Saturday, July 23, 2016
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Trump in Power
By Gwynne Dyer
Let us suppose that it is July 2017. Let us suppose that Donald Trump, nominated as the Republican candidate for the US presidency exactly a year ago, won the November election - quite narrowly, perhaps, but the polls are certainly suggesting that such a thing is possible. So he was inaugurated six months ago, and has started to put his campaign promises into effect. We may also assume that the Republican Party retains control of both houses of Congress. If it doesn't, then Trump's ability to execute his plans would be seriously circumscribed, but the surge of support that gives Trump victory would probably also give the Republicans a win in some close Senate races. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives, thanks to extensive gerrymandering, is practically fireproof. Tru...
Kashmir Times News Report
Look who's stupid..!
By Robert Clements
I enjoyed this imaginary conversation with a fellow who thought that all stupid people should wear a sign saying they are stupid. What I loved most however was how it ended: "Why don't stupid people have signs? Stupid people should have to wear signs that just say, "I'm Stupid". That way you wouldn't rely on them, would you? You wouldn't ask them anything. It would be like, "Excuse me...oops, never mind. I didn't see your sign." It's like before my wife and I moved. Our house was full of boxes and there was a U-Haul truck in our driveway. My friend comes over and says "Hey, you moving?" "Nope." I say, "We just pack our stuff up once or twice a week to see how many boxes it takes!" Here's your sign." A couple of months ago I went fishing with a buddy of mine, we pulled his boat into the...
Kashmir Times News Report
The Unlawful Use of Pellet Guns
The lethal use of allegedly non-lethal weapons
By Ravi Nair
The Government of India and the state government in Kashmir must immediately order their police forces to halt forthwith the usage of Pellet Guns and the lethal cartridges that they use. Any further usage of such weapons, which have caused extensive, arbitrary deaths and grievous wounds, would not just be callous but a criminal act. Since 9 July 2016, in the aftermath of the killing of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahedeen leader, large scale protests and funeral gatherings have been taking place across the Kashmir Valley. The apparently indiscriminate usage of allegedly "non-lethal" weapons, such as pellet guns, to control the crowds has resulted in 45 civilians having lost their lives so far. Hundreds have been blinded and a few thousand injured. At the current time, a curfew remains in ef...
Kashmir Times News Report
Brexit: May's strategy
By Gwynne Dyer
So far, so good. Boris Johnson, the face of the "Out" side in last month's Brexit referendum and now Britain's new Foreign Secretary, got through his first encounter with the 27 other foreign ministers of European Union countries on Monday without insulting anybody. They were gathered in Brussels for a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and "Boris" was on his best behaviour. He didn't call anybody a "monosyllabic Austrian cyborg" (Arnold Schwartzenegger) or "a cross-eyed Texan warmonger" (George W. Bush). The poem he wrote in May about Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan having sex with a goat - just google Turkish President Offensive Poetry Competition - didn't come up as there were no Turks present. There were no Russians at the Brussels meeting either, so nobody object...
Kashmir Times News Report
Start-Ups for the Elderly..!
By Robert Clements
Suddenly our country is all abuzz! There's energy flowing all over. It feels like an old, sleepy elephant that has been lying quite still all these years, being jostled and pushed into absolute wakefulness, and this feeling of wakefulness, of aliveness that is happening is all about the Start-Ups or start-up companies that are blooming all over! Once upon a time, getting into business was frowned upon by our people. I still remember my grandmother talking to another old person about my father, a businessman, saying, "Poor man, he's unemployed!" That's how businesses were thought of in the days of yore, but not anymore. Today, in the country with the Prime Minister giving it such a push, start-ups are the in thing, and youngsters are climbing over themselves to start some business or oth...
Kashmir Times News Report
Bloodbath at Dhaka
By Kuldip Nayar
The killing of dozens of people by terrorists at Dhaka is not an aberration, but the product of a committed mind that has been brainwashed by fanaticism. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is quite right when she says that this is not Islam, yet the Muslims all over must introspect why their co-religionists are striking all over and at regular intervals. Dhaka's Information Minister Hasanul Haq has blamed Pakistan for the attack. This may well be true, but there has to be evidence. Otherwise, the criticism will be considered a part of the inimical attitude by Dhaka towards Islamabad. First in Paris, then Brussels and now Dhaka, the message is always the same. Non-believers have no space if they do not accept Islam as the one religion nearest to God. True, this mocks at ideologies like seculari...
Kashmir Times News Report
Fight with facts and figures..!
