Thursday, January 12, 2017

#ModernFairyTales - A story and a call to action

Got this on a whatsapp group. Brilliant, so sharing and I've put a
call to action at the end.

"And then the princess found herself locked in a tower surrounded by a
stinky moat with crocodiles and a huge scary dragon guarding the
door,"

read the mother, with her eyes wide and voice deep.

Then, she made a sad face and continued softly,

"So, the poor princess waited and waited for her prince to come--"

*"But, why was she waiting for the prince, mumma?!"*
asked the little girl, impatiently.

The mother added, "To come and save her, silly."

"But, mumma, why did she need a prince to save her?" the girl asked again.

"Uhh... hmm..." the mother was at a loss of words.

The little girl said proudly, "If it were me, instead of waiting for
years and years for a prince, I would have tamed the dragon and flew
out of the window."

I would have rescued myself."

She discarded the book and walked away,
"This princess is stupid."

The mother whispered with a broad smile,
"I guess it is time to rewrite the fairy tales."

*_ModernFairyTales_*

*Lets teach our daughters to be self sufficient n independent rather
than waiting for a prince or a miracle to happen!*

-------

Its an inspiring idea that I want to see becoming a reality. I want to
see a collection / listing of #ModernFairyTales.

Here's something from my end. While the story above was about women
taking more control over their lives, A few years back I re-wrote an
old Indian story, Eklavya, to touch upon the issues of caste / class
inequality, the "history is written by the victors" angle and the idea
of self-designed learning. I preserved the key events of the story,
but gave it a completely different perspective and different
cause-effect. Called it Eklavya 2.0 . Check it out!

http://nikhilsheth.blogspot.com/2013/01/eklavya-20.html

And if you'd like to spark off something about this on the
twitterverse, here's some handy links:

https://twitter.com/GhildiyalSaumya/status/782117066711060480
https://twitter.com/Namita_NV/status/783534223818973184

Thursday, January 5, 2017

#Demonetization : intentions vs intelligence

Do we really need to get so emotional about this? Just a few simple points:

1. Only a small fraction of India's enormous untaxed income is held in cash.
2. The inconvenience caused to the public outweighs any potential benefits.
3. Terrorists etc can easily get aadhar cards or steal identity of
others and can do even more ghotalas with digital money.
4. It is much easier to print fake 2000 rs notes and hoard them than
it was to print fake 500rs or 1000rs notes.

I know many people were getting itchy and desperately wanted that
"Something MUST be done!", but brainlessly doing things that harm ONLY
your society's most vulnerable sections, don't even do baal-waaka of
the real crooks, and legitimizing it all with a patriotic brush or
glorifying compulsory sacrifice is any day worse than doing nothing.

Terrorism, hoarding, smuggling, black money, undeclared assets, swiss
bank accounts and worst of all corruption by bureaucrats and
politicians and control of your local police force by the biggest
goons of your area will continue unaffected by demonetization.

Dear supporters of demonetization, we're not questioning your
intentions. We are only questioning your intelligence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

#pizzagate - NY mayor's letter?

This was posted on New York mayor Rudy Guiliani's twitter profile right before Twitter removed his account. Investigate later; Reposting for now.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

#Demonetization : Cashless economy, Digital currency : Trojan horse?

Hi friends,

As the excitement runs its course and gives way to clearer thinking, more and more articles are coming out now that are putting serious questions to previous and current grandiose declarations and assurances surrounding the Demonetization move. Sharing two such articles on digital / cashless economy issue. Enthusiasts for cashless economy, digitization-of-everything might need to eat some humble pie.

http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/7629-don-t-forget-danger-digital-black-money
Don't forget the danger of digital black money

A quote from it : Digital platforms offer masking, scale, automation and remote operations, something cash cannot ever provide. It is, therefore, a dream come true for black money hoarders, terrorists and organised criminals. The combination of virtual accounts and anonymising money transfers creates unprecedented opportunity to launder and hide black money.

(emphasis added by me)

And another article serves as a valuable predecessor to it, published just 2 weeks prior to the demonetization announcement:
http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/7100-pm-modi-must-protect-india-s-banking-system-hack-attack
PM Modi must protect India's banking system from 'hack attack'

Quote from there: With the government reportedly placing the Consolidated Fund of India within the ambit of such technology "disruptions" by the NPCI, a non government public company, the questions are  not only of conflict of public and private interests, but even more seriously about not how but when will India in the grip of compromisable technologies witness a cyberwar that will destroy the banking and financial system in minutes.

It's worth noting that this author isn't from the anti-BJP side at all, heck he's been an adviser to the Goa BJP govt! See his credentials:

Dr Anupam Saraph, a professor, future designer and former governance and IT adviser to former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum

#Demonetization : "Exchanging" notes behind closed doors? Really?

I can't believe the collective stupidity in assuming that influential black money hoarders will EXCHANGE their notes behind closed doors. You don't exchange money behind closed doors. You STEAL it. Especially when it's being printed out of thin air without constant public tracking of how much is being printed, where it's being dispatched etc.. without adequate mechanisms to catch out cash that goes missing in transit from RBI to banks.

sample pic of IT-raids going on where large stashes of new notes are being confiscated, from http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/while-you-were-waiting-queues-these-bureaucrats-were-caught-rs-47-crores-new-notes-53708

Ref link:
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-one-month-of-demonetisation-several-crores-worth-of-cash-seized-long-queues-outside-atms-4420098/
>> see the cases, the circumstances.. they're more ripe for outright stealing the new notes rather than exchanging them with old ones. Do you seriously expect the operators here to take double high risk : in getting the new notes out AND getting equal value of older notes in?? That too the latter would only happen AFTER a supposed transaction. So anyways for any exchange to happen behind closed doors / away from the bank counters, the new notes would primarily have to be taken away. Why would the operator bother breaking back in to put old notes? And he'd have to put them in another place, where the old notes are. And one can't easily explain this away in the accounting system. Much easier to simply burn them off and move on.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A few meme jokes on #Demonetization


Update: Found an awesome one shared by others on FB:


Fw: Open letter to PM Modi from a single mother of three #Demonetization

This was shared by a friend on facebook, who is the author. Keeping identity anonymous to protect the lady from the bhakts.

*Dear Modiji*

I voted for you. Because I *wanted change*.

Now I am confused because I have *no change* for the two thousand rupees you have given me.

I am a *single mother* of three trying to work and balance home.
I had fifty thousand rupees of *my hard earned money* at home for emergencies on the day *you declared them waste paper*.

This was *not black money*. This was money I had earned and *worked hard and saved.*

I know I can put them back in my bank but have you seen the queues

I took a holiday stood five hours outside a bank and got four thousand rupees in two thousand rupees notes.

After that I had no energy to stand in queue to deposit rest of the money

Elated with my money I went to the milk stall.
The man very curtly told me if you have change buy the milk because I have no change
He showed me his own two thousand rupees notes he got from the bank.
These are useless he grumbled

I went to my favourite vegetable vendor
She had very few vegetables
What happened I asked her
She said she had very little money to buy vegetables
Then she looked at me warily and asked, Memsaab you will give me change for the vegetables?
I have no change

I looked at the two thousand in my hand and said I have this
She removed her two thousand and showed me. I also have only that.

No milk no fruits for the kids today

My head was throbbing I went to the chemist.
A board greeted me
We will accept only hundred rupees.
We accept higher denomination currency only if you use the complete amount with us

Went to grocer asked for bread and butter and a bottle of water
Went to pay with my two thousand rupees
He looked at me sadly
Aunty I have no change but since you are a regular customer you can pay me later
I took the goods and hailed an auto

Instead of the usual surly, Kidhar jaana hai he belted out, Choota hai to baitho.
I showed him my two thousand rupees he showed me his

I started walking home
Tired I reached home
Gave the kids bread butter and water
They looked at me puzzled, Mom why we don't have proper food today? they innocently asked.

I showed them the crisp new two thousand rupees

This is Monopoly money? The young one asked innocently .

Yes it is, I replied because it can buy only imaginary goods

Called the boss. Asked for a leave next day
He said, why? Did you not get to exchange your money
I said, Yes but it was no use the crisp notes were useless anywhere I went
So what will you do with another leave he said. They will still give to another two thousand rupees.

I said I don't want leave to go to bank I want leave to start a protest.
What, he exclaimed

I said, no one seems to be protesting this arbitrary decision.

Those with black money are still sitting in their AC palaces.
They are not standing in queues to get their own money.
The ones with black money are now poorer by a few crores but what difference those few crores will make when they have so much.

It's us the common folk who are bearing the brunt of this abrupt change Modiji thought of.
I can't use my own money, old or new.
Can you imagine how many like me are there in this country who are so badly hit by this.

My boss was quiet.
Where are you staging the protest?
I will join you.

