Iraq now, Iran next, Saudi Arabia for later

“It’s the oil, stupid.”

In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal of 10th June, Edward J. Markey asks rhetorically “Why Is Bush Helping Saudi Arabia Build Nukes?” He points out that if at all the Saudis need more energy — even after sitting atop the world’s largest oil reserves — then the US should be helping them out by selling them solar technology. Solar technology makes sense in a country three times the size of Texas, and where the desert sands see around 300 days of sunshine every year. He says, “For a country with so much oil, gas and solar potential, importing expensive and dangerous nuclear power makes no economic sense.”
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Mr Lee and Mr Chee agreed to have a fight

The NY Times of 30th May reports (“Power and Tenacity Collide in Singapore Courtroom” — Thanks, Naman) on the clash between two personalities — one powerful and famous, the other powerless — in a Singapore courtroom. Former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, 84, met his political adversary Chee Soon Juan, 45, in court where the former is suing the latter for libel. In a newsletter published in 2006, Mr Chee had accused the Singapore government of corruption. Mr Lee takes charges of corruption seriously and refused to let Mr Chee’s accusation go unchallenged.

I suppose the court would figure out if Mr Chee’s charge is true or not. If the charge is false, I would be much relieved because I would hate to find out that the man I have very high regard for — Mr Lee Kuan Yew — has feet of clay.
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What’s a “Patwa”?

A fatwa is a religious decree made by a mullah. A “patwa” is like a fatwa but made by Patil. A patwa, like a fatwa, is not based on reason or logic. But it is not just a matter of whim, a fancy, a just-like-that sort of thing. It is calculated to serve Patil’s and her masters’ interest.
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The Resurrection of Gandhi

Arvind Lavakare in an article titled The Myth of Mahatma Gandhi notes that the Gandhi icon had been losing its sheen for years until the present government began giving it a nice new varnish. Maybe it is an attempt to “to fuse the original Gandhi image with the Italian one” he hints. I am convinced of that, however. Reading the comments on that article is instructive. Many of them are the equivalent of sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and loudly repeating “I am not listening. nana nana nana.” If people who are literate and supposedly educated are brainwashed enough to not even entertain an argument supported by evidence, what hope is there for the vast majority who have no access to alternative viewpoints to ever recover from the effects of the constant barrage of images promoting Gandhi as the sole savior of India?

If I were an illiterate person, I would be convinced that Gandhi is goodness personified. After all, doesn’t Indian money carry his image? Isn’t he the father of the nation? And should I not vote for Gandhi’s children — Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul, whoever? And should I not vote for the party that Gandhi founded? And should I not believe everything from a person who says he is a Gandhian?

Anyway, I must admit that the Congress party of India has a winning formula and they know it. Gandhi is the biggest brand name in the world — forget Coca Cola and McDonalds. Mera Bharat Mahan!

Rewriting Indian History: Book review by CJS Wallia

The following is a review of Francois Gautier’s Rewriting Indian History. (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing 1996). The reviewer is C J S Wallia who writes:

From my own perspective as a secular humanist, I believe that any whitewashing of historical record is counterproductive. No matter how lofty the ideals of a current cause, any whitewash of history tempts the fates. To forget history will always be fateful; to forgive its horrendous facts can be redemptive. Forgive — but never forget — history.

I, like the millions of others of my generation, grew up basically ignorant of Indian history as I had only been taught the Nehruvian pseudo-secular socialist government-sanctioned propaganda “history.” Now it is time that we free ourselves from the government brainwashing by reading alternative viewpoints critically. I bow deep in gratitude to the internet gods for allowing some light to shine through the darkness that Nehru imposed.

The review is continued below the fold.
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Do the Taliban have Buddha Nature?

Here we go again. In March of 2001, the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. These statues had stood there since the early 6th century. Symbols of universal compassion, these were in the eyes of Islam something that had to be destroyed.

Full marks for perseverance, though. “When Mahmud of Ghazni conquered Afghanistan and part of west India in the 12th century, the Buddhas and frescoes were spared from destruction though Buddhist monasteries and other artifacts were looted or destroyed. Aurangzeb, the last Mughal emperor distinguished for his religious zeal, employed heavy artillery in an attempt to destroy the statues. Nadir Shah, too, had cannon fire directed at the statues. But over the centuries the statues had largely been left untouched.”
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Law of Supply and Demand

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the law of supply and demand is a bitch. Stripped of all details it basically states that the price of something is determined by the interaction of the quantities supplied and demanded. Therefore (1) an increase of the quantity demanded, holding the supply constant, will increase the price; (2) an increase in the quantity supplied, holding the demand constant, will decrease the price; (3) a decrease in the quantity demanded, holding the supply constant, will decrease the price; and (4) a decrease in the quantity supplied, holding the demand constant, will increase the price.

Sing pretty songs, if you please, or dance nimbly invoking the gods, or pass sincere legislation to suspend the effects of that law. You would have as much success doing that as you would have in suspending the law of gravity and legislate against it effects. The law of supply and demand is not quantum mechanics and can be taught to the average 6 year-old with ease. Ignorance of the law should be a matter of shame, and willful disregard of the law by policymakers should be punished through public floggings.
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