Tuesday, April 26, 2022

News: April 26

The Power of the Squat It’s the one exercise most of us should be doing. But we need to do it right. ........ What is the single best strength-building exercise many of us could be doing right this minute ....... and the answer would likely be a resounding: squats. ....... “For lower-body strength and flexibility, there is probably no better exercise” ........ “It is really a whole body exercise” ....... “It requires core stability and trains the back.” ....... Some people worry that squats can imperil the knees and hips, but the exercise can actually help protect and improve the workings of these and other joints .........

The movement “helps maintain the flexibility, stability and function” of hips, knees and ankles

......... squats are key to living and aging well. “When we clean the house or plant a vegetable garden, we need to squat,” Dr. Duric said. Ditto for easing into and out of chairs and lowering ourselves to toddler level for face-to-face playtime. ......... squats are “one of the most primal and critical fundamental movements necessary to improve sport performance, to reduce injury risk and to support lifelong physical activity.”

18 Gaslighting Phrases That Experts Say Are Unfairly Belittling Your Emotions Recognizing this behavior early can save you from having to overcome emotional trauma later, psychologists explain. .

Thomas Piketty’s Radical Plan to Redistribute Wealth
I’ve dealt with Putin before: I know what it will take to defeat this brutal despot My own history with Putin goes back to 2000, when we were both prime ministers of our respective countries. It was only when I ran to be president of Ukraine in 2004 that he actively campaigned against me........ the Putin I dealt with then no longer exists. He has since become a completely isolated and brutal despot who cannot stand any opposition. ........ One of the greatest weapons we now have against Putin is international solidarity and support. This is something that really bothers him. ........ Fatigue towards the horrors of war is sadly common; we saw this with Syria, Yemen and our own Donbas. But those of us in Ukraine cannot afford to feel fatigued, or else we risk losing sight of victory. ........ This war is a defining moment, not just in Ukrainian history, but in defence of democracy. This is not just a regional conflict between Ukraine and Russia but a fight against tyranny and imperialism. ....... I strongly believe that victory for Ukraine is inevitable.

Russia warns United States against sending more arms to Ukraine President Vladimir Putin says the "special military operation" in Ukraine is necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people.

Attacks Begin in New Country as Russia Warns Nuclear Threat Is ‘Real’ In a significant move, Germany, which has so far refused to supply heavy weaponry to Kyiv, is expected to confirm that it will send 50 anti-aircraft tanks. ........ Another element in the Russian war plans became clearer last week when a Russian general, Rustam Minnekaev, let slip that the proposed “land corridor” would stretch all the way to Moldova, entirely cutting Ukraine off from access to the sea. ....... Under those plans, Russia's military control would stretch all the way into the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, where Russian-backed separatists declared independence 30 years ago and where Russia still has a military base.

Tensions surge after attacks in Moldova's Russia-backed breakaway region Russia’s foreign minister has warned Western powers not to underestimate the “real” risk of nuclear conflict if they continue to funnel weapons to Ukraine in what he says is an undeclared proxy war. ........ Within hours of his remarks, explosions were heard inside the sovereign borders of Moldova. Ukrainian officials believe Russia is launching “false flag” operations in the pro-Russian rebel-controlled enclave of Transnistria in order to justify widening their imperial assault into a second nation.

Russia’s Lavrov Says NATO Is Using Ukraine as a Proxy, Warns Against World War III Ukraine said comments suggest Moscow senses defeat Russia’s top diplomat said the West was engaged in a proxy war with his country that could escalate into a world war with nuclear weapons, as Western nations elevated their commitment to defending Ukraine. ........... “The risk is serious, real. It should not be underestimated,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a Russian state-television interview broadcast Monday night. “Under no circumstances should a third world war be allowed to happen,” he said, adding that “there can be no winners in a nuclear war.”

The War in Ukraine Has Unleashed a New Word In a creative play on three different languages, Ukrainians identify an enemy: ‘ruscism.’ ....... a bilingual society at war with a fascist empire ....... “Pашизм” sounds like “fascism,” but with an “r” sound instead of an “f” at the beginning; it means, roughly, “Russian fascism.” ...... The aggressor in this war keeps trying to push back toward a past as it never happened, toward nonsensical and necrophiliac accounts of history. Russia must conquer Ukraine, Vladimir Putin says, because of a baptism a thousand years ago, or because of bloodshed during World War II. But Russian myths of empire cannot contain the imagination of the Ukrainian victims of a new war. National identity is about living people, and the values and the futures they imagine and choose. A nation exists insofar as it makes new things, and a national language lives by making new words. ......

The new word “рашизм” is a useful conceptualization of Putin’s worldview.

