Why we’re all taught to like the same thing, Or at the least within a range of things.

The Choice Equation.
The Choice Equation.

From early childhood we are made to aspire towards the same goals and covet the same things. Individuality is encouraged but within confines. It is a false acceptance of Individuality because in reality true individuality is discouraged and sometimes literally beaten out of people.

The Mantra can be rephrased as – Be the best that you can be (do the most that you can do) vs. do whatever you want to do.

The individual self is a threat to the mass produced nature of the corporate complex. Individuality means variety, but the systems of mass production can only profit on large numbers of the same objects — A limited range of desire is required and hence a conformist desire is projected.

E.g. Forget getting to design your own car you can’t even pick any color. You can only pick colors from those offered by the car company. Now sure you can get it painted in any color you like.. but why not then sell a blank car at a discount. Do I hear the universal echo of “economies of scale” being shouted by business people everywhere, not to mention law enforcement that might need to describe the color etc.

This seems practical and it is.. for products though not for people. The thought that a range of options is the same as true individuality when made towards a lifestyle and choice of career is what is truly stifling for the human condition.

This is the case because if we did not in some way confuse conformist desire with true desire we would see through the mirage that is consumerism and its promise of fulfilling our inner desires with products.

Hence we are confused into thinking we are individuals when in reality we are being cajoled into conforming to pre-molded roles that can then be categorized, segmented, marketed to and finally capitalized on.

Think Differently

Palestinian right to return

Israeli’s use the Dead Sea Scrolls as the legitimacy for their return & occupation of Israel yet “Many believe that Palestinians returning to the original villages from which they fled, or were forced to leave, is synonymous with the end of the Jewish character of Israel.”

This hypocrisy is hurting Israel more than anyone else. Israeli politician need to make the hard choices that are required, simply beefing up your military and pandering to your voters even when you know they are wrong is not what makes leaders or great nations.



The face of class warfare.

If unions have to go, so do lobbyists. They’re both collective bargaining.

The difference being that Unions represent the workers in X industry while Lobbyists represent the business owners in X industry!

Why should owners get to make their point with unity but not the workers?

A government that Bullies!

Ever tried asking a cop, Why the Nakabandi? or Why the search of your personal belongings? Or even a clerk at a government office: Why the Delay? Why the extra fees?

If you haven’t, You’re Smart and/or Lucky. If you have you noticed that it was, to say the least, Ill-received.

Governments are like brothers -They can be helpful in times of need, aspiring in their accomplishments, protective towards their loved ones Or they can be bullies and everything negative that comes with it.

Sadly what we have now in India is the latter. A governement and it’s employees that is such a mafia organization that they will punish and make examples of any who question their authority. They wish to work with impunity and in order to continue doing so they silence all calls for transparency.

How long can we have a government that bullies us, that steals from us, that wants to be a controlling influence and not a calming and supportive one.

Anti-Zionist is not Anti-Semitic!

Talk about whiners over at the AMCHA.. Can’t even take a lil criticism. People should be entitled to their opinions and being anti-zionist (Fighting the UN resolution which took Palestinian land and made it an Israeli state) is not the same as being anti-semitic.

Sanctions & embargo’s against the South African Apartheid government were tolerated and encouraged .. why can’t one even talk about it when it comes to Israel.

As Winston Churchill once said “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

Read on…http://www.salon.com/2012/04/24/ucla_professor_warned_about_israel_views/

Since it’s virtually impossible to criticize the Israeli state without being branded an Anti-Semite or worse. Perhaps Anti-Zion criticism should be directed towards the UN for it’s Palestinian Partition Plan and pressure should be applied on them to roll back the plan. Since they started this mess perhaps it’s best if they resolved it.

Using the UN as the forum for resolution will also address some concerns 1. US and other western “peace brokers” are biased and heavily influenced by organizations such as AIPAC 2. Are motivated by geo-political balance of power issues i.e. It’s a resource rich region 3. Influenced by Business interests which want to keep the status quo i.e. parties that profit from the current situation will fight & stifle any change 4. Very little emphasis on the Humanitarian Agenda. The UN cannot shrug off it’s humanitarian responsibilities as easily as the US or any Nation State.

