Friday, December 7, 2007

A mole changes name

burning books preemptively

Offered without any comment except the cartoon above-
Mohammed the mole digs author into a risky hole

A BRITISH children’s author who named a mole Mohammed to promote multiculturalism has renamed it Morgan for fear of offending Muslims.

Kes Gray, a former advertising executive, first decided on his gesture of cross-cultural solidarity after meeting Muslims in Egypt.

The character, Mohammed the Mole, appeared in Who’s Poorly Too, an illustrated children’s book, which also included Dipak Dalmatian and Pedro Penguin, in an effort to be “inclusive”.

This weekend Gray said he had decided to postpone a reprint and rename the character Morgan the Mole even though there had been no complaints.

Who’s Poorly Too

“I had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan,” said Gray. “As soon as I saw the news I thought, oh gosh, I’ve got a mole called Mohammed this is not good.

“I feel incredibly sorry for that teacher,” added Gray. “Luckily for me, I’m in a position where I can avoid this.” The book has sold 40,000 copies in Britain and abroad since 1999.

Gray said he tried “hard to embrace other cultures and I had no idea it would backfire like this. I was in Egypt this year and everyone was called Mohammed. I just thought it was a popular name”.

(emphasis mine)
read the whole thing.
Quick, buy the book before it's original print runs out and Morgan steps in for Muhammad.

Okay, okay, can't help it, just one comment-
Where are the all the Dipaks of the world?How come they are not offended on having a dog named Dipak?Has the flame of Dipakism died out?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Normal programming to resume shortly

Blogging interrupted due to various and never ending trials and tribulations.I wish it was all roses and applause.

But what the heck!
Normal programming to resume shortly.

Note- I am unable, due to lack of information, to credit the image above but thank the unknown(to me!) creator for the wonderful image.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A holy immersion in black waters.

On the banks of the Yamuna, the river that flows through the city of Delhi.
Occassion- immersion of something called 'khetri', or "or the earthen pot in which grass is grown during the holy Navratri for praying to Goddess Vaishno".

dirty YamunaThe water is very dark, almost black.

Immersing plant in the river
Here the river catches the fading evening light. The children who live in settlements near the bank are eager to make some money. They usually ask 15 or 20 rupees to take the plant some way into the river and dive into the dirty water and let the plant go.

river childrenRiver children. Interestingly, while this is a Hindu tradition, the children doing the immersion seemed to be mostly muslims.

Note-The above link takes you to someone not pleased with this custom or the state of the river.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

All the art in the world will not reduce poverty one bit

It seems that there is going to be an arty-sharty event under the holy blessings of a famous guru, with rock concerts, art shows and a parade of page 3 bimbettes like Nafisa Ali and Nandita Das. The cause- we live in a time where the elites have a deep seated psychological need of a 'cause' to salve their consciences- is to "participate and raise our voices against poverty and a peaceful world" in the support of 'United Nations Millennium Development Goals'.
(Are they really going to raise their voices against a peaceful world?-ed)

As if 'Make Poverty History' was a great success.
Of course, this is just another excuse for the rich and the guilty to feel good as they drive to the event in their Mercedes and Skodas, or fly in first class from another city. As for the artists and artistes, an occassion to ingratiate themselves with the 'happening' crowd and another step on the ladder of their careers.In short, everyone happy.

As for the actual poor, none are likely to attend the event( and if they tried they would run the risk of being chased away from the gates of the IHC, an uber-elite complex of the rich and the famous)

Those who are crazy to be part of something associated with the United Nations are often unaware (or don't care) that the programs of the UN are run by a bureaucracy that like all bureaucracies all over the world is inefficient, self-serving, unaccountable,venal and corrupt. In the case of the United Nations, the unaccountability has plumbed to great depths.It's corruption and venality takes on a global scale by the very nature of the institution. Who gave us the far reaching corruption of oil-for-food? The utter unaccountability of UNDP in North Korea? The raping, looting and child prostitution conducted by it's soldiers (the sex-for-food scandal)?

The 'United Nations Millennium Development Goals' is the planet scale version of Indira Gandhi's garibi-hatao(remove poverty) and is as likely to fail. Indian economy began to take off only when the deathgrip of state socialism was loosened beginning 1991. We all know what works, although several are reluctant to admit it. There is a very, very hysterically vocal section of society everywhere which opposes that which will (and has proved to) reduce poverty anywhere it has been tried. Ironically, that section, made up of powerful coalitions of left-leaning NGO's , 'civil society' groups and various members of the media-arts elites are highly influential at the UN. An ambitious planet-wide project under their aegis means only one thing-
"...a sort of utopian central planning by global bureaucrats, a crash program like a Great Leap Forward for poor countries," ........ "This will not work any better than central planning by bureaucrats has worked anywhere else, which is to say not at all."

For example, the long section on aid shoves right past the realities to rattle the cup for more money flowing through the gullies of UN plans and bureaucracy, where so much has already vanished, or been diverted into support of bad governments that create precisely the conditions that inflict poverty. Someone needs to remind Mr. Annan that every dollar taxed away from the citizens of the rich nations of the world is a dollar less that's available for these same private citizens to buy goods for which there is genuine market-driven demand--that being the real engine of development.

Mr. Annan wants every poor country to produce--get ready for the mouthful--a "Millennium Development Goals-based" national strategy (meaning, in line with U.N. plans). By September he wants donor countries to produce "timetables and monitorable targets" to align aid delivery with all these strategies. Then, the U.N. will baste this all together into a plan even bigger than Oil for Food, which sounds like an unfortunate idea. Mr. Annan gets it partly right about the need for free trade, but he urges such openness only for the richest nations, not for the poorest--a vision that will make the rich richer, but do far less for the poor. Meanwhile, he deplores a growing income gap between rich and poor nations.

Some sections are almost comic, such as Mr. Annan's chiding the Security Council and General Assembly that when they assign tasks to the Secretariat, they must take care "that they also provide resources adequate for the task." Yes, but as Oil for Food illustrated, even $1.4 billion in administrative funding was not enough to provide honesty and competence. The glitch was the abysmal, secretive and conflict-of-interest-ridden management of Mr. Annan's Secretariat, not lack of money. Mr. Annan notes that he wants more transparency and accountability, but he suggests this come from more reshuffling inside the U.N. itself, not from outside oversight. We have been here before.
(emphasis mine)

I left a comment for one of the participants-
Ashok Nayak, you must be joking. All the art shows and rock concerts in the world, even if under the blessing of some holy man, will not do one whit to reduce poverty.

When it comes to reducing poverty, only one thing has shown to work- free markets(a.k.a capitalism). Strangely, the art world elites are mostly hostile to this solution.

