Monday, December 31, 2007


A adopção de uma taxa única sobre o consumo e o fim da imposição sobre os rendimentos, ou a adopção de uma taxa única (flat-tax) sobre os rendimentos foi um dos assuntos abordados ao longo do ano na blogosfera, nomeadamente no Quarta República e no A Destreza das Dúvidas , suportando-se estas propostas em situações concretas e em estudos científicos.
Exprimi diversas vezes o maior cepticismo acerca da viabilidade de uma tal medida, nos tempos mais próximos, em Portugal.
Ontem, deparei com uma notícia no Washington Post relatando uma das promessas de Mike Huckabee, o padre baptista, ex-governador do Arkansas, candidato à nomeação pelos republicanos à presidência dos EUA: nem mais nem menos que o aumento da taxa sobre o consumo e o fim de todas as taxas sobre os rendimentos das pessoas, individuais ou colectivas.
Contudo, mesmo nos EUA, a proposta sendo aliciante para alguns não parece que tenha pernas para andar.
Mike Huckabee's tax plan sounds too good to be true. It is.

FORMER ARKANSAS governor Mike Huckabee has proposed what sounds like a simple, pain-free fix to the convoluted mess that is the current federal tax code. Mr. Huckabee, along with Republican presidential rival Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), has endorsed what proponents call the "FairTax," which they say will allow the government to dispense with the Internal Revenue Service. As Mr. Huckabee describes it, Americans would pay a consumption tax, "like the taxes on retail sales 45 states and the District of Columbia have now," with a "monthly rebate that will reimburse us for taxes on purchases up to the poverty line, so that we're not taxed on necessities." Mr. Huckabee argues that the FairTax would encourage savings, save compliance costs and improve competitiveness -- all while bringing the same amount of money into the U.S. Treasury. If only.
As Mr. Huckabee correctly points out, there can be advantages to taxing consumption rather than income. FairTax proponents assert that a 23 percent tax rate would generate sufficient revenue to replace the income, payroll, corporate and estate taxes. But that claim is based on a misleading computation that in turn is based on a series of improbable assumptions. The actual tax rate would have to be far higher to generate the same revenue that the government collects now.
First, the 23 percent figure is disingenuous. If the current price of a widget is $1, a 30-cent sales tax would be added at the register under the FairTax. Because 30 cents is 23 percent of $1.30, backers of the tax claim that the tax rate is 23 percent. In addition, to make the claim that the tax would bring the same amount of money into the Treasury, FairTax proponents assume that the government is paying tax to itself on its purchases
The Presidents' Advisory Panel on Tax Reform -- that's President Bush's tax panel -- calculated that the rate would have to be at least 34 percent, not 30 percent, "and likely higher over time if the base erodes, creating incentives for significant tax evasion." Brookings Institution economist William Gale puts the rate at 44 percent -- and his calculation doesn't take into account cheating, for which there would be ample incentive.
Furthermore, the 30 percent rate assumes that the tax would be imposed on a broad range of goods and services that has no precedent -- putting a hefty and politically implausible extra tax bite on purchases of new homes, rent, food, health insurance, medical care and mortgage interest.
Finally, the FairTax would hit the middle class the hardest. Consumers would receive a monthly "prebate" on expenditures up to the federal poverty level, providing a cushion and probably even a modest benefit for those with the lowest incomes. The top earners, those with incomes greater than $200,000, would see significant tax cuts. So who makes up the difference? It's likely that taxpayers with incomes in the middle range -- about $40,000 to $100,000 -- would pay more. And they call that a FairTax?
Other editorials in this series can be found at


Muita gente interroga-se acerca dos cordéis com que se manipulam os votos e se confeccionam os líderes. Porque o resultado é muitas vezes decepcionante, o processo é intrigante: Como é possível que, havendo tanta cabeça ilustre, os votos acabem por escolher um tipo sem créditos que se vejam? E, de um modo ou de outro, descartam-se responsabilidades atirando-as para as costas da democracia, que as tem largas.
De vez em quando, aparecem sociólogos, psicólogos e politólogos, a esclarecer-nos o que se passa por detrás das redes de interconectividade de influências que captam os votos em eleições ou a tomada de decisões à volta de uma mesa. E, geralmente, a explicação mais ou menos elaborada resume uma tendência humana congénita: o instinto do rebanho.
A propósito das eleições primárias no Iowa na próxima quinta-feira, dois sociólogos e um matemática publicaram na Science os resultados de um estudo que conclui pela quase aleatoriedade dos resultados eleitorais.
O que, a confirmar-se, seria decepcionante e não abonaria a favor da democracia. Contudo, Sociólogos, psicólogos e politólogos, mesmo com a ajuda de matemáticos, nunca conseguirão balizar o comportamento humano calculando-lhe os resultados. Mas tem de aceitar-se, contudo, que, muitas vezes, andam por lá perto.
Vote Your Conscience. If You Can.
By Shankar VedantamMonday, December 31, 2007; Page A03
Two sociologists and a mathematician recently conducted an experiment that provides an intriguing window into the presidential candidate selection that begins this week. Matthew Salganik, Duncan Watts and Peter Sheridan Dodds had a large group of people rate 48 songs. Based on these ratings, the researchers produced a list of the best songs.
They then had eight other large groups of people evaluate the same songs, with one difference: In each of these "parallel universes," people knew how others in their group were evaluating the music. Did the eight groups come up with the same list of the best songs? No. When people knew how others thought, this changed how they thought.
Since the people in the first "control" group had nothing to go on besides the songs, their ratings were measures of quality. But in the other eight groups, quality played a much smaller role in determining a song's success. Rather, network dynamics -- the mathematical patterns that govern how ideas spread when a large group of people share complex interconnections and simultaneously influence others and are being influenced themselves -- explained why some songs became popular.
Did the eight groups exposed to peer pressure agree with one another? Again, no. Each came up with different lists of the best songs.
The experiment, published in Science, suggests that when large networks of people evaluate something together -- and it does not matter whether we are talking about songs or "American Idol" contestants or presidential candidates -- their conclusions are not only powerfully shaped by the views of others, but by the network that binds them together. The Iowa caucuses, which involve people watching one another and moving from one candidate's camp to another, have different network properties than a primary where voters don't have such real-time feedback.
Watts, a sociologist at Columbia University, said his research challenges central beliefs we have about why some musicians become stars and some politicians become presidents. Quality matters, but when voters intensely watch one another, the success of candidates depends at least as much on network dynamics as it does on the quality of the candidates themselves. Because network dynamics are not governed by intuitively simple rules of cause and effect -- depending on where they are in a network, people with strong opinions might end up with little influence, while the weak opinions of others get greatly magnified -- networks regularly produce outcomes that are partly arbitrary. Each of the eight music "universes" started out the same, but for no good reason, each went off in its own direction.
Once a primary is over, real life does not allow you to go back and rerun the race a second time. But if you could, the music experiment and other research suggests you might arrive at a different result, even though the candidates and voters start out the same. This is disturbing -- if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic primary or Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination, wouldn't you like to believe that running the race over would give you the same result?
"I am comfortable with the idea that the outcomes we get are often largely arbitrary," Watts said. "We think there is something we can call quality and it is intrinsic to people and books, and it is timeless and the results we see in the world reflects this quality. If you find it disturbing that that is not how the world works, you should not become a sociologist."
The real world provides ample evidence for the first part of the music experiment. Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire play an outsize role in determining the winner of a presidential primary for no better reason than that they get to vote before everyone else. What is impossible to see in real life is that the same candidate may not win if you were to run the race over. What causes a Clinton win in one "universe" and a Barack Obama win in another?
In a new paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Watts and Dodds debunk the idea that influential people drive races one way or the other. The decisive factor, they show in a series of mathematical models, is not the presence of influential people but people who are easily influenced. Random, insignificant events are vastly magnified by networks of such malleable people influencing one another, and this tilts the race one way or another. Blind chance plays a big role.
Once a winner is declared, however, politicians, voters and the media construct a narrative of how that outcome occurred -- they usually point to a set of pivotal characters and crucial turning points. Watts said that these after-the-fact explanations are like explaining a forest fire based on the first spark and a handful of pivotal trees, rather than on the complex relationship between wind, temperature, humidity and fuel.
Most people accept that hurricanes, earthquakes and forest fires can be triggered by random, insignificant events that are greatly magnified by complex networks. We know there is nothing unusual about the pebble that starts an avalanche -- most rolling pebbles are insignificant, but a tiny few have giant consequences.
Seeing a presidential election in those terms, however, is troubling: It means that, every four years, we entrust our future to a roll of the dice.


