Monday, May 27, 2013

Violent resistance is benefiting the aggressor more than the resistor

Hi Friends,

The recent ambush and murder of a political party's leaders in
Chattisgarh, and how the media is handling the matter, is looking very
creepy to me, it's reminding me of an oft-repeated script :

Send in some pawns that you don't mind sacrificing, whose movements
you completely control, and tip off your enemy without letting them
know where the tip is coming from. They attack the pawns in an
operation that just seems too successful to be true. It helps if the
pawn you're sending was a figure of hatred for the hostiles through
his past actions (which were at your orders) : in their joy at having
captured this hated foe, they won't suspect why he's been handed to
them on a platter.

Once the ambush is complete and the rebels go back with a victory that
was just too easy, the media that you control launch into total
shock-reporting. Make a huge, huge affair out of the incident, gain
political mileage from the death of your own pawns. At the same time,
the rebels get branded as terrorists, ruthless thugs, murderous
villains. The media that you control, will use the horror of this one
incident to blank out all the horrors you have been steadily
inflicting on the people who then became the rebels. The fact that
those rebels are a grassroots uprising against a fascist
government-industrial complex, will be forgotten in the haste to have
sympathy for the side whose people got killed. Your media now waxes
eloquent on how the rebels are a threat to national security, how
China and Pakistan are arming them, how every citizen is now a target
for these rebels (conveniently skipping the fact that the rebels have
never set foot near your cities, they only operate in their areas
which you were invading and plundering)

If I were an alien with 500 years to clear the Earth...

Here's a thought experiment. WARNING: This post can be both crazy and depressing. I just wanted to get it out of my system.. the idea's been festering inside since a long time now.

Imagine that there is an alien race that needs to move to another planet, having used up theirs. Same case as in Independence Day. Imagine that their methods are subtler, and after having sent some scouting missions and discovering Earth, it's going to take a very long time for the scouts to go all the way back and the race to come back to Earth. Say, about 500 years or so. Instead of doing nothing at all for the 500 years and then having the risky prospect of armed resistance (which the aliens in Independence Day had to face and because of which they got screwed), they come up with an innovative idea: Seeing that there are already some destructive tendencies among the Earth's leaders, they decide to spend 200 years subtly influencing events in such a way that the humans end up doing enormous damage to themselves, or at least they get stuck in things and end up not advancing the way they would have if allowed to progress naturally.

Now, put YOURSELF in the shoes of this alien agent. You have been given the task of clearing out the intelligent population of this planet as silently and efficiently as possible, with minimum risk of any fightback. You know the human species is one mean cookie, they have independence of thought, free will, caring for others and the spark of creativity built into them, all of which guarantee their resilience if you ever tried to take them head-on. So you have to use subtler, darker methods. You have a lot of time available to play this out.

crop circles!

Crop circles! With the governments having lied about so many things, and knowing the knee-jerk response of a hierarchical structure to dismiss or ignore that which it cannot explain, and after having seen and read so much, I now don't believe in the ridiculous idea that all these beautiful, intricate designs that no official agency on this planet can reproduce, are the work of overnight pranksters. That's just plain ridiculous. Look at these patterns, man. Beauty, art, aesthetic has a way of proving, legitimizing itself, through its sheer inner strength.

Check out and explore this website:

And here are a few of them, straight in your face:

from this page:
It's got the location, date etc details. If it could be refuted as a photoshop trick, why would there be details provided that one can easily go to the place and verify?? A hoax site gives images without the accompanying details.

From here:

Same place from the ground:

Wow, man. Life is truly stranger than fiction. Lots of mysteries of our world yet unexplored. And I have a strong feeling that for the issues of the world we face, that came out of conventional sources, the solutions are going to come from the unconventional sources. So think twice before dismissing something that you can't explain or replicate, and don't rely on our conventional highly-educated sources for answers : their egos and positions will be hurt if they did any real investigation. They have an inherent conflict of interest that makes them to dismiss these mysteries as pranks without taking the burden to actually prove that they were pranks.

if you already know it, then SHOW it

It does not matter that you already know. This fact will never get out
unless you explicitly put your voice into what you know.

