- Debt Crisis in The Third World (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Notes On Deleveraging (krugman.blogs.nytimes.com)
- The U.S. Debt Limit (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Macroeconomic Stabilization Policy: Should Have Listened To The DFHs Edition (delong.typepad.com)
- Campaigns in Maya (behind2ndlook.wordpress.com)
- Does India’s budget tablet computer work? (bbc.co.uk)
- Sadanand Dhume: India’s Phony Tea Party (online.wsj.com)
- $38 Aakash Android tablet launches in India (venturebeat.com)
- Sadanand Dhume: India Needs a Tea Party (online.wsj.com)
Old boys club
Not quite. If not harmful, they are atleast pretty powerful.
In 1952, Eisenhower and Richard Nixon became the first CFR members to be elected President and Vice President of the USA.
Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate beaten by Eisenhower and Nixon, was also a CFR member.
‘The Council was starting to dominate American politics at the highest levels,’ write Burnett and Games.
‘The pattern would be repeated four years later, with Stevenson again losing out to Eisenhower and Nixon.
‘Although Nixon was to narrowly lose the next election in 1960 against John F Kennedy, the charismatic Bostonian was another member of the CFR.
‘Nixon would return in 1968 to defeat fellow CFR member Hubert Humphrey, and win again in 1972 against George McGovern.
‘Although not a CFR member in 1972, McGovern saw the light and joined afterwards.’ (via Southern Times – Why Africa needs secret societies).
Red herrings – the challenge ahead
English language media at least, is dominated by a few news agencies like Reuters, Bloomberg, API, and AFP. These agencies in turn are fed by various think tanks and reserch organizations, which then dominate global debate. In the last few years, top 10 websites control 75% of the web traffic. Hollywood dominates the big screen.
For instance the highly flawed model of Transparency International promotes a narrative of corrupt Africa and Asia. To dominate the debate, censorship is not the only solution. It is not even a preferred solution.
More noise is equally effective.
Capture and exploit
After this kind of media capture, the West drives the narrative. And exploits this narrative. To get over the ‘problem’ of economic stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.
- Population Explosion
- Global Warming and climate change
- Civil Wars in Africa
- Islamic Demonization and the spectre of `Islamic terrorism
- Financial meltdowns
These are major diplomatic offensives using media, academia, events and situations, to
- Maintain superior negotiating positions
- Define the agenda – which usually means non-substantive issues.
But for an India to match the trade and tariff barriers, propaganda and diplomatic offensives, calls for more resources.
The manner of funding Indian NGOs by external sources, especially the West, is not benign anymore. More than 33 lakh NGOs operate in India, with foreign funding that is estimated at US$4 billion. This figure is double the official Government figure that is based on declared receipts, which reports say, are under-declared.
In times to come
Is the West aiming to capture these Indian ‘think-tanks’? The promotion of Western Climate Change agenda by Amartya Sen, under the auspices of the Aspen Institute India is indication of times to come.
Mechanics of माया maya?
- Kissinger on India-China War of 1962 (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Was Nixon a Drug Warrior or a Reformer? (reason.com)
- Government complacent about level of UK corruption, claims campaign group (guardian.co.uk)
- Bad influences: JFK, Ike and Obama (salon.com)
- Libyan rebels “disappointed” by NATO airstrikes (salon.com)
- Will Jobs Numbers Sink Obama in 2012? (thedailybeast.com)
- Kissinger: China poses ‘big challenge’ for U.S. (cnn.com)
Tobacco – a colonial addiction
Six companies and sundry State monopolies drive global cigarette consumption. These six companies derive more than US$100 billion dollars in revenues, globally. For many years they were advertising industries largest customers.These six companies are headquartered at former European imperial powers (UK, France, Spain), USA and Japan.
In recent years, dozens of cigarette manufacturing companies have consolidated under four major private corporations: Altria/Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, and Imperial Tobacco. State monopolies are also major cigarette manufacturers. The largest state monopoly is China National Tobacco Corporation, with a global cigarette market share that exceeds that of any private company. Because the European Union intends to restrict further mergers and acquisitions that increase a tobacco company’s market-share dominance, industry consolidation trends may have peaked.
The tobacco industry includes some of the most powerful transnational corporate entities in the world. Tobacco conglomerates have diversified into many other industries, such as financial services, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, real estate, hotels, restaurants, communications, and apparel, among others. The tobacco industry is expected to continue increasing in size and power.
The global tobacco market, valued at $378 billion, grew by 4.6 percent in 2007. By the year 2012, the value of the global tobacco market is projected to increase another 23 percent, reaching $464.4 billion. If Big Tobacco were a country, it would have the 23rd-largest gross domestic product in the world, surpassing the GDP of countries like Norway and Saudi Arabia. (via Tobacco Atlas Online – Tobacco Companies.).
India’s small production base is a combination of two aspects. Indian social inertia against addictive substances and the Government on the other. Indian cigarette business, small as it is, was put in Indian hands during Indira Gandhi’s socialist days. BAT lost control of ITC, which was placed in the hands of professional Indian managers.
Chinese State Tobacco monopoly
Or Western powers pushing opium in China in the nineteenth century. After the opium experience of the Chinese, when Western trading houses, under State protection, using the garb of ‘free trade’, made China into the largest consumer of opium.
The Chinese Govt. has replaced opium with tobacco.
