which have adopted this philosophy are winning hard-fought gains. The so-called "unions" which see members only as "dues units" are shrinking and dying. "The 'labour fakir' full of guile, Base doctrine ever preaches, And whilst he bleeds the rank and file Tame moderation teaches. Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day When, with sword in its girth, Labour shall march in war array To realize its own, the earth." -James Connolly, "We Only Want the Earth"
              Paris Climate Accord        


    Shameful.

    I spent hours last night and this morning sifting through news sources to try to understand our president's decision.

    I listened to his speech, his concern that the Paris Climate Accord would weaken/ handicap /undermine (yes, all those negative words) our sovereignty, economy, legal recourse, workers, and more. Only the US would be at a disadvantage and other countries would be laughing at us? Really? With just my limited knowledge that sounds extremely paranoid. Then, after some fact checking it just sounded purely ludicrous. What about the sovereignty, economy, legal recourse and workers of the now other 200 countries that are supporting the the agreement?



    President Trump says that he's ready to renegotiate...as if he holds all the cards in his hand ready to trump in the US's favour. While Macron very diplomatically assures the US of its respect and good will for future dealings, it's very clear that the other countries are agreed that there will be NO new deal. 

    In addition, my great state, California, New York and Washington are seriously resisting the president's decision and have formed a "US Climate Alliance" committed to the Accord. More than 61 mayors have stated that President Trump is wrong on the facts and the science and pledged to back the Accord, promising to meet commitments agreed to under the international accord, namely cutting carbon emissions in an effort to ward off the worst effects of global climate change. "We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy," the group of mayors wrote.

    “The world cannot wait — and neither will we."


    Statements by President Trump with truthful counter: 
    1. "China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can't build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement."
    False. Under the Paris agreement, each country publicly declares how much it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what it will do to get there. In fact, China has actually taken steps to stop building coal plants. China has cut its use of coal three years in a row.
    2. "Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree -- think of that; this much -- Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount."
    Misleading. Tackling climate problems depends on taking a series of incremental steps to reduce carbon emissions. Pulling out of the Paris agreement would require even bigger future reductions.
    3. "At 1 percent growth, renewable sources of energy can meet some of our domestic demand. But at 3 or 4 percent growth, which I expect, we need all forms of available American energy, or our country will be at grave risk of brownouts and blackouts."
    False. Economic growth stems from population growth and improvements in productivity. Neither of these factors will drive 3 percent or 4 percent growth in the U.S, regardless.
    4. "India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We're supposed to get rid of ours."
    Rubbish. The Paris accord doesn’t even mention the word coal, nor does it do anything to put a global moratorium on coal. Each signatory sets its own goals and has to report on its progress. India has committed to reduce emissions 33 to 35 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.
    We have a president who will say anything. Anything.
    Know the facts. Spread the truth. I, for one, want to put more of the world's wealth toward clean, sustainable energy.
    http://www.politifact.com/.../fact-checking-donald.../

    For the moment we are in "good company" with only two other countries, Nicaragua and Syria. If you know anything about either you'll understand. But, the U.S.?
    I read later this morning and am finally seeing something that makes sense to me... corporate interests.
    We know who can make Trump rethink his disastrous decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement: The 17 CEOs on Trump’s business advisory council. From IBM to Walmart, the CEOs that are on the council represent some of the most powerful corporations in the world. 
    Already, two CEOs -- Elon Musk of Tesla and Bob Iger of Disney -- have stepped down from the council in protest of Trump pulling the US from the climate agreement. 
    Tesla’s Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger have already stepped down from the advisory council in protest of Trump's catastrophic move. Now that Trump has made his announcement to abandon the deal that nearly every country in the world has signed onto, it’s time the other CEOs from massive multinational corporations like Walmart, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase, GM, GE, and Boeing follow Iger and Musks's lead.
    In defiance of Trump’s catastrophic decision, a group including 30 mayors, three governors, more than 100 businesses and more than 80 presidents of U.S. universities is planning to present a plan to the United Nations that would meet the greenhouse-gas emission targets under the Paris climate agreement.
    Let’s call on the remaining 15 CEOs on the council to take a stand for the future of our planet. Now is the opportunity to show their commitment to a safe and sustainable future and abandon Trump if he doesn’t back down.
    Sign here if interested.
    From SumofUs: SumOfUs is a global advocacy organization and online community that campaigns to hold big corporations accountable on issues such as climate change, workers’ rights, discrimination, human rights, animal rights, corruption, and corporate power grab.
    #climatechange #ParisAccord

    Then again, to be fair, there are still those arguing that Trump was right, such as Shapiro:
    5 Reasons Trump is Right to Pull out of the Paris Accord

    And, a well-respected friend and nuclear physicist wrote me saying this:
    Please check your statement that China has cut its coal usage. That doesn't square with any data I have. They have cut how fast they increase their coal usage but they are still using more coal every year than the previous year.
    Second, our state California, under governor Brown's leadership we are heading to shutting down all existing nuclear. San Onofre and Diablo Canyon produced more CO2 free electricity than all the solar and wind built in California for the last twenty years.
    The big impact on CO2 emissions is what the developing countries choose to generate their electricity - this is far more important than what the US uses. As things currently stand they will choose coal or gas. The thing the US could do that will have a big impact is to create a carbon free power source that can compete with coal and gas cost wise. If you don't have electricity coal generated electricity sounds pretty good. Developing countries will choose the cheapest electricity so the important thing is to invent a carbon free choice for them. That is what we are attempting to do.


    Photos while at the Organic Faire in Santander, Cantabria, Spain.
    #productosecologicos #vidasana #biocantabria #energiasrenovables #bioconstrucción #comerciojusto #consumoresponsable #alimentosecologicos

              Tobacco Control Measures before Parliament Health Committee        

    The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and Coalition on the Tobacco Control Bill, have called on Parliament to enact a strong and formidable law on tobacco control measures to protect the lives of the people.

    They also appealed for the speedy passage of the Public Health Bill and avoid attempts of the tobacco industry in interfering in the making of public health policy, because it would not only affect the well-being of Ghana but was also a breach of article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

    Mr Issah Ali, Executive Director of VALD who made the call in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said Ghana had failed to meet its obligations on article 8, 13 and 5.2 of the FCTC, deadline for which fell on February 27, 2010.

    He said Ghana should have implemented a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, ban smoking in public places and pass comprehensive tobacco control legislation five years after ratifying the FCTC.

    Mr Ali said although Ghana was making headway in the process of enacting laws against tobacco, its urgency was unfortunately relegated.

    ‘Till it happens to a close relation or a friend, one might never realize how close and deadly the tobacco canker is to all of us. However, much as one might wish never to believe tobacco is dangerous especially to the secondhand smoker, the evidence is glaring and therefore must be curbed earnestly before it degenerates.”

    The Executive Director stressed that the FCTC did not recognize the tobacco industry in the discussion of public health polices and therefore their participation in Ghana’s Parliamentary Select Committee on Health’s public health hearings on the Bill was a violation of the Convention.

    He cautioned the legislature to be on the lookout for any attempt of the tobacco industry to interfere with public health policy.

    “We should be wary because unlike other national health threats such as cholera, malaria, maternal mortality, among others, this menace has multinational public relations firms well established promoters and lobbyists who may not leave anything to chance in interfering with public health policies,” he noted.

    Some countries have fallen prey to the tobacco industry interference in their public health policy, thereby making their tobacco control legislations weak and ineffective and this should be a wakeup call to Ghanaian policy makers, he urged.

    Mr Ali stated, “The Tobacco Control Measures of the Public Health Bill when passed will mandate the implementation of pictorial health warnings on tobacco packs to enable smokers and non-smokers with low level of formal education to understand the hazardous effect of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke."

    He indicated that countries such as Mauritius, Egypt, and Djibouti, among others in Africa, have implemented a pictorial and text health warning covering on their tobacco pack.
              The information revolution - is this leading or following organisational change?        
    In this post, I want to return to the topic of collaboration as a skill required by people, especially those working in organisations.  A question that I'm thinking about it whether collaborative practices are leading organisational change or whether they are following the emerging developments in the ways people are beginning to work together in a more networked fashion.

    Just recently I had the chance to talk to a group about a trend, in an increasing number of organisations, to introduce enterprise-wide communication systems that are encouraging radically different methods of information dissemination. What's changing is a shift from the top-down formal practices of traditional internal corporate communications towards something that feels much more collaborative.  In this environment, employees are being expected to:

    • participate and share their ideas, concerns and points of view through an emergent network of virtual groups.  These groups cross traditional business unit 'silos' and hierarchies.
    • select and customise the streams of corporate information of most interest and make these visible on a personal home page.
    • use of a powerful search function to locate just-in-time information about, for example, company policies.  
    • make themselves visible through personalised profiles with CVs, skill summaries, personal blogs and news items, wikis and videos.
    To add a couple of perspectives drawn from recent publications:

    LinkedIn


    In the article Workers of the world - log in, The Economist charts the growth in importance of the business social networking site in shaking up the way professionals are hired.  Of interest is the ways that it is now being used by organisations for internal searches and some are using the skills data to help them make location decisions about new offices and factories.

    From teams to teaming


    The article Teamwork on the Fly in HBR April 2012 highlights a growing interest and shift in porous communities of colleagues who come together to solve a business challenge, or launch a new initiative.  One of the keys to making this type of organisation work is to have a skills marketplace where people with an interest in a particular issue can find partners.   

    The multinational food company Group Danone believes strongly in this concept and has institutionalised it in the form of Networking Attitude, a programme that encourages ad hoc projects involving employees spread across hundreds of business units that previously operated independently, with little or no cross-pollination. 

    Conclusion


    Perhaps where we are now, at least in terms of how organisations are evolving in the networked era, is the end of the beginning.  The internet and social media have created the means to enable networks to grow that transcend traditional notions of hierarchy and control.  Whilst many company workers may have signed up to LinkedIn and other social media tools, the effect on everyday organisational life has been limited.  Apart from a few early adopters, the majority have been content to 'wait and see' and the status quo of company-wide centralised communications and local and business unit team meetings remain the norm in terms of dissemination of information. 

    But my sense is that we have only just begun to grasp the revolution that is unfolding.  There are now a few organisations that are experimenting with different ways of organising work, e.g. Zappos, the online retailer and its holacracy model or Haier, the Chinese appliance maker that is using a large network of self-managed teams. Whether these specific models stand the test of time is less important.  What is common to both, and the Danone example, are the ways in which they are pointing towards the opportunities that exist for working collaboratively. 

    In this context, whether the new collaborative communication practices that I cited earlier are leading or following this change is probably a moot point but what is for certain is that they will place much more emphasis on active participation from the majority.  

    One practical benefit that we might all vote for is the potential for fewer emails.  How? A lot of email traffic is generated by requests to multiple addressees for comments.  Threaded discussions in virtual groups would eliminate this type of clutter and, other things being equal, reduce the size of the inbox - we live in hope.      


              NATO prepares major boost to aerial refuelling capability | Military Airlift & Air-to-Air Refuelling        
    Receive an overview of strategic and tactical airlifts in Europe with topics addressed by senior military, multinational commands and expert industry speakers at SMi's 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference.
              Leonardo confirmed to exhibit at Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling        
    Receive an overview of strategic and tactical airlifts in Europe with topics addressed by senior military, multinational commands and expert industry speakers at SMi's 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference.
              MCCE and USTRANSCOM confirm their speakers at Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling        
    Receive an overview of strategic and tactical airlifts in Europe with topics addressed by senior military, multinational commands and expert industry speakers at SMi's 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference.
              Air-to-Air Refuelling Training through Multinational Cooperation Operations        
    SMi's 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference will provide an overview of strategic and tactical airlift in Europe with topics addressed by major militaries and multinational commands.
              Full programme released for Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling        
    SMi's 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference will provide an overview of strategic and tactical airlifts in Europe with topics addressed by major militaries and multinational commands.
              Boeing, Airbus Defence and Space and Antonov to speak at Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling        
    SMi's 17th annual Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference will provide a comprehensive overview of strategic and tactical airlifts in Europe with topics addressed by major militaries and multinational commands.
              Amaral Neto, Victor Soledade Moraes, 2013        

    Resumo

    Amaral Neto, Victor Soledade Moraes; Carneiro, Jorge Manoel Teixeira. Fatores que afetam a relação entre internacionalização e desempenho: estudo de casos. Rio de Janeiro, 2013. 120p. Dissertação de Mestrado – Departamento de Administração de Empresas, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. 

    Seu texto merece a melhor revisão: Keimelion.
    A dissertação e a tese merecem
     formatação profissional.
    Estudos empíricos têm obtido resultados contraditórios ao procurar concluir se a diversificação internacional das empresas melhora ou prejudica o desempenho. De fato, não só a direção (positiva ou negativa) do efeito não está ainda claramente estabelecida na literatura, como também sua forma (p. ex. linear vs. curvilínea, monotônica vs. não monotônica) permanece controversa (Contractor, 2007). Esses efeitos contraditórios podem ser, em parte, explicados pela diversidade de maneiras pelas quais o grau de internacionalização tem sido conceituado e medido nas pesquisas e também pelo fato de os diferentes tipos de expansão internacional não terem sido considerados com cuidado nos estudos empíricos. Além disso, a diversidade de amostras (grandes vs. pequenas empresas, manufaturas vs. serviços etc.), a escassez de estudos que utilizaram variáveis de controle ou possíveis moderadoras da relação e ainda a abundância de estudos baseados em abordagem transversal vs. longitudinal tornam difícil avaliar a natureza da relação entre diversificação internacional e desempenho de maneira inequívoca. Apoiados em fortes fundamentos teóricos acerca do impacto da internacionalização no desempenho (cf. Hennart, 2007, Contractor, 2007, Kirca et al. 2011, Thomas e Eden, 2004, Verbeke e Brugamn, 2009, entre outros), e inspirados pela recomendação de que futuras pesquisas fossem feitas baseadas em estudos de caso (Hennart, 2007 e Verbeke e Brugamn, 2009) e, ainda, que se incluísse o contexto dos mercados emergentes com grande demanda doméstica, foram conduzidos estudos de caso em profundidade em três empresas brasileiras com alto grau de internacionalização. Os resultados indicam que os efeitos da internacionalização sobre o desempenho podem não ser diretos e imediatos – e certamente não deveriam ser esperados efeitos universais (Hennart, 2007), mas, de fato, os resultados dependeriam tanto de ações gerenciais e de processos organizacionais quanto de diversos outros aspectos contingenciais. 

    Palavras-chave: 
    Grau de internacionalização; expansão internacional; diversificação internacional; multinacionalidade; desempenho de empresas.


    Abstract

    Amaral Neto, Victor Soledade Moraes; Carneiro, Jorge Manoel Teixeira (Advisor). Factors that Affect the Relationship between Internationalization and Performance: Study of Cases. Rio de Janeiro, 2013. 120p. MSc. Dissertation – Departamento de Administração de Empresas, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. 

    Empirical studies have reached conflicting findings as to whether the international diversification of firms would enhance or harm performance. In fact, not only the direction (positive or negative) of the effect has yet not been clearly established in the literature, but also the shape (e.g., linear vs. curvilinear, monotonic vs. non-monotonic) is still subject to controversy (Contractor, 2007). Such contradictory findings can in part be explained by the diversity of ways in which the degree of internationalization has been conceptualized and measured in research practice and also by the fact that the theoretical impacts of different ways to expand abroad has not been carefully considered in empirical studies. Moreover, the diversity of samples (large vs. small firms, manufacturing vs. service sectors etc.), the scarcity of studies that have used control variables and possible moderators of the relationship, as well as the abundance of cross-sectional (vs. longitudinal) designs make it difficult to unequivocally uncover the true nature of the relationship between international diversification and firm performance. Building from the strong theoretical foundations of the impact of internationalization on performance laid by such scholars as Hennart (2007), Contractor (2007), Kirca et al. (2011), Thomas and Eden (2004), Verbeke and Brugamn (2009), among others, and inspired by the plea that further research on the relationship between internationalization and performance should be based in case studies (cf. Hennart, 2007; and Verbeke and Brugamn, 2009) and should include the context of emerging markets with a large domestic demand pool, we conducted in-depth interviews with four Brazilian, highly-internationalized, firms. Findings indicate that the impacts of internationalization on performance may not be direct and immediate – and certainly should not be expected to be universal (cf. Hennart, 2007) – but in fact results would depend on explicit managerial action and organization processes as well as on the interplay among several contingencies.

    Keywords: Degree of internationalization, international expansion; international diversification; multinationality; firm performance.

