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America’s 400 richest: $1.7 trillion and counting — RT

September 20, 2012 1 comment

In the last 60 years, the West has put a huge effort to ‘export’ their country-model of success. End result. Countries are converging towards a common problem set.

Communism promises to make the rich into poor people. Capitalism romotes a fallacy that it can make you rich.  |  Cartoon by Rex May

Communism promises to make the rich into poor people. Capitalism romotes a fallacy that it can make you rich. | Cartoon by Rex May

Are the rich getting richer? Is this limited to USA? Is India succumbing to this problem?

The answers!

Yes. No. Yes.

The net worth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans grew by 13 per cent in the past year to $1.7 trillion, as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen at a staggering rate.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans shot up by $400 million to a record $4.2 billion, Forbes said, serving to underscore glaring wealth inequality in America.

The 13 per cent spike in wealth for America’s wealthiest citizens stands in sharp contrast with the overall US economy, as the Federal Reserve recently cut its forecast for economic growth this year to between 1.7 per cent and 2 per cent.Median workers’ wages meanwhile have been flat over the last forty years. The real minimum wage has also actually declined over the same period from $10.55 (adjusted for inflation) in 1968 to just $7.25 today.

By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 per cent of Americans income grew by 275 per cent. Meanwhile, it is estimated that during the economic expansion between 2002 and 2007, the income of the top 1 per cent grew 10 times faster than the income of the bottom 90 per cent.

The CBO also found that between 1979 and 2005, after-tax income for middle-class Americans (adjusted for inflation) rose by 21 per cent while the richest 0.1 per cent grew by 400 per cent.

Income is the flow of money coming into a household over a year, while wealth or net worth represents the stock assets it has as a result of inheritance and savings.

via America’s 400 richest: $1.7 trillion and counting — RT.


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Categories: Uncategorized

The Leader Of The Free World …

September 4, 2011 3 comments

After putting two million people in jail and behind bars, I would imagine, The US of A, would have had enough. Apparently not.

Will one more make a difference? (Cartoon by Steve Greenberg; courtesy - cartoonstock.com). Click for source image.

Will one more make a difference? (Cartoon by Steve Greenberg; courtesy - cartoonstock.com). Click for source image.

There is something to this

The Leader of The Free World, The USA, has the largest prison population in the world.

Just why do so many people need to be in prison?

Just why does this Land of the Free have so much crime?

Why is the Leader of The Free World also the global capital of drug addicts?

Why does have the highest per-capita of prostitutes in the world?

With two million people in jail, the largest prison population in the world, law authorities would be reluctant to add more prisoners. The US of A would have had enough, one would think.

(Cartoon courtesy - http://www.bvblackspin.com; other credits embedded). Click for larger image.

(Cartoon courtesy - http://www.bvblackspin.com; other credits embedded). Click for larger image.

After spending 10 months in custody for a drug conviction rapper T.I headed straight back to jail, last night. The 30-year-old star was taken back into federal custody after he was transported in a luxury tour bus.

Cameras were recording the rapper as he was traveling to southern state as part of a documentary he is filming for VH1, which will chronicle his comeback from his prison time. According to authorities, inmates still under custody in low or medium security are allowed to travel in transport without an escort from prison to halfway houses, but they must specify what type of vehicle they will be using.

According to reports, T.I. did not disclose the exact nature of his method of transport, mentioning to officials he was traveling in a van instead of a party bus.

Meanwhile, the rapper’s wife Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle,  has been left furious about the situation, and told that police officials knew about her husband’s mode of transport and even posed for pictures with the rapper in front of the bus.

She said that they: ‘Walked him over, took pics and told him good luck in life.’. She believes that they should have said something before he left the Arkansas prison. ‘This is a bunch of bulls**t … they should have said something before he got on the bus … T.I. would have politely gotten into a van,’ she said. (via Rapper T.I. heads back to prison just one day after his release… following a trip to a halfway house on a luxury tour bus | Mail Online).

Did Rapper TI have to go back to jail for taking a ‘bus’ instead of a ‘van’? There is more to this.

Much more.

