sábado, 28 de março de 2015

Trabalhe e Pague suas Contas. A Política de Bem-Estar de Lee Kuan Yew.

Bom, esclareço inicialmente, que não sou especialista em Cingapura (ou Singapura, do leão Sing), mas este texto de John Fund, da National Review merece leitura.

Aqui vai parte do texto:

In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew Built a Welfare State That Works

by JOHN FUND March 27, 2015 4:00 AM

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416071/singapore-lee-kuan-yew-built-welfare-state-works-john-fund

Obituaries of Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore who died this week at age 91, broke down into roughly two camps: 

- He was a hero, building a “clean as Disneyland” republic that runs like a Swiss watch. 

- He was an autocrat, who built a successful economy but crushed opponents and journalists who challenged his “managed” democracy.  Both statements have big elements of truth. 

I take a third approach, based on a fascinating visit I made to Singapore earlier this month. Lee Kuan Yew, a member of Britain’s left-wing Labour party while a student at Cambridge, managed to create a workable welfare state, one that provides for people without creating Social Security–like Ponzi schemes or unsustainable entitlements. Both liberals and conservatives have much to learn from what he built, the details of which are missing in most of the tributes to him.  

Lee’s first priority when he became prime minister in 1959 was to reimagine Singapore’s economy. “Back then, this place was a swamp, with no natural resources, and it even had to import its drinking water from Malaysia,” Jim Rogers, a noted American investor who has lived in Singapore for nearly a decade, told me during my visit there.  By embracing free trade, capital formation, vigorous meritocratic education, low taxes, and a reliable judicial system, Lee raised the per capita income of his country from $500 a year to some $52,000 a year today. That’s 50 percent higher than that of Britain, the colonial power that ruled Singapore for 150 years. Its average annual growth rate has averaged 7 percent since the 1970s. “A 2010 study showed more patents and patent applications from the small city-state of Singapore (population 5.6 million) than from Russia (population 140 million),” noted economist Thomas Sowell observes. 

But that wealth wasn’t used to create a traditional welfare state. Economist Mark Skousen notes that Singapore is rated along with Hong Kong as one of the two most free economies in the world. Any expansion of government is gradual and grudging. 

In 2013, when Singapore broadened its medical-benefits program, the local Straits Times newspaper made clear the government’s philosophy: “The first [priority] is to keep government subsidies targeted at those who most need them, rather than commit to benefits for all. Universal benefits are ‘wasteful and inequitable,’ and hard to take away once given, [finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam] said.” 

That mindset is embodied in Singapore’s philosophy of welfare, which rests on four pillars: 

- Each generation should pay its own way. 

- Each family should pay its own way. 

- Each individual should pay his own way. 

- Only after passing through these three filters should anyone turn to the government for help. But it will be there when needed.

sábado, 21 de março de 2015

Fundador do Greenpeace não Acredita que Homem é Culpado da Mudança Climática.Diz que é tudo Poder e Dinheiro.

Patrick Moore é co-fundador da conhecida organização ambientalista Greenpeace. Foi presidente do Greenpeace por nove anos.

Ele recentemente escreveu um artigo explicando por que ele acha que esse negócio de aquecimento global que o homem é culpado é bobagem.

Vejamos parte do que ele disse em artigo publicado no site Heartland, para ler tudo, clique no link.

Why I am a Climate Change Skeptic
Dr. Patrick Moore is the co-founder, chair, and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies.

I am skeptical humans are the main cause of climate change and that it will be catastrophic in the near future. There is no scientific proof of this hypothesis, yet we are told “the debate is over” and “the science is settled.”

My skepticism begins with the believers’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unlivable temperatures.

In fact, the Earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, long before heavy use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age, during the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, when it was warmer there than today. And during Roman times, it was warmer, long before fossil fuels revolutionized civilization.