Originally posted at -What the heck is art?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"There's something sick about, about our culture when we don't acknowledge genuine heroes"

As if to confirm what I said in the last post, Bill Kristol-

I think there's something about this wonderfully moving narrative about Al Gore that Juan(Williams) likes to compare to Mother Teresa. I haven't noticed Al Gore taking a vow of poverty recently. You know, there's something sick really about taking the whole thing seriously. The day before the Nobel Peace Prize was announced, President Bush signed off on the third Medal, Congressional Medal of Honor in tLt. Michael Murphyhe current global war on terror. The first for anyone who served in Afghanistan, for Navy seal Lt. Michael Murphy.

This got about one-one thousandth the coverage of the Nobel Peace Prize which as Charles says is an entirely political gesture. There are fewer Congressional Medals of Honor awarded than Nobel Peace Prizes. The New York Times, this is, Mike Murphy, the 29-year-old who died in 2005, from Long Island. The New York Times, the local newspaper for this genuine American hero, hasn't mentioned it. Huge stories, Al Gore, what a narrative, what sacrifices he's made to produce this movie and to become a multi-zillionaire as he makes himself so famous touting the cause of global warming.

Michael Murphy gets the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the New York Times, our leading newspaper and the local newspaper in this case, can't notice it. There's something sick about, about our culture when we don't acknowledge genuine heroes, and, as I say, give a prize, make such a big deal about some guy who's made a movie.

(emphasis mine)

Read the whole thing.

Oh, by the did I mention that Bill Kristol is considered a neocon. You won't be hearing much from him in our MSM.

Diversity of opinion, my foot!

There is a solid, immovable fog of group-think pervasive in the hallowed portals of the society elites all over the world-on Iraq,on globalisation,on America,on UN,on environment,on AIDS, on foreign get the picture.The vast swathes of 'liberal', 'bien-pensant' media is deeply committed almost unselfconsciously to this.

The New York Times is a paragon of such media. As is the BBC-

It's the fact that its output, including its journalism, is politically as bent as a corkscrew.

As its own impartiality review concluded earlier this year, the BBC operates in a "Leftleaning comfort zone" and has an "innate liberal bias", dictating what issues it chooses to cover and how it does so.

It is institutionally and viscerally hostile to America, Israel, conservatism, big business, religion, the countryside and family values; it supports multiculturalism, environmentalism, European federalism, human rights law and 'alternative' lifestyles.

Worse still, it sees everything through the distorting prism of this "progressive" agenda.

As a result, it views its own Left-wing position as the centre ground, and anyone who disagrees is viewed as a Rightwing extremist.

Indeed, because by definition it cannot acknowledge its own innate bias, the BBC embodies a totally closed thought system.

At the core of all these problems lies one single cause.

The BBC has simply lost sight of the very reason why it exists in the first place. And that is due to a toxic combination of ideology and flawed analysis.

(source) (emphasis mine)

The group-think on some issues is so deeply entrenched that any dissent is considered heresy, the heretic to be excoriated viciously and his/her views not to be published or broadcast if one can help it or to be be heavily downplayed by presenting opposing viewpoints as more credible and mainstream.There are some opinions, viewpoints and facts that the public must be kept away from.

One can immediately think of the neoconservatives- the word 'neocon' has in the MSM become a vile word, standing for war-mongers, war-profiteers, baby-killers and whatnot. How many articles, op-eds, editorials and straight news reports one has read in which the neocons are sneered at and derided? One can find several such items in the media daily.Yet, what does one know of the views of the neocons? What do they believe or say actually? Where are their views in the media? Why don't we hear their point of view in the MSM?
Why not?
Any good reason why the public should be kept from hearing their(the neocon's) opinions?

If neocons are really bad, Bush is the arch-villain, the Sauron for the MSM. The newspaper I get, the Hindustan Times, cannot stand Bush. Bush-bashing is a favorite sport among the media elite, where the Vir Sanghvis and the Barkha Dutts of this world can garner automatic approbation by sneering at Bush and calling him stupid.

We only know them(Bush and the neocons) through the various filters and layers of the media, that same media that hates them passionately.

But in an unbiased and objective media, shouldn't those who agree with Bush(on some or most of the issues) should get to air their views too?
So where are they?

Paraphrasing Judah BenHur who demanded menancingly of the Roman Messala in the movie Benhur-

Diversity of opinion, my foot!
As you write another Bush bashing editorial, aren't you ashamed of shutting out points of view that you loathe? If not, why not?

Note -No, I am not a neocon or a Bush supporter. I agree with some of their views and disagree with the others. But unlike our 'unbiased' jounalists, I do believe that they hold legitimate opinions which need to be aired more widely in the public rather than shielding the masses from their 'extreme' views.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fisking an Indian fan of Fisk

Funny that a day after I mention 'fisking', Tim Blair brings to notice an Indian columnist in awe of the great Fisk. That lost soul is Mukul Kesevan. Mr. Kesevan also goes for the jugular of the bloggers-
But, on the whole, blogging produces derivative and self-indulgent writing.

But when it comes to Fisk, he goes weak-kneed and is all coochie-coo -
It’s ironic that ‘fisking’, the blogger’s verb for aggressive or hostile fact-checking, is named after Robert Fisk, Britain’s most distinguished foreign correspondent, who has lived in and reported from the Middle East for the past quarter of a century. His trenchant critique of Anglo-American foreign policy has made him a byword for bias amongst right-wing bloggers. That a great journalist who has survived danger and risked death to live in the region he reports from, whose reportage has made him the doyen of Middle-Eastern reporting, should become the blogosphere’s measure of unreliability, tells us something about the frictionless sterility of the blogger’s online world.

Aggressive or hostile fact-checking? Perhaps or perhaps not, depends on the concerned blogger. A more universal definition is-
The term Fisking, or to Fisk, is a blogosphere term describing ruthlessly detailed point-by-point criticism that highlights errors, disputes the analysis of presented facts, or highlights other problems in a statement, article, or essay.
So, aggression is not a defining characteristic of 'Fisking' unless Mukul Kesevan thinks that any fact-checking of his favorites is inherently 'hostile and aggressive'. But I do understand. Some people don't take it well when their opinions and biases are questioned. Could it be that the fact-checking bloggers who keep MSM lazybones on toes can get on the nerves of the old-media journalists? Mr. Kesevan himself seems to think so-
Any error of fact, however small, made by me on my cricket blog is snouted up in a matter of hours, if not sooner. Bloggers learn to get their facts right because their peers and their readers are so unforgiving. Newspaper columnists used to get away with much more than they do now because there’s an army of unpaid fact-checkers cruising online who see it as their life’s work to ‘fisk’ sloppy opinion or reportage.
(Surprise! Mr.Kesevan is himself a blogger! If he needs regular fact-checking, as his comment seems to suggest, then I believe his old-media, sloppy Mr.Hyde dominates his blogging Mr. Jekyll)

One admires those one seeks to emulate. If true, then Mr.Kesevan is yet to reach the heights of his hero, the great Fisk who is on a different plane altogether.

