Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tucson tragedy

A crazy man opens fire, fails to kill his target, but kills 6 others and wounds another 12. It includes a Judge, senior people in the community, a young staffer, and a 9 yr old kid born on September 11.

The President delivered a long but delicately positioned invocation - that was part healing, part kick off of his reelection bid, part playing his part as commander in chief.  Yes, there that lately cynical old man, old time maverick, John McCain in the corner in the second row.  He did not make a statement or a speech. A good thing.

The President said,"She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism, vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.  I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations."

It also underscored something we all know: civil discourse in an increasingly multi-racial melting pot is way of the past. Tea Party was born out of this uncivil discourse.  It is not going away any time soon.  Guns, vitriol, Fox News and MSNBC are here to stay. Oklahoma bombing, 9/11, or Tucson have come and gone - we have become just a tad worse, after momentarily uniting  for a moment. NExt morning, we wake up, the realities of life hits you - making ends meet, putting food on the table and a roof over your head. If anything comes in between, we get upset.  What civility we say....and so it goes.  In the end, we just care about us.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tax cuts and such things

Apparantly the President of United States wants to strike a deal with the newly strengthened Republicans on a deal, which essentially kicks the bucket down another two years. No backbone. Just politics. So the assumption is rich people should pay at 2001 levels, thay mindset shift will mysteriously make them create more jobs and trickle it down. Maybe they will, but by providing those tax breaks for the estate tax guys almost to the tune of billions is a bit too much to swallow by any sane standards.

So will my tax go up, maybe not payroll - but we will be paying more out of pocket in every which way. One can easily balance the budget - more taxes, less spending. It is just not going to happen. Eventually that Social Security and Medicare is going away, who will make the call - that remains to be seen.

So in the end...the logic is well, the longer term unemployed got another year. Why? WHy would anyone go look for a job if welfare state is alive and well. It will never solve the unemployment problem. MAybe the Obama Govt does not want them to be in the labor pool at all - one way to reduce the denominator.

It is silliness everywhere. The President may have crossed the point of no return. I hope for his sake, its incorrect because the options, other than Romeny are much much worse.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Politics of Insanity

United States is going into an election November 2, which will sweep in the Republicans in the House and a Democratic Senate with a much stronger Republican control. Nothing will change, but the pace will slow. For US, the divided branches are good in general. The country has progressed well, whereas if one party rules it all, excesses happen, and everyone feels jipped.

Mr. Obama has three things going against him: businesses don't trust him and do not want to invest the vast amounts of cash on the sidelines into jobs, the people think he just is too aloof to care, and then Fox News and Murdoff media skillfully has made people believe the world is going hell in a handbasket.  The economy is recovering for at least 4 quarters, but ask the 10% unemployed who dont feel that way.

In 2 years the economy would still be growing. The unemployment rate would be at 8% levels, and everyone will call that a huge win. The ware will still be on Afghanistan, only because the Right don't want to let the defence contractors down. The budget will be bloated as ever. The Health care money will be throttled but still very much around. Just for BHO to feel good about a rerun paritcularly if the other side puts up Palin, who if she is smart shiuld wait till 2016.

As for the rest of us, we still wont be cared. Life is go on. One  soundbite, one moment, and one breath at a time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Water anyone!

World is fast running out of water. In 30 years, many portions of the world will be severely overpopulated and severely parched (e.g., India, Middle East, parts of North Africa for starters).  Many people in the US, Europe and parts of Latin America have plentiful supply, but most others do not. Water has always been a public right, like the right to breath air, and freedom and liberty. 

But the villainous and what at that time seemed a far fetched idea of someone taking over the world water resources, as depicted in the latest Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace" is about to play out all over the world. Private parties all over the world are banding to control aquifers and lakes to feed the unquenchable thirst of the world.

We are surrounded by water, nearly 70% of the planet is, and 90% of the human body is...but very little of the water around is potable and drinkable (less than 1%). Ultimately someone is going to figure out a way to cost effectively desalinate the oceans - till then water is going to become the new "clear" gold. There is not way around it. And certain countries will hold other hostage to it, and will to war for it, Pakistan, India, China come to mind.

We cannot live without water, so we do care about it as individuals, already purified water marketed by the like of Coca Cola and others is 5x more expensive than a gallon of gas..but no one pays attention. At least not yet. But as global warming takes grip and our fresh water sources under assault, we will always be fighting a downward battle.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tea Party Anyone!

What started as an innocent protest by a stock trader in February 2009, asking folks to ship a tea bag to Congress for bailing those good-for-nothing-don't care-bonus gauging-electionbuying-loanlending-moneyhoarding financial institutions, is now - a bonafide phenonmenon.  Tea party is here to stay and influence GOP politics for years to come, much like the arrival of Lord Ronald Reagan thirty years ago.

