Saturday, March 31, 2012

Defence bribery scam: Bodies start showing up

mar 31st, 2012 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arvind

MoD official, wife found charred at home

WSJ: Foreign Firms Sense Hostility in India

mar 31st, 2012 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Krishna
Date: Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 5:07 AM
Subject: WSJ: Foreign Firms Sense Hostility in India
To: Rajeev 

Pranab Mukherji and the congress are systematically destroying whatever growth India has had. 



'recognize yoga's hindu roots'

mar 31st, 2012 CE

When it comes to yoga, there are lots of different kinds being practised by North Americans these days -- hot yoga, power yoga, prenatal yoga, Catholic yoga, restorative yoga, Christian yoga, Jewish yoga, and even naked yoga, to name just a few.

One thing you don't find is Hindu yoga -- which is strange, since yoga originated with that 6,000-year-old religion.

It's estimated about 1.4 million Canadians, and between 16 million to 20 million Americans, do yoga. Locally, there are over 40 places offering yoga classes. North America-wide, yoga generated about $6 billion in sales in 2008, once all the yoga-related clothing and other accoutrements were included.

For most people, yoga is a way to promote physical and mental health through stretching, postures and breathing techniques. Attaining moksha -- the Hindu ideal of liberation from worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and rebirth -- isn't usually one of the goals. In fact, many yoga practitioners might be unaware of its ancient religious roots.

... deleted

Hormones, Huh?

Some people had been warning that by dumping hormones into our food chain something like this would happen. Well it happened.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

stanford: Living with Gandhi: Narayan Desai lecture April 11

Living With Gandhi flier.pdf Download this file

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bernadette Marie White <>
Date: 2012/3/30
Subject: Living with Gandhi: Narayan Desai lecture April 11


Living With Gandhi
A lecture by Narayan Desai
who lived with Gandhi for the first 23 years of his life and has devoted the rest of his life to promoting the study and practice of nonviolence in diverse fields  

Along with the lecture, as in many of Gandhi’s public meetings, a bhajan mandali (singing group with instruments) will present an offering of songs.

Wed. April 11, 2012, 7 p.m. – free & open to the public
Bldg 320, Room 105 (Braun Geology Corner, Main Quad)
See attached flier for further details.

Autism In The US Rises 78%

U.S. kids with autism up 78% in past decade

In 2000 and 2002, the autism estimate was about 1 in 150 children. In 2006, the number was 1 in 110, and the newest data -- from 2008 -- suggests 1 in 88 children have autism.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Good For You, Bengal

Mamata bans all English dailies in state libraries

One hopes that the BJP has the balls to emulate this in the states ruled by them. 'India Shining' turned out to be a windfall for the ELM but a major flop for the party.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

alan farago: what separates new delhi from the everglades?

mar 27th, 2012 CE

is india 'doomed to modernize' as octavio paz said about mexico?

i have been reading alan farago's editorials for some time; this is the first explicitly about india, and it is quite piquant: quoting joseph campbell and hindu epics along with mckinsey's studies and first-hand observations.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alan Farago <>
Date: Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Subject: Editorial in Counterpunch, FYI
To: Alan Farago <>

A Visit to India Is Hard to Leave Behind: What Separates New Delhi from the Everglades?
by Alan Farago

(Counterpunch, March 20, 2012) At two in the morning, the sleek, modern airport at New Delhi hummed with activity. Most travelers pointed westbound to European capitals and from there, mid morning connections to the Americas.

What piqued my curiosity at that ungodly hour: airport security worked at half pace while the crowds piled behind. For the most part, India’s bureaucratic indifference was far from sight during a three-week visit.

Here at the moment of departure, anxious lines pushed and security responded with its own laws of gravity, and I felt the curious pull of the familiar, something that reminded me of home. You know what they say about Schenectady: it’s not hell but you can see it from there?

The places that hold us, whether in Uttar Pradesh or New York, have their tell tales. For example, in Florida –my home–, the sign of the eternal, damning wheel is the predisposition of bureaucrats to work hand-in-glove with politicians and lobbyists to destroy the Everglades.

In her new novel, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo describes the lives of urban poor living hard by the Mumbai International Airport. She reminds us that it is not what you see that drives a nation, but what you don’t: “… for the poor of a country where corruption thieved a great deal of opportunity, corruption was one of the genuine opportunities that remained.”

Indeed. In Florida, the economic crash was fueled by housing speculators exploiting cheap swamp land. Corruption in the zoning, permitting and financing of crappy subdivisions fed the Wall Street derivatives machine.

At face value it may not seem fair to compare the jostling poverty of hundreds of millions of Indians—whose cultural chasms span thousands of years— to decomposing ghost suburbs and those sliding off the economic ladder in the former Everglades. On the other hand, as the pie shrinks in the United States, scarcity breeds contempt even among the right-thinking. Here is one example.