The idea it would be catastrophic if carbon dioxide were to increase and average global temperature were to rise a few degrees is preposterous.
Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced for the umpteenth time we are doomed unless we reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to zero. Effectively this means either reducing the population to zero, or going back 10,000 years before humans began clearing forests for agriculture. This proposed cure is far worse than adapting to a warmer world, if it actually comes about.
IPCC Conflict of Interest

By its constitution, the IPCC has a hopeless conflict of interest. Its mandate is to consider only the human causes of global warming, not the many natural causes changing the climate for billions of years. We don’t understand the natural causes of climate change any more than we know if humans are part of the cause at present. If the IPCC did not find humans were the cause of warming, or if it found warming would be more positive than negative, there would be no need for the IPCC under its present mandate. To survive, it must find on the side of the apocalypse.

The IPCC should either have its mandate expanded to include all causes of climate change, or it should be dismantled.

Political Powerhouse

Climate change has become a powerful political force for many reasons. First, it is universal; we are told everything on Earth is threatened. Second, it invokes the two most powerful human motivators: fear and guilt. We fear driving our car will kill our grandchildren, and we feel guilty for doing it.

Third, there is a powerful convergence of interests among key elites that support the climate “narrative.” Environmentalists spread fear and raise donations; politicians appear to be saving the Earth from doom; the media has a field day with sensation and conflict; science institutions raise billions in grants, create whole new departments, and stoke a feeding frenzy of scary scenarios; business wants to look green, and get huge public subsidies for projects that would otherwise be economic losers, such as wind farms and solar arrays. Fourth, the Left sees climate change as a perfect means to redistribute wealth from industrial countries to the developing world and the UN bureaucracy.

So we are told carbon dioxide is a “toxic” “pollutant” that must be curtailed, when in fact it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, gas and the most important food for life on earth. Without carbon dioxide above 150 parts per million, all plants would die.

We have no proof increased carbon dioxide is responsible for the earth’s slight warming over the past 300 years. There has been no significant warming for 18 years while we have emitted 25 per cent of all the carbon dioxide ever emitted. Carbon dioxide is vital for life on Earth and plants would like more of it. Which should we emphasize to our children?

Celebrate Carbon Dioxide

The IPCC’s followers have given us a vision of a world dying because of carbon-dioxide emissions. I say the Earth would be a lot deader with no carbon dioxide, and more of it will be a very positive factor in feeding the world. Let’s celebrate carbon dioxide.

quinta-feira, 19 de março de 2015

Novo Banco Chinês de Desenvolvimento atrai Países Ricos (ex EUA)

Obama pediu que os países ricos do ocidente ficassem do lado do dólar. Pediu que eles não aderissem ao novo banco chinês, mas não adiantou. E aí, do nosso lado brasileiro, eu pergunto: não tem também um tal de Banco do Brics? E aí?

Vejamos parte do artigo do New York Times.

BRUSSELS — Ignoring direct pleas from the Obama administration, Europe’s biggest economies have declared their desire to become founding members of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank that the United States views as a rival to the World Bank and other institutions set up at the height of American power after World War II.

The announcement on Tuesday by Germany, France and Italy that they would follow Britain and join the Chinese-led venture delivered a stinging rebuke to Washington from some of its closest allies. It also called into question whether the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which grew out of a multination conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., in 1944 and established an economic pecking order that lasted 70 years, will find their influence diminished.

The announcement by Germany, Europe’s largest economy, came only six days after Secretary of State John Kerry asked his German counterpart, Frank Walter-Steinmeier, to resist the Chinese overtures until the Chinese agreed to a number of conditions about transparency and governing of the new entity. But Germany came to the same conclusion that Britain did:China is such a large export and investment market for it that it cannot afford to stay on the sidelines.

American officials have fumed that China never approached the Group of 7 — the consortium of economic powers that the United States has led — but rather decided to pick off individual members, setting a deadline of the end of March for them to decide whether to join the new organization, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which many refer to by its initials, the A.I.I.B.

China, in turn, has long chafed at the idea that the World Bank’s president is traditionally an American, and that France appoints the head of the I.M.F.

“This has been a power struggle,” one senior European official said. “And we have moved from the world of 1945.”

In Washington, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, declined to criticize the countries that announced they would seek to participate, but expressed reservations. “It will be important for prospective members of the A.I.I.B. to push for the adoption of those same high standards that other international institutions abide by, including strong board oversight and safeguards,” she said.