Tendu leaves – How Maoist-Govt Cabal loot Adivasis

June 13, 2011 3 comments
The Maoists-Naxals are fighting the Government for rights to extract from the adivasi. The adivasis have a choice. Pay protection money to the Government or to Maoists-Naxals. (Cartoon by Morparia; courtesy - development-dialogues.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

The Maoists-Naxals are fighting the Government for rights to 'exploit' the adivasi. The adivasis have a choice. Pay protection money to the Government or to Maoists-Naxals. Right now they are paying both - the State and the Maoist Naxal. (Cartoon by Morparia; courtesy - development-dialogues.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

Dried tendu leaf used fo rolling bidis.

Dried tendu leaf used fo rolling bidis.

Governments and tobacco

Globally four major companies and government monopolies control a US$400 billion trade in cigarettes. These cigarette monopolies, directly or indirectly controlled by governments, take away US$1 from every  US$175 that people earn. China and USA are leaders in this extortion game.

Tobacco – India Govt.’s ‘innovation’

The Indian State also, on a much smaller scale,  replicates this same mechanism. Since Indians consume tobacco in a traditional, non-industrial manner, the Indian State changes the method of extortion. Apart from tobacco, the main ingredient of bidis, is tendu leaf. Tendu leaf is used to roll the tobacco in. While tobacco farmers are exempt from income tax, adivasis have to sell all their produce to the State. For which the State pays them wages. A newspaper reports

TENDU LEAVES, A major forest produce used for making bidis, is the main source of income for the tribal people in Chhattisgarh.  (Photo source and courtesy - hinduonnet.com).

TENDU LEAVES, A major forest produce used for making bidis, is the main source of income for the tribal people in Chhattisgarh. (Photo source and courtesy - hinduonnet.com).

Over the last two decades, the graph of tendu patta wages has shot up. This year, the Chhattisgarh government raised the wage rate from 70 paise to 80 paise per bundle of 50 leaves. But collectors like Bargu earned higher wages (Rs 1.05 paise) courtesy the Maoists. As the parallel authority in large parts of Bastar, they fix wages and even a system of wage payment.

For instance, officially, the state government’s minor forest produce federation auctions each lot of tendu leaves. Traders or contractors pay a sale price to the federation. A portion is sent to the federation’s field managers, who are supposed to disburse it as wages to the adivasis. But, in reality, the managers simply hand the money back to the contractor, who adds an extra wage amount fixed by the Maoists and sends his own staff to pay off the collectors.

“In our areas, we bargain with the contractor every year, and get a higher price for the adivasis,” says Gudsa Usendi, Maoist spokesperson. ”Last year, it was Re 1. This year it’s between Re 1.05 to Re 1.20. This way, we have stopped the exploitation of adivasis.”

That’s not an empty boast — but it’s only partially true. The Maoists have wrangled higher wages for the adivasis and expanded their support base, but they have also obtained higher levies for themselves. Most traders refused to divulge exact amounts, some reluctantly offered a rough range: 5-10% of the sale price. For one Rs 1 crore, that works out to Rs 5-10 lakh.

“The market of tendu leaves is not less than Rs 2,000 crore,” says K Sadavijaya Kumar, of the Association of Beedi leaf traders. Given that at least a quarter of the tendu growing areas appears to be under Maoist control, the amount of levies could run into crores.

By maintaining a monopoly over the ownership and sale of leaves, the state earns revenue. In 2009, Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Federation made Rs 256 crore from tendu leaves. Rs 189 crore was paid to the collectors, and Rs 66 crore retained by the federation. (via Tendu leaves little hope for tribals – The Times of India).

Tendu leaves

Tendu leaves

And the Maoist- Naxalites are fighting with the State for ‘exploitation-of-adivasis‘ rights. From being owners of India’s forests, under भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, the adivasis have become wage earners. By this one single action, the State has impoverished crores of adivasis. Such are the reasons for Indian poverty – The Indian State.

And the Maoist- Naxalites are fighting with the State for ‘exploitation-of-adivasis‘ rights.

Discovery Science Channel needs to discover facts

November 22, 2010 1 comment
Modern science and modern media are more about fiction than fact!

Modern science and modern media are more about fiction than fact!

Channel surfing I caught at Discovery – Science a programme on Gunpowder somewhere between 15:00-18:00 on 9th November 2010.

