sexta-feira, 29 de agosto de 2014

Guerras "Produtivas".

De vez em quando, eu encontro no sitre da Bloomberg, bons textos que não relativos ao mercado financeiro. Hoje, leio um texto muito mais próximo do que trato no meu outro blog Thyself, O Lord. O artigo trata sobre guerras "produtivas" e "não produtivas" comparando as guerras com os guerreiros nômades do passado (mongóis e hunos) com a guerra que precisa ser feita contra o ISIS.

Na oportunidade, o texto sugere o livro acima que parece bem interessante. Apesar de que definir guerra por produtiva ou não deve trazer muitos problemas.

Vou colocar aqui partes do artigo, escrito por Stephen Carter, leiam todo no site da Bloomberg.


Islamic State's Centuries-Old Strategy


The debate over how to think about Islamic State has mainly centered on important but abstruse questions -- is it evil or not? -- and on what combination of military and economic pressure might be necessary to prevent the establishment of a caliphate.
What the debate is lacking is a sense of history. And the historical antecedents do supply an early analogy to Islamic State -- a warrior people who came out of nowhere, defeated mightier forces in battle, accumulated wealth and, in their bloody ferocity, terrified every civilization with which they came into contact.
I refer to the steppe nomads.
The steppe nomads were fearsome horsemen of varying ethnicity who first encountered the great empires of antiquity around 700 B.C., and reappeared with regularity well into the Middle Ages. They lacked the sophisticated technology, wealth and professional bureaucracy of the great powers like Rome and China. Instead they had horses. Cavalry was something new, and the traditional empires had difficulty adjusting to the tactics of the unanticipated invaders, who although loosely organized slowly conquered vast swaths of territory.
The story of the battle against the steppe nomads is powerfully told in Ian Morris’s excellent if controversial book, "War! What Is It Good For?" Morris, a historian and archeologist at Stanford, argues that there are two kinds of wars: productive wars that bring about greater prosperity and safety, and unproductive ones that are destructive to both. The wars with the steppe nomads were mostly unproductive. And although the territorial empires ultimately prevailed, the wars against the nomads were long and enormously costly.
By the 13th century, when Mongols under Genghis Khan successfully invaded what is now Iran, the technological sophistication of the steppe nomads had advanced considerably. Khan “employed a permanent corps of Chinese engineers,” writes Morris, and the engineers in turn forced prisoners to “dig tunnels; divert rivers; build catapults, rams, and towers; and rain burning gunpowder onto defenders." The Mongols’ use of technology helped them take Baghdad, “Islam’s richest city,” in 1258. A few years later, following a lengthy siege, the Mongols conquered Xiangyang in central China, “possibly the greatest fortress on earth.”
All of this was possible because the Mongols -- who began as classic mounted steppe warriors -- were far-sighted enough to see the advantage of using their accumulated wealth to hire the experts they needed to defeat the cultures of the West.
The Huns, another fearsome nomadic people, had earlier learned the same lesson. For the Hunnic Empire, writes the historian Peter Heather in "Empire and Barbarians," the “path to political triumph” was to take charge “of distributing the combined profits flowing from a potent mixture of raiding, mercenary service, and diplomatic subsidy.”
Islamic State has also captured a lot of sophisticated military hardware from the Iraqi army. Many experts are skeptical about the group’s ability to maintain or even learn how to use the equipment. Perhaps. But Islamic State doesn’t necessarily need to do maintenance and training on its own; it need only spend some of its wealth to hire outside experts interested in making a buck. It worked for the steppe warriors for centuries. There is no reason to think it wouldn’t work for Islamic State.
The steppe warriors lost in the end, of course. It cost the traditional empires of Europe and Asia dearly in blood and treasure, but they won. How? Morris lists several reasons, and all of them have relevance to the current threat of Islamic State.
Advancing technology -- particularly the discovery of military uses for gunpowder -- helped turn the tide of battle. So did constant and often massive attacks on the nomad territory, as well as simple bribery. Most important, perhaps, was a change in attitude. Not until they finally accepted their enemy for what it was, not a crowd of mindless barbarians but a powerful military and economic force that had to be fought with all the weapons and wealth at their command, did the great empires of history defeat the warriors of the steppes.

segunda-feira, 25 de agosto de 2014

As Pessoas estão ficando mais Estúpidas. Pesquisas mostram queda no QI.

