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Guns & Crime

June 7, 2011 1 comment
Crime Stats - Top 18 countries (Source - http://www.nationmaster.com). Click for source interactive graph.

Crime Stats - Top 18 countries (Source - http://www.nationmaster.com). Click for source interactive graph.

Anglo-Saxon systems

Interestingly, UK and USA, two countries with Anglo-Saxon system of jurisprudence, have the highest crime incidence.

But the surprise element is India.

India – with the largest number of poor people. More than in sub-Saharan Africa. With also the largest arsenal of firearms outside the US. Most of these guns are unlicensed – and logically, a number of these guns are with the poor. Another newspaper reported that the cost of these illegal firearms is less than US$100 or Rs.4500.

India had the world’s second-largest civilian gun arsenal, with an estimated 46 million firearms outside law enforcement and the military, though this represented just four guns per 100 people there. China, ranked third with 40 million privately held guns, had 3 firearms per 100 people.

Germany, France, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Russia were next in the ranking of country’s overall civilian gun arsenals. (via U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people | Reuters).

Iceberg ahoy

India with the lowest police-to-population ratio and the highest police-to-illegal-guns ratio. Either crime levels must be high, or imprisonment levels have to be stratospheric.

Strangely, none of these ‘logical’ things are happening. Crime is at low-to-average levels, imprisonment is at a global low, police force is seriously undermanned – and firearms are common.

What gives?

Season for oligarchies – Corporates may control vegetable trade

November 26, 2010 33 comments
Very soon, this is all we will get to eat. Some overpaid corporate executive will decide what we eat at what price! (Cartoonist- Andy Singer; cartoon courtesy-www.mindfully.org.). Click for larger image.

Very soon, this is all we will get to eat. Some overpaid corporate executive will decide what we eat, at what price! (Cartoonist- Andy Singer; cartoon courtesy-www.mindfully.org.). Click for larger image.

death for ordinary rythu bazars and vegetable markets, (as) the entire trade of vegetables, fruits and meat will come under the control of corporates like Metro, Heritage, Reliance or Al Kabeer once the massive terminal market complexes (TMCs) being proposed come into existence in the state.

The corporate setting up the TMCs will (INVEST) Rs 150 crore towards this business, the state government will have a 26 per cent stake (for) 50 acres to 200 acres of land. The private enterprise (PE) will own the remaining portion of the business.

The state government is constructing these massive modern whosesale markets in Hyderabad, Guntur, Vizag and Tirupati, ostensibly to help the farmers. The farmers will directly sell the produce to the TMC, thereby cutting out middlemen. Another advantage is a cleaner, modern bazar with facilities like warehousing, cold storage, ripening chambers, cleaning, grading and processing along with extension of advisory service to farmers.

However, prices will be fixed by the corporate. (with) retail prices of vegetables likely to go up for the consumer. The question is would it benefit the farmers or the company which will gain control over the entire vegetable business of the state.

Corporations will decide which pesticide, what seeds, what prices, what items we eat. Who do you think will benefit? Not me, I know! (Cartoonist - Joe Mohr; cartoon courtesy - http://ecopolitology.org.). Click for larger image.

Corporations will decide which pesticide, what seeds, what prices, what items we eat. Who do you think will benefit? Not me, I know! (Cartoonist - Joe Mohr; cartoon courtesy - http://ecopolitology.org.). Click for larger image.

The TMC will control the production and collection of vegetables from the farmers over certain radius, “While it is not mandatory for the farmer to sell his produce to the TMC, the private operator will offer him a higher price as well as induce them with loans for procurement for seeds. This in the end will make the farmer a captive seller to the TMC and for the retail consumer, the prices of vegetables, fruits and meat will become costlier,” said the sources. (read more via Corporates may control vegetable trade; parts excised for brevity).

Ignorant bureaucrats

Kasargod in Kerala is in the grip of a strange malady. Deformed children.

The Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) has been cultivating cashew in 4500 hectares spread across this district. Since the early 1980s the PCK has been aerially spraying an organochlorine pesticide called endosulfan that has been banned in many countries including Singapore, Denmark, Germany, Holland and Sweden. Over the last several months, various reports in the media as well as studies done by institutions like the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi have indicated a strong link between the aerial spraying of endosulfan and the number of deaths and illnesses in the area. (read more via The Hindu : Cashews for human life?).

Cartoonist - Clay Bennet; cartoon courtesy - www.ritholtz.com). Click for larger image.

Corporate executives will soon dictate to us. They will buy Government's silence. (Cartoonist - Clay Bennet; cartoon courtesy - http://www.ritholtz.com). Click for larger image.