In my opinion the bid for Palestinian state membership to the UN is a crucial first step in the resolution of Palestinian – Israeli differences.

Billionaires vs Billions

Courtesy - MoveOn.org
Image Courtesy - MoveOn.org

If History has taught us anything, it is that All empire’s will fall.

History also shows us that in hindsight the demise was obvious, power gets centralized and abused by a few while the masses suffer, till they can suffer no more and the system comes crumbling down once it loses the support of it’s foundation (the Masses).

The world’s oldest democracy is facing it’s biggest challenge yet. How to stop Billionaire’s from controlling government policies that enrich them while depriving millions of others of basic necessities. To follow the path that led the US to this point and to learn if this scenario will play out the same way in other democracies around the world… Read on..


The great Indian Hoodwink

Outlook India - Pipe Dream - Alam Srinivas
Courtesy OutlookIndia.com

The Two Ambani brothers are among the 5 richest people in India, & in the top 10 around the world, a country of over 1 Billion.

Together the brothers are often monopolies in multiple sectors. From Petrochemicals (Reliance) to Energy distribution (ADAG), Pharmaceuticals (Reliance) to Hospitals (ADAG), SEZ’s (Special Economic Zones- Reliance) to Infrastructure (ADAG).

If one brother does petrochemicals the other does electricity, so literally the entire energy sector’s manufacture, delivery & pricing is controlled by them. This formulae plays out in multiple other related industries.

In any other country the judiciary would already have filed anti-trust & monopoly cases against the Ambani’s. But not in India, where the judiciary tends to do what the government says, and the government tends to be in bed with industrialists. But surely the WTO would have applied pressure in time.

So how did they get away with it? What did they do? They faked a break-up!

Anyone who’s seen Indian Movies knows that one of the most common story plots used is that of warring brothers. So why mess with a time tested formula. Using this as the storyline, the Ambani brothers managed to roll out the Perfect PR Decoy.

They started to war publicly in the media and presented the case, through they’re PR departments, that the differences between the brothers were irreconcilable. Hence each had to go his own way & the company needed to be broken into 2 entities which would be completely independent of each other. The brothers even had a tacit agreement on which industries each brother would rule. Mukesh got all the old established Industries and Anil got a boat load of money (which was quite generous for warring brothers) to start companies in new Industries that Mukesh & Reliance Industries were’t already in.

Doesn’t this sound absurd?

All of Anil’s experience was gained working in those very industries with his father, Ambani Senior. Why would he abandon all his learnings to work in a new industry.

Wouldn’t you think Anil Ambani would want to prove something by beating his brother Mukesh Ambani at his own game, on the same playing field, in the same Industries using his skills to prove that he is the better manager.

But perhaps they really wanted nothing to do with each other and move on for good. Let’s see how the story fares on further inspection.

In order to believe the Ambani’s story one has to believe that the brothers & more importantly their businesses are now 2 different entities and that there is no collusion between them or their companies.

The brothers still live together in the same house. Which Billionaire does that? They were so offended with each other that it was morally acceptable for them to split their beloved father’s businesses but obviously not offended enough to move into separate houses!

Reliance Industries (Mukesh Ambani) & ADAG (Anil Ambani) have been broken up for under 10 years but already they are in business together on Infrastructure, Mining & a few other heavy investment sectors. Who knows how many businesses they will be in by 2020, I fear as many as they can get away with.

Break-up the Monopoly.

A different kind of caste system in Indian Politics & Society!

There is the obvious kind of caste bias in Indian Politics, and perhaps in most countries in the world, where voters flock towards representatives who are form their own caste (religion).

There is an understanding that there will be tacit support for any representative from within his/her community as the common factor of religion will be glorified and abused during the polls i.e. Caste based voting

This emphasis on voting for a representative based on his/her religion is a corrosive practice which destablizes democracies and does not allow the best person to succeed.

