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Thursday, October 8

Houthi Common Sense: "If we are funded by Iran, please, bomb Iran."

Leader of the Ansarallah Movement, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi
  

Pundita editorial comment: Hear! Hear! 

"Settle your issues with Iran, leave Yemen out": Houthi to Saudi Arabia and US
October 7, 2020
AMN

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – The leader of the Ansarallah Movement, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, called on Saudi Arabia and the United States to “settle their accounts” with Iran, instead of targeting the Yemenis.

Houthi said in an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel:

"Saudi Arabia operates in the Arabian Peninsula as an American state that submits to Trump. The American president fixes the price that Saudi Arabia pays. The United States gives directions.

“We are not a terrorist group and fundamentally we do not recognize this term. The United States attaches the sign of terrorists to those who oppose its policies. Even the demonstrators on American streets have been described as terrorists by Trump. I ask myself why is this happening now? What is the red threat that we passed?"

Houthi continued, in response to a question about Western intelligence reports about the increasing use of Iranian missiles and drones by the Houthis:

“Why are Saudi Arabia and the United States fighting a war against us? On the pretext of our support from Iran? If we are funded by Iran, please, bomb Iran, the financing party. No, slaughter the Yemenis!"

This is exactly what we said to the Saudis and the Americans. If you have accounts with the Iranians, then settle them with the Iranians,” he added.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led the Arab coalition, which has been waging intense military operations in Yemen in support of the Yemeni government loyal to President Abd Rubbah Mansour Hadi."

[END REPORT]

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Rosy the Raccoon analyzes 2020 US presidential campaign



Thanks, Sputnik for catching her hard at work.

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Monday, September 21

Wasting food is a custom in modern China. Changing the custom won't be painless.

From Xi Declares War on Food Waste, and China Races to Tighten Its Belt; The New York Times, published August 21, updated September 17:
[...]
Mr. Xi’s “clean plate” campaign strikes at the heart of dining culture in China. Custom dictates that ordering extra dishes and leaving food behind are ways to demonstrate generosity toward one’s relatives, clients, business partners and important guests.

Such habits have contributed to an estimated 17 million to 18 million tons of food being discarded annually, an amount that could feed 30 million to 50 million people for a year, according to a study by the Chinese Academy of Science and the World Wildlife Fund.

Mr. Xi’s call is as much a warning against the dangers of profligacy as it is a reflection of the generational shift in values that has emerged as living standards rise.

[...]

Many among the country’s younger generation, such as Samantha Pan, a 21-year-old student in Guangzhou, embrace being free from having to worry about saving food for a rainy day, and hold little regard for the state’s moral exhortations.

“This type of initiative is very boring and useless,” Ms. Pan said in a telephone interview. “I am entitled to order as much food as I want. If I just happen to love wasting food, it’s still my freedom.”

[...] 

As we can see from Ms Pan's ringing defense of her freedom to waste food, not all of China is racing to tighten its belt. Yet China is now facing severe food insecurity, as detailed by the updated Times report and one from The Hill, Another famine coming? China struggles to meet basic food demands.

As with so many other kinds of crises that have arisen in this young century, the only viable course of action is for individuals to change their thinking. 

Change or die; that's what the crystal ball is telling me. 

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Tuesday, September 8

Should India stay with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

 Well, here is my opinion of Beijing:


"Bite by bite, China has been eating away at Indian borderlands." The quote is from an Indian security expert published today in The New York Times report, Shots Fired Along India-China Border for First Time in Years.  Brahma Chellaney is right as far as it goes but the Chinese haven't only been taking bites from the 'borderlands.'  For years they got so little pushback from the China-huggers bought-off Indians in Delhi they moved ever more openly into Ladakh. They went so far that finally Delhi woke up and took action. Then the Chinese got nasty. And here we are today.  

The Chinese have shown their true colors so many times during the past 20 years that any government is a fool to join a security organization with "Shanghai" in the name -- unless it's so desperate for Chinese financial aid it's willing to endure being shanghaied by smiling backstabbers. India doesn't and shouldn't need to endure being stabbed in the back.  

As to whether India should be turning to the United States for help in dealing with the Chinese, well, here is my opinion of Washington:


Substitute "land" for "lady" in the lyrics, and there is America, the British Empire wannabe, to a T.  These days you have to be crazy to join any American 'coalition of the willing' 

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Wednesday, September 2

Human response to Covid virus

Farmer in Amazon fighting
 forest fire with sprinkler can
 
Photo : CARL DE SOUZA/AFP

Photo at Sputnik's This week in pictures, August 15-21.  

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Monday, August 24

I can tell you in one sentence what's wrong with America. But then you'd have to understand the sentence.

What's wrong is that when statistical data interpretation rules societies, disaster results. That's the truth, the whole truth about what's wrong with today's USA; everything else is blither spewed by superficial thinkers.

The fastest way to understand what I've told you is to gather your attention and plow through a lengthy, tortured article by Gwynn Guilford,who spent six years in China researching their economy and trying to explain it for hedge funds. In her 2018 writing for Quartz, The epic mistake about manufacturing that’s cost Americans millions of jobsshe sets out to explain the thinking that led a majority of economists to misinterpret the statistics they used to interpret the American manufacturing sector. To call what they did a mistake, even an epic one, hardly conveys the disaster that resulted.