Far more than Western analysts, Ukrainians have noticed the Russian tilt toward fascism in the last decade. ....... A bilingual nation like Ukraine is not just a collection of bilingual individuals; it is an unending set of encounters in which people habitually adjust the language they use to other people and new settings, manipulating language in ways that are foreign to monolingual nations. I have gone on Ukrainian television and radio, taken questions in Russian and answered them in Ukrainian, without anyone for a moment finding that switch worthy of mention. Once, while speaking Ukrainian on television, I stopped for a moment to quote a few words of poetry in Russian, a switch that was an effort for me. But Ukrainians change languages effortlessly — not just as situations change, but also to make situations change, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, or even in the middle of a word. ....... Putin’s ethnic imperialism insists that Ukrainians must be Russians because they speak Russian. They do — and they speak Ukrainian. But Ukrainian identity has as much to do with an ability to live between languages than it does with the use of any one of them. ......... Russian and Ukrainian are very similar. They are pretty close — much as, say, Spanish and Italian are. ....... Russian grammar is similar to Ukrainian — perhaps a tad closer than, say, Ukrainian and Polish ....... The Ukrainian word for “cat” sounds like the Russian for “whale,” while the Ukrainian for “female cats” sounds like Russian for “intestines.” ........ Russians do not understand Ukrainian, because they have not learned it. Ukrainians do understand Russian, because they have learned it. This fact has battlefield implications. ...... President Volodymyr Zelensky generally used Russian as a comedian and almost always uses Ukrainian as a politician — except for when he might switch, midspeech, to using Russian to address Russians, in the full knowledge that Ukrainians will follow along. ........ when Russians use it earnestly, Ukrainians might consider it a sign of “zombification,” зомбування, a word they use rather a lot. One Ukrainian explanation for the use of the letter Z by official Russia as the symbol of the invasion is that “the other half of the swastika was stolen in the warehouse,” a joke about the logistics of the Russian Army — but personally, the Z makes me think of “zombie.” ....... English vowel sounds are also different — broader, lazier and more numerous — than those in Ukrainian and Russian. English speakers have about as many ways of pronouncing “a” as there are vowels in those entire languages. ....... In English, if you believe in racism, you are a racist; if you believe in fascism, you are a fascist. This lexical progression is similar in Ukrainian. “Расизм,” racism, has the associated personal form “расист,” racist. “Фашизм,” fascism, yields “фашист,” fascist. Likewise, the new word “рашизм” has “рашист,” or ruscist. .......

Given the imperial character of the Russian state, a very high proportion of the Russian soldiers in Ukraine belong to national minorities.

This suggests a deeper problem, which is that even soldiers dying for a fascist cause need not be fascists themselves. ........ Russian fascism is certainly a phenomenon that requires a concept. The Russian Federation promotes the extreme right everywhere. Putin is the idol of white supremacists around the world. Prominent Russian fascists are given access to mass media during wars, including this one. Members of the Russian elite, above all Putin himself, rely increasingly on fascist concepts. Putin’s very justification of the war in Ukraine, as an act of cleansing violence that will return Russia to itself, represents a Christian form of fascism. The recent publication, in an official Russian news service, of what I consider an openly genocidal handbook, providing a plan for the elimination of the Ukrainian nation as such, confirms all this. Moscow is the center of fascism in our world. .......... Russia today is a country where it is illegal to call this war a “war,” and where reading a poem or showing a blank poster is deemed a slander of the army. ........ on the battlefield, where the Russian Army is conformist and cowering, and the outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainian Army adaptable and creative.

How a Recession Might — and Might Not — Happen
Investors Mark Cuban, Marc Andreessen, and others react to Elon Musk buying Twitter for $44 billion: He's 'on the clock'
Another housing bubble? ‘We’re skating close to one,’ says Realtor.com economist This might be the hottest housing market ever recorded. Over the past 12 months, U.S. home prices are up a staggering 19.2%. For comparison, in the years leading into the 2008 housing bust, the biggest 12-month jump was 14.5%. ...... stubbornly hot housing market now has housing economists flirting with the real estate industry's most feared word: bubble....... "U.S. house prices are again becoming unhinged from fundamentals." ..... CoreLogic now considers 65% of U.S. regional housing markets to be "overvalued.

'You can't imagine the conditions' - Accounts emerge of Russian detention camps
Twitter shares jump 4% on reports it could accept Elon Musk’s bid as early as Monday
Jon Stewart says the 'fragility of leaders' is the real threat to humor