Twenty years ago when I moved to Miami, Florida International University was at the furthest developed edge of western Dade County. Sprawl grew around it. Today, its campus holds an office of policy and science staff funded by the federal government to restore the Everglades. The $16 billion restoration is the most complex and large scale ever undertaken. Recently the university went to the Florida legislature and buried in a long budget bill for water management a provision that would have swapped land on its campus for state-owned wetlands even closer to the Everglades where it hoped to kill two birds with one stone: move a county theme park now on its property into wetlands, inevitably attracting gas stations, restaurants and housing while clearing space on its own campus.

The emigration functionary in his cardigan vest at New Delhi international airport is not so different from the Miami Dade county official in his guayabera, who makes a performance of weighing the costs and benefits of rezoning wetlands that protect the Everglades while he does at the end what comes naturally: stamp the approval and move the line forward.

On the day of our departure, we visited the home of Mahatma Gandhi. A modest residence and serene grounds celebrate one of India’s saints. On a poster inside the house, Ghandi is quoted: “I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl on earth, I want, if I don’t give you a shock, to realize identity with even the crawling things upon the earth, because we claim descent from the same God, and that being so, all life in whatever form it appears must be essentially one.”

As Candide concluded, “Let us cultivate our own gardens.” But gardens, to whom? Tend our gardens, and we tend ourselves. But gardens, for whom? In the U.S., one man’s public commons is another man’s private garden. India makes mincemeat of that distinction.

From the air conditioned comfort of a Toyota SUV marked tourist with white cloth covers on the seats, we spied a farmer astride a cart and ox circling a water wheel. As we sped by, I imagined if that farmer doesn’t resent the idea of gardens, surely his children will.

On a stretch of road to Jaipur, coal fired kilns attached to smokestacks dotted the landscape where workers stacked bricks made by hand in long, thick walls. Who will tell them they cannot use coal or only with expensive cleansers to fire their work?

One night at dinner, I asked a fellow traveler: how do we go on? What do we tell generations to come? She reminded me of a Bill Moyers interview with the late Joseph Campbell.

JC: There’s a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have for the Bodhisattva…the Bodhisattva, the one whose being, “sattva”, is illumination, “bodhi”…who realizes his identity with eternity and at the same time his participation in time.  And the attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder…and come back…and participate in it.  All life is sorrowful is the first Buddhist saying, and it is! It wouldn’t be life if there were not temporality involved, which is sorrow, loss…loss…loss.

BM: That’s a pessimistic note.

JC: Well, I mean you gotta say yes to it and say it’s great this way, I mean this is the way God intended it …

BM: You don’t really believe that?

JC: But this is the way it is.  And I don’t believe anybody intended it but this is the way it is.  And Joyce’s wonderful line, you know, “history is a nightmare from which I’m trying to awake.” And the way to awake from it is not to be afraid (sic) … all of this, as it is…is as it has to be… it is a manifestation of the eternal presence in the world.  The end of things always is painful… pain is part of there being a world at all.

BM: But if one accepted that, isn’t the ultimate conclusion to say that I won’t try to form any laws or fight any battles, or…

JC: I didn’t say that…

BM: Isn’t the logical conclusion…couldn’t one draw that though?  The philosophy of nihilism?

JC: Well, that’s not the necessary thing to draw…you could say that “I will participate in this row and I will join the army and I will go to war…”

BM: “…I’ll do the best I can…”

JC: “I will participate in the game.”  It’s a wonderful, wonderful opera…except that it hurts.  And that wonderful Irish saying you know, “Is this a private fight or can anybody get into it?”  This is the way life is.  And the hero is the one who can participate in it decently, in the way of nature, not in the way of personal rancor, revenge or anything of the kind.

Homeward bound, I opened an April 2010 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, “India’s Urban Awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth”.

The McKinsey report wets the appetite for profit to be made from the inevitable explosion of population and growth of India’s current and future urban cities. In the next 20 years, India’s GDP will multiply 5 times. 590 million people will live in cities, nearly twice the population of the U.S. today, the fastest addition to an urban population in history outside of China.

Nature is playing havoc with India as it is. New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Varanasi, Orissa,– wherever I traveled in India the landscape was covered with a gauzy blanket of smog. On an otherwise sunny day the sundials at the magnificent World temples of Karnack, more than 1300 years old, could not cast a shadow because of the smog. This metric of measurement never made it into the McKinsey Global Management report. “Despite the fact that India’s urbanization is already under way and will continue unabated, and that it offers undoubted economic benefits, India as not fully engaged with the reality of its urban future.”

