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Rage, Anxiety In The West: BRICS Must Be Doing Something Right

April 2, 2013 2 comments

If corruption is all about cornering wealth, power and resources, look at concentration of power.

Is the West assuming leadership of the global financial system, so that they can pervert the system like this?  |  Tom Toles, in washingtonpost.com on 18 Mar 2010

Is the West assuming leadership of the global financial system, so that they can pervert the system like this? | Tom Toles, in washingtonpost.com on 18 Mar 2010

The day-after BRICS announced their plan to start a BRICS Development Bank in New Delhi last year, reactions in Western media barely concealed anger at the BRICS proposal.

Sample this.

Outside endemic corruption, uncertain or wholly absent rule of law, and relatively low per capita income and life expectancy, there wouldn’t appear to be much that unites this disparate collection of nations. But there are at least two things that do – high growth and trade.

via Why a Brics-built bank to rival the IMF is doomed to fail – Telegraph.

See this statement in wider context.

Rule of Law

On the rule of law, I would agree.The is West is truly the land of law.

Between the US and EU, on a population base of little over 80 crores, the West has about 27 lakh (2.7 million) prisoners – EU (total pop. 50 cr.; prison pop. – 6.07 lakh) and the USA (total pop. 31 cr.; prison pop. 21 lakh). With 27 lakh prisoners, the West is a world leader in imprisonment. Coincidentally, the West labels itself as the Free World.

Graphic source and courtesy – economist.com.

Graphic source and courtesy – economist.com.

Exclude children, the old and women from the population ‘eligible’ for imprisonment, we are left with around 27 crore adult males. This would mean that one out of every hundred Western males is in prison.

Comparably, in India, with an overall population of 120 crores, the numbers in prison is around 3 lakhs. Of the nearly 30 crore males, India has just 3 lakhs in prison. Just one in thousand, adult Indian male is in prison.

To enforce the rule of law, the West has also become a Prisoner Planet. Is that what is missing in BRICS? Brazil and Russia have lower imprisonment rates, compared to the US – but it is still high compared to India.

No, thanks!

Corruption … or Collusion

On the matter of corruption, again he is  right.

After the rule of law, with strict rules about libel and slander, corruption cannot see the light of day. But if corruption is all about cornering wealth, power and resources, look at the

The West-dominated global financial system has pioneered a system that depends on mass-employment, low-entrepreneurial activity, excess production coupled with excess pollution and waste.  |  2003 Cartoon by David Baldinger

The West-dominated global financial system has pioneered a system that depends on mass-employment, low-entrepreneurial activity, excess production coupled with excess pollution and waste. | 2003 Cartoon by David Baldinger

Concentration Of Power

How does one measure concentration of power.

Today the most popular method is the Fortune /Forbes /Businessweek /FT 500 listing of Top corporates.

These listings demonstrate that half the world’s economic output is controlled by about 5000 companies run by about 25,000 individuals. Add another 25,000 politicians and bureaucrats. We have about 50,000 people controlling the lives of 800 billion people of the West – and influencing the lives of non-Western societies.

Between the mega-corporations and State, 60%-75% of the work force is employed or paid for being unemployed.

In some of the inefficient states like India, mega-corporations and the State employ less than 3 crore people – which is less than 5% of the Indian labour force.

Forget Western correspondents, there are quite a few NRI chelas for such Western journalists. Like Hong-Kong based, Venky ‘Chumboo’ Vembu. (Don’t know what Chumboo is? Never mind, Vembu knows what chumboo is).

To get an unprovoked reaction of rage and anger, BRICS must be doing something right.

More power to BRICS.


Land Of Fear, Home To The Cowering

April 1, 2013 10 comments

Can a judicial system work, if lawyers are afraid of criticizing the judges? What use is a lawyer who is afraid of a judge?.

Fear Stalks The Land  |  Emotional Flow Chart By Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com  -  5/18/2012 12:00:00 AM

Fear Stalks The Land | Emotional Flow Chart By Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com – 5/18/2012 12:00:00 AM

In the last 6 months, two readers of 2ndlook, from the US, on a visit to India, requested for a meeting with me.

Coming in from the cold

One was a young Indian software engineer, in his twenties, just starting off in his career – and confused. The second was a Brown American techpreneur, around fifty years of age.

The young person requested that no details of his visit and meeting should be written – because he was afraid. Afraid of being a 2ndlook reader. Since 2ndlook blogs are ‘anti-West’ this young man was afraid that he could be trouble in the US, for reading 2ndlook.

The Brown American techpreneur, when confronted on why there is constant dribble of drooling criticism on India replied, ‘I cannot criticize America. Let us face it, I am afraid.’

Both of them were discussing what should be done to ‘help’ India. To the first one, was a simple advice. If you are successful, India is successful.

To the Brown American was again simple advice – ‘Don’t worry about India. We will manage. Very well, without your help.’

Fear is the key

Now the common factor in both cases was the fear. Real palpable fear.

2ndlook having been criticized or being anti-Yummrika, I ignored both these incidents. Since, the role of the Big Brother State has been covered extensively in 2ndlook, these fears are not groundless.

Now read this.

Reacting to a speech by SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia,

“That speech … is unimaginably injudicious,” wrote a lawyer in an e-mail to AlterNet who did not want to be named because he appears in federal court.

via Is Scalia the most vile person in Washington? – Salon.com.

Can you imagine any Indian lawyer not wanting his name in the newspaper or appear on TV – while discussing or criticizing a judgement.

Can a judicial system work, if lawyers are afraid of criticizing the judges? What use is a lawyer who is afraid of a judge?

Lawyers are supposed to take on the judges, the prosecutor from the government and make points for his client – without fear or favor.

Something is indeed rotten in the State of …


Elections In Pakistan: What Can, What If, What’s Up?

March 31, 2013 2 comments

Pakistani media and polity seem to be addressing mostly urban issues. How will the rural voter respond?

Phuttt, phutt, phut ...! This is a make or break election for Pakistan. Probably the best organized  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 30, 2013; image source & courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Phuttt, phutt, phut …! This is a make or break election for Pakistan. Probably the best organized | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 30, 2013; image source & courtesy – tribune.com.pk

Pakistan attracts stereotypes to the mind like a swarm of flies.

Inviting Images

Among others, civil war, terrorism, bomb blasts, fundamentalist Islam are common stereotypes about Pakistan. Some of these stereotypes are valid – and some are downright irrelevant.