Friday, April 22, 2022


Macron May Keep the Presidency, but Le Pen Has Already Won Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Rally, has worked hard during this election campaign to soften, even detoxify, her image. It seems to be working. “I think she’s full of good ideas,” Cyrielle Bernard, a 19-year-old who lives in this picturesque Burgundy town, told me one afternoon last week, chatting in the tobacconist shop where she works. Of all the candidates, she said, “I think she’s the most logical.” ......... Ms. Le Pen’s success comes from casting herself as the defender of the countryside and the working class, focusing on cost-of-living issues and defending social protections. She has also been helped by an image makeover in which she opened up about raising her children as a single mother and now combines tough talk on immigration with social media posts about her cats. ......... In the second round, polls predict she could easily win more than 40 percent, potentially 10 points more than in 2017. ........ The same winds that brought Brexit and helped elect President Donald Trump are also blowing through France. ....... Ms. Germain, who works as a house cleaner, dislikes Mr. Macron. “He always has that smirk,” she said. That smirk is a problem for Mr. Macron. He has a tendency to talk down to people — to say “let me explain to you,” rather than listen. ........ how deeply entrenched Ms. Le Pen’s hard-line views on immigrants have become and how she has successfully recast anti-immigrant rhetoric into practical policy recommendations. ........ Her father” — Jean-Marie Le Pen, a former presidential candidate and the longtime leader of the far-right National Front party — “was completely racist. She’s not. She wants everyone to respect our ways. If you go to Africa, you respect African law. Her father just wanted to kick them all out.” ........... Such views are not uncommon, especially in small towns in France with little to no immigration. ......... She wants asylum seekers to be processed abroad and has said her first act as president will be to propose a referendum on immigration. ......... “A lot of them take advantage of the system and aren’t integrated in France,” she told me. ....... Ms. Le Pen has managed to widen her consensus by combining far-right positions on immigration with a left-leaning defense of public spending and social welfare. ........ she has promised to eliminate income tax for people under 30 — and her once extreme positions appear less so now that the center right has also adopted much of the same rhetoric, especially on national-identity issues. Help came as well from Éric Zemmour, whose firebrand declarations made her seem more moderate. ........ “We’ve tried the right; that didn’t work. We’ve tried the left; that didn’t work. Maybe we need to try the far right, with a woman in power.” ........ The unemployment rate fell to its lowest in 13 years ........ it is hard to win saying, “Imagine how much worse things could have been.” ....... She proposes “reducing VAT tax, raising low salaries and pensions, spending more on health and education.” ....... Mr. Macron, by contrast, has become the embodiment of frightening economic trends, even if they predate him and extend far beyond France. ........ Ms. Le Pen has long expressed her respect for Vladimir Putin. .......... “Lots of voters are tired of voting against their own convictions in order to block the far right — ...... That anti-far-right alliance, he added, is “much weaker than 10 or 20 years ago.” .

The Rise of Authoritarian Capitalism Democratic capitalism is showing signs of deep, systemic sickness in the United States, Europe and Australasia, even as varieties of state or authoritarian capitalism are slowly becoming entrenched around the world, particularly in China and Russia. ......... In the developing world, democratic capitalism has always had a mixed reputation. While the West preached its freedoms at home, it happily engaged in political and economic exploitation abroad. ........... as of 2017, 88 of 195 states were classified as “free,” compared with 65 of 165 in 1990. ........ After the end of the Cold War, however, four structural challenges emerged to endanger the future of democratic capitalism: financial instability, technological disruption, widening social and economic inequality and structural weaknesses in democratic politics. ....... The 2008 financial crisis, one sign of a systemic sickness, occurred because of poorly regulated financial elites. The costs to governments and peoples were bailouts, lost jobs and more public debt. Governments had to scramble to save capitalism from itself as financial markets failed to self-correct. As a result, the markets privatized their profits and socialized their losses. Only one top bank executive went to jail. The taxpayer, by and large, paid the bill. And democratically elected governments were routinely tossed out because they had either failed to prevent the crisis, or were unable to manage the resulting public debt — or both. Another crisis could push the system to its breaking point. Yet a weakened Dodd-Frank Act in the United States now makes a repeat of the 2008 crisis more likely. All at a time when governments have even less room to respond. ............ Democracies, like corporations, can now be hacked. Social media distorts the free flow of facts that has been the lifeblood of democratic capitalism. .......... The financial and technological challenges are compounded by a rising economic inequality. The extreme concentration of wealth in the United States in recent decades is well documented. The new barons of capital and technology thrive while the American middle class stagnates and the American dream fades. ......... In the United States, unrestricted campaign financing continues to undermine democracy. The spectacular corruption of the electoral redistricting system — gerrymandering — only compounds the problem. ....... As Western democracies look increasingly sick, other systems of governance are now on offer. Russian nationalism .......... China has become increasingly confident in its own model, described as authoritarian or state capitalism. And its “Beijing consensus” is held up to the non-Western world as an example of a more effective form of national, and even international, governance. ........ The American social contract needs to be rebuilt through a revised New Deal. The social impact of technological change must be politically managed, rather than left to the market. Finance should return to its historical role as the servant of the real economy, rather than its master. And the Supreme Court must set a new direction on campaign finance (by overturning the Citizens United decision), gerrymandering and some of the crazier interpretations of the Second Amendment used to justify a breakdown in basic law and order. ........... Both represent the enduring idea of freedom. Yet both rest on increasingly fragile political and economic institutions. History cautions us against any belief that democratic capitalism will somehow inevitably prevail. Unless, of course, we make it so by tending the garden while there is still time. .