It is our nature to advance our fortunes. How do we do that, when the monsoons no longer support crops cycles or intermittently provide runoff from the Himalayas?

In a NPR interview, Katherine Boo said that what troubled her most about Mumbai was, first, witnessing the level of ordinary, every day corruption and second, as a result, watching how corruption wears away and “abrades” moral and ethical behavior.

A few days before leaving, we took a long walk on a beach fronting the Bay of Bengal. In the middle of the beach, the remains of a highway abutment rose from the sands like an ancient ruin. It had been attached to a road that ran the length of the coast parallel to the beach until it was all washed away. The sea reclaimed it all. The road was only fifty years old.

The bridge abutment and its remains rising from the sands seemed a visible, present symbol of our ruined claims of progress. Then I came upon the turtle. The beach at Orissa is known as one of the most prolific turtle nesting sites on the planet.

I have always taken the sound and sight of a turtle raising its head in the Florida Straits—breathing in a startling exhale, perhaps in contemplation of us—to be a miracle connecting to hundreds of millions of years of evolution, long before mankind’s race to the top of the food chain.

A few hundred yards from the bridge abutment I spotted the turtle bobbing in the shore break. On closer inspection; it was indeed a massive turtle—dead as my father used to say as a door nail. Part of the carapace was gone. Its eye sockets were alabaster white. The mottled flesh of its limbs were still soft, life-like to the touch and pressure of lapping waves.

In Hindu cosmography, the turtle has a sacred place. He is the second incarnation of the great God Vishnu. Once, in the distant past—before passport control officials gazed at sighing travelers and yawned, before commissioners in Florida stamped rezoning of Everglades wetlands with the laconic efficiency of transit officials viewing hand baggage through airport Xray machines, in Hindu myth the turtle carried the earth on its back to save it from being swallowed by angry seas.

Speeding over the Atlantic, on the way home to Florida, it is hard to imagine such parallel worlds exist. Billions of Indians and Asians struggle to elevate from poverty at the same time as the West reels from serial financial crises tied to speculation; an insane response to the sudden “flattened” globalized economy that turns out to be more like an ice skating rink than a cricket pitch.

According to McKinsey, Europe has 35 cities with population over 1 million. India has 42 and by 2030 will have 68. Mumbai and New Delhi will be two of the five largest cities in the world. “We estimate that India needs to invest $1.2 trillion just in capital expenditure in its cities over the 20 years… that’s almost eight times the level of spending today in per capita terms.”

On the beach at Orissa with a pall of smog concealing the ostensibly blue sky with a thick haze, I kept company with the dead turtle casting its bits into the sea, flesh parting, remains to be scavenged by the vigilant. I wouldn’t linger to witness that market efficiency.

I would be gone, flying above Afghanistan and Iran, above the drones, above the wounded and the terrified, unwrapping silverware from its cloth sleeve. Bound for the next market efficiency: Everglades wetlands converted to whatever makes the fastest buck for the Great Destroyers. Where is home? Isn’t home, here? Doesn’t one do for a home, as one would do for one’s garden?

India has not been party to international agreements to limit the emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants; agreements that appear to have collapsed in a heap under various strains of nationalism including the American conception of the United States as the city shining on a hill, sea level rise be damned.

Maybe McKinsey Global, with its neutral, business school-polished prose, is right. India will master its internal distances and schisms. State governments will gain control over coal-fired kilns and their operators. The ox and the driver will keep turning the water wheel. Cell phones and satellite TV will proliferate. Mega-cities will blossom and all gardens will grow.

The racing sun soon overtakes us, westbound. One of these days, we will experience compassion and humility at the heart of this dance between cultures and civilizations in the midst of climate change. Moments of kindness will be lit, and extremism will be refused on the planet we set afire. We will lay down our swords to feed who is left. I don’t know when that moment will come, but I foresee turtles finning where we walked, first.

Saif Ali Khan as 'Agent Vinod'

I decided to take in a Bollywood movie, since I hadn't seen one of these in awhile, and went to see 'Agent Vinod'. This is that movie where Saif Ali Khan plays the titular RAW agent who is out to stop a nuclear bomb from being detonated in New Delhi.

Apparently, it's been banned by Pakistan because they feel the movie is anti-Pakistan. Well, I don't know how they drew that conclusion, since the storyline basically puts a Brahmin-led business cabale behind this nuclear bomb plot, with the goal of instigating hatred against Muslims. Fortunately, Agent Vinod manages to save the world from Brahmin perfidy, with the help of a lovely Pakistani ISI agent played by Kareena Kapoor. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that our politically-slanted Bollywood would promote this kind of storyline, but apparently the paranoid Pakistanis see anything from India as poisonous. Well, this time they're right, but for the wrong reasons.