Para 2008, ninguém (ou quase) augura algo de bom. O pessimismo anda por toda a parte à solta. O que não impede que os foliões esqueçam as tristezas e mandem os pregoeiros das desgraças às malvas.
Oxalá os votos se concretizem e os receios se esfumem.
Um excelente 2008 para todos, homens e mulheres, de boa vontade!


O aumento dos preços do crude está a provocar nova maré cheia de petrodólares. O mar de dólares não se enche apenas de petrodólares, a China tem os cofres a abarrotar, e há muita gente a enriquecer, ainda mais, nestes tempos de crises financeiras, que não é árabe nem chinês.
O mercado da arte é que não parece ressentir-se de crise alguma e está cada vez mais florescente. E, como sempre acontece com a afluência de novos ricos, a arte é um dos destinos preferidos dos dólares (e dos euros) dos privilegiados.

(ao lado "Debutante nurse" - Richard Prince)

in Washington Post

Art Market Sheltered From Credit Turmoil
By Ula IlnytzkyAssociated Press Sunday, December 30, 2007; Page F02

NEW YORK -- Despite turmoil in the financial markets, the art market shows no signs of softening.
The fall auction season in New York saw robust prices across most categories, with new records hit nearly every time an art auction was held.
The sales have generated billions of dollars for auction houses such as
Sotheby's, contributing to solid earnings but also exposing auctioneers to
volatility when sales didn't go as well as expected.
Among the reasons for the strong showing are the weak U.S. dollar, expanding world wealth and new buyers from countries not previously associated with the art collecting community, experts say. Over the last five years, wealthy buyers from Russia, China, India and the Middle East have greatly helped fuel the art market.
The boom has occurred against the backdrop of a dreadful year for the financial sector in the United States -- a slump that seems to have been offset by the influx of foreign buyers and big American buyers who have not been affected by the uncertain economy.
These buyers paid astronomical amounts. An Andy Warhol painting sold for more than $71 million in a May auction that brought in a total of nearly $385 million. A Matisse fetched more than $33.6 million in a November sale that also took in nearly $400 million. A limestone lion sculpture that measures 3 1/4 inches hauled in $57 million earlier this month.
Still, the art market hasn't been immune to turbulence.
Sotheby's suffered a lackluster modern and impressionist sale in November in which Van Gogh's "The Fields," estimated at $28 million to $35 million, failed to sell, and many other works sold below their estimates. Sotheby's stock plunged 28 percent that day because of investors' fears that the company had overextended itself in guaranteeing sellers' reserve -- the price the house promises to pay if a certain item doesn't sell.
Experts said the price estimates exceeded the perceived value of the works.
"If you try to sell stuff for twice what it's worth, the market's going to say no," said Ian Peck, chief executive of the art-finance firm Art Capital Group. He said he heard that the Van Gogh later sold privately for about $20 million.
Peck says his blanket advice to clients is to take a wait-and-see attitude for the next year, and see how the art market plays out. "Our view is that within 12 months, we'll know if this thing is getting worse, meaning if a recession occurs in the U.S. market or not," he said.
Generally, the art market trails the
Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes by about six to eight months, Peck said. Stocks have been volatile since the summer.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


No dia 21 inseri aqui um "post" que intitulei O B(R)ANCO DE PORTUGAL a propósito da não intervenção em tempo oportuno da inspecção do Banco de Portugal, e da intervenção, precipitada e espúria a influenciar a composição da próxima administração do Banco, que era notícia nesse dia.
Não me surpreendem, portanto, as notícias de hoje acerca da decisão de Miguel Cadilhe, que foi membro da administração do BCP no período insinuadamente (pelo Governador) doloso, e da sua posição relativamente ao comportamento do governador do Banco de Portugal neste processo:
Pois teve. Deveria reconhecer o erro e demitir-se. Mas não vai acontecer nem uma coisa nem outra. Enquanto Portugal for um país de mansos costumes.


Buyers and Cellars -
The wine market is currently so hot that the prices of even some second-tier wines are rising at rates that make the Dow Jones industrial average look as if it's measuring the performance of low-risk municipal bonds.
Isto não é "champagne", é "sparkling wine".
O gerente concordou e tentou contornar a questão. A ementa de domingo propunha um "brunch" com "champagne", tudo por 21 dólares, fora as taxas e o serviço. Como os clientes normalmente não se ficavam por um "flute", decidira passar a encher os copos com "sparkling wine", sem contestação de ninguém.
Até ao dia em que lhe entrou no restaurante o cliente que provou e estranhou.
Mas não gosta?
Gosto. Mas não é "champagne".
Pois não. Vou ter de alterar o "menu".
Não sei se alterou ou não. Mas como esta gente costuma cumprir, é bem possível que no próximo domingo a bebida deixe de estar incluida no preço do "brunch".
Perdem todos: Os clientes porque deixam de ter à discrição um bom ""champagne"", o restaurante porque perde imagem e o dono dele porque vai perder clientela; o fabricante de espumante terá menos procura; o produtor de "champagne" porque o "champagne"passará a ter menos visibilidade; o reclamante porque passará a pagar, à parte, o "champagne" ou o "sparkling wine" consoante a preferência do momento.
A mentira é um dos pilares que sustentam o mundo. Um outro é qualquer coisa que se beba.