For instance, more people die in the US due to gun-related violence compared to Pakistan. For another, it is worthwhile to remember and understand that Pakistan has never (in its limited election history) elected a fundamentalist party.

The different sides of Pakistani Polity  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on August 25, 2008; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

The different sides of Pakistani Polity | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on August 25, 2008; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

This will be the first time in Pakistan’s troubled history that an election will pave the way for transfer of power – and not a coup or martial law. For the first time in nearly seventy years, Pakistan has evaded the ritualized murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army.

The short-shrift given by Pakistan’s power centres to orderly elections and transfer of power is not a stereotype.

This Sauce is Different

The three most significant differences in this election, compared to previous elections are in the manner that Pakistan’s polity has acted to protect the poll outcome. It seems unlikely that there will be any significant post-poll dissonance due to three measures.

Who will do the electioneering for PPP - with Bilawal out of the country?  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 28, 2013; image source & courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Who will do the electioneering for PPP – with Bilawal out of the country? | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 28, 2013; image source & courtesy – tribune.com.pk

It does seem like this will be an election that Pakistan will be proud of.

One – is the appointment of a non-competitive caretaker administration at national level – headed by retired Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, and at the provincial level in Punjab with the appointment of Najam Sethi.

Two – Voter lists have been rigorously updated. Some 3.5 crore voter records were found invalid and deleted – and some 3.9 crore new voters added.

Three – The centre of debate is Pakistan’s economy. Nawaz Sharif is talking of an economic explosion – unlike the nuclear explosion last time. PPP is depending on an income-support scheme for the poor that they have implemented. Imran Khan’s 6-promises are all about bringing peace back to the nation. It has been speculated that the Iran-Pakistan oil pipeline agreement signed by the ruling-PPParty, is to reassure restive voters that it has a solution for electricity shortages plaguing Pakistan.

Pakistani media and polity seem to be addressing mostly urban issues.  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on February 03, 2010; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Pakistani media and polity seem to be addressing mostly urban issues. | Cartoon by Zahoor on February 03, 2010; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Is Popularity Enough?

Imran Khan is by far ahead of all other leaders in Pakistan in terms of personal popularity. His first rally after elections were notified, attracted 1-lakh people – closer to 1.5-lakh people according to some other estimates.

Will Imran Khan’s popularity convert into votes?

In India, for decades, election rallies by Nehru-Gandhi family, starting with Indira Gandhi could attract voters for election rallies – but after 1989 elections has not been able to convert voter turnout into votes.

Is Imran facing a similar challenge? Equally, many popular leaders have converted their personal popularity to votes – especially in South India.

Look Who’s Talking

Radio Pakistan seems to be giving good coverage to Imran Khan going by these tweets.

Print media and Pakistan’s huge satire ‘industry’ however is quite dismissive of Imran Khan. Including the like of MajorlyProfound (now probably under the handle of majorlyp).

https://twitter.com/InvincibleHeart/status/317651280866721792

Many from the English-media are quite dismissive of Imran Khan

Apparently, Musharraf has lived up to his earlier threats. He has returned - to what? A nation that cannot imagine a role for him?  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on August 15, 2009; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Apparently, Musharraf has lived up to his earlier threats. He has returned – to what? A nation that cannot imagine a role for him? | Cartoon by Zahoor on August 15, 2009; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Gear Ratios In A Democracy

PPP may get more women’s votes due to BISP income support scheme. Imran Khan has connected to Pakistan’s youth. Nawaz Sharif is appealing the mature male voter who wants the Pakistan economy to do better. None of these constituencies form a majority.

Finally, the winner may be the party that can get its constituents to come and vote at the polling booth.

The Players

Ex-general Musharraf seems to be n0n-starter and non-entity in Pakistan.

Pakistanis sought to drive home the point that Indians held the former Army chief in greater esteem that his own fellow nationals.

The kind of media coverage his return got in India, and the frequency with which he appears on Indian television channels and gets invited to conclaves organised by the media across the border has raised eyebrows here often enough

via Proud of Kargil operation, says Musharraf – The Hindu.

Which political unit is connecting to this Pakistani?  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on March 03, 2006; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Which political unit is connecting to this Pakistani? | Cartoon by Zahoor on March 03, 2006; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Interestingly, Imran Khan’s campaign is well-funded according to some reports.

They were drawn from all over the country through a well-financed and heavily advertised campaign. But they were also drawn, they said, by a simple yet nebulous message. “We want change,”

via Pakistan: Ex-Cricket Star, Ex-President Kick Off Election Campaign | TIME.com.

Imran  Khan’s acceptance by Pashtuns, FATA, Pakhtunkhwa makes him a rare leader with acceptance across various segments.

There are concerns among some of Khan’s supporters about his attitude to the Pakistani Taliban – wanting to negotiate with them – and the decision to work with the Jamaat-e-Islami, a hard-line religious party. But the mere fact that he represents a political force that hasn’t been compromised by power works in his favor — as does Khan’s celebrity. “He won us the Cricket World Cup,” says Shah, “he built us a cancer hospital, and he’s really good looking.”

via Pakistan: Ex-Cricket Star, Ex-President Kick Off Election Campaign | TIME.com.

Will this man get taken in shiny projects?  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on November 22, 2005; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Will this man get taken in shiny projects? | Cartoon by Zahoor on November 22, 2005; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Numbers talk you know …

After 2ndlook called the 2009 Indian election correctly, among many other correct calls, encourages 2ndlook make an attempt at reading Pakistan’s election.

Sixty and seven months ago, when Musharraf was on rampage in Pakistan and Imran Khan was no one in Pakistan’s politics, 2ndlook examined the idea of Imran Khan’s rise in Pakistan.

  1. It is worthwhile to remember and understand that Pakistan has never (in its limited election history) elected a fundamentalist party – unlike say, Egypt.
  2. Since none of the three main players are making a fundamentalist Islamic pitch, this factor will affect no one – except some fringe parties.
  3. What if Imran-PTI consolidate the fringe-parties vote banks – and eat into PPP+PMLN? To me this model of voter behaviour, seems more likely than the static vote bank of PPP+PMLN theory.
  4. In this election, the main contenders, as per opinion polls in descending order are Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN (32%), Imran Khan’s PTI (18%) and Zardari’s PPP (14%).
  5. Not many have tried to make a model for opinion polls in Pakistan – which remain unreliable and have limited value. With this caveat made, raw data seems to suggest that PMLN-Nawaz Sharif are in a pole position for this election.
  6. Most of election analysis stops at Pakistan’s urban centres – while 60% of Pakistani voters are rural. Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore Metro Bus implementation in 11-months has made many political parties nervous. But will the rural Pakistani be impressed?
  7. Will PPP’s BISP attract more rural voters than Imran’s tsunami? Remember, how Chandrababu Naidu paid a price for ignoring the rural voter.
  8. After the fresh voter enrollment, nearly half of Pakistani voters now listed, have not voted before. Since most of these young voters are young, they are likely to be drawn towards Imran-PTI.
  9. Will the Lahore Metro make a difference to Nawaz Sharif? Outside Lahore? Seems unlikely.