>> again, I'll remind the casual arguer : You're challenging a single mother of three kids to prove her patriotism to you by standing in long queues.. for getting more useless pink notes that she has already stood in line for. Go cashless? My father and brother recently got cheated by PayTM's "cashless" solution twice in a row; the money they transferred never reached the shopkeepers whom we know well and trust to not be frauds. PayTM is just not responding.

Update, 11.12.16: Check out this article. Could the story above be a consequence of this..
https://www.thequint.com/india/2016/11/16/printing-of-rs-100-notes-stalled-as-focus-shifts-to-rs-2000-rs-500-notes-demonetisation-black-money-rbi-currency-ban
Printing of Rs 100 Notes Stalled as Focus on Rs 2,000 and Rs 500
... "The Reserve Bank of India’s preoccupation with printing the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes has almost completely stopped the printing of Rs 100 notes – at this point in time, the most sought after currency – leaving the country staring at a potentially huge financial and economic crisis."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Seeing contours for a location

1. Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map_input
2. If you have a .kml of your chosen location, upload it. If it's in another format, you can use geojson.io or mapshaper.org to convert it to .kml or .gpx.
3. If you don't have any file, find your lat-long location and type it into the given textbox in the way they've instructed.
4. Click on "Draw the map" button. In the window that opens, change the map layer to "OpenTopoMap" or "OpenCycleMap". They show the contours with height in meters.
5. Go back to the Make page and change the settings, like width n height default zoom level etc to get the map you want.
6. There will be a link to download the page showing the map to your computer, so you can just open in next time (still needs net) without having to enter all these parameters.

Printing / Taking large screenshot:
1. Do this on Firefox browser; Chrome doesn't have this feature yet.
2. Create your map with larger width and height, and high zoom level. Through trial and error, adjust these to get just the right large map window (use scrollbars to move in it) that shows all of your area at the zoom that you want and you don't need to click-drag the map.
3. Now screenshot the entire window (including the portions out of view). Press Shift+F2, a command console opens at the bottom. Type in this command:
screenshot --fullpage

4. The screeshot is saved either in the downloads folder of your device, or it asks you where to save it and what name to give.

Some more tools:

https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4-free-online-topo-maps.html
fullscreen:
https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=18.751778,73.551396&z=15&t=t1

http://contourmapcreator.urgr8.ch/

Interesting links for November 2016

A LOT has been happening this month!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

when someone's lived experience defies your "knowledge"

When people's lived experiences defy and question your "knowledge",
you need to modify your "knowledge", which at the end of the day is an
opinion - rather than outright denying their experiences.

When does a nationalist turn into a fascist?

When does a nationalist turn into a fascist?

If your love for your fellow countrymen is more than your hatred for
whom you perceive to be its enemies, then you're a nationalist.

If your hatred for whom you perceive to be its enemies, exceeds your
love for your fellow countrymen, then you become fascist.

This is reflected in the decisions you take and the ones you approve of.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The purpose of pre-election polls?

While there are others, the ones I've noticed are :
Delhi State Elections, both of the last 2 times;
Bihar State Elections
and then internationally:
Brexit referendum, UK
Presidential Election, US

What do these elections/referendum have in common?
In all of them, the polls commissioned and shared by the dominant
mainstream media channels and newspapers of that country and
internationally, in the run-up to the grand finale, all mispredicted
the result, massively. They said sun and pointed at moon.

In all of these cases, the reigning establishment - the dominant
status quo - the side that the corporate elites backed - was what was
predicted by the polls to win, but lost. And the other
anti-establishment side, which depending on the occasion was
relentlessly attacked by the media in all kinds of ways, ended up
winning.

And these were landmark fork-in-the-road occasions too : times when
there were clear and distinct choices to choose from, where the
electorate actually had a choice rather than the tired old game of
choosing one of identical options.

So what was it that made all these pre-election (and pre-referendum)
polls fail so badly? While there have been many post-mortem
explanations, I'll try to introduce a different angle : by
re-examining the question.

What is the true purpose of these pre-voting polls?
Conventional answer : to guage and report the public sentiment and to
predict what the vote's outcome would be.

But if that were true, then these polls have been failing
catastrophically and consistently, and you would have expected to see
some serious disruption and course-change in this industry. Yet the
same pollsters and the same people did them and reported them, both in
India's case and in USA-UK's case.

I'd like to offer a different purpose.

The purpose of these polls is to influence the final vote.

By repeatedly telling you that side A is going to win and that's what
most of your fellow citizens support, they seek to make you believe
that is the side you should be supporting too.

"You" is multiplied millions of times over. Everybody is privately
told that "A is what everybody else is supporting so you better do it
too. And if you are believing otherwise then you better keep your
mouth shut to avoid any rejection / embarrasment amongst all the
people you live and work with".

Under normal circumstances, come voting day, and people do as they've
been told, and then the final result of the vote is.. totally in line
with what the pollsters had predicted. Everything works as planned and
so nobody finds out what really happened. Did the polls just predict
the vote or influence it.. heck, the results were the same so nobody
cares!

What we miss out noticing, is that what the polls had predicted, ended
up influencing the actual vote, and so rather than the poll being a
reflection of what will happen, what happens on voting day ends up
reflecting what the polls were predicting.

That is, the final vote obeys the polls.

This would be difficult to achieve with just one source and one
station, but if the dominant status quo manages to co-opt the whole
umbrella of public information discourse : all or nearly all the
mainstream newspapers and TV news channels and magazines and academia
networks and now even virally shared items on social media, then they
can successfully guide the public into voting the way they want them
to vote.

The only occasion when the chinks in this mechanism's armour show up,
is, as is true in industrial applications, under failure conditions.
That's when the proverbial curtain gets caught up in the winds of
dissent and is momentarily lifted. revealing a brief glimpse of what's
behind.

On the occasions I mentioned above, I believe that's what has
happened, and the mainstream media got caught in the act trying to
influence the final vote. We have caught them abandoning journalistic
standards and trying their hardest to influence the vote. Heck, even
after the vote they are STILL trying to influence the outcome.

The true purpose of the widespread, repeated and v-high-coverage
pre-vote polling by mainstream media is not to predict the vote, but
to make it go the way they want it to.

What's the alternative?
Well, first things first, what a good researcher would do is to cut
out all the external factors that may influence the experiment. So
yes, these polls need to be recognized as what they really are and
taken down from their current highly respected position. Rather, they
serve only the ends of the competing parties, as a market research so
they can guage where they are and strategise what to do next. Let the
parties do their own research if they truly want to stay ahead of the
curve, instead of mainstream news organizations wasting millions in so
unreliably doing their job for them.

Instead, we would benefit a lot more if that much time were instead
taken up in letting the competing sides offer their arguments and
submit their information.
Isn't it silly, that at the very start of campaign season, before the
public has had any chance to even go through the options on the table,
they are being bombarded with predictions of what the outcome would
be?

It's the equivalent of going to a restaurant with your family and the
waiter, instead of giving you the menu, starts yapping about what that
family over there is having and what everybody else is having and so
what you should be having. Imagine asking this waiter for the menu,
and he gives you only a list of what most of the other people are
having instead of what all the options on the menu are, with the
most-ordered item on top with percentage points and all the prices
removed. If you enquire about the other options available, this waiter
starts bitching and trash-talking about the other options, so as to
make you choose the one he's recommending. Then you ask him for the
actual MENU and he tells you, "No, I'm not going to give you that. If
you're so desperate for it, why don't you go to our restaurant's
official website and look it up yourselves?"

You're damn right we will. We don't need to give a shit about what
everybody else is ordering; we're distinct individuals and we want to
order what we want to eat ourselves.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Would anti-Trump protests even happen if what they claimed about his side was true?

An observation about the anti-Trump protests.

If all the myths of Trump supporters being intolerant violent
extremists etc WERE true, then all these "F**K Trump. Kill Trump"
protests and riots and social media declarations wouldn't have
happened at all. They have happened only and only because the
participants - whether paid or not - feel safe that they will not get
physically attacked by violent extremists. Just look at other
countries where true tyrants (elite-backed I must add.. why do people
miss out that little detail?) have come to power : the dissenters have
no choice but to shut up for some time and be very, very afraid at
least during the first days when the winning side people are
triumphant and belligerent. I don't see any of that happening in the
US right now.. the anti-Trump voices are only getting shriller, more
violent and more provocative with no retaliation coming from the side
that they have been claiming is violent, intolerant etc etc.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The I-dont-know-who-to-trust syndrome

You've been believing A since some time now.

A had told you some really bad things about B, and said you should
never trust B. And trusting A, you stayed well away from B all this
time.

But suddenly some new information has emerged, in a separate matter,
which puts your trust in A in question. It has turned out that A had
betrayed your trust and has been lying to you.

So now you no longer trust A.

When asked who do you trust, you say "Oh, it's all so complicated, I
don't know who to trust anymore".