A corrida para as eleições presidenciais do próximo ano nos EUA começa no próximo dia 3 com as primárias, no Iowa, e daí a 5 dias no New Hampshire.
Do lado republicano, para quem a discussão acerca do Iraque ou da situação económica não é cómoda nem gratificante, a imigração é o tema mais abordado pelos candidatos melhor posicionados nas sondagens. Apenas Ron Paul, o candidato libertário, que, aliás, está a conseguir uma progressão inesperada nas intenções de voto, promete retirar do Iraque e meter os norte-americanos na concha.
Um tema geralmente subliminar nas divergências políticas entre republicanos e democratas, contudo, está a provocar fracturas entre
os candidatos conservadores: a religião e o estado. Huckabee, ex-governador do Arkansas, lidera as sondagens no Iowa, do lado republicano, é padre baptista radical e as suas posições conservadoras estão a provocar algum desespero entre os republicanos mais moderados.
Nada disto ultrapassaria os limites do folclore local se a religião não estivesse, nos tempos que correm, a assumir um protagonismo na cena política mundial impensável há poucas décadas atrás. Tendo sido desfraldadas vezes sem conta no passado, em nome de muitas causas de intenções obscuras, as bandeiras religiosas enfrentam-se agora em choques entre civilizações (Huntington), dos quais os discursos locais em que se embrulham sementes de xenofobia, são afloramentos do iceberg que pode afundar o mundo.
A este propósito, The Mighty & The Almighty, Reflexions on America, God, and World Affairs, de Madeleine Albright, é uma obra que merece ser lida e meditada.
"Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it?...We also have a religion...It teaches us to be thankful for all favors we receive, to love each other and to be united. We never quarrel about religion. Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own." - Red Jacket

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Guggenheim - Richard Prince

Richard Prince - Spiritual América

Friday, December 28, 2007

Damien Hirst - Virgin Mother

New York - 53st/Madison Avenue
Zoom - clicar

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


A questão mais vezes por mim abordada, aqui nestas palavras cruzadas com que me entretenho a alinhavar ideias, é a Guerra do Petróleo em que o mundo está envolvido sem que muita gente fale nisso. Mesmo nos EUA, mesmo neste período já tão junto do arranque das primárias para as presidenciais de Novembro do próximo ano, a guerra é um dos vectores por onde vai passar o resultado das eleições, só dois candidatos claramente defendem a retirada imediata das tropas (Obama e Ron Paul) mas ninguém assume que a guerra no Iraque não é senão uma batalha da Guerra do Petróleo. Que não pode ser perdida pelos EUA, e a retirada só vai acontecer quando o petróleo deixar de ter o peso decisivo que o hoje tem na sobrevivência da economia, e da sociedade, norte-americana. E só porque a questão dessa sobrevivência se coloca aos norte-americanos, é que os restantes povos, tão ou mais dependentes do que eles do petróleo daquela zona do globo, fazem vista grossa e se mantém na expectativa do desenrolar dos acontecimentos.
Até agora, nunca tinha lido um reconhecimento explícito por parte de uma individualidade política representativa norte-americana de que a guerra não tem outros propósitos mais relevantes do que a segurança das fontes de abastecimento de crude da zona do globo onde residem 3/5 das reservas conhecidas de petróleo em todo o planeta.
Lendo "The Age of Turbulence" de Alan Greenspan, deparo-me a páginas 460 e seguintes com afirmações desassombradas:
"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil. (...)
(...) while oil markets are highly competitive in the developed world, the market approach is clearly vulnerable in a world where a single act of terrorism can shut down massive chunks of oil production and cripple the global economy (...)
(...) It should be obvious that as long as the United States is beholden to potencially unfriendly sources of oil and gas, we are vulnerable to economic crises over which we have little control. Petro is so embebed in today´s economic world that an abrupt severance of supply could could disrupt our economy and those of other countries. U.S. national security will eventually require we see petroleum as an energy source of choice, not necessity."
Greenspan aborda as alternativas ao petróleo, já hoje conhecidas, mas é seguramente a sua proposta de uma taxa de 3 dólares ou mais por galão, que desincentive os consumos crescentes nas autoestradas, tanto de carros como de camiões, e incentive a adopção de medidas tecnológicas já adoptadas noutros países, e nomeadamente na Europa, que reduzam drasticamente os consumos por milha rodada, a mais surpreendente, vinda da parte de um confesso libertário.
Há algum tempo atrás, comentei aqui uma proposta de L. Friedman no sentido da imposição de uma taxa de 1 dólar por galão. Nessa altura, a proposta parecia-me inconsequente do ponto de vista da redução dos consumos, uma vez que a subida dos preços dos combustíveis nas bombas de abastecimento norte-americanas se aproximaram este ano bastante perto daquele valor. A proposta de Greenspan (3 dólares, pelo menos, por galão), ainda que aplicada gradualmente, colocaria os preços nos EUA ao nível dos europeus e não poderiam deixar de ter os mesmos efeitos: a redução mais acelerada dos consumos.
E, tendo em conta que um em cada sete barris de petróleo consumidos em todo o mundo é consumido nas autoestradas norte-americanas, se uma decisão fosse tomada naquele sentido daria, seguramente, um contributo enorme para a queda dos preços, a melhoria do ambiente, a redução do móbil da guerra.
Se outros méritos não tivesse, e tem, o livro de Greenspan vale bem por estas páginas finais da obra.
Assim fosse ouvido e seguido.


Os accionistas de referência do BCP não se entenderam; Constâncio insinuou, e tanto bastou para os blocos se desmobilizarem. E como a generalidade dos conflituantes é fortemente estado-dependente, o Governo toma conta das rédeas e a caravana prossegue.
O BCP não será nacionalizado; será governamentalizado. O Governo toma conta do BCP e Berardo & Cª. tomam conta do Governo.
Trata-se, portanto, de um negócio vantajoso para ambas as partes.
Nós, os outros, pagaremos a factura.


Santos Ferreira convidou Vara para vice-presidente do BCP
Carlos Santos Ferreira, presidente da Caixa Geral de Depósitos e o nome apontado para liderar o BCP, convidou Armando Vara, seu vice-presidente no banco público, para ocupar o mesmo cargo na lista que vai elaborar para a administração do BCP

O BCP foi nacionalizado?

pergunta transferida de anteontem para hoje, por perturbar os temas da quadra natalícia. Coloquei a mesma pergunta, também no dia 24, no Blasfémias, no "post" de João Miranda,
Trégua de Natal)
Observo hoje que a minha pergunta de anteontem é tema generalizado na imprensa e na blogosfera.
Mea culpa não ter respeitado as tréguas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


"O Menino Jesus entre os Doutores", de Albrecht Duerer, 1506, Museu Thyssen, Madrid

Fritavam os filhós,
e os olhos do miúdo
olhavam espantados o fogo da lareira,
cansados de esparar
o Menino Jesus,
que havia de descer,
antes do amanhecer,
pela chaminé.

Ainda falta muito tempo, Mãe?