We have seen stories on how swine flu started in La Gloria, a little town in Mexico, at the one of Mexico’s biggest hog factories, owned by the world’s largest pig processor, Smithfield Foods. The world diabetes epidemic by industrial and junk food is become an old story.

And now this

AP Government wants to handover vegetable trade to highest bidder. Some 50-150 acres of land is proposed to be given these companies. These corporations will be able to raise all that money for investment just by p-ledging the land that the Government is handing over to them.

These private monopolies will have monopoly over agricultural output in their designated areas. Producers will given the choice of selling at any mandi to that monopoly buyer. All the ryuthu bazaars will close. The nearly 10,000 vegetable vendors who serve Hyderabad’s 10 lakh (1 million) households can buy from the one monopoly buyer. Another 10,000 eating houses will have the choice of one vendor.

India has indeed becoming a ‘free’ country.

Boozed British journalism cant see straight

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment
Why compare Japan with Latam and Zimbabwe? Why not with USA, China and Germany which is more like in Japanese class! (Cartoonist - Clay Bennett,  from Clay Bennett's Editorial Cartoons; courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com.). Click for larger image.

Why compare Japan with Lat-Am and Zimbabwe? Why not with USA, China and Germany which is more like in Japanese class! (Cartoonist - Clay Bennett, from Clay Bennett's Editorial Cartoons; courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com.). Click for larger image.

An Indian problem

Now one of the problems of India, having English as an important language, is the amount of swill, garbage and propaganda that we are subjected to.

In spite of being less than anybody, British media can be pretty biased.

One example was a post by Ian Campbell on Japan’s economic problems. He says,

Japan has … has the worst debt to GDP ratio among major economies … But the interest yield on Japanese government bonds is … not much more than 1 per cent, so the debt is not yet so problematic – and might not seem an obstacle to still more spending. … In just five years, even assuming the economy grows, debt might climb to 230 per cent of GDP …  the hideously large debt would finally drive the fiscal deficit far higher and become intolerable.

Japan’s only route then would be drastic fiscal reform or, more probably, huge resort to the printing press, as Latin America did in the old days and Zimbabwe in more recent times. (via Nokia’s billion-dollar man).

British media needs to talk less about other economies - and look at problems in their own backyard. (Cartoon By Brian Adcock, The Scotland - 1/20/2008 12.00.00 AM Cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com; ©Copyright 2008  Brian Adcock - All Rights Reserved.). Click for larger image

British media needs to talk less about other economies - and look at problems in their own backyard. (Cartoon By Brian Adcock, The Scotland - 1/20/2008 12.00.00 AM Cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com; ©Copyright 2008 Brian Adcock - All Rights Reserved.). Click for larger image

Sad Brits …

Campbell, a British journalist, compares Japan with Latin American and African Governments who have printed a lot of money.

But surely he knows that Western Governments – under the leadership of Ben Bernanke printed much more than Africa and Lat-Am could and did! Why is Campbell not talking of British, European and American printing presses?

Is there a racial smell and smear somewhere? Did I hear him say ‘These irresponsible Blacks, Latinas, Browns, Yellows …’

Japan’s problems

Now Japan’s problems are minor – because they have solid, well run, high tech companies, whose products are in demand all over the world.

Off their peaks, these Japanese firms still have  mean clout in business world. Japanese interest rates being so low will not change Governmental economics by much. So, why compare Japan with Latin America or Zimbabwe?

Of course, you cannot compare Japan to Spain – where prostitution is a national industry.  Or Ireland, or Greece, which have lived on handouts for the last 100 years.

Maybe you should look at British debt my dear sir!

Wishful thinking?

Is it wishful thinking Mr.Campbell? Balanced your judgment is not. Or is it just plain malarkey? Methinks, it is ‘White’ noise!

Ian Campbell, who has “recently returned to the UK, where he is writing a book on rural Mexico.” could utilize his time much better writing about rural Britain, which depends on huge subsidies from a nation groaning under 500% Gross-National-Debt (GND-that is Govt.+Corporate+household).

Now British GND (no hindi puns intended) is a much-more-hideous. Than Japanese at 500%. We both know that British exports  are going nowhere!

Is it not time to focus on Britain itself? Japan will do very well, without your attention. (Cartoonist Jeff Danziger; courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com.).

Cartoon Text - "Austerity? But late squire ... she has been dead these fifty years." 2ndlook says - Is it not time to focus on Britain itself? Japan will do very well, without British attention. (Cartoonist Jeff Danziger; courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com.).

Let us look at British economy

First the biggest sector of British corporate sector is about digging, extracting and selling natural resources.