Agent Vinod is produced by 'Illuminati Films' - what an ironically appropriate name for them. My question is - does Bollywood produce anything for the rest of us anymore?

Monday, March 26, 2012

TRUST INDIA TO PICK THE VERY WORST CHOICES. east asia forum on india's foreign policy in the asian century.

mar 25th, 2012 CE

india needs to be:

a) a chanakyan state that plays off the other two major powers against each other, instead of aligning with one permanently. the parable of the monkey, the cats, and the chapati in the panchatantra is the right metaphor. the monkey ends up eating most of the chapati while the two cats bicker over the fair division of the chapati

b) plotting how it can get itself into the driver's seat in a sort-of 'Third Front' of states that don't trust either the US or china; in other words get them to ALIGN WITH INDIA

c) thinking of how to impose pax indica in the indian ocean between hormuz and malacca

of course, none of these things will ever be done by the powers-that-be.

myth that only 'hard' science can be objective

mar 25th, 2012 CE

this is quite like the myth about allopathy being 'science', and ayurveda not. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri venkat <>
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 6:26 AM
Subject: myth that only 'hard' science can be objective

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: vasant sardesai <>

In this context it will be worth looking to what Robert Thurman says
in his book "Inner Revolution". He notes that a myth prevalent in the
West is that only 'hard' science can be objective, in the sense that
experiments are carried out, and scientists observe and then report
their findings in an unbiased and neutral fashion. In contrast, the
disciplines of psychology, philosophy, consciousness studies, ethics,
and so forthare, by their very nature, subjective, because they deal
with various inner private experiences. This dichotomy presupposes
that inner experiences do not follow predictable lines of causation
whereas the outer world does. It is impossible then, to study the
inner realm scientifically with observations that can be deemed
reliable, reproducible and verifiable by others. As per this
prevailing myth, only outer revolutions have shaped history, and it is
these that have liberated the West by usheringin modernity. The inner
disciplines are
 subjective and well-meaning at best, superstitious or arbitrary at
worst. They are 'other worldly' and offer little benefit to this
material/social world apart from making us feel better.

He points out , that scientists are limited to studying the world of
phisical matter and mistakenly see this as objectivity. On the other
hand, dharmic practitioners have long discerned the interdependence
between object/subject, percept/concept, body/mind, other/self,
society/individual, experience/belief, signified/sign, etc and they
have a legitimate claimto usinf scientificmethodology. The inner
sciences were developed through observation, experimentation, critical
inquiry and debate and they should not be confused with religious
beliefs of the Judeo-Christan genre.
He explains that the enlightenment tradition discovered the micro and
macro dimensions more than two thousand years ago by using
sophisticated contmplative practices to augment the sixth mental sense
of inner vision. The realm is supernatural only in relation to a
constrained definition of natural. It is mystical only when the
analytic investigation is not completed. It is magic only when the
technique involved is not understood.

Adhyatma-vidya posits that it is possible to achieve complete mastry of
the conditions of life and death in order to attain happiness and this
knowledge can be taught to others and it does not demand blind faith
and this is done by using the methods of interior observation wherein
the mind itself is employed as an instrument for gaining insight.

V. S. Sardesai

pearls of wisdom from the inimitable @majorlyprofound: how to become a strategic analyst in pakistan. or india, for that matter

mar 25th, 2012 CE

sadly, this is what most indian analysis of pakistan is also like, with honorable exceptions like brahma chellaney.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

U.S. Healthcare By Numbers

United States ranking in the 34 member OECD:
1st in Obesity.

2nd in Prevalence of Diabetes.

3rd out of nine in Waiting Time for Specialists.

4th in Preventing Death from Stroke
7th in Cancer Incidence.

9th in Preventing Death from Cancer.

11th of 11 in Unmet Need for Care Due to Cost - United States ranks last in its ability to provide affordable care.

25th in Preventing Death from Heart Disease.

27th in Life Expectancy.

29th in Number of Practicing Doctors.
First in Spending - Annual healthcare spending totals $2.6 trillion, or 17.9 percent of annual GDP.

if santorum is a serious presidential candidate, the US is in deep trouble, says wapo

al khaleej asks: Are Arab revolutions a farce? [author sounds disappointed that new regimes not harsher]

my correspondent B highlighted stuff, i didn't, i am just forwarding the piece as i got it.

anyway, it seems that the palestinian issue, which everybody has been saying is at the root of arab angst, clearly isn't something that most arabs care two hoots about.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: B

Al-Khaleej (UAE), 15/3/2012

Are Arab 'Revolutions' a Farce?

Amina Abou Chehab

Whether the Arab Spring deserves its “revolutionary” label is being tested by a series of political events. These tests will determine whether the Arab Spring was a “revolutionary” event with an independent, self-generated dynamic emanating from the Arab reality and its political and social priorities, or a “limited” event whose features are largely compatible with foreign interests and demands.