If you already know that Guantanamo Bay should be shut down and the
people illegally held there without evidence be freed,

If you already know that GM food is bad for everyone except its

If you already know that it's not a wise idea to raise atmospheric CO2
levels beyond certain limits,

If you already know that the democratic process has been hijacked and
there is no point of elections which let us choose only between corrupt

If you already know that solely for-profit policies of multinational
companies are harming everyone,

If you already know that something is seriously wrong with our schooling
and college systems and that the people succeeding in these and taking
decision-making positions are harming us all,

If you already know that the news channels are simply giving out all the
wrong messages and that reality is very different,

...then say it so. If you can't draft your own words, then share someone
else's voice that beckons you. Merge your voice with others saying it
through a petition -- an online petition also! Express it in your social
life - whether that is conversation with friends over chai or on Facebook.

There are people around you that do not already know, or that think they
are the only ones that already know and everyone else thinks
differently. By expressing yourself, you can give them the assurance
that they are not alone in having a deep disconnect with what's going
on. This is an extremely powerful thing, to let someone know that they
are not alone. It sets the stage to forming a community around shared
ideas, to banding together, to giving your ideas a group force, to
bringing about real change.

Just expressing yourself can change your world. Indeed, the places where
we see the baddest things happening, the scams etc, also happen to be
the places where people have not been free to express themselves.

So go ahead. If you already know it, then SHOW IT!

A different take on Littering

A comment to a post that was lamenting about the littering habits of
fellow Indians and stating a need to shame them publicly into throwing
their waste "the right way".

You need to do more research into the most reputed companies in India
that are dumping millions of litres of toxic waste into the country's
natural resources while using unsustainable packaging to transport their
products to the citizens and then not bothering about taking that
unsustainable packaging back.

They switched from paper wrappers to plastic ones to increase their

As for the food waste: if it's bio-degradable then the best thing is to
give it to trees / grass where the insects and microbes will make good
use of it, instead of throwing it into wastebins.

We have to attack the very way of life that produces waste. Simply
throwing kachra into the bin properly wlll only dump that waste elsewhere.

Today all the developed countries are dumping all their kachra onto
developing countries and they are destroying other people's rivers and
lands in the name of keeping their own country clean. We live on one
spherical planet and there is no "away" to really throw our waste to.

In hindsight, the people who litter are doing us a favour : giving us a
stern reminder of the non-cyclical way of life that is harming us and
our environment, and giving us an incentive to do something about it
that goes beyond repeatedly cleaning up and transporting our trash

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Article: Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out On The Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food

BIG revelation on the GM Foods debate : a former GMO supporter has become whistle-blower and written an article that you SHOULD read if you ever believed the mainstream media drill that GM foods have been "tested to be safe". They didn't tell you tested by whom and how, did they?

Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out On The Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food
By Thierry Vrain
I retired 10 years ago after a long career as a research scientist for Agriculture Canada. When I was on the payroll, I was the designated scientist of my institute to address public groups and reassure them that genetically engineered crops and foods were safe. There is, however, a growing body of scientific research – done mostly in Europe, Russia, and other countries – showing that diets containing engineered corn or soya cause serious health problems in laboratory mice and rats.
I don’t know if I was passionate about it but I was knowledgeable. I defended the side of technological advance, of science and progress.

In the last 10 years I have changed my position. I started paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe, some from prestigious labs and published in prestigious scientific journals, that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food.
I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.
There are a number of scientific studies that have been done for Monsanto by universities in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Most of these studies are concerned with the field performance of the engineered crops, and of course they find GMOs safe for the environment and therefore safe to eat.
Individuals should be encouraged to make their decisions on food safety based on scientific evidence and personal choice, not on emotion or the personal opinions of others.
We should all take these studies seriously and demand that government agencies replicate them rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies.
The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.
There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.
These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.

Kids are meant to play all the time, not to be taught

I'm watching a talk,
Conference on Alternatives to Compulsory Education - Peter Grey - April 27, 2013
Youtube link:

Around the 15th minute he presents research by people studying hunter-gatherer groups from around the world. These would be analogous to adivasis in India.
Very interesting observations about the way these disparate groups treat their kids:
  • Kids are not directed / told what to do / what not to do / scolded
  • If they play with dangerous items like machetes, it's assumed they know what they're doing, and if they get hurt, they'll learn. Parents don't bother.
  • There is no concept that kids need to be taught.
  • Kids go off to play all the time, as soon as they're fit to leave the parents' side, and by the time they become adults their play naturally morphs into taking responsibilities for the community
  • They have never seen kids whining about anything in these groups
  • Kids grow up to be self-organizing and self-directed.