But wait a minute. What about B?

"Oh, I can't trust B, no way!"

But who told you that B can't be trusted?

A.

Doesn't the fact that you can't trust A anymore, lead to the
possiblity that whatever A told you about B might also have had some
falsehoods?

It would be foolish of course to blindly go to the opposite extreme
and blindly trust B suddenly. But what if your learned,
indoctrinated-by-A complete aversion to B needs a re-evaluation?

What if you need to re-look into what B has been telling, with a fresh
set of eyes?

What if A's deception had included painting an ugly image of B and
preventing you and B from finding common ground together?

Then by resorting to "I don't know who to trust anymore" instead of
re-examining your aversion towards B, aren't you still making A win in
their game of deception, even after having known that A is fraudulent?

What / who have been the As and Bs in your life?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Diwali message with a twist

This Diwali,
instead of wearing a new dress,
*can I change the way I address people?* This Diwali,
instead of cleaning an already clean house, *can I work on scrubbing my dusty heart?*
This Diwali,
instead of lighting up my doorway,
*can I question my pathway to ignorance?*
This Diwali,
instead of stuffing myself with sweets, *can I give up the bitterness in my heart?*
This Diwali,
instead of bursting crackers,
*can I burst my egoistic pride?*

Spread Love ❤ and Happiness Friends 😊 Happy Diwali  🙏

-- shared by someone named prachi on a whatsapp group, but can't verify if she's the author. Anyways the message is universal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Winter travel tip: Use clothes as under-blanket

Poor people's guide to survival without sleeping bags:
Unpack and lay all your remaining clothes as a secondary patched-up blanket below you, to add to the one blanket ur carrying that you'll put on top. Use one clothe to cover ur ears well.
☝🏼 this saved my life on a few occasions and during cycle yatra.
On one bus journey i realized the chaddar was too thin so the clothes went both above and below.
Also, newspapers tucked in can help as insulation.

Note: this was applicable to me in rajasthan's winter (which is in india). If you're at an even colder place then don't take it literally!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Possible additional motive for demonetization move

Came across this article posted as citizen journalism:

http://www.jantakareporter.com/india/the-masterstroke-policy-of-demonetisation/75165/

Following up on that.

I know for a fact that the big corporates have borrowed and defaulted on huge sums of money from psu's. Raghuram was pushed out for exposing this n trying to take action.

If govt doesnt confiscate their assets or take action like on sahara group or even kingfisher, then only way is to do bailout like usa did for their banksters.

For that they need public's money. See, India cannot print large amts of money as usa can, as rupee is not world's reserve currency. Else runaway inflation will happen like zimbabwe/venezuela. Please search online to find how US is able to get away with it. "Hidden secrets of money" series on youtube can explain the details.

So the only way, if you're not confiscating the assets of the defaulters, is to collect surplus cash reserves from the people of the nation and use it to settle the defaulter's debts. Basically, socialism/communism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

At the end it results in massive amounts of money collected from citizens that could have been used for nation's progress, transfered to big corporates instead. Classic crony capitalism case.

This isn't the only source. Earlier there have been reports of govt not lowering petrol-diesel prices despite intl crude prices crash. They have been collecting huge surplus as result, and there were speculations of govt deliberately hoarding these reserves so that they can be used to bail out the big defaulters.

This demonetization move would not directly give money to govt's treasury, but is massively increasing the cash reserves of the banking sector. Our banks follow fractional reserve lending, meaning to be able to lend large amounts of money, or in this case to write off bad debts, they need higher reserves of cash.

India traditionally doesn't keep very high reserves in its banks; the term 'black money' has been overzealously used to blanket-paint all the money of indians that doesn't pass through the banks.

Actually there is no real reason for it to be so : banks were originally solely for people to store their money in a safe place so they don't get robbed of it at home. The lending out at interest was a way to make use of this collected money, and a part of the interest earned was passed on to the depositor. So banking is just one for-profit service in the economy, among many. There is really no reason to make banks the holy temple of all money : doing so has caused many problems.

But I digress. Anyways, while i also agree this demonetization move has many benefits, its worth exploring the possible other motives too. A vigilant citizenry is necessary for a healthy democracy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gratitude to Infowars, RT and more

Dear Alex Jones / Infowars, RT, Lee Camp, Inessa S, Julian Assange/Wikileaks, John Rappoport and many more,

You've taken on an Empire and have prevented, for the time being,
World War 3 from happening.

It's still difficult for me to explain this matter to the people around me. It's possible they'll hate me for this for some time to come. But I hope we will see through in time. You have my deepest and heartfelt gratitude. Thank you, for being who you are.

[Rethinking] US Elections

Writing about a major hoodwink operation underway among the social
sector people, and among many of my friends.

Right now on these networks I see a conspicuous absence of people
choosing to talk about the ongoing US Elections. It's one of the
biggest issues but strangely it has become the elephant in the room
that people want to avoid. I take that as a sign that there is
uncertainty and confusion, and I think I know the reasons for that
confusion. People are following a standard narrative when asked, but
aren't proactively expressing it so I don't think they're really
saying what's in their hearts.. I sense more of an obligatory
compliance. It seems fashionable now to talk only ill of certain
people and there is an imminent threat in the air of excommunication
should one break the taboo.

There are simply too many links to track down and share here. I had
earlier thought I'll do a proper curated email, but there are too many
threads of info and I don't want to share this AFTER the election
results are out, as I want to stake my claim on what I've been
observing and share my conclusions and not be doing a post-facto
post-mortem of the matter. I've been afraid of even talking about this
with people as at first conversation I learn that it's going to take
forever, we don't have forever and in the meanwhile even I'll just get
damned, pinned as a misogynist or something. So anyways here goes.

The major corporate and banking elites that have been running the
world into the ground, seem to have successfully convinced
well-meaning and i-had-assumed-were-more-aware people to back their
chosen candidate for the US elections, Hillary Clinton. If you want
any specific names, then see : Goldman Sachs.

The mainstream media, which is lock stock and barrel acting like
Hillary Clinton's PR agents, has demonized Trump for the exact purpose
of instilling so much fear in people's heads that they become blinded
by this fear and blindly support the opposite camp. The media's
portrayal of him looks too bad to be true, and that's what got me
questioning. And I've found out that this portrayal is both deliberate
and unnatural. He's actually not the monster they've painted him to
be.

What's happening is a classic case of a controlled situation spinning
out of control. The media's job was set, but the elites didn't count
on Trump actually turning out to be something more than just an
attention grabber. It has been told by countless participative
democracy proponents: one does not need to be a career politician to
be a good leader. Any human being is sufficient and can make the right
decisions if he/she is a free person and is not beholden to any vested
interests.

"Oh no, anything but Trump!" Really? How did we become so childish all
of a sudden? "Anything?" Really? Do you have any idea what you're
signing up for when you say "anything" ?

So here it becomes necessary to question the prevalent mood that Obama
is a good guy.

The Obama+Clinton regime of the past 8 years has not only continued
Bush's legacy, but taken it to even lower depths.

The core problem with US politics is not blunt-mouthed politically
incorrect people, but smooth-talking liars. Obama came into office
with a Nobel Prize in hand; he should leave with an Oscar for best
Acting. He said he'll stop war and he's created even more. He said
he'll reign in Wall Street and instead he made them more powerful than
ever. He promised justice, and he's industrialized drone assassination
programs that have a 90% innocent-kill rate, is using Kill Lists where
he can choose who he wants dead without any due course of law or
oversight, has signed record number of executive orders (an
unconstitutional practice started by Bush) and has given himself
powers to wage war anywhere in the world as and when he sees fit. This
isn't President Obama anymore; it's Emperor Obama. Very recently he
even vetoed to protect Saudi Arabia's government from lawsuits by 9/11
victims' families. Frankly he has acted like he has absolutely no
intentions of leaving the White House. And Hillary is right up there
in the Emperor's court, waiting in the wings to take over the title
and continue the Empire. The only thing saving these people from open
revolution is the illusion they're putting out of being nice, coupled
with the illusion that there is no other possible choice, with the
full complicity of the international mainstream media that has a
highly centralized ownership.

To vote for Hillary is to vote for war, for the banksters who have
already ripped us off trillions and are prepping to do it again, for
the elites, for pay-for-play ie favors given to people who donated to
her Clinton Foundation (which it turns out isn't even a law-compliant
NGO), for the Saudi rulers who have publicly declared to have
massively funded her and who routinely suppress women's rights and
execute nonviolent dissenters, for more of ISIS, for enormous
corruption, for American Imperialism, for endless wars, for more
secrecy, more mass surveillance, for a very real possibility of a
global nuclear holocaust with her nonstop warmongering towards Russia.