              Openbravo achieves three-digit bookings growth in its Retail business in 2015 and strengthens its channel and market presence in target geographies        

    Pamplona, Spain, January 29th, 2016 Openbravo, the world leader in the commercial open source software space, today announced its results for the full year ending December 31, 2015. Openbravo experienced exceptional momentum in its Retail business in 2015 with a very impressive three-digit growth in its Retail subscription bookings. Retail subscription bookings growth, the key measure for Openbravo's commercial success, increased by a stunning 141% during 2015. Customer adoption of the Openbravo Commerce Suite continues to accelerate sharply, especially with mid-sized and larger specialty retailers with a physical stores network who are in need of a modern mobile store solution that can be seamlessly integrated with their legacy back-office systems to progress in their omnichannel strategies and strengthen competitiveness against the rapidly upcoming ecommerce retailers. The last quarter of 2015 was especially impressive and confirmed the strategic relevance of the Openbravo Commerce Suite for today's retailers, with the sign-up of a new subscription for a multinational Fortune 500 wholesale and retail pharmacy group that selected Openbravo to equip hundreds of stores within its opticians business unit with Openbravo's state-of-the-art cloud and mobile Point-of-Sale. 2015 has also been a key year for our channel operations with the incorporation of a new COO and large partners such as Happiest Minds, TCG Digital, JK Technosoft and Grupo Taurus joining our partner program. "Openbravo has done a great job in the channel this year.", said Francesco Leto, COO at Openbravo. "We have improved the profile of our partners and now we count with larger companies that will help us to accelerate our growth and effectively service larger retailers. This is key to driving the scale and adoption of the Openbravo solutions worldwide. We expect this positive trend to continue in 2016 ". International expansion was also improved with the opening of a new office in France that will help Openbravo better serve its French partners and rapidly growing customer base in the country, with companies like BUT, the leading home furnishings French retailer, that has more than 300 stores using Openbravo solutions. Openbravo also opened a new headquarters in Spain to be able to continue the growth of its team and accommodate the expected development within its strategy in the retail sector and its growth in Europe. "After a successful 2015 we are in an excellent position to continue on the path indicated by our strategic shift to become a leading company in the retail software space. Our completeness of vision in specialty retail gives us tremendous confidence in our business in 2016 and beyond. Also, our new cloud offering due for launch in a few weeks time will for sure help us to further accelerate retail cloud sales growth that will quickly translate into significantly more revenue and profits for Openbravo and, very importantly, for our Official Partners. 2016 is also very special for us, since in the course of this year we will be celebrating 10 years in the market, so we can all expect very exciting news in the coming months." said Marco de Vries, CEO of Openbravo.

    più info


              JK Technosoft and Openbravo join forces to provide solutions in the mid-market Commerce and ERP space        

    Barcelona and New Delhi - July 15th, 2015 JK Technosoft (JKT), a global IT services and software solutions company and Openbravo, the provider of the preferred Commerce Suite and Business Suite, today announced a strategic partnership to help midsize organizations to succeed in today's rapidly changing business environment. This strategic alliance combines JKT's experience from two decades of providing commerce and logistics solutions to its global clients, with Openbravo's cutting-edge technology to deliver world-class web-based solutions that meet the needs of midsize companies across varied industries. This collaboration will allow Openbravo to strengthen its presence globally and especially in India and the Asia Pacific region to distribute its successful Openbravo Commerce Suite and Openbravo Business Suite solutions. The Openbravo Commerce Suite is a state-of-the-art multichannel retail solution that allows retailers to transform their physical store channel to progress in their omnichannel strategies. The Openbravo Business Suite is a global management solution especially suited to support the most specific business requirements. Both solutions are built on top of a highly flexible and extendible platform that allows companies to achieve a higher level of operational agility. "JKT is excited about this partnership. We are confident about creating more opportunities and achieving great success together.", says Arun Sikri, Strategic Practice Head, JKT. "Being an Openbravo partner will enable us to efficiently provide value added web-based Commerce and ERP services to our customers." "Our partnership with JKTech, which is already a provider of recognized business applications in the mid-market segment allows Openbravo to realize its growth strategy in targeting larger organizations that look forward to implementing a bimodal organization based on a two tier ERP and Business application strategy. These types of organizations, which are often very large multinational corporations, tend to run their "core" head office operations upon a proven ERP system while seeking more agility for their fast moving operations, like integrating subsidiaries, retail distributors, new acquisitions with lower TCO and easy to deploy solutions. We see plenty of these opportunities in the markets covered by JKTech, a recognized client's IT service partner of choice, and it is a great chance for Openbravo together with JKTech to help our customers to compete in a rapidly changing environment in order to excel in their business operations.", says Francesco Leto, COO of Openbravo.

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              Sea Breeze 2017        
    The Turkish Ay-class submarine TCG Batiray (S-349) and a U.S. P-8A Poseidon from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, took anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training to an advanced level during exercise Sea Breeze 2017. Sea Breeze 2017, a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea, is designed to enhance the interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security in the region.
              Two Key Issues that often Hinder Collaboration Between Teams in Large Companies        

    I've spent all of my professional career working at a large multinational company. In this time I've been involved in lots of different cross-team and cross-divisional collaboration efforts. Some times these groups were in the same organization and other times you would have to go up five to ten levels up the org chart before you found a shared manager. Surprisingly, the presence or lack of shared management has never been the key factor that has helped or hindered such collaborative efforts.

    Of all the problems I've seen when I've had to depend on other teams for help in getting a task accomplished or vice versa; there have been two insidious that tend to crop up in situations where things go awry. The first is misaligned goals. Just because two groups are working together doesn't mean they have the same motivations or expected end results. Things quickly go awry when one group's primary goals either run counter to the goal(s) of the group they are supposed to be collaborating with. For example, consider a company that requires its technical support to have very low average call time to meet their metrics. Imagine that same company also puts together a task force to improve the customer satisfaction with the technical support experience after lots of complaints from their customers. What are the chances that the task force will be able to effect positive change if the metrics used to reward their tech support staff remain the same? The funny thing is that large companies often end up creating groups that are working at cross purposes yet are supposed to be working together.

    What makes misaligned goals so insidious is that the members of the collaborating groups who are working through the project often don't realize that the problem is that their goals are misaligned. A lot of the time people tend to think the problem is the other group is evil, a bunch of jerks or just plain selfish. The truth is often that the so-called jerks are really just thinking You're not my manager, so I'm not going to ask how high when you tell me to jump. Once you find out you've hit this problem then the path to solving it is clear. You either have to (i) make sure all collaborating parties want to reach the same outcome and place have similar priorities or (ii) jettison the collaboration effort.

    Another problem that has scuttled many a collaboration effort is when one or more of the parties involved has undisclosed concerns about the risks of collaborating which prevents them from entering into the collaboration wholeheartedly or even worse has them actively working against it. Software development teams experience this when they have to manage dependences on their project or that they have on other projects. There's a good paper on the topic entitled Managing Cognitive and Affective Trust in the Conceptual R&D Organization by Diane H. Sonnenwald which breaks down the problem of distrust in conceptual organizations (aka virtual teams) in the following way

    Two Types of Trust and Distrust: Cognitive and Affective
    Two types of trust, cognitive and affective, have been identified as important in organizations (McAllister, 1995; Rocco, et al, 2001). Cognitive trust focuses on judgments of competence and reliability. Can a co-worker complete a task? Will the results be of sufficient quality? Will the task be completed on time? These are issues that comprise cognitive trust and distrust. The more strongly one believes the answers to these types of questions are affirmative, the stronger one’s cognitive trust. The more strongly one believes the answers to these types of questions are negative, the stronger one’s cognitive distrust.

    Affective trust focuses on interpersonal bonds among individuals and institutions, including perceptions of colleagues’ motivation, intentions, ethics and citizenship. Affective trust typically emerges from repeated interactions among individuals, and experiences of reciprocated interpersonal care and concern (Rosseau, et al, 1998). It is also referred to as emotional trust (Rocco, et al, 2001) and relational trust (Rosseau, et al, 1998). It can be “the grease that turns the wheel” (Sonnenwald, 1996).

    The issue of affective distrust is strongly related to lacking shared goals while working together as a team which I've already discussed. Cognitive distrust typically results in one or more parties in the collaboration acting with the assumption that the collaboration is going to fail. Since these distrusting group(s) assume failure will be the end result of the collaboration they will take steps to insulate themselves from this failure. However what makes this problem insidious is that the "untrusted" groups are often not formally confronted about the lack of trust in their efforts and thus risk mitigation is not formally built into the collaboration effort. Eventually this leads to behavior that is counterproductive to the collaboration as teams try to mitigate risks in isolation and eventually there is distrust between all parties in the collaboration. Project failure often soon follows.

    The best way to prevent this from happening once you find yourself in this situation is to put everyone's concerns on the table. Once the concerns are on the table, be they concerns about product quality, timelines or any of the other myriad issues that impact collaboration, mitigations can be put in place. As the saying goes sunlight is the best disinfectant, thus I've also seen that when the "distrusted" team becomes fully transparent in their workings and information disclosure it quickly makes matters clear. Because one of two things will happen; it will either (i) reassure their dependents that their fears are unfounded or (ii) confirm their concerns in a timely fashion. Either of which is preferable to the status quo.

    Now Playing: Mariah Carey - Cruise Control (featuring Damian Marley)


              Bauer Students Selected to Intern With Multinational Companies In China        
    Two C. T. Bauer College of Business students will go global this summer as they gain hands-on business experience with multinational companies in China.
              Commentaires sur Pourquoi j’essaie désespérément de boycotter Nestlé par KECK'S Café Nature Shop - Bertrand        
    Bonjour à vous tous, Le mois dernier, j’ai croisé “par hasard” sur internet, un reportage non-polémique qui avait pour sujet la main mise de Nestlé sur l’exploitation démesurée de la source “Poland Spring” située à Fryeburg (Maine) USA. Or 25 ans plus tôt, j’avais précisément séjourné à Fryeburg; je me retrouvais ainsi plongé à nouveau dans cette histoire d’eau démesurée, que je croyais n’avoir été qu’un mauvais rêve à l’époque... lorsque j'habitais Montréal et que j'allais souvent en balade en fin de semaine, de l'autre côté des lignes, au volant d'une Citroën DS blanche... J’ai été très touché par ce reportage, après l'avoir visionné un soir sur Arte+7 (chaîne de TV franco-allemande)... Deux jours plus tard, je me suis alors lancé dans une sorte d’ “enquête improvisée”... au pas d’une fourmi attentive, histoire de “croiser” les informations. Ainsi, tout au long du mois, à mesure de mes découvertes, des films courts, des vidéos de “témoins inconnus”, comme de la lecture de documents Pdf, j’étais témoin d’agissements pour le moins écoeurants vis-à-vis des ressources en eau potable, tant par des municipalités, que des régions entières dans le monde, alors qu’au 1er rang des décisionnaires, figurent d’énormes multinationales d’origine Anglaise, Nord-Américaine, Chinoise, Française, Hollandaise, Italienne, Suisse... De tout mon coeur, je suis heureux aujourd’hui de pouvoir partager avec vous cette publication, alors qu'en même temps croyez-le bien, c’est un cri d’horreur qui me retourne le coeur...... Ainsi par obligation, il est fort possible que vous puissiez ressentir vous aussi, une étourdissante odeur nauséabonde en regardant certains documents. Mais gardez-vous de la colère inutile et voyez aussi que des solutions existent ! Le boycotte de certaines marques en est une Très efficace parmi d’autres... De manière à aller vers le positif, j’ai consacré un petit dernier tiers de la publication, à une poignée de “guerriers pacifiques”, silencieux et actifs, petits et grands, qui sans grand bruit médiatique, informent, mettent en place et font fonctionner, d’intéressantes et simples solutions, tant en Afrique, en Chine, aux Etats-Unis, en France, en Inde, au Pérou... D’autres initiatives toutes simples d’information, sont des exemples : comme en Polynésie Française ou sur le site internet de la municipalité de Shippagan en Acadie... Alors oui, il est temps d’intégrer qu’un changement réel et venant du coeur, de certaines de nos habitudes de vie et de consommation, peuvent très vite avoir un impact positif au bénéfice de l’eau, donc de la Terre. En même temps, comme de solides grains de sable dans le carburateur des profiteurs, nous pouvons agir sans violence, sans pensés négatives, afin de peu à peu gripper le moteur de celles et de ceux qui pillent la planète, la polluent, gaspillent ses "cadeaux" et profitent de l’eau - bien commun de tous - ne cherchant qu’à créer du profit à tout “prix”, n’ayant rien à faire des dégâts irréparables que vous constaterez et ce, pour nombre de générations suivantes... Bon visionnement et bonnes découvertes éventuelles ! N’hésitez pas à "copier/coller" autour de vous, les informations qui vous auront le plus intéressé... Pour le plaisir de ce partage "franco-québécois"... Amicalement, Bertrand Merci de cliquer sur le lien : www.keckscafe.com Nota Bene : En cas de difficultés pour accéder aux vidéos du blog de Keck’s , essayez de fermer les logiciels gourmands en espace dans votre ordinateur : Word ou Excel (PC/Mac) et/ou I.Photo (Mac).
              The Decline of the European Union: How the Exit of the Netherlands May Unfold        

    If all goes well, June 24th will be the date remembered in history as the beginning of the end for the monstrous-multinational European Union. That was, of course, the day Britain’s people voted to leave the bureaucracy of Brussels behind. Yet, more than two months after the vote, the United Kingdom remains alone in its exit preparations. But come early […]

    The post The Decline of the European Union: How the Exit of the Netherlands May Unfold appeared first on Being Libertarian.


              WHO, part V: end of the beginning        
    [This is the last post in the series about WHO (part I, part II, part III, part IV). We try to sum up where the story has (unexpectedly) brought us.]

    For everyone reading this series of posts wondering where we were going, we were wondering, too. The Reveres started blogging because for us, "writing is thinking," and we believed strongly then and continue to believe now that the progressive public health movement did too little thinking and too much sloganeering. We started writing as a way of trying to think things through, doing it publicly because we beleived there was much raw brain power "out there" to help us move things forward. We haven't been disappointed, despite the occasional aggravation that goes with asking people what they think and giving them an opportunity to answer.

    The WHO series originated because of our distress over criticisms leveled at WHO regarding their transparency, their honesty and their motives, especially the issue of sequence release and their incomplete recording of case data. If you read the comments here you will find us defending WHO and flu scientists and trying to parry accusations we felt were unfair and misdirected. It was our thought that one way to have a more persuasive response was to explain where WHO fit into the whole scheme of things. Hence this series.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to the last installment. Our original ideas began to evolve, and we must acknowledge that some of our readers' criticisms of WHO had more force than we gave them credit for, and some of the optimism we had about WHO's own recognition of the problems has been tempered. We still have respect for the many highly competent professionals in WHO, some of whom risk their lives in the cause of public health. We still have sympathy for the extremely difficult position WHO finds itself in as an intergovernmental agency trying to work with governments whose highest priority is not the health of the world's people, or even, in some cases, the health of their own people. We still think the imputation of base motives to many in WHO is misguided, misdirected and unfair. And along with our wiki colleague anon_22, we still think we are better off having WHO than not having WHO -- by a long way. But we no longer see WHO as the principal engine safeguarding global public health.

    One of the fundamental problems is that WHO, however global its vision, can act only through the same sovereign states that constitute its membership and are the instrumentalities through which any actions are taken. WHO's success in the SARS outbreak rested on its authority as a source of global alert, best clinical practice, and most dramatically, geographically-specific travel advisories. These products all depended on WHO's ability to provide information. But as the H5N1 threat has evolved in relative slow motion, old Westphalian habits hve reasserted themselves, as WHO scrambles to manage information and reveal it simultaneously. Cumulative missteps -- contradictory stories, clear spinning towards less threatening outcomes, unfounded claims of certainty and authority when uncertainty and powerlessness were the reality, lack of transparency about sequence information and case data, overstatement and understatement -- have seriously weakened the only real source of WHO power, its credibility and authority.

    Three years ago WHO would have been able to weather these self-inflicted wounds. Now WHO must compete with an abundant free flow of information on the internet, information which is sometimes correct, sometimes not, but often as accurate or more accurate than WHO's. It comes from the same raw sources as WHO's but its interpretation is not bound by WHO's rules, traditions or constraints. If those rules and constraints were the source of discipline to make WHO's version superior, it would be one thing. But they aren't. They are another source of distortion. Thus one of the sources of WHO's enhanced powers after the revision of the IHR, the management of the flow of epidemiological information and surveillance, has been overtaken and perhaps made irrelevant by the advance of technology and the new social structures it fostered.

    WHO's complementary role in coordinating global resources for control of local and regional disease outbreaks remains an important one, but it is moot for a pandemic which happens everywhere. There is not much ability to focus and coordinate resources that are needed everywhere. The "national system" upon which WHO depends is also clearly incompatible with the demands of reacting to infectious diseases that care nothing for national borders. For an evolving pandemic where managing the consequences is paramount, the main tool is information.

    In that sphere, WHO and its sovereign member nations must not only share the stage with many non-state actors, but it must share them with actors that can rise to the demands of a pandemic better than WHO itself. WHO's epidemiological intelligence function has been superseded by a global internet that ferrets out, assembles and interprets information faster than WHO and often arrives at plausible interpretations at odds with the ones advanced by WHO.