Já falta pouco.
Filho, não sejas patarouco
e vai dormir,
ele há-de vir, mas pode demorar.

A olhar a lenha a arder,
começou a sonhar,
e a ouvir aquilo que diziam:

A guerra, a doença, a tristeza,
enfim, tudo o que é mau vai acabar.
E, neste mundo,
só a flor da paz, do amor e da beleza
vai florir.
E aquele combóio,
não esqueça o combóio, Mãe!,
está para chegar,
antes do amanhecer.

Mãe, Ele já chegou?
Não amor, dorme,
dorme ,
Ele ainda não chegou,
mas vai chegar.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Não casa
a Solidão
com o Olegário
por falta de numerário;
e desespera,
pelo Solidário.

Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
1943, 74Χ118cm, Oil on canvas
Delaware Art Museum

Quando eu era pequenino

Quando eu era pequenino as prendas de Natal quem as dava era o Menino Jesus.
Não aquele que eu colocava no presépio, construído com barro e cartão, musgo por cima, e alguns rebentinhos de piteira, tudo em ponto pequenino, a mangedoura feita de uma caixa de fósforos, com palhas e na palhas o menino Jesus, São José de um lado, a Mãe do outro, o burrico e a vaquinha atrás, a aquecer o ambiente.
Quem punha as prendas no sapatinho era o Menino Jesus do presépio da igreja, maior, muito maior, com muito mais gente no cenário, que levava uma semana a construir, segundo se dizia. Sobressaía nele, pelas dimensões relativas e pelo esplendor de raios de luz mais intensos, o Menino Jesus. Assim tão pequenino, mas tão grande quando comparado com todos os que entravam em cena, soldados, pastores, ferreiros e carpinteiros, músicos, lavradores e pescadores, médicos, professores, para além dos progenitores e dos reis magos, via-se logo que era ele o rei da festa.
No dia de Natal, depois da ansiedade da descoberta logo que o sol nascia, agradecíamos no presépio da igreja a visita do Menino e as prendas deixadas no sapatinho.
Havia nos presépios uma candura que não desafiava ainda a nossa imaginação infantil e que, por reencenar a realidade envolvente, nos embalava em sonhos onde a fantasia se continha num universo igual ao mundo que nos rodeava. De modo que construir um presépio era como contruir o mundo que habitávamos, com o criador entre nós, a entrar-nos sem cerimónia pela chaminé em Dezembro a dizer-nos: passei por aqui.
Um dia, as crianças deixaram de construir o mundo. No lugar do presépio colocaram uma árvore estranha, o Menino Jesus passou a incumbência da distribuição dos presentes a São Nicolau, o Pai Natal, um velhote de fatiota bizarra e barbas brancas, que anda de trenó, puxado por renas, em dias de neve a distribuir presentes. O Pai Natal é de mundo estranho.
Nos EUA, São Nicolau, o Pai Natal, é Santa. Só Santa, para comunhão de todos os credos e cores. Trouxe as renas e anda também por aqui a distribuir presentes de Natal. A toda a gente. A miudagem desde que o Menino Jesus deixou de aparecer na chaminé perdeu o exclusivo das ofertas. O mistério do nascimento, repetido a cada momento em toda a parte desde o princípio da vida, celebra-se agora na vulgaridade e no frenezim das compras, do "shopping", nos centros comercias, nos "mall".
É a evolução do mundo. A criação já teve os seus dias.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Há dias, a propósito de um post de Tavares Moreira, no Quarta República ("Nova inflação") acerca das perspectivas que ensombram o próximo ano económico, em contraposição às miragens de alguns, nomeadamente de Vítor Constâncio, comentei interrogando: Estaremos à beira de uma situação de estagflação no próximo ano?
Volto ao tema porque cada vez me parecem mais persistentes as perspectivas de ameaças nas principais economias: Nos EUA, os índices de preços no produtos e no consumidor estão a subir acentuadamente numa altura em que se observa uma estagnação do crescimento da economia. O crescimento de 3,2% no índice de preços no produtor foi o mais elevado mês-a-mês desde 1973, quando o embargo árabe de petróleo castigou severamente a economia norte-americana. Greenspan, a propósito deste cenário homólogo, comentou que apareceram os primeiros sintomas de estagflação.
Mas se os EUA poderão confrontar-se a curto prazo com uma situação inflacionista em conjuntura depressiva, na zona euro os preços estão a crescer ao ritmo mais acelerado desde 2001; na China, por outro lado, a inflação está a atingir os valores mais elevados dos últimos 11 anos. Ora é sobejamente conhecido o pavor que o espectro inflacionista incute nos dirigentes chineses por verem nele o indomável rastilho de uma revolta.
Nos EUA os custos de energia subiram 21,4% relativamente ao ano passado; os de alimentação 4,8%. O Fed tem, portanto, à sua frente uma equação de solução imprevisível: Se privilegia a recuperação económica corre o risco de induzir nos agentes económicos expectativas inflacionistas e não recuperar o crescimento económico.
A situação económica será, indiscutivelmente, um dos dois vectores fundamentais das opções eleitorais dos norte- americanos nas presidenciais de Novembro do próximo ano: o outro é a guerra no Iraque e no Afeganistão. A questão económica favorece os Democratas; o reacender da guerra, apesar das culpas registadas no cartório republicano, tenderá a favorecer estes, apesar das sondagens à opinião pública sobre o assunto neste momento poderem reflectir o contrário.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Is Cubism's Revolution Behind Us?
If You Think Picasso's Work Didn't Last, Keep Looking

By Blake GopnikWashington Post Staff Writer Sunday, December 23, 2007; Page M01

A hundred years ago, in a classic artist's hovel in Montmartre, Pablo Picasso stood looking at his great "Demoiselles d'Avignon." The product of six months' agonizing work, the picture had completely redefined what art could be. It launched the cubist revolution.
Almost from one day to the next, art's vision of reality was transformed. For the first time, that vision could be unstable, kaleidoscopic, even illegible. In Picasso's landmark brothel scene, limbs and breasts and faces broke apart into strange planes that seemed to merge into an equally disjointed background. In the case of one of Picasso's demoiselles-for-hire, you couldn't even tell if you were seeing her from back or front. In fact, you could barely tell that you were witnessing a brothel scene at all, unless someone first told you the picture's subject. Cubism didn't just change what pictures after it looked like. It changed almost everything about the way an artist could come at the world.

And here's what makes that cubist watershed even more notable: A century later, and it's hard to find a clearly cubist touch in much of anything young artists are making. Can there truly be a watershed that doesn't water what's downstream? Compare cubism to the other crucial rupture in Western art that happened 500 years earlier, when artists in Renaissance Italy came up with the nearly photographic realism of one-point perspective. One way or another, that Renaissance innovation still colors almost every image made today. Whereas with cubism, it looks like the best that we can do is argue that its influence went underground, affecting everything but falling out of sight.