By Robert Clements
Was extremely happy to see the newspaper headlines this morning to find RBI governor Raghuram Rajan quietly asking, "Show me how inflation is low?" For over a month we've seen one of the best RBI governor's India has ever had, getting the wrong end of the stick. He was labelled different names, accused of many misdeeds, yet kept a stoic silence, other than saying he wasn't interested in another term as governor. But never once did he rise to the bait of hitting out at his adversaries in the same language they were trying to bash and batter him. But now he asks, "Give me facts and figures, how inflation is low, and I'll give you facts and figures how wrong you are!" That's the way to fight back. Many years ago, I was served with a lawyers notice by a group of people in the housing soci...
Kashmir Times News Report
Economic Highlights
Govt's Unnecessary Taxes
Do away with income tax!
By Shivaji Sarkar
The Government's concern of bringing "black money" into the open is laudable. However, it also needs to do a study on why people do not want to pay taxes on their legitimate income? Should personal income be taxed? And, if so to what extent? Important, questions that rock the minds. Add to this, the special investigation team (SIT) set up by the Supreme Court has recommended that cash transaction should not exceed Rs 3 lakh. This is yet another concern. Undeniably, the country's entire wholesale business thrives on cash. But the traders pay taxes too. Primarily, because cash transaction ensure the least chances of default. True, for the bureaucracy cash deals is a problem. But barring ready money might severely hit economic activities. Think. Wholesale traders do not have the time or ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Curtailing the Press..!
By Robert Clements
All governments feel vulnerable to freedom the press enjoys or should enjoy rightfully, and in some way or other try to curtail it in some form or another. I have just read that the press is being muzzled in the valley of Kashmir, and the government feels justified that unusual situations, need extraordinary measures! But what is unusual to one lot of people in the government may be usual to the people protesting! By putting strictures on the press, it is like closing the bank doors when there is a run on the bank. The more the people coming into the bank feel assured there is cash within the vaults, their cash, the more they will stop withdrawing and the bank heaves a sigh of relief that heavy withdrawals have stopped! I remember giving this piece of advice to the chairman of a bank fac...
Kashmir Times News Report
Kashmir requires political solution to resolve crisis
By Brij Bhardwaj
With 35 killed nearly 1500 injured, peace and normalcy seems a distant goal in Kashmir Valley. The leaders of the separatists organisations have extended the call for protests against killing of poster boy of militants Burhan Wani and much will depend on what happens when protesters come out after prayers on Friday and how the security forces deal with them. There is little doubt that the trouble-makers will do everything to make it into a bloody Friday and will test the patience and the skill of security forces. What is happening in Kashmir is a turning point in the sense as insurgency and protests are taking place in new form with leadership in the hands of youngmen and young women who are IT savy and use modern means of communication like internet and are well educated. They have not...
Kashmir Times News Report
Listen even to Idiots..!
By Robert Clements
Most newspapers and magazines where this column appears send me copies which delight me as I keep in touch with news from various corners of the world, I do also spend curious moments reading letters written to different editors: A religious magazine in Mumbai carried one such letter from an indignant parishioner who was furious at the length of sermons preached in churches in the city. "In a church in Bandra, the sermon lasted 23 minutes!" shouted this very angry gentleman. A fleeing Taliban, desperate for water was plodding through the Afghanistan desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he hurried toward the object, only to find a little old Jewish man at a small stand selling ties. The Taliban asked, "Do you have water?" The Jewish man replied, "I...
Kashmir Times News Report
Britain: Shakespeare in Action
It's a bit like a Shakespeare play - specifically the final scene of Hamlet, when almost all the play's major characters die violently. And now we're down to one. Her name is Theresa May.
By Gwynne Dyer
It's a bit like a Shakespeare play - specifically the final scene of Hamlet, when almost all the play's major characters die violently. And now we're down to one. Her name is Theresa May. It has been barely three weeks since the United Kingdom (or at least, 52 percent of those who voted) chose to leave the European Union, but all the main Brexit leaders have already left the stage. The Conservative Party has always been notable for its ruthlessness, and leaders who threaten to split the party get short shrift. The first to go was Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum expecting that a pro-EU outcome would finally make the anti-EU obsessives on the right of his own Conservative Party shut up. It was a needless, fatal blunder. Cameron allowed some of his own cabinet memb...
Kashmir Times News Report
Indian Media's Code of Silence on Kashmir
By Aijaz Zaka Syed
Indian media boasts an illustrious history. Born under the British rule, it quickly mastered the rules of the game, working around the stiff curbs and acute sensitivities of colonial masters. If the Independence movement saw popular newspapers provide intellectual leadership and direction to the country, the post-independence era saw them really thrive, mirroring the aspirations and dreams of a young nation. Except for the dark interregnum of Indira Gandhi's Emergency when in the words of Advani it chose to crawl when told to bend, Indian media has been fiercely independent. Never shying away from speaking truth to power, it has jealously guarded its independence under successive governments. My former paper Indian Express has by far been the most fearless of them all, perpetually d...
Kashmir Times News Report
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