The European decision is bound to help efforts by Xi Jinping, China’s president and Communist Party chief, to reshape the global balance of power, starting with the institutions that underpin it.

Mr. Xi’s predecessors chose to join some of those institutions, including the World Trade Organization, and work from within to amend some of their rules more to China’s liking. But with the new bank, China appears to be stepping up previously halting efforts to also build new, Sino-centric institutions from scratch. China’s control of the bank, however, will face constraints. Britain has insisted on a senior post on its board, and Germany will do the same.

China has worked for years to break what it regards as an unfair grip by the United States on global political and financial institutions and to set up rival structures more responsive to Chinese demands for a voice in international affairs commensurate with its status as the world’s second-biggest economy.

terça-feira, 17 de março de 2015

A Péssima Educação nos Estados Unidos

Entre os países ricos, os EUA estão muito mal posicionados em termos educacionais. Vejam tabela acima. Fiquei preocupado com Espanha e Itália que ainda são piores que os EUA.

O site Zero Hedge ainda destaca alguma estatísticas interessantes que ressaltam o resultado acima para os Estados Unidos:

- After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.

E no Brasil, nossos estudantes escrevem 20 páginas por semana?

Eles lêem 40 páginas por semana?

sábado, 14 de março de 2015

Ele expôs a Fraude de Ambientalistas, Foi Perseguido, mas Ganhou na Justiça.

Interessante história do cientista James Enstrom. Vejamos o que divulgou o site College Fix.



School says it’s purely a financial decision – trial ain’t cheap
Scientific research at universities is supposed to involve inquiry into established theories and hypotheses.
That is, unless they question environmental regulations.
One UCLA science researcher, a 34-year veteran of the school, found himself out of a job in 2011 after examining the data underlying diesel regulations proposed by a California regulator and exposing the shoddy credentials of a lead author of that regulator’s report.
James Enstrom secured victory in a two-and-a-half year legal battle against UCLA last week when the school agreed to settle the case.
The school is paying the “diesel particulate matter” expert $140,000, reinstating his title as “Retired Researcher,” and restoring his access to UCLA resources, “effectively” rescinding his termination, according to the American Center for Law & Justice, which represented Enstrom.
Enstrom had challenged the validity of a California Air Resources Board study on diesel particulate matter and mortality in the state and the regulations that followed. He denounced the research as a faulty reading of data.
UCLA retaliated against Enstrom after he “became an aggressive and lone critic at UCLA of air pollution research,” escalating in 2008 after he testified in California Senate hearings, according to a lawsuit filed by the center in 2012.
It accused the school of initiating “a series of actions designed to silence and ultimately terminate Dr. Enstrom.”
Enstrom exposed fraudulent behavior in the studies on which the board relied, including that of the lead author of a 2008 report. Hien Tran “admitted he purchased” a magna cum laude Ph.D. for $1,000 from a “diploma mill associated with a fugitive pedophile,” according to CalWatchdog.
It’s “the standard MO” of the regulatory board to use “unverified studies to gin up regulations” in the state, according to Lois Henry, a Bakersfield Californiancolumnist who covers California politics, in a column last month.
After blowing the whistle, Enstrom found his position’s funding cut, as detailed in a 2010 letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to then-Chancellor Gene Block.
“Every day that the case continues is a deeper violation of academic freedom and freedom of speech and a more thorough chilling of faculty speech at UCLA,” FIRE said. The availability of an appeals and grievance process “does not absolve you or UCLA of the moral and legal responsibility to immediately reverse the decision not to rehire Enstrom.”
An April 2011 letter from the Academic Freedom Committee of the Academic Senate also sided with Enstrom, calling the school’s failure to reappoint him “a violation of academic freedom.”
In an email to The College Fix, Enstrom pointed to the importance of the Secret Science Reform Act, currently under consideration in Congress, which would require public disclosure of “materials, data and associated protocols” as well as “computer codes and models,” so that results can be understood and research replicated.
Speaking about the settlement, UCLA told The Daily Bruin that it did not target Enstrom for his political beliefs.
It said that “Enstrom’s presence as a researcher for decades, despite his minority positions defending diesel emissions and tobacco, demonstrates” that UCLA promotes academic diversity.
A spokesman told The Fix that UCLA settled the case because it would cost “far less than the legal costs of a trial.” Enstrom’s settlement includes “some other incidental campus services, such as eligibility for parking and email, associated with his retiree status.”
College Fix reporter Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