Or maybe there's one other option: Maybe cubism doesn't have clear heirs today because, in trying to rewrite every single rule for how art portrays the world, it bravely set out to do something that simply can't be done. Could cubism's true greatness lie in being the most glorious, ambitious failure art has ever known? Did it set the model for the modern artist as impossible dreamer?

Not at all, says Pepe Karmel, the NYU art historian who's an expert on Picasso and the invention of cubism. He thinks cubism -- "the greatest break in the history of art after the revolution of the Renaissance" -- is absolutely visible today, almost everywhere, but that its principles have become more important in our daily lives than in the rarefied world of high art. Just turn on your computer and watch its windows open up as one surface, on top of another, on top of another, with absolutely different content and a different vision on each one, and you've come face to face with cubism's most profound legacy. According to Karmel, all the fractures and disjunctures that we're used to in modern media were first hinted at in Picasso's Montmartre studio a century ago.

Most of today's graphic design, with all its startling adjacencies and overlapping planes, Karmel says, "is cubist in its syntax" -- proof positive that, one way or another, cubism worked as a new and influential way of making images.
If it's hard to point to obviously cubist moments in cutting-edge contemporary art, Karmel thinks that's a reaction to cubism's outstanding success. Picasso has attained Old Master status, which puts him off-limits in an art world that wants young masters who are trying something new. Artists still consider cubism beautiful and important, as a historical style, "but it doesn't have any particular relevance today," Karmel says. "We're not at a time when 'Ma Jolie' " -- one of the icons of cubism in its purest, most splintered form -- "speaks to us particularly powerfully."

The World Gone to Pieces

Or maybe cubism speaks so powerfully, even in contemporary art, that it becomes a deep grammar that we hardly need to call to conscious thought. That's the view of Laura Hoptman, a senior curator at the New Museum of contemporary art in New York. When cubism tore apart the centuries-old notion that a picture should depict the world in something like a realistic way ("the lie that is painting," as Hoptman calls it), it set the stage for all the wild demolitions that have come our way since. It has become something that artists "just know about" -- maybe without even knowing they know -- rather than something that their objects ever need to quote. At the end of the day, cubism's revolution, Hoptman says, "happened on a conceptual rather than a perceptual level." It concerned big ideas about how an artwork might come together, rather than any one particular neo-cubist look.

For "Unmonumental," the huge sculpture show that just relaunched the New Museum in grand digs on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Hoptman has included brand-new work that ranges from a cataract of dismembered chairs to crumbling ceramic sculptures not much bigger than your fist. Despite vast differences in their scale, materials, look and meanings, all the pieces have a cobbled-togetherness that Hoptman traces back to cubism. Rather than presenting a single crisp, coherent whole -- shades of Michelangelo's "David" or Leonardo's "Last Supper" -- the art in "Unmonumental" is constructed out of bits and bobs that never perfectly cohere, and aren't meant to. And that principled objection to anything like easy coherence marks the cubist break with absolutely everything that came before.

And yet it could be that the break is even more profound and disconcerting than either Hoptman or Karmel recognize. After all, the thing about the multiplying windows on our computer screens, or the disjunctions in the sculptures in the New Museum show, is that they aren't particularly hard to live with. They successfully communicate their information, ideas or aesthetics, whether in an office or an art gallery. Whereas the crucial thing about cubism is that, at first and at its most extreme, it clearly failed to communicate, at least in any normal sense of the word. And, unlike its heirs today, that failure was what it was about.

Even the artists themselves, like their dealers and patrons, couldn't agree on some pictures' subjects or on how they should be titled. Was a cubist portrait meant to show a woman or a man? Was a cubist canvas meant to be a studio still life or a lively cafe scene? All that mattered was the absolutely radical idea that you could never know.

"This can only end in suicide. One day, Picasso will be found hanging behind the 'Demoiselles,' " said fellow painter André Derain when he first saw the Spaniard's picture. Matisse simply brayed with laughter when he encountered it. More importantly, so did Leo Stein, Gertrude's art-collector brother and the only person who just might have bought the thing. Friends, rivals, patrons -- even the most plugged-in Paris bohemians at first simply couldn't digest a picture that sliced and diced reality the way Picasso's did.
As late as 1949, Sir Alfred Munnings, president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, claimed that Winston Churchill had once asked him, "Alfred, if you met Picasso coming down the street would you join with me in kicking his something something something?" Munnings said he cheerfully agreed.

Fabulous Failure
Look at even the most radical works from before the "Demoiselles" -- even works from just one year before by Picasso or Georges Braque, cubism's other founder -- and there's a pretty clear sense that they give a vision of some coherent world outside. However much an earlier picture might idealize, stylize, interpret or plain distort the reality it showed, there was clearly some reality out there that it was out to capture. Even Cézanne, whose 1907 retrospective was a crucial springboard for Picasso's radicalism, never leaves behind the world beyond his canvas. With cubism, even in those first hints seen in the right side of the "Demoiselles" (its left half, finished earlier, is relatively tame), that world was so torn apart, became so nearly unreadable, that it looked as though, in this new kind of art, there simply might not be a there, there. There hasn't had to be one since.

No wonder the art world raged and laughed for decades.

And yet, the problem wasn't merely that cubism looked different than anything that came before. In fact, purely as a decorative style, cubism caught on pretty well. Within less than a decade, minor artists everywhere were working with cubes and fractured planes, and before long you could also see them in art deco furniture and the murals of luxury liners. The problem was that Picasso and the other truly serious supporters of cubism wanted this new kind of art to go far beyond just looking good. They wanted to try on the idea that cubism could actually work as a whole new way of taking in the world, and representing it.

It wasn't enough for the movement to take apart the realistic innovations of Renaissance art only to replace them with a new kind of semi-abstract decoration. It was supposed to replace Renaissance realism as a fully functional means for rendering reality. For all the incoherence of its look -- the incoherence that appeals to the New Museum's current crop of sculptors -- cubism seemed to make the radical claim that, with time, its art would hang together just as tightly in its vision of the world as any work by Leonardo. That's what really put Munnings and Churchill into a something-kicking mood. And that's also what made cubism turn out to be the grandest, most ambitious, most influential failure the art world has ever known.

The failure came in clearly not succeeding in its goal: Cubism has never and will never provide a useable vision of reality. The grandeur, ambition and neverending influence came from insisting we suspend our disbelief and act as though that goal were reached.

From the beginning, there was a whole welter of desperate justifications for the new cubist look. People argued that it showed things from all sides, as they "really are" rather than as they seem to be. (Philosophers have pointed out that that's about as meaningless as any claim can be.) Or that it reflected the new, realer reality of kooky Einsteinian physics, rather than the dull old three dimensions Newton had counted on. (It's the physicists who tend to object to that one. Einstein's theorems hold together in a way a cubist picture clearly doesn't.) You can still find such readings on wall texts in museums, but most experts haven't bought into them for years. Rather than simply seeing cubism as some new branch of realism, they prefer to talk about how radically cubism rewrote the rules for making art. But a few thinkers have gone further. They've realized that what really mattered in cubism is that it always conceived of those rewritten rules as though their goal was realism, however unlikely that conception might have been.