About the groups themselves,
  • There is no chief of the tribe, no hierarchy. Decisions are made by consensus.
  • There is no concept of telling a person what to do. It flows naturally. It is assumed everybody will individually arrive at the right thing to do when given the freedom to make choices. They don't need to explicitly make laws : there are natural laws and they act naturally.
  • These are complex, rich cultures with their own music, dance, and they have huge store of knowledge of different species of plants and animals around them. There is an enormous amount that a person in these communities have to learn. And they learn it entirely on their own, without adult supervision.
Before this, observations on mammals:
  • All mammals are found to play when young. Unlike other species, mammals have a lot to learn while growing up. Through their play, they learn the skills needed as an adult. So kittens play with their prey : they may catch a mouse, then let it escape, then catch it again... We see puppies and cubs brawl with each other : they're practising hunting.
  • This play is essential to the mammals' growth and thriving.
  • Humans have the most to learn : not just skills relevant to the human species, but in each social group, the skills and behaviours relevant to that group. So naturally, they need to play the most.

I know there are various rebuttals to this, most of them having to do with treating these cultures as backward and treating ourselves as advanced and better than them. So explain how those cultures managed to preserve the planet beautifully for thousands of years (since the last Ice Age ended), and we managed to absolutely mess it up in just a few generations.

No, you say? There are huge islands of plastic floating in the middle of the Pacific, farthest from any human settlement. There is black soot depositing over Antarctica and accelerating melting of ice caps. Undersea corals across the globe are in a mass die-off due to increasing acidity in oceans. The only spots still preserved are the inaccessible ones or those where we're not allowing civilized people to go. YES, we ARE messing the planet up royally.

Instead of shuffling between past and present and making a stupid brainless contest out of adivasi Vs modern, think how we can combine what we're learning from all quarters, so we can think about how we want the future to be.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Perfect Teacher Syndrome

This post is my add-on to a wonderful post by my friend Dola, titled Why home educate?

It's an add-on to Dola's post, and a.. well, response to parts of some extensive comments under it.

A lot of talk in education sector today revolves around training and bolstering the "perfect" teachers, and I think they're partly chasing that elusive all-wise "guru" of the Gurukuls past. I've personally seen these efforts lead to some pretty messy consequences, like sending "highly qualified" people in to replace regular teachers in govt schools, thinking they're some silver bullet that'll fix all problems. However glorious our past was, the fact remains that as Indians we messed up royally and got owned. Accept it and analyse it. Could it have been because of our addiction to being dependent on external entities for guidance, our reluctance to follow our own instincts? For all their glory, I don't think there's any Gurukul that took a stand against the inhuman caste system that divided our society and enslaved a large part of it (apart from maybe Buddhist ashrams that were destroyed by the Hindu rulers); In fact I see plenty of evidence that they propagated it. The British deserve a pat on the back for at least exposing us to the idea that all humans should be treated equal, even if they didn't really practice it.

In all this obsession with teachers and gurus, the child's inborn ability to learn and humanity's inherent social nature (ie cross-pollination of ideas, people wanting to care for one another) gets ignored. Every human being, every bird and animal, every rock and river is a teacher. Why outsource something to a single person when it's available in abundance? Darwin, Galileo, Einstein OBSERVED life and the cosmos. Nature was their teacher. They didn't prat on "Yes Guruji, I will do as you say, Guruji" all day long.

IMHO (in my humble opinion), there is no such thing as the perfect husband or wife, the perfect son or daughter, the perfect government or prime minister, the perfect rickshaw driver or mechanic, the perfect reality show contestant or judge, or the perfect Student or Teacher. It's a myth, a mirage and we are fools to run behind it, to seek relentlessly in one person what is available in abundance all around. It's like expecting one heavenly body to have all the qualities of the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars and galaxies and black holes and quasars and supernovae all put together and then getting disappointed when it doesn't happen the way were expecting it to. We'll only end up missing out on the true beauty and wonder of the sky this way.

To me, liberating the child from following someone else's orders (no matter how wise) allows the next stage of humanity to flourish. Sorry, but unless the Gods themselves come over and offer themselves up, I would never go back to something like a Gurukul. (and maybe not even then) I believe in learning and free will. I do not believe in perfect teachers.

You should check out Australia's Stolen Generation history to understand where dreaming about Gurukuls and kids going off for all of childhood can take us. Heck, absence of children from various parts of society is already causing so many issues (would the bankers have been so damn reckless betting on futures if there were children sitting in the room? Would you give orders to massacre whole towns if there was a child tugging at your finger?), if all children were to vanish into Gurukuls till adulthood, I shudder to think of the consequences! If the current model of factory schooling is bad as it is, then please people, DO NOT take us into something even worse! Please cure yourself of the Perfect Teacher Syndrome, and embrace the abundance all around you.