Cientistas alertam que as pessoas no mundo todo estão ficando mais estúpidas. Será? Eu, como professor, vejo meus alunos cada vez mais estúpidos e desonestos.

O problema do plágio atinge de Harvard até a pior universidade do mundo. E as pessoas hoje em dia ficam entretidas com coisas mais estúpidas, jogos de computador, facebook. Olhem a música que se ouve hoje em dia...

O site Zero Hedge também fala da disseminação de questões escolares de múltipla escolhas. As pessoas não pensam mais, escolhem a opção mais provável. Antigamente, as questões escolares eram abertas, ou você usava a cabeça para lembrar da resposta ou não respondia.

É claro que medir inteligência por QI é controverso e muitas vezes relaciona o estúpido (cultualmente, socialmente, etc.) como inteligente. Mas serve como um parâmetro.

Vejamos o artigo do Daily Mail.

Are we becoming more STUPID? IQ scores are decreasing

Technology may be getting smarter, but humans are getting dumber, scientists have warned.

Evidence suggests that the IQs of people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have declined in the last decade.

Opinion is divided as to whether the trend is long-term, but some researchers believe that humans have already reached intellectual peak.

An IQ test used to determine whether Danish men are fit to serve in the military has revealed scores have fallen by 1.5 points since 1998. 

And standard tests issued in the UK and Australia echo the results, according to journalist Bob Holmes, writing in New Scientist.

The most pessimistic explanation as to why humans seem to be becoming less intelligent is that we have effectively reached our intellectual peak. 

Between the 1930s and 1980s, the average IQ score in the US rose by three points and in post-war Japan and Denmark, test scores also increased significantly - a trend known as the ‘Flynn effect’.

This increase in intelligence was due to improved nutrition and living conditions - as well as better education - says James Flynn of the University of Otago, after whom the effect is named. 

Now some experts believe we are starting to see the end of the Flynn effect in developed countries – and that IQ scores are not just levelling out, but declining. 

Scientists including Dr Flynn think better education can reverse the trend and point out  the perceived decline could just be a blip. However, other scientists are not so optimistic.

Some believe the Flynn effect has masked a decline in the genetic basis for intelligence, so that while more people have been reaching their full potential, that potential itself has been declining.

Some have even contentiously said this could be because educated people are deciding to have fewer children, so that subsequent generations are largely made up of less intelligent people.

Richard Lynn, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, calculated the decline in humans’ genetic potential.

He used data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to discover that our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point.

Dr Lynn predicts that if this trend continues, we could lose another 1.3 IQ points by 2050.

Michael Woodley, of the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, claims people’s reactions are slower than in Victorian times, and has linked it to a decline in our genetic potential.

It has previously been claimed that quick-witted people have fast reactions and Dr Woodley’s study showed people’s reaction times have slowed over the century – the equivalent to one IQ point per decade.

Jan te Nijenhuis, a psychology professor at the University of Amsterdam, says Westerners have lost an average of 14 IQ points since the Victoria Era.

He believes this is due to more intelligent women have fewer children than those who are less clever,The Huffington Post reported.

Dr Woodley and others think humans will gradually become less and less intelligent.

But Dr Flynn says if the decline in IQ scores is the end of the Flynn effect, scores should stabilise.

He thinks that even if humans do become more stupid, better healthcare and technology will mean that all people will have fewer children and the ‘problem’ will regulate itself.

(Agradeço a informação ao site Zero Hedge)

quarta-feira, 20 de agosto de 2014

A Pior Recuperação Econômica da História dos EUA, para trabalhadores.

Eu já vi várias gráficos comparativos das recuperações econômicas americanas depois de uma recessão, mostrando, por exemplo, ganhos em termos do PIB. E estes gráficos mostram e eu costumo dizer que Obama administra a pior recuperação econômica da história dos EUA. Hoje vi mais um gráfico sobre isso que mostra que a recuperação econômica da crise de 2008/2009 é a pior em termos de ganhos salariais para o trabalhadores.