Marine Le Pen Is as Dangerous as Ever When Ms. Le Pen lost to Emmanuel Macron, albeit with a worrying 34 percent share of the vote, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Many hoped Ms. Le Pen, after falling at the final hurdle, would fade into obscurity. ........ She now has more chance of winning it than ever: After taking 23 percent in the first round, she’s within eight points of Mr. Macron in the second, on April 24. ........ she’s also embarked on a comprehensive effort to soften her image, renaming her party, downplaying the harsher elements of her platform and presenting herself as a warm, even folksy woman who loves her cats. ....... Ms. Le Pen is an authoritarian whose deeply racist and Islamophobic politics threaten to turn France into an outright illiberal state. She may pretend to be a regular politician, but she remains as dangerous as ever. For the good of minorities and France itself, she must not prevail. ....... She especially targeted minorities, “to whom,” she said bitterly, “everything is due and to whom we give everything.” ........ There is now barely any space in French politics to advocate for French citizens who don’t look, behave, pray or eat the way “traditional” French people are supposed to — let alone to champion the rights of immigrants and refugees. ....... In this environment, Ms. Le Pen can turn her attention to more everyday issues, such as rising energy bills and the cost of living, safe in the knowledge that on immigration, citizenship and “national identity,” she’s already won the argument. ......... For more than 30 years now, French political debate has centered itself around issues of identity at the expense of more pressing topics such as health care, climate change, unemployment and poverty. ........ Exploiting feelings of decline at the end of the 1960s — as France shed its colonial empire, lost the war in Algeria and submitted to American domination of Western Europe — the far right became a potent political force. ......... to defend its conception of French identity, evoking a thousand-year-old European Christian civilization threatened by North African Muslim immigration. .......... As people from France’s former colonies migrated to the metropole, the party focused obsessively on the supposed dangers of immigration. ......... “Tomorrow,” he infamously said in 1984, “immigrants will stay with you, eat your soup and sleep with your wife, your daughter or your son.” Such rancorous resentment found some sympathy in certain quarters of French society, where the homogenizing effects of globalization and the increased visibility of Islam among French-born citizens were held to be stripping France of its essential character. ........... With the rise of Islamist terrorism, Muslims were seen to be practicing an inherently violent religion that required containment by public authorities. To be a Muslim was to be guilty until proved innocent. ......... The past decade has taken this equation to a new level. The widespread fear now is not that a handful of people among nearly six million Muslims might pose a danger to public safety, but that all French Muslims by their very existence threaten the cultural identity of “traditional France.” ........ and passing a bill that gives the state power to monitor Muslim religious observance and organizations. ......... underneath the sheen of normalcy, the brutally racist ideology her party pioneered over the past 30 years is very much intact. ........ the company she keeps — she has associated with Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Viktor Orban .......... Her administration would echo those in Brazil, India and other countries where a similar rightward slide has taken hold. For minorities, immigrants, dissidents and democracy itself, it would be a disaster. ......... As a French Muslim citizen born and raised here, I fear for my country. ...... it’s instructive that voters may elect a politician whose core ideology violates the values of liberty, equality and fraternity that France has long championed. In that irony lies the gap between what France could be and what it is. .

A Biden Blood Bath? Biden’s approval rating had sunk to just 33 percent ......... only seven months out from the midterms. ....... a really sour environment for Democrats.” ..... a major part of the problem is messaging. “We’re scared of our own shadow on taxes,” he said in the interview, and it “makes no sense.” .............. They feel stuck and angry, they’re tired and overwhelmed, and that energy is being directed at Biden. ....... America has changed its mind and its mood. It wants a show and a showman to distract from its misery. Biden is not that. And he is being punished for not being a huckster. ........ Biden isn’t constantly tweeting and hamming it up for the cameras — in fact, too often, he has shied away from interviews — and his reticence has left a void of emotional connection to him. ........ Biden has moved from the macro to the micro, taking steps that will indeed benefit many Americans but are too narrowly focused to transform our society or fix the core problems that plague it ........ two major perennial issues are resurgent: crime and the economy. The fear of crime and the pinch of inflation aren’t abstractions or complicated foreign policy or perks for special interests. .......... oppression by conservatives in this country is like an amoeba: simple, primitive, pervasive and highly adaptable. It simply shifts its shape to fit the environment and argument. ........ Biden’s approval rating among people identified as Hispanics was even lower than it was among those identified as white. ........ Hispanics hew conservative on some social issues. .... we could well be looking forward to a Biden blood bath. .