Keeping the above factors in mind, what are the likely outcomes.

In the name of the poor and dispossessed ... |  Cartoon by Zahoor on September 02, 2008; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

In the name of the poor and dispossessed … | Cartoon by Zahoor on September 02, 2008; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Scenario-1

Imran-PTI emerge as the single-largest party, with a thin majority – or miss becoming the single largest party by a few seats. Imran dithers. Announces that he will sit in the opposition, as he does not have a clear mandate. PTI MPs defect or PTI splits. Most likely PPP wins over the defector faction. Makes a claim to form government. Zardari agrees. Protests engulf Pakistan.

Scenario-2

As per opinion polls, PMLN emerges as the single largest party. Wins over MPs from PTI-Imran and others. Forms government.

Scenario-3

Opposite of opinion polls, PPP emerges as the single largest party – riding on women’s vote. Wins over MPs from PTI-Imran, PMLN and others. Forms government.

Senario-4

One of the three main parties gets a parliamentary majority – and forms the government. Seems like the most unlikely scenario.

Seemingly, Imran is preparing for a narrow victory. Most importantly, is Imran preparing for a narrow loss?


Mother Teresa’s Legacy: Under a Cloud

January 31, 2013 5 comments

Why this strange acceptance towards Christian fraud and contempt towards ‘Hindu’ India?

Organized Religion, Organized Charity is Organized Fraud  |  Jeff Koterba Cartoon on August 30, 2010

Organized Religion, Organized Charity is Organized Fraud | Jeff Koterba Cartoon on August 30, 2010

Mother Teresa raised millions, if not billions in the name of Kolkatta’s poorest – and India’s poor.

From this exhibition of India’s poor and poverty, less than 7% of the total ‘take’ was spent on people in whose name this money was raised.

If any Muslim ‘missionary’ had done this, wonder what level of outrage this country would have felt.

But Indians have developed a strange acceptance towards this kind of Christian fraud and contempt towards ‘Hindu’ India.

Mother Teresa (Cartoon by John Spooner; Cartoon courtesy - http://www.chrysalis.com.au)

Mother Teresa (Cartoon by John Spooner; Cartoon courtesy – http://www.chrysalis.com.au)

For years now, there has been a malignant growth of Christian-Western NGO funding – known and documented for the last 8 years – at least.

Coming back to Mother Teresa.

Social workers all around the world have drawn inspiration from her work and commitment to her cause. Yet, today in her centennial year, her legacy has lost its shine and is in disrepair. Located in one of the lanes of Taltala, home to lower class workers in west Kolkata, it is calm and pious, a world away from the cacophony outside on the busy A.J.C. Bose road.

But the cacophony is threatening to spill inside the Missionaries. Followers and volunteers are questioning the quality of service given in the care centres. They feel the Missionaries’ care centres are allergic to using modern-day therapy and technology to care for the inhabitants. Often untrained volunteers are given tasks that would normally require one to be trained in medicine and therapy. Missionaries has always kept change at bay. But in a world where it is very difficult to hide behind secrecy, the number of disillusioned followers is increasing. Missionaries doesn’t keep a tab on the financial transactions that take place. No one other than the sisters knows where the money that is donated is spent. Donations continue to pour in but people are asking for transparency on how the money is used.

The discord is most pronounced in the first home that Mother Teresa set up in 1952 — Nirmal Hriday, the Home for Dying Destitutes. A former rest house for followers from the nearby temple of Goddess Kali, the Home is a perfect picture for the work that Missionaries is known for. Disabled, disfigured and homeless men and women, many of whom are living their last days, find shelter here. It presently has 99 inmates, served by six sisters and dozens of volunteers, mostly young foreigners. The poor are bathed, clothed and fed until they recover and leave, or die. “Over the years, 86,170 people have been admitted. Of which 34,815 died,” says Sister Glenda, the head of Nirmal Hriday. It was Mother’s favourite home.

It is the kind of work that inspired Hemley Gonzalez, who lived on the other side of the world in Miami, United States. A migrant from Cuba, Gonzalez had grown up in a poor neighbourhood and was inspired after reading a biography of Mother Teresa. Gonzales, who runs a real estate business in Miami, reached Kolkata in December 2008 and stayed for two months.

“I was shocked to see the negligence. Needles were washed in cold water and reused and expired medicines were given to the inmates. There were people who had chance to live if given proper care,” says Hemley. He narrates incidents of an untrained volunteer wrongly feeding a paralysed inmate, who choked to his death; and another where an infected toe of an inmate was cut without anesthesia. “I have decided to go back to Kolkata to start a charity that will be called ‘Responsible Charity.’ Each donation will be made public and professional medical help will be given,” says Hemley, who now runs a campaign on Facebook called ‘Stop Missionaries of Charity,’ and has over 2,000 members.

“We should remember that Mother Teresa was clear that Missionaries of Charity was not operating a hospital. The homes are to serve the poor and give them the basic needs,” says Sunita Kumar, wife of former India Davis Cup coach Naresh Kumar and one who has been working with Missionaries’ sisters for over four decades.

