May 17, 2011 archive

A Forgotten Holocaust in India


“In War of Civilisations: India AD 1857, Amaresh Misra, a writer and historian based in Mumbai, argues that there was an “untold holocaust” which caused the deaths of almost 10 million people over 10 years beginning in 1857.”

And of course there are always holocaust-deniers for every holocaust.

“We cannot say for sure if some of these populations did not just leave a conflict zone rather than being killed,” said Shabi Ahmad, head of the 1857 project at the Indian Council of Historical Research. “It could have been migration rather than murder that depopulated areas.”

Migration! Maybe millions of Indians simply wandered away to a faraway limbo where they were eventually joined by millions of Jews from the Nazi holocaust and millions of Iraqis from the ongoing American holocaust in Iraq!

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Single Payer Reality: Vermont Approves Universal Health Care Program

Crossposted from Antemedius

While the silence from most of US mainstream media remains deafening, the print and online news publication for physicians published by the American Medical Association – American Medical News – reported yesterday May 16 that Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has scheduled a bill-signing ceremony for May 26 during which he will sign a bill approved by the Vermont Democratic-controlled legislature, with the state Senate voting 21-9 to pass it on May 3, and the House adopting it on May 5 with a 94-49 vote “that paves the way for the state to launch a health system approaching a single-payer model later in the decade and to create a state health insurance exchange”.

The measure creates a powerful five-member Green Mountain Care Board, members of which will determine the benefits and craft a funding plan for Green Mountain Care, a state universal health plan. The board would have wide authority over state health spending and health system reform. The bill requires the governor to nominate Green Mountain board members by Oct. 1 and the Vermont Senate to confirm them.

All Vermonters would be eligible for the plan, which would cover hospital services and prescription drugs.

Shumlin had pledged to enact a single-payer health system during his January 6 inaugural address, saying “Let Vermont be the first state in the nation to treat health care as a right and not a privilege.

Encore presentation: better management won’t change society

(previously published over at Orange, where they ignored it)

Here is an essay for those of you who are clinging to the status quo, who imagine that a few mild reforms, instituted by a managerial elite, will change society significantly enough to “make a difference” and “put America on the right track.”  Let me be clear about this: I’m sure we have a lot of the same goals — but I am looking for a clear and unequivocal repudiation of “progressivism.”

Better management won’t change our society.  Its problem is the one John Lennon sang about forty years ago: how can I go forward if I don’t know which way I’m facing?

If society is “facing the wrong way,” and headed for crisis for reasons internal to its functioning, then the point of planning within that social context is lost.  Better management will then merely mitigate the resultant disaster without offering any real resistance to its happening.  The fundamental reality is this: global capitalist society, which organizes the world economy to benefit 793 billionaires and ten million millionaires while marginalizing that half of humanity which lives on less than $2.50/day, is headed toward more growth, more intensive and more extensive exploitation of resources, toward an ultimate crisis of exhaustion.  These tendencies are all built into the system.  And you are all going to “plan around” this?

Below the fold I will give you all a short list of reasons why our managers don’t know which way they’re facing, and also of why real social change is more effectively accomplished by social movements than by managers.

Movies: West Side Story: One Big Iconic Moment for Me:


There are so many seemingly smaller iconomic moments in my alltime favorite movie, West Side Story, which I’ve written about mucho times on here, as well as on a number of other forum/message boards, that they’re all combined together in one dynamite package to make this great golden oldie but keeper of a film classic what it is;  one big iconic moment, for me and probably many, many other average moviegoers as well.     Due to my intense love for this great, golden oldie but keeper of a movie-musical classic, I have a really tough time naming any favorite scenes/songs/characters from West Side Story, but I will say this:

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)

Today, May 17, 2011, is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.  The hope of a day like this is to eradicate its reason for existing.

A life without discrimination is a basic human right.

You may have by now seen the UN Commissioner on Human Rights speaking out against hate crimes and “corrective rape”.

The UNCHR also produced a pamphlet (pdf) called The United Nations Speaks Out:  tackling discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.  I’ve linked to the English version, but the pamphlet is available in multiple languages.

In more than 70 countries, laws make it a crime to be homosexual, exposing millions to the risk of arrest, imprisonment and, in some cases, execution.

On Sunday Drinking, Or, Has Satan Been Rendered Irrelevant?

I know better than to go drinking on Sundays, but it’s just been one of those weeks, and I figured I’d grab a few beers, no big deal, and then head hone and get some real work done.

Of course, the reason I don’t drink on Sundays is because that’s when Satan likes to go hang out at my favorite bar – and to be real honest with you, lately Satan’s getting to be a real drag to hang out with once he gets drinking.

I mean, it’s depressing: he’s always talking about how he gets blamed for the economy, even though he claims he has no control over Wall Street, and atheism is a bit of a sore subject – and he’s forever complaining about how all his best customers have been outsourcing more and more work to Varsavarti.

But if you think all that’s a drag to have to deal with…you should hear him complain about Republican Presidential Politics.



Six In The Morning

Did Pakistani intelligence help plan and finance Mumbai attacks?

Chicago trial will hear from businessman accused of identifying targets for militants

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Two and a half years after armed militants stormed ashore in Mumbai and launched an assault that left more than 160 people dead, court proceedings have begun in the US which could expose disturbing allegations that elements within Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency helped plot and finance the operation.

Amid tight security at the Dirksen federal courthouse in Chicago, the jury selection process has started in the trial of the Chicago-based businessman Tahawwur Rana, who is accused of helping an old school friend scout targets in India for the Pakistani militants. Among the targets identified by David Coleman Headley were the locations in Mumbai that the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba militants laid siege to for up to three days.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

In the antiseptic world we try to purge ourselves of difficult things. Don’t dwell on it, switch off the light and go home. But this is home. I have to be a home to myself. I am the place I come back to and I can’t keep hiding difficult things in trunks. Soon the house will be full of trunks and I perched on top of them with the phone saying, “Yes, I’m fine, of course, I’m fine, everything’s fine.” The trunks shudder.

–Jeanette Winterson

Ornament  7

Late Night Karaoke

Presidential Elections French Style

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The arrest of IMF President Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York City on sexual assault charges puts on interesting twist on the French Presidential Elections. He is finished as head of the IMF and most certainly washed up with politics in France whether he is acquitted of these charges or not. The French like their sex but not necessarily on the front page of every newspaper around the world. This leaves a gaping hole for the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) of whom M. Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK in France,  was the leading candidate and was expected to defeat President Nicholas Sarkozy.

The French Presidential elections are held every 5 years in April, separately from the legislative election for the two chamber Parlement (Parliament). France does not have a two party system but a system where, though many political parties exist, only two parties have a chance of getting elected to major positions. Power, however, usually passes back and forth between the two stablest coalitions representing the left and the right.

Between now and next fall there will be primaries among the opposition parties where there are more than one declared candidate. The Front National’s (FN) primary was held January 11th, electing its president, Marine Le Pen, the youngest daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, former president of the FN, to be their candidate. The Parti Socialiste will hold their primary on June 28th with multiple candidates. Pres. Sarkozy, who is backed by Union Pour Un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), already has their endorsement.

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