News: April 22

पालिकाको नेपाली विकास मोडल इच्छाशक्ति र बलियो नेतृत्व भए कसरी कुनै प्रदेश वा पालिकाले आमूल परिवर्तन ल्याउन सक्छ भन्ने उदाहरणहरु धेरै छन् । जस्तो कि, भारतको आम आदमी पार्टीको सरकारले दिल्लीको सार्वजनिक शिक्षाको गुणस्तरमा छोटो समयमै धेरै उपलब्धि हासिल गर्‍यो । ....... यसअघिको स्थानीय चुनावमा गरिएका घोषणाहरूको उपलब्धि केकति भयो र अब त्यही अनुभवमा टेकेर अघि बढ्ने भन्ने समीक्षा कतै भएको देखिँदैन । ...... सहरको फोहोरसम्म उठाउन नसक्ने धेरै पालिकाले यसअघिको स्थानीय चुनावमा ‘स्मार्ट सिटी’ को नारा लगाएको देखियो । मोनोरेल र मेट्रोको नारा दिने काठमाडौं महानगरले करोडौं बैंकको मुद्दती खातामा राखेर ब्याज खाएको पनि सुनियो । ....... सिंगापुरजस्तो नवविकसित देश वा नर्वे, स्विडेन, डेनमार्क र फिनल्यान्डजस्ता कल्याणकारी राज्यहरूको इतिहास र भू–अवस्था के हो; विकासनीतिको नेतृत्व कसरी सुरु भयोÙ भ्रष्टाचारको नियन्त्रण र सुशासन कसरी कायम भयो आदिको समीक्षा गरी त्यहाँको विकासबाट सिक्नु एउटा पक्ष हो, तर नेपाललाई हुबहु त्यस्तै बनाउने भन्नु आफैंमा नारा मात्रै हो । कुनै गाउँ, सहर, समाज वा देशको विकास त्यहाँको मौलिकता अनुसार हुनु राम्रो मानिन्छ । ......... केन्द्र र प्रदेशको राजनीतिक अस्थिरता, अस्पष्ट विकासनीति र अकासिएको प्रशासनिक खर्चका तुलनामा स्थानीय तहप्रति समग्रमा नेपाली जनताको अभिमत सकारात्मक देखिन्छ । ....... ७० प्रतिशत जनता स्थानीय तहसँग सन्तुष्ट रहेको र करिब ८५ प्रतिशत जनताले स्थानीय तहलाई भरोसा गर्ने देखाएको थियो  ....... पालिकाका न्यायिक समितिका कामले न्यायालयमा मुद्दाको चाप घटाएको छ । स्थानीय तहमार्फत विकासमा महिलासहित समाजका सीमान्तीकृत र अल्पसंख्यकको प्रतिनिधित्व बढेको छ । ........ अर्कातिर डोजरे, भ्यु टावर र गेट बनाउने विकासले प्रश्रय पाउनुका अलावा स्थानीय तहको बजेट परिचालनमा अनियमितता र भ्रष्टाचार, बेरुजु आदि समस्या छन् । ....... अहिले अख्तियारमा आउने करिब एकतिहाइ उजुरीहरू स्थानीय तहका छन् । इन्डोनेसियामा यस्तै अवस्था हुँदा त्यहाँको भ्रष्टाचार निवारण संस्थाले एकैचोटि एक सय मेयरको अनुसन्धान गरेर मुद्दा दायर गरेको थियो । .

Biden calls Putin's actions 'genocide' unverified claims that Russia used chemical weapons in the besieged city of Mariupol. ...... Mariupol's mayor said 21,000 residents of the city had been killed since the start of the invasion; he accused Russian forces of bringing mobile crematoria to the city to dispose of the bodies. ....... Ukrainian security services have captured Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician and close friend of Putin who escaped house arrest early in the invasion. ....... Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes since the start of the war, according to the United Nations children’s agency.

News: Ukraine: April 22

मोदीले भने - हाम्रो संसदमा रुस र युक्रेनबारे विस्तृत छलफल भयो
कलाकारले युक्रेन हाँकेको छ, हामीलाई कम आँकलन नगर्दा हुन्छ नेताहरूले राम्रो गरेको भए कलाकार किन राजनीतिमा आउनुपर्थ्यो?
राजपाक्षे परिवारको स्वार्थले डुबेको श्रीलंका

Vertical Farms Expand as Demand for Year-Round Produce Grows The industry is expected to grow to $9.7 billion worldwide by 2026, but it faces challenges, including high energy costs, technological limitations and the ability to scale. ....... Plenty Unlimited, an agricultural start-up, is using the site for an indoor vertical farm ....... What made moving indoors possible was a drop in price in LED lights, which plunged as much as 94 percent in 2015 from 2008. .......... Vertical farming is expected to grow to $9.7 billion worldwide by 2026, from $3.1 billion in 2021 ........ Upward Farms, a start-up based in Brooklyn that blends vertical farming with aquaponics and uses fish waste as fertilizer, is building a 250,000-square-foot warehouse on six acres in Luzerne County, Pa., about 100 miles from Manhattan. ....... But some scientists have doubts about the industry’s ability to scale and diversify given the limitations of current technology. Tomatoes take 60 percent more electricity to grow than lettuce, and strawberries take twice that amount ....... “LED lights are about 70 percent, close to their theoretical maximum” of efficiency, he said. The consumer is paying for the energy costs. ....... “LED’s are not going to go down much more” in cost, he said. “Where investors are going against physics, they are going to have a hard time.” .