Efraim Karsh points out the dubious quality of wisdom and facts emanating from the brain of the holy man -
It is difficult to turn a page of The Great War for Civilisation (Fisk's book) without encountering some basic error. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not, as Fisk has it, in Jerusalem. The Caliph Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, was murdered in the year 661, not in the 8th century. Emir Abdallah became king of Transjordan in 1946, not 1921, and both he and his younger brother, King Faisal I of Iraq, hailed not from a “Gulf tribe” but rather from the Hashemites on the other side of the Arabian peninsula. The Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in 1958, not 1962; Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, was appointed by the British authorities, not elected; Ayatollah Khomeini transferred his exile from Turkey to the holy Shiite city of Najaf not during Saddam Hussein’s rule but fourteen years before Saddam seized power. Security Council resolution 242 was passed in November 1967, not 1968; Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, not 1977, and was assassinated in October 1981, not 1979. Yitzhak Rabin was minister of defense, not prime minister, during the first Palestinian intifada, and al Qaeda was established not in 1998 but a decade earlier. And so on and so forth.
(via Tim)

Fisk is now scaling even greater heights. Now he joins the extreme lunatic fringe in believing that Bush bombed the twin towers on 9/11.

Captain Ed takes down that over-inflated balloon with ease-
This puzzles me, because Robert Fisk claims to be a journalist, and one would expect a journalist to understand how to conduct research. Let's see if we can help Mr. Fisk with his questions, which unfortunately get spread throughout a paranoid harangue.
Then he goes on to demolish Fisk with incisive logic that is perhaps lost on those who wallow in the muck of hackery and mediocrity that is the mainstream media(MSM). Read the whole thing to savor and to realize just what Mukul Kesevan's hero is made up of.
Captain's conclusion-
Really, given the international stature of Mr. Fisk, it's hard to believe that he really could be this lazy. Perhaps he's just terribly unintelligent. Fortunately, the journalists and engineers at Popular Mechanics are neither, and their work speaks for itself, with real engineers and eyewitness testimony to answer everyone but the ravers and the conspiracy nuts ... and Mr. Fisk.

But Mr. Kesevan is a mere cricket writer, even if in the privileged and highly-paid world of the MSM. It is perhaps too much to expect him to comprehend that Fisk is an apologist for radical Islamists, terrorists, genocidal dictators, and a conspiracy nut!

But on the other hand, who am I but a mere right-wing blogger(if you consider libertarian as right wing)? Oh wait, I forgot- an aggressive and hostile right-wing blogger. So here goes-
Grrr, bow bow, grrr, snarl, bite, grrrrrrr!!!!!

More fisking of Fisk here.

(all emphasis mine)

Bump -Mukul Kesevan is actually spelt Mukul Kesavan.

Socialism -will it work on the moon?

The socialist utopia could never be achieved on Earth -not even with the bloodletting of millions in Soviet Russia, the communist China, Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea(and let's not even mention Pol Pot).
Even the peace loving collectivists(a rare breed indeed) of kibbutz have given up.

But will socialism work on the moon. Some people seem to think so-

For space scientists congregating at Hyderabad, it looks like we will have a colony up there soon. Space experts are mulling road maps on infrastructure comprising a communication network, including internet, a greenhouse, fuel production plants, and aspects of ethics and governance for human settlements on Moon, Mars and beyond.
Earlier, at a meet on Strategies to establish Lunar and Mars colonies, William Marshall of NASA spoke of lunar governance. He is for a ban on military bases and deployment of weapons in space and advocated against property rights over lunar land.

Can human settlements without property rights work out on the moon? It hasn't worked anywhere on this planet but when an expert from NASA says so, who am I to argue? CPM could then stand for the 'Communist Party of Moon', and of course they would be opposed to globalisation, er, I mean, planetisation. And no free trade between the earth and the moon -except with China

(emphasis mine)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Coining a new expression -"to Ahmenijad homos."

"Steve", a commentator at this debate is perhaps the first to coin this verb and expression-
.....trying to Ahmenijad homos out of existence.

Could this make it big like 'fisking'? It sure deserves to, especially after Ahmadinejad declared that there are no homosexuals in Iran-

In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that like in your country. … In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have this.

Where have they all gone? Could this be the answer-
When Ahmadinejad told Columbia today that Iran doesn’t have homosexuals, he meant that the theocracy has done its level best to cleanse Iran of gays and lesbians. He also means that they’ll get rid of any more they find.

Or this-

hanging gays in IranTwo gay Iranian teenagers -- one 18, the other believed
to be 16 or 17, were executed the "crime" of homosexuality

Or this-
The Iranian government is executing gay and bisexual men under the cover of rape and kidnapping charges, according to a major new investigation by Simon Forbes of the UK-based gay and lesbian human rights group OutRage!

Mr Forbes’s nine-month investigation, published today by OutRage!, is based on information gathered from sources inside Iran. His research reveals:

- Lynchings by Iran’s security forces, and ‘honour killings’ by families in the south western province of Khuzestan

-Secret hangings in prison

- The method of hanging is designed to cause slow, agonising strangulation

- Internet entrapment of gay Iranians using foreign-based online gay dating agencies

- A pattern of framing gay people on charges of kidnap, rape and paedophilia, as the following five sample cases suggest:
- The Gorgan case where two men were publicly hanged for Lavaat (sodomy) in November 2005

- Details of the Kermanshah case where three men were hanged in prison in November 2005 for sodomy that was alleged to have taken the form of the kidnap and rape of a younger male

- The Arak case of two men sentenced to death for sodomy in August 2005, which also involved the alleged kidnap and rape of a younger male, the son of an officer

- Two cases of public execution for sodomy in Mashhad in December 2004 and July 2005 that involved suspiciously similar charges

- Claims of rape are sometimes made to save the family’s honour or to save the passive partner from execution, and are part of an Iranian government propaganda offensive to scapegoat and demonise gay people

- Comparisons with Saudi Arabia, where it is also suggested that bogus rape charges are levelled against gay men

- Hypocrisy of the mullah’s attitudes towards the abuse of young girls, the rape of both males and females in custody, and widespread sodomy in religious colleges
Now, a few good questions-
1) If Uncle Ahmenida--dina--ja--dad--whatever can lie about this, then can we trust him about his nuclear intentions?
2) He is a religious fundamentalist, a theocrat, head of a regime that imprisons and hang gays, oppresses women -so why do the leftists support him?

Let a non-leftist gay answer-

I must say it is still shocking to me that the American Gay Left views President Bush of more of an enemy to gays than Islamic fundamentalists who want to destroy Western Civilization with gays as the first in their crosshairs. Maybe American gay activists are so upset that Christianity is the foundation of America that they are willing to take their chances with Islamic rule? How tolerant, no? What it really makes me think is this: Choosing Islam over America in the War on Terror is the ultimate in being a gay who is self-loathing.

hat tip-Stop the ACLU

Note -that debate I referred is an extremely interesting one. The first salvo is here.