Further reading:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the Human aspect of Engineering

Sharing the last part of a newsletter from Round Table India (that writes on many Dalit / backward caste issues in India).
This, and the kind of stuff it concerns, is what was never taught to us through school and engineering college. We were told that we should go join the "core" engineering companies (like Tata Steel, Power, Jindal, Vedanta, Reliance refineries etc) and be part of India's "development".

All our schematic diagrams had these little boxes titled "waste" where all the byproducts of various engineering processes (typically far exceeding the actual products) would go. If anyone asked further, we were told that it is then "disposed". On further questioning, "it is properly disposed". While we had specializations in construction, fabrication, electricity, electronics, communications, logistics etc etc, they never made space for a degree in waste disposal. So they covered the Brahma and Vishnu parts very proudly, but the Mahesh part was left out.

None of our professors ever told us WHERE it is disposed, with what it is mingled, what consequences come off it.

In our efficiency / cost calculation formulas, we never included the costs incurred by the people who lived around the industry, or the cost of forever-lost livelihoods from the acquiring of fertile agricultural land or forests, or the wipeout of ecology at the place. None of these were ever factored into our calculations.

I look at TISS and at IIT in Mumbai. And I wonder why the hell was the human, social angle separated from engineering. Why was our education fragmented.

  • Dalit and Adivasi Women Warriors Question Caste and Gender Oppression

    Sujatha Surepally

    (Impressions from the first National Dalit and Adivasi Women's Congress held on February 15-16, 2013, at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)

    We live in nature! We die in Nature! It's our life, if you occupy our land where should we go and how do we live? Whose land is this?

    The hall is echoing with the furious voice of Dayamani Barla, veteran Adivasi activist from Jharkhand. She is trying to unite people against mining in Jharkhand, around 108 mining companies are waiting to destroy Adivasi life in the name of mining, first they come for coal, next they say power houses, it continues, we are pushed out and out further. How do we live without our land?

    Read More
  • Dalit Information And Education Trust: New Waves in Dalit Discourse

    Sujatha Surepally

    (The Annual meet of D.I.E.T was held on 5th May, 2012, in Hyderabad. We thank Sujatha Surepally for sharing this report on the event)

    Dalit Information and Education Trust's (DIET) Annual meet was held on 5th May, 2012 at Hotel Grand plaza, Nampally, Hyderabad. It was a memorable event. Though it was titled as 'Book Reviews and Felicitations', there was much more to describe, feel proud about at the meet, and to celebrate our own people's contribution to dalit literature, criticism, rediscovering Ambedkar etc. A culmination of different views and perspectives, bundles of experiences, thoughts of different generations, the agonies and strategies of building movements for dignity. It presented a rare opportunity, and indeed was a marvelous day.

    Read More

Sunday, May 19, 2013

videos from Conference on Alternatives to Compulsory Education held on April 27, 2013 at Cambridge, US

A Conference on Alternatives to Compulsory Education was held on April 27, 2013 at Cambridge, US.
Video lectures from the conference have been put online.

They include: Cevin Soling: Why We Need Alternatives , Peter Gray: The Importance of Play, Pat Farenga: Homeschooling and Unschooling, Peter A. Bergson: Open Connections: One Approach to Partnership Education

I've just finished watching Cevin Soling's speech and loved it. He brings out the hidden realities of compulsory schooling and the harm that even the best of teachers are doing to their students. I felt like he was really speaking my mind, reflecting back on my 1-yr experience with Teach For India. These ought to be taken and shown to teachers everywhere.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Obama was put in office

About Barack Obama: This is for all those who talk about people opposing
him because he's black:

How convenient : Put a black man in office, so that any criticism can be
handled and buried by the racism tag. Meanwhile, through him wage more
wars, practice more torture, drill more oil, make more money, use more
drones, assassinate more people without cause or trial, imprison more
people without due process, censor more websites under guise of
copyright protection, tap more phones and emails, ruin more lives, Push
more CO2 in the atmosphere, make no real commitments to solve any
problems but make more grandiose statements, accumulate more wealth and

Doesn't matter who the person is.. black, white, yellow, pink, green...
The real bosses are the ones who funded the election campaign. Who
funded Obama's? Who made sure that the election was seen as an Obama Vs
Romney fight? Who paid the media to completely censor out all the other
candidates, including a WOMAN who was standing from a pro-environment,
anti-Wall St platform? Go find out.