A historical legacy – with little value-addition. Royal Dutch Shell, BP, North Sea Oil, XStrata, Anglo American, Rio Tinto Group,  BHP Billiton, BG Group, National Grid, Scottish and Southern Energy, Centrica. That is 10 of the top 30 British companies. These companies mostly have their assets abroad – and if push comes to shove, you know these companies will go where their bread is buttered.

The second leg on which British industry stands today is cracked leg of banking and insurance – HSBC, HBOS, RBS, Lloyd’s TSB, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Aviva and Prudential. The British part of the business of these 8 financial firms is in mess. The international business is subsidizing the British business. How long do you think this will last?

The third wobbly leg is pharmaceuticals made up of two companies. Glaxo-Smithkline-and Astra Zeneca. Both are in doldrums due to competition from generic Indian companies – and may look good to beery British journalists boozed in a pub. Now these are the three legs of British economy. We know that three legged stools are always prone to topple over.

That was lesson No.1 for you Campbell.

Is this how British journalism lifts its spirits? (By Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE - 5/19/2010 12.00.00 AM)

Is this how British journalism lifts its spirits? (By Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE - 5/19/2010 12.00.00 AM)

Lallu has a few things to say here

Lesson No.2 is what our colourful former Railway Minister said, “इस हमाम में सब नंगे हैं” (meaning “everyone in this bathhouse is naked”).

No offense to colour black, but then black pots must not call yellow kettles names.

It is plain bad journalism!

To Israel, From India with love

December 2, 2009 6 comments
Otto Premiger filmed the Leon Uris novel
Otto Preminger filmed the Leon Uris novel

The greatest level of sympathy towards Israel can be found in India, according to international study on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.

According to the study, which was unprecedented in scope and was undertaken by an international market research company, 58% of Indian respondents showed sympathy to the Jewish State. The United States came in second, with 56% of American respondents sympathizing with Israel.

A total of 5,215 people took part in the study. Other countries that showed significant sympathy to Israel included Russia (52%) Mexico (52%) and China (50%). At the bottom of the list, the study ranked Britain (34%) France (27%) and Spain (23%) as the least sympathetic countries towards Israel. (via From India with love – Israel News, Ynetnews).

Leopards don’t change

This study was mighty interesting. On three counts.

Western Europe continues with its sterling record of intolerance, xenophobia, the push for ‘assimilation and integration’. In Western Europe (Britain, France, Spain, et al), prejudice against Jews is marked. Whether it was Shakespeare in the Merchant of Venice or Hitler in Europe, Antisemitism is alive, well and kicking in Europe.

Of course, the proxy for Antisemitism in today’s Europe is Israel.

Perverse logicClassic propaganda

Desert Bloc remains the prime exponent of propaganda – maya. Illusion. Something that tricks people.

For this maya, Israel has to thank people like Leon Uris writer of Exodus, (hired by Edward Gottlieb for ‘improving Israel’s image), The Raid at Entebbe, ( the rescue of Israeli hostages from Idi Amin’s Uganda) or the hunt for Eichmann movies.

The propaganda overdrive on the Holocaust won the State of Israel many sympathizers. The propaganda on how the kibbutzim made the desert bloom, covered  the open wounds of the Palestinians expulsions.

Propaganda practitioners and PR gurus like Edward Gottlieb and Howard Dietz embraced the Zionist cause and promoted the idea of the State of Israel. Edward Gottlieb, a PR pioneer, author of a PR primer book, worked on the cause of Israel. Edward Gottlieb’s masterstroke was to send Leon Uris to Israel to ‘research’ the story of the Exodus. Howard Dietz, the publicist of Sam Goldwyn, (reputedly behind many of Goldwyn’s malapropisms)was another.

from Fifty years of Israel  By Donald Neff, page 19
from Fifty years of Israel By Donald Neff, page 19

The fall guys

The third part of the story is the story of the ‘fall guys’. The classic ‘fall guys’ for this propaganda operation were the distant bystanders. The ‘sympathy’ shown to Israel, comes from typically countries with a small or negligible Jewish populations – like China, Mexico – and India. People who saw these events from far – very far. The Indians, Chinese, Mexicans, et al.

Indians know of the Israeli story through the movies, fiction and ‘war’ stories. In school, the size of the Exodus, made me shirk from the starting the book. But the many ‘rave’ reviews from classmates steeled me to pick up the book – and 1 week later. I was a ‘convert’ to the Jewish cause.

A few years later, it was a different story. My neighbours, some Jordanian-Palestinian students dropped in to see me, in Poona, one night. Over some music and soda, they introduced me to the ‘other’ side of the problem. (I wonder where these Iranian and Palestinian students have disappeared?)