    Where does this leave us? We wish we knew the answer, but the H5N1 pandemic threat has left WHO and the world suspended in a kind of global public health limbo, recreating the anarchy of Westphalian public health but enlarging it to include all the other actors as well: states, intergovernmental agencies, NGOs, multinational corporations, public-private partnerships, and the increasingly influential world of information fed internet subcultures. Like the nations of the world, we need to find a way to work together. Information has become the currency in this world. We all want more of it and we want real gold, not fool's gold.

    Information is a type of product that isn't depleted with use. It is not a counter in a zero sum game, with your gain my loss. Just the reverse. When it is distributed and redistributed, everyone gains. The lesson is that we all need to treat that resource with the greatest respect and the utmost of generosity. If WHO wants to regain some credibility and effectiveness, the single most important thing is to open the spigots of information full bore. We know it hasn't done so yet.

    The same is true of my scientific colleagues. If you work on infectious diseases of pandemic importance, you will have to change your customary way of doing things. For some this is hard but it is necessary. For students and their mentors who fear this will put them at a competitive disadvantage in the academic world, that's going to be the price you will have to pay to be in this field. There are a lot of other subjects you can pursue if this is unacceptable to you. To health agencies like CDC, you will also have to provide the same kind of information, without regard for political, career or commercial considerations. It's not a choice. Do it or lose your authority and credibility. This is a constraint the outside world is placing on you.

    For us, the distributed and global world of obsessed information harvesters, purveyors of hopes and fears, cassandras and hucksters, prophets and ordinary folks, there are also responsibilities. We need to practice fairness, consideration, empathy, constructiveness, and the desire to help each other and others engaged to the same ends, including WHO and CDC, in this increasingly turbulent drama against a virus that doesn't think, doesn't care and isn't even alive.

    Maintaining that balance and openness ourselves may be the toughest job of all, as we struggle to push others to do their jobs, too.

              WHO, part IV: one door closes, another door opens        
    [This is the fourth of several posts (part I, part II, part III, part V) giving some background to the place of WHO in the international system. I am trying to explain some things about WHO behavior and positions I think might be useful to interpreting their actions and statements. It is not meant as a defense of either.]

    Westphalian public health, as embodied in the International Health Regulations, was obviously a failure, and revision of the IHR was in order. The revision process began quietly in 1995. Early on it was realized that just adding to the list of notifiable diseases (including HIV/AIDS, for example) was not going to solve the serious structural problems caused by reliance on states as the only legitimate actors and sources of information. The member states were often blatantly disregarding their obligations to notify WHO, and through WHO, other member states. Adding to the list of diseases wasn't going to help much. The goal of the revision remained the same, however: to prevent the cross-border spread of infectious disease while interfering a little as possible with trade and travel (see also, the excellent monograph by David Fidler, SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease). The key move was to include information of non-state origin as legitimate sources of epidemiological information. This was a conscious break with Westphalian principles because it shared governance with non-state actors.

    It was also a formal recognition of a fact. On the one hand, depending on states to divulge information that might damage them was unrealistic and obviously a failure. On the other hand, WHO and global health experts were already using to good effect non-state sources of information: newspapers, websites, chatrooms and email lists -- all the capabilities of the exploding new information technologies we know as the internet. In the mid nineties the Program for monitoring emerging Diseases (ProMED) was formed to harness the internet for a rapid dissemination of diverse sources of information. Today ProMED has tens of thousands of subscribers in more than 150 countries. Many of us receive it by broadcast email and its website is open to the world. It is currently sponsored by the International Society for Infectious Diseases, an NGO.

    This kind of information was not just harvested, but also used by WHO in a new Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), which started operation in 1998. On paper GOARN was impressive:
    This overarching network interlinks, in real time, 110 existing networks which toegether possess much of the data, expertise, and skills needed to keep the international community alert to outbreaks and ready to respond . . . .[o]ne of the most powerful new tools for gathering epidemiological intelligence is a customized search engine that continuously scans world Internet communications for rumors and reports of suspicious disease events. (WHO, as quoted in Fidler, p.. 66 - 67).
    WHO claimed to have used GOARN to identify and investigate 538 outbreaks of international concern in 132 countries between 1998 and 2002. I have no way to verify this. But Karl Greenfeld, in his new book on SARS (The China Syndrome), points out that at the time of the SARS crisis, GOARN was in reality just three full-time medical professionals operating out of two offices on the first floor of the WHO annex building in Geneva. GOARN got its information from the same sources we do at Effect Measure: ProMED, media reports, websites, local correspondents and rumors.

    On February 11, 2003 GOARN detected a developing respiratory disease outbreak in southern China, about a month after the Chinese government sent a team of doctors to Heyuan Number One Hospital to see the first cases of what later came to be know as SARS that came to its attention (they did nothing about it). Initially, the WHO suspected this was the start of an H5N1 outbreak and they alerted their laboratory network immediately, although public notification didn't come until weeks later. One might say that GOARN had "worked" much better than leaving it to China to report, but there was still a sufficiently long lag time that hads it been the start of a flu pandemic it would have cost many lives.

    The SARS outbreak was resolved with the help of hard work on the part of many people, including heroic doctors in Hong Kong and WHO epidemiologists, one of whom died identifying the disease. Had this truly been H5N1, however, we would almost certainly have had a pandemic. This, despite even more dramatic departures from WHO's Westphalian heritage. In trying to stop the global spread of SARS, WHO issued travel advisories against the wishes of powerful member states and suffered a backlash from Canada as a result. And while WHO had made progress, SARS showed its capabilities were probably inadequate to stop a pandemic from the influenza virus.

    In 2005 the IHR were officially de-Westphalianized, the culmination both of their failure in an age of global pandemics or threatened pandemics (HIV/AIDS, SARS, now avian influenza) and the "facts on the ground" regarding new actors on the global public health stage (discussed in Part III). The revised IHR don't seem up to the task, however, despite their departure from their Westphalian roots. In particular, there are many loopholes, long timelines, gaps and vague clauses, problems that to any lawyer's eyes, would vitiate the force of the new regulations.

    Given the nature of this intergovernmental agency it may be as good as it can do. We don't have a world government and the US have done all in its power to circumscribe and weaken the UN, the world's only and already weak supranational force. And the revisions may prove very useful for other, regional or more localized outbreaks of disease. But it is hard to see how they will change much in WHO's ability to affect the evolution of an evolving pandemic threat from avian influenza. (You can read the IHR here and some thoughtful and heated commentary on it on The Flu Wiki in this Forum Thread. The Forum is the freewheeling discussion section of the Wiki and is separate from the "informational" side. In particular you will find useful annotations of the IHR by anon_22 at 10:35.)

    If the revised IHR have any significance it lies elsewhere. In the final post, we broaden the question of where WHO fits in, not with respect to the international system, but with respect to the new global health system that includes WHO, NGOs, multinational and national businesses -- and the new communities growing up around the internet. In other words, us. This is a critical discussion we need to shape our response to the other actors who share the global public health stage with us: our own countries, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations like WHO, FAO, OIE and the World Bank, and the various internet communities that rub shoulders, sometimes cooperatively and sometimes in opposition.

              WHO, part III: the world changes        
    [This is the third of several posts (part I, part II) giving some background to the place of WHO in the international system. I am trying to explain some things about WHO behavior and positions I think might be useful to interpreting their actions and statements. It is not meant as a defense of either.]

    The idea that states were the only legitimate actors was the essence of the system WHO was born into, guiding and constraining its activities for the first 50 years or so. It derived from the Peace of Westphalia, 1648 (seep part I):
    The Westphalian moment in the seventeenth century represented the effective abandonment of the legitimacy of transnational, non-state actors, such as the Catholic Church, that had played governance roles in earlier times. The Peace of Westphalia stripped governance of international relaitons bare of such actors and grounded governance in the interactions of sovereign states. (David Fidler, SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease, p. 50)
    In part II we saw how this was reflected in the International Health Regulations that governed WHO's activities in infectious disease, establishing the state as the only legitimate source of epidemiological information and the only actor that could authorize its dissemination. The idea of the IHR was to reduce the possibility that one state would needlessly harm another by the unilateral application of quarantine or product boycott for reasons of infectious disease. The IHR were international health treaty counterparts to the kind of standardization that was done in many places in the twentieth century to standardize regulations, screw sizes and many other things to lubricate the wheels of commerce, travel and trade.

    Despite the state-centered basis, non-state actors like multinational corporations (MNCs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were not absent from the WHO world. WHO had both formal and informal systems of relationships with them to allow cooperation and consultation in matters of health. The difference was that the MNCs and NGOs were not part of the WHO governance scheme. Only states were.

    But NGOs and MNCs were neither inert nor passive and their power and influence grew in the last third of the twentieth century. An international campaign against infant formula in the developing world had significant success in altering marketing practices of MNCs and national maternal and child health agencies. The field of actors was being enlarged beyond the states, affecting intergovernmental agencies like WHO indirectly through effects on MNCs and governments. MNCs in turn also were players with national governments and sometimes NGOs. The stage was becoming more crowded.

    At the same time a new kind of actor was coming into being, the "public-private partnership." A recent example is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, directed at working with WHO and other intergovernmental agencies like the World Bank, governments, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies to provide vaccines for the world's children. This is about as un-Westphalian an endeavor as one can imagine. These partnerships are not treaty agreements between sovereign states but agreements between a wide range of actors that include WHO, sovereign states, NGOs, MNCs and others. Nor is it the only such example. There are many others, including the ambitious voluntary bird flu fund established in January.

    Thus while the IHR remained stuck in a Westphalian world, the international system had changed radically. On paper, international health might be populated solely by state actors, in reality that world was gone. Whether it was NGOs, corporations, public-private partnerships or the new sub-cultures growing up through the internet, the prohibitions and constraints that kept WHO confined to horizontal relationships between state actors had broken down and numerous new actors were busily engaged in influencing, intervening, opposing or supporting what was going on inside state borders.

    There is more to it. A fundamental change was occurring in how we looked at the world, perhaps best symbolized by the iconic blue marble view of the earth from space. The right to participate in international health governance was no longer seen as the sole right of nation states, whose existence is not visible in this view. Nor is it presumed that the Great Powers should be either the sole producers or sole consumers of products meant to enhance the health of the globe. The Westphalian standard of "the national interest" was no longer the obvious touchstone of all global health decisions.

    Fidler discusses how the new view influenced such establishment sources as the 2001 action agenda of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health on a matter which concerns us here, so I'll end this post with it:
    The Commission's action agenda included the recommendation that the supply of global public goods, such as international disease surveillance, be bolstered through additional financing of relevant international organizations, including WHO. The Commission captured why [the idea of global public health good] differs from the policy objectives targeted in Westphalian governance when it observed that global public goods "are public goods that are underprovided by local and national governments, since the benefits accrue beyond a country's borders." (Fidler, p. 60).
    In part IV, we'll discuss how WHO responded -- and failed to respond -- to the new reality and the growing threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

              PMBA Students Travel to Beijing, China        
    Dr. James Johnson and 12 PMBA students recently returned from Beijing, China, after spending a week there with PMBA students as part of the INTL 606 -- Business in Emerging Markets course. The week in China helped the students understand the complexities, the opportunities, and the frustrations of doing business in emerging markets.

    The students visited the offices of Ogilvy & Mather (advertising), Google, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Quality Brands Protection Committee (a consortium of multinationals seeking to increase intellectual property protection rights), and had briefings from the Economic and Political sections of the US Embassy and from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, the students visited major cultural sites in Beijing, such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall. The students also gathered data for their team research papers on different aspects of doing business in China.

    The arrangements in Beijing were organized by Educasian, which has worked with Rollins previously in Shanghai. The hotel was well situated in the center of the city, with well-appointed double rooms for the students, and all visits were made easier by the provision of a minibus and driver. The group had its own dedicated guide for the week: Peter Jacobsen, a Danish national who has lived and worked in China for 14 years. Peter’s caustic humor, fluent Chinese, and knowledge of the culture made the trip unforgettable experience for Dr. Johnson and the students.

    Dr. Johnson stated that this was one of the best travel courses he has led in 8 years at Crummer, and much of this was due to the attitude of the students themselves: Andrea Batres, Melissa Collins, Melissa Dubois, Alessandro Garabaghi, Taylor Kennedy, Oscar Leon, CJ Maier, Carlos Mendez, Kathy Savon, Rachel Sutherland, Ina Toderita, and Alexandra Tuttle.
              Brace Yourselves for Iran Deal Repeal        

    President Trump seems determined to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, with no reason apart from the fact that he wants to. His hostility to the deal—based largely on a misunderstanding of its contents—doesn’t mean that he can cancel America’s obligations by himself. But he can trigger a process in which Congress—much of which is equally hostile to the deal—votes to withdraw.

    The deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015 by Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France), as well as Germany, and the European Union—required Iran to dismantle its nuclear program in a way that blocks the country from building a nuclear weapon for more than 10 years. In exchange, the other signatories agreed to lift sanctions that had been imposed on Iran as a result of its nuclear activities. (Other sanctions, related to Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism, and human rights violations, would remain in place.)

    Because it was a multinational arrangement, not a formal treaty, Congress had no say in ratifying the deal. But Congress did pass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires the president to certify, every 90 days, that Iran is (or isn’t) abiding by the deal’s terms and allowing international inspectors to verify compliance. If he doesn’t sign this certification, Congress has 60 days to consider a bill to reimpose the sanctions—a period that cannot be blocked or delayed by procedural motions.

    Since taking office, Trump has certified twice that Iran wasn’t cheating on the deal, but the second time—on July 17—he did so reluctantly. According to the New York Times, he spent 55 minutes of an hourlong meeting with his national security advisers moaning that he “did not want to” sign the certificate. He finally relented, having no choice: The International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.S. intelligence agencies all agreed, Iran was abiding by the accord and giving inspectors full access to records and facilities.

    At the end of the meeting, Trump told his advisers that he wasn’t going to keep doing this, every 90 days, indefinitely. This week, he went further, telling the Wall Street Journal, “If it was up to me, I would have had them [the Iranians] non-compliant 180 days ago.” Asked if he expected them to be declared noncompliant next time, Trump replied, “Personally, I do.”

    Notice: Trump was not addressing whether the Iranians really were, or will be, compliant. He doesn’t care about that. After all, 180 days ago, they were objectively seen to be compliant, but, if it had been up to him, in his words, “I would have had them non-compliant”—regardless of the actual facts—and he expects to declare them noncompliant in the next review, which takes place Oct. 16.

    As he does with many issues, Trump is creating his own reality and finds nothing wrong with that.

    If he declares Iran noncompliant, or even if he merely declines to declare it compliant, the matter of reimposing sanctions passes to the hands of Congress, whose Republican majority has never liked the deal, in large part because it was a crowning diplomatic achievement of President Barack Obama.

    At a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, this week, Trump denounced the deal, as he has many times, as “the single worst deal I’ve ever seen drawn up by anybody,” repeating the claim that it called for the United States to give Iran $100 billion to $150 billion and another $1.7 billion in cash. In fact, however, the U.S. is not giving Iran anything; rather, it is freeing Iran’s own assets, which were frozen in Western bank accounts as punishment for the country’s illegal, covert nuclear program. Plus, Trump’s figure of $100 billion or so amounts to assets held worldwide, not just in the United States.

    Releasing those funds conforms to the logic of sanctions: Assets are frozen to punish a country for certain behavior; if the behavior stops, the assets are unfrozen. This isn’t a gift; it’s a logical piece of the deal. As for the $1.7 billion in cash, this represented the Obama administration’s settlement of a legal dispute dating back 37 years, when Iran (then ruled by the Shah) paid for a huge weapons order, which the United States didn’t deliver (since, by the time the order was ready to go, the Ayatollah Khomeini had seized power). Refunding the money, plus interest, doesn’t amount to a giveaway either.

    If Trump refuses to sign the certification in October, does that mean the deal is over? Not necessarily. First, Congress might not vote to reimpose sanctions. Many U.S. corporations, especially airline companies, have started doing business with Iran and would lobby against the cutoff—especially since their foreign competitors will continue profiting. That’s another reason Congress might not go along with Trump: The other countries that signed the Iran deal aren’t likely to follow Trump’s lead and reimpose their own sanctions. Trump could order that, as part of his withdrawal, U.S. banks must refuse to do business with any foreign company that continues to violate the sanctions (which, at that point, only the United States would be imposing). But this move would arouse massive resistance from financial institutions, especially if Iran was actually still complying with the deal. And if the other countries did go along, if multinational sanctions really were reimposed, then Iran would likely resume its nuclear program—and, under the circumstances, many world leaders wouldn’t blame Iran; instead, they’d blame the United States.

    Finally, Trump’s national security advisers have all said that, while they’re dissatisfied with certain aspects of the Iran deal and suspicious of the Iranian regime generally, the deal is better than no deal—as long as the Iranians comply with it—and, in any case, a U.S. withdrawal would damage our diplomatic credibility and our relations with the allies who also signed it.