Oh, but it's a vote for women, so let's forget everything and cheer on
more absent-minded symbolism.. after a black guy let's put a woman,
yayy! It's "time" to have a female US President, just for the heck of
it. Let's give the status quo yet another blank frame of symbolic
expectations within which they can fill in whichever stooge of theirs
fits the generic description. And nevermind the fact that the Green
Party leader who is also contesting is also female and a better woman
and a better leader by far. People are so fixated on Hillary that it
looks like she's the only woman on this planet.

I'm realizing the importance of context in all of this. Disguised as
different political parties, I'm now learning that the US has had
actually one constant regime right from George Bush senior, through
Bill Clinton, George Bush, now Obama and now planned through Hillary
Clinton. They have all had the exact same funders, the same
puppetteers guiding these puppets. George sr. back-stabbbed Saddam by
one day telling him he can go invade Kuwait and next day saying it's
not allowed, and with that started the next leg of American
imperialism. Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagal act which had
been preventing banks from becoming too-big-to-fail, and signed NAFTA
and other free trade treaties that have directly, massively,
contributed to a global acceleration in CO2 emissions and extreme
pollution, by allowing corporations to employ and mine as carelessly
as they want anywhere, transport goods across large distances without
any control, and still their products won't be blacklisted or taxed.
He also continued the trend of unilaterally bombing countries without
proper peaceful dialogue and destroying international law. In Bush's
time, 9/11 gave the excuse to do more imperialism (and mind, it wasn't
co-incidence) and then Obama has only continued it. All these years
there have been whistleblowers coming out and warning that these
people plan to invade a multitude of countries, and the mainstream
media purposefully ignored them. Bush also unilaterally withdrew from
the ABM treaty, which according to Russia is the single biggest blow
to international mutual peace. Obama took that forward and has now
placed missiles right on Russia's borders, with no way for even their
European hosts to know whether the missiles are carrying a
conventional or nuclear warhead. And after doing 100 times worse than
what the Soviets had attempted during the Cuban missile crisis, when
Russia objects to their country being put under direct threat, the
media has been painting the Russians as evil. Obama also did more to
severely deregulate weapons manufacturers, resulting in a
multiplication in the world's stockpiles of instruments of death, and
now there is little to no oversight on who's buying the weapons. They
might be selling to mercenaries, tyrants and it's ok. This has
directly caused the increase in human suffering due to weapon
violence. While he and Hillary have been rattling on about removing
the right of US citizens to bear arms, behind the scenes the American
domestic police agencies have, with Obama's blessings, amassed
unbelievable amounts of military weapons, ammunition, gear and
vehicles : enough to wage a civil war against their own people, with
more than a billion bullets stockpiled and waiting to be fired and
companies who benefited from this large purchase waiting to
manufacture and sell more. So that has got people questioning if the
move to disarm the population is being done to enable a dictatorial
takeover and not just stop mass shootings.


I have to dedicate another para to Ukraine and Syria. Western powers
funded and aided right-wing orgs in Ukraine to overthrow the elected
government, violated international norms and gave official recognition
to coup leaders, and now Ukraine is one of the most corrupt states in
Europe. When Crimea voted, democratically, to move from Ukraine to
Russia, and Russia moved in without firing a single bullet, the media
painted it as an evil takeover. When Donbass tried to do the same
thing, Ukraine behaved exactly the way a right-wing fascist government
does: they indiscriminately bombed them (even using weapons banned for
use on civilian areas by the UN), destroyed all possibility of civil
life or peaceful dialogue, and when rebels resisted the hostile
takeover, the media again painted the separatists as evil. If Russia
helped them, then as the immediate neighbour, with ethnic Russians
under fire, in a similar situation as India was when Bangladesh was
trying to separate from Pakistan, suddenly, the people who have been
intervening everywhere, are demonizing Russia for intervening,
equivalent to demonizing India for intervening when Bangladesh ceded
from Pakistan. And then Syria! The Obama-Clinton admin did the exact
same thing to Syria what Pakistan has been doing in India's Kashmir :
funding, arming and sending militants across from NATO member Turkey's
border, with the difference being that here the funding was to the
tune of billions of dollars and they did it to a much smaller country
with no capability to cope against such a hugely externally funded
armed rebellion. Imagine what would happen to Kashmir if Pakistan
suddenly got $5 billion to spend on the insurgency. The majority of
the "rebels" fighting the Syrian govt are well-paid foreigners! How
does one square that circle? And in all this free money flow we have
ISIS emerging, with the world's biggest cash flow among terrorist
organizations, and with not a single intelligence agency like CIA or
Interpol even attempting to track down their money flows which are So
easy to track and suspend.


Hillary Clinton was very much part of this dishonest regime and is the
continuation of Obama's legacy; she is the anointed heir to the
Empire's throne.


"Oh, so you're saying Americans should vote for Trump?" >> see the
knee-jerk response in this statement? An absolute absense of
non-binary, realistic thinking. Either you're with Her, or you're with
Him. Suddenly any third option is intolerable. How about the Green
Party, Jill Stein? "Oh but that will waste the vote and make Trump
win" >> Gee, where have I heard that claptrap before? Suddenly
election is a chessgame and you're Viswanathan Anand. My ass. It's not
your bloody business to speculate, buddy. The voter's ultimate duty is
to simply pick who they think is best candidate, and leave the rest to
God / whatever their inclination is.

There's very few entities that have questioned the bluff that Hillary
should be voted for, and for that they have won my respect which many
others have, sorry to say, lost.

And what have I been seeing? Whether Jill Stein or Trump, they're both
actually quite good as presidential candidates. Yes, I actually think
Trump would is ACCEPTABLE whereas Hillary is not. So let's just flush
this guy's entire life down the toilet and assume hereon that he's
also a bad guy, ok? After all, that's what the media has instructed
you to do and you're an obedient little sheep, aren't you? I've seen
that the allegations credited to him are nothing more than cultural
blabber that my own father being his age carries - anyone who hasn't
ever said anything controversial has to be guilty of pre-planning the
whole thing like a career politician - which Hillary is and Trump
isn't. The argument that he's got some devious thing to gain in
comparison to all that he has lost (including his own private wealth
that he spent rather than be beholden to donors) just doesn't hold
water : the situation is simply too impossible when seen from the past
to give any guarantee of success.

I heard one person repeat another propaganda piece : Trump is a
monster! If he gets his hands on the nuclear codes then we're all
dead! >> He missed one critical point : Trump has absolutely no
intention of doing nuclear war with Russia. Hillary does. She's the
one you need to worry about keeping away from the nukes. Hillary wants
to intervene and invade everywhere; Trump does not.

When Trump and Putin talk about making peace on the planet instead of
destroying it, they're accused of bro-mance. Suddenly wanting my and
your family to stay alive is a crime.

And then come the Hitler comparisons. They say Trump is like Hitler,
after having committed the intolerable crime of not actually having
slaughtered thousands to millions of people, while Obama/Hillary who
have been actually doing the things that would give Hitler a hard-on,
are oh-so-puppy-like. You think Trump will slaughter everybody. Can
you please explain to me how?

You quote Mein Kampf to prove that oh, these selective personality
traits are matching. Hillary's ACTIONS and campaign strategies match
Hitler's. And the biggest point of all that everybody is missing out
about Hitler because it was cleverly not mentioned in our textbooks :
Hitler was completely funded, aided and armed by the dominant Western
corporate elite and Western banks of the day. IBM helped him track
down the Jews and Bayer and folks constructed the concentration camps
for him - do they care to mention that in their recruitment videos?
The mainsteam media of the day completely supported him as their
masters were among the elites raising him. Even Charlie Chaplin was
royally screwed for having dared to make "The Great Dictator".

Hitler became Hitler not through deft populism as is mistakenly
attributed, but through complete assistance by the corporate and
banking elites. Mein Kampf is at the end of the day a propaganda piece
that does NOT mention the truth about how Hitler actually rose to
power : who helped him get there. If it wasn't for the western elites'
funding and complete assistance, he would've been just another
localized goon that would have vaporized quickly.

And then there's the total misunderstanding of human nature (with
thanks to Freud the perverted d**khead who made the classical
technocratic mistake of finding only the savage in people and not the
noble side that the Apaches had found, in their two wolves fable,
aeons before him). It wasn't frenzied mobs that brought Hitler to
power. Germany and Japan both fell to fascism precisely because at the
time they had the most DISCIPLINED and OBEDIENT populations in the
world. Germany was where the system of compulsory education began,
with the publicly declared purpose of creating an obedient public that
will do as told. An out of control population would have rebelled, has
far better checks and balances and would have screwed Hitler over
long, long before he could have gotten to any power position. No sir,
it was and always has been obedience that has caused the maximum
carnage on this planet.