Indians (suckers for propaganda) have been taken in by the maya of Israel.

The real pandemic – Sunita Narain

May 23, 2009 2 comments
Indus Valley seal showing domestic animals

Indus Valley seal showing domestic animals

Take swine flu — now renamed. We know it started in La Gloria, a little town in Mexico. We know a young boy suffering from fever in March became the first confirmed victim of the current outbreak, which, even as I write, has reached India. What is not said is this ill-fated town is right next to one of Mexico’s biggest hog factories, owned by the world’s largest pig processor, Smithfield Foods. What is also not said is that people in this town have repeatedly protested against the food giant for water pollution, terrible stench and waste dumping. (via Sunita Narain: The real pandemic).

This will jolt you upright

There were two things about this post which made me sit up.

annual-world-wheat-production

Annual World Wheat Production

One – The real story behind the ‘probable’ pandemic. This is something that most mainstream media writers do not tell. Take official Government press releases, (sometimes) change the language and call it news. Sometimes, they help in the cover up. If this story does not become well-known enough, Mexico and its poor will be blamed for the starting this pandemic – by the West.

Two – the fragile state of US agriculture, specifically, and the West in general.

About 46,000 ‘corporate’ farmers, account for nearly 50% of US farm output – and most of the US$20 billion in subsidy. The US Government prints vast amounts of currency notes or issues US Treasury Bonds, which are lapped up (earlier by the Middle East Oil Potentates, and the Chinese these days). This money is then handed over to these ‘American farmers’.

The US agricultural system

An interesting situation exists in the food sector – especially in the US. Giant food corporations, killed buying competition with high prices (to farmers), direct buying from farmers (at higher prices), monoclonal seeds that destroy bio-diversity. And the US consumers are not getting the lower food prices that are being promised in India.

Industrial crops will create a foodgrain crisis

Industrial crops will create a food-grain crisis

Farmers became dependent on corporate supplies of seeds (at high prices) and corporate purchases by the same corporations (at low prices). Today, an ‘efficient’ and ‘hi-tech’ agricultural farm sector in the US needs more than US$ 20 billion (conservative estimates are US$12 billion) of subsidies to survive.

The US-EPA says, “By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms in this country (America), accounted for 50% of sales of agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture data) (bold letters supplied) – and gobble up most of this huge subsidy that lowers Third World agricultural prices. These lower agricultural prices devastate agriculture in Third World countries, creating man-made famines. These man-made famines, of course, gives the West a false sense of superiority.

A study in contrast

The Indian agricultural system, with nil subsidies, working with cost disadvantages, does not have giant buying corporations and monoclonal seed stock, is holding its own against subsidized agricultural systems of the West. And paid hacks of these Western corporations are trying to tell Indian consumers and policy makers that these giant corporations will cut food costs in India.

Economic crisis

Economic crisis

These giant corporations are aiming for entry into India – promising ‘efficiencies’ in buying (which will give consumers a better price), and higher prices for farmers (which will increase farm incomes). Of course, this will last as long as there is competition.

Once, these giant corporations, fueled by huge amounts of debt and equity, drive out competition, they will lower the boom on the consumers and the farmer – like in the USA.

Stuffed and starved

Raj Patel, in his book, Stuffed and Starved, demonstrates how global food corporations are behind global food habits, imbalance traditional diets, creating disease epidemics (like diabetes) – and how India needs to be careful before crafting industrial policies that encourage these global corporations to destroy Indian agriculture. A book review extracts some key points as follows,

Polluter cleans up principle ought to apply (Carton by David Horsey; courtesy - indianinthemachine.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Polluter cleans up principle ought to apply (Carton by David Horsey; courtesy - indianinthemachine.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

What we think are our choices, says Patel, are really the choices of giant food production companies. Millions of farmers grow food, six billion people consume it. But in between them are a handful of corporations creating what Patel calls “an hourglass” model of food distribution. One Unilever controls more than 90% of the tea market. Six companies control 70% of the wheat trade. Meanwhile, farmers across the world are pitted against each other, trying to sell these gatekeeper companies their produce. And if you think the consumer comes out on top because of all this competition, think again.

The End of Bretton Woods

With the collapse of Bretton Woods, this will become increasingly difficult. Where will US agriculture be without subsidies – in a massively high costs zone. US food exports will shrivel and global agricultural prices will reach (at least) 200 year highs (my estimate). And that will be the golden hour for Indian agriculture. What is the only dark cloud in this scenario – GM seeds which the West is pushing down the reluctant Indian agriculturists’ throat. With significant help from the Indian Government.

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