(emphasis mine)

Update -a very disturbing picture and account here.

public hangings in Iran

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LNC Wedneday round up

Al Gore, keep away from Ugandan police!

The evil has landed.

Tim Blair-
The SMH’s Adele Horin, 2001:
More than a year after France legislated a 35-hour week, the economy is flourishing, unemployment is falling, consumer confidence has hit a historic high and most French say their lifestyle has improved.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, 2007:
I am at the head of a state that is in a position of bankruptcy.
I am at the head of a state that for 15 years has been in chronic deficit. I am at the head of a state that has not once passed a balanced budget in 25 years. This can’t go on.

Wishing for a mushroom cloud over Israel.

A view on inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Colombia University-
Yet the real issue is not about words but actions - actions with consequences in an ongoing conflict in which American soldiers are being killed and Iranian dissidents are being beaten and tortured every day. And what Bollinger's actions (as opposed to his words) reveal is that Columbia somehow considers itself neutral ground in the War on Terror.

Tavleen Singh-
Is there really hope if, despite having the worst infrastructure in the world, we can argue over mythical bridges and mythical gods? Is there hope if the Union law minister needs to say, “The government admits its mistakes and wants to remove any doubt whatever that it does not believe in the existence of Ram. The existence of Ram cannot be doubted. As Himalaya is Himalaya, Ganga is Ganga, Ram is Ram. Ram is an integral part of our ethos and cannot be alienated from our hearts.”

The honchos of the Hindustan Times fail to take their own paper seriously.

Scary stuff in the Hindustan Times from Ban The Moon-
Just a few days ago, scientists in the United States reported that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster than ever thought possible. By their calculations, 40 per cent of the summer ice covering the Arctic sea will be gone by 2050. Earlier studies had predicted that this wouldn’t happen for another century.


What we do not have is time. Travelling in Chad recently, I saw first hand the humanitarian toll of climate change. An estimated 20 million people depend on a lake and river system that has shrunk to a tenth of its original size over the past 30 years. In Africa right now, the worst rains in memory are washing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. These are signs of what is to come. The problems our generation faces will be worse for our children, particularly if we do not act.

Yet the newspaper fails to take the threat seriously. It is giving away a car everyday, adding more greenhouse gases to our overloaded atmosphere.

hindustan times gives away a car every day

So when the food begins to run out (don't they read their own paper?)-

Climate change is likely to trigger a "risk of hunger" in India by affecting cereal production by as much as 18 per cent because of floods and droughts, a UN agency has warned.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said India could lose as much as 125 million tonnes of its rainfed cereal production.

then can we whack the top honchos at HT for contributing to the starvation?

Can't they give away bicycles?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday round up

Girls in bikinis will save the world.
In your dreams!-ed

Is the mainstream media uninterested in radical Islamists in America?
Is this even worth asking?-ed

Belgian police brutalises peaceful demonstrators from a group called Stop the Islamization of Europe, including a member of the European parliament.(video here)

Indian government appeasing religious obscurantists once again.
So what is new? It's a habit -ed

Environmentalists and scientists misleading Americans about air pollution and climate change

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My manhood is bigger than yours.

What has Putin been running on -high octane testosterone?

No sooner is Putin back in the Kremlin than he sends Russian bombers over European air space, and British pilots scramble to see them off. Better that, I suppose, than murdering exiles like Alexander Litvinenko in London, and then covering up for the suspect wanted by Scotland Yard – that whole case has gone into abeyance. And the next step was to test out the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever manufactured, one that wipes out all life in an area of several square miles. That should impress the unfortunate Chechens, Georgians, Moldavians, Estonians, Ukrainians, and others for whom Putin is duly flexing those biceps and pectorals. At the same time, they have just launched a super-submarine, nuclear-powered and capable of staying submerged for twenty days. More impressive still, he’s just sold the latest anti-aircraft defence system to Iran.

About that Russian bomb-

RUSSIA has tested the world's most powerful "vacuum bomb", which unleashes a destructive shockwave with the power of a nuclear blast, the military said, dubbing it the "father of all bombs".

The bomb is the latest in a series of new Russian weapons as president Vladimir Putin tries to reassert Moscow's role on the international stage.

"Test results of the new airborne weapon have shown that its efficiency and power is commensurate with a nuclear weapon," Alexander Rukshin, Russia's deputy armed forces chief of staff, told Russia's state ORT First Channel television.


The report said the new bomb was much stronger than the US-built Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb - MOAB, also known as "mother of all bombs". "So, Russian designers called the new weapon 'father of all bombs'."

But there is a bigger d*** in town-
The U.S. has a 14-ton super bomb more destructive than the vacuum bomb just tested by Russia, a U.S. general said Wednesday.

The statement was made by retired Lt. General McInerney, chairman of the Iran Policy Committee, and former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

McInerney said the U.S. has "a new massive ordnance penetrator that's 30,000 pounds, that really penetrates ... Ahmadinejad has nothing in Iran that we can't penetrate."

He also said the new Russian bomb was not a "penetrator."

(via Ed Morissey. See below)

Ed Morissey points out-

I think this is a slap at Russian manhood, actually. It's the military equivalent of accusing someone of premature ejaculation. You explode on the surface, Ivan? Real superpowers go deep before explosion. Georgia laughs at you, comrade. Maybe Vladimir Putin should pay more attention to e-mail spam.

But then again, the Russian excitement over developing a fuel-air bomb seemed a little overblown, anyway. They only have one bomber that could actually deploy it, and unless one wants to flatten entire villages, it has few real applications. That kind of strategy ended in Vietnam, and even the Soviets didn't use those kinds of tactics in Afghanistan. The "daisy cutter" that the US uses has more flexibility and better tactical application. Unless the point is to penetrate into bunkers below the surface or to do some instant ethnic cleansing, it's literally overkill.

The Russians have relearned a lesson they forgot since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Its better to wait on bragging until one is sure that the opponent has not already beaten one to the finish line. It saves on humiliation later.

(emphasis mine)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Dark Ages are making a comeback

At some future date, when India is a Hindu nation, and a large part of the world beyond may have come under the domination of that long pined for caliphate,

islam will dominate placard

when the freedoms won over the struggle of centuries have been lost,

freedom go to hell placard

when the inconvenient parts of the history have been rewritten and whitewashed

holocaust was a hoax placard

by those believing in a primeval ideology,

god bless placard

when even groveling appeasement of Europe has failed

europe is the cancer placard

and despite it's professed hatred of America, Europe is taught a severe lesson

europe take lessons from 9/11 placard

and the it's chattering classes and gutless intellectuals have been silenced(their America bashing will not save them) (not even the pope will be safe)

freedom of expression is western terrorism placard

and apostates have been dealt with with.....

apostates placard

.....with some violence

behead those who insult islam placard

in fact more than some,

exterminate those who slander islam placard

lots more likely,

behead those who insult islam

really lots,

butcher those who mock islam placard

then I fear the worst might happen -all over again.

be prepared for the real holocaust placard

Prepare for the religious wars of the 21st century. The Dark Ages are making a comeback.