quinta-feira, 12 de março de 2015

Nazismo e Crise Financeira na Grécia

A Grécia enfrenta terríveis problemas financeiros. Muito por culpa dela mesma. Mas é sempre mais fácil falar que a "culpa é do sistema" ou atacar a honra de seus credores (duas conhecidas falácias lógicas).

Não é que a Grécia quer responder às dificuldades financeiras usando armas jurídicas que remontam à Segunda Guerra Mundial (Massacre de Distomo).

Ora, a Alemanha é, no final das contas, o país que financia a Zona do Euro, e por isso é quem determina como ajudar a Grécia em tempos de crise. E a Alemanha é responsável pelas terríveis consequências da Segunda Guerra Mundial e muitos respeitados historiadores dizem ainda que a Alemanha também é o principal culpado pela Primeira Guerra Mundial.

No entanto, é óbvio,  que isto não tem nada a ver com a crise financeira de diversos países europeus. E além disso, como se pode pagar pela morte de uma vida? E pela morte de centenas de vidas?

Além disso, a Grécia está usando a história para fazer política e economia e não para fazer justiça. Pois suspendeu o pedido de reparação quando foi de interesse político.

Vejamos o relato do site Zero Hedge.

Earlier today, despite fears that it may not find enough cash to fund its latest T-Bill rollover, Greece was able to sell €1.3 billion of three-month Treasury bills, covering the amount it wanted to refinance a maturing issue, in what Reuters dubbed was an "auction that tested its ability to raise funds amid a cash crunch." The paper came at a higher cost as the T-bills were priced to yield 2.70 percent, up 20 basis points from 2.50 percent in a previous sale in February, the country's debt agency PDMA said.
However, this latest funding appears to have brought Greek funds to a critical low level because roughly at the same time news broke that Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said he is ready to sign an older court ruling that will enable the foreclosure of German assets in Greece in order to compensate the relatives of victims of Nazi crimes during the Second World War.
As Kathimerini reports, Greece's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Distomo survivors in 2000, but the decision has not been enforced. Distomo, a small village in central Greece, lost 218 lives in a Nazi massacre in 1944.
Some background on the story from Keep Talking Greece:

On Tuesday, Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said that he was ready to sign an older decision issued in year 2000 by Greece’s Highest Court Areios Pagos that enables confiscation of German state property in Greece. The court decision confirmed the First Instance Court decision of 1997 that had ruled that Germany had to pay €28 million to descendants of the Distomo massacre.

On 10 June 1944, Waffen SS killed 218 men, women and children of Distomo village, in reprisal for attacks by resistance fighters.

“The confiscation of German property in Greece would affect the Goethe Institute and the German Schools in Athens and Thessaloniki,” Greek media report.

Speaking to ANT1 TV this morning, Paraskevopoulos said that the court decision needs only the signature of the Justice Minister in order to go in effect. However he implied that this will not be done immediately.

According to Greek media, already in 2000, PASOK Justice Minister had signed the court decision and a justicial clerk appeared at the door of Goethe Institute in Athens.

“However, the Justice minister withdrew his signature. after a couple of days later Germany approved the entrance of Greece to the Euro zone,” notes Proto Thema.

But the Justice Minister and every Justice Minister has to take into consideration the impact on bilateral relations.

Also on Tuesday, deputy Defense Minister Kostas Ysichos said that the ministry has the so-called Wehrmacht- Archive, an archive of 400,000 records of the German occupation,  that is currently in the process of digitilization.