    In other words, if Trump follows his instincts, he will set off a crisis of massive proportions—with Congress, his advisers, U.S. businesses, banks, and allies—and for no reason at all, except that he doesn’t like Iran, Obama’s successes, or complicated things that he doesn’t understand.


              The Iran Trap        

    President Donald Trump is having, even by his standards, a very bad week. On Monday alone, quite apart from the continuing Russia scandal, he found himself blocked from fulfilling his dreams and campaign promises to repeal the two landmark achievements of the Obama years—the Affordable Care Act and the Iran nuclear deal.

    In the former, Senate Republican leaders couldn’t muster enough votes, even within their own party, for an alternative plan that was drawn up in secret and would snatch health care from more than 20 million Americans. In the latter, Trump was met with—and, at first, tried to resist—an unpleasant surprise: The Iranians, it turns out, are in full compliance with the accord’s quite stringent terms. The deal, which Trump and other critics had denounced as dangerous and unworkable, is working.

    Shortly after the deal was signed in July 2015 by Iran and six other nations (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China—plus Germany), the U.S. Congress passed a bill requiring the president to report every 90 days on whether Iran was keeping its end of the bargain. Monday was the most recent 90-day deadline.

    Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

    In June, as the deadline approached, the White House was dealt a crushing blow by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been monitoring the deal under the most intrusive inspection regime ever negotiated in an arms-control accord. The IAEA concluded—in its own detailed, point-by-point report on the matter—that the Iranians have so far followed the accord to the letter.

    The deal required Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges in its reactors by two-thirds; to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 97 percent; to destroy the core of a heavy-water reactor that might have produced plutonium bombs; and to allow IAEA inspectors to enter, monitor, and take measurements not only at “known” nuclear facilities but also at “suspect” covert sites. The agency’s findings of Iran’s compliance with these and other requirements: check, check, check, and check.

    At an hourlong meeting on Wednesday, Trump’s top security advisers—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; Secretary of Defense James Mattis; Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser; and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—unanimously told the president he had no choice but to certify that Iran was in compliance. But, according to a story by Peter Baker in the New York Times, Trump spent 55 minutes of the meeting telling his advisers “he did not want to.”

    Over the next several days, the advisers crafted what they presented to Trump as a tough new policy: He would sign the certification but also stiffen U.S. sanctions against Iran for its development of ballistic missiles, support of terrorism, and violation of human rights.

    In fact, though, the advisers were craftier than Trump knew. Under the nuclear deal, the U.S. and the five other signatories agreed to lift sanctions that they had imposed on Iran for its nuclear activities, which had previously been in violation of United Nations resolutions. However, the deal explicitly stated that the sanctions that had been imposed on Iran for other nefarious activities could stay in place. In other words, the advisers’ proposal, which Trump accepted, was no new policy, not even much of a shift. It is allowed for in the nuclear deal—and the United States, along with other countries, have been imposing sanctions on Iran, under those other criteria, for years.

    McMaster seemed to keep up the rhetorical ploy on Monday in a conference call with reporters, telling them that Iran had breached “the spirit” of the nuclear deal and “has been walking up to violating the letter” of it as well. Like many American soldiers who fought in Iraq, McMaster is deeply suspicious of Iran, but he has also read the agreement’s text, so his words here can only be seen as disingenuous. For the text was composed so precisely that there is no distinction between its “spirit” and its “letter”; the only way of violating the former is to violate the latter.

    So, yes, Iran continues to do things that we don’t like, but those things—testing missiles, financing terrorists, oppressing internal critics, expanding its influence across the Middle East—were not covered by the accord, and deliberately so. Iran’s impending nuclear threat was seen as the urgent danger; wrapping talks over that threat into some “grand bargain,” which would settle all of our differences, was seen as a fool’s errand and a distracting delay. Analogies were drawn to the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms-reduction treaties signed during the Cold War. Those treaties said nothing about Moscow’s communist ideology, its oppression of dissidents, its occupation of Eastern Europe, or its support for developing countries’ revolutionary movements. But the treaties were valuable nonetheless for staving off the danger of nuclear war.

    It’s true that Obama and some of his aides hoped that the nuclear deal with Iran might alter Tehran’s policies over time—in part by drawing the country into the global economy after decades of isolation, in part by strengthening the domestic leverage of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had initiated the overture to the West and are thought to be more Western-leaning than the mullahs who presently rule Iran’s politics.

    However, Obama also said, publicly and privately, that the deal was a good deal—for the security of the United States and its allies, including those in the Middle East—whether or not Iran changed its broader outlook. Which would be worse, Obama would ask: an aggressive Iran with nuclear weapons or an aggressive Iran without nuclear weapons? To critics who complained that the deal prevented Iran from going nuclear for just 10 years (though actually it blocked some critical paths to a bomb for 15 and 25 years), Obama would ask: Would you rather leave Iran with the ability to build a bomb in one year, which it possessed when the deal was signed?

    “They might cheat” remained the critics’ only substantive line of attack. And even Trump has been forced to admit that, at least for now, they’re not cheating. There is no “spirit” of the deal that the Iranians are violating. And as for McMaster’s claim that they’re “walking up to violating the letter” of the deal, that’s just another way of saying that they’re not violating its letter. They may be doing everything up to the limits of what the deal allows—but, again, those limits fall far short of what Iran needs to get remotely close to acquiring a nuclear weapon.

    Meanwhile, if Trump is worried about Iranian expansion (a legitimate source of worry), he seems oblivious to the fact that his own policies have worsened the trends. By denouncing Qatar as a leading financier of terrorism (thus succumbing to sweet-talking pressure from the Saudis and an info-war hacking campaign by the UAE), Trump drove Qatar’s emir—who, yes, had been playing all sides in the sectarian wars but had also been hosting the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East—into the arms of … that’s right, Iran. By aiding the Saudis in their vicious air war over Yemen and killing many more civilians than Obama had in his own abetting, Trump has helped legitimize Iran’s support of the rebels. By failing even to attempt a politico-diplomatic settlement to the civil wars in Iraq and Syria (even as the military campaigns against ISIS are succeeding), he has solidified Iran’s political control of Baghdad. (In fairness, though, Iran’s growing influence in Iraq was an almost an almost inevitable consequence of the power vacuum left by President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion.)

    Trump also made a terrible mistake when, during the NATO summit in May, he tried to persuade European allies to stop their trade and financial transactions with Iran. By doing this, the United States accomplished the dubious feat of being the first power to violate the Iran nuclear deal. For instance, in the accord, the United States and European Union pledge to “refrain from any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran inconsistent with their commitments not to undermine the successful implementation of this [agreement].” They also agreed on “steps to ensure Iran’s access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy.”

    Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister who is visiting New York, argued explicitly on Monday, at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, that Trump has violated the nuclear deal. The multinational commission that periodically reviews compliance with the deal is meeting in Vienna this Thursday. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Iran’s delegates use the occasion to file a formal complaint against the United States.

    The complaint isn’t likely to amount to much. Trump’s lobbying in Europe had no effect. Western firms have begun to sign contracts in areas of commerce the nuclear deal allows, and American firms would be loath to grant foreign competitors a leg up to appease Trump’s pique.

    It is a devastating sign—not only of how poorly Trump understands foreign policy but also of how inadequately his vaunted deal-making skills translate to international politics—that an American president is being outflanked so easily by an Iranian foreign minister. It’s a sorrier sign still that the Iranian foreign minister is in the right.


              Is Rex Tillerson—Friend of Putin, Uninformed on the Issues—the Best We’ve Got?        

    Rex Tillerson, the nominee for secretary of state, gave an uneven performance at his nine-hour confirmation hearing on Wednesday. He came off as more sensible than several candidates that Donald Trump had considered for the job, and he openly disagreed with some of Trump’s more-noxious notions. But he seemed poorly briefed on several key foreign policy issues and surprisingly shallow in his view of power. And he failed to allay several senators’ doubts that, after 45 years at Exxon Mobil Corp., including 10 as its chairman and CEO, he’ll be able to separate the nation’s interests from those of the world’s largest, most aggressive oil company, which has ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

    In the exchanges that might raise Trump’s eyebrows, Tillerson said that he would come to the aid of any NATO member nation under attack, regardless of how much the nation had been spending on defense (Trump has said he might not commit U.S. troops if the nation hadn’t spent as much as it should have); that he wouldn’t pull out of the Paris talks on climate change or tear up the Iran nuclear deal; that Muslims should not be kept out of the United States because of their religion; that, in fact, moderate Muslims are among “our greatest allies” in the war on terror; that Mexico is “a long-standing neighbor and friend of this country;” that, contrary to Trump’s statement in a New York Times interview, it would be bad for U.S. security if Japan, South Korea, or Saudi Arabia built nuclear weapons; and that, contrary to what Trump has said many times, he is opposed to the use of torture.

    However, the senators could not pin down Tillerson on the issue of sanctions, especially those imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea, invasion of eastern Ukraine, and cyber attacks on the recent U.S. election. He said, as he has in the past, that sanctions, by nature, “harm American business,” so they have to be designed carefully. When Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, noted that Tillerson had been opposed to all sanctions while at ExxonMobil, and that he had frequently lobbied against U.S. sanctions policy, Tillerson insisted that neither he nor the company had ever engaged in such lobbying.

    After the lunch break, Menendez returned to the session with ExxonMobil’s own lobbying forms indicating it had lobbied against 10 bills to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran, and other countries. Tillerson didn’t back down, asking whether the documents showed the company lobbying for or against the sanctions. Menendez smiled and said, “I know you weren’t lobbying for sanctions.” Tillerson said the company might have been simply seeking information about the bills. Menendez said, “You don’t need a lobbying form to seek clarification and information on a bill. So there was lobbying here.” Tillerson repeated that he didn’t remember the specific incidents and suggested that Menendez contact ExxonMobil, from which he resigned when he was nominated.

    When Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the recent election, asked about ExxonMobil’s funding of studies to debunk scientific evidence on climate change, Tillerson refused to discuss the matter, replying, “You’ll have to ask Exxon.” Kaine followed up: “Do you lack the knowledge to answer my question, or are you refusing to answer my question?” Tillerson replied, to stunned laughter in the chamber, “A little of both.” The former CEO then said he would have to look into his confidentiality contract with the company.

    His entire position on climate change was problematic, to say the least. At another point in the hearing, Tillerson acknowledged that “the risks of climate change do exist” and that “greenhouse-gas concentrations are having an effect,” but he added, “Our ability to predict that effect is very limited.”

    He said that the United States should not leave the Paris talks on climate change, but he also rejected the view that the U.S. should lead those talks, saying only that it’s “important that we stay at the table to express our view.” He also said he would conduct “a fulsome review of our policies around engaging on climate issues,” looking specifically at whether “elements of those accords … put America at a disadvantage” in its businesses.

    His views on Russia were more measured than some expected given his business ties with Russian oil companies and warm relations with Vladimir Putin, who awarded him the Order of Friendship Medal. He said that Russia was an “adversary” with which America had some common interests and some unalterable differences, adding, “The important conversation that we have to have with them” is whether Russia wants, “now and forever, to be an adversary … or does Russia desire a different relationship … that can bring down the temperature around the conflicts we have today.”

    He also said he would recommend keeping President Obama’s sanctions against Russia in place until Moscow and Washington define their relationship more clearly. He acknowledged that Putin’s annexation of Crimea was “illegal” and said he would have responded by sending “defensive lethal weapons” to the Ukrainian military—an action that Obama rejected on the grounds that it would only prompt Russia to escalate the conflict beyond a level that U.S. interests would justify matching. However, Tillerson also stopped short of calling for new sanctions on Russia, and he refused to characterize Russia’s bombing of civilians in Syria as war crimes.

    Some of Tillerson’s views about American foreign policy reflected a shallow view of today’s international politics. He blamed the chaos in much of the world on the Obama administration’s failure to assert American leadership. At one point in the hearing, he said, “America still holds all the aces—we just need to draw them out of that deck.” At another point, he said the first step in solving the crisis in the Middle East “is to re-engage with our traditional allies and friends, to confirm that we are back—and back with a plan to affect where events in Syria go from here.”

    In fact, though, America doesn’t “hold all the aces.” The problem is that, since the end of the Cold War, the game has changed: Power blocs have collapsed, artificial borders have crumbled, the influence of any single nation (or group of nations) has declined. America has failed to shape the course of events in Syria not because Obama has withdrawn—in fact, he has stepped up efforts diplomatically and militarily—but because many of our allies, who all fear and loathe ISIS, fear and loathe one another even more. As a result, American engagement and American plans have only limited traction.

    Tillerson has seems to have been misinformed on some key national security issues. He agreed with one senator’s claim that Obama’s policy is simply to contain ISIS, not destroy it. In fact, Obama’s policy is explicitly to destroy ISIS. Tillerson called for a full review of the Iran nuclear deal, claiming that it does not prohibit Iran from buying a nuclear weapon. In fact, it does bar Iran from acquiring as well as developing nukes. He said, “We haven’t enforced sanctions against North Korea.” In fact, we have enforced all the sanctions in place. A big problem is that China has refused to approve even stiffer sanctions, because it doesn’t want to see Kim Jong-un’s regime collapse. In criticizing Obama’s abstention on the recent U.N. Security Council resolution about Israeli settlements, Tillerson said he would “recommit” to Israel’s security—ignoring Obama’s recent unprecedented commitment of $38 billion in security assistance to Israel over the next 10 years.

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which held the hearing and will vote on the nomination, is almost evenly divided: 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats. In the past few weeks, there has been wide speculation that Tillerson’s bid for office might be rejected. Not only are many of its Democrats leery of his background as an oil executive, but many from both parties are very suspicious of his ties to Russia.

    However, the vibe in the chamber augured his approval, though perhaps by a tight margin. Trump has told Senate Republicans that he won’t tolerate any rejection of his Cabinet picks. Eminences who are highly respected on both sides of the aisle—including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and retired Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn—have lobbied on Tillerson’s behalf. Meanwhile, the nominee himself stayed alert and fairly clear for the all-day hearing without the aid of notes or nearby advisers. And then there’s the question of alternatives: If Tillerson is tossed aside, who gets thrown back in—Rudy Giuliani? Mitt Romney? Some seemed to be conceding (or embracing) the view that it might be better to take the multinational oil man who seems sane and reasonable, for all his wavering concepts of the national interest, than the jokers who might emerge from the next shuffle.


              We’re in Uncharted Territory With President-Elect Trump        

    Everyone is talking about unity, as tradition demands after a bitter election, but Wednesday’s rhetorical flourishes are more improbable than usual. In his victory speech early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump called on his fellow citizens to “bind the wounds of division,” pledged to be “president for all Americans” (adding, “This is so important to me”), and said of Hillary Clinton, “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”

    To buy any of this—after his repeated jabs at “Crooked Hillary,” Mexican rapists, and various screeds against women, Muslims, black people, and anyone who dares criticize him, including leaders of his own party—is to believe either that sudden ascension to high ennobles a flawed mortal or that his whole campaign has been nothing but theater. Neither theory is plausible.

    In the realm of foreign and military policy, his election has hurled U.S. officers and allied leaders into shock, and with reason. He has, over the past year, dismissed NATO as an obsolete entity and said America shouldn’t defend its member-nations from attacks if they hadn’t paid their proper dues. He has advocated withdrawing troops from Asia and shrugged at the possibility that Japan and South Korea might react to the abandonment by going nuclear. He’s talked about nuclear weapons with alarming nonchalance. He’s spoken of banning Muslims from American borders, unaware of the propaganda victory such a move would hand jihadis everywhere. He says he’d “bomb the shit out of” ISIS, clearly unaware what this would mean on an urban battlefield. By his own admission, he has read no history and, partly as a result, has no understanding of international politics, war, or diplomacy.

    This wouldn’t necessarily be disastrous if Trump were aware of his limitations and turned for advice to those versed in the subjects. But he has said that national security is one of his strengths, that he knows more about negotiating than the diplomats and more about ISIS than the generals. He is that most dangerous individual who aspires to power: a man who doesn’t know how much he doesn’t know. And now he’s heading to the White House as the leader of a party that controls both chambers of Congress and, very soon, a majority of the Supreme Court.

    As the election returns spilled his way in the wee hours Wednesday morning, some commentators assured their anxious colleagues that the Republican establishment would rein in Trump’s baser impulses. But few of these Republicans stood up to him during the campaign; many who spoke out against him, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, still endorsed him, and now, in the wake of his victory, they’re praising him as a party savior, perhaps out of fear that Trump will either sic them with a challenger in the next primary or personally remove them from their leadership posts.

    We will learn much about the direction the nation will soon take when Trump announces his Cabinet, especially his national security team. This is a man who has long valued loyalty and, when circumstances allow, has long punished betrayal. Most members of the Republican foreign-policy establishment spoke out against him long ago. Among those who have prominently stuck with him, Newt Gingrich and John Bolton have been mentioned as possible secretaries of state, retired Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser or director of national intelligence, and Rudy Giuliani as attorney general or secretary of homeland security. These are all nightmare specters—arrogant advocates of strong state power who brook no dissent, have never seen an arms-control treaty they support, and harbor resentments toward anyone who ever passed them over.