But this reasoning that has evoked harsh reactions. “What stops them from starting a hospital? Surely, money is not a problem,” asks Aroup Chatterjee, a London-based critic of Missionaries of Charity. Chatterjee wrote a controversial book Mother Teresa – The Final Verdict in 2002 and collaborated with British writer and well known Mother Teresa-critic Christopher Hitchens to produce a documentary called Hell’s Angel for Channel 4.
Apart from the hospital, volunteers also cite the need for a well-planned rehabilitation for the sick who go back to the streets once they recover. “Some were sent back to the streets of their own will, but some against it,” says a European volunteer who has been coming to Nirmal Hriday since 2006. She cites the example of an “old lady” suffering from diabetes and incapable of walking. “We were told she was sent to another centre outside Kolkata but just few days later someone saw her on the street close to our centre… We were worried but could not do much.”
Sister Glenda clarifies that professional help is never avoided. “Look at Buddhni Bakshi,” she says pointing to a bald teenage girl sleeping on a stretcher. “She was abandoned by her parents because the wound in her head used to stink badly. When she came here, we did tests at a local hospital that showed a tumour in her head. We spent Rs. 4 lakh for the surgery and now she is fine,” adds Sister Glenda. The initiative to get professional help, say former volunteers, is a change.
Gonzalez questions why money can’t be used to improve the service at the homes run by the sisters. “Even the inmates soiled and infected clothes are washed by hands. Why can’t they buy a washing machine?” he asks.
It has become a sensitive issue since 2005 when a British television crew filmed children at Daya Dan, a care centre, tied to their beds. Questions arouse about the “primitive practices and lack of using modern methods of teaching.” The incident forced Mother House to release a statement saying, “We value constructive criticism and admit that there is always room for improvement.” Volunteers, who come in dozens from countries like Spain and Italy, have separately narrated incidents about sisters resorting to “shaking violently” or “beating” to discipline the challenged children.
Recent developments though indicate a fresh thinking. “Hygiene has been an issue but has improved as sisters opened to better standard through volunteers from Western countries,” says Father Robin Gomes who has been working with the Missionaries of Charity for more than 20 years. At Daya Dan, which also runs a dispensary for the poor twice a week, sisters in apron and gloves (a change from earlier days) go about like trained nurses.
A bigger change at the centre is in the way the 60 mentally and physically challenged children are taken care of. “We now have speech therapists and physiotherapists coming in regularly who look after the children,” says Sister Karina, a Mexican nun who has been heading Daya Dan for one year. The therapists also help train sisters and volunteers and a few of them are sent to training institutes for week-long classes.
It is good news about some of the changes. Unfortunately, we are still in the dark when it comes to their financial records,” says Gonzalez. The donation issue first came up in the early 1990s when it was revealed that Charles Keating, an American banker known for the infamous “saving and loan scandal,” had donated up to $1.25 million to Missionaries of Charity. Amidst calls to return the money, Mother Teresa controversially chose to remain silent, an incident that is still sited by her critics who demand transparency.
In early 2000, Susan Shields, a former Missionaries sister who left the organisation “unhappy”, created a furore by saying she herself had “written receipts of $50,000” in donation but there was no sign of the “flood of money.” Forbes India talked to a volunteer in the Los Angeles office of Missionaries of Charity who admitted that “even when bread was over at the soup kitchens, none was bought unless donated.” A report in German magazine Stern, revealed that in 1991 only seven percent of the donation received at Missionaries of Charity was used for charity.
Former volunteers and people close to the Mother House revealed that the Vatican, home to the Pope, has control over the “monetary matters” ever since Missionaries of Charity came under its fold in 1965. The control got stronger after Mother Teresa died in 1997.  When asked about how much money the Charity gets annually, the then superior general Sister Nirmala in a rare media interview a few years ago remarked “Countless.” When asked how much it was, she answered, “God knows. He is our banker.” Forbes India’s request for details was turned down at the Mother House. Sister Mary Prema, the present superior general, did not agree to a meeting.

“To quote the Bible, she was “as cunning as a serpent and as innocent as a dove,’” says Father Gomes. “Like all organisations that were headed by famous people and suffer after they leave, Missionaries of Charity has a void. At the same time, the sisters at Missionaries of Charity continue the work that she had done. Every time you see the blue bordered sari, your remember Mother Teresa,” he adds.The association has worked well for Missionaries of Charity. The number of homes and sisters, despite a drop in those coming from India, has increased since 1997. Realising the importance early, the late Pope John Paul VI made sure that a council of sisters was formed before Mother Teresa died. That council, consisting of senior sisters, now runs the organisation and also recommends amongst itself the next head. This is then cleared by the Vatican. In its last meeting in March 2009, the council elected Sister Mary Prema as the new superior general of Missionaries of Charity. A German native, Sister Prema has been seldom seen publicly and few know her outside the Mother House. This, say observers, while keeping intact Mother Teresa as the face of the organisation even after her death, has also led to the disconnect with the local people. One indicator of this disconnect might be the almost complete absence of Indians among the volunteers.After her beatification, after which she is officially called Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the process is on now in the Vatican to bestow Mother Teresa with sainthood. In a 1989 interview with Time magazine, when asked about the future of the Order, Mother Teresa had replied that it was Jesus’ concern.Now would be the right time for God to take a closer look.

via Forbes India Magazine – Mother Teresa’s Legacy is Under a Cloud.


The Corruption Dilema: Fall Of Activist Politicians

January 26, 2013 2 comments

Artificial conflict between ‘corruption-performance’ vs ‘clean-ineffective’ has riven Indian polity.

The problem with conflict of interest  |  Creative credits embedded

The problem with conflict of interest | Creative credits embedded

In the quest for ‘progress’ and development, Indians have come to expect greater speed and ‘efficiency. Any delay in ‘obvious’ cases of decision-making are see as signs of Indian ‘inefficiency.

Ignoring Appearances – Conflict of Interest

To overcome this tag of ‘inefficiency’ some Indian politicians have fallen into the track of ‘activist’ development. In such a framework, getting things done becomes genuinely more important than who does the job – or who benefits. Conflict of interest is seen as an artificial restraint – sophistry at best and lame excuses usually.

Falling On A Sword

One of the earliest such political leader in India was Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon. Chief Minster from 1956-1964, of the united Punjab, before the split into Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Kairon was a whirlwind whose governance motto was performance.

For instance, Pratap Singh Kairon, actively worked to introduce lichees in Pathankot, potatoes in Spiti and personally directed the development of a seed-less variety of table grapes, that was fungus resistant. This ‘brave’ tale of Pratap Singh Kairon, much written about, was narrated to me by an agri-business technologist, in Hyderabad.

Or behind the funding of Chetan Anand’s Haqeeqat – the Bollywood tribute to Indian soldiers of 1962 war by China on India. To a nation traumatized by the 1962 experience, the Government turned to Bollywood for a healing narrative.

Prior to Haqeeqat, war films were unknown to viewers in the country. The morale of India was shattered after the hard-hitting defeat in the 1962 war with China.

Anand was passing through a very lean phase of his career in the 1960s, with almost no work. It was at this crucial juncture that Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon offered him finance and support to make a docu-fiction on defeated soldiers, with the 1962 Sino-Indo war as the backdrop. Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister, also promised help as he was keen that the betrayal of India’s respected neighbour be projected on celluloid.