Texto da Bloomberg de hoje. Vejam abaixo:

Only Rich Know Wage Gains With No Raises for U.S Workers

By Aki Ito, Ian Katz and Ilan Kolet

Call it the no-raises recovery: Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.
Meager improvements since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation, raising the real value of compensation per hour by only 0.5 percent. That marks the weakest growth since World War II, with increases averaging 9.2 percent at a similar point in past expansions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has zeroed in on faster wage growth as an important milestone for declaring the job market healed and ready to withstand policy tightening, even as other labor measures improve. Stagnant earnings also explain an economy that’s having trouble sustaining a rebound in housing and consumer spending, according to David Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
“The bottom line is, we’re a million miles from full employment,” said Blanchflower, a Bank of England policy maker from 2006 to 2009. “Workers are struggling, and they don’t see signs that things are suddenly going to change.”


Households in the top 20 percent of U.S. socioeconomic groups saw their incomes grow by an average of $8,358 a year from 2008 to 2012, compared with a $275 annual decline for the lowest 20 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Global Inequality

The discrepancy gained visibility after publication of French economist Thomas Piketty’s bestseller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” It catalogs the widening global inequality between the rich and everyone else, and has sparked worldwide debate about imbalances in wealth and income.

In the U.S., stagnant wages are linked to a question puzzling economists and policy makers alike: How many able and willing workers still are waiting on the sidelines? The issue may be among topics Yellen and other central bankers discuss this week at their annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the focus will be on the labor market. Until the economy burns through this excess capacity, employers have little incentive to give raises to attract and maintain employees.
Recoveries in the past exhausted that supply far faster than the current rebound, generating broad-based compensation increases that outpaced the speed of inflation and encouraged consumers to spend. If the economy had followed the historical relationship between joblessness and earnings, real wages would have been 3.6 percentage points higher by mid-2014, given how much unemployment has declined, according to a Chicago Fed study released last week.

Lower Unemployment

The jobless rate was 6.2 percent in July, down from a post-recession high of 10 percent in October 2009.
“We’re sort of in uncharted territory,” said Guy Berger, a U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. “This isn’t fully behaving like prior cycles.”

The abnormality reflects the depth of the 18-month contraction. It displaced millions of Americans who, even with a recent pickup in hiring, still are making their way back to gainful employment. The lack of wage increases also helps explain why U.S. consumers don’t seem to be on stronger footing this far into the expansion.
The National Association of Realtors projects a 3 percent decline in purchases of existing homes this year to about 4.9 million from 5.1 million in 2013, while retail sales stalled last month.

Limited Scope

“The scope for improvement is limited,” Berger said. “But real wage growth could make a difference. If we go up a percentage point from where we are now” in inflation-adjusted wage gains, “that allows consumer spending to accelerate as well.”
Lackluster pay has contributed to headaches for President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats, with fewer than three months left until the midterm elections. In daily Gallup tracking polls taken from Aug. 12 through Aug. 14, 51 percent of respondents disapproved of how he has handled the presidency, compared with 42 percent who approved. That pattern has persisted for more than a year.
Respondents in a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 8-14 were even less positive about his handling of the economy, with 56 percent saying they disapprove compared with 40 percent who approve.

Blame, Credit

“Right or wrong, the president gets credit and blame for what’s going on,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics research at Bank of America Corp. in New York. “The fact that people just don’t feel good about the economy is partly due to the lack of job growth, partly due to the lack of wage growth.”
Yellen referenced this in July 15 testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, saying the recovery still isn’t complete and the “slow pace of growth” in measures of hourly compensation are a sign of “significant slack” in labor markets.
This slack is one reason the Fed has kept its benchmark federal funds rate near zero; the last time policy makers raised the rate on overnight loans among banks was 2006.
The risk of leaving the rate so low for too long is that the economy may overheat. While inflation still tracks below the Fed’s 2 percent target -- and the yield on 10-year Treasuries was 2.39 percentyesterday, compared with 3.94 percent on Nov. 30, 2007, just before the recession began -- prices are starting to accelerate. The personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred gauge, increased 1.6 percent in June from a year earlier, compared with an annual pace of 0.9 percent in October.