    Michael Steele, the former head of the Republican National Committee, said on one of the cable-news shows Tuesday night that the names commonly tossed about aren’t necessarily those who will be appointed; that a transition team, staffed with professionals, has been vetting possible candidates. Maybe. But the head of this transition team is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who is known to crave a top job, perhaps attorney general), with heavy assistance from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the most right-wing denizens on Capitol Hill.

    It’s possible that President Trump will sober up with power, sense the complexities of the problems before him, and implore a crew of stalwart establishment experts to help him steer the ship of state. Jimmy Carter did this to some degree, as did Bill Clinton. But this seems unlikely; it doesn’t fit the profile of the man we’ve seen up close in the last year—or that many in the New York business world have warily watched for the last few decades.

    So what difference will any of this make? Plenty. We can expect, in the next few weeks or months, that many of the world’s leaders will try to chum up to Trump. He is the president-elect, after all; the United States, though not the superpower it once was, remains an essential power. In their psychological profiles of the new American leader, the analysts in foreign intelligence agencies have no doubt advised their bosses to treat the man with all the courtesy and respect they can muster. They’ve no doubt learned some lessons about which of Trump’s buttons to push from his mistaken belief that Vladimir Putin called him “brilliant,” when, in fact, the Kremlin leader’s description of the man—zharkii—is more accurately translated as colorful. Maybe for a while Trump will respond to their compliments in kind. (This president of Estonia, he might think, is worth defending after all.)

    But it’s doubtful Trump’s deep nativism might be so easily dislodged. Again, unless he turns more establishment than anyone would now predict, here are a few things that are likely to happen in the early weeks or months of his presidency:

    Allies will start looking elsewhere for protection and deals. The Baltics and Ukraine might have to scale back their Western-leaning ambitions and make an arrangement with Moscow. The other European countries are less likely to keep up sanctions against Russia, which their business leaders are already eager to drop. Asian allies may react more swiftly. Already, President Putin is planning a December trip to Japan to discuss settling territorial disputes left over from World War II. South Korea will likely turn to China for a security arrangement, especially if Seoul’s current scandal-ridden government falls. The rest of the region might follow Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s drift toward China, especially in the wake not only of Trump’s isolationist (or unilateralist) tendencies but also of the utter collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty—which, contrary to Trump’s rantings, would have strengthened America’s leverage in the region and reduced China’s.

    Trump voters (and many other Americans) may regard all this as abstract stuff about faraway countries, but the clichés about global interdependence are true. Some trade agreements do have dislocating effects on certain sectors of the American economy, but many of them are, on balance, beneficial. Exports make up a huge share of gross domestic product; imports have a calming effect on inflation.

    Hard as this may be to imagine, the Middle East is likelier to get messier still. American leadership—political, diplomatic, and military—hammered together the ramshackle coalition that’s currently pushing ISIS out of Mosul in Iraqvand Raqqa in Syria, and it will take even more persistent American leadership to maintain the peace afterward. Trump will not be eager, or remotely able, to make the effort.

    As for the Iran nuclear deal, one of President Obama’s shining achievements, it’s unclear what Trump means when he says—and he’s said this over and over—that he’ll tear it up on Day 1. First, it’s a multinational accord, signed not just by the United States and Iran but also by the European Union nations, Russia, and China. If Trump pulls out, that doesn’t mean the deal is off. He might re-impose sanctions against Iran, but the other signatories are already doing business there and aren’t likely to go along. If U.S. banking sanctions require that they go along, then Iran may well respond by restarting its nuclear program. Either way, the hard-liners will be strengthened and the Western-leaning modernizers will be forced out. (For those who doubt that Iranian politics is beset with factions, please read Laura Secor’s Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran.) If that happens, will Trump bomb Iran—as some of his advisers (and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants to meet with the president-elect ASAP) have long wanted to do? If that happens, we are seriously screwed. When Robert Gates first became George W. Bush’s secretary of defense, he told some Israeli officers that they might do well the first few days after such an attack—but then the terrorists would launch strikes, the Straits of Hormuz would be cut off, every Muslim nation that had been warming up to Israel would have to back off, and then, a few years later, Iran would resume its nuclear program, this time with little foreign opposition.

    Starting today, President-elect Donald Trump begins receiving the same highly classified daily intelligence briefing that President Obama receives. We can all hope (and I join in this hope) that he pays close attention to these sessions and to the many other briefings offered by Obama and his security team. We can hope that he’s sobered by their insights and realizes that we face problems not because “we’re led by stupid people” (as he’s said in campaign rallies) but because the world is a complicated place. We can hope that he then appoints, as Cabinet secretaries and advisers, people of quality who can help him deal with these complexities.

    But everything we’ve learned about Donald Trump splashes not just buckets but tidal waves of doubt on this transformation having the slightest chance of happening.


              The Syrian Peace Talks Were a Waste of Time        

    The main reason for the collapse of U.S.–Russia peace talks over Syria is that Washington and Moscow have fundamentally different interests in that country.

    Vladimir Putin wants above all to preserve Syria as a politico-military foothold—Russia’s only such foothold outside the former Soviet Union. He could do so without keeping Bashar al-Assad in power as Syria’s president—Russian diplomats have decried Assad as a nuisance—except that there is no trustworthy successor in the wings. To the contrary, Putin fears (with some reason) that, if Assad goes, ISIS or some group like it would move in and take over Damascus.

    Barack Obama, meanwhile, is pursuing multiple interests in Syria. On the one hand, he has said, “Assad must go,” though he has modified that demand to a desire for a gradual political transition. On the other hand, he also wants to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. In other words, he wants regime change—yet he also picks and chooses among the factions fighting for the same goal, backing the “moderate” factions and very much opposing the jihadist ones. And he wants to accomplish all these goals—easing out Assad, promoting one rebel group, and destroying the other—without committing American ground troops (beyond a small number of Special Forces), for the very good reason that he doesn’t regard Syria as a vital U.S. interest and therefore doesn’t want to get too embroiled in a nasty civil war.

    The problem is, it may be impossible to accomplish all these interests at the same time.

    Another way of putting this is that President Obama has not devised a coherent strategy for dealing with the multiple conflicts in Syria. He hasn’t set priorities; he hasn’t picked which interests he values the most and committed resources accordingly. Instead, he has pursued all the interests, as opportunities allow, hoping that the pins fall in place—that the coalition of U.S., Kurdish, and Arab forces defeats ISIS on the battlefield, that the larger group of interested nations (including Russia) reaches a formal agreement for easing Assad out of power in a mutually acceptable way, and that the new regime (as well as the current government in Iraq) devises a power-sharing arrangement for Shiites and Sunnis, thus negating the appeal that ISIS holds for many Sunni Arabs.

    There were moments during the past year when this hope seemed plausible. But now, even Secretary of State John Kerry, the eternal optimist of diplomacy, has sighed and doused the flame.

    Obama has been reluctant to set strategic priorities because doing so involves choosing a side—which, in this conflict, means aligning with terrible actors. If the primary goal is to oust Assad, it might make sense to side, if not with ISIS, then with some of the slightly less repulsive jihadist factions, for instance al-Nusra, an offshoot of al-Qaida. If the primary goal is to crush ISIS, it might make sense to side more explicitly with Russia or Iran, or to allow the prolonging of Assad’s rule.

    The problem with both approaches (and Obama sees this) is that they’re morally reprehensible and—more than that—strategically risky, possibly even self-defeating. Any overt alliance with Iran would so alienate moderate Sunnis—as well as the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Gulf states—that they might fall in line with ISIS (a Sunni organization, after all) in order to repel what they’d see as a rising Shiite onslaught. A similar alliance with the likes of al-Nusra would do the same—and alarm Shiites, such as those heading the Iraqi government, as well.

    There is another intractable aspect to this conflict. On the one hand, Assad’s army could be a potent force to rid the region of ISIS and other violent extremists. On the other hand, Assad’s continued rule is a magnet for violent extremists. As long as he remains in power, the appeal of ISIS or something like it will not vanish. In other words, if Assad is ousted, ISIS could fill the vacuum; if Assad stays, Sunnis will remain radicalized and join groups like ISIS.

    In this light, Obama’s wait-and-hope gambit is at least understandable. It stems not from indecisiveness but from an awareness that all the choices on the table are bad. Hope is not a strategy, as the old saw has it, but all the other strategies in this battle are likely to backfire. Wait-and-hope has failed because allies are necessary for its fulfillment, and Russia—the ally that could force obeisance from Assad, if it chose to do so—recently made clear that Assad’s survival is its first and only priority.

    Why Russian planes bombed and strafed a convoy of aid workers late last month, killing at least 20, is unclear. Nor is it certain that the pilots or commanders knew the targets were aid workers. (Russian officials have denied having anything to do with the attack, claiming, against all evidence, that the convoy wasn’t bombed but caught fire. They have always been incapable of admitting error or wrongdoing.) One theory—and this is plausible, regardless of the truth about the aid workers—is that the Russians want to destroy all the moderate anti-Assad factions, so the contest comes down to Assad vs. ISIS, forcing the rest of the world (very much including the United States) to make a choice—which would almost certainly be to side with Assad as the lesser of two profound evils.

    What should Obama or his successor do about this? ISIS is losing territory on the ground, thanks to coordinated U.S. air strikes and joint Arab–Kurdish incursions, but few believe that even the collapse of the ISIS caliphate would end the sectarian fighting. No one has any good answers for solving the larger problem, perhaps because there aren’t any. Some have urged Obama to bomb the Syrian air force’s runways—a tempting idea, but this would be an act of war against Syria. Do we really want to go there? (Besides the general principle, it would force Russia and Iran to step up their assistance to Assad, compelling us to escalate as well or to back off, neither of which holds promise of success.)

    Others, including both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have proposed a no-fly zone, enforced by U.S. air power, in order to protect Syrian civilians from Russian and Iranian planes. We may be edging toward this approach, though advocates should realize that enforcing such a zone requires a lot of force (in the air and on the ground); that it may require us to shoot down planes violating the zone (an act that could trigger more violence); and that, if we do this at all, we should do it as part of a multinational effort, and it’s unclear anyone else wants to join one.

    Meanwhile, does the end of the Russian–American talks mean the revival of the Cold War? No, and for several reasons. First, the Cold War was a competition—political, economic, military, and ideological—between two systems, each having global reach. Russia today has no attractive ideology, its economy is stagnant, and its military, though improved from a decade ago, has almost no ability to project power. That’s why it’s fighting so desperately to hang on to Syria.

    Second, even during the Cold War, Washington and Moscow held talks and signed treaties to reduce the chance of a major war and to cooperate on other matters. Now, too, despite the Syria flare-up, Russian and American military officers continue to notify each other of their planes’ movements (a practice known as “de-conflicting”), so they don’t crash into each other or mistakenly shoot each other down. At least for the moment, they continue to abide by most of their arms-control treaties (the one that Putin broke on Monday, requiring the reduction of plutonium stocks, is more an in-your-face gesture than an upsetting of the balance of power), their joint sponsorship of U.N. resolutions (for instance, those condemning North Korea’s nuclear program), and their shared-intelligence programs in counterterrorism. That’s because both sides have shared interests in these activities. If Putin starts pulling out of more agreements, then it’s time to start worrying—and possibly ratcheting up the pressure against him on other fronts. In any case, we don’t have shared interests on Syria, and so the talks have been scuttled as a waste of time and a distraction. It’s as a simple as that.


              China Won’t Stop Kim Jong-un. The U.S. Must Stand Up to Both of Them.        

    What to do with the pygmy of Pyongyang, the mad marshal of the Hermit Kingdom, by which I mean Kim Jong-un, the thirtysomething tyrant of North Korea?

    On Sept. 9, his scientists set off their country’s fifth nuclear test, but there were two differences this time. First, the explosion was considerably larger (10 to 20 kilotons, roughly the size of the Hiroshima blast). Second, and more concerning, the bomb was described not as a “nuclear device” but a “nuclear warhead”—suggesting that they’re now able to miniaturize a weapon, so it can be placed in the nose cone of a missile.

    If this is true, North Korea can claim to be very close to what President Obama said he would never allow it to become—a nuclear-weapons state. It wouldn’t be a very powerful one, possessing the materials for maybe a dozen small A-bombs (even the recent test released one-tenth the blast of the smallest U.S. warhead), but any nuclear weapon holds the stuff of enormous terror, especially in the hands of such a cloistered regime and such an unpredictable leader.

    So what to do? The temptation, of course, is to blow it all up—but Kim’s scientists have learned the lessons of previous preemptive strikes and dispersed their facilities, some of them deep underground. Another possibility is to tighten sanctions—but North Korea is already so isolated, further strictures aren’t likely to affect Kim’s behavior, at least as long as oil, gas, and the elite’s luxury goods are let in through the Chinese border. How about coaxing China to do something? Four American presidents have tried, to little avail (for reasons to be elaborated below). Reopening nuclear arms talks? This approach worked for a while in the 1990s with Kim’s father and grandfather, Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung. Shrewd U.S. diplomats figured out the formula for dealing with the “Dear Leader” and “Great Leader,” as they were called. But the new, much younger Kim is a very different, more brutal figure who doesn’t play by his elders’—or, it seems, anyone else’s—rulebook.

    This diplomacy of an earlier era culminated in the Agreed Framework, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and, for a while, it worked. North Korea dismantled the fuel rods at its plutonium reprocessing plant, under the watchful eye of international inspectors and on-site cameras. In exchange, the United States agreed to give North Korea fuel, two light-water reactors (which could generate only electrical power, not bombs), and, over a period of time, diplomatic recognition. Congress never authorized funds for the reactors; the terms of recognition fell through. In 2002, U.S. intelligence detected North Korea enriching uranium—an alternative approach to building nukes that the Agreed Framework’s reprocessing-ban didn’t cover. By this time, President George W. Bush had decided to cancel the Agreed Framework formally, convinced by Vice President Dick Cheney’s dictum: “We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it.”

    But Bush had no ideas for how to defeat this particular evil (it turned out that brandishing some bombers and scowling had no effect), so the North Koreans continued to enrich uranium, resumed their plutonium program, and, in July 2003, announced that they’d reprocessed all 8,000 fuel rods, enough to build a half-dozen bombs. At that point, Bush tried to get talks going on again, but it was too late. In 2006, the North Koreans set off their first atomic explosion, figuring if they couldn’t bargain away their nuclear materials, they might as well go ahead and build some weapons.

    North Korea wants a nuclear arsenal for the same reason some other countries, especially smaller countries, would like to have one—to deter an attack by enemies. North Korea genuinely fears an American invasion and always has. The Kim dynasty has amassed its power, and oppressed its own people, by hyping this fear. From the regime’s beginnings just after World War II, its leaders have regarded their nation as a “shrimp among whales” whose survival relies on playing the bigger powers off one another. The first two Kims played this game very shrewdly.

    The latest scion, Kim Jong-un, may be overplaying his hand—but his comeuppance may take a while to materialize. Chinese President Xi Jinping is clearly annoyed with the whippersnapper—he has pointedly never met with him (despite their nations’ status as allies), though he’s held many substantive sessions with Park Gyen-hye, the U.S.-allied South Korean president (and thus the devil incarnate in Kim’s mind). Xi has also voted in favor of U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning North Korea’s nuclear tests and has even condoned multinational maritime raids on ships carrying nuclear materials in and out of North Korean harbors.

    But, much as Presidents Park and Obama have urged Xi to take real action against North Korea, this isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. If Xi did take action, that would be the end of the crisis. Nearly all of North Korea’s imports come through China’s borders, and Chinese banks handle financial transactions of the country’s elite. If Xi shut down the traffic until Kim dismantled his nuclear program, Kim would have to comply.

    Xi leaves Kim alone on this score for three reasons. First, this sort of pressure would cripple and possibly implode Kim’s regime, siring chaos, prompting tens of millions of North Koreans to flee across China’s remote northeastern border, creating a humanitarian disaster that Beijing couldn’t readily solve.

    Second, an allied North Korea serves as an impassible buffer to the U.S. military. If Kim’s regime fell, the entire Korean peninsula would come under South Korean control, and the buffer would be erased; the U.S. military would straddle China’s border. Or, another possibility: With the vanishing of a threat from Pyongyang, the U.S. military in Asia could redeploy to strengthen defenses in the Taiwan straits and the South China Sea, obstructing Beijing’s expansionist interests there.

    And so, as much as Xi regards North Korea’s fledgling nuclear capability as a danger to the region’s stability, it’s not a threat to China directly, and the alternatives—all of which lead to the crumbling of the North Korean state—are seen as more damaging still to his own strategic interests.