Chetan Anand started working on Haqeeqat in an unconventional way.

via Celluloid war chimeras.

Corruption allegations is one good way to paralyze a government  |  Cartoon by TN Ninan

Corruption allegations is one good way to paralyze a government | Cartoon by TN Ninan

And those who wish to appear clean – are then portrayed as ineffective. This artificial conflict between ‘corruption-performance’ versus ‘clean-ineffective’ has riven Indian Indian polity for no real reason.

Except false moral standards.


Insider Trading: Why is the US-SEC going after Immi-grunts

January 10, 2013 1 comment

US-SEC seems to be particularly effective in convicting immi-grunts on insider trading charges – including some Indian-American immi-grunts.

Insider trading is such a vague concept that the SEC cannot win |  December 2011 Cartoon by Ed Stein; source & courtesy - usagold.com

Insider trading is such a vague concept that the SEC cannot win | December 2011 Cartoon by Ed Stein; source & courtesy – usagold.com

E

ffectively Rajat Gupta and Rajarathnam are the only people who have been convicted by US courts – based on the prosecution launched by Preet Bharara.

Travails With Yummrika

Rajat Gupta is an Indian – and Rajarathnam is a Indian by proxy. There is the less known case of  Ramesh Chakrapani, who was arrested, his career ruined – and let off with no sentence, and a sword hanging of a possible future prosecution over his head.

The case against Rajat Gupta was especially flimsy.

Vain Gains

If we go by value of ill-gotten gains, the cases against Ivan Boesky and Michael Milliken were far more grave. After benefiting to the tune of hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains, Boesky and Milliken got away with minor jail terms.

The other element on which we can judge the seriousness of the insider-trading is to see it by the criticality of information. People like David Loeb, from the same Goldman Sachs or David Skol, from Warren Buffett‘s stable. Or see the case of Brothers Wyly (Samuel and Charles Wyly). The SEC quietly dropped charges against 3-company investment consortium (of Coudree Capital Gestion SA, Chartwell Asset Management Services, Compania Internacional Financiera SA) in the Lonza-Arch case.

SEC’s Gyrations

These and many more cases show a SEC that is blatantly blind, random and ineffective in its persecution – except when it comes to Indians, and other immi-grunts.

The latest is the case where the beneficiary and instructor, hedge fund manager Steven Cohen is not being prosecuted, but his employee Mathew Martoma, 38, is being prosecuted for probably following his employer’s diktats and directions.

US law-makers enjoy legal immunity; leading to rampant insider trading  |  Insider Traders in Congress-By RJ Matson, Roll Call; 16 November, 2011

US law-makers enjoy legal immunity; leading to rampant insider trading | Insider Traders in Congress-By RJ Matson, Roll Call; 16 November, 2011

StonePelters United

From Yummrika did the usual running down of India and Indians.

No debate, analysis on the case or the rising tide of disproportionate convictions and sentencing against Bharatiya-Americans?

Not a whit!

David Sokol’s escape from an insider-trading probe further fogs an already hazy law. Warren Buffett’s fallen heir-apparent was a prime investigation target for buying $10 million of Lubrizol shares shortly before Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company for $9 billion.

Yet, Sokol’s lawyer says the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dropped the matter. Even with a broad insider-trading crackdown since the affair was disclosed almost two years ago, the crime’s contours remain elusive.

It’s illegal to trade on material, non-public information in breach of some duty. At least based on what was disclosed publicly, that would seem to be exactly what Sokol did. He bought Lubrizol stock a day after bankers pitched the company as a possible Berkshire takeover target. He sold those shares and then bought more after he was informed by bankers that Lubrizol’s chief executive would raise Buffett’s interest at a meeting of the lubricant maker’s board.

Sokol’s inside information may not, however, have been material. He couldn’t be sure Berkshire would offer to acquire the company when he purchased the shares. It’s also unclear whether he necessarily breached a legal duty of trust.

These weaknesses could be what persuaded the SEC to drop the case, though it’s hard to know for sure. The agency isn’t saying. What is clear is that the evidence wasn’t as strong as in, say, the prosecution of Rajat Gupta, the former McKinsey boss and Goldman Sachs director. Sokol’s situation did, however, come off as similar to another insider-trading case the SEC has opted to pursue, against billionaire brothers Samuel and Charles Wyly.

On balance, the regulator may have saved some face by not pursuing Sokol if it wasn’t sure it could win. After embarrassing losses like last year’s acquittal of Citigroup employee Brian Stoker on securities fraud charges, the watchdog is probably wary of being too aggressive.

Despite scores of recent insider-trading convictions, many since the Lubrizol trades came to light, it’s still unclear what is and isn’t allowed. The bitter taste that lingers from the Sokol affair is that insider trading isn’t always what it seems.

via Sokol haze.


The Maya Machine Never Sleeps

November 17, 2012 3 comments

Along with cricket, a lot of global politics is also being played. Neo-colonialism or India’s anti-apartheid movement, it is all out there in the cricket-field.

Bishen Singh Bedi - one of the four spinners, a combination never equalled.

Bishen Singh Bedi – one of the four spinners, a combination never equalled.

Lambs to Slaughter

India Y2K generation, that started shaving after 2000 AD, many a time, are like innocent lambs to slaughter.

At the altar of propaganda – the modern day version of maya.

Make no mistake. Many from the older Bombay High generation (anyone who started shaving after 1975), are equally susceptible to this maya.

Will England Win Anything? Ever? Again?

Now that the British cricket-team is visiting India, there are a number of articles on British experiences of India. Do I need to confirm that all the encounters narrated are negative? How many times do British newspapers invite Indian writers to describe the problems of Indian players visiting Britain.

For instance, the racism at Heathrow – and at hotels, clubs, grounds. Remember how in the 70s, Indian brides joining their husbands in UK, were subjected to ‘virginity’ tests, on arrival at Heathrow.

Such Lack Of Grace

Or cut to India’s tour to England of 1974.

After losing two consecutive series (India won 1970-71, 3 test-series 1-0 in Britain; India won 5-test series of 1972-73 in India, 2-1), Britain started their 1974 campaign by ‘fixing the rules.

To avoid a third series loss in the 1974 series against India, ECB imposed an agreement to restrict leg-side fielders to a maximum of five. This meant the Indian team went into the 1974 series without being allowed to use their fielders in close catching positions. BCCI of the 1970s, agreed to these unfavorable terms.