Weak Response

“We are facing a problem of rising inflation,” Martin Feldstein, a former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said June 4 in a “Bloomberg Surveillance” interview. “They’re probably going to respond too weakly, too slowly.”
Yellen’s counter: Nominal average hourly pay, which increased about 2 percent in June from a year earlier, is still about half the 3 percent to 4 percent pace she has said she considers “normal.”
“There is some room there for faster growth in wages and for real wage gains before we need to worry” about this “creating overall inflationary pressure for the economy,” she told the Senate committee July 15.
So for now, Dartmouth’s Blanchflower will keep waiting for the jump in inflation hawks have been forecasting for years.
“We’ll worry about it when we see it,” he said.

terça-feira, 19 de agosto de 2014

Bloomberg: Retorno Decrescente do Federal Reserve

Bom, hoje há um interessante texto na newsletter da Bloomberg (Bloomberg Brief). É sobre o efeito do "quantitative easing" do Federal Reserve. O autor mostra que é preciso cada vez mais uma montanha maior de dinheiro do Banco Central dos Estados Unidos para se gerar 1 emprego. Em termos econômicos, chamaríamos de retorno marginal decrescente dos estímulos financeiros. E olha que de toda a imensidão do dinheiro gasto (recorde em todos os sentidos), os Estados Unidos estão na pior recuperação econômica da história do país.

Vou descrever aqui o que diz o economista.

Segundo o economista Chase Rhoer, hoje para cada 1 dólar de estímulo do Fed há $4 de capitalização na S&P. Esta relação é estável desde o inícios dos quantitative easings, mas que no auge da crise em agosto de 2008 para $1 gerava-se $12.

E também mostra que hoje é preciso $37.403 no balanço do Fed para estimular a criação de um emprego formal, em agosto de 2008 este valor era $7.600.

O maior contraste está na análise de custo-benefício do crédito onde  é preciso $41 bilhões de estímulos para que haja queda de 1 ponto base no CDS dos EUA.

Vejam os dois gráficos do artigo de Rhoer.

quinta-feira, 14 de agosto de 2014

Black Blocs nos Estados Unidos

As imagens acima são muito corriqueiras no Brasil. Mas ocorrem nos Estados Unidos na cidade de Ferguson, no Missouri, porque a polícia atirou em um jovem negro que estava desarmado (história também comum no Brasil).

A diferença nos EUA é que o problema racial é mais acentuado. Por exemplo, a maioria dos negros são mortos por outros negros nos EUA, mas se um branco mata um negro pode virar manchete de jornal. Outra diferença é que este tipo de conflito contra policiais não é nada comum nos Estados Unidos.

Obama chegou ao poder com um discurso de superação do conflito racial, mas desde que assumiu a presidência já estimulou o conflito inúmeras vezes,  e às vezes teve de se retratar. Por exemplo, certa vez um professor negro resolveu fazer muito barulho na porta de casa. A polícia foi chamada. Como ele desacatou os policiais, foi preso. O Obama atacou os policiais. E Depois que a verdade apareceu, ele teve que chamar o policial para tomar um chop na Casa Branca, para acalmar as críticas de sua atitude impensada (foto abaixo). Depois teve o caso Trayvon, um jovem que foi morto por um vigia noturna branco (meio latino). Obama e seu partido transformaram Trayvon em mártir, mesmo sabendo da ficha suja do jovem. O vigia foi inocentado pela justiça.

terça-feira, 12 de agosto de 2014

Recessão? Não para Bancos.

Apesar da crise econômica mundial que se alastra desde 2008, com o governo Obama tendo a pior recuperação econômica da história do país (e depois que o governo americano resolveu salvar financeiramente bancos), os bancos americanos não têm o que reclamar. Tiveram o maior lucro em 23 anos no segundo trimestre deste ano.

Os bancos estão nadando em dinheiro barato do Banco Central americano. A economia patina, mas os banqueiros ficam mais ricos.

Isto é fato.

Quando os bancos entram crise, muita gente grita: "Fogo, fogo, salvem os bancos se não virá uma hecatombe!"

Vejam notícia da Agência Estado abaixo.

11/08/2014 16:57:19 - TOP NEWS

Nova York, 11/08/2014 - Apesar dos ventos desfavoráveis, os ganhos do setor bancário americano têm se situado perto das máximas históricas. A indústria bancária nos Estados Unidos registrou seu segundo melhor desempenho em 23 anos no trimestre encerrado em 30 de junho, de acordo com dados da SNL Financial, que começou a acompanhar o segmento em 1991.