As KTG succinctly observes, "The decision comes amid a frozen atmosphere between Greece and Germany over bailout reforms and a series of insults spoken by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble against his counterpart Yanis Varoufakis."
During the same debate, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed his government’s firm intention to seek war reparations from Germany, noting that Athens would show sensitivity that it hoped to see reciprocated from Berlin.
Then again, "sensitive" is hardly how one would characterize his speech: when speaking before Parliament, Tsipras accused Germany of using legal tricks to avoid paying reparations for the Nazi occupation of Greece and said he would support parliamentary efforts to review the matter.
“After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legal and political conditions were created for this issue to be solved. But since then, German governments chose silence, legal tricks and delay. And I wonder, because there is a lot of talk at the European level these days about moral issues: is this stance moral?” Tsipras said and added that "despite the crimes of the Third Reich and Hitler’s hordes, the German debt was written off".
Germany has repeatedly rejected Greek calls for WWII reparations claiming that “war compensations to individuals was settled with the "Agreement of 1960" and the “Agreement of 1990.”
However, “the Agreement of 1960 covered only compensation for the individual victims of Nazi horrors, not the destruction wrought on Greece during the 1941-1944 occupation and the enforced loan,” Tsipras said.
Why is Greece pushing for any recovery on the reparations front? Because the amount for the cash-strapped, and now desperate, country could be substantial: "according to some sources, the Greek claims from Germany are estimated  €269 – €332 billion. In April 2013, after the investigation committee concluded its work, newspaper To Vima reported that the Greek claim was 162 billion euro."
To Vima stressed to have seen the findings and reports that the experts found that Germany should pay Greece 108 billion euros for damage to infrastructure and 54 billion euros for a loan that the Nazi occupation forces obliged Greece to take in order to pay Berlin during the war.
In other words, the reparations are equivalent to about 80 percent of Greek gross domestic product.

quarta-feira, 11 de março de 2015

"Povo Brasileiro é Infantilizado"

Ontem li uma entrevista do economista Marcos Lisboa, que trabalhou no governo Lula, para a agência de notícias da Agência Estado (Broadcast).

Ele falou da necessidade de ajuste fiscal (mesmo que as medidas não sejam muito boas) e ressaltou as dificuldades de se fazer isso em uma "sociedade infantilizada".

Ele tem razão, vamos esquecer que ele foi chefe no governo Lula que foi eleito para "infantilizar" a sociedade com muitas benesses (dar aumento de salário sem relação com a meritocracia, bolsa família, cotas raciais,...). Será que ele não sabia da relação PT com os sindicatos, quando aceitou o cargo na época?

Cabe também adicionar que não se trata de um problema brasileiro, não é uma jabuticaba, também se fala do vício em "free stuff" nos Estados Unidos e toda a Europa financia seus próprios inimigos (vários jihadistas são sustentados pelos governos).

Ele tem razão que a infantilização traz enormes dificuldades, na medida que se deprecia o valor do trabalho.

Vejamos parte da entrevista de Lisboa.

10/03/2015 13:09:30 - AE Topnews

São Paulo, 10/03/2015 - As medidas fiscais do governo federal são dolorosas, mas seguem na direção correta, na avaliação do diretor vice-presidente do Insper, Marcos Lisboa. "As medidas fiscais, mesmo as que não são as melhores para a retomada do crescimento, devem ser feitas", diz Lisboa, em entrevista exclusiva ao Broadcast para comentar a relação entre o ajuste fiscal e o descontentamento de parte da população evidenciado no "vaiaço" de domingo.

Para o economista, a agenda de retomada do crescimento econômico é difícil "não só por culpa do governo", mas também pelo fato de o Brasil ter uma "sociedade infantilizada". Ou seja, diversos grupos se acham no direito de receber tratamento privilegiado. "Até pouco tempo, o governo decidiu ceder à demanda de grupos organizados. O resultado está aí." Abaixo os principais trechos da entrevista:

Broadcast - As medidas na área econômica estão adequadas? Marcos Lisboa - As medidas fiscais até agora têm o mérito de um reconhecimento tácito de erros e de uma mudança de rumo. As manifestações (como a que ocorreu no domingo) são compreensíveis porque foi eleita uma presidente com discurso contrário do que está sendo feito. Lá atrás, o governo decidiu adotar uma postura mais populista de negar a crise internacional e conceder estímulos para evitar a crise no Brasil. O resultado disso foi adiar e agravar a crise. É o equivalente ao que foi feito com a água e a energia.