Here are a few passages from the writing:

... Manufacturers’ embrace of automation was supposedly a good thing. Sure, some factory workers lost their jobs. But increased productivity boosted living standards, and as manufacturing work vanished, new jobs in construction and other services took its place. This was more of a shift than a loss, explained Bradford DeLong, economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

So when Trump won the presidential election, the true-blue data believers dismissed his victory as the triumph of rhetoric over fact. His supporters had succumbed to a nativist tale with cartoon villains like “cheating China” and a shadowy cabal of Rust Belt-razing “globalists.”

But it turns out that Trump’s story of US manufacturing decline was much closer to being right than the story of technological progress being spun in Washington, New York, and Cambridge.

Thanks to a painstaking analysis by a handful of economists, it’s become clear that the data that underpin the dominant narrative—or more precisely, the way most economists interpreted the data—were way off-base. Foreign competition, not automation, was behind the stunning loss in factory jobs. And that means America’s manufacturing sector is in far worse shape than the media, politicians, and even most academics realize.

Here I'll skip over several paragraphs to get to this part:

In other words, the method statisticians use to account for these advances can make it seem like US firms are producing and selling more computers than they actually are. And when the computers data are aggregated with the other subsectors, the adjustment makes it seem like the whole of American manufacturing is churning out more goods than it actually is.
Misreading the manufacturing statistics

It’s this adjustment that is the crux of economists’ misinterpretation of the health of manufacturing. There’s nothing wrong with accounting for product quality. But most economists and policymakers have failed to take into account how adjusting for quality improvements in a relatively small subsector skews the manufacturing output data.

[...]

Later in the writing Guilford observes:

Two decades of ill-founded policymaking radically restructured the US economy, and reshuffled the social order too. The America that resulted is more unequal and more polarized than it’s been in decades, if not nearly a century.
In effect, US policymakers put diplomacy before industrial development at home, offering the massive American consumer market as a carrot to encourage other countries to open up their economies to multinational investment. Then, thanks to the popular narrative that automation was responsible for job losses in manufacturing, American leaders tended to dismiss the threat of foreign competition to a thriving manufacturing industry and minimize its importance to the overall health of the US economy.

[...] 

Guilford stays away from the larger inference, but the tortured tale she unravels speaks for itself. We -- the American society as a whole, not only economists -- have reached a stage where we are simply overwhelmed by our attempts to interpret the shifting and changing statistics we wring from masses of collected data.  

We are in over our heads. The awful state of American society reflects this.     

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Sunday, August 23

Japanese scream jar



Soundproof jar you can scream into to let off stress.  From a list of 101 products only available in Japan. I also like the soundproof karaoke machine, which lets you sing into a funnel microphone without anyone else hearing you.   

I've only looked at 20 products so far but there are probably more can't-live-without Japanese inventions on the list.   

Product descriptions with pix, year of invention, and price in USD at Investing.com.  

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Thursday, August 20

Has Dr Ron Paul been branded a Russian agent yet?

 

Dr Ron Paul turned 85 years old today. He is a great American, a very loyal American, but by a curious logic just about every loyal American you can name these days who advises against mindless U.S. wars and meddling has been labeled a Russian agent. Such is the state of America's defense/foreign policy establishment and the media, here and abroad, that backs up the establishment.

Protesting the label is no use; there is no defense against the accusation. Whether you know it or not, you're a Russian influence agent even if you aren't on the Kremlin's payroll if you argue against, say, American actions in Syria, which Dr Paul most certainly has done. And God Forbid if you've ever been interviewed by Russia's RT, which Dr Paul has. Any American who speaks to RT or writes an opinion column for them is ipso facto a Russian influence agent. You might not think you work for the Russians but that just goes to show how much they have duped you.  

From Wikipedia's article about Dr Paul (not to be confused with his son, U.S. Senator Rand Paul):

Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American author, physician, retired politician, and presidential candidate who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1979 to 1985, and for Texas's 14th congressional district from 1997 to 2013. On three occasions, he sought the presidency of the United States: as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 and as a candidate in the Republican primaries of 2008 and 2012. A self-described "constitutionalist", Paul is a critic of the federal government's fiscal policies, especially the existence of the Federal Reserve and the tax policy, as well as the military–industrial complex, the war on drugs, and the war on terror. He has also been a vocal critic of mass surveillance policies such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the NSA surveillance programs. He was the first chairman of the conservative PAC Citizens for a Sound Economy, a free-market group focused on limited government, and has been characterized as the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party movement, a fiscally conservative political movement that is largely against most matters of interventionism. 
Paul served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1968, and worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 1960s to the 1980s. [...]

I can't say I agree with every one of his political positions because I'm not familiar with every one of them, but I hope that the above is enough to convey why I admire Dr Paul. 

So, from one Russian dupe to another (since the start of the Russian intervention in Syria I've probably quoted RT more than any other blogger) happy birthday, sir, and I pray for your long life and good health.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/

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