Image sources (numbered according to the sequence they appear) -1, 2, 5 , 9 and 12, 3 and 8, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13
Cannot find the source for 6.

Bad luck, I am still alive!

The trouble with blogging is that reality intrudes. One has to go off and do something to make a living. Gotta eat, you know. God made us like that. Maybe that is why I don't believe in Him!

But, hey, it took me a while but I'm baaaack! Thanks to the couple of people who emailed to ask me if I was well.Bad luck guys, I am still alive.

This is one among other things I have been doing -sketching nudes:

nude sketches

Lucky me!

Crossposted at What the heck is art?

Friday, August 24, 2007

United Nations stands for moral strength -just kidding!

The Moral Force, we are told, is strongest at one point on Earth -the United Nations. The place is overflowing with it. Whatever UN touches becomes 'good' and 'blessed'.

But the force has been getting weaker for a long time now. At present it can barely be detected.
Has the UN gone over to the dark side?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Socialism lays the foundation of capitalism!

This is what Mr. Narayan Madhavan seems to be saying in this article -

But I ask myself a simple question: Had India followed its liberalisation policies in the 1950s instead of the 1990s, what would have happened? I have no easy answers, but it is clear that India would have had to export agricultural commodities in exchange for modern industries and foreign capital, or done something approximating to that. However, there was not much to export from here. Maybe a bit more of garments would have been exported. With foreign capital, India could have stolen some of the Chinese and Taiwanese thunder in electronics or labour-intensive manufacturing. On the other hand, there might have been no IITs (Indian Institute of Technology), no Steel Authority of India Ltd, no Indian Oil Corp. Dozens of public sector undertakings may not have come into being.

What no IIT's? No Indian Oil Corporation? No Steel Authority of India Ltd? And no other public sector companies?

But in their place we might have had the standard of living of Taiwan, with it's per capita income of (purchasing power parity) $27600 (2005 est.) compared to India's $4,031( at PPP) and $885 at nominal (2007 estimate) (even after more than 15 years reforms).

Seems to me to be a pretty good swap. I would prefer that India be 5-6 times richer than to have all those wonderful public sector monsters. If the price of having IIT's is the grinding poverty of the tens of millions, then why have them?

But what makes Mr. Narayan Madhavan think that there would be no institutions comparable to the IIT's if India had turned to capitalism right at the time of independence? Are there no good institutions in the more capitalistic nations of the west? I wonder where do all those IITians migrate to? To the socialist Cuba perhaps.

Now for the next big question: If there were no controls on industries, what would we have liberalised in the first place? Actually, a force has to be created before it is unleashed. The creation of a Nehruvian public sector, and subsequent neo-Nehruvian policies like Indira Gandhi’s nationalisation of banks, laid the ground for an industrial and financial structure. This structure, for all its shortcomings, had the potential to generate both human resources, knowledge base and the domestic economy that eventual liberalisation make use of.

This is so f***ingly crazy that I hate even to fisk it. But what the heck, here goes-
"If there were no controls on industries, what would we have liberalised in the first place?"
The gent actually seems to be saying - for the freedom to have meaning, you have to be enslaved first. Or, for liberalisation to work, a country first has to be shackled for over four decades in a bureaucratic socialist death-grip that has kept our masses in poverty and misery.

----------- Socialism, viewed through the rear-view mirror of liberalisation, appears different. Nehruvian policies also look dismal in many ways, but perhaps it would be fair to say that while many of his policies were flawed, they also laid the groundwork for the forces that gained from liberalisation and free market opportunities.

At least 25 Nasdaq-listed technology companies today owe their origins to people nurtured by Nehru’s policies that subsidized their education at the cost of primary schools or farmers. It is an irony that many of the biggest beneficiaries of Nehruvian largesse are among the most fashionable critics of socialist policies. As we raise a toast to their achievements and 60 years of Independent India, I only wish Nehru had created centres of excellence called Indian Institutes of History (IIHs) the way he had created the IITs. That might have helped us get a better sense of history.

Maybe those "biggest beneficiaries" understand that those Nehruvian policies kept most of the Indians from making a decent living, not just a select or privileged few. Maybe they would have been pleased to see India flower and prosper right from the time of independence, and not stagnate for 45 years under the crushing yoke of the Nehruvian state. Hey, we are humans, we need freedom to thrive. We don't need to be bottled up and stored to mature like wine.

(emphasis mine)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What shall happen to the atheists in the Hindu Rashtra*?

Will they be shot?

Or sent to some reeducation camp?
Or simply beaten up and their faces blackened?

This is what happened to a professor and a poet-

Bharatiya Janshakti Party workers on Friday blackened the face of a professor in Raipur Medical College for reciting a poem at an Independence Day function in which he allegedly made derogatory remarks against the goddess Lakshmi.

According to the party’s state general secretary Rajiv Lochan Shrivastava, some party office-bearers learnt about the “derogatory” poem recited by BK Jain on Thursday and confronted the professor at the medical college to seek an apology from him.

But when neither Dr Jain or the college administration came forward to apologise, furious party workers took out a protest rally on Friday, confronted Jain and blackened his face. They also forced him to apologise in public for his “offensive” act, said Shrivastava.

Despite the public apology from Jain, party activists have demanded that the doctor be suspended immediately. They have threatened to intensify their agitation if their demand is not met.

We in India are losing our freedom to examine religion critically. It is inevitable that the religious mafia will find another person to beat up because of some 'insult' to some god, just as it is inevitable that the Indian state will take no more than a token step to counter this naked fascism, if at all.

So when that long awaited Hindu Rashtra* finally arrives, what will happen to the atheists (of which I am one)? After all, one of worst 'insults' to the gods is to deny that they exist at all.

I suggest that atheists gang up to form a sena*, perhaps Bharatiya Nastik Sangh Sena (Indian Atheist's Association Army) and then we can create our own hugamas*.

*The colorful Indian language translator-

rashtra - nation
sena -army
hungama -ruckus

(emphasis mine)

Note -it is widely believed that fascism is an ideology of the 'right'. In practice(and in theory too), fascism is very much like communist totalitarianism , with suppression of the individual to the collective an important characteristic. The photo above is taken from a site that catalog's communist repression in Cuba, that paradise of the left.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let's chant together -"All religions stand for peace."