The second secret of the tobacco business is to be dominant in purchasing and cornering tobacco stock. For cornering tobacco stocks, Big Tobacco depends on Central Banks’ support – aka State support. For instance, ITC (and other major global tobacco purchasers) in India has a major presence in Guntur, where Indian tobacco trade is headquartered.
ITC’s over-sized chequebook buys it market dominance.
The Indian tobacco profile
India is the third largest producer of tobacco – after China and USA. India ranks 6th as a tobacco exporting nation, as most of tobacco in India is consumed by domestic consumers. Tobacco consumption in India follows traditional patterns, as a non-industrial product – spanning chewing tobacco, bidis (tobacco rolled in leaves), hookah, clay pipes and snuff. Indian traditional tobacco usage consumes between 75%-85% of total tobacco cultivation.
Indian tobacco consumption and control follows consumption patterns of psychotropic drugs. All the major drugs in the world came of India – opium is afeem, khus-khus पोस्त; cannabis is charas, ganja, marijuana, hashish. Heroin is a derivative of opium. Even, as Indians are significant (legal) producers, they are not high on consumption lists.
However, drugs never became a big problem in India. Unlike in China, or in Medieval Middle East (when drug crazed criminals called hashishis became assassins). All these drugs were introduced to the world by India – with records going back to 1000 BC. Similarly family and peer pressure plays an important role in controlling the less dangerous form of traditional tobacco usage in India. In modern times, Indian gold smuggling was funded by carriage and export of drugs.
Cigarette production consumes less than one-fourth of India’s tobacco production.
Until two years ago, non-filter cigarettes comprised 30% of the total cigarette consumption. But with an increase in excise duty on non-filter cigarettes from Rs 168 to Rs 819 per thousand from March 1, 2008, the demand for low-priced filter cigarettes has risen At present, the excise duty on a pack of 10 filter cigarettes is Rs 8.19, and VAT Rs 1.05. Thus, taxes total Rs 10 per pack. Illicit cigarettes are sold for less than this amount, leading the government to believe that either registered cigarette units are evading duty or foreign-made cigarettes are flooding the market from Myanmar and the UK The business of low-cost cigarettes is big in the country, especially in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. (via Article Window).
The expansion of manufacturing in cigarettes globally (see chart) is much like the housing scam in US and Europe. Banks made huge advances, created a bubble, and are now busy foreclosing these loans. The modern myth of Republic Democracy at work.
How maya works in real life.
- Australia takes on tobacco giants over packaging (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Big Tobacco’s Been Busy (fool.com)
- Philip Morris Int’l buys rights to nicotine system (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The unstoppable march of the tobacco giants (independent.co.uk)
- Tobacco giant BAT admits funding retailers’ campaign against ban on cigarette displays (guardian.co.uk)
- Yes, smoking kills – but not everyone wants to be saved | Tanya Gold (guardian.co.uk)
- FDA takes action against illegal marketing of tobacco products (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Why Gas Stations Love Cigarettes (MO, RAI, LO) (businessinsider.com)
- Smokers ignore health warnings, research shows (guardian.co.uk)
- World’s toughest antismoking laws set to pass in Australian parliament (telegraph.co.uk)
Global alarm about Pakistan, is triggered by a new and disruptive player, who has joined the power-grab game. Meet the mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine.
Test of Political leadership
What do you say about a leadership that has two of the world’s super-powers, USA and China, swearing friendship and loyalty – at least once, every week.
Must be a rich, hi-tech country.
No. We are not talking of Saudi Arabia or Japan.
How about describing a leadership that gets economic and military aid – on its own terms, after flouting every previous conditionality imposed on it by the aid-givers?
Is it some super-power? Or a very poor country.
Even Haiti, Cuba, Congo, Ethiopia have to live with very strict conditionalities, imposed on them.
In your words describe a country that shelters and protects half of the world’s most wanted fugitives?
A-ha! We are talking of tax-evaders.
Sorry. Switzerland, it ain’t.
This country has also become a de facto nuclear power – and liberally auctioned nuclear technology, to anyone willing to pay for it.
Israel is not who we are talking of.
One hint. They have been doing this for 60 years.
All this – and more
Has India hurt Pakistan
Bal Thackeray: Why should I bother? Let them go to hell. I don’t want to know.
Going for broke
- You: Pak fuelling anti-India terror: alleges India (nation.com.pk)
- Saudi Bid to Curb Iran Worries U.S. (online.wsj.com)
- Clinton Urges Pakistan to Act Decisively Against Militancy – Voice of America (news.google.com)
- China ‘asks USA to respect Pak sovereignty’ / China has “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China” (theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
- You: Pak-US relations at turning point: Clinton (nation.com.pk)
- ‘India must demonstrate that it is capable of making things difficult’ (wired.com)
- You: Improved US ties with Pak good for India: Napolitano (nation.com.pk)
- You: Pak, India talks from March 28: FO (nation.com.pk)
- Pakistan – Blackmail as State Policy (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Bad bargains with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan fostered 9/11 (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- U.S. cannot solve Pakistan’s problems, says Hillary (hindu.com)
- Saudi Bid for Anti-Iranian Alliance Worries U.S. (foxnews.com)
- Saudi Arabia Urged To Halt Beheadings After Spike In Executions: Amnesty International (huffingtonpost.com)
- Beheadings increase in Saudi Arabia (cbsnews.com)
- Pakistani diplomacy – a tour de force (quicktake.wordpress.com)