Tea party manifesto relies on constitutionfollowing-healthcarehating-prorich-antienvironmenal-simpletaxation-balancedbudget-controlled spending manifesto. Parts of them noble, parts of them just pot crazy. But as in life, nothing is perfect. But they have struck a nerve, people just have had it from everybidy, nobody seems to listen to them. Congress does what the lobbies who got them there tell them, people seem to not get it. Well, they do, they are just not sending the useless reps back. But would the new breed be truly faithful or power and influence and the soft money that comes with it change them? Initially no, but eventually absolutely yes. Mass Senator Brown is one example, great in the initial days, but he does take much of his directions from whoever care to provide it to him. Fill in your influence blank. That said, he is being a maverick and thats what makes him cool for now.

Eventually a balance budget and reduced deficit would be nice, but then taxes have to go up, they cant both be at logger heads. Right now, people just want to work, and poverty is at a 30 year high, what were we expecting after all that blood bath. Now the really painful news is that $780 Billion of the Govt gave (our money) to Banks is still sitting there. That is a $2300 per person, we could have all used, spent some of it and brought the economy back, single handedly...but that did not happen.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has also shown that  resignation from her post, having all the personal issues, and lack of any good grasp of anything, does not have to effect anything-it infact is a plus! Many americans have come to see her as themselves, and thats a sad state of affairs for the country. But Palin is here to stay and nothing really sticks to her. One has to be as whacky as Glenn Beck to get some attention around here. Common sense? What common sense. Patience? What patience? Middle ground? That does not exists. Consensus, compromise, bipartisonship - all new four letter obscenities.

We care about us, we want it now...and we will remove whoever is in our path...we are not watching, and we don't care.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Koran and September 11

A crazy preacher in Florida wants to burn a Koran on Sept 11 on the 9th anniversary of the terrorist strikes in America.  It was when 19 completely deranged people decided to administer a medicine to a superpower, that collateral damage is not just confined to the Middle East. America woke up, and a trillion dollars have been spent in misdirected wars. A lot more than 3000 have been killed since, another 4000 of brave Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis have died as part of the collateral damage. Yes, the hard core elements have died too in that process, but innocent lives came with it.

That brings us back to the Koran. It was interesting when the whole world was commenting on an action of a crazy preacher wanting to get his 15 minutes of fame, a disgrace to the cloth he wears. Just two years back hundreds of Bibles were burnt in Jerusalem by Palestinians, where was the American outrage and world outrage then? No one screamed, no one asked for peace.

The reason is simple: the imam has a megaphone 5 times a days, and can stir up emotions as no one else can. Most Christians do not even go to their churches, even if they do its once a week. Therein lies the difference. Emotions can be whipped up easily one way. Hence the fear.

When a bunch of un or under employed people, with no or poor family ties, living in extreme poverty, get together they are look for a goal - any goal, to find purpose (which comes with food and money), you have them to do anything. They know living such a life, unheard, is no life at all. Dying young in glory is another matter. Koran binds them that way...its the way of even one book burned goes a long way.

On the flip side, unless better employment conditions are not created (a la Dubai, Abu Dhabhi), talking to this crowd is pointless, force is everything.  Inspite of all the aid poured in from United States, Pakistanis will always hate Americans...nothing positive we do matters. All they want is their money, and then go away.  In many movies in  Bollywood, the explicit dialogue is to do whatever to "get money from that white man (gora)", then make fun of all their ways behind their back.

In other words, every bird cares about itself first. If burning a Koran endangers our birds, then we should not encourage it. But don't expect the other flock of bird to understand. They only care about themselves.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chilean tragedy: price of a human life

The grainy images brought a sigh of relief. It showed a bunch of Chilean miners buried nearly two thousand feet below were alive and  in good spirits given this could very well have been their grave, and for some before the ordeal is over, it could still be. Trapped in a small space breathing the stale air, sparse food, little water, and no light showcases to what extent we risk our lives to want for a better life. Most of the world does much care except watch it on TV as it makes good TV.  They will watch Beck rally, even participate in it rather than empathize with their plight. Same is the case of the millions uprooted in Pakistan.

It will take two to three months not weeks or days to get them. The human and psychological tool is incalculable. Even if a few perish, all they will get is a lump sum payment of a few thousand dollars. That's it. There will be no rallies, no taking back the country, no bringing back the honor.

Most nation in US and by default some parts of the industrialized world is now obsessed with an errant hurricane that could dent up the east coast. The damage could be catastrophic, it could be minimal. Impeding doom is much more thrilling than being buried in the earth. With all the technology in man's possession, drilling ocean floors. It will take more time to get to the miners than it did to breach the BP Oil well, there is something wrong with that.

Meanwhile 40 odd people live in dim lighting with a camera, sparse ration, and attitude to see through three long months. There is nothing anyone can and will do about it. There are ways to get to them faster, but why? These are no VIPs, they are just ordinary miners. Their life is worth less, anyone else could have fared better, and there in lies the rub.