Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Geopolitics, China, and poisoned pet food.

In comment to Susan's thoughtful letter, a raw diet (www.brighteyespet.com ) is great for those who have the time and income to manage it. It really does result in a very healthy pet. For those without the resources to undertake such an effort, Innova (below) makes a good alternative. Often overlooked are acupuncture and chiropractic for pets. Both are very useful, especially for athletic and/or arthritic pets.

The pet food tragedy takes home the point that global trade requires careful management and stewardship. eColi in spinach, bird flu, mad cow, rabbits in Australia.. this is not a new story, but this time it results from a country that has been granted every license to bend the rules for nigh on 30 years. It is time to revisit this relationship, assess the consequences or benefits experienced thus far, and speculate on the future fall out should we carry on the current course of trade policy.

Today in China, a bright ray of hope emanated to the world press. From China, where a student was run over by the tank in Tienanmen Square, where riots are quelled with real bullets, where labor issues are resolved with torture, jail time, and executions, I was simply amazed to hear the news. It was like the Dr. Seuss book where the highways were built over the two immovable protagonists (reference please?). A lone woman has protected her home from demolition for two years now.. in China. Hard to believe. I bring this to the fore, as the rest of this article would seem a bit grim without the inspiration of what can be done in the face of terrible odds.

While this tragedy has happened to our best friends, our pets, people may also wish to concern themselves about our trade involvement with China in general. There is not much stopping this same effect from happening to our human friends. The fact that our government allows China to sell products into our country while China artificially lowers its currency versus our own, is killing us. To further discount their Costs of Good Sold into our own markets, China gets huge breaks compared to the USA and Europe with the poor labor, legal, banking, and environmental controls. The Feb 27th market plummet is directly related to the poor framework for investments and reporting in China. Adding fuel to the bonfire, our own CEO's have even been identified as lobbying against improving labor standards in China, which directly contradicts the spiel we were being given last year in executive management school about globalization improving the status of workers and societies. Yes, the source is a bit liberal for my liking, but this is not about left or right spins on rolling pork barrels, it is about national security and global economic stability in the context of a "free" world. In many ways, I am optimistic about the result of outsourcing with India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and perhaps even Vietnam. China is another animal altogether from many perspectives.

One quickly sees why we are able to buy are Chinese goodies from places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot so cheaply. After all, China is the same country which sent between 7 and 9 divisions of troops over the frozen Chosin, where my grandpa McCarthy, being there shot twice, with Marine Fox company held the pass for the Marines retreat to the sea . Thousands of Chinese men and boys were sent to their deaths. The much smaller Marine force took heavy casualties, but held the pass owing to two main factors.. pure guts, and the Chinese sent their own in under equipped. For the Chinese, attrition is a fact of life. A few years ago, China relocated up to 1 .9 million people from their homes and obliterated the 3 Gorges, the cradle of their 5000 year heritage along with 11100 unstudied archaeological sites, for a power dam.

Invading Tibet, they forced pacifist monks to shoot each other, razed over 1800 monasteries, and raped whoever they could get their hands on. Anytime you think the US has "moral issues", just spend 5 minutes with google and read about China. You will feel a lot better about our own "quality". The "Great Wall" was built on 100% slave labor, and is a monument to human suffering, though that point appears lost to most visitors. China could easily, if it suited their national interests, and they are truly totalitarian communists, put their entire nation back onto bicycles within two weeks at the point of a gun.

China has the world's largest standing military at 2,840,000 soldiers, double our own, the second largest, at 1,200,000. We tend to publicly downplay North Korea's power, China's erstwhile ally. Yet North Korea, maintains the 5th largest at 1,055,000 troops and our troops actively engage them from our forward base at the 38th. Simple math shows us that a simple agreement between these two politically aligned neighbors would create a military 3.24x our own. As if they are not already large enough, they are taking all the money from the stuff we buy at "Wal-Mart/Target" and upgrading their infrastructure and have increased spending and have in effect destabilized the Asia-Pacific region as a result. Furthermore, they do not have to put up with a congress that can rein in the executive branch, much less parents and veterans that can sue the pentagon or camp at the president's ranch with TV reporters.

In other words, China has free reign to do whatever they please ( Index of Economic Freedom assessment) compared to our own free society. Never mistake that the bright lights you seeon CNNi in Shanghai are a baroque potempkin village that we have fostered for the past 30 years, in hopes that capitalism would win over communist ideology. Instead, we have financed the communist reinforcement of thier military powerbase, created a veneer of Chinese capitalism that is bankrupting industries in the US and Europe, have handed over the Panama Canal (security is managed by ex-Chinese military employer Hutchinson Wampoa LTD (the firm which congress tried to implicate with the Clinton Chinese campaign funds scandal), our shipping, energy, and materials rates have skyrocketed, and we with the UK gave them Hong Kong, one of the world's largest economies, on a silver platter. We even built them a $4b new airport and highway bridge as a parting gift.

We (the US as well as the free world) will be paying the piper and soon, given that in 2001 the Euro cost us $.83, and now it is around $1.47 for 1 Euro. To date, the Euro has gained 92% since 2001. Why haven't we felt the sting in terms of inflation? China has kept its currency pegged lower artificially and unilaterally. Our government, the politicians, has been well aware of this fact for at least 4 to 5 years. "so long as China maintains controls on capital outflows, runs surpluses on both the overall current and capital accounts in its balance of payments, and accumulates international reserves in large amounts, there is a compelling case that the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), is significantly undervalued. Our preliminary estimates suggest that the undervaluation of the RMB is on the order of 15 to 25 percent...." China's Exchange Rate Regime Testimony before the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology Committee on Financial Services US House of Representatives Washington, DC October 1, 2003

We allow this to persist because according to the International Herald Tribune, "The slip in inflationary concerns can be traced, in part, to China, according to some analysts. A few months ago, investors were worried that a surge in commodity prices, reflecting demand from China's booming economy, would stoke inflation. Now the recent plunge in the prices of industrial commodities and China's ability to make low-cost goods that Americans like is seen as downward pressure on prices. " China has the bull by the horns and by the tail, and we are just waiting for the coup de grace.

China, as of 2002, became the second largest bond holder of US treasury Bonds. While contemporary thought comforts itself with the idea that China would never do anything to put its own investment at risk, that amount in 2002 was 1/4 of China's foreign exchange reserve. alone would wreck the US, and take Europe down with us shortly thereafter. Enter China to rebuild the world economy with its own version of the Marshall plan. Well if you want an example of how they rebuild economies, read up on how they "integrated" their brother Tibet in the 1950 and 1960's.

So, it is sad our fine and loyal friends had to be the first ones to catch the fallout of this imbalance of trade policy enforcement, but I am sure it is only the first round of events.

...back to the topic..
Meanwhile, a good alternative if you cant afford the raw diet, which is a great way to go otherwise, is Innova Evo. Nothing but good meat in it, and some good veggies. Costs about the same as Eukanuba but is a whole lot better for them.

Moisture 10.0 %
Protein 42.0 %
Fat 22.0 %
Fiber 2.5 %
Calories 1929 Kcal/lb
Calories 4243 Kcal/Kg
Calories 537 KCals/Cup
Turkey Meal
Chicken Meal
Herring Meal
Chicken Fat
Natural Flavors
Cottage Cheese
Alfalfa Sprouts
Dried Chicory Root
Rosemary Extract
Viable Naturally Occurring Microorgani sms

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