The Arab Spring’s “revolutionary” label may be stripped in light of recent political action taken on critical issues, which prompts basic and legitimate questions: What is the “revolutionary” policy of the new order? Does it represent a clear break from the previous regimes' political and economic legacies, or is it a continuation of the previous order with a few minor tweaks? And where is the revolutionary policy with regard to foreign relations and basic Arab causes?

One of the most surprising features of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions is that, instead of being truly “revolutionary” when compared to the former political order, they are rather moderate and operate accordingly. But that political moderation is weak and artificial. It is not based on what the Arab political reality requires; rather, it is a Western notion that shapes Arab politics according to Western conditions and requirements.

The masters of moderation in the Arab Spring’s political realm are the moderate Islamic forces, or so the West calls them. These new policies, created by these forces in their own countries, are congruent with how the West designated them after the Islamists’ recent ideological and methodological transformations. Those ideological transformations were originally intended to form a truce, if not an alliance, with the West, and the “Arab Spring” terminology refers to the emergence of political forces with normal political behavior, deceptively depicted as “revolutionary.”

There is no doubt that the Arab masses voted for Islamists at the ballot box, not because of their “moderation,” which appeals to the West, nor because of their ideological and political transformation, of which the masses were unaware. The Arab masses chose the Islamists because of their radical political and ideological positions on major Arab political, economic and social issues, as well as their positions on matters of civilization, identity and culture.

The Islamists’ slogan has always been: “God is our objective, the Qur’an is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and dying for the sake of God is our highest aspiration.” The majority voted for that slogan because it unambiguously promotes a future based in Islam and all that it entails in terms of dignity, sovereignty, independence and the liberation of holy sites.

After the elections, Islamist forces were expected to establish their presence and present their distinguished policies on the Palestinian issue; first because of that issue’s close connection to the Islamic religious consciousness, and second because Islamists have, for decades, stuck to their basic political position on the Palestinian issue and how it should be resolved. But those expectations were met with silence, ambiguous platforms and leaks about conversations and interviews with the “Israeli” media. Then it became apparent that the Islamist forces in Egypt are following the former regime’s footsteps by upholding the Camp David Accords. Worse, the Gaza Strip, which has been blockaded for seven years, endured its harshest blockade yet when they were deprived of Egyptian electricity during the coldest winter in years. This happened after the Islamists won the Egyptian elections and became a ruling force there. The words “shame” and “scandal” do not even begin to describe the situation. We got another glimpse of the “new” policy, which is no different than the old one, when the Egyptian Rafah crossing into Gaza was closed, just like the “Israeli” one.

Gaza is a nightmare for the Arab conscience. Gaza, the Judaization policy, Jerusalem, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, all represent the bitter sting of Arab impotence. Gaza, especially during the recent Zionist aggression unleashed upon it, was the most serious and dangerous test for the ruling Arab Spring forces. The lack of reaction by these forces, their silence and the silence of their supporters indicate that the Palestinian issue may no longer be as central as it was before the Arab Spring. Their silence also eliminates whatever difference supposedly remained between these forces and their predecessors in regard to this issue. This suspicious silence  and the steps that preceded it, when some parties no longer insisted adding a constitutional clause prohibiting relations with Israel  poses all sorts of questions on the future of Palestinian resistance and its ideological and organizational links with the forces of political Islam. Hamas, which has refrained from responding to repeated Zionist aggression in Gaza, has links to these forces at the ideological and organizational levels.

Arab Spring policies have affected the most sacred positions of the Islamists, whose rhetoric is losing its meaning and revealing a reality that was unimaginable a short while ago.

why nations fail: book review in wsj. reason: 'extractive' institutions prevail over 'inclusive' ones. [therefore india is doomed]

Far too much intellectual firepower regarding the global poor these days focuses on the (small) things Westerners can do to help—obsessing about, say, how much money to spend on mosquito-blocking bed nets to fight malaria. The bigger questions—about why some societies prosper and others don't, about how to improve the lot of an entire impoverished class—are left by default largely to uncritical admirers of China's growth. The arrival of "Why Nations Fail" is thus a hugely welcome event, since economists Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson take on the big questions and in doing so present a substantial alternative to the dominant thinking about global poverty.

For Messrs. Acemoglu and Robinson, it is institutions that determine the fate of nations. Success comes, the authors say, when political and economic institutions are "inclusive" and pluralistic, creating incentives for everyone to invest in the future. Nations fail when institutions are "extractive," protecting the political and economic power of only a small elite that takes income from everyone else.