There are some issues which our media-political-intellectual elites prefer not to look too deeply into. Better to avert one's eyes and close one's mind than to find that one fears that one might find. Better not to look for clues if those threaten to lead where one does not wish to go. This is what our politically-correctist thought control has brought us to.

One of these issues is the virulence which is directed against people such as Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen from within the muslim ummah. Have you noticed that the hate against these appear to particularly vicious compared to that directed against non-muslims with similar views? We prefer not enquire too deeply into it. Perhaps because if we did we might discover (and be forced to think about) this-

There is unanimity among clerics from the various Islamic schools of thought that the penalty for an apostate (murtid) is death, the only disagreement being whether the execution should occur instantly or after the murtid has been given an opportunity to recant and return to the fold of Islam. So sure is the punishment and so strong the attendant social and family pressures that it is unthinkable for Muslims ever to openly question any aspect of their religion, let alone convert to another or to practice agnosticism or atheism.


According to Dr. Andrew G. Bostom, there is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafi'i), as well as Shi'ite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. Averroes, or Ibn Rushd (d. 1198), the renowned Aristotelian philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist in medieval Spain, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy (vol. 2, p. 552):

"An apostate…is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, 'Slay those who change their din [religion]'…Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition…prior to his execution."

This is not just a matter of medieval jurisprudence. The 1991 Shafi'i manual of Islamic Law 'Umdat al-Salik, endorsed by the Islamic Research Academy at Al-Azhar, the most prestigious centre of learning in Sunni Islam, states:

"Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst…When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory…to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed."

In other words, those who publicly leave Islam constitute a threat to the morale of the Islamic community, just like soldiers defecting from an army, and must thus be punished before a mass-defection sets in. Al-Qaradhawi agrees with the traditional treatment of Muslims who leave their religion: "For Muslim society to preserve its existence, it must struggle against ridda* from every source and in all forms, and it must not let it spread like wildfire in a field of thorns. Thus, the Muslim sages agreed that the punishment for the murtadd* [who commits ridda] is execution."

We keep ignoring this fact, intentionally so, it seems to me. Rushdie, Nasreen , Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others are hated with a special vehemence because they are perceived to be apostates and traitors, someone from the fold who dares criticize it (or some aspects of it), even if they might not have renounced their faith.

Taslima, of course, has been in news all over because of the attack on her. What we are unlikely to hear much about is the attack on Ehsan Jami. Jami has been under threat for giving up his religion. In fact he is the chairman of the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims.
A daring vocation, I must say. With predictable dangers (via Harry's Place)-

Ehsan Jami Ehsan Jami (pictured) was knocked to the ground and kicked by a group of three men: two young Moroccans and one Somali. During the incidents, his attackers called him a 'filthy homo' and 'filthy traitor'. Mr Jami's advisor, Afshin Ellian, later pointed out that it was not the first time he had been physically attacked:

"He's also been threatened before, attacked or beaten up, and he reported this to the police too. This is the third time."

Afshin Ellian, an academic and columnist, is also being protected by the authorities.

So will we hear anything about Ehsan in our media? Unlikely or perhaps a passing mention somewhere. Nothing much to be concerned about, move on. Our media refuses to connect the dots even as it goes out of the way to assure us a dozen times a day-
Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.

Let's chant a few times and all disturbing thoughts and doubts will disappear from our minds-

Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.
Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.
Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.
Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.
Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.
Islam means peace. All religions stand for peace.

There. My mind is at rest now. I was going to say something about Theo Van Gogh but the power of the peaceful religions has overwhelmed me. I am drifting into the soothing recesses of inner serenity. Theo who?

*ridda- The Ridda wars (also known as the Riddah wars and the Wars of Apostasy).
*murtad or murtid -apostate

(emphasis mine)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Your car is an anti-social element, part-1

Gaia-worshipping, capitalism-hating types i.e. your normal greenie, love to decide how you should travel or commute. The choice, you see, is too important to be left to you. Let the all-knowing experts decide what's good for you.

In an op-ed in the Hindustan Times, veteran Indian greenie Darryl D’Monte whines long and loud about how bio-fuels are not the right fuel for the cars. Fair enough, since there are serious problems attached to the widespread use of these fuels. But this article is not about a rational concern about these fuels.There is something darker lurking underneath.That dark and sinister agenda is revealed only at the end and one can behold a greenie's soul for what it is, masked as it usually is behind a veneer of concern for the 'mankind'.The problem is not so much the fuel but the cars themselves. The environmentalists don't want you to have cars-

Most of all, if combating climate change is a self-professed priority in the drive to produce bio-fuels, what about the mania for using motorised transport, which the use of this alternative fuel encourages? Close on the heels of the Rs 1 lakh car being manufactured by the Tatas, foreign auto makers are making a beeline for the Indian market with cars worth around that much. This may be a bonanza for the middle-class, but what will it do to emissions, which are already well over every limit?

Environmentalists like Lester Brown and Jonathan Lash of the World Resources Institute in Washington believe that hybrid automobiles, which switch from petrol to electricity, are the answer for the future. But if everyone has even a fully electric car, there is going to be such mayhem on the roads, particularly in congested cities in developing countries, that no one will be able to go anywhere. Cars also deprive the oldest and younger sections of the population — the latter is disproportionately large in this country — from using this means of transport and are thus inherently anti-social.

Remember this when you scrounge, skimp and save to buy that small car to escape from the drudgery of public transport - your car, and thus you, are anti-social.You are also being unfair to the old and the very young. You see, the small children, old people, the handicapped much rather travel like this-

crowded Delhi bus

A public bus in Delhi. (Image source)

crowded Mumbal local

A local train in Mumbai. (Image source)

What adventure, and what good exercise!

In some future when the wise environmentalists are in total control, you shall be forced to travel this way. Private vehicles will not exist. Cars shall be banned -except of course for our masters who must travel in comfort of one to take care of the planet's needs.

Praful Bidwai is another car-hating pundit-
Ford India has just launched a diesel version of its premium Fusion' (ex-Delhi-showroom cost Rs 6,59,000) and announced that like Renault-Nissan, it's also considering making a compact car costing Rs 1,20,000. Such corporate announcements have become routine, especially since the Tatas launched their Rs 1,00,000 car project. What is note-worthy about this one is not just that the low-cost car market is set to boom, but also that a mid-sized (1400 cc) diesel car, priced higher than its petrol original, will be treated as a small car'. It will attract not 24, but 16 per cent, excise duty.
Notice how panicky they get when cars become more affordable.

Dieselisation is only one, minor, part of India's automobile boom, which has seen car sales double over five years - a rate 60 per cent higher than GDP growth. Automobiles are being recklessly promoted as symbols of a lifestyle of glamour, luxury, even "freedom".
Someone aspiring to glamour, luxury or even "freedom"- can't have that, can we in our green utopia?