    In a statement on Monday, China’s foreign ministry said that the United States would have to take responsibility for the North Korean crisis. This evasive stance is precisely what President Obama (or, given the short time left in his term, his successor) has to change. The North Korea nuclear problem is China’s problem: China alone is enabling it by keeping Kim’s regime well-stocked and thus protecting it from economic catastrophe; China alone could solve it by threatening to withdraw support.

    So the United States should rally the same sort of campaign that revved up the pressure against Iran before those nuclear talks got underway. In other words, the international community should apply sanctions not only against North Korea but also against all institutions that do business with North Korea—an action that would affect some major Chinese banks, which provide it with energy supplies, other goods, and hard currency.

    Yes, this would stir tensions in U.S.-China relations; but so do a lot of other actions, many of them instigated by China (for instance, the dodgy territorial claims in the South China Sea), and in this case, any perceptions of American aggression would be offset, to some degree, by a realization—at least by some Chinese officials—that it’s time for Beijing to face up to its problem and reassess its strategic priorities accordingly. (Longtime China-watchers say that some of Xi’s senior comrades have been advocating tougher action against Kim.)

    Washington could also play carrots and sticks with its military deployments. In the past several months, the United States has sent massive reinforcements of its air and naval power to the region. It has also agreed to install the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system in South Korea, to loud protests from Beijing and Pyongyang. Some analysts believe that North Korea stepped up its nuclear program in response to THAAD. This may be true. Chinese officials believe that THAAD is aimed at their missiles. This isn’t true, but as long as they think it’s true (despite U.S. assurances, which they have no reason to believe), we might as well exploit that perception for leverage: Tell Xi that we’ll dismantle THAAD if North Korea gets rid of its nuclear program; the offer might give him one more reason to turn up the heat on Kim.

    Nor would the South Koreans mind if that’s how things worked out. President Park requested the THAAD system reluctantly, only after repeated provocations from the North (increasing her sense of danger) and repeated pressure from Beijing not to install it (stiffening her sense of national pride and independence).

    The THAAD debate illustrates that missile-defense alone is not a sustainable defense strategy, in any case. The system may work well against one incoming missile, but it’s never been tested against two or more, so the North Koreans (or some other adversary) may calculate that the way to overwhelm the defense is to build—and potentially fire—twice as many offensive missiles as planned.

    Which leads to the second part of a rational policy toward North Korea: classical nuclear deterrence. The next president should take steps, especially with China, to prevent Pyongyang from deploying a nuclear missile; but if that proves fruitless, he or she should make very clear that North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons—or even a conventional invasion of South Korea (which might be accompanied by a brandishing of nukes to deter anyone from coming to Seoul’s aid)—will be regarded as an attack on the United States and will be dealt with accordingly. There should be no ambiguity about this. Kim Jong-un may be crazy, but his eccentricities have always been in the service of his survival—and he should understand that he’s putting his survival on the line. Daniel Sneider, associate director of Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, thinks we should deploy more nuclear-capable aircraft on U.S. bases in Asia to drive this point home fiercely.

    Finally, an American president should be on the lookout for all genuine diplomatic overtures and take advantage of them. This is what the United States did with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, and North Korea is a far less formidable threat than the Soviet Union; it’s not even worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence, except to draw contrasts.

    After these statements are made and actions taken, the president should move along to other, more important matters. To do otherwise plays into Kim’s game. He wants to set off alarm bells so as to be treated as a major power; that’s the only chip he’s got. It does us no good to play his game; the chip should be assessed for what it’s worth. China is Asia’s genuinely aspiring global power; it needs encouragement, and pressure, to be a responsible one, and its deed to that claim should begin with solving its Kim Jong-un problem.


              Weston 180, fer encastré raté ou pas ??        
    Bonjour, Tout nouveau sur le forum, je me permet de me présenter rapidos, j'ai 32 ans et suis cadre commercial dans une grande multinationale. Ma fonction m'oblige à être 80% de mon temps sur le terrain du coup après des années passées à acheter des chaussures de moyenne qualité (budget max de 200 euros), j'ai décidé d'investir dans des souliers haut de gamme, plus distingué mais aussi plus durable si l'on prend le temps de les bichonner ;-) Weston a été pour moi une évidence , cette ...
              Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. Offers Free Case Evaluation for Employees Who Have Been Unlawfully Discriminated Against or Harassed        

    The Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. is a Gardena, California based employment law firm that offers free consultations to evaluate cases of employees who have been denied their legal rights.

    Gardena, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/18/2015 -- Founded by Scott Cummings and Lee Franck, the law office of Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. provides free consultations to evaluate cases of employees who have been denied their legal rights. The Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. is a well-known employment law firm that represents current and former employees, in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, who have been treated illegally by their employer. The employment law attorneys at the firm are zealous legal advocates who care about employees and their rights. Cummings & Franck, P.C. has a long track record of winning cases against many major multinational corporations, and getting their clients large monetary damage awards and settlements. Employees who have been unlawfully discriminated against, retaliated against or harassed should immediately seek out the help of the Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. If you have a worthy case, they'll fight for you and get you the justice you deserve.

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    The Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. cares about employees and their rights. We are advocates for employees, and we don't represent employers. The law firm does everything legally and ethically possible to force employers to pay money for the damage that was caused to employees who were denied their rights.

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    About Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C.
    Based in Gardena, California, Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. was established by Scott Cummings and Lee Franck with the sole intent to provide quality representation to employees who have had their rights violated. The employment law firm strongly advocates for the rights of employees and does everything possible pursuant to California law to bring justice and large monetary awards to their clients. With a team of Los Angeles whistleblower lawyers, the employment law firm represents employee who face retaliation, harassment, sexual abuses, discrimination, wrongful termination or any other type of abuses in the workplace. With a highly experienced and knowledgeable team of discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles Law Offices of Cummings & Franck, P.C. stands as a force to be reckoned with.

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    For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/release-587026.htm

    Media Relations Contact

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               Code-switching in newly formed multinational project teams : challenges, strategies and effects         
    Vigier, Mary and Spencer-Oatey, Helen. (2017) Code-switching in newly formed multinational project teams : challenges, strategies and effects. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 17 (1). pp. 23-37. ISSN 1470-5958
              Merkel und die EU-USA Freihandelszone (TAFTA)        

    Dirk Müller - im deutschsprachigen Raum kennt man ihn unter seinem Spitznamen "Mr. Dax" - wärmte vor ein paar Jahren wieder einmal eine alte Idee auf, die seiner Meinung nach zu faireren Wettkampfbedingungen für die westliche Staaten im großen Monopoly der Globalisierung führen sollte, nämlich die Etablierung einer Freihandelszone zwischen der EU und den USA. Billigproduzenten wie China und India, die nicht "unsere Werte" teilten, sollten auf diese Weise der Vorteil des günstigen Produktionsstandorts genommen, und gleichzeitig den westliche Staaten zurückgegeben werden. Unter "unseren Werten" versteht der Mann  "sozialen Errungenschaften", die sich direkt oder indirekt auf die Produktions- und Lohnnebenkosten niederschlagen. Nun, könnte eine transatlantische Freihandelszone (TAFTA) wirklich helfen, und wenn ja, wem?
    "Wir bauen um unser gemeinsames Wertesystem eine Zollmauer auf. Innerhalb des Systems befinden sich all die Länder, mit denen wir zumindest annähernd die gleichen Werte und Spielregeln teilen. Die Kontrollpunkte sind die Häfen und Flughäfen. Die Länder außerhalb dürfen dennoch selbstverständlich ihre Produkte innerhalb der Freihandelszone verkaufen, aber mit Aufschlag. Die Kosten für den Umweltschutz, der in der deutschen Waschmaschine eingebaut ist und in der asiatischen fehlt, werden als Zoll draufgeschlagen. Vielleicht 15 Prozent. Kinderarbeit eingebaut? 20 Prozent! Fehlende Arbeitsschutzrichtlinien für die Arbeiter ? 7 Prozent! So wäre ein Kampf mit gleichen Waffen geschaffen. Natürlich gäbe es einen Sturm der Entrüstung bei den internationalen Konzernen. Die Waschmaschinen in Deutschland würden teurer werden. Aber vielleicht würde es sich für einen Mittelständler in Schwaben wieder lohnen, eine Waschmaschinenfabrik zu eröffnen. Mehrere tausend Arbeiter würden eingestellt. Steuern, Löhne, Sozialabgaben würden fließen, und so weiter, und so weiter. Die Unternehmen innerhalb der Freihandelszone stünden dann immer noch in Konkurrenz zueinander, aber unter gleichen Bedingungen. Man ist Konkurrent, aber auch Partner. Alle Unternehmen müssen Löhne bezahlen, von denen die Menschen auch leben können. Es herrscht ein gesellschaftlicher Konsens, dass Kinder Kinder sind und keine billigen Sklaven.
    Klingt verrückt?! Vielleicht. Aber immerhin so vernünftig, daß unsere Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel schon seit Jahren hinter den Kulissen genau diesen Plan einer europäisch-amerikanischen Freihandelszone verfolgt." Dirk Müller [2010], S. 238

    Müllers Bemerkung über Merkel mag so manchen überrascht haben, ist aber wahr und kein Geheimnis. Seit dem 22. November 2005 ist Angela Merkel die Bundeskanzlerin Deutschlands, einem Land, indem die Schere zwischen Arm und Reich im übrigen ähnlich weit auseinander geht, wie anderswo auf der Welt (In Deutschlands Städten wächst die Armut) und dessen Regierung ihre Statistiken schonunsglos und ungestraft schönfärbt, wie auch anderwso  (Bundesregierung schönt Armutsbericht). "Lobby-Merkel" steht zwar Putins Gegenvorschlag einer Freihandelszone von Wladiwostok bis Lissabon eher negativ gegenüber, nicht aber, was die Amerikaner betrifft. Hier eine kleine Auswahl der Merkel'schen Erwähnungen bezüglich EU-USA Freihandelszone seit Amtsantritt:

    2006
    "Ich halte die Idee für faszinierend." Ein transatlantischer Bund, der rund 60 Prozent des heutigen Weltsozialprodukts innerhalb seiner Grenzen vereinen würde, sei nicht gegen andere Weltregionen gerichtet, diene allerdings sehr wohl "der Bündelung gemeinsamer Interessen"

    2007
    n-TV: Merkel wirbt für TAFTA
    Die Zeit Online: Auf ein altes Pferd gesetzt
    "Wir haben in Europa Erfahrungen mit einem gemeinsamen Binnenmarkt, die wir transatlantisch nutzen können [..] Wir müssen aufpassen, dass wir uns nicht immer weiter voneinander entfernen, sondern uns annähern, wo es für beide Seiten Vorteile bietet [...] Es ergibt doch zum Beispiel viele Reibungsverluste, wenn das Patentrecht in Amerika anders aufgebaut ist als in Europa." Beim kommenden EU/USA-Gipfel im April wolle sie über eine engere Zusammenarbeit auf ökonomischem Gebiet reden, kündigte Merkel an. "Das ist für mich von strategischer Bedeutung. Unsere Wirtschaftssysteme haben eine gemeinsame Wertegrundlage", fügte Merkel in dem Interview hinzu, das auch in der Londoner "Financial Times" erscheint. Die USA wie auch die EU stünden in "sehr hartem Wettbewerb" mit den asiatischen und künftig auch mit den lateinamerikanischen Märkten, sagte Merkel. Es komme darauf an, die Kräfte zu bündeln und bestimmte gemeinsame Interessen, wie den Schutz des geistigen Eigentums, auch gemeinsam international durchzusetzen."

    2008-2011
    Aus diesem Zeitraum konnte ich keine Äußerung Merkels finden. Aufgrund der Pleite der amerikanischen Investment Bank Lehman Brothers und des Zusammenbruchs des spekulativ aufgeblähten US-Immobilienmarkts und seiner globalen Folgen wäre im selbigen Zeitraum die Erwähnung einer Freihandelszone mit einem offensichtlich maroden Partner beim deutschen Wahlpublikum wohl eher schlecht angekommen. Vielleicht war Frau Merkel auch mit der Sicherung der Gelder deutscher Investoren in Griechenland zu sehr beschäftigt.


    2012
    (siehe auch Der Standard)

    ""Wir werden gerade jetzt nach der amerikanischen Wahl noch einmal versuchen, ob wir nicht die Handels- und Wirtschaftsbeziehungen vereinfachen können, Freihandel treiben können zwischen Amerika und Europa", sagte Merkel. Davon würden beide Seiten profitieren. Hintergrund der neuen Offensive in der Bundesregierung ist eine gewisse Enttäuschung, dass sich Obama in seiner ersten Amtszeit nicht ausreichend um das Thema gekümmert hatte. Allerdings gibt es auch zwischen den EU-Staaten unterschiedliche Ansichten, wer von einem Freihandelsabkommen profitieren würde. Frankreich etwa fürchtet mehr Konkurrenz im Agrarsektor."

    Ich persönlich glaube, daß Merkels Art und Weise mit vielen Worten nichts zu sagen schon immer die Deutschen günstig gestimmt hat, ihr Glauben zu schenken. Nicht daß dies für Politiker ungewöhnlich wäre, aber die deutsche Kanzlerin hat diese Kunst schon zu einer seltenen Blüte getrieben. Ihr Schweigen, das nur unterbrochen wird durch ihre dezente Phrasendrescherei, bildet die Leinwand, auf die der deutsche Bundesbürger alles das projizieren kann, was er sich von einer starken Volksmutti in unsicheren Zeiten zu erwarten wünscht. (Daß es darüber hinaus noch eine Art stillschweigender Übereinkunft in der deutschen Presse zu geben scheint, Merkel nicht ernsthaft zu kritisieren, trägt zu dieser Rollenbildung bei (vgl. meine irrige und vorschnelle Vermutung im Fall Timoshenko: Merkel ist schon Vergangenheit).
    Daß die Frau sich allzuviel um die Kosten für Umwelt-, Kinder- oder Mutterschutz, Konsumenten- oder Arbeitnehmerschutz sorgte, halte ich für ein Gerücht. Ihre bisherige innenpolitische Tätigkeit bestätigt eher das Gegenteil. Ich denke, daß eine schleichende Beseitigung dieser "unserer Werte" in Deutschland  im Gange ist.  Mr. Dax träumt hier ein bißchen, wenn er ausgerechnet Merkel die Absicht unterstellt mit Hilfe des Freihandels "unsere Werte" retten zu wollen. Tatsächlich geht es den deutschen "Exportweltmeistern" wohl weit mehr um einen noch uneingeschränkteren Zugang zum amerikanischen Markt, als er ohnehin auf Basis der WTO und anderer Wirtschaftsabkommen schon existiert. Der EU-Handelskommissar Karel De Gucht spricht hier Klartext: 

    2011
    EU verlangt offenere Märkte von USA
    "Wenn sie wirklich über ein ehrgeiziges neues transatlantisches Handelsabkommen reden wollen, müssen sie mir die Frage beantworten, warum sie ihren Markt nicht öffnen", sagte der Kommissar. Der europäische Markt sei zu 90 Prozent für fremde Unternehmen zugänglich, der US-Markt hingegen nur zu rund einem Drittel. "Wir bitten nur um eines: Gebt unseren Unternehmen eine faire Chance" , sagte De Gucht. "Wir bitten nicht um eine bevorzugte Behandlung, aber wir wollen offene Märkte." 
    Weiters geht De Gucht auf "zollfreie Handelshemmnisse" ein, die also mit einer reinen Freihandelszone auch nicht gelöst werden können. (Die Probleme liegen woanders).
    "Der Abbau von Zöllen zwischen den USA und der EU ist De Gucht zufolge zwar wichtig. Er hält es aber für bedeutender, nichttarifliche Handelshemnisse zu beseitigen. "Wenn wir nur die Hälfte der zollfremden Handelshemnisse aus dem Weg räumen, wäre das wirtschaftliche Ergebnis enorm", sagte er. Es werde unterschätzt, wie schwierig Fortschritt hier sei. Im US-Automobilsektor etwa gebe es eine Menge Regulierungen. Im Gegenzug könne Europa mit harten Forderungen der US-Seite rechnen. "Wir können davon ausgehen, dass zum Beispiel neue Debatten über Hormone und das Klonen aufkommen, da gibt es eine ganze Reihe saftiger Themen", sagte De Gucht. "All diese Handelshemnisse sind in der Tradition verankert, in der Kultur, in Überzeugungen - und in der natürlichen Tendenz, sich selbst zu schützen.""