The Home Cooks (and Start-Ups) Betting on Prepared Meals Tens of billions of dollars are being spent on what, where and how consumers will eat in the coming years. Laws and regulations aren’t always keeping up........ The companies paint themselves as part of the new gig economy, a way for the people making the food to earn a little or a lot of money, working whatever days and hours best fit their schedules. ...... Selling meals online presents an opportunity for women who have struggled to work outside the home because of limited child care options or for refugees and recent immigrants ...... From her kitchen in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, María Bído uses WoodSpoon to sell classic Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo, bacalaitos and sancocho, using recipes she learned from her grandmother. ....... “My whole life, people told me, ‘You need to do something with your food’ .

‘There Is No Reasonable Way for This to End’: Bill Browder on How to Stop the War Mr. Browder, once a major investor in Russia, discusses what influences Vladimir Putin and whether punishing the oligarchs around him could help end his aggression in Ukraine. ........ Mr. Browder, once a major investor in Russia, has become one of the Kremlin’s biggest enemies. Russia has tried several times to get Interpol to issue arrest orders against him. And he is such a thorn in Mr. Putin’s side that the Russian president singled him out by name during his first official summit with President Donald J. Trump. ......... What did he do to attract such ire? Mr. Browder ran one of the largest hedge funds in Russia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But his public battles against corporate corruption eventually prompted his expulsion from Russia in 2005 as a “threat to national security.” ......... Putin is a dictator. One of the great benefits of dictatorship is that he can steal as much money as he chooses. And he chooses to steal a lot. ......... The purpose of these wars is that he was afraid of being overthrown. And so the best way to do that is to get everyone to rally around the leader. And so when you’re talking about an endgame, there is no endgame. This is just him staying in power. .......... The world that he lives in is like a prison yard. This is a world where everybody is sort of eyeing each other up aggressively, and everybody has to show strength to each other. You know, the most powerful person in a yard has to be the most vicious person in order to keep their power. .......... his misjudgment in how effectively the Ukrainians are fighting back has made him look stupid. ....... The Ukrainians have shown him huge disrespect by successfully fighting back. And so, for example, the war crimes that have been committed are not by accident. .......... It’s either he ends up taking over Ukraine and then moving his way toward the Baltic countries to challenge us at NATO — or for him to be defeated by Ukraine and then having the Russian people overthrow him because he was the weak guy who couldn’t beat Ukraine. ........ when you see an oligarch worth $20 billion, $10 billion of that is Putin’s. He can’t hold any money in his own name. ........ continuing to do business in Russia after this invasion is the equivalent of continuing to do business in Nazi Germany when Hitler started persecuting the Jews. It’s the same thing. ......... the U.S. is probably going to be less likely to sanction China before consumers themselves sanction China. ...... The way Russia works is that I don’t think he’s spending a lot of time on me, but he gave an order 10 years ago to his government to go after Bill Browder in every way possible. Until the order is rescinded, there are people whose job it is to go after me, no matter what’s going on in the world. And they continue to go after me. .

Koch Industries’ Bet on Batteries The company is plugging $30 million into a start-up co-founded by one of Silicon Valley’s favorite scientists. .

World War II, Ukraine and the Future of Conflict Richard Overy’s prodigious “Blood and Ruins” is a sweeping history of World War II packed with lessons for the future. .

With India on the fence over Ukraine, Biden meets with Modi. India has long been reliant on Russia for military hardware, an important factor in the deep historic ties between the two countries. And so despite global condemnations of Russian aggression in Ukraine, Mr. Modi’s administration has tried to remain neutral — refraining from criticizing Russia, while calling for negotiations and engaging Ukraine with humanitarian assistance. ...... India imports only about one percent of its oil needs from Russia. Many Indian officials have spoken of a double standard, with Europe continuing to import oil from Russia while India’s imports come under increased scrutiny. ......... “Our talks today are taking place at a time when the situation in Ukraine is very worrying,” Mr. Modi said. “During this entire process I spoke several times to the presidents of both Ukraine and Russia. I not only appealed for peace, but also suggested there be direct talks between President Putin and the president of Ukraine.” .