The influential scholar Yve-Alain Bois, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., has described cubism as a "semiotic system" -- meaning that it was meant to work as an entirely new language for describing how things are. It didn't just bring a new look to art, as any novel bunch of scribblings might. The elements in cubism's new look were meant to work the way that words and grammar do, serving up the world to us as a consistent package. Whether or not cubism communicated as well as a true working language does, it gave itself the structure of a language, with all the flexibility and arbitrariness that implies.
But maybe, taking Bois's ideas one step further, it's actually cubism's failure to communicate that matters most. After all, it's that failure that let cubism provoke and unsettle viewers more thoroughly than any movement that had come before.

That's the step taken by art historian T.J. Clark, Bois's colleague at the top of their profession. Clark thinks that cubism takes care to set itself up as being all about a pursuit of likeness, in an almost old-fashioned mode. Its manic brushstrokes don't abandon the world; they seem to worry away at it compulsively, as though their paint "will not let go of whatever it is it sees." Look long enough at a cubist picture, and you do start to feel it's got some kind of single take on the subject it shows, even if in the end you can't even tell what that subject might be. In fact, cubism did such a fine job counterfeiting the feel of realism that for decades it got people running around trying to figure out precisely what its take on reality might be. But all along, according to Clark, it was the sheer chutzpah of the fakery that mattered, rather than its success.

Cubism's power and influence comes from the tension between its stunning patina of realism and the inescapable fact that its pictures will always foil you in your desire to see reality in them. Cubism, that is, is a deliberate, calculated, daring bluff, but one that asks you to have the guts to go along with it. Or, more gently, maybe it's about imagining what a completely new way of representing things might look like, in some parallel universe where such a new way could be found. Down here on Earth One, no such thing exists: To the extent that some details are recognizable in cubist pictures, it's because they're based on standard realistic tricks. But that's no reason to reject the artist's imaginings. After all, would we reject an author's vision of a planet without gravity, just because such a place could never be? And doesn't such a vision get a lot of its force from the fact that it's impossible?

"The point," says Clark, "is cubism's annihilation of the world, its gaming with it, its proposal of other, outlandish orders of experience to put in the world's place."

Believing Is Seeing

Now I think we're at the real meat of things. Cubism realizes that all great art demands some generosity on the part of its viewers. Look up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and you know you're not really looking up at God creating Adam -- and that it's worth pretending for a minute that you are. Cubism pushes that idea about as far as it could possibly go. It asks you to forget about what pictures can really do and to try on some artist's confounding new notions of art's capacities and goals -- "to make the best of that obscurity, and finally to revel in it," as Clark says. We all know a cubist picture fails to represent the world in anything like useful or coherent ways. But there's something to be gained imagining it could.

Cubism marks art's greatest "because I say so" moment, and thereby launches the history of fully modern art. Cubism says it's going to rewrite art's rules for representing things, and demands we go along with the unlikely fictions it creates. And that frees every later artist to make a similarly daring, even arbitrary move. Marcel Duchamp, who started out as a fine cubist painter, soon decides to present a urinal, a snow shovel, an old hat rack as art. If cubism demands that we imagine that it represents the world, why shouldn't Duchamp insist that we should see a bathroom fixture as sculpture? Ditto for Jackson Pollock, and the idea that a bunch of splattered paint could represent his id. It doesn't matter whether, in fact, it does, any more than it matters if Adam had the six-pack Michelangelo gave him. What matters is the radical act of imagining -- in Pollock's case, imagining that abstract art could do something it hadn't done before.

Even some contemporary artists can offer Picasso-size imaginings. Brooklyner Spencer Finch makes absolutely tidy art out of pure light, air, space and ideas. On the surface, it's about as far from cubism's messy materiality as anything could be. And yet Finch could be billed as one of the movement's true descendants.
One recent piece, in a big Finch retrospective now at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, provides a portrait of Monument Valley at dusk. Sounds like a classic work of American realism, right? Except that Finch's "picture" comes from manipulating a bank of nine video monitors, each screening different moments in a classic John Wayne western, so that they flood a wall with radiance that replicates the real valley's fading light.

Finch's art doesn't truly evoke Monument Valley, any more than Picasso's "Ma Jolie" shows off a pretty girl. But both get just close enough, in unexpected ways, to give their simulations force -- more force than if they'd just bought into standard ways of showing things.

For centuries, Renaissance realism had worked so well that it had limited artists to making claims they could more or less back up: "Here's what Saint Sebastian might look like," or "Here's another likely way to see a mountain in the South of France." Cubism set them free to make much more unlikely claims. And then ask us to try them on for size.

By those standards, all the greatest artists of our day are cubists, through and through.


São múltiplas, e sempre de difícil abordagem consensual, as questões levantadas pela Imigração . A globalização, que não é um facto novo mas que atingiu nas últimas décadas dimensões sem comparação no passado, veio colocar problemas diferentes daqueles que se observaram quando os fluxos migratórios encontravam nos países de destino grandes espaços atractivos com baixa densidade populacional. Hoje a força atractiva não é principalmente função do espaço disponível mas do diferencial de potencial económico, pelo menos como dele se apercebem os que imigram, entre o lugar de saída e o de entrada. Assim se explica, por exemplo, a inversão da corrente migratória entre Portugal e o Brasil, ou entre a França e a Argélia, entre a Alemanha e a Turquia, entre a Espanha e Marrocos. A globalização provoca alterações significativas na repartição do trabalho a nível mundial, ao mesmo tempo que determina deslocalização de actividades para a Ásia e a redução do emprego cria outras oportunidades de emprego que, raras vezes, os desempregados dos sectores deslocalizados têm capacidade (e às vezes interesse) em realizar.
Essa alteração estrutural do emprego provoca, naturalmente, alarmes e protestos. Mas também reacções xenófobas, que podem constituir, se não forem prevenidas a tempo, o ninho onde se chocarão os ovos da serpente.
Porque tudo é reversível mas os custos, muitas vezes, são dramáticos, o artigo que a seguir transcrevo, parcialmente, mas pode ser consultado na íntegra no Washington Post , é da mais perene actualidade e interesse para norte-americanos europeus.
The Right Road to America?
By Amy Chua
If you don't speak Spanish, Miami really can feel like a foreign country. In any restaurant, the conversation at the next table is more likely to be Spanish than English. And Miami's population is only 65 percent Hispanic. El Paso is 76 percent Latino. Flushing, N.Y., is 60 percent immigrant, mainly Chinese.
Chinatowns and Little Italys have long been part of America's urban landscape, but would it be all right to have entire U.S. cities where most people spoke and did business in Chinese, Spanish or even Arabic? Are too many Third World, non-English-speaking immigrants destroying our national identity?

For some Americans, even asking such questions is racist. At the other end of the spectrum, the conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly fulminates against floods of immigrants who threaten to change America's "complexion" and replace what he calls the "white Christian male power structure."