The Poison is the Pot - by Bayo Akomolafe

Forwarding this... Poverty didn't exist before we became totally
dependent on money. There were no poor before the "rich" came about. Try
wrapping that around your head.

We invented the modern ethics of philanthropy and poverty eradication to
escape the need to change a money system that is fueled by the very
existence of poverty and scarcity; we created an industry of 'waste
management' that tempers our anger and numbs us to the fact that we
abide in a cradle-to-grave, use-and-dump global economy - a behemoth
that necessarily generates 'waste' by silently celebrating planned
obsolescence. We institutionalized illiteracy reduction programs and
no-one-left-behind-schemes through our schools - conveniently forgetting
that because of the politics of correctness, the dynamics of conformity
and standardized assessment, our schools effectively create large
populations of people 'left behind'. We legitimized 'environmental
protection' - all the while shielding our ears from the subversive
question echoing in the fringes, tugging at our collective imagination:
why do we inevitably have to live in a world in which the 'environment'
needs protection?

The problem of poverty did not 'exist' until we introduced a monetary
framework that reified scarcity, valorized ownership and celebrated
property accumulation; the problem of waste was invented by the system
that pretends to address it; ignorance wasn't certified until schools
were invented; and, the health of our ecological systems will always be
an issue - so long as we continue to perpetuate a civilization whose
very foundation is the idea that 'nature' is a resource to be exploited
for our fanciful whims.

The poison is not in the pot, ladies and gentlemen - the poison is the
pot. We will not 'solve' the 'problems' we have with the tools that
created them in the first place; we will not change the world by adding
another syllable to a sentence that makes no sense. More schools will
not get rid of ignorance - they created it in the first place, and
actually need more of it to thrive (which is the reason why the most
prestigious universities are known by how many applicants they reject!).
More money will not get rid of poverty - because the dynamics of finance
and the politics of upward mobility demand that money remains scarce -
and therefore accessible only to a select few. Until we change the
holding assumptions and hidden narratives that power our systems and
ways of being, we will always tinker with the broth, experiment with new
ingredients, and stir with contrived spoons in a frantic rush for
culinary apotheosis. Meanwhile the toxic juices in the sooty crevices
and shadows of the pot will secrete into our soupy contraptions our
poison, our illusion, our unending servitude, and a stealthy charm that
will keep us wondering why the chef is broken.

Bayo Akomolafe - 'The Poison is the Pot'

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hygiene? Modernity is dirtier than ever

For years I was told how we should not spit and litter on out roads and public spaces.

APJ Kalam wrote profusely on how we as citizens are responsible for so much dirtiness, and I believed him.

Even the private sector, companies, industrialists, waxed eloquent on the need for better cleanliness, sanitation, hygiene.
Poor people were portrayed as being uncivilized, unhygienic, spitting and pissing anywhere and dirtying the city.

While all this while, all these years while our media has been hammering in how we spit and litter on our roads and how bad it is,
While we were being poked every moment for spitting a few organic compounds onto tarred roads,

Our most hyped, respected, reputed companies, have been spitting and shitting TOXIC CHEMICALS into our countryside : Into the land, into the water, into the air, into the plants and birds and animals, into our food, into all our lives. They make the plastic so they can push their goods to us, and then they just can't be bothered about the return trip. All that plastic trash littering my planet and forming floating islands in the oceans wouldn't be around if it wasn't for these few industrialists, well-educated as they are, who knew fully what the consequences will be, who took a decision so they can increase the length and time their goods can travel and get some percentage more profits.

And in all the rush to tell the people that look, how dirty they are, we were deliberately made to miss out on the fact that the industrialists of this country are, by sheer volume, spitting 1000s of times more toxics onto our motherland than all the citizens put together.

We were told to piss in toilets that take fresh, drinkable water, mix it in with shit, and transport it into the rivers and seas that we once worshiped as our Goddesses. We were told to do our bit, while the authorities that took charge of disposing of our crap, just dumped it wherever convenient while promising to solve the problem one day, with regular monetary boosts from us. We ended up doing our bit, and paying on top, to pollute our environment.
Instead if we were to dispense of our waste in our own backyard (as we have been for thousands of years), merely through digging holes, our crap would have completed the cycle of life and become food for the organisms that produce our food. And we'd be getting "rid" of the "waste" without spending any penny.