Broadcast - O senhor se refere ao adiamento do diagnóstico de escassez de água e de um plano de prevenção para a crise que vivemos no estado de São Paulo, por exemplo?
Lisboa - Isso. É a mesma coisa. (No caso do ajuste fiscal,) ainda tem a frustração das pessoas que acreditaram no governo e em uma saída mágica para evitar as restrições que agora são vistas. Além disso, a campanha eleitoral como foi conduzida queimou as pontes com muitos grupos da sociedade e gerou graves desafios para a presidente em termos de criar consenso, alianças.

Broadcast - O fato de, na sua opinião, nem todas as medidas fiscais serem adequadas justifica o descontentamento de parte da população no domingo?
Lisboa - Acho que não. São duas coisas separadas. As medidas fiscais, mesmo as que não são as melhores para o longo prazo, devem ser feitas. Como fazê-lo é o que pode definir como vai se dar a retomada do crescimento econômico. E o Brasil tem uma agenda difícil para retomar o crescimento não só por culpa do governo. Temos também uma sociedade infantilizada. É a economia da meia entrada. Diversos grupos se acham no direito de ter tratamento privilegiado, de andar no acostamento. Isso se disseminou na sociedade brasileira de maneira impressionante.

Broadcast - Considerando a hipótese de termos outro governo, as medidas fiscais seriam as mesmas dado o resultado fiscal de 2014 e dessa cultura de "andar pelo acostamento"?
Lisboa - O ajuste fiscal teria de ser feito de qualquer maneira, e o atual está longe de ser suficiente. Há um debate sobre em que medida vamos continuar com essa concessão disseminada de privilégios pontuais. Até pouco tempo, o governo decidiu ceder à demanda de grupos organizados para baixar os juros, aumentar o câmbio, conceder crédito subsidiado, evitar concorrência exterior, estimular a regra de conteúdo nacional, proteger o pequeno negócio. O governo cedeu, e o resultado está aí. (Karla Spotorno - karla.spotorno@estadao.com)

terça-feira, 10 de março de 2015

Senador Ted Kennedy pediu à KGB para Derrotar Reagan nas eleições

Ted Kennedy era irmão do presidente John Kennedy, hoje leio que ele queria ajuda da KGB para evitar a vitória de Reagan nas eleições de 1984.

Ted Kennedy sempre foi ultra-esquerdista com vários problemas pessoais (coisa muito comum entre os kenendies, como o Incidente de Chappaquiddick em que deixou uma mulher morrendo afogada em seu carro e foi dormir),

Mas vejamos o relato do site The Federalist sobre o que Ted queria que a União Soviética fizesse.

According to Soviet documents unearthed in the early 1990′s, Kennedy literally asked the Soviets, avowed enemies of the U.S., to intervene on behalf of the Democratic party in the 1984 elections. Kennedy’s communist communique was so secret that it was not discovered until 1991, eight years after Kennedy had initiated his Soviet gambit:
Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”

Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”

Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.

First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.

Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. … The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.”

Kennedy would make certain the networks gave Andropov air time–and that they rigged the arrangement to look like honest journalism.
You can read the full KGB memo detailing Kennedy’s secret letter and request for electoral intervention here.

sexta-feira, 6 de março de 2015

Vídeo: Em outro 11 de Setembro, Alguém previu Esfriamento Global.

Este vídeo realmente é espetacular. Com o inverno brutal nos Estados Unidos, Júlia Seymour lembrou dessa previsão de 11 de setembro de 1972, uma segunda-feira, no site News Busters.

Vai ver eles estavam certos, e teremos um esfriamento global e não aquecimento, who knows? Nobody.

(Agradeço o vídeo ao site Weasel Zippers)

quarta-feira, 4 de março de 2015

China: Efeitos Econômicos e Sociais da Política de Filho Único

Ontem, eu li um artigo muito interessante do economista Andrew Yuengert sobre o impacto social da política de filho único da China. No artigo, ele menciona outro texto, dessa vez, de Nicholas Eberstadt, sobre os efeitos econômicos.

