discarded lies: sunday, january 21, 2018 12:29 pm zst
eimai megalos loukoumas
daily archive: 02/13/2005
guest author: Aridog in Discarded Lies:
So that the rest of us don't have to do so
Here I go again....On the subject of perception, Militarybrat is right, it isn’t ALL about perception, but it starts with it. We are powerful, but let ourselves be seen as weak, for various reasons, some not all bad. Our first inclination, in the 20th century at least, has not been to invade, attack, colonize, or otherwise destroy some one else’s status quo. We seemed to enjoy the gentle giant image we saw ourselves with, not realizing that others saw it as weakness, out of ignorance or delusion. This benign neutrality stance has cost the lives of countless millions who are not like “us�?, meaning don’t live here, don’t look like us, whatever. WWII, as fought, had a lot to do with a perception of weakness compounded by real military deficiency in the late 1930’s.

What the enemies of humanity on two sides of the world missed was our character and resources. Korean War again revealed an apparent soft underbelly, plus an amazing misconception of our own about China and the character of China...in particular China’s historic millennium old paranoia about conflict near or crossing its borders. IMO...had we not crossed the Yalu, had we left 50 miles south of the Yalu River of buffer for the beaten and retreated North Koreans, they would have starved, China would not have felt threatened because that War would have been over. Even great Generals make mistakes, besides crossing the Yalu, splitting an Army in two unconnected bodies on two sides of a rugged mountain chain wasn’t brilliant. Add in the presumption that nobody could sneak down your flank up in those mountains, and you have the recipe for disaster. About 300,000 Chinese troops did just that, then enveloping from the heights took us by surprise. The Allies, in general messed up S.E. Asia by restoring colonialism. The French just before their last battle at Dien Bien Phu presumed no little dinky people could get artillery up the mountains surrounding the plain. The little dinky people took the cannons apart, strapped the pieces to their backs and to bicycles and dragged them to the tops, assembled them and the battle began, with French strong points on a plain under plunging artillery fire from the hill tops. The rest is painful history, and to the credit of the troops there, most fought bravely until 10,000 were captured. Among the bravest was the 6th BCP (Battalion, Colonial Parachute), as noted by their enemy, who did respect bravery. We then began our painful time there. By then the news world had advanced video graphically into our living rooms, we no longer got our news huddled around shortwave radios or in news reels between movies at the local cinema (yeah, I am that old to remember both). It made a difference we took a long time to recognize.

When I enlisted in 1968 we could “witness�? about 500 body bags a week coming home. Like all mothers, mine too was crying as I got on the bus for the airport and trip to Fort Knox with the rest of the FNG’s. I live 5 minutes from Windsor, Canada, I had a choice, and chance to escape. No one I know ever suggested I take it. Never occurred to me. Fact is, we were young men, and we thought we might be able to do something good, as young men do. Now I am an old man, and I know we can. Tet had occurred, and failed, however, we were unprepared for the political response to the carnage, joined at the time by the largest civil rights revolution we had seen for 100 years. We again turned inward, the vocal minority, on the expanded publicity stage, even calling our troops cowards, the 101st, the 1st Cav, the 82nd, the 173 Abn Bde, the 1st ID, the 4th ID, 25th ID, the 9th MID, 3rd Marines, 1st Marines, 2nd Bde ROK Marines, 5th SF Grp, et al cowards? No one who served near them would ever say that. I did not see much of Vietnam, but I saw enough of it to know that those infantry troops were never cowards. I was never in infantry, got no special awards, and didn’t deserve them, but those men got too few. Again today, we see that the “Queen of Battle�? is still the infantry, just as in the game of Chess. Machines mow, men clean up. Combined Arms is the means to victory, “grunts�? are the means to establish the peace. I worked on tanks and combat tracked vehicles, the infantry and cavalry fought in them. It took all of us.