With the pretense of getting cleaner, civilization as it stands today, is actually making us dirtier than ever. The motive was never to make us cleaner. It was only to make us outsource our tasks so that a heavy bureaucracy can leech off it. Those sparkling clean streets and places : they're just the screensaver, and we fell for it.

And as for all those who proclaim India as a filthy, dirty country, here's a bouncer for you : We're not dirtier than the richer nations. We're only not as passionate about getting rid of our waste as they are. Their trash is piling up all over Africa, Asia, South America, and even Antarctica! We don't go to such great lengths to hide our ugliness as you do, we don't think it a good idea to destroy other people's lands and lives just to maintain cleanliness in ours. If you make any trash, there is nothing bad in keeping it to yourself. So f**k off.

A clean country isn't one whose streets are clean, but one that doesn't produce anything that pollutes, devastates eco-systems anywhere. Spitting paan on the road doesn't really harm this planet as much as the rivers of toxic effluent thrown out by the company that proclaims 10 lakh children educated under its CSR initiative, whose consumer goods are packaged and delivered to us in nice, shiny, clean containers. That's not being clean; that's just throwing your trash in your neighbor's backyard and then chiding the neighbor for being unhygienic. We'd make much better use of our resources if we focused on restructuring our worlds so that we don't make waste in the first place, rather than cleaning up and then throwing it all elsewhere. If it's dirty, let it be. All the more incentive to move on to a more cyclical way of life.

Friday, May 10, 2013

nobody left

I've heard more generic versions of this, but this seems to be the original:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews, I was not a Jew, therefore I was not
concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic,
and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the union
and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not
concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and
there was nobody left to be concerned."

- Martin Niemoller, 1968, from the US Congressional Record

How I'll rewrite it:
First, they came after the Jews. I was not a Jew, so it didn't bother
me. Then they came after the Sikhs and the Muslims. I wasn't either of
them, so why should I help? Then, they grabbed the homes of the
indigenous, the Adivasi. Now I'm no Adivasi, so why should I care? Then
they attacked the Dalits. I wasn't one so it didn't matter. They cleared
the forests but I don't live there. They attacked the gays, and of
course I didn't care. They made the city really unsafe for women, but
since I'm not a woman, I wasn't concerned. They evicted the roadside
sellers, and I just changed my markets. They hunted down all the
activists, thank God I wasn't one of them. They deported the artists,
and my life just went on normally. And then they came after me. Now I
asked for help, but there was no one left to care about me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fascism in India

Got this from a mailer invite to a seminar on Fascism (more info). Good points, can help connect the dots for those who are new to these ideas.

Defining Characteristics of Fascism

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and sexual choices are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by investors , corporates. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often is the one who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

recent updates on Indian Railways site

Revision of tatkal charges w.e.f. 01 Apr-2013.

Revision of Clerkage charges and cancellation charges w.e.f. 01 Apr-2013.

Levying of service tax on service charges for e-tickets booked through IRCTC w.e.f.01 Apr-2013.

IRCTC opens World class Executive Lounge at New Delhi Railway Station.

Revision in Passenger Fares w.e.f 22.01.2013.

I can't help but think these are some way inter-related.
(Read: Revision=hike )

Some news on global financial scams

Some financial matters news:

And a discussion about it on:

Quote from the article:
"Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the
Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an
apology. You were right."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Exploring Raspberry Pi

I'm currently exploring possible applications of the Raspberry Pi, a
low-cost, small, portable computer that's being heralded as something
that can open gateways to a new generation of automation, programming,
bridging the digital divide, etc. Already some interesting applications
are being shared. I'm still very new to this so can't give much detail
here, but would like to invite anyone along.

A friend who wants to use this at a learning center in his village but
needs people on programming side to research it, bought it for me online
and had it delivered to me. You can get it too here:
(Raspberry Pi, Rs.2875)
(Pre-installed R.Pi memory card, Rs.365)

I'm presently looking for a USB Keyboard to be able to run this thing.
If anyone has one lying around and can lend one, please!

Here are websites where you can find interesting leads:

How to access your Ubuntu files from Windows

Useful for people like me who use Ubuntu and Windows operating systems on their computer:

3 Ways to Access Your Linux Partitions From Windows

Also a useful quick-fix for folks who are now using windows and want to access their files saved in Ubuntu/Linux desktop/documents folder. With this you don't have to interrupt whatever you were doing and reboot into Ubuntu, etc. For many, even the boot menu options are gone and they don't have the skills or patience to reinstall it. So this ought to give you all your files in 5 mins.

Gift Economy

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