    Insgesamt denke ich, daß es keinen Grund gibt anzunehmen, daß mit einer Freihandelszone mit den USA soziale Errungenschaften in Europa geschützt werden könnten. Wer wirtschaftspolitische Diskussionen in den US-amerikanischen right-wing Media kennt, der muss das Gegenteil erwarten: alles was aus Europa kommt ist entweder sozialistisch, kommunistisch oder schwul - sogar Fußball. Europäische Krankenversicherungssysteme sind sozialistisch und damit gefährlich. Euthanasie ist die Angst alter Menschen in Holland, die Ketten um den Hals mit der Aufschrift "Don't euthanize me" tragen (Kein Witz!!!) Die jahrzehntelange antikommunistische Propaganda tut ihre Wirkung noch heute.
    Und wenn doch (unrealistischerweise) eine TAFTA zustandekäme und die Unternehmen tatsächlich in direkter Konkurrenz stehen würden, wie Müller im Eingangszitat meint, dann käme recht schnell die Frage nach den Wettbewerbsbedingungen auf den Tisch. Ja kann man sich dann die "sozialen Errungenschaften" der Europäer noch leisten? Fünf Wochen haben diese Deutschen Urlaub, die fleißigen Amerikaner nur zwei. Wie lange wird es dauern, bis sich "Hire & Fire" (willkürliche Anstellungen und Entlassungen) auch hierzulande durchsetzt - man muß doch nach denselben Regeln spielen! Das ist dann die Frage: nach welchen Regeln? Wollen wir in Deutschland oder in Österreich (mit seiner "Sozialpartnerschaft") amerikanische Verhältnisse? 

    Mag schon sein, daß die amerikanischen "Werte" den europäischen ähnlicher sind, als die letzteren den chinesischen oder indischen "Werten". Identisch sind sie allerdings auch nicht. Und über die Gewinner einer solchen Freihandelszone, da kann man lange diskutieren. Mr. Dax jedenfalls ist überzeugt, daß die großen internationalen Konzerne die Verlierer wären, und sie sich deshalb der guten Kanzlerin entgegenstellen:
    "Wenn da nicht die Lobby der internationalen Industrie und des großen Geldes wäre, die einer solchen Idee natürlich gegenübersteht wie der Teufel dem Weihwasser. Denn dann könnte man ja plötzlich nicht mehr die Arbeiter Europas gegen die Arbeiter Asiens ausspielen, und diese wunderbaren „Ausgleichs“-Geschäfte, dass man in Asien billig produziert und in Deutschland teuer verkauft, gingen auch nicht mehr. (Ein besonders krasses Beispiel dafür ist die amerikanische Supermarktkette Wal-Mart: Von ihren 6000 Lieferanten kommen 5000 aus Asien.) Doch leider ist es so, dass die Lobby der Industrie und des Geldes bestimmt, was in Europa und Amerika entschieden wird und was nicht. Nicht das Wohl des Volkes, sondern das Wohl der Mächtigen steht im Vordergrund. Wenn nur die Wahlen nicht immer wären. Dann müsste man der Bevölkerung nicht ständig mit allen möglichen Tricks die Entscheidungen schmackhaft machen und könnte viel freier agieren. So aber muss man den Menschen eben langwierig eintrichtern: „Globalisierung ist gut! Globalisierung ist gut! Globalisierung ist gut!“" Dirk Müller [2010], S. 239.
    Im allgemeinen kann natürlich gesagt werden, daß international aufgestellte Unternehmen vom Wegfallen von Zollbeschränkungen ungemein profitieren. Aber der Großteil des deutschen Mittelstandes wird das nicht. Dazu kommt noch, daß jedes bilaterale Abkommen mit einem anderen billig produzierenden Staat natürlich durch die TAFTA nicht verhindert werden würde. Und schon können deutsche Hersteller schon wieder günstig woanders produzieren lassen (mit Kinderarbeit natürlich) aber diesmal in Deutschland UND den USA teuer verkaufen. Fazit: eine Freihandelszone schützt die eigenen "sozialen Errungenschaften" nicht, aber sie schafft hervorragende Profitmöglichkeiten für multinationale Konzerne und Banken (siehe unten).

    Wirtschaftssysteme zu vergleichen ist oft schwierig. Aber werfen wir einmal einen kurzen Blick auf die NAFTA, der Freihandelszone zwischen Kanada, den USA und Mexiko, in Kraft getreten 1994. Wie sah es 10 Jahre später aus für Mexiko? Laut Joseph Stiglitz, wies Mexiko ein schwaches durchschnittliches jährliches pro Kopf Wachstum von 1% auf (im Vergleich dazu Südkorea im selben Zeitraum trotz Asienkrise 4,3% und China gar 7%). Die Hoffnungen auf eine Verminderung der Einkommensunterschiede zwischen den USA und ihren südlichen Nachbarn waren - wie überraschend - vergeblich. Ganz im Gegenteil, in 10 Jahren NAFTA wuchsen sie um 10,3%!!! Die Reallöhne mexikanischer Arbeiter fielen um 0,2% jährlich.  Interessant auch: Alle größeren mexikanischen Banken wurden von ausländischen Banken geschluckt (mit einer Ausnahme). NAFTA machte Mexiko zu einem ausgezeichneten Billiglieferanten für US-amerikanische Firmen, verhalf aber nicht zu einer eigenständigen Wirtschaft (Siehe Stiglitz: The Broken Promise of Nafta).

    Fazit: Europäische Länder werden entweder mit den USA nicht mithalten können, die sich gerade mittels Freihandel andere Länder als Billigproduzenten halten, oder sie werden es den USA gleichtun.



    update 04-12-2012
    Spiegel Online: "Phrasomat": Bauen Sie sich Ihre Merkel-Rede!
              WWF et Pierre et Vacances, un partenariat confortable        
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    Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate).

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    Dell Inc. Description:
    Dell Inc. is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells, and supports personal computers and other computer-related products. Based in Texas, Dell employs more than 82,700 people worldwide (2009). In 2006, Dell purchased the computer hardware manufacturer Alienware. In most countries, the laptops are directly sold to consumers by Dell and each notebook custom-assembled according to a selection of options.

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Dell Inspiron M102Z to Download drivers Dell Inspiron M102Z Windows 7 64-bit. Dell Inspiron M102Z Drivers Update. Download Drivers Online. Laptop Reviews, Laptop Driver, Laptop dell drivers for windows 7 32bit 64bit, Laptop Insurance, Laptop for Lawyer, drivers dell inspiron for windows xp, drivers windows vista.

              Dell Vostro 3450 Drivers Windows 7 32-bit         
    Dell Vostro 3450. Download Driver Dell Vostro 3450 for Windows 7 32bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct links from official website of Dell Vostro 3450 Drivers.

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    Display / VGA Driver
    AMD Radeon™ HD 6630M (Whistler-LP) Version :A038.840.7.3000 Download
    Intel Wireless Display Connection Manager Version :A012.1.38.0 Download
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 Version :A058.15.10.2345 Download

    Chipset Driver
    Intel Huron River (HM67) Version :A009.2.0.1015 Download
    Intel Management Engine Interface Version :A007.0.0.1144 Download

    Audio / Sound Driver
    Realtek ALC269 HD Audio Version :A016.0.1.6312 Download

    Touchpad Driver
    Synaptics TouchPad Version :A0215.3.2.1 Download

    Card Reader Driver
    Realtek RTS5128 Card Reader Version :A016.1.7600.30127 Download

    USB Driver
    Renesas USB3.0 Host Controller Version :A012.0.34.0 Download

    SATA Driver
    Intel Rapid Storage Technology Version :A0110.1.2.1004 Download

    System Utilities Driver
    Update Package for Microsoft Windows - Dell SRV,SW,DSS,VOS,1220 Download
    ST Microelectronics DE351DL Motion Sensor Version :A001.00.00.13 Download
    Validity Sensor (VFS5011) Version :A004.3.33.0 Download

    Lan / Ethernet Driver
    Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet Controller Version :A017.034.1130.2010 Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless Lan Driver
    Dell Dell DW1701 802.11 b/g/n Version :A015.100.82.34 Download
    Dell Wireless 1702 802.11 b/g/n, BT3.0+HS Version :A009.2.0.115 Download
    Dell DW1701 BT3.0+HS Version :A006.4.0.620 Download
    Intel (R) WiMax Link 6150 Download
    Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 Version :A0214.1.2.3 Download

    Intel Application Driver
    Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 Bluetooth v3.0 + HS Version :A0014.1.1.3 Download
    Intel Intel PROSet/Wireless BT Software Version :A011.0.78.20535 Download

    Dell Inc. Description:
    Dell Inc. is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells, and supports personal computers and other computer-related products. Based in Texas, Dell employs more than 82,700 people worldwide (2009). In 2006, Dell purchased the computer hardware manufacturer Alienware. In most countries, the laptops are directly sold to consumers by Dell and each notebook custom-assembled according to a selection of options.

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Dell Vostro 3450 to download drivers Dell Vostro 3450 Windows 7. Dell Vostro 3450 Drivers Update. Download Drivers Online. Laptop Reviews, Laptop Driver, Laptop dell drivers for windows 7 32bit 64bit, Laptop Insurance, Laptop for Lawyer, drivers dell inspiron for windows xp, drivers windows vista.

              Dell Vostro 3460 Drivers Windows 7 32-bit         
    Dell Vostro 3460. Download Driver Dell Vostro 3460 for Windows 7 32bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct links from official website of Dell Vostro 3460 Drivers.

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    Display Graphics / VGA Driver
    Dell NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M Version : A00 8.17.12.9070 Download
    Dell Intel HD Graphics 4000/2500 Version : A00 8.15.10.2598 Download
    Dell Intel Wireless Display Version : A00 3.0.12.0 Download

    Chipset Driver
    Intel Chief River HM77 Chipset Version : A00 9.3.0.1019 Download

    Audio / Sound Driver
    Dell Conexant Audio CX20672-21Z Version : A01 8.54.29.0 Download

    Touchpad Driver
    Alps TouchPad Driver Version : A00 7.1209.101.215 Download

    USB Driver
    Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Version : A01 1.0.4.220 Download

    MEI Driver
    Intel Management Engine Interface Version : A01 8.0.0.1262 Download

    Card Reader Driver
    Realtek RTS5179GR USB2.0 Card Reader Controller Download

    Serial ATA / Firmwire
    Dell MK6475GSX 640GB 5400RPM 4KE SATA2 HDD(HF) Download
    Intel Rapid Storage Technology Version : A00 11.0.0.1032 Download

    Modem / Communications
    Dell Wireless 5802 LTE Mobile Broadband Mini-Card for Verizon Download
    Dell Wireless 5804 LTE Mobile Broadband Mini-Card for AT&T Download
    Dell Wireless 5630 EVDO-HSPA Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Download
    Dell Wireless 5630 EVDO-HSPA Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Download
    ERICSSON AB Dell Wireless 5560 HSPA+ Mini Card Download

    System Utilities Driver
    Dell STMicroelectronics 3-Axis Digital Accelerometer Download

    Lan / Ethernet Driver
    Dell Atheros AR8161/8165 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.20) Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless Lan Driver
    Intel Centrino Advanced-N 2230 Bluetooth Version : A00 1.0.13.30079 Download
    Dell Wireless 1901 802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth Download
    Intel Centrino Advanced-N 2230 WiFi Download
    Atheros AR8161/8165 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.20) Download
    Dell Wireless 1x1 WLAN 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz), Bluetooth v4.0+HS Download
    Dell Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n Adapter for WLAN Download

    Dell Inc. Description:
    Dell Inc. is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells, and supports personal computers and other computer-related products. Based in Texas, Dell employs more than 82,700 people worldwide (2009). In 2006, Dell purchased the computer hardware manufacturer Alienware. In most countries, the laptops are directly sold to consumers by Dell and each notebook custom-assembled according to a selection of options.

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Dell Vostro 3460 to download drivers Dell Vostro 3460 Windows 7. Dell Vostro 3460 Drivers Update. Download Drivers Online. Laptop Reviews, Laptop Driver, Laptop dell drivers for windows 7 32bit 64bit, Laptop Insurance, Laptop for Lawyer, drivers dell inspiron for windows xp, drivers windows vista.

              Dell Vostro 3500 Drivers Windows 7 32-bit         
    Dell Vostro 3500. Download Driver Dell Vostro 3500 for Windows 7 32bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct links from official website of Dell Vostro 3500 Drivers.

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    Display / VGA Driver
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD Download
    nVidia Geforce 310M-Switchable Download
    Nvidia Geforce 310M -Discrete Download

    Audio / Sound Driver
    IDT 92HD81B1 Version : A026.10.0.6277 Download

    Chipset Driver
    Intel HM57 Express Chipset Family Download

    IMEI Driver
    Intel Management Engine Version : A016.0.0.1179 Download

    Card Reader Driver
    Realtek RTS5138 Card Reader Download

    Touchpad Driver
    LOGITECH; KIT,MSE,BLTH,5BTN,TRVL,RED,MAL Download
    Synaptics TouchPad Version : A0014.0.19 Download

    SATA Driver
    Intel Rapid Storage Technology Version : A039.6.0.1014 Download
    Samsung PM800 64GB THN SATA2 SSD Download

    Modem Driver
    Conexant D400,External USB 56K Modem Download
    Dell Wireless 5540 HSPA Mini Card Download

    System Utilities Driver
    Dell SRV,SW,DSS,VOS,1220 - Update Package Download
    ST Microelectronics DE351DL Motion Sensor Download

    LAN / Ethernet Driver
    Realtek RTL8111DL Ethernet Controller Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless Lan Driver
    Dell Wireless WLAN 1501 Half Mini-Card (4313bgn) Download
    Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Module Download
    Dell Wireless WLAN 1397 Half MiniCard (4312bg) Download
    Dell Wireless WLAN 1501 Half Mini-Card (4313bgn) Download
    Intel(R) WiFi Link 6200 Download

    Dell Inc. Description:
    Dell Inc. is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells, and supports personal computers and other computer-related products. Based in Texas, Dell employs more than 82,700 people worldwide (2009). In 2006, Dell purchased the computer hardware manufacturer Alienware. In most countries, the laptops are directly sold to consumers by Dell and each notebook custom-assembled according to a selection of options.

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Dell Vostro 3500 to download drivers Dell Vostro 3500 Windows 7. Dell Vostro 3500 Drivers Update. Download Drivers Online. Laptop Reviews, Laptop Driver, Laptop dell drivers for windows 7 32bit 64bit, Laptop Insurance, Laptop for Lawyer, drivers dell inspiron for windows xp, drivers windows vista.

              Dell Vostro 3550 Drivers Windows 7 32-bit         
    Dell Vostro 3550. Download Driver Dell Vostro 3550 for Windows 7 32bit. Update your laptop drivers online with direct links from official website of Dell Vostro 3550 Drivers.

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    Display / VGA Driver
    AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6470 Download
    Intel HD Graphics Version : A038.15.10.2361 Download
    Intel Wireless Display Connection Manager Download

    Audio / Sound Driver
    IDT 92HD87B1 Version : A036.10.0.6341 Download

    Chipset Driver
    Intel HM67 Express Chipset Family Download
    Intel Management Engine Interface Download

    USB Driver
    Wistron USB3.0-Host Controller Download

    Card Reader Driver
    Realtek RTS5138 Card Reader Drivers Download

    SATA / Storage Driver
    Intel Rapid Storage Technology Version : A0010.1.0.1008 Download

    Touchpad Driver
    Alps TouchPad drivers Version : A047.1209.101.204 Download
    CHICONY CORP; KIT,MSE/KYBD,WRLES,TCHI Download

    Modem Driver
    Conexant D400,External USB 56K Modem Download
    Dell Wireless 5540 HSPA Mini Card Download
    Dell Wireless 5620 EVDO-HSPA Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Download
    Dell SRV,SW,DRVR,NBK,DW5550,E3/2 Download

    Lan / Ethernet Driver
    Realtek RTL8111E-VB Gigabit Ethernet Controller Download

    Wi-Fi / Wireless Lan Driver
    Dell Wireless 1702 802.11 b/g/n, BT3.0+HS Download
    Intel Intel (R) WiMax Link 6150 Download
    Dell Wireless 1701 802.11 b/g/n Download

    Dell Inc. Description:
    Dell Inc. is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells, and supports personal computers and other computer-related products. Based in Texas, Dell employs more than 82,700 people worldwide (2009). In 2006, Dell purchased the computer hardware manufacturer Alienware. In most countries, the laptops are directly sold to consumers by Dell and each notebook custom-assembled according to a selection of options.