Vou colocar aqui partes dos dois textos. Sendo o primeiro sobre os efeitos econômicos, de Eberstadt.

By Nicholas Eberstadt, 15 November 2013.

China’s economic record over the past three-plus decades is breathtaking: no country in history has ever grown that fast for that long. Just how much the population control program contributed to China’s economic transformation, however, is another question altogether. And when one considers China’s demographic outlook today, we have an inventory of troubles–all of them plausibly linked to the government’s antenatal drive, all of them bearing adversely on China’s economic future.

According to official numbers, China’s pool of working age manpower has already begun to shrink. But the population of senior citizens (all born well before the One Child era) is still exploding–on track to surge by over 3% a year for the next decade or so, and to make China’s society more elderly than America’s by the year 2035. And population control pressures appear to have exacerbated China’s imbalance between baby boys and girls–one of China’s leading demographers attributes fully half of the surfeit of boys to the One Child policy–setting the scene for a “marriage squeeze” in the years ahead of extraordinary dimensions. (Simple calculations suggest that a fifth or more of China’s youth today may end up essentially unmarriageable, with as yet unpredictable consequences for economy, society, and governance.) Demographic trends, in short, have swung from facilitating rapid economic growth to weighing against such growth–and likely weighing ever more heavily against it with every passing year for decades to come.

For many years, almost all of China’s serious population specialists–the country by now has a large number of first-rate demographers and demographic economists–have noted the increasingly perverse consequences of the One Child Policy. Some years ago, many of the country’s finest demographers and economists sent a joint letter to the then-Premier, suggesting that the policy be re-examined (code language for thrown in the garbage bin). Their missive was officially ignored–for the time being.

No longer. This morning we learn that the just-concluded CPC Plenum has decreed some nationwide changes for the population policy. As of this writing, only-children in China apparently no longer need seek state permission to sire or bear as many as two children of their own.

Some may see this as a harbinger of greater changes to come. Possibly so. But viewed for what it actually is, this is a small and grudging change. The principle of state control over personal family size is still apparently intact in China: what we see so far appears to be a matter of tinkering with quotas.

From a bureaucratic standpoint, this small but symbolic gesture looks like a calculated attempt to sacrifice as little state authority as possible over the inherently totalitarian claim that the state is in charge of family size in China. Relinquishing such control over the family is something China’s leadership is clearly very reluctant to do.

But perhaps the Party should be more frightened by the possibility that they might not need to make any further concessions to popular sentiment. We do not know just how many children Chinese parents would wish to have today if the decision were left entirely to them–but there are chastening signs that the level could be very low indeed.

In many of the biggest cities–Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin–official numbers in some years indicate a “snapshot” fertility level of under one birth per woman per lifetime: in such places, One Child coupons have been going unused. And in the countryside, experimental programs in certain counties have indicated that a surprisingly high proportion of peasants offered a chance at a second child will decline the privilege. Even if the population control program were discarded and repudiated today, it is by no means clear that China’s birth level would return to the replacement level–either today, or in the foreseeable future.

In the final analysis, the long-term damage that the One Child policy has wrought on the Chinese family may be the measure’s lasting legacy. Those costs may be both truly historic and utterly incalculable.

By Andrew Yuengert, 25 February 2015.
A mainland Chinese student visited my office last week, asking for a letter of recommendation for his transfer to another university. It is hard to lose a student like this—enthusiastic and bright, the sort who sits on the front row of a large auditorium lecture class and asks good questions.
He gave the usual reasons for wanting to transfer: he liked Pepperdine, of course, but it did not offer the technically specialized majors he or his parents were seeking. When asked where he was applying, he listed some elite East-Coast schools, but he seemed most interested in two Hong Kong universities. When asked why, he mentioned a girlfriend, but emphasized that he had a cousin back in China to whom he was extremely close: “He is like a brother to me.”
I wonder if they realized what a gift they were giving to their grandson: a cousin who was “like a brother” to someone who had no brother or sister.