‘This Was Trump Pulling a Putin’ Amid the current crisis, Fiona Hill and other former advisers are connecting President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to Jan. 6. And they’re ready to talk. ........ Four months after the 2008 NATO summit, Russian troops crossed the border and launched an attack on the South Ossetia region of Georgia. Though the war lasted only five days, a Russian military presence would continue in nearly 20 percent of Georgia’s territory. And after the West’s weak pushback against his aggression, Putin then set his sights on Ukraine — a sovereign nation that, Putin claimed to Bush at the Bucharest summit, “is not a country.” ........ Obama’s handling of Putin did not always strike her as judicious. When Chuck Todd of NBC asked Obama at a news conference in 2013 about his working relationship with Putin, Obama replied, “He’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom.” Hill told me that she “winced” when she heard his remark, and when Obama responded to Putin’s invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian region Crimea a year later by referring to Russia as “a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness,” she winced again. “We said openly, ‘Don’t dis the guy — he’s thin-skinned and quick to take insults,’” Hill said of this counsel to Obama about Putin. “He either didn’t understand the man or willfully ignored the advice.” ........ “living in his own bubble”; “a germaphobe”; “a shoot-the-messenger kind of person” ........ an insider’s look at a chaotic, reckless and at times antidemocratic chief executive. ...... Trump said of Hill: “She doesn’t know the first thing she’s talking about. If she didn’t have the accent she would be nothing.” ....... “In the course of his presidency, indeed, Trump would come more to resemble Putin in political practice and predilection than he resembled any of his recent American presidential predecessors.” ...... Unlike Trump, President Bush had read his briefing materials. His questions were respectful. She offered him an unpopular opinion and was not punished or frozen out for it. Even the vice president’s dyspeptic behavior that day did not unnerve her, she told me. “His emphasis was on the power of the executive branch,” she said. “It wasn’t on the unchecked power of one executive. And it was never to overturn the Constitution.” .

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Prashant Kishor

Prashant Kishor Asked To Join Party, Has Drawn Up 2024 Plan: Congress Prashant Kishor has given a detailed presentation for the 2024 elections to the Congress, sources have said ........ He has shown interest in joining the party and given a detailed presentation of the party's weaknesses and what needs to be done for improvement, such as the Congress would likely concentrate on 370 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections ...... Mr Kishor suggested Congress should fight alone in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha, and it should form alliances in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra ..... A key hold-up, reportedly, is PK's desire for a Big Bang approach as opposed to the Gandhis' wish to bring in incremental changes, without antagonising party leaders too much by giving the ace strategist solo charge of revamping the Congress. ...... Despite Mr Kishor's sharp, public digs at the Congress, especially Rahul Gandhi, in the months after the breakdown, both sides have showed willingness for another shot at an understanding after the party's latest election defeats.

Prashant Kishor's Congress "Reincarnation" Plan: Exclusive Details While Prashant Kishor's Congress 2.0 plan has not been revealed, NDTV has accessed details of the plan he presented to the Gandhis last year. ....... the failure to capitalise on legacy and achievements, structural weaknesses and lack of connect with the masses. ..... For the "Reincarnation of the Congress", the leadership needs to rebuild the party and democratise it, said PK's plan. ...... It suggested Sonia Gandhi as Congress president with a "Non-Gandhi" Working President or Vice President, and Rahul Gandhi as Parliamentary Board chief. ...... sort out alliances, reclaim the party's founding tenets, creating an army of grassroots leaders and footsoldiers and creating an ecosystem of "supporting media and digital propagation"........ 'One Family, One Ticket', to counter prevalent nepotism. ........ Reconstituting organisational bodies via elections across all levels. ....... Fixed term, fixed tenures for all posts including Congress President and Congress Working Committee. ...... Identify and meaningfully engage 15,000 grassroots leaders and activate 1 crore foot soldiers across India. ........ A federation of 200+ like-minded influencers, activists and civil society members to: Coordinate Action, Raise Dissent and Build Synergy. ....... After the talks fell through, reportedly over disagreements on the way forward, the Congress enlisted the help of one of PK's top aides, Sunil Kanugolu. ..... The talks resumed after the Congress' election defeats in five key states in February-March, which threw the party's survival in doubt.

Prashant Kishor’s 5-point strategy to revive Congress fortunes Kishor said the Congress cannot be allowed to die. “The Indian National Congress cannot be allowed to die. It can only die with the nation,” he said .......... 1. The party needs to resolve its leadership crisis for once. 2. Alliances need to be decided fast. 3. The party must return to its previous ideals. 4. The Congress should mobilize its workers and leaders at the grassroots level. 5. The party needs a better and more effective communication system.

Prashant Kishor has a ‘4M’ plan for Congress to take on BJP in 2024. But it needs a Nadda If Congress dreams of beating BJP in the 2024 election, it needs to address its 'messenger' and 'machinery' issues. The Gandhis would need to adjust. ......... For several eternal optimists whose hearts skip a beat at the mere mention of the Congress’ resurrection, Easter Sunday came a little early. A day before, poll strategist Prashant Kishor was at 10, Janpath, presenting a blueprint for the party’s revival on the way to the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Sonia Gandhi decided to form a committee to study his proposition. ......... PK has been discussing his ideas with the Gandhis for two years and both sides agree on “90 per cent” issues. Their talks on the remaining 10 per cent broke down last September. If the Gandhis called him again on Saturday, their differences must be whittling down. ....... The Gandhis are desperate to get PK on board. The Congress is imploding. The trust deficit between them and their party colleagues is only widening. If nothing else, PK’s association with the Congress, in whatever capacity, could take the pressure off the Gandhis, they must hope. Those who don’t see any future in Congress may pause and re-think, given PK’s reputation as a poll strategist with a magical wand. .......

in search of a so-called secret document, we fail to read what’s available in public records.