In this entire rather long and boring episode, there was no mention at all of India. Not once. Strange, because, India was the largest industrial producer of saltpeter, for hundreds of years, the most important ingredient in gunpowder.

The credits at the end claimed that this was made by a  Granite Production – a regular supplier of documentaries to BSkyB – British Sky Broadcasting, from where Discovery Science apparently picked this up. I have written to Discovery Science about this. Let me see how they respond!

If they do – that is!

 

Rahul baba is coming – Drumbeats get louder …

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Trial by media - on an unprecedented scale. 3 senior politicians scalped. Corruption being made a hot-button issue. Rahul baba wins with his 'clean' image. (Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Trial by media - on an unprecedented scale. 3 senior politicians scalped. Corruption being made a hot-button issue. Rahul baba wins with his 'clean' image. (Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Drumbeats get louder.

It is Rahulbaba’s footsteps that you are hearing. An unprecedented media campaign based on the ‘corruption’ hot-button.

Kalmadi resigns on CWG issue. A.Raja resigns on the 2G scam. CBI arrests CWG officials. CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report criticizes Telecom Minister. Supreme courts questions PM on 2G scam.

2ndlook had outlined the following situation nearly 2 months ago – post linked above. The projections seems to be getting real …

What if …

Manmohan Singh takes moral ‘responsibility’. Resigns. Congress veterans beseech Rahul to ‘save’ the country, ’empower’ the youth, and ‘renew’ the Congress party structure with its glorious tradition.

A ‘reluctant’ Rahulbaba immediately rejects the idea. He expresses full confidence in Manmohan Singh’s leadership – and his moral stature.

The charade

Manmohan Singh submits his resignation to his party’s president. She urges him withdraw or at least reconsider his decision. Manmohan Singh refuses.

15 days later, after repeated requests from Manmohan Singh, and under ‘great pressure’ from party workers, Sonia accepts Manmohan Singh’s resignation and Rahulbaba accepts the post of Prime Minister.

Rahul-baba must save the country! (Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; courtesy-indiatimes.com)

Rahul-baba must save the country! (Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; courtesy-indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

A plausible scenario …?

Confronting Pakistan’s official narrative

November 15, 2010 1 comment

An average student exposed to 12 years of Pakistan Studies basically learns how to blame everything bad that happens in Pakistan on the proverbial Hindu conspiracy. Partition is depicted as a triumph of the Muslim mind and collective will in the face of almost insurmountable Hindu intransigence. Subsequently, the Hindus have conspired with just about everyone else to undermine Pakistan (by launching three wars of aggression and initiating other direct and indirect assaults against Pakistan’s core interests).

It would be one thing if the distortion of facts was the only problem with this narrative. More lethal is the effect of such ‘learning’ on the working of the mind. The ‘hate-Hindus’ story simply does not tally with what students are made to believe was the logic for creating Pakistan in the first place. Yet this basic contradiction is never confronted. In all of my time as a teacher I have found very few students who have been able to reconcile the fact that Pakistan was ostensibly conceived to allow Muslims the peace of mind and opportunities for independent development which they apparently lacked in a united India with the persistence of the ‘Hindu threat’ after partition.

In other words, if it was necessary to create Pakistan to free Muslims from majoritarian tyranny then why has the sovereign state of Pakistan been unable to build a future for itself free from the spectre of Indian hegemony? If one argues, as our establishment intellectuals do, that India’s evil designs have prevented Pakistan from moving beyond the bitter legacy of Hindu-Muslim rivalry in the last few decades of British rule, then surely these intellectuals made a mess of their prediction that all would be well once the Muslim mass secured a separate country for itself. (read more via Pol Eco, NOS, The News International).

The ‘official’ Pakistani narrative of history is full of holes – just like India’s. Indian history after more than 60 years of British departure, remains mired in colonial conclusions – with a Congressi overlay.

Those who control the past, control the future, said a British colonial writer. Changing Indian history is possibly more important for the world – as it is for India itself.

Commonwealth Games – Politics of Collusion

September 28, 2010 19 comments
Why should only the Congress misue CBI - let all parties misuse the CBI! (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt).

Why should only the Congress misuse CBI - let all parties misuse the CBI! (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt).

In the beginning

The Commonwealth Games (CWG) proves the point that democracy breeds a collusive polity. In the beginning was the BJP.