Without access to TV rights, BCCI of the 1970s was dependent on earnings of the Indian cricket team, from tours to rich countries like Britain, Australia, New Zealand. After the rules were ‘fixed’, India had little chance in the 1974 series.

That little chance was India’s famed hunters – spinners. The hunter-pack of spinners worked in tandem with close-in fielders.

India’s superb close-in catching cordon which gave a cutting edge to its spin attack. Led by Eknath Solkar, this group of catching specialists including Ajit Wadekar, Abid Ali, wicket keeper Farokh Engineer and Venkat himself, surrounded the batsmen like a steel trap. One false move and the trap snapped shut, claiming another victim.

via Indian Cricket Fever – Hall of Fame – The Spin Quartet.

Pataudi, who had innovated the ‘hunter-pack’ strategy of spinners in tandem with close-in fielders, opted out of the 1974 tour after coming to know of this stipulation. Wadekar retired after the disastrous 1974 tour.

Consider this fact: the Indian Spin Quartet of Bishan Singh Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna, and Srinivas Venkataraghvan captured 853 Test wickets in the decade and a bit that they played together, from the mid 1960s to the late 1970s. This compares with the 835 Test wickets that the West Indian Pace Quartet of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft took in the decade and a bit that they played together from the early 1970s to the mid 1980s. In other words the Spin Quartet was every bit as lethal, in terms of danger to batsmen’s wickets, if not to limbs, as the Pace Quartet.

via Indian Cricket Fever – Hall of Fame – The Spin Quartet.

Of course, English pitches of 1974 and later were ‘sporting’. They offered assistance to English fast bowlers. Indian pitches that assist Indian spinners are crumbling ‘dust bowls’, which are dead and deteriorating.

You must also rewmember, if English and Australians struggle in India, it is because Indians create conditions favorable to Indian teams. If Indians struggle in Australia and England, Indians are a weak side – and only tigers at home.

Coming back to the 1974 tour – After all the bizarre rules, came the psychological games.

British police and judiciary pushed a case of billing error into a case of shop-lifting on an Indian player, Sudhir Naik – for a few pairs of socks. After the Sudhir Naik persecution, the devastated Indian team had little chance.

In one innings, India managed to score 42 all out – the all time lowest by any major test team.

Bishen Bedi - and Inset Image - John Lever with his famous Vaseline strip.  |  Image source & courtesy - intoday.in

Bishen Bedi – and Inset Image – John Lever with his famous Vaseline strip. | Image source & courtesy – intoday.in

The Saga Continues

Soon after the British debacle, later in 1974, for the West Indies tour to India, Pataudi was recalled. Pataudi used the same tactics (spinners + close-in fielders) as a captain against the famed West Indies – taking the series to the decider fifth match.

Soon after, in 1976, came the Vaseline incident where Bishan Bedi spoke out on the ball-tampering by the English team. Tony Grieg was supported by the ECB as an inadvertent mistake – and let off. BCCI in no position to push ECB or ICC, had to penalize Bedi.

Mike Atherton, in his book confirmed how England defeated Australia using a common trick in county cricket – using mint-lozenges. Of course, no one was penalized or brought to book. Dravid, after a stint in the county-circuit, was caught using this trick, brazenly.

Similarly, to counter the West Indian pace-quartets, the ICC turned its attention to bouncers – to curb the West Indies.

The Bouncer Rule (1991) – Somewhere along the way – between Paul Terry’s broken arm and Mike Gatting’s pulped nose – the West Indies pace quartet of the 1980s picked up a reputation for intimidatory bowling. Other teams, when they weren’t complaining about the blows inflicted on their bodies and psyche, started to point at West Indies’ over-rate, which sometimes crawled along at just 70 a day.

Something had to give, and when it did it tilted the balance completely the other way. In 1991, the ICC introduced the “one bouncer per batsman per over” rule in an attempt to end the intimidation, and buck up the over-rates. Flat-track bullies rejoiced but fast bowlers, already condemned to bowling on shirtfronts in most parts of the world, weren’t amused, and vociferous protests saw the law amended in 1994 to incorporate two bouncers per over. One-day cricket took much longer to listen to the bowlers’ pleas, and it was only in 2001 that once bouncer per over was allowed.

MAK Pataudi

MAK Pataudi

Mind you, ICC was totally indifferent after the West Indian pace-bowlers injured five Indian bowlers at the Sabina Park, 1976 Test. India, batting first, crossed 200-1 and seemed likely to run away with the series.

And we have Indian newspapers talking of how ‘sporting’ Britishers had to ‘tolerate’ Indian conditions – in the ’cause’ of cricket.

World Cup 1987 had me watching the semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium, where Graham Gooch literally swept England to victory over India; then, in my room in the Taj Hotel, with the enchanting Gateway to India visible outside (innocent vision against the later horror of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack), I watched Australia win the other semi. Now I had to book a flight to Calcutta for the final.

The airline official looked across his desk at me and offered a 5.30 morning flight. I protested. He stared at me. “Don’t you wish to go?” I hadn’t noticed the twinkle in his eye. “Oh, all right then, I’ll try to get to the airport in time,” I replied lamely. Then he reached into a drawer. “I do have this other flight, if you prefer. It leaves at 9.30.” Much relieved, I forgave him the tease and grabbed at the offer.

There was a further problem when I tried cashing a traveller’s cheque. My bank apparently traded in South Africa, which was still the forbidden land. More panic, more sweating. Fortunately this snag was overcome with a backstreet currency trader. I was on my way.

And I wish I was on my way now to Ahmedabad to enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of an Indian Test match. However, here in England I have a cosy armchair and a television set cued to the cricket channel . . . and I have my memories.

via Passage to India – Analysis – DNA.

Cricket apart, this jaundiced piece of journalism reveals the double-standards of the West when it came to apartheid in South Africa. It took relentless boycott, led by India, of Western trade and businesses that had to abandon South Africa, which forced the South African regime to finally allow Black-majority rule in South Africa.

People forget that today.


Kejriwal Misrepresents

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Kejriwal’s press conference is a defeatist approach to a global problem. Factually and conceptually wrong, Kejriwal has an ’empty’ agenda.

While Robert Vadra calls India a ‘banana republic’, Kejriwal is trying his best to prove Robert Vadra’s description becomes reality. Kejriwal has just finished a press conference where he has made some serious allegations of black-money abroad.

For now, no transcript is available or any links. Below is my summary of the points that Kejriwal makes.