Ainda que tenham sofrido punições de bilhões de dólares, enfrentado taxas de juros persistentemente baixas e levado um duro golpe do setor imobiliário, os bancos americanos registraram lucro líquido de US$ 40,2 bilhões no segundo trimestre, desempenho superado apenas pelos US$ 40,4 bilhões entregues no primeiro trimestre de 2013.

Os resultados mostram como o setor bancário é capaz produzir lucro mesmo quando os obstáculos são elevados. "O segundo trimestre foi um ponto de inflexão na história da rentabilidade dos bancos", disse o analista da SunTrust, Eric Wasserstrom.

O forte desempenho no segundo trimestre foi impulsionado em grande parte pela melhor qualidade de crédito, ou capacidade dos tomadores de quitar suas dívidas. Os bancos foram capazes de reduzir suas provisões para empréstimos de risco, que poderiam limitar os lucros. Essas provisões baixaram para US$ 6,6 bilhões no segundo trimestre, de US$ 7,6 bilhões nos primeiros três meses de 2014 e US$ 8,5 bilhões no segundo trimestre de 2013.

O crédito, por sua vez, cresceu no maior ritmo desde o fim da crise internacional. Numa base anualizada, o aumento foi de 7,7% no segundo trimestre, ante 1,7% no mesmo período do ano anterior. Fonte: Dow Jones Newswires. 

segunda-feira, 11 de agosto de 2014

Rússia volta a Idolatrar o Humano.

Se a gente não idolatra o que é certo, Deus, passa a idolatrar outra coisa (dinheiro, conhecimento, poder,...). Em mentes comunistas, há sempre a tendência de idolatrar um humano, Fidel, Chavez, Stalin,...O mais novo humano que serve de idolatria é Putin, na Rússia, país que ainda hoje idolatra Lenin e Karl Marx. A agência de notícias ITAR-TASS noticia que os russos estão fazendo fila para comprar camisas com a estampa de Putin.

Vejamos parte do texto:

MOSCOW, August 11. /ITAR-TASS/. US movie star Mickey Rourke bought a T-shirt bearing a print of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a new collection of the item went on sale in Moscow on Monday, T-shirt designers said.
Rourke, visiting the capital at the invitation of the Russian Boxing Federation, chose a grey T-shirt showing Putin in a cap.
Anna Trifonova and Ivan Yershov, known as the Anyavanya design duo, said their collection was inspired by Russia's numerous victories on the international stage, such as the Sochi Olympics triumph, the world ice hockey championship and reunification with Crimea.
Their stall at Moscow's prestigious GUM department store gathered crowds as some 7,000 new T-shirts went on sale. They sell for 1,200 roubles ($33). Putin fans can also buy an iPhone case for 600 rubles ($17). In early June, some 5,000 Putin T-shirts sold out in one day.

The collection has 15 T-shirt prints, including Putin wearing military camouflage with the slogan “The politest of people,” and Putin on horseback, with the slogan “They’re not gonna get us”.

(Agradeço a notícia ao site Zero Hedge)

sábado, 9 de agosto de 2014

O Principal Emprego de um Homem é Ser Pai.

Vou contar aqui a história de Max Schireson (foto acima), que viu o trabalho que ele ama estrangulando sua vida. O site Business Insider falou de Max Schireson, que largou um empregão para ficar com os filhos. Schireson disse que ama seu trabalho mas deseja que exigisse menos dele.

Homens também sofrem e deveriam sofrer por ficar longe de seus filhos demais.

Eu costumo dizer que minha principal função no mundo é ser pai, é cuidar e ensinar os meus filhos. E eu amo fazer isso, mas do que tudo. Eu trabalho muito, mas se vejo que o trabalho está prejudicando demais meu tempo com meus filhos, eu largo, mudo os horários, faço qualquer coisa. Se um chefe me pede demais, como ficar todos os dias na hora do almoço ou ficar todos os dias depois das 19h, eu digo: lamento mas não posso. Tenho meus filhos, para me dedicar. Minha família é bem mais importante e bem mais interessante que meu trabalho. Dinheiro não pode prejudicar minha família é para auxiliar.

Vejamos parte do texto do Business Insider. É um ótimo texto para o Dia dos Pais.