    The above are the direct links from official website of laptop Dell Vostro 3550 to download drivers Dell Vostro 3550 Windows 7. Dell Vostro 3550 Drivers Update. Download Drivers Online. Laptop Reviews, Laptop Driver, Laptop dell drivers for windows 7 32bit 64bit, Laptop Insurance, Laptop for Lawyer, drivers dell inspiron for windows xp, drivers windows vista.

              sasur aur bahu ka affair..        
    Mera naam Neha hai main 28 saal ki hoon aur mera figure 38-32-36 hai. Meri shaadi ho chuki hai mere husband ka naam hai Rajesh hai. meri ye kahani meri shaadi kay baad shuru hoti hai. mere husband Rajesh ka lund 8 inch lamba aur 2 inch mota hai. shaadi ki pehli hi raat Rajesh nay mujhe aagay aur pichay se puri raat choda tha. Ab mere husband mujhe roz chodtay thay is liye meri chodai ki bhook bhi bhadti ja rahi thi. Ghar may Rajesh kay alawa meri Saas, Sasur aur aik nokar Shankar tha. Rajesh ka aik chota bhai bhi tha Ravi jo England paadhnay kay liye gaya howa tha. Mere husband aik multinational company may Finance Manager ki post par job kartay hain. Kahani waha se shuru hoti hai jab mere husband ko company ki taraf se Australia jana pad gaya. Unka visit 6 months ka tha main Rajesh kay janay se bohat udaas thi kyun Rajesh nay mujhe roz chod chod kar mujhe roz chodwanay ki aadat daal di thi. Jis subah ko Rajesh nay jana tha uski raat ko main nay udaasi se kaha, Rajesh tum 6 months kay liye jarahay ho ab meri choot ki bhook kese mitay gi. Rajesh nay mujhe khud se kas kar bheech liya aur bola, meri jaan mera jana zaroori hai main khud bhi udaas hoon main tum ko chor kar nahi jana chahta magar kiya karon job hai kaam to karna hai na. Rajesh ki baat sunkar main khamosh hogai. Us raat Rajesh nay mujhe subah 8 baje tak kutto ki tarha choda. Rajesh kay janay kay baad may udaas rehnay lagi aur aik becheni si mujhe apnay badan may mehsoos hoti thi main raato ko tadapti rehti thi. Ye Rajesh kay chalay janay kay baad teesri raat thi mujhe Rajesh bohat yaad aaraha tha mere jism ki becheni badhti jarahi thi aur phir main bechen hokar kamray se bahar aagai. Hamara ghar double stori tha mera kamra upar jab kay Saas aur Sasur ka kamra nichay tha. Main nichay aagai phir jab may apnay Saas aur Sasur kay kamray kay paas se guzar rahi thi to mujhe andar se halki halki awazain aai jese koi siskariyan le raha hai aur mujhe darwaze ki jheri se roshni bhi nikalti hoi mehsoos hoi. Mere dil may aaya yakeenan Babu Jee Maa Jee ko chod rahay hain. Mere dil may aai kyun na andar jhanka jaay. Pehle main nay darwaze ki jheri se jhanka magar kuch nazar nahi aaya to main khidki kay paas hi. Khidki par parday paday howay thay aur uskay dono pat band thay. Main nay aese hi hath lagaya to khidi ka pat khol gaya. Main nay khidi ka pat kholna chaha to wo pura khol gaya magar koi awaz nahi hoi. Mujhe dar howa kahi andar pata nahi chal gaya ho. Khidki kholtay hi andar ki awazain saaf bahar aanay lagin. Main nay parda hataya aur andar dekhnay lagi. Babu Jee Letay howay thay aur Saasu Maa Babu Jee kay upar leti hoi thi. Babu Jee ka lund Saasu Maa ki choot may tha aur wo nichay se khub zor se jhatkay maar rahay thay. Saasu Maa Babu Jee ka lund khub maazay se pilwa rahi thi aur khub siskariyan le rahi thi. Main kafi dair se dekh rahi thi kay achanak hi Babu Jee nay apna sar khidki taraf ghomaya to main unhe khadi nazar aagi. Mere paas chupnay ka ab moka nahi tha is liye main wahi khadi rahi. Saasu Maa ki kamar meri taraf thi is liye mujhe wo nahi dekh sakti thi. Babu Jee mujhe dekh kar muskaranay lagay main bhi muskaradi. phir unho nay Saasu Maa ki tangain meri taraf ghoma di aur mujhe dikha dikha kar khub zor se chodnay lagay. Main janay lagi to unho nay isharay se janay se mana kiya aur khada rehnay ko kaha. Mujhe bhi acha lag raha tha is liye main khadi hogai. Babu Jee nay 35 minute tak khub tezi se Saasu Maa ko choda phir jab unho nay apna lund bahar nikala to main unka 10 inch lamba aur 3 inch mota lund dekh kar heraan hogai. Babu Jee nay apna lund Saasu Maa kay boobs par rakh kar apni mani chor di. Farig honay kay baad Saasu Maa aankhain band kar kay let gai to Babu Jee nay meri taraf ishara kiya kay wo mujhe chodain gay. Babu Jee kay isharay par main muskara di aur apnay kamray may aagai. Phir jab tak mujhe neend nahi aagai main Babu Jee kay baray main sochti rahi. Subah hoi to nashtay kay baad Maa Jee kisi se milnay chali gai ab unko shaam may aana tha aur ab ghar may sirf main Babu Jee aur hamara nokar Shankar hi bachay thay. Shankar puray ghar kay kaam karta tha aur main sirf khana pakati thi. Maa Jee kay janay kay baad main ne socha kyun na apnay Sasur ko khuwar kiya jaay isi liye main nay pick colour ka cotton ka bohat ki tight aur kafi kholay galay ka blouse aur patli si saree pehan li. Mera blouse bohat chota tha jo sirf mere dori walay brazier ko hi chupa pa raha tha mera pura pait nanga tha aur meri bareek saree kay nichay petticoat nahi pehna tha balkay sirf underwear kay upar hi main nay saree bandh li thi jis may se meri puri tangain kafi numaya ho rahi thi aur aik tarha se main puri nangi hi thi. Jab may is hulyee may kaam karnay lagi aur jan boj kar baar baar apnay Sasur kay samnay aati rahi. Mere Sasur Jee mujhe ghor ghor kar dekh rahay thay aur mujhe unka is tarha dekhna acha lag raha tha magar main ignore kar rahi thi. Dopehar khana khanay kay baad Sasur ki doodh lazmi peetay thay is liye main nay kitchen may jakar aik glass may doodh nikala aur Babu Jee ki kamray may aagai. Babu Jee bistar par dhoti kurta pehnay howay letay howay thay aur TV dekh rahay thay. Main nay aaj bohat chota aur tight blouse aur saree pehni hoi thi. Main nay saaf mehsoos kiya kay mujhe dekh kar Babu Jee ki dhoti may halchal hoi hai. main ye dekh kar muskaradi. Main bilkul unkay paas aagai aur jhuk kar unhe doodh denay lagi. Mere jhuknay se mere kholay galay kay blouse se mere boobs bahar aanay lagay. Main ne kaha, Babu Jee dhoodh pee lain. Babu Jee ki nazrain mere boobs par thi aur wo kehne lage, Neha aaj main ye doodh nahi piyon ga. Main boli, Kyon Babu Jee. Babu Jee ne kaha, Neha aaj main dosra doodh piyonga, Main banaoti herat se boli, Ddsri doodh kon sa Babu Jee? Main is waqt tak doodh ko bad ki side table par rakh chuki thi. Babu Jee nay mera hath pakad kar mujhe apnay upar ghaseet liya aur mere boobs ko pakad kar bolay, main ye doodh peena chahta hoon. Babu Jee kay hatho se mere puray jism may karant dor gaya tha aur ye hi to main chahti thi main nay natak kartay howay boli, yeh aap kiya kar rahen hain? Chorie koi aa jayega. Babu Jee nay kaha kon aaya ga is waqt teri Saasu Maa to chali gai hai aur Shankar mere kamray may nahi aata to befikar reh abhi main tere ye doodh se bharay boobs chosunga aur phir tujhe nanga kar kay teri choot may apna lund daal kar teri choot chodunga. Main phir natak karnay lagi, Nahi Babu jee choriyena yeh aap kya kar rahen hain main aap ki Bahu hoon ye galat hain. Babu Jee nay kas kar mujhe lappet kar bistar par lita diya aur khud mere upar chaadh kar let gay aur bolay, galat ki bachi kal raat ko to tu badi muskara muskara kar mujhe chodtay howay dekh rahi thi aur ab natak kar rahi hai. Babu Jee ki baat sunkar main muskaradi aur main nay apni bahain Babu Jee kay galay may daal di aur boli, Babu Jee main to aap kay sath masti kar rahi thi jab se main ne aap ka mota aur lamba lund dekha hai main khud bechain thi aap se chodwanay kay liye main aap ko kese mana kar sakti hoon. Meri baat sunkar Babu Jee muskara diye aur bole, ab aai hai na line par chal ab apnay kapday utaar. Main laad se boli, aap khud utaar dian na mere kapday. Babu Jee muskaray aur unho nay mujhe nanga kar diya. Mera nanga khubsurat sexy badan dekh kar Babu Jee ki aakhain phaat gai aur wo bole, wah meri rani tera badan to bohat chikna aur sexy hai aaj to tujhe chod kar maaza aajay ga. Ye keh kar wo mere baday baday boobs par toot paday aur besabri se mere boobs ko chomnay aur chaatnay lagay. Main nay maazay may aakar aankhain band karlin aur unka sar apnay boobs par dabanay lagi. 15 minute tak Babu Jee nay mere boobs ko choosa aur chaata phir wo meri choot par hath pheernay lagay. Main nay sisak kar unka hath apni choot may daba liya aur jalti hoi aankhon se Babu Jee jo dekhnay lagi aur boli, Babu Jee meri choot may aaj lagi hoi hai please ise bhoja dain. Babu jee muskaray aur bolay, tum fikar hi na karo meri jaan main abhi ye aag bhoja deta hoon. Ye keh kar wo meri choot par jhuk gay aur maazay se meri choot ko chaatnay lagay. Apni choot par Babu Jee ki zaban mehsoos kartay hi main tadapnay lagi phir jab unho nay meri choot kay danay ko apnay danto se pakda to mujh se bardasht nahi ho saka aur main jhad gai aur meri choot ne pani chor diya. Meri choot se nikalnay wala pani Babu jee chaat liya. Main tadap kar boli, uuuuuuuuuffffffffffffffff Babu Jee kyun tadpa rahay hain mujhe jaldi se apna lund meri choot may pail dain. Babu Jee nay mujhe se kaha, tum mere lund ko pyaar nahi karo gi kiya? Main nay jalti hoi aankhon se Babu Jee ko dekha aur shikayati lehjay may boli, aap nay apnay lund par mujh se pyaar karwaya hi nahi. Babu Jee muskaray aur bolay, nazar kyun hoti ho Neha Darling ye lo. Babu Jee nay apna kurta aur dhoti utaari di to unka 10 inch lamba aur 3 inch mota lund azaad hogaya. Main betaabi se uthi aur main nay dono hatho se unka lund pakad liya aur boli, uuuuuuuffffffffffffff Babu Jee kitna pyaara hai aap ka lund dil chah raha hai kay ise kha jaon. Babu Jee nay kaha, tumhe mana kis ne kiya hai meri Bahu Rani ye ab tumhara hai jo chaho is kay sath karo. Main nay foran hi Babu Jee ka lund apnay mou may le liya aur maazay se kulfi ki tarha choosnay lagi. Khub achi tarha Babu Jee ka lund choosa phir Babu Jee nay mujhe lita diya aur meri tangain mor kar mere kandhon se laga di. Is tarha se meri choot bilkul unkay lund kay samnay aagai. Babu Jee nay apna lund meri choot kay sorakh par rakha to main kehnay lagi, Babu Jee aik hi jhatkay may apna pura lund meri choot may ghussa diye ga. Babu Jee nay kaha, aesa hi hoga meri jaan. Phir unho nay apni puri taqat se jhatka maara aur unka lund meri choot ko buri tarha se phaadta howa jad tak andar ghuss gaya. Mujhe bohat takleef hoi aur main na chahtay howe bhi apni cheekh nahi rok paai. Babu jee hanse, ary tum to bilkul kunwari ladki ki tarha cheekhi ho kiya tumhara Pati Rajesh tumhe nahi chodta. Main boli, wo to mujhe bohat chodtay hain par unka lund aap se patla aur chota hai mujhe itna bada aur mota lund lenay ki aadat nahi hai isi liye meri cheekh nikal gai. Babu Jee muskaray aur bolay, agar tumhe choot ko aadat nahi hai to main aaj tumhari choot ko chod chod kar aadi bana donga. Ye keh kar Babu Jee khub zoro se jhatkay maarnay lagay aur main mazay may cheekhnay lagi siskariyan lenay lagi. Babu Jee nay meri choot ko 25 minute tak choda aur meri choot 3 baar jhadi. Phir unho nay apna lund meri choot se nikaal liye aur mujhe nichay charon hath parion par khada hojanay kay liye kaha. Main bad se utar kay nichay apnay charon haath pairon par khadi hogai. Babu Jee nay ghotno kay bal beth kar apna lund meri gand may ghussaya aur phir mere upar jhuk kar apnay dono hatho se mere dono boobs ko pakad liya aur phir wo tezi se jhatko par jhatkay maarnay lagay. Dogi style may mujhe kafi takleef horahi thi is liye main buri tarha se cheekh rahi thi. Babu Jee khub zor-e-shor se jhatkay maar rahay thay. Main sisak kar boli, uuuuuuuufffffffffff aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh Babu Jee thoda aahistaaaaaaaaaaaaa oooooooooeeeeeeeeeee mujhe bohat takleef horahi hai. Babu Jee nay apni raftaar aur badha di aur bolay, takleef horahi hai to bardasht karo meri Banno Rani. Main phir boli, uuuuuuuuufffffffffff Babu Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee kahi meri cheekhain Shankar tak na pohanch jaain. Babu Jee hanse aur bolay, tumhari cheekhain Shankar suntan hai to sun le aakar wo bhi tujhe chod le ga jis se tujhe aur maaza aay ga kyun kay uska lund to mere lund se bhi lamba aur mota hai. Main phir boli, aap mujhe kisi kay kabil chorain gay to main kisi aur se chodwaon gi. Babu Jee nay kaha, ziyada natak na kar aur chup chaap chodwa warna may teri gand ko chod chod kar phaad donga. Main khamosh hogai aur Babu Jee meri khub chodai kartay rahay. Babu Jee nay meri 3 ghantay tak khub jam kar chodai kari. Main paseenay paseenay ho chuki thi. Itni shandaar chodai meri aaj tak mere Pati nay bhi nahi kari thi. Babu Jee bole, ab jaldi se kapday pehan kar bhaag ja aesa na ho kay teri Saasu maa aajay. Main uthi aur apnay kapday pehannay lagi. Kapday pehannay kay baad main muskarati hoi boli, Babu Jee aaj aapnay is tarha chod mujhe kar khareed liya hai. Meri itni zabardast chodai to aaj tak Rajesh ne bhi nahi kari hai. Babu Jee nay mujhe lipta kar mujhe kiss kiya aur bolay, meri jaan ye to sirf trailer tha puri film to main raat ko chalon ga. Main muskarai aur boli, Babu Jee aaj raat aap sirf Saasu Maa ko chodiye ga main zara raat may Shankar ko moka dena chahti hoon. Babu Jee herat se bole, ye Shankar kaha bich may aagaya. Main muskarai aur boli, wo aap hi to mujhe chodtay howe keh rahay thay kay uska lund aap se bhi lamba aur mota hai aur wo mujhe choday ga to mujhe aur maaza aay ga. Babu Jee nay kaha, mere kehnay ka ye matlab thodi tha kay tum us se chodwa lo. Main muskarai aur boli, Babu Jee jab aap mujhe chod saktay hain to Shankar kyun nahi chod sakta aur jab se main ne suna hai uska lund aap se bhi bada hai to ab main ziyada intezaar nahi kar sakti aur main aaj raat hi us se chodwaon gi. Wese aap ye baatain kay aap nay kab uska lund dekh liya. Babu Jee nay kaha, aik dafa main nay ghar kay pichay jaha uska quarter hai waha main nay usay moth maartay howay dekha tha. Wese tum usko razi kese karon gi. Main muskarai aur boli, Babu Jee ye mera kaam hai. main aap ko dawat de rahi hoon jis tarha main nay aap kay kamray may dekha tha aap ko Saasu Maa ko chodtay howe usi tarha aap aaj raat may Shankar kay quarter may jhank kar mujhe us se chodwata howa dekh liye ga. Meri baat sunkar Babu Jee muskaray aur bole, agar aesi baat hai to aaj raat main tumhari chodai zaroor dekhon ga. Main muskarai aur boli, aap paratna kijiye ga kay main Shankar se chodwanay may kaamyaab hojaon. Meri baat sunkar Babu Jee has diye aur bole, ha main paratna karaon ga kay tum Shankar kay alawa aur logo se bhi kaamyaabi se chodao. Main bhi has padi aur Babu Jee ko kiss aur boli, ab main chalti hoon dekhon to sahi mera yaar Shankar kiya kar raha hai main abhi se usay patana chahti hoon. Babu Jee kehne lage, main bhi chalta hoon dekhon to sahi kay tum Shankar ko kis tara line par lati ho. Main muskarai aur boli, ha aap bhi mere sath aaiye magar mujhe se dor rahiye ga Shankar ki nazar aap par na paday. Main baat par Babu Jee razi hogay. Babu Jee aur main kamray se bahar aagay aur Shankar ko dhoondne lage. Hum ne puray ghar may dekh liya par Shankar nahi tha phir hum ne socha wo apnay quarter may na ho isi liye hum dono g