.... deleted


sound familiar?

pick an institution in india. pick any. they are *all* extractive.

the most extractive is a certain family's business. it is probably better to not explicitly name it, but we all know what it is (and no, i am not talking about reliance).


also relevant in this context is jared diamond's book 'collapse'. here's something from wikipedia. once again india fits the bill for a collapsing, failing nation.

Diamond identifies five factors that contribute to collapse: climate change, hostile neighbors, collapse of essential trading partners, environmental problems, and failure to adapt to environmental issues.

He also lists 12 environmental problems facing mankind today. The first eight have historically contributed to the collapse of past societies:

  1. Deforestation and habitat destruction
  2. Soil problems (erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses)
  3. Water management problems
  4. Overhunting
  5. Overfishing
  6. Effects of introduced species on native species
  7. Overpopulation
  8. Increased per-capita impact of people

Further, he says four new factors may contribute to the weakening and collapse of present and future societies:

  1. Anthropogenic climate change
  2. Buildup of toxins in the environment
  3. Energy shortages
  4. Full human utilization of the Earth’s photosynthetic capacity

Diamond also writes about cultural factors, such as the apparent reluctance of the Greenland Norse to eat fish.

Diamond says Easter Island provides the best historical example of a societal collapse in isolation

The root problem in all but one of Diamond's factors leading to collapse is overpopulation relative to the practicable (as opposed to the ideal theoretical) carrying capacity of the environment. The one factor not related to overpopulation is the harmful effect of accidentally or intentionally introducing nonnative species to a region.

Diamond also states that "it would be absurd to claim that environmental damage must be a major factor in all collapses: the collapse of the Soviet Union is a modern counter-example, and the destruction of Carthage by Rome in 146 BC is an ancient one. It's obviously true that military or economic factors alone may suffice" (p. 15).

India's Foreign Policy - A Strategic Deficit? by Dr Subhash Kapila

mar 25th, 2012 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar
Date: Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 3:29 AM
Subject: India's Foreign Policy - A Strategic Deficit? by Dr Subhash Kapila
To: "Undisclosed-Recipient:;"

The U.S. has outsourced its I.T. and back office operations to India. India has outsourced its Foreign Policy to the U.S.
INDIA’S  FOREIGN POLICY- A Strategic Deficit?

By Dr Subhash Kapila 23/3/2012

Introductory Observations

India’s foreign policy ever since Independence stands distinguished by being consistently strategically-deficit in terms of safeguarding India’s national security interests.

The idealistic and morally driven Non Alignment foreign policy devoid of a strategic vision during the Cold War years was a heavy millstone that robbed India of a vibrant foreign policy driven by a strategic vision and a securing of India’s strategic interests.

Such a foreign policy formulation could have been rationalised on the plea that India was then not economically and militarily strong and to steer clear of Cold War confrontations, an Indian foreign policy based on a high moralistic content bordering on neutralism would shield India against the Cold War strategic buffetings.

India’s foreign policy in the 21st Century logically should have been expected to be more strategically-driven by India’s national security interests since India in the last two decades had emerged that much more economically vibrant and militarily strong. India is now being perceived but not counted as being on an ascendant trajectory towards blossoming into a global player if not a global power.

Regrettably, while India may be perceived as on an ascendant curve economically and militarily, contrastingly, India’s foreign policy is increasingly on a strategic-deficit curve where India today stands “strategically diminished” as a result of flawed foreign policy formulations especially in the last seven years.

India stands “strategically diminished” in terms of its foreign policies for two major reasons. Growingly, a perception is gaining ground that India has outsourced its foreign policy to Washington and lets its foreign policy be driven by US political and strategic considerations rather than India’s national security considerations.

Following the above, is also the perception, that India’s foreign policy is becoming unpredictable and uncertain because increasingly India’s domestic political considerations arising from political survival of the Coalition Government in New Delhi has begun dominating India’s foreign policy at the expense of India’s strategic interests and security considerations.

... deleted

Saturday, March 24, 2012

@dhume in FP is correct: non-alignment idiotic; but wrong: US not reliable ally. must get others to align with india!

mar 24th, 2012 CE,2 

dhume is quite right about the ghost of nehruvian internationalism, irrationalism, vanity and lack of clarity still ("still crazy after all these years" with apologies to paul simon) holding sway over indian officialdom.

nonalignment was idiotic then when india was a banana republic, and it is idiotic now when india is getting -- despite the best and continuing efforts of the nehruvians -- to be a more significant player in the world. NAM == talking shop of irrelevant states. note how the NAM founders are all messed up: egypt (so what happened to nasser's arabism?), indonesia (west bullied it into ceding a big chunk of territory in east timor), yugoslavia (has ceased to exist), india (well... too long a tale of woe).