But for the large majority in between, Democrats and Republicans alike, these questions are painful, with no easy answers. At some level, most of us cherish our legacy as a nation of immigrants. But are all immigrants really equally likely to make good Americans? Are we, as the Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington warns, in danger of losing our core values and devolving "into a loose confederation of ethnic, racial, cultural, and political groups, with little or nothing in common apart from their location in the territory of what had been the United States of America"?

My parents arrived in the United States in 1961, so poor that they couldn't afford heat their first winter. I grew up speaking only Chinese at home (for every English word accidentally uttered, my sister and I got one whack of the chopsticks). Today, my father is a professor at Berkeley, and I'm a professor at Yale Law School. As the daughter of immigrants, a grateful beneficiary of America's tolerance and opportunity, I could not be more pro-immigrant.

Nevertheless, I think Huntington has a point.

What makes us moral


What Makes Us Moral

If the entire human species were a single individual, that person would long ago have been declared mad. The insanity would not lie in the anger and darkness of the human mind—though it can be a black and raging place indeed. And it certainly wouldn't lie in the transcendent goodness of that mind—one so sublime, we fold it into a larger "soul." The madness would lie instead in the fact that both of those qualities, the savage and the splendid, can exist in one creature, one person, often in one instant.

We're a species that is capable of almost dumbfounding kindness. We nurse one another, romance one another, weep for one another. Ever since science taught us how, we willingly tear the very organs from our bodies and give them to one another. And at the same time, we slaughter one another. The past 15 years of human history are the temporal equivalent of those subatomic particles that are created in accelerators and vanish in a trillionth of a second, but in that fleeting instant, we've visited untold horrors on ourselves—in Mogadishu, Rwanda, Chechnya, Darfur, Beslan, Baghdad, Pakistan, London, Madrid, Lebanon, Israel, New York City, Abu Ghraib, Oklahoma City, an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania—all of the crimes committed by the highest, wisest, most principled species the planet has produced. That we're also the lowest, cruelest, most blood-drenched species is our shame—and our paradox.

The deeper that science drills into the substrata of behavior, the harder it becomes to preserve the vanity that we are unique among Earth's creatures. We're the only species with language, we told ourselves—until gorillas and chimps mastered sign language. We're the only one that uses tools then—but that's if you don't count otters smashing mollusks with rocks or apes stripping leaves from twigs and using them to fish for termites.

What does, or ought to, separate us then is our highly developed sense of morality, a primal understanding of good and bad, of right and wrong, of what it means to suffer not only our own pain—something anything with a rudimentary nervous system can do—but also the pain of others. That quality is the distilled essence of what it means to be human. Why it's an essence that so often spoils, no one can say.

Morality may be a hard concept to grasp, but we acquire it fast. A preschooler will learn that it's not all right to eat in the classroom, because the teacher says it's not. If the rule is lifted and eating is approved, the child will happily comply. But if the same teacher says it's also O.K. to push another student off a chair, the child hesitates. "He'll respond, 'No, the teacher shouldn't say that,'" says psychologist Michael Schulman, co-author of Bringing Up a Moral Child. In both cases, somebody taught the child a rule, but the rule against pushing has a stickiness about it, one that resists coming unstuck even if someone in authority countenances it. That's the difference between a matter of morality and one of mere social convention, and Schulman and others believe kids feel it innately.

Of course, the fact is, that child will sometimes hit and won't feel particularly bad about it either—unless he's caught. The same is true for people who steal or despots who slaughter. "Moral judgment is pretty consistent from person to person," says Marc Hauser, professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of Moral Minds. "Moral behavior, however, is scattered all over the chart." The rules we know, even the ones we intuitively feel, are by no means the rules we always follow.

Where do those intuitions come from? And why are we so inconsistent about following where they lead us? Scientists can't yet answer those questions, but that hasn't stopped them from looking. Brain scans are providing clues. Animal studies are providing more. Investigations of tribal behavior are providing still more. None of this research may make us behave better, not right away at least. But all of it can help us understand ourselves—a small step up from savagery perhaps, but an important one.

more : in

Otelo - Ópera de Kirov
Kennedy Center - Dezembro 2007
Direcção musical e artística de Valery Gergiev

Friday, December 21, 2007


Interiorizou-se entre nós, portugueses, a convicção bondosa da nossa congénita brandura de costumes, que tanto se salienta na nossa mansidão colectiva como no perdão em série: faz lá uma patifariazita (não temos vocação para coisas grandes, a não ser quando medidas a metro ou ao quilo, tipo feijoada do tamanho da ponte Vasco da Gama ou a árvore de Natal mais alta da Europa) e deixa-me fazer outra.

Faz como Frei Tomás!
E, inevitavelmente, uma discussão acerca do que faz Frei Tomás fulaniza e relega as ideias do frei para as urtigas.
No Bússola (do Norte) Manuel Queirós num "post" que titulou Bem prega Saldanha Sanches o blogger desanca no ficalista pela sua falta de autoridade moral para escrever sobre o que diz saber: denunciou a corrupção autárquica mas, ele próprio é relapso porque infringiu a lei do segredo de justiça ao informar o seu amigo Ferro Rodrigues que o nome dele constava do caso Casa Pia.
Esta apreciação crítica a Saldanha Sanches no caso Ferro Rodrigues versus caso denúncia das conivências e relações perversas entre muitos autarcas, o futebol, a construção civil, e muitas outras que só eles sabem, está enviesada pela apetência muito tipicamente portuguesa para a simetria imoral: Olha quem fala!, e não se passa nada.
No caso deste "post", ao autor não parece importar se Saldanha Sanches denunciou, bem ou mal, os lamaçais autárquicos ou se o fez sem fundamento caindo na alçada da lei. Se bem me recordo, na altura, o presidente da associação de municípios contorceu-se, mas desconheço se passou desse tique. E como a banalização dos casos adormece a consciência pública, não voltou a falar-se do assunto.
No caso Ferro Rodrigues, o que o autor aborda não é ilegalidade no abuso do segredo de justiça a favor de quem deveria pugnar pelo respeito pela lei mas a eventual duplicidade de comportamento moral do visado.
Conclusão de Imposição Moral: Se és um tratante uma vez, estás impedido de ser digno no futuro, uma vez que seja.
Corolário: Como não há ninguém moralmente puro, tratantes! perdoemo-nos uns aos outros!
Um cidadão faz afirmações genéricas acerca da falta de probidade de muitos autarcas, sem identificar nomes. O cidadão em causa não é um fulano qualquer. Tem acesso aos meios de comunicação social com mais audiência, é professor de direito.
Eu, como muitos cidadãos que não têm acesso ao palco nem fazem por isso, ouço frequentemente notícias de rombos nos cofres públicos por parte daqueles que lhes podem deitar a mão.Se há um fulano que, na televisão e nos jornais, diz que há muitos casos em que me foram ao bolso, não me interessa discutir o fulano, interessa-me é que seja provado ou não provado o que ele afirma. Pelos vistos, ninguém se quis dar a esse incómodo.
Quanto ao argueiro no olho, se ele o tem pouco me importa. Discutamos o que ele disse num caso e noutro. E que seja responsabilizado. Mas não se desvalorize o que disse num caso por conta do que disse noutro.
A invocação da autoridade moral do sujeito é respeitável mas não deve impedir a dicussão do objecto.
É também o abuso da simetria imoral que leva os sucessivos governos a engeitarem responsabilidades invocando os fracassos dos seus antecessores, numa discussão interminável acerca do passado para fugir à discussão do futuro.