Men Need To Work Smarter, Not Harder, Says The CEO Who Quit His Job To Spend More Time With His Family

By Julie Bort

Earlier this week, Max Schireson, the CEO of MongoDB, shocked the tech world. He resigned from the CEO role, staying on as vice chairman, because he wanted to spend more time with his kids. He said it all in an impassioned resignation letter.
"I love my job, I just wished there was less of it," he told Business Insider.
MongoDB is the kind of startup most people in the tech industry dream of running. It makes a popular database, is valued at over $1 billion and growing fast, on track for an IPO.
His decision to leave the job is like a rallying cry for men in the tech industry, who are often pressured to work non-stop.
"A lot of struggles we hear publicly from women in workplace are actually felt by everyone in workplace. We haven’t heard as visibly from men," he told us.
Schireson, his wife and three kids (ages 14, 12 and 9) live in Palo Alto, California, where his wife is a professor and doctor at Stanford University. MongoDB is based in New York. Instead of asking her to leave her career when he joined MongoDB three years ago, he commuted to New York. Between that and the heavy travel schedule required as a CEO, Schireson was on pace to fly 300,000 miles this year.
"During that travel, I have missed a lot of family fun, perhaps more importantly, I was not with my kids when our puppy was hit by a car or when my son had (minor and successful, and of course unexpected) emergency surgery," he wrote in his resignation letter,
We caught up with Schireson to ask him how attitudes need to change in the workplace for working dads.
Business Insider: What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your resignation letter?
Max Schireson: I wanted to publicly talk about the challenges of work/life balance I think many people face, not only women. I hope it will help in a couple of ways, to help men feel more comfortable talking about these issues.

BI: Financially, was this a difficult decision?

MS: I didn't make a decision to stop working entirely, just to stop being CEO. Financially, no one needs to be CEO. I think people can get attracted to having more and more money. I was in the fortunate situation where my wife does well. And I can stay on at MongoDB and work less and still be paid well.

BI: The pressure to work long hours is particularly intense in the tech industry. What do you think the industry should do about it?

MS: More effort doesn’t always lead to more output. I’ve tried to encourage employees not to burn themselves out, not to work so hard that they can’t work smart and efficiently.
I hope that in many roles, even senior roles, we’ll get smart as a society about how to make the most of people’s brains and their capabilities without having to suck up all their time.

quinta-feira, 7 de agosto de 2014

Terroristas do ISIS tomam Maior Cidade Cristã e Maior Represa do Iraque

A Agência Estado afirma que o grupo terrorista ISIS dominaou a maior represa do Iraque. E o site Business Insider diz que o grupo pretende liberar a água e matar todos embaixo caso não aceitem a domínio do grupo. Alguém duvida que eles são capazes de matar todos, se se virem em dificuldade?

Pior, o grupo dominou a maior cidade cristã do Iraque e a população foge desesperada.

Diz o texto do Daily Star:

KIRKUK, Iraq: Jihadists seized Iraq's largest Christian town and surrounding areas Thursday, sending tens of thousands of panicked residents fleeing in what is being called a humanitarian disaster, officials and witnesses said.
The onslaught saw the Sunni extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) extend its writ over northern Iraq and move within striking distance of autonomous Kurdistan, in one of the most dramatic developments of the two month-old conflict.
ISIS militants moved into Qaraqosh and other towns overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish peshmerga troops, who are stretched thin across several fronts, residents said.
"Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants," Joseph Thomas, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told AFP.
Entirely Christian Qaraqosh is lies between Mosul, the jihadists' main hub in Iraq, and Arbil, the Kurdish region's capital. It usually has a population of around 50,000.
Tal Kayf, the home of a significant Christian community as well as members of the Shabak Shiite minority, also emptied overnight.
"Tal Kayf is now in the hands of ISIS. They faced no resistance and rolled in just after midnight," said Boutros Sargon, a resident who fled and was reached by phone in Arbil.
"I heard some gunshots last night and, when I looked outside, I saw a military convoy from ISIS ... shouting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is greatest)."
Pope Francis urged the international community to protect Iraq's Christians, who have emigrated en masse over the past decade as a result of successive waves of violence.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, who heads Iraq's largest Christian denomination, said the overnight offensive had displaced 100,000 Christians.
"This is a humanitarian disaster. The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down," he told AFP, adding that 1,500 manuscripts had been burnt.
AFP could not immediately verify the status of those towns, which witnesses said have been completely emptied of their residents.
The latest numbers dwarf the exodus sparked last month by an ISIS ultimatum to Mosul's Christians to convert to Islam, pay jizya (protection money) or leave on pain of death.
A peshmerga spokesman said Kurdish forces were battling ISIS in Qaraqosh and Al-Qosh further north, but no witnesses could corroborate that.
The spokesman also said the peshmerga were fighting in Gwer, a Kurdish community south of Qaraqosh.
The ISIS advance means jihadists are now within striking distance, in some areas barely 20 kilometers, of the official border of the Kurdish region and 40 kilometers from Arbil.
The group launched a devastating offensive on June 9, seizing the country's second city Mosul the next day and sweeping across much of the Sunni heartland.
Peshmerga forces apparently redeployed to Arbil some of the forces they had assigned to the disputed land they grabbed from the government during the army's initial debacle.
They also beefed up security in Kirkuk, the most significant conquest they made during the June chaos, but the city was rocked by a car bomb Thursday.
The blast ripped through a Shiite mosque where displaced people had sought refuge, killing at least eight and wounding 47, police and medical sources said.
The experienced peshmerga were thought to be a sufficient bulwark against massive further advances by the jihadists, but ISIS fighters have been moving stealthily across the northern Ninevah province and making surprise gains.
At the weekend, ISIS units took over most of the Mosul hinterland which the peshmerga had occupied after government forces retreated in June.
Among its conquests was the Sinjar area, from which tens of thousands of civilians fled, including many families from the Yazidi minority who are still hiding in barren nearby mountains.
The Yazidis, and other local residents, have been stranded in the mountains since Saturday with little food and water.
The leaders of the small minority, who practice a 4,000-year-old faith rooted in Zoroastrianism, have warned that their entire community risks being massacred or starved into extinction.
Turkish officials said hundreds of Yazidis had crossed into Turkey but did not specify how they got there.
Rights activist Ali al-Bayati told AFP around 1,500 people had reached Fishkhabur, near the spot where the borders of Iraq, Syria and Turkey meet.
ISIS, which proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq in late June, boasted of its latest victories.
"We are pleased to announce to the Islamic nation a new liberation in Nineveh province, teaching the secular Kurds a lesson," a statement said.
It denied reports that an unprecedented alliance of Kurdish fighters from Iraq, Syria and Turkey was clawing back lost territory around Sinjar and elsewhere.


O que mundo assiste hoje com a cabeça enfiada no chão é dramático para o futuro.

terça-feira, 5 de agosto de 2014

Suecos e Dinamarqueses curtindo a vida endividados.

Os mais endividadas do mundo são...os dinamarqueses!! Eles juntos com os suecos têm uma baixíssima renda média em comparação com outros países avançados.

Por que? Ora, para que me preocupar com poupança se o governo me dá tudo? Posso curtir a vida endividado. Países em que as pessoas têm de trabalhar para ter uma boa aposentadoria e ter os filhos em boas escolas têm renda média maior.

Leiam dois excelentes textos da Bloomberg. 

O primeiro fala das famílias dinamarquesas endividadas. E diz coisas como:

Denmark’s efforts to stop the world’s most indebted households from building up more debt are starting to pay off as amortization rates improve.

The Danish Mortgage Bankers’ Federation says issuance of interest-only loans -- criticized by the central bank and rating companies for posing a threat to financial stability -- has now peaked. Danske Bank A/S, Denmark’s biggest lender, also estimates the share of non-amortizing loans is set to decline.

“The trend is broken now,” Jan Oestergaard, a senior analyst at Danske in Copenhagen, said in a phone interview. “Depending on how interest rates move going forward, I think we’ll see a lower share of interest-only loans.”

O segundo faz uma comparação das rendas médias entre os paísesavançados. Os três piores são Dinamarca, Suécia e Estados Unidos, nesta ordem do pior para o melhor. O texto diz coisas como:

To bring this back to the U.S., though, when you talk about wealth and debt in countries like Denmark, you need to remember that residents of most Western countries need a lot less in savings than Americans. Other countries — and Denmark pretty much heads the list — have a much tighter social safety net. That means less savings needed for emergencies, less for education, and much less for retirement.