but dhume is wrong when he suggests the answer is to cozy up to the americans and be their sepoy and water-carrier and hewer of logs. the US has only ever respected those who defeated them in battle, or at least impressed them with their martial ability, not those who are servile and grovel at their feet (as india does by foregoing its national interest for the US' sake). the nuclear 'deal', for example, is a huge hoax, as it does nothing for india, and prevents india from keeping even a small nuclear deterrent, or developing its own thorium-based reactors. 

the very question of 'alignment' is passe. india should not be aligning with ANYBODY; it should get others to align WITH INDIA. that is, declare once and for all:

-- that it is not a G2, but a G3 out there: india is going to be one among equals
-- the indian ocean is india's private sea, where india will impose pax indica
-- that it is developing the naval power to enforce the above, with a blue-water navy (including aircraft carrier groups) and submarine-launched nuclear missiles

india should set itself a stretch goal and strategic intent: be number 1, not number 3; and it should acquire an ecosystem of partners which can get it there. alas, india's foreign affairs specialists cannot get over their obsessions with pakistan (a trivial nation) or china (whom india fears irrationally) or the US (all we want is crumbs from the US and esp their media).

india is a rimland; china is a heartland. rimlands are more interesting than heartlands. as america, bankrupt, retreats back across the pacific, it is the indian ocean -- home of the majority of the developing world, including africa and southeast asia, and where the majority of the world's oil and gas moves -- that is more strategically important. and india can control the entire route from the straits of hormuz to the straits of malacca. 80% of the world's oil and a good bit of its trade traverses this stretch.

but for all this, it takes: 

1. vision
2. cojones
3. leadership

all of which are, sadly, lacking. sigh!

Friday, March 23, 2012

wsj: china to stop killing prisoners to order for harvesting organs.

wsj: seeking india market, roche to reduce prices for cancer drugs:

economist's paean/obituary on mohan bagan player/gentleman, sailendra nath manna:

astonishing: india almost beat france (france!) in the olympics in 1952!

compare this to today, when india cannot win cricket matches that are not fixed.

conjecture: indians are too darn individualistic, and cannot do team sports. the only world-class indian players are in chess, billiards, boxing, maybe badminton and tennis.

arvind kumar in dna: Society must arm itself to counter communist terror

mar 23rd, 2012 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arvind Kumar

Society must arm itself to counter communist terror

Arvind Kumar | Friday, March 23, 2012

Communists pose the greatest threat to freedom and property rights. Communists also oppose the right to own arms which are necessary to defend oneself and one’s property.

They use the term ‘fascist’ to describe non-communists who advocate the use of arms for self-defence. The anti-Maoist group Salwa Judum and the former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori who crushed the Maoist terrorist group Shining Path have been branded as fascists.

The American constitution too has been labeled fascist as it guarantees the right to bear arms and form militias to oppose the kind of tyranny perpetrated by communist regimes. Elbridge Gerry, one of America’s founding fathers, acknowledged that the right “intended to secure the people against the maladministration of the government.”

Such rights make the communists feel insecure as they lack the support of the people and rely on violence to grab power. They operate on Mao’s dictum that power flows from the barrel of a gun. Their efforts have failed only in the face of armed resistance as seen from the actions of various governments.

While Sri Lanka showed tremendous resolve and smashed the LTTE which described itself as a Marxist-Leninist outfit, Nepal meekly capitulated to the Maoists. In India, the Naxalite problem persists because home minister Chidambaram responds to bombings with warnings as though the Naxalites would tremble at the prospect of receiving a strongly worded letter of reprimand.
Chidambaram also reveals remarkable political naivet&eacute; when he claims that poverty causes communist terrorism.

This claim is repudiated by the expensive weapons used by the Naxalites. The party programme on the website of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation too belies Chidambaram’s claim. The programme aims for an “armed revolution” using a “people’s army” and states that “overthrowing the central rule... the victorious revolution will usher in a people’s democratic state.”

Both the home ministry and the Election Commission display their incompetence by recognising the CPI(ML)-L as a political party despite the Naxalite group flouting the Representation of People’s Act.

The Act requires political parties to swear by the unity and integrity of India, but CPI(ML)-L promises a “polity recognising the nationalities’ right to self-determination including secession.”
The constitution of the CPI(M) too uses inflammatory language and states its aim as “the establishment of the state of dictatorship of the proletariat.” It also calls for the recruitment of “militants” and prescribes a “revolutionary outlook” for its leadership.

It is thus clear that the government is not competent to provide security and the people must protect themselves. Many Congress party leaders made this point in 1989 and 1990 when the violence unleashed by the communists in West Bengal reached a crescendo.

While SS Ray described it as “red terror,” the state Congress party chief Ghani Khan Choudhury requested the BJP to join him in ending the “Marxist terror” and asked the people to take up sten-guns, a call that was repeated by Rajesh Pilot in the presence of Pranab Mukherjee.