In reality, automobilisation spells high social costs, resource waste, air pollution, global warming and iniquitous use of road-space. In most Indian cities, cars and two-wheelers hog 60-80 per cent of space, but deliver 15 to 20 per cent of passenger trips. By contrast, buses occupy under 20 per cent of road space, and account for up to 60 per cent of trips.
Buses are also more efficient and fair -the way so many people squeeze into one during rush hours is a fine example of scrupulous environmental conduct.

Cars are an extremely inefficient form of transportation. According to a US researcher, the average American spends so much time looking after, parking or repairing his car and stopping at signals, etc, that its average speed is roughly 10-12 kmph.
Then let's have superfast cars zipping along on super smooth roads with high or no speed limits. Lets have hundreds of hi-tech flyovers and superways. That will boost the average speed but not Mr. Bidwai's state of happiness.

Above all, they pollute. Automobile emissions of particulate matter, and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur account for more than 60 per cent of the air pollution load in our cities, itself fraught with grievous health damage. Fine particulates contain some 40 known carcinogens.
Strange that we have about 90 times less cars per capita than the USA(that source of all evil), about 8.5 against 780 (pdf) per 1000 of population, yet our cities are more polluted. In fact the air quality in the US has been getting better and better.

Although health impact studies are inadequate in India, it is estimated that a representative Delhi household would annually earn a benefit of Rs 19,870 and in Kolkata Rs 84,355 from reduced particulates.

This translates into tens of thousands of crores for India.
This does not take into account millions of man hours wasted waiting to get into a bus or a local train or metro, the more millions wasted because one is simply too tired after such a commute to do anything productive, and the health damage due to such stress, fatigue and infections caught due to extreme proximity, not to mention lost productivity because of this stress and longer time taken. Or the health damage due to dying (can one's health get any worse than being dead?), crushed by the blessed public transport-under the wheels of the Bluelines or in railway crashes, (railways which are so efficiently run by the state), or simply falling off the footboard while hanging precariously. Or, as in the case of the Katrina hurricane, what about those people who could not get away in private vehicles and were stranded, even as 'public' buses stood idle in their depots. These people did not have their own cars and depended on public transport. It cost them dearly.

Runaway automobilisation must be curbed through higher taxation (Indian buses are taxed 2.6 times higher per passenger-kilometre than cars), stiff parking fees, Singapore-style bans on use of odd- and even-numbered cars on alternate days, encouragement of carpools, and extensive creation of pedestrian-only zones.

Above all, we must promote efficient, affordable, non-polluting public transport, as well as bicycles and other non-mechanised modes. If Paris can have 200 km of bicycle paths with 250,000 people using them, so can Delhi, Bangalore or Lucknow. This is not a plea for building expensive metros, which cost two to four times more than dedicated bus lanes or electric buses, but for rational planning which recognises that rampant automobilisation is an ecological, financial and social disaster.

Non-polluting public transport? Which public transport is non-polluting?

Bicycles and other non-mechanised modes? Which others -Bullock carts? Horses? Palanquins for ladies? Human-pulled rickshaws as in Kolkata?
I am sure the very young, the old, the handicapped that Darryl D'Monte is concerned about would love the comfort of bicycling several kilometers to their destination than ride in an anti-social sedan. If they can't pedal themselves then maybe the other family members can with the vulnerable ones sitting behind. Mom would love to cycle her 65 year old father-in-law 12 kilometers to see a dentist and back.

In a Reuters report-
But many Indians who weave their motorbikes in between traffic would jump on the chance of the comfort of a car.

Aman is a 39-year-old Indian chauffeur who earns about $A180 per month driving his employers' cars.

"If I can buy a 30,000 rupee scooter, then I can now hope to buy a car for 100,000 rupees when it comes out. Now, people like me can think about owning a car," he said.

"I drive cars for my employers. Maybe I will drive my own car one day."

Sorry, mate. If Mr.Bidwai and Mr.D'Monte have their way, you shall be waiting forever for your own car. Now go and fight your way into the first overcrowded bus or the local train you see and feel the warmth of the humanity around you. Just don't fall off.

To be continued.

(All emphasis mine)

Note -thanks to Sandeep for pointing out Bidwai's article.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Gods you worship are not Gods at all"

On my art and culture blog What the heck is art? a new post on the dark works of the famed director-
Ingmar Bergman-the director who "punished his audiences".

Read it here.

An excerpt-
I was once a misty eyed boy when Bergman's Fanny and Alexander(1982, Oscar for best foreign film) was screened on TV. I remember the excitement with which I looked forward to the film, having heard much about Bergman's greatness. Those were the days when I was an innocent lad, still not disabused, unsullied by cynicism -I believed what I was told, in what was written in the newspapers, in journals and said by pundits on the television. Hard to believe it now! And so I was convinced of the most ennobling experience I was about to have in watching one of the most acclaimed films.

Programmed to hate the British

We in India are programmed to hate the West, and the British in particular. Right from the school text books of the very young children to the college-level history texts, discourses in the media, the official literature and pronouncements. That the British were evil is the subtext of almost all the history texts -one just has to believe it to be considered patriotic.That they divided India (just for the fun of it, being a very bad people) is deeply ingrained in our consciousness.

Here is a different take-

Already the remarks by presenters are slanted to suggest that it was the wicked British who partitioned India. Legally this is true - but the fact is that Mountbatten absolutely did not want partition, and along with Nehru and Gandhi fought hard to preserve that great country as one.

Another programme is to dwell on Muhammad Ali Jinnah 'and his vision'. Jinnah was not originally in favour of partition; he was a completely westernised gentleman in his tailored English suits. He was threatened by the Muslim League, who promised violence if they did not get an Islamic state. In an attempt to keep India whole, Gandhi and Nehru said that Jinnah could be at the top of the new government but Jinnah was trapped by the Islamist militants.

The consequence was upwards of 2 millions slaughtered; 300,000 killed later in the nascent Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) by West Pakistan (now Pakistan) forces, who used widespread rape as a weapon of suppression. And the death a few months later of Jinnah himself - can anyone doubt that he died crushed by the awful consequences of his surrender to the fanatics?

And consider what India might have become if it had stayed united - instead there were two wars, continual fighting over Kashmir, the degradation of Bangladesh, the tottering state of Pakistan and borders armed like an iron curtain dividing areas, such as the Punjab, which for centuries had been one. What a cost to satisfy the greed for power by the Islamists.

But will this history be presented in these programmes, or will the British as usual be cast as villains?

Read the whole thing.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Khatami touches women, sky falls down upon him.

Is this a fake?

or is he?

Is it possible, just possible that Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami might have touched -what horror!- a woman?!!!! And that too more than one! And that too one after the another -a serial woman-toucher!