If you’re trying to understand where the U.S. middle class fits in comparison to the rest of the world, any calculation that leaves that out is misleading. Make no mistake: The U.S. does not do well in median wealth calculations compared to most countries. Though a couple of years old, this post from Dylan Matthews addresses the issue well. The U.S. ranks third-to-last in median wealth in a list of 19 wealthy countries.

The only ones below the U.S.? Sweden and Denmark, which have famously comprehensive government income supports. On the other hand, countries that rely largely on individual savings (Australia, Italy, Japan) are way higher in the median wealth ranks. And more of the wealth is held in middle-class savings, less in housing: In Australia, 56 percent of household wealth is kept in retirement accounts and pensions, versus 27 percent in the U.S.

In other words, the median Dane can rely on the government. The median Australian has a healthy retirement account. The median American has neither.

Bom, é o velho: "trabalhe para ter e não depender de ninguém." 

Um Estado bonzinho empobrece o povo.

segunda-feira, 4 de agosto de 2014

Os Abutres vão salvar a Argentina dos Abutres

Leio agora na Agência Estado que vários bancos internacionais, como JP Morgan, Citibank e HSBC estariam em negociação para comprar os títulos argentinos que estão nas mãos de credores (conhecidos como abutres na Argentina) que venceram o país na justiça americana e obrigaram o país a praticar o calote da dívida. A compra destes títulos poderia pôr um fim no calote argentino.

Como será que a Argentina, sempre tão marxista em seu modo de pensar, trataria esta solução. Muito dificilmente irão reconhecer a ajuda do "imperialismo financeiro internacional", talvez dirão que foi uma "vitória do povo argentino", que convenceu o mundo financeiro que os "abutres" queriam apenas destruir o país.

Mas o que estes abutres fazem de diferente dos bancos internacionais?

Vejam o texto da Agência Estado.

Buenos Aires, 04/08/2014 - Vários bancos internacionais estão em negociações para ajudar a dar fim à batalha judicial que levou a Argentina para o segundo default em 13 anos. Segundo informações da imprensa argentina, os bancos estão avaliando comprar alguns bônus argentinos atualmente em mãos de investidores norte-americanos que exigem um pagamento maior que o oferecido pelo país.

Entre os bancos estariam JPMorgan, Citibank e HSBC, que não quiseram comentar o assunto. O Deutsche Bank também estaria envolvido nas negociações, mas não respondeu ao pedido de comentário.

A batalha com esses credores em um tribunal dos EUA levou o juiz local a bloquear os pagamentos de juros a outros detentores de bônus, provocando o default em 30 de julho. Uma ajuda dos bancos permitiria que a Argentina saísse do default antes de se aprofundar em uma recessão econômica. Fonte: Associated Press.

sexta-feira, 1 de agosto de 2014

Latinos poderiam Aprender a Pagar Conta, além de rezar para São Caetano.

Vejam a tabela acima, disponível no site Zero Hedge. É uma compilação feita por Carmem Reinhart e Kenneth Rogoff de todos os calotes de dívida externa desde 1800. Vejam como a América Latina se destaca. Dos 10 primeiros, 9 são latino-americanos. O Brasil, desde 1800, realizou 9 calotes, enquanto a Argentina, com o desta semana, chegou a 8. A Argentina tem especial concentração de calotes depois de 1950. 

Eu também acho que os bancos e corretoras domésticos e internacionais são abutres, como chamam os argentinos. Eles praticam a usura, como toda a certeza. Os juros cobrados no Brasil, por exemplo, não têm justificativa econômica, é roubo mesmo.

A Igreja, no passado, atacava com muita mais força o ato de usura. Hoje, os economistas chamariam a Igreja de "medieval" se fizesse isso.

Ontem, eu li que o São Caetano de Tiene, lutou contra a usura, chegando até a criar um banco, o Monti di Pietà (Monte de Piedade) que cobrava juros bem menores e que mais tarde se tornou o Banco de Nápoles. Ele é o padroeiro dos endividados. O texto do Catholic Herald diz que São Caetano de Tiene é o santo contra os tubarões do juros (ou abutres, para usar o linguajar da Argentina).

Mas, nós latino-americano, poderíamos aprender a pagar nossas contas, não é?