  1. Yumm-Rika is right. Indian Government is incompetent.
    • If this right, what is the status on the US$10 trillion DoD scam. This amounts to about 80% of US GDP – by one department in a short period of time. As Kejriwal should know, the DoD-GOTUS has not obtained a clean audit report for decades now.
    • Moral of the Story: – Corruption is a global story – and more taxes, more laws, more police, will not solve this. Less power to the State is a good starting point.
  2. UBS came running and gave details to Yumm-Rika.
    • Blatantly untrue.
    • The GOTUS had to institute legal proceedings, diplomatically push the Swiss Govt. – and obtained this info. after considerable effort.
    • Read this anti-Swiss actions by the GOTUS alongwith the passing of the NDAA Acts. This probably points towards closing all doors and windows for US citizens, before some kind of gold-confiscation by GOTUS is done. Obama has won his second-term – and will probably do this in the next 12-36 months.
    • Moral of the Story: – This is maya. Look at things a little deeper.
  3. Hawalatransactions.
    • For money to be given in India does not need hawala. There are perfectly legal methods to do this.
    • Moral Of The Story: – Check with IT, Finance Ministry and banks how this can be done. Talk to the guilty party also.
  4. At the beginning of the press conference he makes a defeatist statement that we will never get our money back. But just before Prashant Bhushan starts off, Kejriwal asserts that this money comes back as FII /FDI investment.
    • Silly Indians keep money in Swiss accounts these days. India is the best place to keep your money these days – black, white, accounted, unaccounted.
    • Moral of The Story: – Three important points. Data. Data. Data.
  5. Rs.6000-Rs.7000 crores abroad. And not 25,00,00,000 crores as per CBI estimates.
    • The amount of money that Indians supposedly have in foreign banks exceeds our GDP. Any economic calculation will tell you that this is not feasible.
    • Moral of The Story: – Data. Data. Data.
  6. Why were the small guys targeted.
    • Yes. The small guys are always the first to be hit. And this is the reality of Desert Bloc polity. This is the only sensible point that Kejriwal makes.

Answer and solution – Bharattantra.

Population Control in China: Govt. Think-tank Calls For Immediate End To One-child Policy

November 3, 2012 1 comment

For four years now, various Chinese groups and publications, have proposed abolition of China’s one-child policy. For the Chinese State, population control cannot be a subordinate policy.

 

A caricature of China's one-child policy. Creative credits not available.

A caricature of China’s one-child policy. Creative credits not available.

While the Indian Government by blaming Indian society or female feticide, think-tanks backed by Chinese Government have clearly and squarely blamed the faulty intervention of the State into family lives.

This population planning policies were implemented in India and China under pressure of World Bank, IMF, USAID etc. Western aid was clearly and explicitly tied to family planning targets.

The real impact of birth control. Image source & courtesy - global-sisterhood-network.org

The real impact of birth control. Image source & courtesy – global-sisterhood-network.org

Though the government credits the policy with preventing hundreds of millions of births and helping lift countless families out of poverty, it is reviled by many ordinary people. The strict limits have led to forced abortions and sterilizations, even though such measures are illegal. Couples who flout the rules face hefty fines, seizure of their property and loss of their jobs.

Many demographers argue that the policy has worsened the country’s aging crisis by limiting the size of the young labor pool that must support the large baby boom generation as it retires. They say it has contributed to the imbalanced sex ratio by encouraging families to abort baby girls, preferring to try for a male heir.

The government recognizes those problems and has tried to address them by boosting social services for the elderly. It has also banned sex-selective abortion and rewarded rural families whose only child is a girl.

Many today also see the birth limits as outdated, a relic of the era when housing, jobs and food were provided by the state.

via Chinese think tank urges end to one-child policy.

Graphic source & courtesy - wsj.com

Graphic source & courtesy – wsj.com

Chairman Mao in China and Sanjay Gandhi in India were some of the people who were convinced on the ‘merits’ of this State intervention in family life.

A Chinese government think tank is urging the country’s leaders to start phasing out its one-child policy immediately and allow two children for every family by 2015, a daring proposal to do away with the unpopular policy.

Some demographers see the timeline put forward by the China Development Research Foundation as a bold move by the body, which is close to the central leadership. Others warn that the gradual approach, if implemented, would still be insufficient to help correct the problems that China’s strict birth limits have created.

Xinhua news agency said the foundation recommended a two-child policy in some provinces from this year and a nationwide two-child policy by 2015. It proposes all birth limits be dropped by 2020, Xinhua reported.

“China has paid a huge political and social cost for the policy, as it has resulted in social conflict, high administrative costs and led indirectly to a long-term gender imbalance at birth,” Xinhua said, citing the report.

However, it remains unclear whether Chinese leaders are ready to take up the recommendations. China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission had no immediate comment.

Known to many as the “one-child policy,” China’s actual rules are more complicated. The government limits most urban couples to one child and allows two children for rural families if their first-born is a girl. There are numerous other exceptions as well.

via Chinese government think tank calls for immediate end to one-child policy – Taipei Times.

China's population is reducing with lesser births than deaths. This trend will soon mean that fewer workers will pay more taxes and take care of more elderly than ever before.  GDP on horizontal scale and fertility on vertical axis. Graphic credits not available.

China’s population is reducing with lesser births than deaths. This trend will soon mean that fewer workers will pay more taxes and take care of more elderly than ever before. GDP on horizontal scale and fertility on vertical axis. Graphic credits not available.

More recently the Chinese Government has linked climate change with population control – which further led to development of the Carnegie Institute to label Genghis Khan’s massacres as acts of benevolence.

According to Zhao Baige, vice-minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China (NPFPC), as a result of the family planning policy, China has seen 400 million fewer births, which has resulted in 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions a year, Zhao said.

The UN report projected that if the global population would remain 8 billion by the year 2050 instead of a little more than 9 billion according to medium-growth scenario, “it might result in 1 billion to 2 billion fewer tons of carbon emissions”.

Meanwhile, she said studies have also shown that family planning programs are more efficient in helping cut emissions, citing research by Thomas Wire of London School of Economics that states: “Each $7 spent on basic family planning would reduce CO2 emissions by more than one ton” whereas it would cost $13 for reduced deforestation, $24 to use wind technology, $51 for solar power, $93 for introducing hybrid cars and $131 electric vehicles.

She admitted that China’s population program is not without consequences, as the country is entering the aging society fast and facing the problem of gender imbalance.

She said some 85 percent of the Chinese women in reproductive age use contraceptives, the highest rate in the world. This has been achieved largely through education and improvement of people’s lives, she said.

via Population control called key to deal.