The people of Germany were hoodwinked by the Western powers to be
their pawns, for the express purpose of destroying the Soviet Union.
The Soviets / Russians suffered unspeakable destruction : areas
greater than whole countries were completely flattened with extreme
prejudice: but it was their perseverance despite all odds that turned
the tide and defeated fascism. The Normandy landing by US/UK troops
was nothing compared to what the Russians shored up and it happened
AFTER Hitler had sounded the retreat, AFTER the Frankenstein monster
had turned on its own creators.

Ok, enough context. Back to present.

So among Clinton and Trump, which one is completely funded and aided
by the corporate and banking and media elites of today as Hitler was
back then? Who is out-spending the other, in TV ads by 50 to 1? Who
has taken massive corporate donations and who is using up 100 million
dollars of his own personal wealth to stay campaigning but not get
beholden to the corporates?

Follow.the.money. Have you even thought about it? Oh no, Trump is so
bad, Trump is so bad, we're physically incapable of intelligent
thought because Trump is so bad.

Oh, he wants to kick out the poor little puppies, sorry, illegal
aliens who didn't follow due visa procedures that any Indian would
rightfully expect anyone entering India for work to follow. Suddenly
that's so horrible. Oh, he wants the kind of borders for USA that
EVERY OTHER COUNTRY HAS where people who want to enter have to show
some papers and had better not be carrying drugs. That is soo bad,
he's going to kill us all, oohh ohhh STOP IT.

The academia, the media, and a lot of people reading this, think that
regular people are all idiots, that it's a crazed and deranged mob
rallying for Trump and attending his speeches in never-before-seen
numbers, and they know better than the people getting off their
couches do. Their contempt for normal people has reached its peak in
these days. What if that's not a mindless mob but a movement of real
people : people who haven't spent most of their lives living under an
academic rock and who know the reality that lies beyond the blackboard
: people who are not as easy to brainwash as our
degree-and-published-paper-chasing intelligentia are? What if, heavens
oh heavens, Sigmund Freud was wrong and people ARE capable of
distinguishing between right and wrong and are getting better at it
since Internet?

On climate change : guess what's going to bring the best control over
CO2 emissions across the world? Hillary's greenwashing just like
Obama's greenwashing after which he unleashed Tar Sands and is
currently shooting pipeling protestors with rubber bullets without
provocation? TPP and buddies? How about : the restoration of
country-to-country import taxes, the repeal of NAFTA and similar "free
trade" agreements? Doesn't simple logic say that the plan to bring
back US jobs, stop the out-of-control outsourcing will lead to a
better control over the globe's excess CO2 emissions?

Isn't a policy of leaving other countries alone to sort out their own
problems better than being Big Brother and intervening between
Childish governments clamoring for aid?

"Hillary is just another corrupt politician" - excuse me, corruption
is an act of crime, and once you put a criminal in charge of the crime
scene, guess what happens to all the witnesses?

Lot of cool stuff happening! Media has hoodwinked us long enough.
People everywhere are waking up. What's up with you?

Stopping here. Haven't included many things because it would take too
much time to explain the context around them : time I'd rather not
waste right now..

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Outing the method behind the media's madness

The intention behind the mainstream media's shenanigans is to make you
despair over where your country/planet is heading and to make you
think it's all a sad state of affairs.

Because a disempowered human being makes a much better customer and/or
pawn for the powers that be.

A person feeling hopeless is less likely to show some spine and
question the status quo when they make their move to grab more power
and rob you of your rights, your liberties, your duties and your
future.

My take : do not give them what they want, not one inch.

Further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_No._227

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Interesting Links for October 2016

Here's what I've found of note in October.
I'm finding immense value in increasing our attention span when it comes to news, and seeing things at a larger time scale of months instead of news-by-the-day.

Note: Many youtube videos by Inessa S, Redacted Tonight, WeAreChange and InfoWars have been left out of this list - I had seen them while not saving the links and haven't had the time to go back to them. I'll encourage you to look them up.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Story on tukaram mundhe

Forwarding from a whatsapp group, in marathi. Summary: tukaram mundhe, an honest young ips officer in vashi zilla, part of a generation of youth who have much higher-paying other prospects, but are entering governance/ups/ips on their passion to make their country a better place. Authored by a person who has seen his work up close.

तुकाराम मुंढे वाशिम जिल्हा परिषदचे मुख्य कार्यकारी अधिकारी असतांना मी त्यांच्या सतत संपर्कात असायचो.एक तडफदार, तरुण अधिकारी म्हणून त्यांचा वाशिम जिल्ह्यात लौकीक होता (त्यांच्यावर वाशिम जिल्हा परिषदेत पेपर वेट फेकुन हल्ला सुद्धा झाला होता!). अशा अधिका-यांसोबत माझी चांगली केमिस्ट्री जमते कारण असे अधिकारी छुटपुट नेत्यांच्या अनेक वर्षांपासून सुरु असलेल्या लुटीच्या दुकानदा-या बंद पाडतात. प्रशासनात येणारी तुकाराम मुंढे सारखी आयपीएस पिढी नौकरी मिळवण्यासाठी प्रशासनात येत नाही तर "पॅशन" म्हणून येते आहे असं माझं निरिक्षण आहे. एक अतीषय तरुण आयपीएस अधिकारी मला म्हणतं होते, "बघं मी आयआयटीचा पासआऊट आहे, माझा मित्र मला म्हणतो की तू आता नोकरी सोड आणि माझ्या कंपनीत मला जाइन हो, तुला आता जितका पगार मिळतो त्या रकमेवर एक शुण्य वाढवून आपण सुरुवात करुयात, पण मला ते करायचं नाही आहे!" अशा आयपीएस अधिका-यांचं मनोबल वाढवलं तरच भारत विश्व पावर वगैरे बननार आहे अन्यथा काही फारसी होप दिसत नाही नाही. मुख्य मंत्र्यांनी तुकाराम मुंढेंवरचा अविश्वास प्रस्ताव नाकारुन एक चांगला संदेश दिला आहे. धन्यवाद फडणवीस साहेब.
निलेश हेडा

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Post Sarson Satyagraha, message from organizing team

This network, thanks to some folks who take a lead here (often times invisibly), is a network that walks its talks as much as possible. In the Sarson Satyagraha event, thanks to a great volunteer in the form of Ajay Etikala (who slept in a kitchen which dished out the food on the day of the event, receiving organic food supplies all night from different places), and thanks to Jaya Iyer putting us in touch with a street children's home called Butterflies, with Ananthoo taking a capable lead as usual, there was nutritious khichdi that was served to 1500 people with all ingredients being organic and packaging that is environmental friendly - even the spoons were wooden. We were also able to support Butterflies with an extra five thousand rupees for the great support that they lent us, so that in the process of our GM mustard protest, we also collectively support the protection and development of street children of Butterflies. I heard most people including Kapil Mishra of Delhi Government admire the taste and quality of food given. This is not the first time we have dished out organic food in our events including large events and this is something that all of us should carry forward as a regular feature in everything that we do locally too, and not just wait for Indian railways or someone else to introduce organic food in their systems. This is something that civil society itself has to imbibe.

I also want to place on record the wonderful contribution in the form organic rice and dal that Kheti Virasat Mission made....from the time the Kudrati Kisan Haats have begun, this is one movement which has been able to take care of the real dearth of organic supplies support that exists in Delhi, with most existing players providing at somewhat expensive rates. Thank you, Umendra ji and team, including the ones in Jalandhar and other cities.

As many of you would have noticed, we have a no-flex policy, no plastics policy in our events, including large gatherings. This was followed this time too. We had Naresh ji having to redesign the stage backdrop in the middle of a night to suit the limitation that canvas printing has, of the width being only 5 feet long, for any backdrop. We had Maneesh ji support the actual printing.

I also want to take the opportunity of this mail being sent to apologise profusely for the little hiccups in various arrangements and for any hardships faced. Most importantly, for the fact that many team leaders who have been working tirelessly in creating awareness on food safety and farm sustainability amongst farmers and consumers not being able to speak from the stage. We were overwhelmed by the number of different organisations that turned up to extend solidarity and there were numerous unexpected speeches and plays. Am sorry that key people could not speak. I am saying all of this on behalf of a set of organisers who worked very very hard in terms of bringing out last minute publications, to arrange logistics, to finalise memorandums to different ministers and PM, to take up media outreach work and put out press releases, for the video and photo volunteers etc. etc. Special thanks to Greenpeace India which contributed in so many different ways. 

Just to update you all a bit: Apart from representatives of different groups from 20 states, and all major farmer unions of the country, from trade unions and people's movements, there were the following political parties represented: AAP, Congress, CPM, CPI, DMK, JDU. We were able to reach out to BJD MPs also - it is just that they could not come to the event. 

We tried to send different delegations to at least 6 Ministries: PMO, Agriculture, Environment, Health, Women & Child Development and Commerce. 

