Friday, October 31, 2014

Capitalism Explained In Black And White


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saif Ali Khan On So-Called "Love Jihad"


Saif Ali Khan: Intermarriage is not jihad, it is India
I know intermarriages because I am a child of one and my children are born out of it. Intermarriage is not jihad. Intermarriage is India. India is a mix. Ambedkar said the only way to annihilate caste is intermarriage. It is only through intermarriage that the real Indians of tomorrow can be truly equipped to take our nation forward with the right perspective. I am the product of such a mixed marriage and my life has been full of Eid and Holi and Diwali. We were taught to do adaab and namaste with equal reverence. ..... My children were born Muslim but they live like Hindus (with a pooja ghar at home), and if they wanted to be Buddhist, they would have my blessing. ...... We are a blend, this great country of ours. It is our differences that make us who we are. We need to get beyond mere tolerance. We need to accept and respect and love each other. ..... There are different laws for Hindus and different laws for Muslims. This is bound to create trouble. ..... I think we should have one law for all Indians, a uniform civil code, and we should all think of ourselves as one nation. ...... I stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy first, then Santa Claus, and finally, I really don’t know what I feel about a personal god. But I believe in love and in trying to be good and helping the world. I don’t always succeed and then I feel bad. My conscience is my god, I think, and it tells me that that one tree in Pataudi near which my father is buried is closer to god than any temple, church or mosque.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

$100 Billion Plan To Save The World

The bitcoin logo
The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Scale out the Google/Facebook drone initiative to blanket the planet with internet access, effective immediately. Cost $25 billion.
  2. Design a $25 smartphone and flood the Arab countries (and subsequently rest of the world) with them. The dollar a day crowd gets the phone for free. Distribute shared solar chargers alongside. Cost $25 Billion. 
  3. Use Bitcoin technology (zero cost for money transfers) and mPaisa technology (bank account on your phone, you get money on your phone, you pay back on your phone) to radically expand microfinance globally. The goal is to not generate any profit, just to keep the fund intact. Cost: $50 Billion. Anyone with a phone with internet access can borrow upto $100 per year as long as they keep up with their monthly payments. If they miss three monthly payments in a row, they don't get to borrow any more for the following two years, after which they can choose to get back in the swing. You need a phone, and you need to send in an image of your fingerprint to a central database, and your picture perhaps. There is an app for that. A credit rating agency is instantly being set up. This program comes from the air. There is nothing between the dollar a day crowd and the internet. The interest rate on the loan is 5% per year. This is to make room for the fact that 5% of the borrowers will default. You can only get $100 per year for now. The next Warren Buffet should add another $50 billion to this. This would be the magic bullet of curing poverty. 
The best way to fight ISIS (population: 20,000) is to show to them and to the two billion Muslims and everyone else how small and irrelevant they are. They don't speak for two billion people. This political challenge is primary. The military threat, though very real, is secondary. 

Ebola And ISIS: Scary

Yesterday a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that I quickly debunked in the comments section of his update. An Ebola victim thought to be dead when picked up to be taken away to be cremated started moving his hands. He was apparently still alive. This was no Zombie Apocalypse. But some outlying news outlets on the web had spiced it up and written up a zombie angle to the story. And my friend's update said, "Now I am scared!"

But this update today from another friend - a high school friend in Sydney, Australia - has given me jitters.
ISIS is planning to infect their "suicide squad" with Ebola and send them to the west while they're still undetectable, and spread an Ebola epidemic to the west. How is the West going to handle this threat?! The world is going mad!!!

From Forbes: ISIS may already be thinking of using Ebola as a low-tech weapon of bio-terror, says a national security expert, who notes that the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” and terror groups like it wouldn’t even have to weaponize the virus to attempt to wreak strategic global infection.

Such groups could simply use human carriers to intentionally infect themselves in West Africa, then disseminate the deadly virus via the world’s air transportation system. Or so says Capt. Al Shimkus, Ret., a Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. “The individual exposed to the Ebola Virus would be the carrier,” Shimkus told Forbes. “In the context of terrorist activity, it doesn’t take much sophistication to go to that next step to use a human being as a carrier.”

Monday, October 06, 2014

War On Terrorism And Drones And Android Phones And India

Description: A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Gainesv...
Description: A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Gainesville, Florida, Dec. 31, 1922. Source: http://www.displaysforschools.com/history.html. Portion: Reduced from original size so it is no longer suitable for reproduction. Purpose: To illustrate the article Ku Klux Klan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In geometry you define a point, you define a line as the shortest distance between two points, and so on to complex theorems. I take a similar approach to the War On Terrorism. As soon as 9/11 happened I equated it to Pearl Harbor. The Cold War ended, and this was a beginning to something new of the same magnitude.