But there is a different and perhaps equally corrosive habit in Indian Politics and it too is based in caste.

The caste system does not only specify one’s religion & social standing; for many years it also specified one’s profession. Families led the same profession for years, Printers son’s were printer’s, teacher’s sons were teacher’s, doctors children were doctor’s and so on.

In a similar vein, there is a tacit understanding and acceptance of politician’s kid’s becoming politicians.

This is a relic of the caste system which no-one wants to address least of all the those who benefit from it.

Does a politician’s son/daughter make a good politician, Does an actor’s son/daughter make a good actor.

What is it with the Indian Psyche that presupposes that the children possess the talents of their parents (were the parents even good at their jobs), and doesn’t this blind our judgement.

Maybe 10% of hollywood actors have actor parents, In India it’s closer to 90%.

Again close to 7-9% of the US congress have connections to an ex-congressmen. In india the figure is closer to 40%.

The numbers are again high in the IPS, IAS, Indian Chartered Accountants, Indian Doctors Association and many other public & private bodies and often the reason for choosing the line of work is that you are guaranteed to be selected because of your parents.

The list is long and runs across all professions and social strata,we all know father-son/daughter teams at work.

In my opinion this is not a criteria that we should be bothered about (parents profession) and least of all make our decisions based on it. The best candidate based on his/her credentials will never get the job and eventually we will be left with a weak and in-bred system.

An Ode to Air India! or as it will known in the future: The Air India Scam.

I have a fondness for the Indian national carrier and am definitely biased towards it. My parents flew for Air India in the 70’s, they met & fell in love at their jobs and I am what is often referred to as an Air India baby. It helped introduce me to the world outside India and helped start a passion of travel that has defined my tastes and personality in profound ways.

The systematic rape of the airline and the constant barrage of accusations have forced me to speak up and inform people of what has been known for long in private but has not been made public.
Air India was nationalized by the Indian Government as it could not start an airline of it’s own but wished to have one.
Even during the closed economy days Air India bore the burden of the desires of elected officials, whether it be international travel or staying in local five stars.
The Centaur group of hotels were dismally loss making for over 20 years, to keep the hotels alive, Air India staff was forced to stay at centaur locations for inflated prices and forced to keep staff at the hotel for stand by.
Cabin Staff within Mumbai were put up in Centaur hotels for 8-12 hrs when they were on standby, whereas previously they stayed at their homes and were informed by phone and then picked up by a company transport. All of this was done to fill up rooms. This way the airlines revenues were diverted to centaur and lowered centaur’s losses while dragging Air India into the red.
Once the economy was opened up centaur was sold off in a hurry and most of the transactions had evidence of crony favoritism and outright corruption.
Now the good part: Politicians from across the spectrum have huge financial interests in private airlines.
The number of airlines allowed to fly a particular sector are limited and hence priority is given to older airlines. For newer players to get these often lucrative routes they need Air India (the older player) to give them up.
As a result Air India is being forced by it’s upper management which comprises of IAS officers chosen by the government to give up lucrative sectors such as JFK – Mumbai Non stop, Gulf Sectors, European Sectors, Asian Sectors so that private players can profit from the international game. Air India’s middle management which comprises of employees who have risen through the ranks, hence have far more to lose with Air India failing than upper management (Pensions, PF’s etc), have been unsuccessful in stopping this loss of lucrative sectors.
Air India has placed one of the largest aircraft orders in the world.
Air India will now be in the news for its losses and how it is financially unviable for the government to run. Losses will be ballooned with smoke and mirror accounting to make Air India seem like a financial time bomb.
Then when popular opinion has reached a critical mass and there is support for the sale of Air India it will be sold to private players, new aircrafts in tow, at stupidly low prices (similar to the centaur sale).
The private airlines, thanks to their political guardian angels, with get new aircrafts at bargain prices and the Indian taxpayer will be left paying the loan installments on the aircrafts for the next 60 Years.
This is how to siphon public funds 101.