Teams did meet Radhamohan Singh and Maneka Gandhi and shared our concerns. One team that went to Environment Ministry shared material with the Minister's Secretary. However, despite trying very hard on the day of the event and several times yesterday too, that too with the sensitive support lent by Parliament Street Police Station officials who were very supportive and cooperative with everything, a possible meeting with at least a Joint Secretary in the PMO did not materialise. 

All in all, resistance registered clearly and strongly, I would say. 

Several of you donated generously for this event and we will be putting out the statement of expenses soon. 

As you all can see, the debate is live and strong - in the judiciary, in the parliament, in the states, in the media and amongst the citizens. Let us continue the collective good work to save our farms, farmers and environment and all citizens from the menace of GMOs, agri-chemicals and profiteering corporations. 

Thank you all once again.

Kavitha, on behalf of all the organisers of Sarson Satyagraha  
Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)

> www.kisanswaraj.in
> www.makaam.in
> www.ecofarmersmarket.in 
> www.tula.org.in
> www.indiagminfo.org &
> www.indiaforsafefood.in

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Open letter by progressive Muslims in India

Shared afrer getting this from a trusted source, though a web link would have helped:

STATEMENT ON TRIPLE TALAQ AND UCC
RELEASE BY MUSLIMS AND PEOPLE OF MUSLIM DESCENT

 

We, ordinary citizens, artists, intellectuals, writers, poets from the Muslim community, want to emphasis that the Muslim community in India is diverse, plural and heterogeneous. No single organization or group of people/organisations can claim to speak on behalf of the whole community. Muslims and people of Muslim descent living in India follow different customs and celebrate a large number of festivals some common to all and some different from each other depending on the local cultural practices of the region where they reside. They speak different languages and engage at multiple levels of the thought process.

 

We the undersigned Muslims and people of Muslim descent want to unequivocally state the following:

1. We are against the instant arbitrary triple talaq as practiced in India and we support the demand of the Muslim women to abolish it. 
2. The present regime and their earlier avatars have used Uniform Civil Code as a stick to frighten and demonize the Muslim community and polarize opinion by projecting that the Muslims of this country are backward, anti-women and not open to any progressive laws. Uniform Civil Code has been always been projected by such regimes and right wing politics as a Hindu v/s Muslim tool. The fact of the matter is that many of the personal laws irrespective of which religion they belong to are archaic and anti-women.
3. We do not have any faith in the sudden found 'love for women' and 'gender justice' as articulated by Venkiah Naidu recently. Since the new regime has come to power we have seen heavy budget cuts on schemes for women, we have heard horrendous statements about women which have gone unopposed by the members of the regime, and we have witnessed growing violence against women as well as dilution of gender just laws such as the Domestic Violence Act (section 498A).
4. We do not believe that in a country with over 4500 communities and over 400 spoken languages uniformity or tweaking of present unequal laws can ensure equality for men and women.
5. We believe that social change is a slow process for which conditions on the ground need to be created where people have basic needs of housing, employment, food and good education. There is a need to first bring in progressive, gender just enabling laws which can be accessed by people from all religions. We have a Special Marriage Act under which people from any community or across religious communities and castes can marry each other. People have a choice to opt for Special Marriage act ( which is also being diluted by various right wing state governments by adding caveats to it) , similarly JJ Act has now provisions for people of any religion to adopt a child whether their personal laws allow it or not. More such laws which give equal rights to women in property and matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, custody of children etc should be brought in.
6. We also strongly disapprove of the highly objectionable affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board regarding the triple talaq matter.
7. We believe that to suppress the progressive demands for equality, led by various Muslim women's organizations, the most conservative sections of the Muslim community are creating a Shah Bano campaign like situation so that they can keep the women subjugated and strengthen the patriarchal stronghold on the Muslim women.
8. We appeal to all liberal, progressive sections of the Muslims as well as all other citizens to support the struggle of the Muslim women for reform and to expose the nefarious designs of both the present regime as well as of the patriarchal conservative Muslims who are colliding with the retrogressive forces to take the attention away from the most important issues and the failures of the present government on all fronts.

Endorsed by:
Abadan Khan (Dr.), Academician
Abbas Shamael Rizvi, Filmmaker
Abdul Daiyan, Social Activist,Bihar
Abdul Hamid Paramanik, Social Activist
Abdul Mannan (Prof.), Academician, Assam
Abdul Muhib Mazumder, Former Advocate General, Assam and AP
Abdul Salam (Prof.), President, Justice and Equity Demand Committee, Assam
Abdul Salam, Social Activist, Assam
Abdur Rahman Sikder, Lawyer, Gauhati High Court., Assam
Aftab Fazil, Mission Sir Syed
Ahij Uddin Seikh (Dr.), Educationist, Assam
Ahmad Cameron (Dr.), Canada
Ahmar Raza, Scientist
Ali Javed (Prof.), Academician
Anowar Hussain, Social Activist, Assam
Areeb Rizvi, Researcher
Arshad Ajmal, Social Activist, Bihar
Asad Ashraf, Journalist
AsadHaider Zaidi, Co-Founder #ShoulderToShoulder Movement
Asma Faheem (Prof.), Academician
Ayesha Kidwai (Prof.), Academician
Azima, Gujarat
Bismillah Diwan, Social Activist
Dilawar Saiyad, Lawyer
Ehtasham Khan, Journalist
Faraz Ahmad, journalist
Farhat Salim, researcher
Farhin Mirja, Young Activist,Gujarat
Farrukh Saiyyeda Waris (Dr.), Academician, Mumbai
Farzana, Mahila Patch work Professional, Gujarat
Gauhar Raza, scientist, poet, filmmaker
Ghazanfar Abbas, Journalist
Haji Altaf Hussain, Social Worker, Gujarat
HajraDarji, Social Activist, , Gujarat
Hanif Mastaque Ahmed (Prof.), Academician
Hisham Mohammed technologist
Huma Nizami, Academician
Iftikhar Alarm, retired professor, Aligarh
Imad Ul Riyaz, development professional
Iqbal Ahmad, Journalist
Irfan Engineer, social activist, Mumbai
Jaffer Latief Najjar, Researcher, Mumbai
Junaid Dar, journalist, All J &k Students Union
Juned Khan, Educator & Social Activist
Kamrjahan Shekh, Social Activist, Gujarat
Kaneez Fatma, Academician
Karima Pathan, Social Activist, Kutch , Gujarat
Kashif Ahmed Faraz, Social Activist, Youth Awakening Movement
Kausarali Saiyad, Social Activist, Hamari Awaz Ahmedabad
Keramat Ali Seikh, Prominent Writer, Assam
Maimoona Mollah, Women Rights Activist
Mariam Fozia Rehman, Lawyer
Matiurehman, Academician
Md Zakir Hussain, Journalist
Mehvash Haider, Medical Doctor
Mohd Altamash, Student Activist
Mohd Arshad, Media professional
Mohd Shahid (Prof.), Academician
Monis Shamsi, Educator, Social Entrepreneur & Activist
Naaz Raza, Social Activist
Nadeem Hasnain (Prof.), Academician
Nafisa Barot, Social Activist, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Nagma Shaikh, Women Rights Activist, Karnataka
Najema Shekh, Social Activist
Najma Rehmani, academician, Delhi
Nasiruddin, Journalist, Lucknow
Nasmeen Shekh, Social Activist
Nasreen Fazalbhoy, Academician, Mumbai
Naved Azam, Lawyer
Nizamuddin Khan, Social Activist
Noor Zaheer, writer, activist
Noorjahan Diwan, Women Rights Activist , Gujarat
Noorjanah Ansari, Women Rights Activist, Niswa, Ahmedabad
Nusrat, Social Worker
Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Activist
Parvin Shekh, Social Activist, Banaskantha
Qamar Fatima, Social Worker
Rashida Ansari, Social Activist Ahmedabad
Raza Haider, Social Activist
Rehana Pathan, Junagadha
Rehana Shekh, Dist. Surendrnagar
Rejina Khatun (Prof.), Women Rights Activist
Riyaz Parmar, Social Activist, Rajkot Collective
S Irfan Habib (Prof.), Academician
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Sahba Farooqui, Women Rights Activist
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Sajad Sheikh ,Lawyer, J & K
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Sayed Shaad, Journalist
Seema Cheepa, Social Activist , Ahmedabad
Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist
Shahin Ansari, Ahmedabad
Shakil Kapa, Youth Activist
Shamsul Islam, Author & Dramatist
Shareef Mohammad Khilji, Engineer
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Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, Islamic Feminist & Writer
Shehla Hashmi, Potter, theatre
Shehnaz Rathod, Social Activist
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Sophia Khan, Director Safar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Sultan Ali Ahmed (Dr.), Educationist
Syed Amir Abbas Rizvi, Communication Designer , Mumbai
Syed Tanveer Nasreen (Prof), Academician, Kolkata
Syeda Hameed(Dr.), Muslim Women Forum
Tanveer Hussain Khan , political activist, J & K
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Uzma Mollah, Mediaperson
Vahida Nainar, Women Rights Activist, Mumbai
Yaquta Contractor, Prof Executive
Yasmin Qureshi, Himmatnagar
Zameer Abbas, professional
Zamser Ali, President, BTAD Citizen Rights Forum, Assam
Zoya Hasan, professor, academician
Zulekha Jabin, Social Activist

City maps with old and new ward boundaries overlay and elected reps info

The two municipal corporations of my home city (Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, MH) have redrawn their ward boundaries for the upcoming municipal elections in 2017 and published them on site for comments from public. While there have been big declarations at both places about using google maps, GIS technology etc, these have mostly on working side. On the output end we still have the same old PDF or image exports. In Pimpri-Chinchwad we got maps with an added satellite-view photo layer.