Some of the postulates.
  • 9/11 was Pearl Harbor to a new Cold War like era. It was the beginning of a new Front. 
  • Freedom rings in every human heart. Democracy is thus not an American export. But the external conditions in any given country can be hostile to democracy, to freedom. America being the oldest democracy carries the historic weight on its shoulders. America has no bigger goal in the world than a total spread of democracy. That is why it was born. That is also in the best interests of the country. 
  • India being the world's largest democracy and by now the third largest economy after China and America is America's natural ally. India is the new Britain. There are almost as many Muslims in India as in Pakistan. Only Indonesia has more Muslims. The Muslims in India have lived under a democratic republic for close to 70 years now. That is a long, ongoing experiment. But it is also a criticism of democracy that Muslims in India, like African Americans in America lag behind in every socio-economic indicator. 
  • The War On Terrorism concludes when all Muslim countries have become full fledged, functioning democracies with regular free and fair elections, multiple political parties, minority rights, individual rights, and the major institutions of democracy. 
  • In some countries democracy will arrive by conquest. That is almost always a bad idea. 
  • In most countries democracy will arrive because people rose up and came out into the streets. 
  • Can all this happen on its own? Or does America have a role? America has a huge role. America can be that catalyst that makes it happen much faster than it otherwise will. 
  • Iraq was not a functioning democracy when the ISIS rose up. It has become an electoral Shiacracy in the aftermath of Saddam, which was a Sunni dominated dictatorship. 
  • America toppled Saddam fast. But it did a poor job of nurturing democracy in the country. America did not get the bang for the buck, after over a trillion dollars spent, over 100,000 Iraqi lives lost, over 5,000 American lives lost. 
  • Special forces are better than traditional combat forces, because they employ similar tactics to the terrorists. But special forces can not be the primary weapon. 
  • The primary weapon in this war is the cheap Android phone that gets internet access beamed from the sky. 
  • Google and Facebook both have working prototypes on which they plan on spending a billion dollars each. They are going to get a ton of drones up in the sky, above airplanes but below satellites. 
  • The most important thing the American government can do is spend more than 100 billion dollars to rapidly scale out this Google/Facebook effort to blanket the entire planet with internet access from the sky. And flood the target countries with cheap Android phones, and cheap solar battery chargers. Dictator after dictator will topple. Terrorist groups that number in the thousands will look like insignificant minorities like the Michigan militia or the Ku Klux Klan in the Pacific Ocean of two billion Muslims. 
  • But right now the US government is putting zero effort into this. Why? Because the military-industrial complex has a grip on the US government, directly as well as through the command they exert over public opinion. If the War On Terrorism only has military solutions, then that industry keeps making its hundreds of billions. And off we go. 
  • The current debate on net neutrality in DC should tell you how naive and hopeless the tech industry is in DC. This net neutrality debate should not even be happening. But is happening. The tech industry should admit to its utter failure in DC. They need to go head on and compete with the military-industrial complex in DC. Because there is a War On Terrorism that needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. The fewer lives that are lost in the process, better it will be. Muslim lives are as valuable as Christian lives, believe it or not. 
  • Drones from the sky, Android phones on the ground. That is one. The biggest political move Washington could make is to turn India into the new Britain. Muslims in India are best positioned to act as ambassadors of democracy across the Islamic world. On this India count as well America has so far failed. 
  • This drone thing, this India thing. These would be proactive. But reacting to the ISIS is reactive. That is more expensive, and less effective. Much more expensive, and much less effective. You can cut down the ISIS in size in a very expensive way, and still not have managed to spread democracy anywhere. 

A Political Immigration Detention

President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain...
President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain in a press conference, taking place on March 4, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I went in the precise day Hillary lost to Barack in 2008. I came out a few days after Barack Obama beat John McCain. I had not been out but a few days I got an email from one of the two Co-Chairs of the New York State Democratic Party. She had sent it to me on Facebook, one on one. She had invited me to a DL21C event. At the time it was illegal for me to show up for a DL21C event. Why would a Co-Chair of the state Democratic Party, someone I had never met, invite me to an event in an open invitation to flaunt the law of the land?

There were people who never expected to see me again. They were offended I was back in town.