Today, we are in a new age, we are now pre-emptive, we act in the interest of others, which is our interest, instead of waiting. Make no mistake, it is a new policy for us. We risk trying to be too efficient, to carry out the new policy, we must remain strong, and politically capable of grasping that when we ignored the plight of others, we soon risked it for ourselves. No one here wants to die, and no one over there does either, with the exception of fanatics, mostly who convince others to die for them, for their selfish status quo. When OBL et al straps a C4 vest on and explodes himself will be the same day snow cones are served in hell. In the meantime, how much are we willing to sacrifice in mundane terms? My parents had to have little ration stamps in a booklet to buy butter, or cheese, or meat, or gasoline, and since they could not buy tires for their cars, those that had them mostly put them on blocks until 1946. I still have their last booklets from 1945-46. I still have my great grandfather’s wife’s diary from the Civil War, listing the tribulations of that time...a time when wives actually followed a few miles behind their husbands in the Army, hers in the 15th New York Cavalry. She was almost with him, but not quite, heard about three of his horses killed under him, worried about it, and celebrated at Appomattox. His saber hangs over this desk. I know that what comfort I have today was paid for dearly by those before me. All causes require sacrifice, do we have to guts now to stay this course. The cause is global humanity. The big sacrifices are sometimes those made at home. Those young men and women who serve us bear the battle, but cannot if we don’t bear the burden in support. When they return, say Welcome Home, and Thank you. Just walk up, smile and and say it. It can make a difference. When I came home I took off the uniform at Fort Lewis, and flew home in a Hong Kong suit. We were not welcome and I knew it. I hope fervently that we can and do better now.

We hear about anti-American sentiments, granted, but then explain my 90% Iraqi neighborhood...are they here because it was good over there? Vote was meaningless?....all that I know here had purple fingers, what does that say? Even Ward Churchill is safe to be an idiot here, where he’d not be elsewhere, even in France. Hell, he even gets $96,000 a year from a public University to be one. Go figure. What we have is worth defending, we have always known that. Now it is our time to share it and do it up front. No more Dunkirks. There are only three “war movies�? I think worth the time to watch. One is Hamburger Hill, the others are the HBO TV movies series, Band of Brothers, and the Hisotry Channel TV Movie Gettysburg. The wasn’t much difference between Col Chamberlain and his troops at Little Round Top and Capt Winters and the 506th/101st. at Normandy and beyond, or the g-d forsaken 101st Abn infantrymen who assaulted Hill 539 in 1969. They all bitched and moaned, and then did their jobs. With all their differences, they hung together, and did their jobs. I wonder if we can do ours now? I think we can, if we will. It is my hope for you who will live to see it. And...Tip your hats to the Military Brats and their families, who live like gypsies for 30 years, frequently suffering losses....so that the rest of us don't have to do so.
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guest author: Sine in Discarded Lies:
Blogger Ethics
AP's Anick Jesdanun writes about blog ethics:
The growing influence of blogs...is raising questions about whether they are becoming a new form of journalism and in need of more formal ethical guidelines or codes of conduct.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 27% of adults who go online in the United States read blogs. And blogs have greater impact because their readers tend to be policy makers and other influencers of public opinion, media experts say.

So far, many bloggers resist any notion of ethical standards, saying individuals ought to decide what's right for them.
More than half of Jesdanun's article is devoted to ethics resistant bloggers. For example:
Longtime blogger Rebecca Blood circulated guidelines that call for disclosing any conflicts of interest, publicly correcting any misinformation and linking to any source materials referenced in postings...

Yet Blood knows of fewer than 10 bloggers who have adopted her guidelines by linking to the document.
Woops! Has Discarded Lies linked to Ms. Blood?
In South Dakota, blogger Jon Lauck said many people knew he was a paid consultant
to John Thune's Senate campaign, but Lauck didn't believe he had to post any "flashing banner" on his site. He said that unlike mainstream news organization, blogs like his never claim to be objective...

Many news organizations have formal guidelines separating editorial and business operations, and journalism schools and professional societies try to teach good practices.

Bloggers, though, tend to shudder at being called journalists, even as lines between the two blur.
Mr. Jesdanun, of course, is that superior being, a journalist. He does find something good to say about blog ethics toward the end of his article:
In some sense, bloggers already have informally adopted norms that go beyond what traditional journalists do, Rosen said. For instance, bloggers who don't link to source materials aren't taken seriously, while traditional news organizations have no such policies.
That's right, because the internet allows readers to fact-check our asses!
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Absent change, 100 million unemployed Arabs in 2020
There are currently 25 million unemployed Arabs and there will be 100 million if nothing is done by 2020.
The director general of the Arab Labor Organization ALO, Ibrahim Qweider, disclosed that there are 25 million unemployed in the Arab states.

In a press conference he held before the inauguration of the 22nd session for the organization which Algeria hosts today, Qweider said that the Arab labor market is not encouraging concerning work conditions and the increased number of unemployed.