I felt it's very important to be able to super-impose the existing and proposed boundaries, on a zoomable web map, and so set about creating the same, first for Pune and then upon request from friends for Pimpri-Chinchwad as well. I have earlier shared a guide on digitizing static maps. I followed the same for one map and another process in QGIS for another map which was more co-inciding with previous boundaries.

While doing this, I thought why not include in some more information, and following that track I made something that people here are saying is very useful: at any point on the map you can find out exactly who the current elected representatives or that place are, with photos. I already had this data tabulated for Pune; used some shell scripting, text editing and spreadsheet work to extract the same for Pimpri-Chinchwad. See screenshots at end.

Here are the links:

Github Gists of the traced new (2017 proposed) boundaries, with source and other relevant information:

Maps created on Carto that overlay both current and proposed boundaries:

One drawback: users can't switch the background tile layer to satellite view. And I don't want to put satellite view as default as it makes things messy. But otherwise, carto made it possible for me to create these in a short time. The only "coding" needed was custom HTML I'm using for showing the ward info. Doing the same in leaflet is possible but would have taken me longer; I'm not a full-fledged programmer. So I'll recommend carto for non-coder mappers.

So.. why am I sharing this with you? Because a) I'm showing off, b) It would be great if someone can make use of this and actually write back precise objections and suggestions to the municipal corporations, c) I want to take this forward! and d) Can we crowd-fund work like this? Contribute!

I'm looking for leads on photos and details of Maharashtra's MLAs, and want to share these very-doable-in-short-time techniques with anyone who wants to do something like this for their city/state. Please write back if you have some info I can use or are interested in doing this at your end.

Screenshots of the maps prepared:

Pune:


Pimpri-Chinchwad:


Another project that this relates to that's also ripe for replicating in other cities : Nagar Sevak Report Card : http://nagarsevak.info

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Is Modi Sarkar, BJP as pro-GMO as Congress?

Honest question: If Modi is our PM and he's all pro-organic, pro-desi, anti-GMO etc, then WHY has this become necessary? (see poster below) If he's not a pro-corporate GMO-pusher but the people around him are and if these simple ground realities aren't getting through to him and he's not getting rid of the scums selling the country out, then isn't this the same case as it was with Manmohan Singh after which the country concluded they're better off without such a leadership? What difference remains between BJP and Congress if their behaviour regarding something as crucial as GMOs is nearly identical? Heck, it was actually a lot less secretive and clandestine during congress's time. Was there really any difference to even begin with, or was the 'desi' difference all just a charade for grabbing votes?  

#sochahai #duopoly #blackmoneyfunding



Related links, excerpts and comments (these will also be shared in my omnibus Interesting Links post at month-end but I think it's important to include them here for giving the reader a larger context of what's really going on):

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/Government-looks-to-press-ahead-with-GM-mustard/articleshow/54822353.cms
Government looks to press ahead with GM mustard (13 Oct'16)
>> serious lying going on here. "Consultations at the highest levels in government have concluded that the GM crop has benefits" >> what conclusion? What "highest levels"? Are they implying that the PM's office has concluded this? Even the safety data has not been released. SC-appointed member of GEAC, Pushpa Bhargava has openly stated criticism that allowing commercial use would be disastrous as multinational organisations would take over Indian agriculture. Was this consultation dropped? Where is the conclusion?
... "Though there might be some delay as the government re-engages anti-GM opinion, the direction seems to be in favour of commercial release. "
>> so TOI states that Modi Sarkar, BJP is pro-GMO. Can we please be clear about this, confirm it once and for all and make our next electoral decisions accordingly?


http://scroll.in/article/772215/sangh-parivar-groups-fighting-gm-mustard-run-into-a-new-opponent-sangh-parivar-groups
Sangh Parivar groups fighting GM mustard run into a new opponent – Sangh Parivar groups
A few organisations linked to the RSS are pushing acceptance of genetically modified mustard as it comes up for regulatory approval.
... The strategy is simple: get an impressive number of scientists specialising in genetic modification, among them a clutch of former ICAR heavyweights, to talk about the benefits of the technology and the urgent need for India to adopt it. Also, rope in the top companies selling GM seeds, such as Mahyco (it is partly owned by global agribiotech giant Monsanto), to talk about the food security concerns in India and the need to improve the economic condition of the country's impoverished farmers.
... Playing a pivotal role in putting it all together is an unlikely figure – Ashok Chowgule, executive director of Chowgule & Company, a large Goa-based industrial group with interests in iron ore mineral, shipbuilding, industrial explosives among others. Although agriculture is far removed from his business interests, Chowgule is passionate about GM technology as "the way forward" for agriculture. In his newfound zeal, the corporate executive has been a godsend to the pro-GM groups.
... In an interview with this writer, Chowgule says the objective of the Pune symposium was to find out "how we can together, project the right picture to the people at large. And try and wean away the people from the emotionalised campaign of the anti-GMO activists". He accuses them of being not only "anti-science but they conduct themselves in an unethical way by projecting the technology as causing harm". He singles out Vandana Shiva, champion of sustainable agriculture, and Greenpeace for knowingly spreading falsehoods about the dangers of GM technology. Even though "they have been exposed", they have been able to "intellectually terrorise the government authorities all over the world into doing their bidding", says Chowgule.
... It is significant that Gujarat, unlike neighbouring states, has not allowed field trials of GM food crops.
... The controversial GM mustard is a hybrid variety called DMH 11 and it was tested in Rajasthan and Punjab. In a research project funded by the National Dairy Development Board, the supposedly high-yielding variety was developed by Delhi University genetics professor Deepak Pental at the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants.
... Cloak of secrecy : Since the Modi government came to power, the regulatory process on GM has been brought under a tighter cloak of secrecy. Even innocuous information such as the agenda of GEAC meetings is no longer publicly available, much less what is being approved and how it was done.
... that repeated efforts including RTI requests have remained unanswered since 2006. In the latest RTI query, biosafety information was denied to ASHA on the grounds that "it was under process" although under a Supreme Court order all biosafety reports, the biology of the crop and related literature have to be placed in the public domain.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/officially-shy-but-narendra-modi-govt-weighs-gm-options/story-89VQnnd87Zgyq2QrhwiJVN.html
Officially shy, but Narendra Modi govt weighs GM options
>> got this on email. Imp note by sharer: Envi Min Prakash Javdekar is pro GM n he is supporting Sharad Pawar for GM sugarcane in the name of drought. Surprisingly they do not want to advertise about traditional organic farming technics, some of which use just 10 % water for sugarcane and with zero chemical gives more tonnage and more sugar per 100 KG of sugarcane.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/gujarat-farmers-body-3-apmcs-join-chorus-against-gm-mustard/article7851576.ece
Gujarat farmers' body, 3 APMCs join chorus against GM mustard

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/gm-trials-sharad-pawar-tells-pm-narendra-modi-to-scrap-rule-jairam-ramesh-brought/
GM trials: Sharad Pawar tells PM Modi to scrap rule Jairam brought
Ramesh, then environment minister, had made it mandatory for developers of GM varieties to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the concerned state government before going ahead with field trial.
>> note from sharer: This industry man gets active only on useless things like this, of course. No time to look at issues like farm suicides but lots of time to send off industry-penned letters.

http://www.rediff.com/business/column/column-when-will-you-speak-on-gm-crops-mr-modi/20150224.htm
When will you speak on GM crops, Mr Modi?
>> this one's a pro-GMO one, but raises the same v.imp question : why can't our PM do a Mann-ki-Baat on GMOs? Why not take a stand? Is it because he's in a situation where he's going to loose supporters one way and funders the other? Is there a conflict of interest between nation's interests and funders' interests?