If the planet is your concern, abortion comes later. Before that you are a part of the excess population. Kill yourself.

If the planet is your concern, abortion comes later. Before that you are a part of the excess population. Kill yourself.

Much before China’s draconian one-child policy, there is a long history of population control.

Tyrene White in her book China’s Longest Campaign: Birth Planning in the People’s Republic, 1949-2005

draws on a wealth of diverse data from the political literature relating to internal reforms (principally rural economic reforms), and to the mass campaigns from the beginning of the 1950s to the end of the 1990s. She brings together numerous local regulations, official circulars, and articles drawn from the Chinese press as well as from journals specialising in questions relating to family planning. Moreover, field notes and observation, and interviews with political leaders, local cadres, and individual citizens provide a finely shaded picture of the application of birth control. Drawing on extracts from interviews and specific cases recounted throughout the book, White draws a picture of the tensions and contradictions of the campaigns launched in the country and the city to restrict the number of births.

Rich studies and analyses of mass sterilisation campaigns are then presented (Chapter 6). The human cost of forced sterilisation and abortion is revealed in detail: White’s argumentation is full of statistics covering the whole country, enriched by interviews carried out mainly in the provinces of Anhui and Hebei. She also shows how implementation of birth control has been limited when provoking serious rebellion in the population. Chapter 7, entitled “Strategies of Resistance,” observes and classifies the various attitudes of the population towards birth control: evasion, collusion, cover-up, confrontation, and accommodation. These forms of resistance show clearly the interaction between the population and local cadres: mediation between society and the state, where each individual chooses his means of survival, resorting to corruption, temporary exile, non–registration, or direct confrontation with the authorities. The author emphasises the importance of a vital instrument: regular massive propaganda campaigns, without which no population control would have been possible. Yet the tragic repercussions of these campaigns are numerous: problems of infanticide, abandonment, and adoption are mentioned, (3) as well as the alarming imbalance in the sex ratio (Chapter 8). White reminds us of the dilemma of abortion practices, in which selective abortion plays a large part. Moreover, the large numbers of unregistered births has increased the ranks of a floating population that more or less evades all forms of control and causes the government anxiety over the future of the country.

via Tyrene White, China’s Longest Campaign: Birth Planning in the People’s Republic, 1949-2005.

If people are your problem, start by killing yourself.

If people are your problem, start by killing yourself.

Before closing this topic, it is a good idea to look at the background.

The report by the China Development Research Foundation comes amid mounting speculation that Beijing may be preparing to introduce reforms to the 32-year-old policy after annual population growth fell to 0.57 per cent from 2000 to 2010, down from 1.07 per cent in the previous decade.

China’s population – the world’s largest at more than 1.3 billion – is heading for negative growth and an ultra-low fertility rate, it said, citing a string of problems caused by a policy intended to end a population explosion that threatened China’s ability to feed its people.

Although Beijing has faced calls for the controversial policy to be relaxed or abandoned, this report received unusual publicity in a sign that it may be more influential.

Many scholars, however, do not expect a swift change to the policy and cite recent instances – such as in the southern city of Shenzhen – where rules have even been tightened.

Family planning officials defend the policy, saying that it has prevented 400 million births and lifted even larger numbers out of poverty in the past three decades.

Some demographers, however, say the time is ripe for change. When the Communist Party implemented the family-planning rules in 1980, it said that in 30 years the problem of rapid population growth would be solved and the road cleared for a different policy.

The leadership has so far expressed a desire to maintain the status quo. Officials have said that no changes are expected until at least 2015.

via One-child policy to hamper economic growth, Chinese think-tank reports | The Australian.

Birth Rates in India and US Remain High; View from 2005.  - Graphic source & credit - WSJ.com

Birth Rates in India and US Remain High; View from 2005. – Graphic source & credit – WSJ.com

The effect of population control is within sight – on the horizon.

China had a fertility rate of 6.2 in the first half of the 1950s; the report puts the current figure at 1.6, down from 1.7 last year. By 2040, China will have a higher percentage of people over 60 years old than the U.S., researchers predict.

“Mainland China has the distinction of being the first major economy to grow old before they grow rich,” said Richard Jackson, director of the Global Aging Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

The population of India is expected to surpass that of China by 2050, according to the report.

By comparison with China, India’s slower pace of development and decline in fertility may help it avoid the potential dilemma wrought by China’s industrial revolution, rapid economic growth and efforts to lower its population, Mr. Jackson says.

“India will have a more gradual and stabilizing transition,” he says.

via U.S. Birth Rates Remain High – WSJ.com.

Buffered by strong growth and comfortable financial situation, China’s problems seem academic to many Chinese for now. What is it to live in an aging society?

Ask the Japanese.


Court Rubber Stamps Use of NDAA

October 3, 2012 1 comment

YummRikan media blackout as judges OK implementation of NDAA. Indefinite detention without evidence, charges, or cause.

Carton by Tim Kelly

Carton by Tim Kelly

Five weeks ago it was made public how a pillar of American journalism, New York Times took clearance from CIA before criticizing the POTUS.

Instead of being a check on the executive, the US judiciary has a 200-year history of rubber stamping the worst excesses of the GOTUS – slavery, discrimination, segregation, restricting non-English education.

Allowing implementation of NDAA is another in that long list.

No major news agency or newspaper has reported on the judicial order after a copy became available in the last 12 hours. The original order was passed on September 18th, 2012.

The US judiciary has again rubber-stamped the excesses of the US executive.

NDAA cartoon by Kip Lyall

NDAA cartoon by Kip Lyall

Today an appeals court ruled the U.S. can enforce the National Defense Authorization Act‘s indefinite detention clause while the court decides whether to kill or allow the provisions, Josh Gerstein of Politico reports.

A three-judge motions panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit concluded “the public interest weighs in favor of granting the government’s motion

Last month District Judge Katherine Forrest permanently blocked the NDAA, but the Obama administration has appealed her ruling.

Appeals Court Judges Denny Chin, Raymond Lohier, and Christopher Droney agreed with the government that the plaintiffs – journalists and activists – “are in no danger whatsoever of ever being captured and detained by the U.S. military” because the NDAA doesn’t “affect the existing rights of United States citizens or other individuals arrested in the United States.”

The plaintiffs had successfully argued to Judge Forrest that some provisions of the indefinite detention clause are so vague they would chill free speech and restrict the ability to associate with people the government doesn’t like.

via Court Extends Suspension Of Order To Block The NDAA – Business Insider.

NDAA protest

NDAA protest


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