He expected the increase in the number of unemployed to reach 100 million persons in 2020 if the Arab states will not take into account the recommendations of the Arab Labor Organization and international institutions in the field of labor and improving work conditions.
Can anyone doubt that with a seething cauldron like that brewing, President Bush was right to start reforming the Middle East? They sure weren't reforming themselves. This from the end is classic, though:
The organization recommended that understanding should be made to giving priority in recruiting for the Gulf national labor force and then for the Arab labor force to deal with the issue of unemployment and avoiding the recruitment of foreign workers intensively in the Arab Gulf states. He explained that the Arab ministers of labors, including the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council GCC foreign ministers are involved in this issue and they are in the process of taking practical steps in encouraging the recruitment of Arab laborers.
Yeah, the solution to being outcompeted by foreigners is to legally mandate preferential treatment (or try to) to Arabs. Not making Arab labor forces better educated and more competitive but encouraging employers to hire them, instead of foreigners.

I'm sure that'll work great.

By the way, to put that 100 million unemployed by 2020 number in better perspective: today the entire Arab labor force is 90 million people.

Thank God for George W Bush.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Mercy Killings of Infants
They're killing babies in the Netherlands, children born with acute spina bifida who are in pain and have no hope for the future. What happens to babies born with spina bifida here, in the U.S.? Are they not in unbearable pain? Are they killed here, too? I doubt it. Since when is killing a part of medicine?
The pain was excruciating. There was no cure; the doctors believed there was no quality of life to speak of. In most cases, the anguished parents pleaded with the doctor to bring a quick end to the newborn's suffering.

And so it was that the lives of at least 22 infants born with acute spina bifida in Dutch hospitals since 1997 were terminated by lethal injections of sedatives, according to a new study in the Dutch Journal of Medicine. Although each of these cases was reported to legal authorities, none of the doctors involved was prosecuted.

The Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2002, the first country to do so, but the law excludes children under 12. The study has sharpened the debate here about whether to extend the euthanasia law to children and infants. The idea has drawn a sharp rebuke from the Vatican and outrage from conservative commentators in the U.S.

Surveys of Dutch doctors suggest that about 15 to 20 terminally ill or severely disabled newborns are quietly killed each year. Most cases go unreported.

"All over the world, doctors end lives discreetly, out of compassion, without any kind of regulation," said Dr. Eduard Verhagen, author of the study and an advocate of strict guidelines that would allow mercy killings of infants.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
No Forgiveness, No Forgetting
With European anti-Semitism on the rise once again and Germans not necessarily feeling guilty about the Holocaust, one of the biggest far-right demonstrations since WWII took place today on the anniversary of the Dresden bombing raids.
Waving black flags and carrying banners, thousands of neo-Nazis marched in Dresden on Sunday, marring the official 60th anniversary commemoration of one of the fiercest Allied bombing raids of World War II.

Police said around 5,000 people joined the march in the eastern German city, making it one of the biggest far-right demonstrations since the war. Around 50 people, including anti-fascist protesters, were arrested after minor clashes.