1. Why did Vajpayee Government bid for CWG? It defies all common sense. The Commonwealth is an idea that is long dead – and definitely irrelevant.

2. If it was persuaded by the Anglo-Saxon Bloc, what is the quid-pro-quo? What did India get from CWG? This Commonwealth benefits the British! Let them host it, pay for it, support it and ‘persuade’ us to attend.

3. Yesterday, Times Now TV debate tells that the Vajpayee Government paid out some thousands of dollars for each vote to ‘win’ the right to ‘host’ these games? Delhi beat Hamilton, New Zealand for this ‘privilege’?

Sorrier tale, I have not heard in many years. Even if the Vajpayee Govt paid nothing for this ‘privilege’?

We’ll walk hand in hand …

Coming to Kawngressis: –

1. If the Kawngress had an iota of honesty, they should have protested this bid in the first place. When the BJP /NDA was in power.

2. Having got this fait accompli, the Kawngress should have been determined to do this at least cost, minimum shosha, tamasha – like Mani Shanker Iyer has proposed.

3. They should have put some good, honest bureaucrats on the job to achieve point no.2. Not allowed the likes of Mike Fennell and Mike Hooper to abuse Indian people, hospitality – and spend lakhs on them every month for this privilege. Rs.6.0 crore spent on them in the last few years.

A job so badly botched up, I have not seen in the last many years. Any way you look at it, the CWG is a case of collusive polity. And no one, but no one, comes out of this clean or decent. Not in my books at least.

Corruption has got more coverage - drowning out the other related issues. (Cartoon by by IRFAN; courtesy - cartoonistirfan.blogspot.com.).

Corruption has got more coverage - drowning out the other related issues. (Cartoon by by IRFAN; courtesy - cartoonistirfan.blogspot.com.).

Craving approval – without actions and achievements

This bit about promoting sports is another bad idea. Why is the State getting involved in the sports business. If it has to get involved, it must promote Indian sports.

Why is India building this huge infrastructure to promote Western sports. Why do we want to prove to the world that we can be good at Western sports. Like a columnist put it

Burning money on a gala sporting event does not make us a super-power

Anyway, what has sports got to do with nationhood. This nation-competition-sports is one bad idea, which must be killed.

Try as hard as anyone may, I just cannot be moved by this idea. No Indian can put up a good show of something as dishonest as CWG. I am not surprised that CWG is going to be a disaster! It will take a Great Disbeliever in the idea of India, to put up a good CWG.

Great Indian shows

Is it that Indians cannot put up a good show?

About ten years ago, India put up a great show. Unrivaled in the last 100 years, at least, by any country. It was called Y2K.

The Western world was at the cusp of an epic disaster – Y2K. Computer systems had used two-digit number to denote years. In 20th century, this was efficient use of computing power when raw computing power itself was expensive. Coming to the end of 20th century, when the number would go from 1999 to 2000, it was expected the logic used by computers would crash.

Posted by Shreyas Navare on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 10.35 pm (Courtesy - blogs.hindustantimes.com.). Click for larger image.

Posted by Shreyas Navare on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 10.35 pm (Courtesy - blogs.hindustantimes.com.). Click for larger image.

The West needed to rewrite the entire code for their industrial systems. And they had no spare programming capacity to do it. Enter India. In a matter of 7 years, desi, backward Indians obtained contracts, understood programming designs, deciphered the code, redesigned the new system, coded and tested their new systems, trained users and handed over fully working systems on D-date. It is 10 years now. These Indian systems continue to run the Western world.

Most recently, the corrupt and scam-tainted Satyam put up a faultless show at South Africa Football World Cup.

What has money got to do

Let us be clear – corruption has nothing to do with this fiasco. A highly corrupt China put up a great show at Beijing Olympics.

The CWG problem goes deeper. Even if the CWG were to go off smoothly,  I can’t be proud of this. Even if, this corruption allegations were poppycock! I have no answer to a simple question? Why are we doing the CWG? And there is no good answer to this question.

Write to me. If you have one reason. Just one, honest reason. Why should we host and promote this hoax.

Can you really motivate someone to do a good job on Commonwealth Games? I wonder ...

Can you really motivate someone to do a good job on Commonwealth Games? I wonder ...

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