Prashant Kishor has a ‘4Ms’ formula — Message, Messenger, Machinery and Mechanics.

......... the opposition must first examine what’s working for the BJP. Essentially, three things, he says — Hindutva, hyper-nationalism and welfarism. ........ he is conscious of their limitations. ....... election data shows that only one out of two Hindus voted for the BJP ....... How can the Congress allow the BJP to appropriate an icon like Sardar Patel? How many Congressmen are actually fighting for Jawaharlal Nehru, beyond holding press conferences? Expect the opposition party to take a series of initiatives to reclaim the ‘nationalist’ space and its icons soon, that is, if PK gets associated with it. ....... Kishor has been articulate about the effectiveness of the JP Nadda model. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah virtually run the BJP. But they have Nadda as the party president. ......... “In the BJP, Modi and Shah run the organization but Nadda is the president. How does the BJP use it? It says that even a booth-level worker can become president. Whether they become or not, it sends out a message to the masses at large.” ........ PK has been vocal about his views that the jobs of the Prime Minister and a party president are different and they require different skill sets. So, one who runs the organisation shouldn’t be the PM candidate, whose main job is to strike a chord with the people, telling them their vision for them and winning the janata’s hearts. .......... If Rahul Gandhi returns, notwithstanding his proven competence, or the lack of it for the job, he shouldn’t be the PM face as per PK’s strategic vision. ........ Prashant Kishor is known to have plans to rebuild the Congress from the bottom up — forming committees from the booth, block and district levels. ......... PK often points out how the Congress blames its failures on its inability to communicate with the people. He is perplexed: How has Randeep Surjewala been heading the Congress’ communication department for over seven years?

Prashant Kishor's Blueprint For The Opposition The only campaign Kishor lost was an effort to get the Congress to win the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election........ Kishor formed the Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG), a poll advisory group that at the peak of Modi’s prime ministerial campaign had 1,200 employees work­ ing for it across 13 states. Kishor was credited for coming up with Modi’s memorable Chai Pe Charcha campaign. ......... In a recent tweet, you said “the idea and space the Congress represents is vital to a strong Opposition. But Congress leadership is not the divine right of an individual, especially when the party has lost more than 90 per cent of the elections in the last 10 years. Let the Opposition leadership be declared democratically”. ......... In the past 10 years, in the more than 50 elections, both state and general, it has lost almost 90 per cent, except the 2012 Karnataka state polls, the 2017 election in Punjab and the 2018 elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. ...... Of the electorate in India, BJP has 40% as a denominator as it has a 35-37% vote share; another 20 per cent goes to other challengers. To challenge BJP, Congress must capture 40% of the 60% not voting BJP. It currently has 19% ....... When Sonia and Rahul Gandhi headed Congress, their strike rate was between 31 and 35%. But since 2019, when no one knows who the leader is, the strike rate has dwindled to 10% or less ....... The last time it won this country was in 1984 (when it won 404 seats). After 1984, the party has not won a single general election. ........ The Congress, at its peak, used to be No.1 or a close No.2 in about 3,500 assembly constituencies (there are 4,121 cur­ rently). Today, that number is down to 1,500­1,600. Their graph has been on the dec line, especially after 1984 ......... No one can invite themselves to the house of the Gandhis or the leadership of the Congress and say, okay, please hear my strategy. They asked me and I gave them what I thought was the right approach. They are within their rights to accept what I put on the table or reject it. ......... post the Bengal elec­tion, it was a much more structured, intensive engagement. I almost joined the party. ........ Whoever you choose should be a full-time president. ...... Apart from the leadership issue, it needs to have faster decision-making, empower local leaders, and not centralise all the decision-making and keep it in the hands of a few individuals in Delhi. ......... given the way the Congress works currently, the real power is centralised in the hands of general secretaries and what people call the party high command. That is the biggest stumbling block to any real revival of the Congress from the grassroots. ........ Merely coming together of many parties is not a sure recipe for success against the present BJP. For that, you have to get four levers right: a unifying face, a narrative, then the arithmetic, along with the machinery ....... No third party can challenge BJP in real terms at the national level unless it takes the space Congress represents today. This Left-of-Centre ideological space is very large in a country where over 60% of the population earns less than Rs 100 a day ........ It is an unnecessary exercise to try and find a leader. Could any one of us have forecast in 1972 that JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) would unite the opposition and become its face? Or imagined in 1986 that V.P. Singh would be PM? Or Narendra Modi become the BJP mascot, in 2010? If you have the right issues, and build a narrative around them, a face will emerge ......... If the leader is constantly failing, isn’t it logical to step away and let somebody else do the job? And that somebody could be from the Congress.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Putin, A War Criminal, In Chechnya, In Georgia, In Crimea, In Syria, And Now Ukraine

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go

Go Putin Go