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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Reliability Of Chinese GDP Figures: Nonexistent
(warning: link is a pdf) This study by Harry X Wu at the Chinese Economies Research Center at the University of Adelaide ("Reconstructing Chinese GDP According To The National Accounts Concept Of Value Added: The Industrial Sector, 1949-94") contains a lot of economist speak. It also contains English! Here's some of the English.
China has been moving towards a new SNA type of national accounting system which covers the years since 1978. However, the official techniques for measuring industrial performance for this period are obscure and for years before 1978 they still use the old MPS measure of net material product (NMP). This study is a preliminary attempt to bridge the gap by reconstructing an independent index for Chinese industrial output from 1949 to 1994, primarily based on officially published data of physical output in China Industrial Economic Statistical Yearbook (CIES) and China’s 1987 Input-Output Table (CIOT). The empirical results support our hypothesis that Chinese official estimates have overstated industrial growth performance. The extent of overestimation varies over different periods and across different manufacturing branches and industries. This study provides a basic ingredient for a more realistic estimation of Chinese GDP growth, as well as for international comparisons of economic performance by the ICOP approach developed at the University of Groningen.
1. Introduction There has long been a lack of proper measurement and assessment of China’s longterm economic performance, not only because China’s statistical data have been collected under the material product system (MPS), which was copied from Soviet Union in the 1950s and fundamentally different from the internationally accepted SNA system, but more importantly, it is also because the available data were quite inadequate for making such measurement and assessment.
As China’s economic reforms, started in the end of the 1970s, have led to a rapid transition from central planning towards a more market-oriented system and an integration into the world economy, the real size and growth performance of the Chinese economy have attracted a great attention from economists and politicians. In fact, there are two fundamental problems: a) to find an appropriate conversion of Chinese GDP in yuan to an acceptable international numeraire; and b) to get a better estimate of Chinese GDP growth. This requires use of the standard national accounting concepts to reconstruct Chinese GDP from available output data. This study is a contribution to solving the second problem.
This study is a preliminary attempt to bridge the gap by reconstructing an independent index for Chinese manufacturing output from 1949 to 1994 primarily based on officially published data of physical output and China’s 1987 Input-Output Table.
It is understandable that given the quality and limited quantity of available Chinese data, constructing growth indexes was no easy task. Both studies had to deal with the well known “index problem" in many aspects. Great efforts were made in adjusting official production, employment, wage and price data when looking for proper weights reflecting a relatively more efficient and desirable system for the allocation of resources. Price data were the most troublesome. In the centrally planned economy of that time, all prices were set by the state planning authorities rather than the market. They were not only an accounting device, in fact, they played important role in serving China’s heavy industrialisation strategy by helping shift resources to the industrial sector. Therefore they often reflect a distorted economic structure.
The successive modifications to the GDP estimates might have been related to these processes of cross-checking. It is reasonable to support that these practices have gradually improved the quality of China’s national accounts. Nevertheless, Chinese Marxist statisticians and economists have not accepted that there is a need to shift from MPS to SNA. To them, the currently used CIOT is not an adoption of SNA, but a hybrid between MPS and SNA with the practical merits of both. As they argue, this innovation can satisfy Western economists and investors on one hand, and there is no longer a problem to link back to the prevailing MPS for Chinese accountants and economists on the other (DBNE and ONIOS 1991, pp. 3-12). This means that, theoretically, they are not fully committed to SNA. This, in fact, has affected SSB’s income accounting practice.
If the 1977 is used as a base year, the newly estimated industrial growth rate for the pre-reform period is 9.3 per cent per annum compared to the official estimate of 11.2 per cent, and for the post-reform period is 8.9 per cent per annum compared to the official estimate of 12.2 per cent.
Growth performance by each branch in various important periods of China’s industrial development is also reviewed by new estimates in Table 4, such as the period of post-revolution recovery (1949-52), the first Five-Year Plan (1953-57) that started the Soviet type of ambitious heavy industrialisation, the Maoist feverish Great Leap Forward (GLF) (1958-60) and its aftermath and adjustment (1961-65), the Cultural Revolution (1966-77) and the two stages of reforms (1978-87 and 1987-94, defined by this study in which 1987 is used as the weighting year). The breakdown of industrial growth by period shows clearly that for all these periods, the new estimates suggest a slower growth than the official estimates. This suggests that China’s industrial growth has, at least to some extent, been exaggerated by the official estimates. The most exaggerated industrial growth was the first Five-Year Plan period (1953-57) and the reform period 1987-94, by over 4 percentage points for both periods. By contrast, for the policy induced recession period (1961-65), the estimate by this study suggests that the recession was more severe than what suggested by the official estimate.
Research on China and East European centrally-planned economies has found that their input-output ratios in the late 1980s were significantly higher than in Western economies (Table 6). The point here is that these centrally-planned economies made wasteful use of raw materials and other intermediate inputs because the price system did not encourage efficiency. Inputs of steel and energy were characteristically higher in these countries than in the West (von Ark 1996). Apart from waste of inputs, these countries also tended to accumulate large unmarketable inventories. Moreover, the input-output ratios of these economies rose a good deal from prewar levels to the 1990s. However, as suggested by Table 6, Chinese economy appears less wasteful of inputs than other former centrally-planned economies.
So: there's no data; when you reconstruct the data to try to corroborate the Chinese Communist government's statistics, they've been lying since at least 1949; the government's Marxist statisticians don't believe that anything was really that wrong with measuring GDP the way the Soviets did (ie "how much pointless crap that no one wants or will buy voluntarily did we manufacture this year, comrades?"), and their present method is a hybrid of both Western and Soviet methods; finally: industrial growth was overstated by 4% a year as recently as 1987-1994. I think my summary is fair.
My previous posts about this:
Chinese GDP growth
Looking Past The China Hype
Do you trust this evil regime to tell the truth about its GDP?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
And now waste your time some more
We're dedicated gamers the lot of us and today we would like to say

Thank you Throbert

for hooking us up with this one: A Case of the Crabs

This game is also featured at Throbert's Root Cellar which you would do well to visit since it's the best cellar in town.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Waste your time some, go ahead
So...are you a loser or are you one of the cool kids?

Take the quiz and find out.

Yes, evariste and I both took it. You tell us yours, we'll tell you ours.
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