Leio no Jornal de Negócios online de hoje que
"O governador do Banco de Portugal deverá recomendar aos accionistas do BCP que encontrem uma lista alternativa à administração do BCP a eleger na assembleia geral de 15 de Janeiro.
(...) Vítor Constâncio não pretenderá forçar a equipa de gestão do BCP a renunciar aos seus cargos. Mas deverá deixar claro que nenhum dos actuais administradores do banco poderá candidatar-se a um novo mandato. (...) e que
"A CMVM e o Banco de Portugal deverão emitir uma decisão preliminar que identifica indícios de ilegalidades. Não estão excluídas possíveis consequências de natureza criminal.
(...).O BdP e a CMVM querem que Filipe Pinhal, actual presidente executivo, e Cristopher de Beck abandonem pelo seu pé o grupo, abdicando de integrar a lista que formaram para concorrer às eleições para a nova gestão.
(...) Constâncio dá um sinal de que o BdP está, desta vez, disponível para levar as suas pesquisas até ao fim, o que não aconteceu em 2004, quando decidiu arquivar este mesmo dossier, aceitando as explicações do BCP.
Para um observador menos atento (ou não convenientemente posicionado) as notícias que, de alguns meses a esta parte, dão conta dos solavancos observados na carruagem do BCP, não poderiam denunciar outra coisa senão que os ocupantes andavam aos tropeções lá dentro.
Ao Banco de Portugal, desde que foram transferidas para o Banco Central Europeu as atribuições de banco emissor e de regulador monetário, restaram-lhe, das três principais funções enquanto banco central, responsabilidades de supervisão da actividade bancária.
Era esperável, portanto, que estivesse atento às notícias que davam conta de perturbações no maior banco privado português e interviesse em conformidade com as responsabilidades que tem como supervisor. Não interveio mesmo quando os solavancos ameaçaram derrubar a carruagem.
Sabe-se, agora, que pretende substituir-se aos accionistas dando indicações, pela negativa, sobre a constituição do conselho de administração do BCP. Pretensão que para qualquer accionista geralmente mal informado não pode ser mais espúria: Pois se, o senhor governador do banco supervisor supervisionou e finalmente concluiu que há matéria para incriminar a actual gestão, deve proceder em conformidade e actuar nos termos da lei, sem se esquecer de informar todos os accionistas das razões subjacentes.
Não se esquecendo, já agora, de responsabilizar-se a si também e à sua equipa de supervisão, pouco atenta, muito obrigada. E a todos os órgãos, internos e externos, de fiscalização do banco abalroado. Talvez devesse começar, aliás, por responsabilizar os auditores que, também eles, se apresentam cegos, surdos e mudos ao tribunal popular.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A luta do lado republicano pela vitória nas primeiras primárias, no Iowa, está a bipolarizar-se entre os dois candidatos que, de um modo ou outro, introduziram nos seus discursos invocações religiosas: Mike Huckabee, ex-governador do Arkansas é baptista, com formação religiosa na congregação, Mitt Romney, ex-governador do Massachusetts, é mormon. Aparentemente, são tricas de religiosidade primária que estão a promover a subida nas sondagens destes dois advogados de Deus na Terra e a fazer esquecer os outros, alguns bem mais cotados à partida e melhor posicionados a nível nacional: Huckabee recebe, neste momento, 35% dos votos, Romney 27 %, Thompson 9%, Giuliani e Ron Paul 8%, McCain 6%.
O súbito crescimento do padre baptista nas sondagens, que não acredita no evolucionismo, aumentou várias vezes os impostos enquanto foi governadar do Arkansas e agora promete eliminar o imposto sobre o rendimento, está a colocar em pânico as hostes republicanas não radicais.
O artigo que a seguir transcrevo, parcialmente, do Washington Post é revelador de uma certa América retrógrada mas também da ameaça demagógica que é ameaça permanente da democracia, e que não olha a meios para atingir os seus fins, não só nos EUA mas por toda a parte onde a democracia vingou. Incluindo a invocação de Deus contra o Deus dos outros.

Is This Heaven? No, It's Iowa.
Dana MilbankThursday, December 20, 2007; Page A02
They call it the Iowa caucuses, but the way these Christian warriors are going after each other, the contest looks more like the Sack of Constantinople.
Romney, standing on the stage next to a Christmas tree, told a few heartwarming tales "as we think about the Christmas spirit," particularly the Christmas when he and his children helped a poor family. "My sons found that the most memorable Christmas they'd ever experienced," he said, before informing the crowd that "God doesn't just love the land of Iowa; he loves the people of Iowa."

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests that Huckabee is winning the holy war. He's jumped to a lead of 35 percent to 27 percent in Iowa, almost entirely because of his enormous advantage, 57 percent to 19 percent, among evangelicals. "There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one," Huckabee said recently of his rise in the polls. "It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people."

The first crusade in this primary season began last month, with a Huckabee ad displaying the words "CHRISTIAN LEADER" in large print as he spoke into the camera. "Faith doesn't just influence me, it really defines me," Huckabee proclaimed.

Romney retaliated in early December, giving a speech about his Mormonism that targeted the evangelical voter. "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of mankind," he preached, further informing the electorate that "freedom requires religion" and proclaiming his allegiance with "any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty."

Huckabee struck again last week, with a quote in the New York Times Magazine asking: "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" Romney thought that was "going too far," and Huckabee apologized -- but the blow had landed.

But this week, Huckabee was at it again with a new ad, this one showing him in a red sweater. In the background, a white bookshelf is decorated in Christmas greens, leaving only a white cross that seemed to float over the candidate's right shoulder. He suggested people "pull aside" from political ads and "remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ."
He offered some of his standard lines for the religious conservatives ("Culture makes all the difference"; "Most of us believe in God"; "Marriage is between a man and a woman"). The sheer size of Romney's Christmas party must have overwhelmed the hotel's electric capability, for the room went dark as soon as Romney finished his speech. The voltage returned, and the speakers pumped out "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Ave Maria."

Huckabee eschewed the Christmas-tree symbolism and the carols, but the candidate, speaking in a badly overcrowded meeting room at the mall, made up for it with a more overtly religious appeal. "Here's a guy who fears God," said the man introducing Huckabee.
When a questioner confessed that his wife is a "lifelong Democrat," Huckabee quipped: "We'll pray for her." (...)