Smaller Families Equal a Bigger State

China’s one-child policy has stripped the social space between the state and the individual of every protection that the most natural community, the family, can provide. How much more damaging must be the collapse of family size in Chinese culture, in which family ties have played such an important role? I know I’m not saying anything new (see Nick Eberstadt on the economic effects of the policy), but we cannot remind ourselves too often of what is lost as family sizes have collapsed (through state coercion or, more sadly, voluntarily).
As American family sizes shrink we get a glimpse of the losses, but we may not be aware of the extent of the social damage caused by a one-child policy (or the one-child norm some would foist upon us). Here is some rough math. If we assume that everyone gets married and has the same number of children—big assumptions, I know, but they give a sense of the social stakes in family size—the table below gives the number of relatives (up to first cousins) in a steady state:
We don’t need a chart to see that a reduction in family size reduces the number of siblings, but the fact that the number of parents and grandparents is stable may distract us from the collapse in the number of aunts, uncles, and cousins. For example, when average family size falls from four to three, each person loses a sibling, of course, but he or she also loses four aunts and uncles and twelve cousins. The collapse to one child wipes out the siblings, but it also wipes out the aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Even One Fewer Child Per Family Makes a Big Difference

A family tree with many branches functions as a broad social safety net: when average family size falls from three to two, there are only half as many aunts and uncles to lean on, visit, identify with, and support you when things go wrong and rejoice with you when things go right. When the average family size is one, there is little family left to protect you and to belong to. The modern fantasy—society as disconnected individuals under a tutelary state—becomes grimly plausible.
The family is most local of all communities, and its decline is at least as great a social calamity as the commercialization of culture and the state organization of society. In the case of the family, at least, it is in our power to effect something of a restoration. Offer friendly correction to those who criticize large families, who think even three children is imprudent and irresponsible.  If you are young (and married!), no doubt you can think of many valid reasons not to have another child. You are not obligated to have as many children as you physically can, of course. Don’t rely on the culture’s norms in making decisions about family size, though: the culture will confirm your evaluation of the costs of more children, but it is blind to the great gift you are giving to your children and your descendants. When you have another child, you fill out the tree, and help restore the culture.
Andrew Yuengert is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His research and writing explores the boundaries between economics, philosophical ethics, and Catholic social thought.

segunda-feira, 2 de março de 2015

Mark & Spencer: Jihad e Alá permitidos, Jesus Cristo banido.

No mundo cristão, é mais fácil ofender a Cristo do que às outras religiões. Ainda mais quando o país é cheio de imigrantes muçulmanos.

Vejam o que faz a empresa Mark & Spencer no Reino Unido, revelado pelo jornal Daily Mail. Eu já morei no Reino Unido, com essa, eu não compraria mais na Mark & Spencer.

M&S bans customers using the words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' in messages when they are ordering flowers online - but jihad is okay 

By Lidia Willgress

The words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' have been placed on a list of banned words by Marks & Spencer and cannot be used in gift messages.

Customers buying a bunch of flowers who try to add a free message containing them are prevented from completing their order.

An on-screen notification, which pops up if any blocked words are entered, reads: 'Sorry, there's something in your message we can't write.'

'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' join other banned words including 'f***' and 'gay' - but some terms including jihad, Buddha and Allah are accepted.

'Terrorist' and 'd**k' can also be included in messages.

The policy emerged earlier today after one customer was stopped from buying a £35 bouquet for a funeral because she said in the gift message that it was from a family in 'Christ Church Teddington'.

When Gerardine Stockford, 53, phoned customer services an employee told her that it must be a blocked word, according to The Sunday Times

Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was shocked. 

He said: 'If Christ becomes an offensive word in a Christian land then all of us should be alarmed.'

Despite the supermarket giant being made aware of the issue yesterday, it still has not changed the facility.

A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: 'An automatic phrase checker is in place to prevent the use and misuse of certain words and it includes hundreds of words of varying nature. 
'The words Jesus and Christ are included to prevent their misuse.' 

(Agradeço o artigo do Daily Mail ao site Jihad Watch)