It was not the first time that a call to arms had been made to combat communism. Before Sardar Patel convinced the RSS to focus on Indian culture, the RSS advocated militancy not only to overthrow foreign rule but also to fight the Communists and other terrorist groups.

Indians must support militant groups like Salwa Judum that fight the communist terrorists. The communist groups receive support from powerful forces including the left-leaning evangelical and former American President Jimmy Carter whose National Security Advisor was the Marxist Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Carter and his Democratic Party actively interfere in global politics and lobby for the Marxist-Leninists in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, East Timor and South Sudan, places where American churches collude with the communists. These communist terrorists can be defeated only by using arms.

A few months back, the Madras High Court ruled that citizens had the right to use arms to defend themselves. This ruling should be welcomed as an armed populace will make India as peaceful as Switzerland which has a high rate of gun ownership. In an armed society, operations like the Mumbai terror attacks will last just a few minutes.

Arms were easily accessible to Indians before the British disarmed the country. Even priests used firearms to protect temples.

The people must once again arm themselves and remember Gandhi’s words on the ban on weapons, “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”

mar 23, 1931: Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru Martyrdom Day. dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

the day sukhdev, raj guru and bhagat singh were executed in the lahore conspiracy case.

they would scarce recognize the india that it is today: far from the ideal they died for.

also see what i wrote many years ago about kartar singh sarabha and vishnu ganesh pingle, of san francisco's gadar party:

from 1996:

from 1998:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shiv Shakti <>
Date: Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 4:59 AM
Subject: Let's take inspiration from Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on their Martyrdom Day !

HJS salutes Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev & Rajguru on their Martyrdom Day (23 March) !

From Left : Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru 
From Left : Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru

‘When power is misused, it translates into violence; but when it is used for achieving one's Righteous goals, it amounts to justice.’ This revolutionary ideology was stated by the great revolutionary Bhagat Singh. ‘Any sacrifice will be inadequate to accomplish the greatest aim of freeing the motherland’, was the inspiring outlook of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, his associates in the freedom fight. Today is the day when these three great revolutionaries laid down their lives in their effort to achieve their goal !

O People ! Do not be so ungrateful to Revolutionaries so as to forget them !

Read more about Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev :

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

is TIME cover story the kiss of death? ye gads! now @dhume01 will tell me it's a conspiracy theory :-)

so maybe they got jyoti thottam to write this with malefic intent? :-(

to be honest, i find TIME quite repulsive. it is utterly middlebrow; and it's probably good to read it when you are under 25, but beyond that, it is a bit like reading, well, readers' digest. the latter is at least honest enough to tell you they are giving you pre-digested pabulum, but TIME puts on airs. did you hear how they recently promoted a first-class prize ass and india-hater, aparisim bobby ghosh, to be 'editor at large'? i rest my case. this ghosh character used to write the most obnoxious and tendentious stuff when he was with the late lamented FEER. sort of like a cross between bdutt and teesta, with prannoy roy and brinda karat and kancha ilaiah and rajdeep sardesai thrown in for good measure. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Radha Rajan
Date: Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM
Subject: Time Cover - Good grief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was planning an acerbic comment on ecstatic response to Time Cover bullshit. But this beats anything I may have said. Someone has a sense of the macabre. RR


DC May See A Comeback

Data Centers, IT companies and Electric cars driving the push towards Direct Current
Solar panels produce DC power, which has to be inverted to AC before it is fed into a home, an office or the grid. Bypassing AC can help squeeze more energy from the sun.

Edison's Revenge: Will Direct Current Make a Comeback in the U.S.?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Those Dhimmis Are Back

Unlike India, Pakistan is yet to build an LNG import terminal (they were busy planning Mumbai attacks and such, you see), which will take a minimum of four years to build while the GAIL pipeline can be expanded into Lahore within months. GAIL plans to import liquefied natural gas at Dahej or Hazira import terminals in Gujarat and move this into Pakistan.
India offers gas export to Pakistan

Sunday, March 18, 2012

FM’s Fiscal Number Is A Load Of Bull

The total losses of the oil marketing companies will be around Rs 2,13,000 crore when Mukherjee has provided only Rs 40,000 crore for fuel subsidies, says a Business Standard report. That leaves a gap of Rs 1,73,000 crore. And we are not even talking about other subsidies like fertiliser and food – where too the provisions look inadequate.

R Jagannathan:  FM’s fiscal number is bull

The Telegraph: The Godzilla of all fudges

Almost the entire expenditure on big ticket items is being reclassified as grants. The govt can then be extravagant in splashing out money on these schemes without having to bother about the strain such fiscal profligacy can impose on deficit reduction commitments.