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/many-states-skip-meet-on-gm-crops/article9252468.ece
Many States skip meet on GM crops
... They also allege that results of tests on GM mustard weren't fully open to public scrutiny and the clearance violates recommendations of a Supreme Court-constituted expert committee on how GM crops ought to be tested. The Supreme Court is yet to pass an order on these issues.
>> so with the matter still pending in court, Central govt is still pushing GMOs ahead.

http://indiagminfo.org/?p=1483
Farmer Unions, Scientists, and Consumers write to Modi urging him to Stop GM Mustard as GM regulators close public feedback time, without putting out data in public domain - Press Release by Coalition For A GM Free India

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/over-700-comments-received-on-gm-mustard-environment-ministry-116100601317_1.html
Over 700 comments received on GM Mustard: Environment Ministry


http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/gm-mustard-no-deadline-extension-for-feedback-on-biosafety-116100501064_1.html
GM Mustard: No deadline extension for feedback on biosafety

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/gm-crops-not-simply-a-vision-thing/article9184876.ece
Not simply a vision thing (about GMOs)
... Building promises is very similar to building facts, notes Cynthia Selin who studies the intersection of science, technology and society. It is the promise and vision of the future that then becomes key in generating a constellation that provides social and political legitimacy on the one hand, and much-needed financial resources on the other. Bt cotton, Bt brinjal and many technologies of the future exist through the expectations they generate and mobilise about the future. The act of developing a technology, therefore, is as much work inside the laboratory as it should be of engaging with the state and society and with their various concerns and questions. This will not be possible if the public is seen as ignorant or ill-informed, and the activist reactionary or an agent of vested interests. The contestation is, in fact, over the vision of S&T, of society and, for that matter, of the future itself.
.. In the case of GM mustard, work was done at Delhi University using public money provided by the government. And yet it needed the Central Information Commissioner to say that biosafety data around GM organisms should be available in the public domain.
... What explains, for instance, this deficit of trust in the public and in democratic mechanisms set up by the very institutions that provide the resources and the legitimacy for these new technologies? Is it an anxiety about failure of the technologist or of the technology itself? Or is it about the stakes involved in the socio-technical-economic system that has been mobilised to create the legitimacy in the first place? Does it say something about the potential failure of an imaginary technology that is based exclusively on the promise of the future? Can the narrative be one of hope and promise alone with no space for doubt or the possibility of any failure at all?
... TV 2035 (India's Technology Vision 2035) sees people opposed to certain technologies like nuclear and big dams as a barrier to their dreams. These then need to be addressed through better governance and not better technological design because "bottlenecks lie in policy and not technology".

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/monsanto-stops-release-of-new-bt-cotton-tech/article9032692.ece
Monsanto stops release of new Bt cotton tech
>> from Aug 2016. Relevant? Bayer has bought Monsanto, now they'll release it.

Side thing that came out in this article:
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/gm-crops-not-simply-a-vision-thing/article9184876.ece
... On a visit to Kashmir, a conciliatory Home Minister Rajnath Singh offered to engage with anyone who was interested in finding a solution to the crisis there. "I will be staying at the Nehru Guest House. Those who believe in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamhooriyat are welcome," he tweeted in an effort to reach out to all. It was as much an invocation of the political and the democratic promise as it was of the technological promise of modern communications. The irony only came forth when he was asked how this message of the Home Minister would reach the people when the government itself had blocked Internet services.
>> whoa, smack down! He did not ensure to spread the message out in printed flyers, posters etc.. just tweeted it while an internet blackout was going on in Kashmir. Which means the tweet wasn't for Kashmiris, it was to impress the twitterrati and the media to convey an image of dialogue-friendliness.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rss-outfit-faces-anti-national-barb-over-genetically-modified-crop-event/story-Pr8NbQZbW6WvfnEhZPb86I.html
RSS outfit faces 'anti-national' barb over genetically modified crop event
>> fact-check here : "discredited" Seralini has won a court case proving his discrediting was illegal. He's been re-credited. HT missed mentioning that.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/is-modi-preparing-to-defy-rss-outfit-on-gm-mustard-rollout/story-YyyfjofzjWqBglQ16DzKLL.html
Is Modi preparing to defy RSS outfit on GM mustard rollout?
... At a meeting held in August, Modi had called upon three cabinet ministers and four top bureaucrats to carry out a thorough and speedy assessment of GM mustard. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, environment minister Anil Dave, science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan and the secretaries of these ministries had attended the meeting, two sources have told HT.
Modi watched a presentation by the biotechnology department on GM mustard and then got a lowdown from Prof Deepak Pental – the lead scientist behind the project. Analysts view this as a sign that Modi favours GM technology as a policy option in agriculture.
... In its 2014 election manifesto, the BJP had said GM crops would not be allowed without a study of its "long-term" effects.
... "GM is not acceptable," Ashwini Mahajan, leader of the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch, told HT. "We provided proof to the Prime Minister that GM mustard is neither indigenous nor capable of providing high yields. It will ultimately benefit multinationals like Bayer."

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/don-t-give-go-ahead-to-gm-mustard-farmers-and-activists-tell-mp-govt/story-jpZ2NsCx718qvmC3qpBsMO.html
Don't give go ahead to GM mustard, farmers and activists tell MP govt

http://www.theweek.in/theweek/current/gene-modified-mustard.html
Cross spice - Gene-modified, herbicide-tolerant mustard could be marketed from October
... Organic farmers fear a loss of demand once the new crop is introduced. "We told the minister that there is an imminent threat to our status as organic farmers, right to free choice, seed autonomy and biodiversity," said Neelam, a woman farmer from Jhajjar, Haryana. "GM mustard will destroy not just organic farming, but also purity of centuries-old traditional mustard varieties forever."
... Kavitha Kuruganti, convener of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture, said members of the GEAC had conflict of interest. In addition to Sesikeran's case, she named Dr C.R. Babu, pro vice chancellor of Delhi University. She said Babu and Deepak Pental, developer of DHM-11, were "from the same university and were good friends".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/developmental-issues/Government-stares-at-Bt-brinjal-moment-before-taking-call-on-GM-mustard/articleshow/54681907.cms
Government stares at Bt brinjal moment before taking call on GM mustard

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/no-commercial-release-of-gm-mustard-for-now/story-zxdV88VLOEgfH7i0jS2ZrJ.html
No commercial release of GM mustard for now (8 Oct '16)
... The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard crop in India and asked the central government to first take suggestion and views of the public on the controversial subject. A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice AM Khanwilkar told the Centre not to commercially release GM mustard till October 17, when it will hear the issue in detail. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta agreed with the bench's direction.


An email from ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture):
Our reaction to media coverage on 7 "farmer organisations" urging the Prime Minister to rollout the commercialisation of GM mustard:

* More than 57 major farmer unions have already come out against the approval of GM mustard. These include Bhartiya Kisan Union, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, All India Kisan Sabha, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangh and others. Kisan Ekta has recently passed a detailed resolution on this matter in their last convention. Further, as per the National Policy for Farmers, beekeepers and women agricultural workers also are Farmers. More than 5 lakh beekeepers in India, through the Confederation of Beekeeping Industry of India have come out against the approval of GM mustard. Women agricultural workers associated with Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch are opposing GM mustard. Thousands of organic farmers around India are opposing GM mustard and through their outfit called Organic Farming Association of India have appealed to the Agriculture Minister to stop GM mustard.

* Some organisations that are part of this umbrella network called Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association have a dubious background as regards their primary interests, whether they exist to support farm livelihoods or to promote corporate interests.

* One of the organisations appears to have been a front organisation for the agro-chemical industry in promoting chemicals in the past and this in itself could be read as an indication of the real intent of GM crop developers and the agri-chemical industry, of promoting the use of pesticides in the form of herbicides.

* It is strange that these organizations are asking specifically for GM-based hybrids in the name of farmers because there is no proof that GM-based hybrids are higher-yielding than CMS-based hybrids. These organizations should ask for proof for how GM-based hybrids are better, since GM mustard has not been tested against any other hybrids.

* While yield is not the only thing that determines farmers' net profitability, even on the yield front, to ask specifically for GM hybrids appears that these organisations are a front for someone else, given that the higher yields that they are looking for, after can be obtained through other hybrids as well as other means.

* It is important to note that the production and productivity can be addressed by addressing anti-farmer trade policies that are pricing out Indian farmers and not incentivising them towards oilseeds cultivation.

* In risky technologies which involve multiple stakeholders including consumers, beekeepers, honey exporters, ayurveda practitioners etc., the decision cannot be left to only one stakeholder to decide. This is the reason why regulation and policy in favour of sustainability and safety is needed in the first instance. 


International news:

http://sustainablepulse.com/2016/10/17/pope-francis-slams-biotech-industry-and-gmos-in-world-food-day-letter/
Pope Francis Slams Biotech Industry and GMOs in World Food Day Letter
>> Holy Cow, the Pope is Anti-GMO and our "desi" PM isn't

https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/millions-spent-who-is-to-blame-failure-gmo-golden-rice/
MILLIONS SPENT, NO ONE SERVED: WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THE FAILURE OF GMO GOLDEN RICE?
>> a response to recent few Nobel Laureates' pro-GMO statement

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