From the Iran Press Service-
A Handshake that Might Become A Religious Revolution Or A Political Suicide
A videotape, taken with a digital camera by Mr. Marco Orioles, a university sociology lecturer, shows the former Iranian president exchanging handshakes with Gianola and Cristina Nonnino, well-known producers of grappa, the famous Italian brandy, in the region around Udine.

from the Guardian-
Iran's reformist former president, Mohammad Khatami, has suffered a blow to his political standing by being pictured apparently shaking hands with women in breach of Islamic convention.

Mr Khatami, a mid-ranking cleric, dismissed the photo as a fake and insisted he had not shaken hands with any of the women who had approached him after he made a speech.

Flyers condemning Mr Khatami have been circulated in the shrine city of Mashhad, while posters of him were defaced in Kashan before he spoke there.

Although Islam generally forbids handshakes between men and women who are not close family relatives, some Shia clerics say it is permitted in certain cases to avoid embarrassment. In Iran, handshakes between men and women have become more common in recent years despite the country's Islamic laws.

Faked? Judge for yourself-

(video of the controversial handshakes)

If it is not a fake then it must be a CIA operation. The imperialist Americans must have sent those devilish male-eating female agents shake hands!

From the same Iran Press Service article-
The Iranian hardline daily “Kayhan”, run by Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, a high-ranking intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of political and intellectual dissidents who is a senior advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, suggested Khatami had allowed himself to fall prey of a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) trap.
The article continues-
“If Mr. Khatami is assured that the video had been manipulated, he must with no hesitation take the case to the courts. This would be a good occasion case for him to make known those who are plotting to tarnish the good name and image of the former president and aims at stopping the reform process in Iran and put an end to the plot. If not, he must present his apology to all those who accuses him of having trespassed a well-known rule of Islam”, Ahmad Ra’fat, an Iranian journalist based in Rome, told Iran Press Service.

“Many of those who had voted for Mr. Khatami and supported the reforms never could imagine that simple and ordinary acts like shaking some hands in the streets of a town like Udine would undermine the future of reforms in Iran. Worse, this writer and many others could never imagine that a president who talks about the rule of law, civil society and dialogue among civilizations would fall so down to the point of not having the courage of accepting responsibility of his own acts and deeds and unashamedly revert to lying”, Mr. Ra’fat, who also covers for AKI, wrote in the Persian internet magazine “Rahbord”

Andy McCarthy sums it up-
It's the small things that tell us the most.

Iran's great "moderate" "reformer," Mohammed Khatami, shook hands with a woman in Italy while chatting genially with a group of women who were not covered from head to toe, or even wearing head-scarves.

This is a scandal in Iran.

So what is the Moderate Reformer's reaction? Did he tell his critics to stop being ridiculous?

Nope. He claims, preposterously, that the pictures and film footage of the incident are fakes ... while concurrently announcing he is withdrawing his from a 2009 presidential bid.

I'd like to be encouraged that there is a swelling democracy movement in Iran ready to revolt against the regime any time now. But what does it say about the state of things in mullah-land that the hero of what passes for liberal reform there feels he has to deny shaking hands with a woman?

And our comrades have no problem if these people get nuclear weapons.

(emphasis mine)

A very disturbing judgement from the Supreme Court

An odd and prima facie, a very disturbing judgment from the Supreme Court-

Not satisfied with explanation given by Zee TV and its reporter Vijay Shekhar for carrying out a sting operation allegedly showing corruption in lower judiciary, the the Supreme Court on Thursday asked them to tender an “unconditional apology” to avoid any criminal action.

The channel had carried a sting operation “Cash for warrant scam” in 2004. It showed three advocates of Ahmedabad securing bailable warrants—on fictitious complaint and for monetary considerations—against former President A P J Abdul Kalam, former Chief Justice of India V N Khare, apex court judge Justice B P Singh and senior counsel the late R K Jain.

“He has committed a serious offence,” the CJI said and refused to acknowledge that corruption existed in subordinate judiciary. “The perception of judiciary to this gentleman is absolutely wrong,” he said, refusing to accept the “intention” of the journalist was not to bring disrepute to the system.

The court noted that all material facts, including addresses of persons against whom warrants were issued, were suppressed. “You have misled the magistrate, you have misled the lawyers,” the court said.

However senior advocate Arun Jaitley, who appeared for the reporter, argued it should be the intention behind the act of the media that should be considered rather than the act. “If the reporter who tried to expose whatever little vulnerability exist in the system is taken to task, it would be a case of extreme positioning, which in today’s times is uncalled for,” Jaitely said.

Some bigwigs of the media, the defenders of freedoms(especially their own) seem to be skirting the issue.

Vir Sanghvi-
On Thursday, the Supreme Court finally took a stand on the contentious and controversial issue of television sting operations. The judges asked for an unconditional apology from a Zee News reporter who had conducted a sting operation seeking to reveal corruption in the lower judiciary. Asked the Chief Justice of India, “What public good has the reporter done? Prime facie, he has committed a serious crime.”

I do not want to go into the rights and wrongs of that particular case. And certainly, despite the tenor of the judgment, there is some merit in the argument offered by Arun Jaitley, counsel for Zee News, that the channel had first submitted the tapes of the sting operation to the judiciary and only then broadcast them. Jaitley argued that Zee News had behaved with responsibility and that the intention had not been to denigrate the judicial system.

No matter who you agree with — Jaitley or the Chief Justice — there is little doubt that the case will once again focus attention on the ethics of news television. Moreover, the judgment comes at a time when the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is circulating a draft Broadcasting Bill that many media professionals regard as going against the spirit of a free press.

Barkha Dutt-
The recent judgment against Zee News for attempting such an exposé is already a matter of concern.

'Concern'?- isn't that rather an understatement? What will the Supreme Court do if the reporter from the Zee News does not apologize? Send him to jail? For exposing corruption in the judiciary? Like I have said before- sometimes it feels it's Orwell's 1984 all the time.

It is left to 'Kiran', one of those faceless anonymous posters on the net so despised by some in the MSM(mainstream media) to say it out loud and clear-

"The only way to rid the country of corruption is to hang a few of you on the lamp post. The law does not permit us to do it but otherwise we would prefer to hang people like you to the lamp post," a Bench of Justices S B Sinha and Markandeya Katju was quoted by PTI as saying. The Bench made the statement while hearing the bail application of Braj Bhushan Prasad, a dismissed employee of Bihar government for his alleged involvement in the Rs 1,000 crore fodder scam.This sounds very good but what about the corruption in Judiciary? The same supreme court instead of punishing the corrupt judge of the Gujrat Judiciary in the Zee TV case is shielding the judge and is bent upon punishing the Zee TV for exposing corruption in judciary. It seems the judges of SC do not know the saying " Practice before you preach to others"

Note -Barkha Dutt's article is otherwise actually quite good.

(all emphasis mine)